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In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, I77 2 > and 1773- 



M-*tt Jr 

VOL. I. 

Opus aggredior opitnum cafibus, atrox praliis, difcors feditlonibus, 
Ipfd etiam pace f&vum. Tacit. Lib. iv. Ann. 





on*' •'•■^*... ,.-■ 

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T O T H E 


S I R, 

TH E ftudy and knowledge of the Globe, For 
very natural and obvious reafons, feem, in 
all ages, to have been the principal and fa* 
vourite purfuit of great Princes ; perhaps they were 9 

VOL. I, 


D E D I C A T T O N. 

at certain periods, the very fources of that great* 

But as Pride, Ambition, and an immoderate 
thirft of Conqueft, were the motives of thefe re- 
searches, no real advantage could pofiibly accrue to 
mankind in general, from inquiries proceeding upon: 
fuch deformed and noxious principles. 

In later times, which have been accounted more 
enlightened, itill a worfe motive Succeeded to that of 
ambition; Avarice led the way in all expeditions, cru- 
elty and oppreffion followed : to difcover and to de- 
ftroy feemed to mean the fame thing ; and, what was i 
ftill more extraordinary, the innocent fufferer was. 
{tiled the Barbarian ; while the bloody, lawlefs inva- 
der, flattered himfelf with the name of Chriftian. 

With Your Majesty's reign, which, on many 
accounts, will for ever be a glorious aera in the an- 
nals of Britain, began the emancipation of difcovery 
from the imputation of cruelty and crimes. 




It was a golden age, which united humanity and 
fcience, exempted men of liberal minds and educa- 
tion, employed in the nobleft of all occupations, that 
of exploring the diftant parts of the Globe, from be- 
ing any longer degraded, and rated as little better 
than the Buccaneer, or pirate, becaufe they had, till 
then, in manners been nearly fimilar,. 

It is well known, that an uncertainty had ftill 
remained concerning the form, quantity, and confift- 
ence of the earth ; and this, in fpite of all their abili- 
ties and improvement, met philosophers in many ma- 
terial inveifigations and ^delicate calculations, Uni- 
verfal benevolence, a diftinguilhing quality of Your 
Majesty, led You to take upon Yoiirfelf the direc- 
tion of the mode, and furnifhing the means of remo- 
ving thefe doubts and difficulties for the common be- 
nefit of mankind, who were all alike interefted in 

By Your Majesty's command, for thefe great pur- 
pofes, Your fleets penetrated into unknown feas, 



fraught with fubjects, equal, if not fuperior, in courage, 
fcience, and preparation, to any that ever before had 

navigated the ocean. 

But they pofTerTed other advantages, in which, 
beyond all comparison, they excelled former difcover- 
ers. In place of hearts confufed with fantaftic no- 
tions of honour and emulation, which conftantly led 
to bloodfhed, theirs were filled with the moft bene- 
ficent principles, with that noble perfuafion, the foun- 
dation of all charity, not that all men are equal, but 
that they are all brethren ; and that being fuperior 
to the favage in every acquirement, it was for that 
very reafon their duty to fet the example of mildnefs, 
companion, and long-fuffering to a fellow -creature, 
becaufe the weakeft, and, by no fault of his own, the 
•leafl inftrucled, and always perfectly in their power, 

T h u s, without the ufual, and moft unwarrantable 
exceffes, the overturning ancient, hereditary king- 
doms, without bloodihed, or trampling under foot, 
the laws of fociety and hofpitality, Your Majesty's 





fubje6ls, braver, more powerful and inftru£ted than 
thofe deftroyers of old, but far more juft, generous, 
and humane, erected in the hearts of an unknown 
people, while making thefe difcoveries, an empire 
founded on peace and love of the fubjecl, perfectly 
confiftent with thofe principles by which Your Ma- 
jesty has always profefled to govern ; more firm and 
durable than thofe eftablifhed by bolts and chains, and 
all thofe black devices of tyrants not even known, 
by name, in Your happy and united, powerful and 
flourifhing kingdoms.. 

While thefe great objects were fteadily conduct- 
ing to the end which the capacity of thofe employed, 
the juflnefs of the meafures on which they were plan- 
ned, and the conflant care and fupport of the Public 
promifed, there ftill remained an expedition to be 
undertaken which had been long. called for, by philo- 
sophers of all nations, in vain. 

Fleets and armies were ufelefs ; even the power 
of Britain, with the utmoft exertion, could afford no 
voi« Lr. b protection. r 


protection there, the place was fo unhappily cut off 
from the reft of mankind, that even Your Majesty's 
name and virtues had never yet been known or heard 
of there. 

The fituation of the country was barely known, 
no more : placed under the moll inclement Ikies, in 
part furrounded by impenetrable forefts, where, from 
the beginning, the beafts had eftablifhed a fovereign- 
ty uninterrupted by man, in part by vaft deferts of 
moving fands, where nothing was to be found that 
had the breath of life, thefe terrible barriers inclofed 
men more bloody and ferocious than the beafts them- 
felves, and more fatal to travellers than the fands 
that encompaffed them ; and thus fhut up, they had 
been long growing every day more barbarous, and 
defied, by rendering it dangerous, the curiofity of 
travellers of every nation. 

Although the leaft confiderable of your Maje- 
sty's fubjecls, yet not the leaft defirous of proving 
my duty by promoting your -Majesty's declared 



plan of difcovery as much as the weak endeavours of 
a fingle perfon could, unprotected, forlorn, and alone 5 
or at times aflbciated to beggars and banditti, as they 
offered, I undertook this defperate journey, and did 
not turn an ell out of my propofed way till I had 
completed it : It was the firft difcovery attempted in 
Your Majesty's reign. From Egypt I penetrated 
into this country, through Arabia on one fide, pafT- 
ing through melancholy and dreary deferts, ventila- 
ted with poifonous winds, and glowing with eternal 
fun-beams, whofe names are as unknown in geogra- 
phy as are thofe of the antediluvian world. In the 
fix years employed in this furvey I defcribed a circum- 
ference whofe greater axis comprehended twenty- 
two degrees of the meridian, in which dreadful circle 
was contained all that is terrible to the feelings, pre- 
judicial to the health, or fatal to the life of man. 

In laying the account of thefe Travels at Your 
Majesty's feet, I humbly hope I have fhewn to 
the world of what value the efforts of every indivi- 
dual of Your Majesty's fubjedls may be ; that num- 


bers are not always necefTary to the performance of 
great and brilliant actions, and that no difficulties or 
dangers are unfurmountable to a heart warm with 
affection and duty to his Sovereign, jealous of the 
honour of his mailer, and devoted to the glory of his 
country, now, under Your Majesty's wife, merci- 
ful, and jufl reign, defervedly looked up to as Queen 
of Nations. I am, 



Moft faithful Subject, 

And moft dutiful^Servant, 



HOWEVER little the reader may be converfant with an- 
cient hiftories, in all probability he will know, or have 
heard this much in general, that the attempt to reach the 
Source of the Nile, the principal fubject of this publication, 
from very early ages interefted all fcientific nations : Nor 
was this great objed: feebly profecuted, as men, the firft for 
wifdom, for learning, and fpirit (a moft neceflary qualifica- 
tion in this undertaking) very earneflly interefted themfelves 
about the difcovery of the fources of this famous river, till 
difappointment followed difappointment fo faft, and confe- 
quences produced other confequencesfo fatal, that the defign 
was entirely given over, as having, upon the faireft trials, ap- 
peared impracticable. Even conquerors at the head of im- 
menfe armies, who had firft discovered and then fubdued great 
part of the world, were forced to lower their tone here, and 
dared fcarcely to extend their advances toward this difcovery, 
beyond the limits of bare wiflaes. At length, if it was not 
forgot, it was however totally abandoned from the caufes 
above mentioned, and with it all further topographical in- 
quiries in that quarter. 

Upon the revival of learning and of the arts, the curiofity 

of mankind had returned with unabated vigour towards 

Vol. I. a this 

ii introduction; 

this object, but all attempts had met with- the fame difficul- 
ties as before, till, in the beginning of his Majefty's reign,,., 
the unconquerable fpirit raifedin this nation by a long and 
glorious war, did very naturally refolve itfelf into a fpirit 
of adventure and inquiry at the return of peace, one of the 
firft-fruits of which was the difcovery of thefe coy foun- 
tains *, till now concealed from the world in general. 

The great danger and difficulties of this journey were- 
well known, but it was likewife known that it had been 
completely performed without difappointment or misfor- 
tune, that it had been attended with an apparatus of books 
and initruments, which feldom accompanies the travels of 
an individual ; yet fixteen years had elapfed without any ac- 
count appearing, which feemed to mark an unufual felf- 
denial,. or an abfolute. indifference towards the of. the 

Men, according to their different genius and difpofitions,, 
attempted by different ways to penetrate the caufe of this 
filence. The candid, the learned, that fpecies. of men, in* 


* This epithet given to the fprings from which the Nile rifes, was borrowed from a very 
elegant Englifh poem' that appeared in Dr Maty's Review for May 1786. It was fent 
to me by my friend Mr Barrington, to whom it was attributed, although from modefly he 
difclaims it. From whatever hand it comes, the poet is defired to accept of my humble. 
thanks. It was received with universal applaufe wherever it was circulated, and a confide-ra-. 
ble number of copies was printed at the defire of the public. Accident feemed to have 
placed it in Dr Maty's book with peculiar propriety, by having joined it to a fragment of 
Ariofto, then firft publifhed, in the fame Review. It has fince been attributed to Mr Mafoa.' . 


fine, for whom Only it is worth while to travel or to write, fup- 
pofing (perhaps with fome degree of truth) that an undefer- 
ved and unexpected neglect and want of patronage had 
been at leaft part of the caufe, adopted a manner, which, 
being the moft liberal, they thought likely to fucceed ; They 
endeavoured to entice me by holding out a profpect of a 
more generous difpoiltion in the minds of future minifters, 
when I mould fhew the claim I had upon them by having 
promoted the glory of the nation. Others, whom I mention 
only for the fake of comparifon, below all notice on any 
other ground, attempted to fucceed in this by anonymous 
letters and paragraphs in the newfpapers ; and thereby ab- 
furdly endeavoured to oblige me to publifh an account of 
thofe travels, which they affected at the fame time to believe 
I had never performed. 

But it is with very great pleafure and readinefs I do now 
declare, that no fantaftical or deformed motive, no peeviih 
difregard, much lefs contempt of the judgment of the 
world, had any part in the delay which has happened to this 
publication. I look upon their impatience to fee this work 
as an earneft of their approbation of it, and a very great 
honour done tome; and if I had Hill any motive to defer 
fubmitting thefe obfervations to their, judgment, it could 
only be that I might employ that interval in polifhing and 
making them more worthy of their perufal. The candid 
and inflructed public, the impartial and unprejudiced 
foreigner, are tribunals merit mould naturally appeal to ; it 
is there it always has found fure protection againft the in- 
fluence of cabals, and the virulent flrokes of malice, envy, 

and ignorance. 

a 2 It 


It is with a view to give every poflible information to 
my reader, that in this introduction I lay before him the 
motives upon which thefe travels were undertaken, the order 
and manner in which they were executed, and fome account 
of the work itfelf, as well of the matter as the diftribution 
of it. 

Every one will remember that period, fo glorious to 
Britain, the latter end of the miniftry of the late Earl of 
Chatham. I was then returned from a tour through thegreat- 
eft part of hurope, particularly through the whole of Spain 
and Portugal, between whom there then was an appearance 
of approaching war. I was about to retire to a fmall pa- 
trimony I had received from my anceftors, in order to em- 
brace a life of ftudy and reflection, nothing more active 
appearing then within my power, when chance threw me 
unexpectedly into a very fhort and very defultory converfa- 
tion with Lord Chatham. 

It was a few days after this that Mr Wood, then under- 
secretary of Hate, my very zealous and fmcere friend, in- 
formed me that Lord Chatham intended to employ me upon 
a particular fervice ; that, however, I might go down for a 
few weeks to my own country to fettle my affairs, but by 
all means to be ready upon a call. Nothing could be more 
flattering to me than fuch an offer ; when fo young, to be 
thought worthy by Lord Chatham of any employment, was 
doubly a preferment. No time was loft on my fide ; but, 
juft after my receiving orders to return to London, his 
Lordfhip had gone to Bath, and refigned his oflice. 



This difappointment, which was the more fenfible to 
me, that it was the firft I had met in public life, was pro- 
mifed to be made up to me by Lord Egremont and Mr 
George Grenville. The former had been long my friend, 
but unhappily he was then far gone in a lethargic indifpo- 
fition, which threatened, and did very foon put a period to 
his exiftence. With Lord Egremont's death my expectations 
vanifhed. Further particulars are unnecefTary, but I hope 
that at leafl, in part, they remain in that breaft where they 
naturally ought to be, and where I mall ever think, not 
to be forgotten, is to be rewarded. 

Seven or eight months were paft in an expenfive and 
fruitlefs attendance in London, when Lord Halifax was 
pleafed, not only to propofe, but to plan for me a journey 
of confiderable importance, and which was to take up feve- 
ral years. His Lordihip faid, that nothing could be more 
ignoble, than that, at fuch a time of life, at the height of 
my reading, health, and activity, I mould, as it were, turn 
peafant, and voluntarily bury myfelf in obfcurity and idle- 
ness ; that though war was now drawing fail to an end, 
full as honourable a competition remained among men of 
fpirit, which mould acquit themfelves bell in the danger- 
ous line of ufeful adventure and difcovery. " He obferved, 
that the coaft of Barbary, which might be faid to be jufl at 
our door, was as yet but partially explored by Dr Shaw, wio 
had only illuftrated (very judicioufly indeed) the geogra- 
phical labours of Sanfon * ; that neither Dr Shaw nor San- 


* He was long a flave to the Eey of Conftantina, and appears to have been a man of .capa- 


£bn had been, or had pretended to be, capable of giving the 
public , any detail of the large and magnificent remains 
of ruined architecture which they both vouch to have 
i>en in great quantities, and of exquifite elegance and per- 
fection, all over the country. Such had not been their 
ftudy, yet fuch was really the tafle that was required in the 
prefent times. He wifhed therefore that I mould be the 
firft, in the reign jull now beginning, to fet an example of 
making large additions to the royal collection, and he pled- 
ged himfelf to be my fupporter and patron, and to make 
good to me, upon this additional merit, the promifes which 
had been held forth to me by former minitters for other 

The difcovery of the Source of the Nile was alfo a fub- 
ject of thefe converfations, but it was always mentioned to 
me with a kind of diffidence, a« if to be expected from a 
more experienced traveller. Whether this was but another 
way of exciting me to the attempt I fliall not fay ; but my 
heart in that inftant did me juftice to fuggeft, that this, too, 
was either to be archieved by me, or to remain, as it had 
done for thefe laft two thoufand years, a defiance to all. 
travellers, and an opprobrium to geography. 

Fortune feemed to enter into this fcheme. At the very 
inftant, Mr Afpinwall, very cruelly and ignominioufly treated 
by the Bey of Algiers, had refigned his confulihip, and Mr 
Ford, a merchant, formerly theDey's acquaintance, was na- 
med in his place. Mr Ford was appointed, and dying a few 
days after, the confulihip became vacant. Lord Halifax 
preiTed me to accept of this, as containing all fort of conve- 
jiiencies for making the propofed expedition. 

a This 


This favourable event finally determined me. I had all 
my life applied unweariedly, perhaps with more love than 
talent, to drawing, the practice of mathematics, and efpe- 
eially that part necefTary to aflronomy. The tranfic of Ve- 
nus was at hand. It was certainly known that it would be 
vhible once at Algiers, and there was great reafon to expect 
it might be twice. I had furnilhed myfelf with a large ap- 
paratus of inftruments, the completeil of their kind for the 
obfervation. In the choice of thefe I had been affiited by 
my friend Admiral Campbell, and Mr RufTel fecretary to the 
Turkey Company; every other necefTary had been provided 
in proportion. It was a pl^afure now to know that it was 
not from a rock or a wood* but from my own houfe at Al- 
giers, 1 could deliberately take meafures to place myfelf in 
the lift of men of fcience of all nations, who were then pre- 
paring for the fame fcientific purpofe*. 

Thus prepared, I fet out for Italy, through France ; arid' 
though it was in time of war, and fome ftrong objections 
had been made to particular paiTports folicited by our go- 
vernment from the French fecretary of ftate, Monfieur de 
Choifeul molt obligingly waved all fuch exceptions with re- 
gard to me, and rnoft politely afFured me, in a letter ac- 
companying my paiTport, that thofe difficulties did not in 
any fliape regard me, but that 1 was perfectly at liberty to 
pafs through, or remain in France, with thofe that accom- 
panied me, without limiting their number, as Ihort or as 
long a time as mould be agreeable to me.. 

Cn my arrival' at Rome I received orders to proceed to 
Naples, there to await his Majefty's further commands. Sir 
Charles Saunders,. then with a fleet before Cadiz, had orders 



to vifit Malta before he returned to England. It was faid, 
that the grand-mailer of that Order had behaved fo im- 
properly to Mr Hervey (afterwards Lord Briftol) in the lie- 
ginning of the war, and fo partially and unjuftly between 
the two nations during the courfe of it, that an explanation 
on our part was become neceflary. The grand-mafter no 
fooner heard of my arrival at Naples, than gue fling the 
errand, he fent off Cavalier Mazzini to London, where he 
at once made his peace and his compliments to his Majefly 
upon his acceflion to the throne. 

Nothing remained now but to take pofTeffion of my con- 
fulfhip. I returned without lofs of time to Rome, and 
thence to Leghorn, where, having embarked on board the 
Montreal man of war, I proceeded to Algiers. 

While at Naples, I received from flaves, redeemed from 
the province of Conftantina, accounts of magnificent ruins 
they had feen while - traverfing that country in the camp 
with their mafter the Bey. I faw the abfolute neceflity there 
was for affiftance, without which it was impoflible for any 
one man, however diligent and qualified, to do any thing 
but bewilder himfelf. All my endeavours, however, had 
hitherto been unfuccefsful to permade any Italian to put 
himfelf wilfully into the hands of a people conflantly look- 
ed upon by them in no better light than pirates. 

While I was providing myfelf with instruments at Lon- 
don, I thought of one, which, though in a very fmall form 
and imperfect ftate, had been of great entertainment and 
ufe to me in former travels ; this is called a Camera Ob- 
fcura, the idea of which I had firfl taken from the Spectacle 

3 de 


de la Nature of the Abbe Vertot. But the prefent one was 
conflructed upon my own principles ; I intruded the execu- 
tion of the glafles to MefTrs Nairne and Blunt, Mathematical 
inftrument-makers oppofite to the Exchange, whom I had 
ufually employed upon fuch occaiions, and with whofe ca- 
pacity and fidelity I had, after frequent trials, the greatefc 
reafon to be fatisfied. 

This, when finifhed, became a large and expensive inflru- 
ment; butbeingfeparatedintotwopieces, the top and bottom, 
and folding compactly with hinges, was neither heavy, cum- 
berfome, nor inconvenient, and the charge incurred by the ad- 
ditions and alterations was confiderably more than compen- 
fated by the advantages which accrued from them. Its body 
was an hexagon of fix-feet diameter, with a conical top ; in 
this, as in a fummer-houfe, the draughtfman fat unfeen, and 
performed his drawing. There is now, I fee, one carried as 
a (how about the Itreets, of nearly the fame dimenfions, 
called a Delineator, made on the fame principles, and feems 
to be an exact imitation of mine. 

By means of this inrtrument, a perfon of but a moderate 
-fkill in drawing, but habituated to the effect of it, could do 
more work, and in a better tafte, whilft executing views of 
ruined architecture, in one hour, than the readiefc draughtf- 
man, fo unaflifled, could do in feven ; for, with proper care, 
patience, and attention, not only the elevation, and every 
part of it, is taken with the utmofl truth and jufleft propor- 
tion, but the light and fhade, the actual breaches as they 
Hand, vignettes, or little ornamental ffirubs, which generally 
hang from and adorn the projections and edges of the feveral 
members, are finely exprelled, and beautiful lcflbns given, 

Vol. I. u how 


how to tranfport them with effect to any part where they 
appear to be wanting. 

Another greater and ineftimable advantage is, that all land- 
fcapes, and views of the country, which conftitute the back- 
ground of the picture, are real, and in the reality fhew, very 
ftrikingly indeed, in fuch a country as Africa, abounding in 
picturefque fcenes, how much nature is fuperior to the crea- 
tion of the warmeft genius or imagination. Momentary 
maffes of clouds, efpecially the heavier ones, of ftormy fkies, 
will be fixed by two or three unftudied ftrokes of a pencil ; 
and figures and dreis, in the moft agreeable attitudes and 
folds, leave traces that a very ordinary hand might fpeedily 
make his own/or, what is ftill'better, enable him with thefe 
elements to ufe the affiftance of the belt artifl he can find in 
every line of painting, and, by the help of thefe, give to 
each the utmofl poffible perfection; a practice which I 
have conftantly preferred and followed with fuccefs. 

It is true, this inftrument has a fundamental defect in 
the laws of optics ; but this is obvious, and known una- 
voidably to exift ; and he muft be a very ordinary genius 
indeed, and very lame, both in theory and practice, that can- 
not apply the neceflary correction, with little trouble, and 
in a very fhort time. 

I was fo well pleafed with the firft trial of this inftrument 
at Julia Gsfarea, now Sherfhell, about 60 miles from Al- 
giers, that I commimoned a fmaller One from Italy, which,, 
though negligently and ignorantly made, did me this good 
fexvice, that it enabled me to- fave my larger and more 



perfect one, in my unfortunate mipwreck at Bengazi *, the 
ancient Berenice, on the fhore of Cyrenaicum ; and this was 
of infinite fervice to me in my journey to Palmyra. 

Thus far a great part of my wants were well fupplied, at 
leaitfuch as could be forefeen, but I ftill laboured under many. 
Befides that fingle province of ruined architecture, there 
remained feveral others of equal importance to the public. 
The natural hiftory of the country, the manners and lan- 
guages of the inhabitants, the hiftory of the heavens, by a 
conftant obfervation of, and attention to which, a ufeful 
and intelligible map of the country could be obtained, were 
objects of the utmoft canfequence. 

Packing and repacking, mounting and rectifying thefe 
-inflruments alone, befides the attention and time neceflary 
dn uling them, required what would have occupied one man, 
if they had been continual, which they luckily were not, 
and he fufficiently infracted. I therefore endeavoured to 
procure fuch a number of affirmants, that mould each bear 
his mare in thefe feveral departments ; not one only, but 
three or four if pcfiible. I was now engaged, and part of 
my pride was to fliew, how eafy a thing it was to difappoint 
the idle prophecies of the ignorant, that this expedition would 
be fpent in pleafure, without any profit to the public. I wrote 
to feveral correfpondents,MrLumifden,Mr Strange,Mr Byers, 
and others in different parts of Italy, acquainting them of my 
iituation, and begging their affiitance. Thefe gentlemen 
kindly ufed their ut moll endeavours, but in vain. 

b 2 It 

* This will be explained afterward?. 


It is true, Mr Chalgrin, a young French fludentin archf- 
tecture,accepted thepropofal, andfentaneat fpecimen of rec- 
tilineal architecture. Even this gentleman might have 
been of fome ufe, but his heart failed him ; he would have 
wiflied the credit of the undertaking, without the fatigues 
of the journey. At lafl Mr Lumifden, by accident, heard of a 
young man who was then ftudying architecture at Rome, a 
native of Bologna, whofe name was Luigi Balugani. I can 
appeal to Mr Lumifden, now in England, as to the extent of 
this perfon's practice and knowledge, and that he knew 
very little when firft fent to me. In the twenty months 
which he ftaid with me at Algiers, by affiduous application 
to proper fubjects under my inftruction, he became a very 
conliderable help to me, and was the only one that ever I 
made ufe of, or that attended me for a moment, or ever 
touched one representation of architecture in any part of my 
journey. He contracted an incurable diflemper in Palefline, 
and died after a long ficknefs, foon after I entered Ethiopia, 
after having fufFered conftant ill-health from the time he 
left Sidon. 

While travelling in Spain, it was a thought which fre- 
quently fuggefted itfelf to me, how little informed the 
world yet waj in the hiftory of that kingdom and mo- 
narchy. The Mooriih part in particular, when it was moil 
celebrated for riches and for fcience, was fcarcely known 
but from fome romances or novels. It feemed an under- 
taking worthy of a man of letters to refcue this period 
from the oblivion or neglect under which it laboured. 
Materials were not wanting for this, as a conliderable num- 
ber of books remained in a neglected and almolt unknown 
language, the Arabic. I endeavoured to find accefs to fome 



of thofe Arabian manufcripts, an immenfe collection of 
which were every day perifhing in the dud of the efcurial, 
and was indulged with feveral converfations of Mr Wall, 
then minifter, every one of which convinced me, that the 
objections to what I wiflied were founded fo flrongly 
in prejudice, that it was not even in his power to remove 

All my fuccefs in Europe terminated in the acquisition 
of thofe few printed Arabic books that I had found in Hol- 
land, and thefe were rather biographers than general hiflo- 
rians, and contained little in point of general information. 
The uudy of thefe, however, and of Maracci's Koran, had 
made me a very tolerable Arab ; a great field was opening 
before me in Africa to complete a collection of manufcripts, 
an opportunity which I did not neglect. 

After a year fpent at Algiers, conftant conversation with 
the natives whilft abroad, and with my manufcripts within 
doors, had qualified me to appear in any part of the conti- 
nent without the help of an interpreter. Ludolf* had af- 
fured his readers, that the knowledge of any oriental lan- 
guage would foon enable them to acquire the Ethiopic, and 
I needed only the fame number of books to have made my 
knowledge of that language go hand in hand with my at- 
tainments in the Arabic. My immediate profpect of fetting 
out on my journey to the inland parts of Africa, had made 
me double my diligence'; night and day there was no re- 
laxation from thefe ftudies, although the acquiring any 


* Ludolf, lib. i. cap. ij> 


{ingle language had never been with me either an object or - 
time or difficulty. 

At this infcant, inftead of obtaining the liberty I had fo- 
licited to depart, orders arrived from the king to expect his 
further commands at Algiers, and not to think of ftirring 
from thence, till a difpute about paffports was fettled, in 
which I certainly had no concern, further than as it regard- 
ed me as his Majefty's actual fervant, for it had originated 
-entirely from the neglect of the former conful's letters di- 
rected to the fecretary of ftate at home, before my coming to 

The ifland of Minorca had been taken by the French; and 
when the fort of St Philip furrendered by an article common 
to all capitulations, it was flipulated, that all papers found 
in the fort were to be delivered to the captors. It happened 
that among thefe was a number of blank Mediterranean, 
panes, which fell therefore into the hands of the .French, 
and the blanks were filled up by the French governor and 
fecretary, who very naturally wiilied to embroil us with the 
Barbary ftates, it being then the time of war with France. 
They were fold to Spaniards, Neapolitans, and other ene- 
mies of the Barbary regencies. The check* (the only proof 
that thefe pirates have of the veffels being a friend) agreed 
perfectly with the pafTport filled up by the French gover- 
nor, but the captor feeing that the crew of thefe veffels 
were dark-coloured, wore muflachoes, and fpoke no Englifh, 
.carried the veflel to Algiers, where the Britifh conful detect- 

This is a running "figure cut through the middle like the check of a bank note. 


ed the fraud, and was under the difagreeable neceffity of 
furrendering fo many Chriftians into ilavery in the hands 
of their enemies. 

One or two fuccefsful difcoveries of this kind made the 
hungry pirates believe that the paflport of every vefTel they 
met with, even thofe of Gibraltar, were falfe in themfelves, 
and iflued to protect their enemies. Violent commotions 
were excited amongft the foldiery, abetted under hand 
by feveral of the neutral confuls there. By every occa* 
jQon I had wrote home, but in vain, and the Dey could ne- 
ver be perfuaded of this, as no anfwer arrived. Govern- 
ment was occupied with winding up matters at the end 
of a war, and this neglect of my letters often brought me 
into great danger. At laft a temporary remedy was found, 
whether it originated from home, or whether it was in- 
vented by the governor of Mahon and Gibraltar, was ne- 
ver communicated to me, but a furer and more effectual 
way of having all the nation at Algiers maflacred could 
certainly not have been hit upon. 

Square pieces of common paper, about the fize of a 
quarter-meet, were fealed with the arms of the governor 
of Mahon, fometimes with red, fometimes with black wax, 
as the family circumftances of that officer required. Thefe: 
were figned by his fignature, counterfigned by that of his fe- 
cretary, and contained nothing*more than a bare and fimple 
declaration, that the vefiel, the bearer of it, wasBritifh proper- 
ty. Thefepapers were called Paffavants. Thecruifer, uninuruc- 
ted in this when he boarded a veffel, afked for his Mediter- 
ranean pafs. The matter anfwered, He had none, he had 
only a pauavant 3 and mewed the paper, which having no* 
4 cheeky 


check, die cruifer brought him and his vefTel as a good 
prize into Algiers. Upon my claiming them, as was my 
duty, 1 was immediately called before the Dey and divan, and 
had it not been from perfonal regard the Turks always 
fhewed me, I mould not have efcaped the infults of the 
foldiery in my way to the palace. The Dey allied me, up- 
on my word as a Chriftian and an Englishman, whether 
thefe written pafles were according to treaty, or whether 
the word paffavant was to be found in any of our treaties 
with the Moorifh regencies ? All equivocation was ufelefs. 
I anfwered, That thefe paffes were not according to treaty ; 
that the word pajfavant was not in any treaty I knew of 
with any of the Barbary flates ; that it was a meafure ne- 
ceflity had created, by Minorca's falling into the hands of 
the French, which had never before been the cafe, but that 
the remedy would be found as fo'on as the greater bufinefs of 
fettling the general peace gave the Britifh miniftry time to 
breathe. Upon this the Dey, holding feveral paffavants in his 
hand, anfwered, with great emotion, in thefe memorable 
terms, " The Britifh government know that we can neither 
read nor write, no not even our own language : we are igno- 
rant foldiers and failors, robbers if you will, though we do 
not wifli to rob you ; but war is our trade, and we live by that 
only. Tell me how my cruifers are to know that all thefe 
different writings and feals are Governor Moftyn's, or Go- 
vernor Johniton's, and not the Duke of Medina hidonia's, or 
Barcelot's, captain of the king of Spain's cruifers ?" It was 
impoflible to anfwer a queftion fo fimple and fo direct. I 
touched then the inftant of being cut to pieces by the fol- 
diery, or of having the whole Britifh Mediterranean trade 
carried into the Barbaryports. The candid and open man- 
ner in which I had fpoken, the regard and efteem the Dey 
I always 


always had fliewed me, and fome other common methods 
with the members of the regency, ilaved off the dangerous 
moment, and were the means of procuring time. Admi- 
ralty panes at laft came out, and the matter was happily ad- 
jufted ; but it was an affair the leaft pleafing and the leaft 
profitable, and one of the moil dangerous in which I was 
ever engaged. 

All this difagreeable interval I had given to iludy, and 
making myfelf familiar with every thing that could be ne- 
ceffary to me in my intended journey. The king's furgeon 
at Algiers, Mr Ball, a man of confiderable merit in his. pro- 
feflion, and who lived in my family, had obtained leave to 
return home. Before I was deprived of this affiflance, I 
had made a point of drawing from it all the advantages pof- 
fible for my future travels. Mr Ball did not grudge his 
time or pains in the inftru(5tion he gave me. I had made 
myfelf mailer of the art of bleeding, which I found confin- 
ed only in a little attention, and in overcoming that diffi- 
dence which the ignorance how the parts lie occafions. Mi- 
Ball had fhewn me the manner of applying feveral forts of 
bandages, and gave me an idea of drefling fome kinds of 
fores and wounds. Prcquentand very ufeful leffons, which 
I alfo received from my friend Doctor Ruffel at Aleppo, 
contributed greatly to improve me afterwards in the know- 
ledge of phyfic and furgery. I had afmall cheil of the moil 
efficacious medicines, a difpenfary to teach me to com- 
pound others that were needful, and fome ihort treatifes up- 
on the acute difeafes of feveral countries within the tro- 
pics. Thus inftructed, I flatter myfelf, no offence I hope, 
I did not occafion a greater mortality among the Maho- 
metans and Pagans abroad, than may be attributed to 

Vol. L c fome 


fome of my brother phyficians among their fellow-Chri^li- 
ans at home. 

The rev. Mr Tonyn, the king's chaplain at Algiers, was 
abfent upon leave before I arrived in that regency. The 
Proteftant fhipmailers who came into the port, and had 
need of fpiritual afliftance, found here a blank that was not 
eanly filled up ; I mould therefore have been obliged to- 
take upon myfelf the difagreeable office of burying the 
dead, and the more chearful, though more troublefome one, 
of marrying and baptizing the living; matters that were 
entirely out of my way, but to which the Roman Catholic 
clergy would contribute no ailiflance. . 

There was a Greek prieft, a native of Cyprus, a very ve- 
nerable man, pad feventy years of age, who had attached* 
himfelf to me from my firft arrival in Algiers. This man 
was of a very focial and chearful temper, and had, befides, 
a more than ordinary knowledge of his own language. I 1 
had taken him to my houfe as my chaplain, read Greek 
with him daily, and fpoke it at times whenT could receive 
his correction and inftruction. It was not that I, at this 
time of day, needed to learn Greek, I. had long un— 
derftood that language perfectly ; what I wanted was the 
pronunciation, and reading by accent, of which the gener- 
ality of Englifh fcholars are perfectly ignorant, and to which 
it is owing that they apprehend the Greek fpoken and 
written in the x^rchipelago is materially different from 
that language which we read in books, and which a few 
weeks converfation in the iflands will teach them it is not. 
I had in this, at that time, no other view than mere con- 
venience during my paflage through the Archipelago, . 



I N ST R O D U C T I ON. xix 

v/hich I intended to vint, without any defign of continuing 
' vor ftudying there : But the reader will afterwards fee of 
what very material fervice this acquaintance was to me, fo 
very effential, indeed, that it contributed more to the fuccefs 
of my views in Abyflinia than any other help that I obtain- 
ed throughout the whole of it. This man's name was Pa- 
dre Chriftophoro, or Father Chriftopher. At my leaving Al- 
giers, finding himfelf lefs conveniently fituated, he went to 
Egypt, to Cairo, where he was promoted to be fecond in 
Tank under Mark, patriarch of Alexandria, where I after- 
wards found him. 

Business of a private nature had at this time obliged me 
to prefent myfelf at Mahon, a gentleman having promifed 
to meet me there,; I therefore failed from Algiers, having 
taken leave of the Dey, who furnifhed me with every letter 
that I afked, with flrong and peremptory orders to all the 
officers of his own dominions, preinng recommendatory 
ones to the Bey of Tunis and Tripoli, ftates indepen- 
dent, indeed, of the Dey of Algiers, but over which the of the times had given him a coniiderable in- 

The violent difputes about the pafTports had rather raif- 
ed than lowered me in his efteem. The letters were given 
•with the belt grace poffible, and the orders contained in 
them were executed moft exacliy in all points during my 
whole nay in Barbary. Being difappointed in the meeting 
1 looked for at Mahon, 1 remained three days in Quarantine 
Ifland, though General Townfend, then deputy- governor, by 
every civility and attention in his power, ftrove to induce 

c 2 ane 



me to come on more, that he might have an opportunity of 
fhewing me ftill more attention and politenefs. 

My mind being now full of more agreeable ideas than 
what had for fome time paft occupied it, I failed in a fmall 
veffel from Port Mahon, and, having a fair wind, in a fhort 
time made the coaft of Africa, at a cape, or headland, called 
Ras el Hamra *, and landed at Bona, a confiderable town, the 
ancient Aphrodifium f, built from the ruins of Hippo Re- 
gius (, from which it is only two miles diftant. It {lands on 
a large plain, part of which feems to have been once over- 
flowed by the fea. Its trade confifts now in the exporta- 
tion of wheat, when, in plentiful years, that trade is per- 
mitted by the government of Algiers. I had a delightful 
voyage clofe down the coaft, and palled the fmall ifland 
Tabarca §, lately a fortification of the Genoefe, now in the 
hands of the regency of Tunis, who took it by furprife, and 
made all the inhabitants flaves. The ifland is famous for 
a coral fiiTiery, and along the coaft are immenfe forefts of 
large beautiful oaks, more than fuflicient to fupply the ne- 
ceflities of all the maritime powers in the Levant, if the qua- 
lity of the wood be but equal to the fize and beauty of the 

From Tabarca I failed and anchored at Biferta, the Hippo- 
zaritus || of antiquity, and thence went to pay a vifit to 
Utica, out of refpect to the memory of Cato, without having 
fanguine expectations of meeting any thing remarkable 


* Hippo. Reg. from Ptol. Geog. lib. iv. p. 109. -j- Hippo. Reg. id. ib. 

t Aphrodifium. id. ib. § Thabarca, id. ib. || Plin. Ep. xxxiii. 1, 9. 


there, and accordingly I found nothing memorable but the 
name. It may be faid nothing remains of Utica but a 
heap of rubbifh and of fmall ftones ; without the city 
the trenches and approaches of the ancient befiegers are 
ftill very perfect. 

After doubling Cape Carthage I anchored before the 
fortrefs of the Goletta, a place now of no ftrength, notwith- 
ftanding the figure it made at the time of the expedition of 
Charles V. Rowing along the bay, between the Cape and 
this anchorage, I faw feveral buildings and columns ftill 
Handing under water, by which it appeared that old Car- 
thage had owed part of its deftruction to the fea, and hence 
likewife may be inferred the abfurdity of any attempt to 
reprefent the fite of ancient Carthage upon paper. It has 
been, befides, at leaft ten times deftroyed, fo that the ftations, 
where its firfl citizens fell fighting for their liberty, are 
covered deep in rubbifh, far from being trodden upon by 
thofe unworthy ilaves who now are its mailers. 

Tunis * is twelve miles diftant from this : It is a large and 
flourifhing city. The people are more civilized than in 
Algiers, and the government milder, but the climate is very 
far from being fo good. Tunis is low, hot, and damp, and 
deftitute of good water, with which Algiers is fupplied from 
a thoufand fprings. 

I delivered my letters from the Bey, and obtained per- 
miflion to vifit the country in whatever direction I mould 


* Liv, Epit. xxx. I..9,. 


plcafe. I took with me a French renegado, of the name -of 
Ofman, recommended to me by Monfieur Bartheleny de 
Saizieux, conful of France to that {late; a gentleman 
iwhofe converfation and friend/hip furnifh me flill with 
fome of the mofl agreeable reflections that remit from 
my travels. With Ofman I took ten fpahi, or horfe- 
.jfoldiers, well armed with firelocks and piftols, excellent 
horfemen, and, as far as Icould everdifcern upon the few 
occafions that^prefented, as eminent for cowardice, at leaft, 
as they were for horfemanfhip. This was not the cafe 
with Ofman, who was very brave, but he needed a fharp 
look-out, that he did not often embroil us where there was 
#ccefs to women or to wine. 

"One of the mofl agreeable favours I received was from a 
lady of the Bey, who furnifhed me with a two-wheeled 
covered cart, exactly like thofe of the bakers in England. 
In this I fecured my quadrant and telefcope from the wea- 
ther, and at times put likewife fome of the feeblefl of my 
attendants. Befides thefe I had tenfervants, two of whom 
were Irifli, who having deferted from the Spanifh regi- 
ments in Oran, and being Britifh born, though flaves, as 
being Spanifh foldiers, were given to .me at parting by the 
Pey of Algiers, 

The coafl: along which I had failed was "part of Numidia 
and Africa Proper, and there I met with no ruins. I refol- 
ded now to diftribute my inland journey through the king- 
dom of Algiers and Tunis. In order to comprehend the 
whole, I firlt fet out along the river Majerda, through a 
country perfectly cultivated and inhabited by people under 
% the 


efie controul of government, this river was the ancient Bag* 

Apter pafllng a triumphal arch of bad taite at Bafil-bab f 
I came the next day to Thuggaf, perhaps more properly 
called Tucca, and- by the inhabitants Dugga. The reader hv 
this part mould have Doctor Shaw's Work before him, my 
map of the journey not being yet publiuied ; and, indeed, 
after Shaw's, it is fcarcely neceflary to thofe who need only 
an itinerary, as, befides his own observations, he had for ba~- 
lis thofe of Sanfon. 

I found at Dugga a large fcene of ruins, among which 
one building was eafily diftinguifhable. It was a large 
temple of the Corinthian order, all of Parian marble, the co- 
lumns fluted, the cornice highly ornamented in the very 
beft ftyle of fculprure. In the tympanum is an eagle flying 
to heaven, with a human figure upon his back, which, by 
the many infcriptions that are ilill remaining, feems to be 
intended for that of Trajan, and the apotheofis of that em- 
peror to be the fubject, the temple having been erected by 
Adrian to that prince, his benefactor and predeceflbr. I 
fpent fifteen days upon the architecture of this temple with* - 
out feeling the fmalleft difguft, or forming a wifh to finifh it; 
itis,withall its parts, flill unpublifhedin my collection. Thefe 
beautiful and magnificent remains of ancient tafte and 
greatnefs, fo eafily reached in perfect fafety, by a ride along 
the Bagrada, full as pleafant and-as fafe as along the Thames 


•Strabo lib xvii. p. 1189. It fignifies the river of Cows, or Kine. P. Mela lib. i. 
cap, 7. 3il. It. lib. vi. I. 140.' f Ptol. Geog, lib. iv, Proccp, lib, vi. earn 5. de M&L 


between London and Oxford, were at Tunis totally un- 
known. Doctor Shaw has given the lituation of the place, 
without faying one word about any thing curious it con- 

From Dugga I continued the upper road to KefF*, for- 
merly called Sicca Venerea, or Venerea ad Siccam, through 
the pleafant plains inhabited by the Welled Yagoube. I 
then proceeded to Hydra, the Thunodrunum f of the an- 
cients. This is a frontier place between the two kingdoms 
of Algiers and Tunis, as Keffis alfo. It is inhabited by a tribe 
of Arabs, whofe chief is a marabout, or faint ; they are 
called Welled Sidi Boogannim, the " fons of the father of 

These Arabs are immenfely rich, paying no tribute ei- 
ther to Tunis or Algiers. The pretence for this exemption 
is a very fingular one. By the inflitution of their founder, 
they are obliged to live upon lions nefh. for their daily 
food, as far as they can procure it ; with this they flrictly 
comply, and, in confideration of the utility of this their vow, 
they are not taxed, like the other Arabs, with payments to 
the Hate. The confequence of this life is, that they are ex- 
cellent and well-armed horfemen, exceedingly bold and 
undaunted hunters. It is generally imagined, indeed, that 
thefe confiderations, and that of their lituation on the fron- 
tier, have as much influence in procuring them exemption 
from taxes, as the utility of their vow. 

3 There 

* Val. Max. lib. ii. cap. 6. § 15. f Ptol. Geog. lib. W. 


There is at Thunodrunum a triumphal arch, which Dr 
Shaw thinks is more remarkable for its fize than for its 
tafte or execution ; but the fize is not extraordinary ; on the 
other hand, both tafte and execution are admirable. It is, 
with all its parts, in the King's collection, and, taking the 
whole together, is one of the moil beautiful landscapes in 
black and white now exifting. The diftance, as well as the 
fore- ground, are both from nature, and exceedingly well 
calculated for fuch reprefentation. 

Before Dr Shaw's travels firfl acquired the celebrity they 
have maintained ever fince, there was a circumilance that 
very nearly ruined their credit. He had ventured to fay in 
converfation, that thefe Welled Sidi Boogannim were eaters 
of lions, and this was confidered at Oxford, the univerfity 
where he had ftudied, as a traveller's licenfe on the part of 
the Doctor. They took it as a fubverfion of the natural or- 
der of things, that a man ihould eat a lion, when it had 
long paned as almofl the peculiar province of the lion to 
eat man. The Doctor flinched under the fagacity and fe- 
verity of this criticifm ; he could not deny that the Welled 
Sidi Boogannim did eat lions, as he had repeatedly faid ; 
but he had not yet publifhed his travels, and therefore left 
it out of his narrative, and only hinted at it after in his ap- 

With all fubmiffion to that learned univerfity, I will not 
difpute the lion's tide to eating men ; but, fince it is not 
founded upon patent, no confideration will make me ftifle 
the merit of Welled Sidi Boogannim, who-have turned the 
chace upon the enemy. It is an historical fact ; and I will 
not Suffer the public to be milled by a mifreprefentation 

Vol. I. d of 


of it ; on the contrary, I do aver, in the face of thefe fantas- 
tic prejudices, that I have ate the flefh of lions, that is, part 
of three lions, in the tents of Welled Sidi Boogannim. The 
firfl was a he-lion, lean, tough, fmelling violently of mufk, 
and had the tafte which, I imagine, old horfe-flefli would 
have. The fecond was a lionefs, which they faid had that 
year been barren. She had a , confiderable quantity of fat 
within her ; and, had it not been for the mufky fmell that 
the flefh had, though in a lefTer degree than the former, 
and for our foolifh prejudices againft it, the meat, when 
broiled, would not have been very bad. The third was a 
a lion's whelp, fix or feven months old ; it tailed, upon the 
whole, the worft of the three. I confefs I have no defire 
of being again ferved with fuch a morfel ; but the ArabSj 
a hrutifli and ignorant folk, will, I fear, notwithftanding 
the difbelief of the univeriity of Oxford, continue to eat lions 
as long as they exift. 

From Hydra I paiTed to the ancient Tipafa *, another 
Roman colony, going by the fame name to this day. Here 
is a mod extenfive fcene of ruins, There is a large tem- 
ple, and a four- faced triumphal arch of the Corinthian or- 
der, in the very bell tafte ; both of which are now in the 
collection of the King. 

I here crofled the river Myfkianah, which falls- into the 
Bagrada, and continuing through one of the moll beautiful 
and bell- cultivated countries in the world, I entered the 
eaftern province of Algiers, now called Conftantina, ancient- 


* Etol. Geog. lib. iv. p. 106, 


ly the Mauritania Csefarienfis, whofe capital, Conftantina, is 
the ancient metropolis of Syphax. It was called Cirta *, 
and, after Julius Csefar's conqueft, Cirta Sittianorum, from 
Caius Sittius who firft took it. It is fituated upon a high s 
gloomy, tremendous precipice. Part only of its aqueduct 
remains : the water, which once was carried into the town, 
now fpills itfelf from the top of the cliff into a chafm, or 
narrow valley, above four hundred feet below. The view 
of it is in the King's collection ; a band of robbers, the 
figures which adorn it, is a competition from imagination ; 
all the reft is perfectly real. 

The Bey was at this time in his camp, as he was making 
war with the Hanneifhah, the moft powerful tribe of Arabs 
in that province. After having refremed myfelf in the 
Bey's palace I fet out to Seteef^ the Sitifif of antiquity, the 
capital of Mauritania Sitifenfis, at fome diftance from which 
I joined the Bey's army, confirming of about 12,000 men, with 
four pieces of cannon. After Haying a few days with the 
Bey, and obtaining his letters of recommendation, I proceed- 
ed to Taggou-zainah, anciently Diana Veteranorum:):, as we 
learn by an infcription on a triumphal arch of the Corin- 
thian order which I found there. 

From Taggou-zainah I continued my journey nearly 
ftraight S. E. and arrived at Medrafhem, a fuperb pile of 
building, the fepulchre of Syphax, and the other kings of 
Numidia, and where, as the Arabs believe, were alfo depo- 

d 2 fited 

* Pcol. Geog. lib, iv. p. i n. f Ptol. Geog. lib. iv. p. 108- 

X Vide Itia. Anton." 


fited the treafures of thofe kings. A drawing of this monu- 
ment is flill unpublifhed in my collection. Advancing ftill 
to the S. E. through broken ground and fome very barren 
valleys, which produced nothing but game, I came to Jib- 
bel Aurez, the Aurafius Mons of the middle age. This is 
not one mountain, but an affemblage of many of the moft 
craggy fteeps in Africa. 

Here I met, to my great aftonifhment, a tribe, who, if I 
cannot fay they were fair like Englifh, were of a made 
lighter than that of the inhabitants of any country to the 
fouthward of Britain. Their hair alfo was red, and their 
eyes blue. They are a favage and independent people ; it 
required addrefs to approach them with fafety, which, how- 
ever, I accomplifhed,, (the particulars would take too much 
room for this place), was well received, and at perfect li- 
berty to do whatever I pleafed. This tribe is called Neardie- 
Each of the tribe, in the middle between their eyes, has a; 
Greek crofs marked with antimony. They are Kabyles. 
Though living in tribes, they have among the mountains 
huts, built with mud and ftraw, which they call Dafhkras, 
whereas the Arabs live in tents on the plains. I imagine 
thefe to be a remnant of Vandals, Procopius* mentions a. 
defeat of an army of this nation here, after a defperate re- 
finance, a remnant of which may be fuppofed to have main- 
tained themfelves in thefe mountains. They with greats 
pleafure confeffed their anceflors had been Chriftians, and; 
feemed to rejoice much more in that relation than in any 
connection with the Moors, with whom -they live in perpe- 

* Proccp. Bell. Varid. lib. il. cap. 13, 


tual war *. they pay no taxes to the Bey, but live in conftant 
defiance of him. 

As this is the Mons Audus Of Ptolemy, here too mull be 
fixed his Lambefa*, or Lambefentium Colonia, which, by a 
hundred Latin inscriptions remaining on the fpot, it is attefl- 
ed to have been. It is now called Tezzoute : the ruins of 
the city are very extenfive. There are feven of the gates 
ftill {landing, and great pieces of the walls folidly built 
with fquare mafonry without lime. The buildings remain- 
ing are of very different ages, from Adrian to Aurelian, nay 
even to Maximin. One building only, fupported by columns 
of the Corinthian order, was in good tafle; what its ufe was 
I know not. The drawing of this is in the King's collec- 
tion. It was certainly defigned for fome military purpofe, 
by the fize of the gates ; I fhould fufpect a flable for ele- 
phants, or a repoiitory for catapulta, or other large military 
machines, though there are no traces left upon the walls in- 
dicating either. Upon the key-ftone of the arch of the 
principal gate there is a baffo-relievo of the flandard of a 
legion, and upon it an infeription, Legio tenia Augufla, 
which legion, we know from hiftory, was quartered here. 
Dr Shawf fays, that there is here a neat, round, Corinthian 
temple, called Cubb el Arroufah, the Cupola or Dome of the 
Bride or Spoufe. Such a building does exift, but it is by no 
means of a good tafle, nor of the Corinthian order ; but of 
a long difproportioned Doric, of the time of Aurelian, and 
does not merit the attention of any architect. Dr Shaw 


'ftol, Geog. lib. iv. p. Ifl. f Shaw's Travels, chap. viii,. P-57- 


never was fo far fouth as Jibbel Aurez, fo could only fay 
this from report. 

From Jibbel Aurez nothing occurred in the ftyle of ar- 
chitecture that was material. Hydra remained on the left 
hand. I came to CafTareen, the ancient Colonia Scillitana^, 
where I fuffered Something both from hunger and from fear. 
The country was more rugged and broken than any we, 
had yet feen, and withal lefs fruitful and inhabited. The 
Moors of thefe parts are a rebellious tribe, called Nemem- 
fhah, who had fled from their ordinary obligation of attend- 
ing the Bey, and had declared themfelves on the part of 
the rebel-moors, the Henneifhah. 

My intentions now were to reach Feriana, the Thala f 
of the ancients, where I expected confiderable fubjeCrs for 
ftudy ; but in this I was disappointed, and being on the 
frontier, and in dangerous times, when feveral armies were 
in the field, I thought it better to fleer my courfe eaft- 
ward, and avoid the theatre of war. 

Journeying eaft, I came to Spaitla J, and again got into 
the kingdom of Tunis. Spaitla is a corruption of SufTetula ||, 
which was probably its ancient name before it became a 
Roman colony ; fo called from Suffetes, a magiftrature in 
all the countries dependent upon Qarthage. Spaitla has ma- 
ny infcriptions, and very extenfive and elegant remains. 
There are three temples, two of them Corinthian, and one of 


* Shaw's Travels, cap. v. p. 1 19. 
•f Sal. Bel. Jug. § 94. L. Flor. lib. Hi. cap. 1. % Shaw's Travels, chap. v. p. 118. 

|| Itin. Acton, p; 3. 


die Compofite order; a great part of them is entire. Abeautiful 
and perfect capital of the Compofite order, the only perfect 
one that now exifts, is defigned, in all its parts, in a very~ 
large fize ; ancf, with the detail of the reft of the ruin, is a 
precious monument of what that order was, now in the col- 
lection of the King. 

Doctor Shaw, ftruck with the magnificence of Spaitla, 
has attempted fomething like the three temples, in a ftile 
much like whatone would expect from an ordinary carpen- 
ter, or mafon. I hope I have done them more juftice, and 
I recommend the fludy of the Compofite capital, as of the 
Corinthian capital at Dugga, to thofe who really wifh to 
know the tafte with which thefe two orders were executed 
in the time of the Antonines. 

The Welled Omran, a lawlefs, plundering tribe, inquieted 
me much in the eight days I flaid at Spaitla. It was a fair 
match between coward and coward. With my company, I 
was inclofed in a fquare in which the three temples flood,, 
where there. yet remained a precinct of high walls. Thefe 
plunderers would have come in to me , but were afraid of* 
my fire-arms ; and I would have run away from them, had 
I not been afraid of meeting their horfe in the plain. I was 
almoft flarved to death, when I was relieved by the arrival 
of Welled HafTan, and a friendly tribe of Dreeda, that came 
to my afliflance, and brought me, at once, both fafety and 
provifion. .. 

From Spaitla I went to Gilma, or Oppidum Ghilma- 
nenfe. There is here a large extent of rubbifh and ftones,. 
but no diflinct trace of any building whatever. 

4 EROM: 


From Gilma I pafled to Muchtar, corruptly now fo call- 
ed. Its ancient name is Tucca Terebinthina *. Dr Shawf 
fays its modern name is Sbeeba, but no fuch name is known 
here. I might have pafTed more directly from Spaitla fouth- 
ward, but a large chain of mountains, to whofe inhabitants 
I had no recommendation, made me prefer the fafer and 
plainer road by Gilma. At Tucca Terebinthina are two tri- 
umphal arches, the largeft of which I fuppofe equal in tafte, 
execution, and mafs, to anything now exifling in the world. 
The lefTer is more fimple, but very elegant. They are both, 
with all the particulars of their parts, not yet engraved, but 
Hill in my collection. 

From Muchtar, or Tucca Terebinthina, we came to KifTer:}:, 
which Dr Shaw conjectures to have been the Colonia AfTuras 
of the ancients, by this it mould feem he had not been 
there ; for there is an infcription upon a triumphal arch 
of very good tafte, now Handing, and many others to be 
met with up and down, which confirms beyond doubt his 
conjecture to be a jufl one. There is, befides this, a fmall 
fquare temple, upon which are carved feveral inftruments 
of facrifice, which are very curious, but the execution of 
thefe is much inferior to the defign. It ftands on the de- 
clivity of a hill, above a large fertile plain, dill called the 
Plain of burfe, which is probably a corruption of its ancient 

From Killer I came to Mufti, where there is a trium- 
phal arch of very good tafte, but perfectly in ruins ; the 
i » merit 

* Itin. Anton, p. 3. f Shaw's Travels, cap. v. p. 115. 

$ Cd. Geog. Antique, Kb. iy. cap. 4. and cap. 5. p. 118. 


merit of its feveral parts only could be collected from the 
fragments which lie ftrewed upon die ground. 

From Mufti*- I proceeded north- eaftward to Tuberfoke, 
thence again to Dugga, and down the Bagrada to Tu- 

My third, or, which may be called my middle journey 
through Tunis, was by Zowan, a high mountain, where is 
a large aqueduct which formerly carried .its water to Car- 
thage. Thence I came to Jelloula, a village lying below 
high mountains on the weft ; thefe are the Montes VafTaleti 
of Ptolemy J, as the town itfelf is the Oppidum Ufalitanum 
of Pliny. I fell here again into the ancient road at Gilma ; 
and, not fatisfied with what I had feen of the beauties of 
Spaitla, I palled there five days more, correcting and revi- 
fing what I had already committed to paper. Independent 
of the treafure I found in the elegance of its buildings, the 
town itfelf is fituated in the molt beautiful fpot in Barbary, 
furrounded thick with juniper-trees, and watered by a plea- 
fan t liream that finks there under the earth, and appears 
no more. 

Here I left my former road at CafTareen, and proceeding 
directly S. E. came to leriana, the road that I had abandon- 
ed before from prudential motives. Feriana, as has been 
before obferved, is the ancient Thalia, taken and deftroyed 
by Metellus in his purfuit of Jugurtha. I had formed, I 
know not from what reafon, fanguine expectations of ele- 

Vol. I. e gant 

* Itin. Anton, p. 2. ± Ptol. Geog. lib. iv- p. no, 


gant remains here, but in this I was difappointed ; I found 
nothing remarkable but the baths of very warm water* 
without the town ; in thefe there was a number of fifh, 
above four inches in length, not unlike gudgeons. Upon 
trying the heat by the thermometer, I remember to have 
been much furprifed that they could have exifled, or even not 
been boiled, by continuing long in the heat of this medium. 
As I marked the degrees with a pencil while I was myfelf 
naked in the water, the leaf was wetted accidentally, fo that I 
miffed the precife degree I meant to have recorded, and do 
not pretend to fupply it from memory. The bath is at the 
head of the fountain, and the ftream runs off to a confider- 
able diflance. I think there were about five or fix dozen of 
thefe filh in the pool. I was told iikewife, that they went 
down into the ftream to a certain diftance in the day, and 
returned to the pool, or warmefl and deepen: water, at 

From Feriana I proceeded S. E. to Gafsa, the ancient Capfaf, 
and thence to Tozer, formerly Tifurus |J. I then turned 
nearly N. E. and entered a large lake of water called the 
Lake of Marks, becaufe in the paffage of it there is a row 
of large trunks of palm trees let up to guide travellers in 
the road which croffes it. Doctor Shaw has fettled very 
diftmctly the geography of this place, and thofe about 
it. It is the Palus Tritonidis ^', as he juftly obferves ; this, 
was the mod barren and unpleafant part of my journey 


* This fountain is called El Tarmid. Nub. Geog. p. 86. 
f Sal. Bell; § 94. || Itin. Anton, p. 4. J Shaw's Travels, cap. v. p. 12&1. 


In Africa ; barren not only from the nature of its foil, but 
by its having no remains of antiquity in the whole courfe 
of it. , 

From this I came to Gabs, or Tacape * after paffing EI 
Hammah, the baths which were the Aquas Tacapitanas of 
antiquity, where the fmall river Triton, by the moifture 
which it furnifhes, moil agreeably and fuddenly changes 
the defert fcene, and covers the adjacent fields with all 
kinds of flowers and verdure. 

I was now arrived upon the lefTer Syrtis, and continued 
along the fea-coaft northward to Infhilla, without having 
made any addition to my obfervations. I turned again to 
the N. W. and came to El Gemme J, where there is a very 
large and fpacious amphitheatre, perfect as to the^defola- 
tion of time, had not Mahomet Bey blown up four arches 
of it from the foundation, that it might not ferve as a for- 
trefs to the rebel Arabs. The fections, elevations, and plans, 
with the whole detail of its parts, are in the King's collec- 

I have ftill remaining, but not nnifhed, the lower or fub- 
terraneous plan of the building, an entrance to which I 
forced open in my journey along the coaft to Tripoli. This 
was made fo as to be filled with water by means of a fluice 
and aqueduct, which are flill entire. The water rofe up in 
the arena, through a large fquare-hole faced with hewn- 
flone in the middle, when there was occafion for water- 
games or naumachia. Doctor Shaw f imagines this was 

e z intended 

* Itin. Anton, p. 4. % Id. Ibid. f Shaw's Travels, p. 117. cap. 5, 


intended to contain the pillar that fupported the velum, 
which covered the Spectators from the influence of the fun. 
It might have ferved for both purpofes, but it feems to be 
too large for the latter, though I confefs the more I have 
confidered the fize and conitruction of thefe amphitheatres, 
the lefs I have been able to form an idea concerning this 
velum, or the manner in which it ferved the people, how it 
was fecured, and how it was removed. This was the laft 
ancient building I vifited in the kingdom of Tunis, and I 
believe I may confidently fay, there is not, either in the ter- 
ritories of Algiers or Tunis, a fragment of good tafle of 
which I have not brought a drawing to Britain. 

I continued along the coaft to Sufa, through a fine coun- 
try planted with olive-trees, and came again to Tunis, not 
only without difagreeable accident, but without any inter- 
ruption from ficknefs or other caufe. I then took leave of 
the Bey, and, with the acknowledgments ufual on fuch 
occafions, again fet out from Tunis, on a very ferious 
journey indeed, over the defert to Tripoli, the firft part of 
which to Gabs was the fame road by which I had fo 
lately returned. From Gabs i proceeded to the ifland of- 
Gerba, the Meninx * Infula, or illand of the Lotophagi. 

Doctor Shaw fays, the fruit he calls the Lotus is very 
frequent all over that coaft. I wifh he had faid wha't was 
this Lotus. To fay it is the fruit the molt common on that 
coaft is no description, for there is there no fort of fruit 

whatever ; 

Boch. Chan. lib. i. cap. z$- Shaw's Travels, cap. iv. p. 115.. 


whatever ; no bufh, no tree, nor verdure of any kind, ex- 
- cepting the fhort grafs that borders thefe countries before 
you enter the moving fands of the defert. Doctor Shaw 
never was at Gerba, and has taken this particular from 
fome unfaithful ftory-teller. The Wargumma and Noile, 
two great tribes of Arabs, are mailers of thefe deferts. Sidi 
Ifmain, whofe grandfather, the Bey of Tunis, had been de- 
throned and ftrangled by the Algerines, and who was him- 
felf then prifoner at Algiers, in great repute for valour, and 
in great intimacy with me, did often ufe to fay, that he ac- 
counted his having paiTed that defert on horfeback as the 
hardieft of all his undertakings. 

About four days journey from Tripoli I met the Emir 
Hadje conducting the caravan of pilgrims from Fez and 
Sus in Morocco, all acrofs Africa to Mecca, that is, from the 
Weftern Ocean, to the weftern banks of the Red Sea in the 
kingdom of Sennaar. He was a middle-aged man, uncle 
to the prefent emperor, of a very uncomely, ft-upid kind of 
countenance. His caravan confided of about 3000 men, 
and, as his people faid, from 12,000 to 14,000 camels, part 
loaded with merchandife, part with fkins of water, flour r 
and other kinds of food, for the maintenance of the hadjees;, 
they were a fcurvy, diforderly, unarmed pack, and when my 
horfemen, tho' but fifteen in number, came up with them 
in the grey of the morning, they fhewed great figns of tre- 
pidation, and were already flying in confufion. When 
informed who they were, their fears ceafed, and, after 
the ufual manner of cowards, they became extremely info- 

3 Ax 


. At Tripoli I met the Hon. Mr Frazer of Lovat, his Majefty** 
conful in that flation, from whom I received every fort of 
kindnefs, comfort, arid affiftance, which I very much need- 
ed after fo rude a journey, made with fuch. diligence that 
two of my horfes died fome days after. 

I had hopes of finding fomething at Lebeda, formerly 
Leptis Magna *, three days journey from Tripoli, where are 
indeed a great number of buildings, many of which are 
covered by the fands; but they are of a bad tafte, moftly 
ill-proportioned Dorics of the time of Aurelian. Seven 
large columns of granite were {hipped from this for France, 
in the reign of Louis XIV. deflined for one of the palaces 
he was. then building. The eighth was broken on the way, 
and lies now upon the more. Though I was difappointed 
at Lebeda, ample amends were made me at Tripoli on my 

From Tripoli Ifent an Fnglim fervant to Smyrna with 
my books, drawings, and fupernumerary inflruments, re- 
taining only extracts from fuch authors as might be necef- 
fary for me in the Pentapolis, or other parts of the Cyrenai- 
cum. I then croffed the Gulf of Sidra, formerly known 
by the name of theSyrtis Major, and arrived atBergazi, the 
ancient Berenice §> built by Ptolemy Philadelphus. 

The brother of the Bey of Tripoli commanded here, a 

young man, as weak in underflanding as he was in health. 

a All 

■* Itin. Anton, p. 104. § JPtol. Gcog. p. 4. 

introduction; Xxxis 

All the province was in extreme confufion. Two tribes o£ 
Arabs, occupying the territory to the well of the town, who* 
in ordinary years, and in time of peace, were the fources of 
its wealth and plenty, had, by the mifmanagement of the 
Bey, entered into deadly quarrel. The tribe that lived mod 
to the weftward; and which was reputed the weakefl, had 
beat the moil numerous that was nearell the town, called 
Welled Abid, and driven them within its walls. The in- 
habitants of Bengazi had for a year before been la- 
bouring under a fevere famine, and by this accident a- 
bout four thoufand perfons, of all ages and fexes, were 
forced in upon them, when perfectly deflitute of eve- 
ry neceflary. Ten or twelve people were found dead 
every night in the llreets* aud life was faid in many to be 
fupported by food that human nature fhudders at the 
thoughts of. Impatient to fly from thefe Thyeflean fealls,, 
I prevailed upon the Bey to fend me out fome diflance to 
the fouthward, among the Arabs where famine, had been,- 
lefs felt. 

I. encompassed a ; great part of the Pentapolis, viiited the- 
ruins of Ariinoe, and, though I was much more feebly recom- 
mended than ufual, I happily received neither infult nor in- 
jury. Finding nothing at Ariinoe nor Barca, I continued, 
my journey to Ras Sem; the petrified city, concerning, 
which fo many monilrous lies- were told by the Tripoline 
ambaflador, Caifem Aga, at the beginning of this century, 
and all believed in England, though they carried falfehood 
upon the very face of them *. It was not then the age o£ 


* Shaw's Travels, fe&. ?i, p. 156. 


incredulity, we were faft advancing to the celebrated epoch 
of the man in the pint-bottle, and from that time to be as 
abfurdly incredulous as we were then the reverfe, and with 
the fame degree of reafon. 

Ras Sem is five long days journey fouth from Bengazi; it 
has no water, except a fpring very difagreeable to the tafte, 
that appears to be impregnated with alum, and this has 
given it the name it bears of Ras Sem, or the Fountain of 
Poifon, from its bitternefs. The whole remains here con- 
fifl in the ruins of a tower or fortification, that feems to be 
a work full as late as the time of the Vandals. How or 
what ufe they made of this water I cannot poflibly guefs ; 
they had no other at the diftance of two days journey. I 
was not fortunate enough to difcover the petrified men and 
horfes, the women at the churn, the little children, the cats, 
the dogs, and the mice, which his Barbarian excellency af- 
fured Sir Hans Sloane exifled there : Yet, in vindication of 
his Excellency, I muft fay, that though he propagated, yet he 
did not invent this falfehood ; the Arabs who conducted me 
maintained the fame ilories to be true, till I was within two 
hours of the place, where I found them to be falfe. I 
faw indeed mice *, as they are called, of a very extraordi- 
nary kind, having nothing of petrifaction about them, 
but agile and active, fo to partake as much of the bird as 
the beaft. 

Approaching now the fea-coaft I came to Ptolometa, the 
ancient Ptolemais J, the work of Ptolemy Philadelphia, the 


* Jerboa, fee a figure of it in the Appendix. J Itin. Anton, p. 4. 


walls and gates of which city are flill entire. There is a 
prodigious number of Greek infcriptions, but there remain 
only a few columns of the portico, and an Ionic temple, in 
the firft manner of executing that order ; and therefore* 
flight as the remains are, they are treafures in the hiftory 
of architecture which are worthy to be preferveei. Thefe 
are in the King's collection, with all the parts that could be 

Here I met a fmall Greek junk belonging to Lampedo- 
fa, a little rfland near Crete, which had been Unloading 
corn, and was now ready to fail. At the fame time the 
Arabs of Ptolometa told me, that the Welled Ali, a powerful 
tribe that occupy the whole country between that place 
and Alexandria, were at war among themfelves, and had 
plundered the caravan of Morocco, of which I have already 
fpoken, and that the pilgrims compofing it had moflly pe* 
rifhed, having been fcattered in the defert without water ; 
that a great famine had been at Derna, the neighbouring 
town, to which I intended to go ; that a plague had follow* 
ed, and the |town, which is divided into upper and lower, 
was engaged in a civil war. This torrent of ill news was 
irrefiftible, and was of a kind I did not propofe to wreille 
with ; befides, there was nothing, as far as I knew, that me- 
rited the rifk. I refolved, therefore, to fly from this inhos- 
pitable coaft, and fave to the public, at leaft, that knowledge 
and entertainment I had acquired for them. 

I embarked on board the Greek vefTel, very ill accoutred, 
as we afterwards found, and, though it had plenty of fail, 
it had not an ounce of ballaft. A number of people, men, 
women, and children, flying from the calamities which at- 

Vol. I. f tend 


tend famine, crowded in unknown to me ; but the parTage 
was fliort, the veffel light, and the mafter, as we fuppofed, 
well accuflomed to thefe feas. The contrary of this, how- 
ever, was the truth, as we learned afterwards, when too 
late, for he was an abfolute landfman ; proprietor indeed 
of the veffel, but this had been his firfl voyage. We failed at 
dawn of day in as favourable and pleafant weather as ever 
I faw at fea. It was the beginning of September, and a 
light and Heady breeze, though not properly fair, promifed 
a fhort and agreeable voyage ; but it was not long before 
it turned frefh and cold ; we then had a violent fhower of 
hail, and the clouds were gathering as if for thunder. I 
obfcrved that we gained no offing, and hoped, if the wea- 
ther turned bad, to perfuade the Captain to put into Benga- 
zi, for one inconvenience he prefently difcovered, that they 
had not provifion on board for one day. 

However, the wind became contrary, and blew a violent 
ftorm, feeming to menace both thunder and rain. The vef- 
fel being in her trim with large latine fails, fell violently to 
leeward, and they fcarce would have weathered the Cape 
that makes the entrance into the harbour of Bengazi, which 
is a very bad one, when all at once it (truck upon a funken 
rock, and feemed to be fet down upon it. The wind at that 
inftant feemed providentially to calm ; but I no fooner ob- 
served thefhip had ftruck than I began to think of my own 
fituation. We were not far from more, but there was an 
exceeding great fvvell at fea. Tv/o boats were Hill towed 
after n of them, and had not been hoifted in. Roger M'Cor- 
mack, my Irifh fervant, had been a failor on board the Mo- 
narch before he deferted to the Spaniili fervice. He and 
the other, who had likewife been a failor, prefently unlalh- 


ed the largeft boat, and all three got down into her, follow- 
ed by a multitude of people whom we could not hinder, 
and there was, indeed, fomething that bordered on cruelty, 
in preventing poor people from uling the fame means that 
we had done for preferving their lives ; yet, unlefs we had 
killed them, the prevention was impoffible, and, had we 
been inclined to that meafure, we dared not, as we were 
upon a Moorifh coaft. The moft that could be done was, 
to get loofe from the fhip as foon as poffible, and two oars 
were prepared to row the boat afhore. I had ilript myfelf 
to a fhort under-wailtcoat and linen drawers ; a filk fafh, 
or girdle, was wrapt round me ; a pencil, fmall pocket-book, 
and watch, were in the bread-pocket of my waiftcoat; two 
Moorifli and two Englifh fervants followed me ; the reft, 
more wife, remained on board. 

We were not twice the length of the boat from the vef- 
fel before a wave very nearly filled the boat. A howl of 
defpair from thofe that were in her mewed their helplefs 
ftate, and that they were confcious of a danger they could 
not lliun. I faw the fate of all was to be decided by the 
very next wave that was rolling in ; and apprehenfive that 
fome woman, child, or helplefs man would lay hold of me, 
and entangle my arms or legs and weigh me down, I cried 
to my fervants, both in Arabic and Englifh, We are all loft; 
if you can fwim, follow me ; I then let myfelf down in 
the face of the wave. Whether that, or the next, filled the 
boat, I know not, as I went to leeward to make my diftance 
as great as pofiible, I was a good, ftrong, and practifed fwim- 
mer, in the flower 'of life, full of health, trained to :^ercife 
and fatigue of every kind. All this, however, which might 

f 2 have 


have availed much in deep water, was not fufficient when 
I came to the furf. I received a violent blow upon my 
breaft from the eddy wave and reflux, which feemed as 
given me by a large branch of a tree, thick cord, or fome 
elaftic weapon. It threw me upon my back, made me fwal- 
low a conliderable quantity of water, and had then almoft 
fuffocated me. 

I avoided the next wave, by dipping my head and letting 
it pafs over, but found myfelf breathlefs, exceedingly 
weary and exhaufted. The land, however, was before me,, 
and clofe at hand. A large wave floated me up. I had the 
profpect of efcape (till nearer, and endeavoured to prevent 
myfelf from going back into the furf. My heart was ftrong, 
but ftrength was apparently failing, by being involuntarily 
twirled about, and ftruck on the face and breaft by the vio- 
lence of the ebbing wave ; it now feemed as if nothing re* 
mained but to give up the druggie, and refign to my def- 
tiny. Before I did this I funk to found if I could touch the 
ground, and found that I reached the fand with my feet> 
though the water was flill rather deeper than my mouth. 
The fucccfs of this experiment infufedinto me the ftrength 
of ten men, and I ftrove manfully, taking advantage of 
floating only with the influx of the wave, and preferving my 
ftrength for the ftruggle againft the ebb, which, by finking 
and touching the ground, I now made more eafy. At laft, 
finding my hands and knees upon the fands, I fixed my 
nails into it, and obftinately refilled being carried back at 
all, crawling a few feet when the fea had retired. I had 
perfectly loft my recollection and underftanding, and after 
creeping fo far as to be out of the reach of the fea, I fup-*. 



pofe I fainted, for from that time I was totally infenfible of 
any thing that pailed around me. 

In the mean time the Arabs, who live two fhort miles 
from the lhore, came down in crowds to plunder the veiTel. 
One of the boats was thrown afhore, and they had belonging, 
to them fome others ; there was one yet with the wreck, 
which fcarcely appeared with its gunnel above water. All 
the people were now taken on more, and thofe only loft 
who perifhfd in the boat. What nrlt wakened me from 
this femblance of death was a blow with the butt-end of a 
lance, fhod with, iron, upon the juncture of the neck with 
the back-bone. This produced a violent fenfation of pain ;■.. 
but it was a mere accident the blow was not with the point, 
for the fmali, thort waiftcoat, which had been made at Al- 
giers, the fafh and drawers, all in the Turkiih fafhion, made 
the Arabs believe that I was a Turk ; and after many blows rs 
kicks, and curfes, they ftript me of the little cloathing I had, 
and left me naked. They ufed the reft in the fame manner 3 
then went to their boats tolook for the bodies of thofe that 
were drowned. . 

After the difcipline I' had received; I had- walked, or 
crawled up among fome white, fandy hillocks, where I fat 
down and concealed myfelf as much as poflible. The wea* 
ther was then warm, but the evening promifed to be cooler, 
and it was fail drawing on; there was great danger to be ap- 
prehended if I approached the tents where the women were 
while I was naked, for in this cafe it was very probable I, 
would receive another baflinado fomething worfe than the 
firft. Still I was fo confufed that I had not recollected I 
could fpeak to them in their own language, and it now on— 


ly came into my mind, that by the gibberifh, in imi* 
tation of Turkifli, which the Arab had uttered to mc 
while he was beating and ftripping me, he took me for 
a Turk, and to this in all probability the ill-ufage was 


An old man and a number of young Arabs came up to 
me where I was fitting. I gave them the falute Salam All- 
cum ! which was only returned by one young man, in a 
tone as if he wondered at my impudence. The old man 
then afked me, Whether I was a Turk, and what I had to 
do there? I replied, I was no Turk, but a poor Chriftian phy- 
fician, a Dervifh that went about the world feeking to do 
good for God's fake, was then flying from famine, and going 
to Greece to get bread. He then afked me if I was a Cre- 
tan ? I faid, I had never been in Crete, but came from Tu- 
nis, and was returning to that town, having loft every thing 
I had in the fliip wreck of that veflel. I faid this in fo des- 
pairing a tone, that there was no doubt left with the Arab 
that the fact was true. A ragged, dirty baracan was imme- 
diately thrown over me, and I was ordered up to a tent, in 
the end of which flood a long fpear thrufl through it, a 
mark of Sovereignty. 

I there faw the Shekh of the tribe, who being in peace 
with the Bey of Bengazi, and alfo with the bhekh or Ptolo- 
meta, after many queftions ordered me a plentiful fupper, 
of which all my fervants partook, none of them having pe- 
rifhed. A multitude of confultations followed on their com- 
plaints, of which I freed myfelf in the beft manner I could, 
aliedging the lofs of all my medicines, in order to induce 
fome of them to feek for the fextant at leafl, but all to no 
i purpofe, 


purpofe, fo that, after flaying two days among them, the 
Shekh reflored to us all that had been taken from us, and 
mounting us upon camels,, and giving us a conductor, he 
forwarded us to Bengazi, where we arrived the fecond day 
in the evening. Thence I fent a compliment to the bhekh, 
and with it a man from the Bey, intreating that he would 
ufe all poffible means to fifh up fome of my cafes, for 
which I allured him he ihould not mifs a handfome re- 
ward. Promifes and thanks were returned, but I never 
heard further of my initruments ; all I recovered was a 
filver watch of Ellicot, the work of which had been taken 
out and broken,fome pencils, and a fmall port-folio, in which 
were fketches of Ptolemeta; my pocket-book too was found, 
but my pencil was loft, being in a common filver cafe, and 
with them all the agronomical obfervations which I had 
made in Barbary. I there loll a fextant, a parallactic in- 
flrumenr, a time-piece, a reflecting telefcope, an achromatic 
one, with many drawings, a copy of M. de la Caille's ephe- 
merides down to the year 1775, much to be regretted, as be- 
ing full of manufcript marginal notes ; a fmall camera ob- 
fcura, fome guns, piflols, a blunderbufs, and feveral other 

I found at Bengazi a fmall French iloop, the mailer of 
which had been often at Algiers when I was conful there. 
I had even, as the mailer remembered, done him fome lit- 
tle iervice, for which, contrary to the cuflom of that fort of 
people, he was very grateful. He had come there laden 
with corn, and was going up the Archipelago, or towards 
the Morea, for more. The cargo he had brought was but a 
mite compared to the necemties of the place ; it only re- 


lieved the foldiers for a time, and many people of all ages 
and fexes were Hill dying every day. 

The harbour of Bengazi is full of fifh, and my company 
caught a great quantity with a fmall net ; we likewife pro- 
cured a multitude with the line, enough to have maintain- 
ed a larger number of perfons than the family confided of ; 
we got vinegar, pepper, and fome ftore of onions ; we had 
little bread it is true, but Hill our induftry kept us very far 
from ftarving. We endeavoured to inftruct thefe wretches, 
gave them pack-thread, and fome coarfe hooks, by which 
they might have fubfifted with the fmalleft attention and 
trouble ; but they would rather flarve in multitudes, flriving 
to pick up fingle grains of corn, that were fcattered upon the 
beach by the burfting of the facks, or the inattention of the 
mariners, than take the pains to watch one hour at the flow- 
ing of the tide for excellent fifh, where, after taking one, 
they were fure of being mailers of multitudes till it was 
liigh water. 

The Captain of the fmall vefTel loft no time. He had 
done his bufmefs well, and though he was returning for 
another cargo, yet he offered me what part of his funds I 
mould need with great franknefs. We now failed with a 
fair wind, and in four or five days eafy weather landed at 
Canea, a con fiderable fortified place at the weft end of the 
ifland of Crete. Here I was taken dangeroufly ill, occafion- 
ed by the bathing and extraordinary exertions in the fea 
of Ptoiometa, nor was I in the leaf! the better from the beat- 
ing I had received, figns of which I bore very long after- 




From Canea I failed for Rhodes, and there met my books ; 
I then proceeded to CaftelrofTo, on the coaft of Garamania, 
and was there credibly informed that there were very mag- 
nificent remains of ancient buildings a fhort way from the 
fhore, on the oppolite continent. Caramania is a part of 
Alia Minor yet unexplored. But my illnefs increafing, it 
was impoflible to execute, or take any meafures to fecure 
protection, or do the bufinefs fafely, and I was forced to 
relinquiin this difcovery to fome more fortunate traveller. 

Mr P;<:yssonel, French conful at Smyrna, a man not more 
diftinguifhed for his amiable manners than for his polite 
tafte in literature, of which he has given feveral elegant 
fpecimens, furnifhed me with letters for that part of Gara- 
mania, or Afia Minor, and there is no doubt but they would 
have been very efficacious. What increafed the obligation 
for this kind attention fhewn, was, that I had never feen 
Mr Peyflbnel ; and I am truly mortified, that, fmce my arri- 
val in England, 1 have had no opportunity to return my 
grateful thanks for this kindnefs, which I therefore beg 
that he will now accept, together with a copy of thefe tra- 
vels, which I have ordered my French bookfeller to forward 
to him. 

From CaftelrofTo I continued, without any thing remark- 
able, till 1 came to Cyprus ; I flaid there but half a day, and 
arrived at Sidon, where I was moft kindly received by Mr 
Clerambaut, brother-in-law to Mr Peyflbnel, and French 
conful at this place ; a man in politenefs, humanity, and 
every focial quality of the mind, inferior to none I have ever 
known. With him, and a very flourifhing, well-informed, 
and induftrious nation, I continued for fome time, then 

Vol. I. G in 


in a weak ftate of health, but flill making partial excur- 
lions from time to time into the continent of Syria, through 
Libanus, and Anti Libanus ; but as I made thefe without 
inftruments, and pafTed pretty much in the way of the tra- 
vellers who have defcribed thefe countries before, I leave the 
hiftory to thofe gentlemen, without fwelling, by entering 
into particular narratives, this Introduction, already too 

• "While at Canea I wrote by way of France, and again 
while at Rhodes by way of Smyrna, to particular friends 
both in London and France, informing them of my difaftrous 
fituation, and defiring them to fend me a moveable qua- 
drant or fextant, as near as poffible to two feet radius, more 
or lefs, a time-keeper, flop- watch, a reflecting tele fcope, and 
one of Dolland's achromatic ones, as near as poffible to 
three-feet reflectors, with feveral other articles which I then 

I received from Paris and London much about the fame 
time, and as if . it had been dictated by the fame perfon, 
nearly the fame anfwer, which was this, That everybody 
was employed in making inftruments for Danifh, Swedifh, 
and other foreign aftrcnomers ; that all thofe which were 
completed had been bought up, and without waiting a 
confiderable, indefinite time, nothing could be had that could 
be depended upon. At the fame time I was told, to my 
great mortification, that no accounts of me had arrived from 
Africa, unlefs from feveral idle letters, which had been in- 
duflrioufly wrote by a gentleman whofe name I abftain 
from mentioning, firft, becaufe he is dead, and next, out of. 
xefpect to his truly great and worthy relations.. 

7 I&. 


In thefe letters it was announced, that I was gone with 
a Ruffian caravan through the Curdiftan, where I was to 
obferve the tranfit of Venus in a place where it was not vi- 
fible, and that I was to proceed to China, and return by the 
way of the Eaft Indies : — a flory which fome of his correfpon- 
dents, as profligate as himfelf, induftrioufly circulated at 
the time, and which others, perhaps weaker than wicked, 
though wicked enough, have affected to believe to this 

I conceived a violent indignation at this, and finding 
myfelf fo treated in return for fo complete a journey as I 
had then actually terminated, thought it below me to fa- 
crifice the bed years of my life to daily pain and danger, 
when the impreffion it made in the breafts of my country- 
men feemed to be fo weak, fo infinitely unworthy of them 
or me. One thing only detained me from returning home ; 
it was my defire of fulfilling my promife to my Sovereign, 
and of adding the ruins of Palmyra to thofe of Africa, al- 
ready fecured and out of danger. 

In my anger I renounced all thoughts of the attempt to 
difcover the fources of the Nile, and I repeated my orders 
no more for either quadrant, telefcope, or time-keeper. I 
had pencils and paper ; and luckily my large camera obfcu- 
ra, which had efcaped the cataftrophe of Ptolometa, was ar- 
rived from Smyrna, and then Handing before me. I there- 
fore began to caft about, with my ufual care and anxiety, 
for the means of obtaining feafible and fafe methods of re- 
peating the famous journey to Palmyra. I found it was 
necefTary to advance nearer the fcene of action. Mr Abbot, 
Britifh conful for Tripoli in Syria, kindly invited me, and 

g 2 after 


after him Mr Vernon, his fucceffor, a very excellent man, 
to take up my refidence there- From Tripoli there is a 
trade in kelp carried on to the fait marines near Palmyra. 
The Shekh of Cariateen, a town juft upon the edge of the 
defert, had a contract with the bafha of Tripoli for a quan- 
tity of this herb for the ufe of the foap works. I loft no 
time in making a friendfhip with this man, but his return 
amounted to no more than to endeavour to lead me rafhly 
into real danger, where he knew he had not confequence 
enough to give me a moment's protection. 

There are two tribes almoft equally powerful who inha- 
bit the deferts round Palmyra ; the one is the Annecy, re- 
markable for the fineft breed of horfes in the world ; the 
other is the Mowalli, much better foldiers, but fewer in 
number, and very little inferior in the excellence of their 
horfes. The Annecy pofTefs the country towards the S. W. 
at the back of Libanus, about Bozradown the Hawran, and 
fouthward towards the borders of Arabia Petrea and Mount 
Horeb. The Mowalli inhabit the plains eaft of Damafcus 
to the Euphrates, and north to near Aleppo. 

These two tribes were not at war, nor were they at peace ; 
they were upon what is called ill-terms with each other, 
which is the moft dangerous time for ftrangers to have any 
dealings with either. I learned this as a certainty from a 
friend at HaHia* where a Shekh lives, to whom I was re- 
commended by a letter, as a friend of the bafha of Damaf- 
cus. This man maintains his influence, not by a number 
of forces, but by conftantiy marrying a relation of one or 
both of thefe tribes of Arabs, who for that reafon aflift him 
in maintaining the fecurity of his road, and he has the care 
i of 


of that part of it by which the couriers pafs from Conflan- 
tinople into Egypt, belonging to both thefe tribes, who 
were then at a diftance from each other, and roved in flying 
fquadrons all round Palmyra, by way of maintaining their 
right of pafture in places that neither of them chofe at that 
time to occupy. Thefe, I fuppofe, are what the Englifh. 
writers call Wild Arabs, for otherwife, though they are all 
wild enough, 1 do not know one wilder than another. This 
is very certain, thefe young men, compoling the flying par- 
ties I fpeak of, are truly wild while at a diftance from their 
camp and government; andtheftranger that falls in unawares 
with them, and efcapes with his life, may fet himfelf down 
as a fortunate traveller. 

Returning from Haffia I would have gone fouthward to 
Baalbec, but it was then belieged by Emir Youfef prince of 
the Drufes, a Pagan nation, living upon mount Libanus. 
Upon that I returned to Tripoli, in Syria, and after fome time 
fet out for Aleppo, travelling northward along the plain of 
Jeune betwixt mount Lebanon and the fea. 

I visited the ancient Byblus, and bathed with pleafure 
in the river Adonis. All here is clafiic ground. I faw feve- 
ral confiderable ruins of Grecian architecture all very much 
defaced. Thefe are already publifhed by Mr Drummond,. 
and therefore I left them, being never defirous of interfer- 
ing with the works of others. 

I passed Latikea, formerly Laodicea ad Mare, and then 
came to Antioch, and afterwards to Aleppo. The fever and 
ague, which I had firft caught in my cold bath at Bengazi, 
had returned upon me with great violence, after paffing 



one night encamped in the mulberry gardens behind Si- 
don. It had^ returned in very flight paroxyfms feveral 
times, but laid hold of me with more than ordinary violence 
on my arrival at Aleppo, where I came juft in time to the 
houfe of Mr Belville, a French merchant, to whom I was 
addrefTed for my credit. Never was a more lucky addrefs, 
never was there a foul fo congenial to my own as was that 
of Mr Belville : to fay more after this would be praifing my- 
felf. To him was immediately added Doctor Patrick RufTel, 
phyfician to the Britifh factory there. Without the atten- 
tion and friend/hip of the one, and the fkill and anxieiy of 
the other of thefe gentlemen, it is probable my travels 
would have ended at Aleppo. I recovered flowly. By the 
report of thefe two gentlemen, though I had yet feen no- 
body, I became a public care, nor did I ever pafs more agree- 
able hours than with Mr Thomas the French conful, his fa- 
mily, and the merchants eftablifhed there. From Doctor Ruf- 
fel I was fupplied with what I wanted, fome books, and 
much inftruction. Noboby knew the difeafes of the Eaft 
fo well ; and perhaps my efcaping the fever at Aleppo 
was not the only time in which I owed him my life. 


Being now reflored to health, my firft object was the 
journey to Palmyra. The Mowalli were encamped at no 
great diftance from Aleppo. It was without difficulty Ijfound 
a fure way to explain my wifhes, and to fecure the afliftance 
of Mahomet Kerfan, the Shekh, but from him I learned, in 
a manner that I could not doubt, that the way I intended 
to go down to Palmyra from the north was tedious, trouble- 
fome, uncertain, and expenfive, and that he did not wifh me 
to undertake it at that time. It is quite fuperfluous in thefe 




cafes toprefs for particular information ; an Arab conductor,, 
who proceeds with caution, furely means you well. He 
told me that he would leave a friend in the houfe of a cer- 
tain Arab at Hamath *, about half-way to Palmyra, and if 
in fomething more than a month I came there, and found 
that Arab, I might rely upon him without fear, and he 
would conduct me in fafety to Palmyra. 

I returned to Tripoli, and at the time appointed fet out 
for Hamath, found my conductor, and proceeded to Haffia. 
Coming from Aleppo, 1 had not palled the lower way again 
by Antioch. The river which panes through the plains 
where they cultivate their beft tobacco, is the Orontes; it was 
fo fwollen with rain^ which had fallen in the mountains,, 
that the ford was no longer viable Stopping at two mifer- 
able huts inhabited by a bafe fet called I urcomans, I afked 
the matter of one of them to Ihew me the ford, which he 
very readily undertook to do, and I went, for the length of 
fome yards, on rough, but very hard and folid ground. The 
current before me was, however, fo violent, that 1 had more 
than once a defire to turn back, but, not fufpecting any 
thing, I continued, when on a fudden man and horfe fell: 
out of their depth into the river. 

I had a rifled gun flung acrofs my moulder, with a buff 
belt and fwivel. As long as that held, it fo embarrafled my 
hands and legs that I could not fwim, andmuft have funk; 
bur luckily the fwivel gave way, the gun fell to the bottom 
of die river, and was pickt up in dry weather by order of 


* The north boundary of the Holy Land.. 


the bafha, at the defire of the French merchants, who kept it 
for a relict. I and my horfe fwam feparately alhore ; at a 
fmall diftance from thence was a caphar*, or turnpike, to 
which, when I came to dry myfelf, the man told me, that 
the place where I had crolTed was the remains of a ftone 
bridge now entirely carried away ; where I had firll enter- 
ed was one of the wings of the bridge, from which I had 
fallen into the fpace the firfl arch occupied, one of the 
deepeft parts of the river ; that the people who had mif- 
guided me were an infamous fet of banditti, and that I 
might be thankful on many accounts that I had made fuch 
an efcape from them, and was now on the oppofite fide. I 
then prevailed on the caphar-man to mew my fervants the 
right ford. 

From Haffia we proceeded with our conductor to Caria- 
teen, where there is an immenfe fpringof fine water, which 
overflows into a large pool. Here, to our great furprife, we 
found about two thoufand of the Annecy encamped, who 
were quarrelling with Haffan our old friend, the kelp- mer- 
chant. This was nothing to us ; the quarrel between the 
Mowalli and Annecy had it feems been made up ; for an 
old man from each tribe on horfeback accompanied us to 
Palmyra : the tribes gave us camels for more commodious 
travelling, and we palled the defert between Cariateen and 
Palmyra in a day and two nights, going conftantly without 


* It is a port where a party of men are kept to receive a contribution, for maintaining the 
fecuhty of the roads, from all paffengers. 


Just before we came in fight of the ruins, we afcended 
a hill of white gritty ftone, in a very narrow- winding road, 
fuch as we call a pafs, and, when arrived at the top, there 
opened before us the mod aitonifhing, ftupendous fight that 
p j rhaps ever appeared to mortal eyes. The whole plain 
below, which was very exteniive, was covered fo thick with 
magnificent buildings as that the one feemed to touch the 
other, all of fine proportions, all of agreeable forms, all com- 
pofed of white ftones, which at that diftance appeared like 
marble. At the end of it flood the palace of the fun, a 
building worthy to clofe fo magnificent a fcene. 

It was impoflible for two perfons to think of defigning 
ornaments, or taking meafures, and there feemed the lefs 
occafion for this as Mr Wood had done this part already. I 
Jbad no intention to publifh any thing concerning Palmyra ; 
befides, it would have been a violation of my firil principle 
not to interfere with the labours of others ; and if this was 
a rule I inviolably obferved as to flrangers, every fentiment 
of reafon and gratitude obliged me to pay the fame refpecl: 
,to the labours of Mr Wood my friend. 

I divided Palmyra into fix angular views, always bring- 
ing forward to the firfl ground an edifice, or principal group 
of columns, that deferved it. The ftate of the buildings are 
particularly favourable for this purpofe. The columns are 
ail uncovered to the very bafes, the foil upon which the 
town is built being hard and fixed ground. Thefe views 
are all upon large paper ; the columns in forne of them are 
a foot long ; the figures in the fore-ground of the temple of 
the fun are fome of them near four inches. 

\ql._1. h Before 


Before our departure from Palmyra I obferved its lati- 
tude with a Hadley's quadrant from reflection. The in- 
ftrument had probably warped in carriage, as the index 
went unpleafantly, and as it were by Harts, fo that I will not 
pretend to give this for an exact obfervation ; yet, after all 
the care I could take, I only apprehended that 33 58' for the 
latitude of Palmyra, would be nearer the truth than any other. 
Again, that the diftance from the coaft in a ftraight line 
being 160 miles, and that remarkable mountainous cape on 
the coaft of Syria, between Byblus and Tripoli, known by the 
iiame of Theoprofopon, being nearly due weft, or under the 
fame parallel with Palmyra, I conceive the longitude of 
that city to be nearly 37 9' from the obfervatory of Green^ 

From Palmyra I proceeded to Baalbec, diftant about 130- 
miles, and arrived the fame day that Emir Youfef had 
reduced the town and fettled the government, and was de- 
camping from it on his return home. This was the 
luckieft moment poffible for me, as I was the Emir's friend, 
and I obtained liberty to do there what I pleafed, and to 
this indulgence was added the great convenience of the 
Emir's abfence, fo that I was not troubled by the obfervance 
of any court-ceremony or attendance, or teazed with im- 
pertinent queftions. 

Baalbec is pleafantly fituated in a plain on the weft of 
Anti Libanus, is finely watered, and abounds in gar- 
dens. It is about fifty miles from Haflia, and about thirty, 
from the neareft fea-coaft, which is the fituation of the an- 
cient Byblus. The interior of the great temple of Baalbec,, 
fuppofed to be that of the fun, furpafles any thing at Pal- 


myra, indeed any fculpture I ever remember to have feen 
in ftone. All thefe views of Palmyra and Baalbec are now 
in the King's collection. They are the moll magnificent 
offering in their line that ever was made by one fubject to 
his fovereign. 

Passing by Tyre, from curiofity only, I came to be a 
mournful witnefs of the truth of that prophecy, That Tyre, 
the queen of nations, mould be a rock for fifhers to dry 
their nets on*. Two wretched fifhermen, with miferable 
nets, having juft given over their occupation with very little 
fuccefs, I engaged them, at the expence of their nets, to 
drag in thofe places where they faid fhell-fifli might be 
caught, in hopes to have brought out one of the famous 
purple-fifh. I did not fucceed, but in this I was, I believe, as 
lucky as the old fifhers had ever been. The purple fifh. at 
Tyre feems to have been only a concealment of their know- 
ledge of cochineal, as, had they depended upon the fifh for 
their dye, if the whole city of Tyre applied to nothing elfe 
but fifliing, they would not have coloured twenty yards of 
cloth in a year. Much fatigued, but fatisfied beyond mea- 
fure with what I had feen, I arrived in perfect health, and 
in the gayeft humour poflible, at the hofpitable manfion of 
M. Clerambaut at Sidon. 

I found there letters from Europe, which were in a very 
different flyle from the laft. From London, my friend Mr 
Huffel acquainted me, that he had fent me an excellent 
reflecting telefcope of two feet focal length, moved by 

h 2 rack- 

* Ezek. chap. xxvi. ver. 5. 


rack-work, and the lafl Mr Short ever made, which proved 
a very excellent inftmment ; alfo an achromatic telefcope 
by Dolland, nearly equal to a three-feet reflector, with a 
foot, or ftand, very artificially compofed of rulers fixed to- 
gether by fcrews. I think this inftrument might be im- 
proved by mortening the three principal legs of it. If the 
legs of its fland were about fix inches fliorter, this, without 
inconvenience, would take away the little fliake it has when 
ufed in the outer air. Perhaps this defect is not in all te- 
lefcopes of this conftruction. It is a plealant inftrument,. 
and for its fize takes very little packing, and is very ma- 

I have brought home both thefe inftruments after per- 
forming the whole journey, and they are now Handing in 
my library, in the molt perfect order ; which is rather to be 
wondered at from the accounts in which moft travellers 
feem to agree, that metal fpeculums, within the tropics, fpot 
and ruft fo much as to be ufelefs after a few obfervations 
made at or near the zenith. The fear of this, and the fra- 
gility of glafs of achromatic telefcopes, were the occafion 
of a considerable expence to m'e; but from experience I found* 
that, if a little care be taken, one reflector would be fuflicient 
for a very long voyage. 

From Paris I received a time -piece and a flop- watch made 
by M. Lepeaute, dearer than Ell'icofs, and referhbling his in. 
nothing elfe but the price. The clock was a very neat, 
portable inftrument, made upon very ingenious, fimple prin- 
ciples, but fome of the parts were fo grofsly neglected in 
the execution, and fo unequally finimed, that it was not 
difficult for the meaneft novice in ths trade to point out the 

%v V ; j fe£> JL V* 


caufe of its irregularity. It remains with me in flam quo. 
It has been of very little ufe to me, and never will be of 
much more to any perfon elfe. The price is, I am fure, ten 
times more than it ought to be in any light I can confider 

All thefe letters ftill left me in abfolute defpair about 
obtaining a quadrant, and confequently gave me very little 
fatisfaetion, but in fome meafure confirmed me in my refo- 
lution already taken, to go from Sidon to Egypt ; as I had 
then feen the greater! part of the good architecture in the 
world, in all its degrees of perfection down to its decline, I 
wiihed now only to fee it in its origin, and for this it was 
necefTary to go to Egypt. 

Norden, Pococke, and many others, had given very in- 
genious accounts of Egyptian architecture in general, of the 
difpofition and fize of their temples, magnificence of their 
materials, their hieroglyphics, and the various kinds of 
them, of their gilding, of their painting, and their prefent: 
Hate of prefervation. I thought fomething more might be 
learnt as to the firft proportions of their columns, and 
the conflruction of their plans. Dendera, the ancient 
Tentyra, ieemed by their accounts to offer a fair field for 

I had already collected together a great many obfervations 
on the progrefs of Greek and Roman architecture in differ- 
ent ages, drawn not from books or connected with fy(lem 3 
bat from the models themlelves, which I myfelf had mea- 
fured. I had been long of the opinion, in which I am ftill 
further confirmed, that tafle for ancient architecture, found- 


ed upon the examples that Italy alone can furnifh, was not 
giving ancient architects fair play. What was to be 
learned from the firft proportions of their plans and eleva- 
tions feemed to have remained untouched in Egypt ; after 
having confidered thefe, I propofed to live in retirement on 
my native patrimony, with a fair ilock of unexceptionable 
materials upon this fubject, to ferve for a pleafant and ufe- 
ful amufement in my old age. I hope Hill thefe will not be 
loft to the public, unlefs the encouragement be in propor- 
tion to what my labours have .already had. 

I now received, however, a letter very unexpectedly by 
way of Alexandria, which, if it did not overturn, at leaft 
fhook thefe refolutions. The Comte de BufFon, Monf. Guys 
of Marfeilles, and feveral others well known in the literary 
world, had ventured to Hate to the minifter, and through 
him to the king of France, Louis XV. how very much it was 
to be lamented, that after a man had been found who was 
likely to fucceed in removing that opprobrium of travellers 
and geographers, by difcovering the fources of the Nile, one 
moft unlucky accident, at a moft unlucky time, mould frus- 
trate the moll promifing endeavours. That prince, diftin- 
guifhed for every good quality of the heart, for benevolence, 
beneficence, and a defire of promoting and protecting 
learning, ordered a moveable quadrant of his own military 
academy at Marfeilles, as the neareft and moft convenient 
port of embarkation, to be taken down and fent to me at 

With this I received a letter from Mr RufTel, which in- 
formed me that aftronomers had begun to cool in the fan- 
guine expectations of difcovenng the precife quantity of 
4 the 


the fun's parallax by obfervation of the tranfit of Venus, 
from fome apprehenfion that errors of the obfervers would 
probably be more than the quantity of the equation fought, 
and that they now ardently wiflied for a journey into A- 
byffinia, rather than an attempt to fettle a nicety for which 
the learned had now begun to think the accuracy of our 
inftruments was not fufncient. A letter from my correfpon- 
dent at Alexandria alfo acquainted me, that the quadrant, 
and all other inftruments, were in that city.- 

What followed is the voyage itfelf, the fubjecY of the 
prefent publication. I am happy, by communicating every 
previous circumftance that occurred to me, to have done all 
in my power to remove the greateft part of the reafonable 
doubts and difficulties which might have perplexed the rea- 
der's mind, or biafled his judgment in the perufal of the 
narrative of the journey, and in this I hope I have fucceed- 

I have now one remaining part of my promife to fulfil, 
to account for the delay in the publication. It will not be 
thought furprifing to any that fhall reflect on the diftant, 
dreary, and defert ways by which all letters were necefla- 
rily to pafs, or the civil wars then raging in Abyffinia, the 
robberies and violences infeparable from a total diftblution 1 
of government, fuch as happened in my time, that no ac- 
counts for many years, one excepted, ever arrived in Eu- 
rope. One letter, accompanied by a bill for a fum borrow- 
ed from a Greek at Gondar, found its way to Cairo; all 
the reft had mifcarried : my friends at home gave me up 
for dead ; and, as my death muft have happened in circum- 
ftances difficult to have been proved, .my property became 



as it were an hereditas jacens, without an owner, abandoned 
in common to thofe whofe original title extended no fur- 
ther than temporary pofTefiion, 

A number of law-fuits were the inevitable confequence 
of this upon my return. One carried on with a very expen- 
five obftinacy for the fpace of ten years, by a very opulent 
and adtive company, was determined finally in the Houfe 
of Peers, in the compafs of a very few hours, by the well- 
known fagacityand penetration of a noble Lord, who, hap- 
pily for the fubjects of both countries, holds the fir ft office 
in the law ; and fo judicious was the fentence, that har- 
mony, mutual confidence, and good neighbourhood has 
ever fince been the confequence of that determination. 

Other fuits flail remained, which unfortunately were 
not arrived to the degree of maturity to be fo cut off; 
they are yet depending ; patience and attention, it is hoped, 
may bring them to an ifTue at fome future time No impu- 
tation of rafhnefs can poflibly fall upon the decree, fince 
the action has depended above thirty years. 

To thefe difagreeable avocations, which took up much 
time, were added others flill more unfortunate. The re- 
lentlefs ague caught at Bengazi maintained its ground at 
times for a fpace of more than fixteen years, though every 
remedy had been ufed, but in vain ; and, what was wbrft 
of all, a lingering diftemper had ferioufly threatened the 
life of a moft near relation, which, after nine years confxant 
alarm, where every duty bound me to attention and atten/d- 
i. ance. 


ance, conducted her at laft, in very early life, to her 
grave *. 

The love of folitude is the conftant follower of affliction ; 
this again naturally turns an inftructed mind to ftudy. My 
friends unanimoufly afTailed me in the part moll acceffible 
when the fpirits are weak, whieri is vanity. They repre- 
fented to me how ignoble it was, after all my dangers and 
difficulties were over, to be conquered by a misfortune inci- 
dent to all men, the indulging of which was unreafonable 
in itfelf, fruitlefs in its confequences, and fo unlike the ex- 
pectation I had given my country, by the firmnefs and in- 
trepidity of my former character and behaviour. Among 
thefe, the principal and moil urgent was a gentleman well 
known to the literary world, in which he holds a rank near- 
ly as diftinguifhed as that to which his virtues entitle him 
in civil life ; this was the Hon. Daines Barrington, whofe 
friendfhip, valuable on every account, had this additional 
merit, that it had exifted uninterrupted fince the days we 
were at fchool. It is to this gentleman's perfuafions, affift- 
ance, protection, and friendfhip, that the world owes this 
publication, if indeed there is any merit in it ; at leaft, 
they are certainly indebted to him for the opportunity of 
judging whether there is any merit in it or not. 

No great time has pafTed fince the work was in hand. 

The materials collected upon the fpot were very full, and 

feldom deferred to be fet down beyond the day wherein 

the events defcribed happened, but oftner, when fpeeches 

Vol, I. _ i and 

* Mrs Bruce died in 1784. 


and arguments were to be mentioned, they were noted the 
inflant afterwards ; for, contrary I believe to what is often 
the cafe, I can allure the reader thefe fpeeches and conver- 
fations are abfolutely real, and not the fabrication of after- 

It will perhaps be laid, this work hath faults; nay, per- 
haps, great ones too, and this I readily confefs. But I mull 
likewife beg leave to fay, that I know no books of the kind 
that have not nearly as many, and as great, though perhaps 
not of the fame kind with mine. To fee diftinctly and ac- 
curately, to defcribe plainly, difpaflionately and truly, is all 
that ought to be expected from one in my fituation, con- 
ftantly f unrounded with every fort of difficulty and dan- 

It may be faid, too, there are faults in the language - 
more pains fhould have been taken. Perhaps it may 
be fo ; yet there has not been wanting a confiderable de- 
gree of attention even to this. I have not indeed confined, 
myfeif to a painful and flavim nicety that would have pro- 
duced nothing but a difageeable ftifihefs in the narrative, 
It will be remembered likewife, that one of the motives of 
my writing is my own amufement, and I would much ra- 
ther renounce the fubject altogether than walk in fetters 
of my own forging. The language is, like the fubjeer, rude 
and manly. My paths have not been flowery ones, nor 
would it have added any credit to the work, or entertain- 
ment to the reader, to employ in it a ftile i proper only to 
works of imagination and pleafure. Thefe trifling faults 
I willingly leave as food to the malice of critics, who per- 



haps, were it not for thefe blemifhes, would find no other en- 
joyment in the perufal of the work. 

It has been faid that parties have been formed againft 
this work. Whether this is really the cafe I cannot fay, nor 
have I ever been very anxious in the inquiry. They have 
been harmlefs adverfaries at leaft, for no bad effects, as far 
as I know, have ever as yet been the confequences ; neither 
is it a difquifition that I ihall ever enter into, whether this is 
owing to the want of will or of power. I rather believe it is 
to the former, the want of will, for no one is fo perfectly 
inconfiderable, as to want the power of doing mifchief. 

Having now fulfilled my promife to the reader, in giv- 
ing him the motive and order of my travels, and the reafon 
why the publication has been delayed, I fhall proceed to the 
laft article promifed, the giving fome account of the work 
itfelf. The book is a large one, and expenfive by the num- 
ber of engravings ; this was not at firft intended, but the 
journey has proved a long one, and matter has increafed as it 
were infenfibly under my hands. It is now come to fill a 
great chafm in the hiftory of the univerfe. It is not intend- 
ed to refcmble the generality of modern travels, the agree- 
able and rational amufement of one vacant day, it is calcu- 
lated to employ a greater fpace of time. 

Those that are the beft acquainted with Diodorus, Hero- 
dotus, and fome other Greek hiflorians, will find fome very 
confidcrable difficulties removed ; and they that are unac- 
quainted with thefe authors, and receive from this work the 
firfl information of the geography, climate, and manners of 
thefe countries, which are little altered, will have no great 

i 2 occafion 


occaflon to regret they have not fearched for information in 
more ancient fources. 

The work begins with my voyage from Sidon to Alex- 
andria, and up the Nile to the firft cataract. The reader 
will not expect that I mould dwell long upon the particular 
hiftory of Egypt ; every other year has furnifhed us with 
fome account of it, good or bad ; and the two laft publica- 
tions of M. Savary and Volney feem to have left the fub- 
ject thread-bare. This, however, is not the only reafon. 

After Mr Wood and Mr Dawkins had publifhed their 
Ruins of Palmyra, the late king of Denmark, at his own ex- 
pence, fent out a number of men, eminent in their feveral 
profeffions, to make difcoveries in the eaft, of every kind, 
with thefe very flattering inftructions, that though they 
might, and ought, to vifit both Baalbec and Palmyra for 
their own ftudies and improvement, yet he prohibited them 
to fo far interfere with what the Englifh travellers had done, 
as to form any plan of another work limilar to theirs. This 
compliment was gratefully received; and, as I was directly 
to follow this miffion, Mr Wood defired me to return it, and 
to abftain as much as poffible from writing on the fame 
fubjects chofen by M. Niebuhr, at leaft to abftain either 
from criticiling or differing from him on fuch fubjects. I 
have therefore parted flightly over Egypt and Arabia ; per- 
haps, indeed, 1 have faid enough of both : if any fhall be of 
another opinion, they may have recourfe to M. Niebuhr's- 
more copious work ; he was the only perfon of fix who 
lived to come home, the reft having died in different parts 
of Arabia, without having been able to enter Abyflinia, one 
of the objects of their miffion. 

'■- • M:i 


My leaving Egypt is followed by my furvey of the Ara- 
bian gulf as far as the Indian Ocean — Arrival at Mafuah 
— Some account of the firft peopling of Atbara and Abyflinia 
-—Conjectures concerning language— Firft ages of the In- 
dian trade— Foundation of the Abyflinian monarchy, and 
various revolutions till the Jewifh ufurpation about the year 
900. Thefe compofe the firft volume. 

The fecond begins with the reftoration of the line of So- 
lomon, compiled from their own annals, now firft tranflated 
from the Ethiopic ; the original of which has been lod- 
ged in the Britifh. Mufeum, to fatisfy the curiofity of the 

The third comprehends my journey from Mafuah to 
Gondar, and the manners and cuftoms of the Abyflinians, 
alfo two attempts to arrive at the fountains of the Nile— 
Defcription of thefe fources, and of every thing relating to 
that river and its inundation. 

The fourth contains my return from the fource of the 
Nile to Gondar — The campaign of Serbraxos, and revolution 
that followed — My return through Sennaar and Beja, or 
the Nubian defert, and my arrival at Marfeilles.. 

In overlooking the work I have found one circumftance, 
and I think no more, which is not fufriciently clear, and 
may create a momentary doubt in the reader's mind, al- 
though to thofe who have been fufficiently attentive to the 
narrative, I can lcarce think it will do this. The diffi- 
culty is,vJHLow di&you procure funds "to fupport yourfelf, 



and ten men, fo long, and fo eafily, as to enable you to un- 
dervalue the ufeful character of a phyfician, and leek nei- 
ther to draw money nor protection from it ? ^nd how came 
it, that, contrary to the ufage of other travellers, at Gondar 
you maintained a character of independence and equality, 
efpecially at court ; inflead of crouching, living out of fight 
as much as poffible, in continual fear of prieils, under the 
patronage, or rather as fervant to fome men of power. 

To this fenfible and well-founded doubt I anfwer 
with great pleafure and readinefs, as I would do to all o- 
thers of the fame kind, if I could poffibly divine them : — It 
is not at all extraordinary that aftranger like me, and a parcel 
of vagabonds like thofe that were with me, mould get them- 
felves maintained, and find at Gondar a precarious liveli* 
hood for a limited time. A mind ever fo little poliflied and 
inftrucled has infinite fuperiority over Barbarians, and it is 
in circumflances like thefe that a man fees the great ad- 
vantages of education. All ihe Greeks in Gondar were o- 
riginally criminals and vagabonds ; they neither had, nor 
pretended to any profefnon, except Petros the king's cham- 
berlain, who had been a ilioemaker at Rhodes, which pro- 
fefnon at his arrival he Carefully concealed. Yet thefe 
were not only maintained, but by degrees, and without 
pretending to be phyficians, obtained property, commands, 
and places. 

Hospitality is the virtue of Barbarians, who are hofpi- 

table in the ratio that they are barbarous, and for obvious 

reafens this virtue fubfides among poliflied nations in the 

fame N proportion. If oa my arrival in Abyflinia I alTumcd 

2 a fpirit 


a fpirit of independence, it was from policy and reflection, 
I had often thought that the misfortunes which had befallen 
other travellers in Abymnia arofe from the bafe eftimation 
the people in general entertained of their rank, and the va- 
lue of their perfons. From this idea I refolved to adopt a 
contrary behaviour. I was going to a court where there 
was a king of kings, whofe throne was fiirrounded by a num- 
ber of high-minded, proud, hereditary, punctilious nobili- 
ty. It was impofiible, therefore, too much lowlinefs unci 
humility could pleafe there. 

Mr Murray, the ambafFador at Conftantinople, in the fir- 
man obtained from the grand fignior, had qualified me 
with the diftinction of Bey-Adze, which means, not an Eng- 
lifh nobleman (a peer) but a noble Englifhman, and he 
had added likewife, that I was a fervant of the king of 
Great Britain. All the letters of recommendation, very 
many and powerful, from Cairo and Jidda, had conftantly 
echoed this to every part to which they were addrefTed. 
They announced that I was not a man, fuch as ordinarily 
came to them, to live upon their charity, but had ample 
means of my own, and each profefTed himfelf guarrantee 
of that faff!, and that they thenifelves on all occaiions were 
ready to provide for me, by anfwering my demands. 

The only requeft of thefe letters was fafety and protection 
to my perfon. It was mentioned that I was a phyfician, to 
introduce a conciliatory cirumftance, that I was above prac- 
tifing for gain. That all I did was from the fear of God, 
from charity, and the love of mankind, i was a phyfician 
i city, a foldier in the field, a courtier .every where, 
demeaning myfelf, as confeious that 1 was not unworthy 


of being a companion to the firft of their nobility, and the 
king's ftranger and guefl, which is there a character, as it 
was with eaftern nations of old, to which a certain fort of 
confideration is due. It was in vain to compare myfelf 
with them in any kind of learning, as they have none ; 
mufic they have as little ; in eating and drinking they were, 
indeed infinitely my fuperiors ; but in one accomplishment 
that came naturally into comparifon, which was horfeman- 
fhip, I ftudioufly eftablifhed my fuperiority. 

My long refidence among the Arabs had given me more 
than ordinary facility in managing the horfe ; I had brought 
my own faddle and bridle with me, and, as the reader will 
find, bought my horfe of the Baharnagafh in the firft days 
of my journey, fuch a one as was neceflary to carry me, 
and him I trained carefully, and ftudied from the begin- 
ning. The Abyflinians, as the reader will hereafter.fee, are 
the word horfemen in the world. Their horfes are bad, 
not equal to our Welfli or our Scotch galloways. Their 
furniture is worfe. They know not the ufe of fire-arms on 
horfeback ; they had never feen a double-barrelled gun, nor 
did they know that its effect was limited to two discharges, 
but that it might have been fired on to infinity. All this 
gave me an evident fuperiority. 

To this I may add, that, being in the prime of life, of no 
ungracious figure, having an accidental .knack, which is 
not a trifle, of putting on the drefs, and fpeaking the lan- 
guage eafily and gracefully, I cultivated with the utmofl 
afliduity the friendfhip of the fair fex, by the moft modeft, 
refpedful diftant attendance, and obiequioufnefs in public, 
3 abating 


abating juft as much of that in private as fuited their 
humour and inclinations. I foon acquired a great fup- 
port from thefe at court ; jealoufy is not a paflion of the 
Abyilinians, who are in the contrary extreme, even to in- 

Besides the money I had with me, I had a credit of L. 403 
upon Youfef Cabil, governor of Jidda. I had another upon 
a Turkim merchant there. I had flrong and general re- 
commendations, if I (liould want fupplies, upon Metical Aga, 
iirit minifter to the llierrifle of Mecca. This, well managed, 
was enough; but when I met my countrymen, the captains 
of the Englifh mips from India, they added additional 
flrength to my finances ; they would have poured gold 
upon me to facilitate a journey they fo much defired upon 
feveral accounts. Captain Thornhill of the Bengal Mer- 
chant, and Captain Thomas Price of the Lion, took the con- 
duct of my money-affairs under their direction. Their Sa- 
raf, or broker, had in his hands all the commerce that pro- 
duced the revenues of Abyffinia, together with great part 
of the correfpondence of the eafc ; and, by a lucky accident 
for me, Captain Price flaid all winter with the Lion at Jid- 
da ; nay, fo kind and anxious was he as to fend over a fer- 
vant from Jidda on purpofe, upon a report having been 
raifed that I was by the ufurper Socinios, though it 
was only one of my fervants, and the fervant of Metical 
Aga, who were murdered by that monfter, as is faid, with 
his own hand. Twice he fent over filver to me when I had 
plenty of gold, and wanted that metal only to apply it in 
furniture and workmanmip. I do not pretend to fay but 
fometimes thefe fupplies failed me, often by my negligence 
Vol. I. k m 


in not applying in proper time, fometimes by the abfenceoF 
merchants, who were all Mahometans, eonitantly engaged 
in bufmefs and in journies, and more efpecially on the king's 
retiring to Tigre, after the battle of Limjour, when I was 
abandoned during the ufurpation of the unworthy Socinios. 
-It was then I had recourfe to Petros and the Greeks, but 
more for their convenience than my own, and very feldomt 
from neceffity. This opulence enabled me to treat upon 
equal footing, to do favours as well as to receive them. 

Every mountebank-trick was a great accomplishment 
there, fuch as making fquibs, crackers, and rockets. There 
was no flation in the country to which by thefe accomplifli- 
ments I might not have pretended, had I been mad enough 
to have ever directed my thoughts that way ; and I am cer- 
tain, that in vain I might have folicited leave to return, 
had not a melancholy defpondency, the amor patria, feized 
me, and my health fo far declined as apparently to 
threaten death ; but I was not even then permitted to 
leave Abyflinia till under a very foiemn oath I promifed to 

This manner of conducting myfelf had likewife its dis- 
advantages. The reader will fee the times, without their 
being pointed out to him, in the courfe of the narrative. It 
had very near occafioned me to be murdered at Mafuah,. 
but it was the means of preferring me at Gondar, by putting 
me above being infulted or queftioned by priefts, the fatal 
rock upon which all other European travellers had fplit : It 
would have occafioned my death at Sennaar, had I not been. 
fo prudent as to difguife and lay afide the independent car- 
i riage 


riage in time. Why mould I not now fpeak as I really 
think, or why be guilty of ingratitude which my heart dif- 
claims. I efcaped by the providence and protection of hea- 
ven ; and fo little flore do i fet upon the advantage of my 
own experience, that I am fatisned, were J to attempt the 
fame journey again, it would not avail me a ftraw, or 
hinder me from perifhing miferably, as others have done, 
though perhaps a different way. 

I have only to add, that were it probable, as in my de- 
cayed Hate of health it is not, that I fhould live to fee a fe~ 
cond edition of this work, all well-founded, judicious re- 
marks fuggefted mould be gratefully and carefully attend- 
ed to ; but I do folemnly declare to the public in general, 
that I never will refute or anfwer any cavils, captious, 
or idle objections, fuch as every new publication feems 
unavoidably to give birth to, nor ever reply to thofe witti- 
cifms and criticifms that appear in newfpapers and periodi- 
cal writings. What I have written I have written. My readers 
have before them, in the prefent volumes, all that I lhall ever 
fay, directly or indirectly, upon the fubjcct ; and J do, with- 
out- one moment's anxiety, truft my defence to an impartial, 
well-informed, and judicious public. 




^^jwb^. h ■ ■ - yy^T « «' -*-*■» ' ^ ^—T-tf^ ; T^ii j^ P «^u w «.ty^L: l !" ^^ ' )>P , ^ , i' y *^ * , B ' "f >»T» »n piw m»ji !i — ■ — ttmmmt 





Introduction, Page i 






*J^HE Author fails from Sidon — Touches at Cyprus — Arrives at 
Alexandria — Sets out for Rofetto — Embarks on the Nile, and 
arrives at Cairo^ Page I 

Ixxviii CONTENTS. 


Author s Reception at Cairo — Procures Letters from the Bey atid 
the Greek Patriarch — Vifits the Pyramids — Observations on their 
Gonjlruclion, P. 24 


heaves Caire — "Embarks on the Nile for Upper Egypt — Vifits Metra- 
henny and Mohannan — Reafons for fuppofing this the Situation of 
Memphis^ 43 


Leaves Metrahenny — Comes to the Ifland Halouan — Falfe Pyra- 
mid — Thefe Buildings end— Sugar Canes — Rums of Antinopolis — 
Reception there i 

€ H A P. V. 

Voyage to Upper Egypt continued- -- yi fhmounein. Ruins there— G 'awe 
Kibccz Ruins-— Mr Ncrdeu miflaken - Acbmim- — L<-?tveni of Ca- 
thodci — IsC/a.eru—Alignfant Rums — Adventure with a Saint 
tle,e, 91 


CONTENTS. lxxbt 


'Arrives at Fur/bout — Adventure of Friar Chrifopher — Vifits 'Thebes 
-—Luxor and Carnac-— Large Ruins at Edfu and E/ue— Proceeds 
m bis Voyage, P. 114 


Arrives at Syene~-Goes to fee the Cataratl — Remarkable 'Tombs — ■ 
The Situation of Syene — The Aga propofes a v'fit to Deir and 
Iurim — The Author returns to Kenne, 15.®- 

CHAP. vnr. 

The Author fets out from Kenne — Crojfes the Defert of the Thebaid . 
— Vifits the Marble Mountains — Arrives at Cojfcir on the Red 
Sea — Tranfaclions there, • 1 6a 


Voyage to Jibbel Zumrud — Returns to Cojfcir — Sails from Cojfcir — 
Jaffateen I/lands — Arrives at Tor y 204, 


Sails from Tor—Paffes the Elanific Gulf—Sees Raddua — Arrives 
at Tambo — Incidents there*— Arrives at Jidda, 23a 




Occurrences at Jidda — Vifit of the Vizir — Alarm of the Faclory— 
Great Civility of the EngliJJj trading from India — Polygamy — 
Opinion of Dr Arbnthnot ill- founded — Contrary to Reafon and 
Experience — Leaves Jidda , P. 265 

C H A ..P. XII. 

Sails from Jidda — Konfodah — Ras Heli, Boundary of Arabia Felix 
—Arrives at. Loheia — Proceeds to the Straits of the. Indian Ocean 
■ ' — Ai'rives there — Returns by Azab to Loheia y 2 94 


Sails for Mafuah—Pafes a Volcano— Comesr to} Dahalac- — Troubled 
%mth a Gho/l— Arrives at Mafuah, 327 









Of the bidian Trade in its earliejl Ages — Settlement of "Ethiopia--* 
Troglodytes — Building of thefrjl Cities \ P. 36$ 

CHAP. n. 

Saba and the South of Africa peopled — Shepherds, their particular 
Employment and Circumjlances—Abyjfmia occupied by feven Stran- 
ger Nations — Specimens of their fever al Languages— Conjectures 
concerning them, 38 1 


Origin of Characters or Letters — Ethiopic the firf Language How 

and why the Hebrew Letter was formed, 4 T 

Vol. I. l CHAP, 

lxxxii CONTENTS, 


Some Account of the Trade-Winds and Monfoons— Application of this 
to tloe Voyage to Qphir and Tarjhifh y P. 427 


Fluctuating State of the India Trade — Hurt by military Expeditions 
of the Perfians — Revives under the Ptolemies — Falls to Decay 
under the Romans^ 447 


Queen of Saba vifits ferufalem — AbyJJinian Tradition concerning Her 
"—Suppofcd Founder of that Monarchy — Abyffinia embraces the 
fewifh Religion — fcwifh Hierarchy flill retained by the Falafha 
—Some Conjectures concerning their Copy of the Old Tejtament, 471 


Books in vfe in AbyfTinia—Fnoch—AbyJTinia not converted by the A- 
poftles—Converfion from fudaifm to Christianity by Frumentius, 493 


CONTENTS. Ixxxiii 


War of the Elephant — Firji Appearance of the Small- Pox — yews 
perjecnte the Chrifliansin Arabia— Defeated by the AbyJJinians-— 
Mahomet pretends a Divine MiJJion— -Opinion concerning the Ko- 
ran- -Revolution under Judith—'Reftoration of the Line of Solomon 
from Shoa> P. 510 


' . . ' 








\the Author fails from Sidcti — 'Touches at Cyprus — Arrives at Alexan* 
dria — Sets out for Rofetto — Embarks on the Nile — and arrives at 

T was or Saturday the 15 th of June, 1768, I failed in a 
French veffel from Sidon, once the richeft and moft power- 
ful city in the world, though now there is not remaining a 
fhadow of its ancient grandeur. We were bound for the 
illand of Cyprus ; the weather clear and exceedingly hot, the 
wind favourable, 

Vol. I. A This 


This ifland is not in our courfe for Alexandria, but lies to 
the northward of it ; nor had I, for my own part, any curi- 
ofity to fee it. My mind was intent upon more uncommon, 
more diftant, and more painful voyages. But the mailer 
of the venel had bufinefs of his own which led him thither; 
with this I the more readily complied, as we had not yet got 
certain advice that the plague had ceafed in Egypt, and it 
Hill wanted fome days to the Feftival of St John, which is, 
f nppofed to put a period to that cruel diftemper *. 

We obferved a number of thin, white clouds, moving with, 
great rapidity from fouth to north, in direct oppofition 
to the courfe of the Etefian winds ; thefe were immenfely 
high. It was evident they came from the mountains of A- 
byffinia, where, having difcharged their weight of rain, and 
being prelTed by the lower current of heavier air from the 
northward, they had mounted to poflefs the vacuum, and re- 
turned to reflore the equilibrium to the northward, whence 
they were to come back, loaded with vapour from Mount 
Taurus, to occaiion the overflowing of the Nile, by breaking 
againfl the high and rugged mountains of the fouth. 

Nothing could be more agreeable to me than that light, 
and the reafoning upon it. I already, with pleafure, antici- 
pated the time in which I mould be a fpeclator firft, after- 
wards hiftorian, of this phenomenon, hitherto a myflery 
through all ages. I exulted in the meafures I had taken,, 
which I flattered myfelf, from having been digefted with 
greater cohfideration than thofe adopted by others, would 


* The nu&a, or dew, that falls on St John's night, is fuppofed to have the virtue to flop the 
plagae. I have confidered this in the feqaek *a*m^ 



fecure me from the melancholy cataftrophes that had ter- 
minated thefe hitherto-unfuccefsful attempts. 

On the 1 6th, at dawn'of day, I faw a high hill, which,from 
its particular form, defcribed by Strabo*, I took for Mount 
Olympus f • Soon after, the reft of the ifland, which feemed 
low, appeared in view. We fcarce faw Lernica till we an- 
chored before it. It is built of white clay, of the fame co- 
lour as the ground, precifely as is the cafe with Damafcus, 
fo that you cannot, till clofe to it, diftinguiih the houfes from 
the earth they ftand upon. 

It is very remarkable that Cyprus was fo long undifco- 
vered^:; mips had been ufed in the Mediterranean 1700 years 
before Chrift ; yet, though only a day's failing from the con- 
tinent of Afia on the north and eaft, and little more from that 
of Africa on the fouth, it was not known at the building of 
Tyre, a little before the Trojan war, that is 500 years after 
fhips had been palling to and fro in the feas around it. 

It was, at its difcovery, thick covered with wood; and what 
leads me to believe it was not well known, even fo late as the 
building of Solomon's Temple, is, that we do not find that 
Hiram king of Tyre, juft in its neighbourhood, ever had re- 
courfe to it for wood, though furely the carriage would 
have been eafier than to have brought it down from the 
top of Mount Libanus. 

A 2 That 

* Strabo, lib, xiv. pi 78 1, f It is called Mamilho. £ Newton's Chroiiol. p. 183, 


That there was great abundance in it, we know from 
Eratofthenes*, who tells us it was fo overgrown that it could 
not be tilled ; fo that they firft cut down the timber to be 
ufed in the furnaces for melting filver and copper ; that af- 
ter this ibey built fleets with it, and when they could not 
even deflroy it this way, they gave liberty to all Grangers to 
cut it down for whatever ufe they pleafed; and not only foy 
but they gave them the property of the ground they cleared.. 

Things are fadly changed now. Wood is one of the wants 
of moll parts of the ifland, which has not become more 
healthy by being cleared, as is ordinarily the cafe. 

At f Cacamo (Acamas) on the well fide of the ifland, the 
wood remains thick and impervious as at the firfl difcovery. 
Large flags, and wild boars of a monilrous fize, fhelter them- 
felves unmolefled in thefe their native woods ; and it de- 
pended only upon the portion of credulity that I was en- 
dowed with, that I did not believe that an elephant had, not 
many years ago, been feen alive there. Several families of 
Greeks declared it to me upon oath ; nor were there wanting- 
perfons of that nation at Alexandria, who laboured to con- 
firm the afTertion. Had fkeletons of that animal been there, 
I mould have thought them antediluvian ones. I know 
none could have been at Cyprus, unlefs in the time of Dari- 
us Ochus, and I do not remember that there were elephants, 
even with him. 


Strabo, lib. xiv. p. 684. f Strabo, lib. xir. p. 780. 


In pairing, I would fain have gone afhore to fee if there 
were any remains of the celebrated temple of Paphos ; but 
a voyage, fuch as I was then embarked on, flood in need of 
vows to Hercules rather than to Venus, and the mailer, fear- 
ing to lofe his paiTage, determined to proceed. 

Many medals (fcarce any of them good) are dug up ira 
Cyprus ; filver ones, of very excellent workmanihip, are found 
near Paphos, of little value in the eyes of antiquarians, being 
chiefly of towns of the fize of thofe found at Crete and 
Rhodes, and all the iflands of the Archipelago. Intaglios there 
are fome few, part in very excellent Greek flyle, and gene- 
rally upon better Hones than ufual in the iflands. I have £een 
fome heads of Jupiter, remarkable for bufliy hair and beard,, 
that were of the moll exquifite workman fliip, worthy of any 
price. All the inhabitants of the ifland are fubject to fevers r 
but more efpecially thofe in the neighbourhood of Paphos, 

We left Lernica the 1 7th of June, about four o'clock in* 
the afternoon. The day had been very cloudy, with a wind 
at N. E. which frefhened as we got under weigh. Our mailer^ 
a feaman of experience upon that coafl, ran to the 
weftward with all the fails he could fet. Trufling to a lign 
that he faw, which he called a bank, refembling a dark 
cloud in the horizon, he guefied the wind was to be from., 
that quarter the next day. . 

Accordingly, on the 18th, a little before twelve o'clock, 
a very freih and favourable breeze came from the N. W. 
and we pointed our prow directly, as we thought, upon 

t- TlIE" 


The coail of Egypt is exceedingly low, and, if the wea- 
ther is not clear, you often are clofe in with the land before 
you difcover it. 

A strong current fets conftantly to the eaftward; and the 
way the matters of vefTels pretend to know their approach 
to the coafl is by a black mud, which they find upon the 
plummet* at the end of their founding-line, about feven 
leagues diflant from land. 

Our mafter pretended at midnight he had found that 
black fand, and therefore, although the wind was very fair, 
he chofe to lie to, till morning, as thinking himfelf near the 
coafl; although his reckoning, rs he faid, did not agree with 
what he inferred from his foundings. 

As I was exceedingly vexed at being fo difappointed of 
making the heft of our favourable wind, I rectified my qua- 
drant, and found by the paffages of two flars over the meri- 
dian, that we were in lat. 32 i'45", or feventeen leagues 
diftartt from Alexandria, inflead of feven, and that by dif- 
ference of our latitude only. 

From this I inferred that part of the afiertion, that it is 
the mud of the Nile which is fuppofed to mew feamen their 
approach to Egypt, is mere imagination ; feeing that the 
point where we then were was really part of the fea oppo- 
fite to the defert of Barca, and had no communication what- 
ever with the Nile. 

4 On 

* This is an old prejudice. S=e Herodotus, lib. ii. : p* 90. feft. 5. 


On the contrary, the Etefian winds blowing all Summer 
upon that coaft, from the weftward of north, and a current 
fetting conftantly to the eaftward, it is impoflible that any 
part of the mud of the Nile can go fo high to the windward 
of any of the mouths of that riven 

It is well known, that the action of thefe winds, and the 
•conftancy of that current, has thrown a great quantity of mud, 
gravel, and fand, into all the ports on the coail of Syria. 

All vefliges of old Tyre are defaced ; the ports of Sidon, 
*Berout, Tripoli, and fLatikea, are all filled up by the accre- 
tion of fand ; and, not many days before my leaving Sidon, 
Mr de Clerambaut, conful of France, fhewed me the pave- 
ments of the old city of Sidon, 7t feet lower than the ground 
upon which the prefent city Hands, and confiderably farther 
i>ack in the gardens nearer to Mount Libanus. 

This every one in the country knows is the effect of that 
eafterly current fetting upon the coaft, which, as it acts per* 
pendicularly to the courfe of the Nile when discharging it- 
felf, at all or any of its mouths, into the Mediterranean, mull 
hurry what it is charged with on towards the coaft of Syria, 
and hinder it from fettling oppofite to, or making thofe 
additions to the land of Egypt, which % Herodotus has vain- 
ly fuppofed. 

The 20th of June, early in the morning, we had a diftant 
profpecl of Alexandria rifmg from the fea. Was not the ftate 


? Berytus, f Laodicea ad raare. ± Herod, lib. ii. p. 90, 


of' that city perfectly known, a traveller in fear ch ofanti-*. 
quities in architecture would think here was a field for 
long iludy and employment, . 

It is in this point of view the town appears moft to the 
advantage. The mixture of old monuments, fuch as the 
Column of Pompey, with the high mooriih towers and 
fteeples, raife our expectations of the confequencc of the 
ruins we are to find, 

But the moment we are in the port the illufion ends, and 
we diftinguifh the - immenfe Herculean works of ancient 
times, now few- in number, from the ill-imagined, ill-con- 
ftructed, and imperfect buildings, of the feveral barbarous 
maflers of Alexandria in later ages, . 

There are two ports, the Old and the New. The entrance 
into the latter is both difficult and dangerous, having a bar 
before it ; it is the leaft of the two, though it is what is call- 
ed the Great Port, by * Strabo. 

Here only the European fhips can lie; and, even when 
here, they are not in fafety; as numbers of veiTels are con-, 
itantly loll, though at anchor. 

Above forty were caft a-ihore and daified to pieces hi 
March 1773, when I was on my return home, moltly belong- 
ing to Ragufa, and the frnall ports in Provence, while little 
harm was done to fhips of any nation accuftomed to the 

* Strsbo, lib* xvii, p, 932, . 


It was curious to obferve the different procedure of thefe 
different nations upon the fame accident. As foon as the 
iquall began to become violent, the mailers of the Ragufan 
veffels, and the French caravaneurs, or veffels trading in the 
Meditei-ranca??, after having put out every anchor and cable 
they had, took to their boats and fled to the nearefl more, 
leaving the veffels to their chance in the ftorm. They knew 
the furniture of their fhips to be too fiimfy to trufl their lives 
to it. 

Many of their cables being made of a kind of grafs call- 
ed Spartum, could not bear the ftrefs of the veffels or agita- 
tion of the waves, but parted with the anchors, and the fhips 

On the other hand, the Britifh, Danifh, Swedifh, and Dutch 
navigators of the ocean, no fooner faw the florm beginning, 
than they left their houfes, took to their boats, and went all 
hands on board. Thefe knew the fufficiency of their tackle, 
and provided they were prefent, to obviate unforefeen acci- 
dents, they had no apprehenfion from the weather. They 
knew that their cables were made of good hemp, that their 
anchors were heavy and llrong. Some pointed their yards i 
ro the wind, and others lowered them upon deck. After- 
wards they walked to and fro on their quarter-deck with 
perfect compofure, and bade defiance to the ftorm. Not one 
man of thefe flirrcd from the fhips, till calm weather, on the 
morrow, called upon them to affift their feeble and more 
unfortunate brethren, whofe fhips were wrecked and lay 
icattered on the fliore. 

Vol, I. B The 



The other portis the *Eunoftus of the ancients, and.. is to 
the weftward of the Pharos, It was called alfo the Port of 
Africa ; is much larger than the former, and lies immedi- 
ately under part of the town of .Alexandria. It has much. 
deeper water, though a multitude of ihips have every day, 
for ages, been throwing a quantity of ballafl into it ; and 
there is no 'doubt, but in time it will be filled up, and join- 
ed to the continent by this means. And posterity may, pro- 
bably, following the fyilem of Herodotus, (if it ihould be ftill; 
fafhionable) call this as, they have done . the reft of, Egypt, 
the Gift of the Nik. 

Christian vefTels are not mffered to enter this port ; the. 
only reafon- is, leaf! the Moorlfh women ihould be feen taking ; 
the air in the evening at open windows ; and this has been 
thought to be of weight enough for Chrifiian powers to 
fubmit to it, and to, over-balance the conilant lofs offhips, 
property, and men. 

-j: Alexander, returning to Egypt from the Libyan fide, 
was ftruck with the beauty : and fituation of thefe two ports, . 
JDinochares, an architect who accompanied him, traced* 
out the plan, and Ptolemy I. built the city, 

* - 

The healthy, though defolate and. bare country round it 
part of the Defert of Libya, was another inducement to pre- 
fer this fituation to the unwholefome black mud of Egypt; 
but it had no water; this Ptolemy was obliged to bring far 


* Strabo, lib. xvii.p. 922. 
JPHoJib, v. cap. 10. p. 273. 

f Strabp; lib. xvii. p. 920. QjTujt, lib. iv. cap., 8. 


above from the Nile, by a calidi, or canal, vulgarly called 
the Canal of Cleopatra, though it was certainly coeval with 
the foundation of the city ; it has no other name at this day. 

This circumflance, however, remedied in the beginning, 
was fatal to the city's magnificence ever after, and the caufe 
of its being in the flate it is at this day. 

The importance of its fituation to trade and commerce, 
m'ade it a principal object of attention to each party in 
every war. It was eaiily taken, becaufe it had uo water; 
and, as it could not be kept, it was deftroyed by the con- 
queror, that the temporary pofleflion of it might not turn 
to be a fource of advantage to an enemy. 

We are not, however, to fuppofe, that the country all 
around it was as bare in the days of profperity as it is now. 
Population, we fee, produces a fwerd of grafs round ancient 
cities in the moll defert parts of Africa, which keeps the 
fand immoveable till the place is no longer inhabited. 

I apprehend the numerous lakes in Egypt were all 
contrived as refervoirs to lay up a ftore of water for fup- 
plying gardens and plantations in the months of the NuVs 
decreafe. The great effects of a very little water are feen 
along the califh, or canal, in a number of that it 
produces, and thick plantations of date-trees, all in a very 
luxuriant flate ; and this, no doubt, in the days of the 
Ptolemies, was extended further, more attended to, and bet- 
ter underftood. 

v^i; B 2 Pompey's 


Pompey's pillar, the obelifks, and Subterraneous citterns, 
are all the antiquities we find now in Alexandria; thefc 
have been defcribed frequently, ably, and minutely. 

The foliage and capital of the pillar are what feem ge- 
nerally to difpleafe ; the full is thought to have merited 
more attention than has been bellowed upon the capital. 

The whole of the pillar is granite, but the capital is of 
another ilone; and I fhould fufpecl: thofe rudiments of 
leaves were only intended to Support firmly leaves of me- 
tal * of better workmanfhip ; for the capital itfelf is near 
nine feet high, and the work, in proportionable leaves of 
ftone, would be not only very large, but, after being fimfh- 
ed, liable to injuries. 

This magnificent monument appears, in tafte, to be the 
work of that period, between Hadrian and Severus ; but, 
though the former erected feveral large buildings in the eaft, 
it is obferved of him he never put infcriptions upon them. 

This has had a Greek inscription, and I think may very 
probably be attributed to the time of the latter, as a monu- 
ment of the gratitude of the city of Alexandria for the be- 
nefits he conferred on them, efpecially fmce no ancient 
hiftory mentions its exiftence at an earlier period. 

I apprehend it to have been brought in a block from the 
Thebais in Upper Egypt, by the Nile ; though forne have 


* We fee many examples of fuch leaves both at Palmyra and Baalbec. 


imagined it was an old obelilk, hewn to that round form. 
It is nine feet diameter; and were it but 80 feet high, it 
would require a. prodigious obelifk indeed, that could ad- 
mit to be hewn to this circumference for fuch a length, fo 
as perfectly to efface the hieroglyphics that mull have been 
very deeply cut in the four faces of it. 

The tomb of Alexander has been talked of as one of the 
antiquities of this city. Marmol * fays he faw it in the year: 
1546. It was, according to him, a fmall houfe, in form of 
a chapel, in the middle of the city, near the church of St. 
Mark, and was called Efcander. 

The thing itfelf is not probable, for all thofe that made 
themfelves mailers of Alexandria, in the earliefl times, had^ 
too much refpect for Alexander, to have reduced his tomb 
to fo obfcure a flate. It would have been fpared even by. 
the Saracens ; for Mahomet fpeaks of Alexander with great 
refpecl, both as a king and a propter. The body was pre- 
ferred in a glafs coffin, in f Strabo's time, having been rob- 
bed of the golden one in which it was firfl depofited, 

The Greeks, for the moil part, are better inilrucled in the 
hiflory of thefe places than the Cophts, Turks, or Ghrifli- 
ans ; and, after the Greeks, the jews. 

As I was perfectly difguifed, having for many years worn 
the drefs of the Arabs, I was under no conflraint, but walked, 
through the town in all directions, accompanied by any of. 

thofe : 

* Marmol, lib. xi. cap. 14. p. 276. torn. 3, f Stobo, lib. xvii. p. 922.. 


thofe different nations I could induce to walk with me ; and, 
as I conftantly fpoke Arabic, was taken for a * Bedowe by- 
all forts of people ; but, notwithftanding the advantage this 
freedom gave me, and of which I daily availed myfelf, I 
never could hear a word of this monument from either 
Greek, Jew, Moor, or Chriftian. 

Alexandria has been often taken fmce the time of Cse- 
far. It was at laft deftroyed by the Venetians and Cypriots, 
upon, or rather after the releafe of St Lewis, and we may 
fay of it as of Carthage, Periere rulnce^ its very ruins appear 
no longer. 

The building of the prefent gates and walls, which fome 
have thought to be antique, does not feem earlier than the 
laft reftoration in the 13th century. Some parts of the gate 
and walls may be of older date ; (and probably were thofe of 
the laft Caliphs before Salidan) but, except thefe, and the 
pieces of columns which lie horizontally in different parts 
of the wall, every thing elfe is apparently of very late times, 
and the work has been huddled together in great hafte. 

It is in vain tjien to expect a plan of the city, or try to 
trace here the Macedonian mantle of Dinochares ; the 
very veftiges of ancient ruins are covered, many yards deep, 
by rubbiih, the remnant of the devaluations of later times. 
Cleopatra, were lhe to return to life again, would fcarcely 
know where her palace was iituated=, in this her own ca- 


* A peafant Arab, 


There is nothing beautifuFor pleafant in the prefent Alex- 
andria, but a handfome ilreet of modern honfes, where a 
very active and intelligent number of merchants live upon 
the miferable remnants of that trade, which made its glory- 
in the firft times, 

It is thinly inhabited, and there is a tradition among the 
natives, that, more than once,, it has been in agitation to -a- 
bandon it all together, and retire to Rofetto, or -Cairo, but 
that they have been withheld by the opinion of divers faints 1 
from Arabia, who have allured them, that Mecca 
Itroyed, (as it muft be as they think. by the Ruffians) Alex- 
andria is then to become the holy places, and that Mahomet's 
body is to be tranfported thither ; when that city is dd~ 
ftroyed, the fanctiiied reliques are to be tranfported to Cai~ 
rouan,in the kingdom of Tunis : laftly, from Cairouan they 
are to come to Rofetto, and there to remain till the con- 
f animation of all .things, which is not then to be at a greafe 

Ptolemy places his Alexandria in lat, 30 31 * and in roundU 
^ numbers in his almagefl, lat. 31 ° north. 

Our Profeflbr, Mr Greaves, one. of whofe errands into 
Egypt was to afcertain the latitude of this place, feems yet, 
from fome caufe or other, to have failed in it, for though 
ae had a brafo fextant of five feet radius, he makes the la- 
titude of Alexandria, from a mean of many obfervations, to 
be lat 31 ° 4 ; N. whereas the French aftronomers from the 
Academy of Sciences have fettled it at 3 1 ° 1 1 ' 20", fo between^ 
Mr Greaves and the French there is a difference of ? 7 2o y/ , 
which is too much, There is not any thing, in point of . 



fituation, that can account for this variance, as in the cafe of 
Ptolemy ; for the new town of Alexandria is built from call ' 
to weft ; and as all chrifcian travellers neceffarily make their 
observations now on the fame line, there cannot pombly 
be any difference from fituation. 

"Mr Niebuhr, whether from one or more obfervations lie 
does not fay, makes the latitude to be 31 12'. From a 
mean of thirty-three obfervations, taken by the three-feet 
quadrant I have fpoken of, I found it to be 31 ° 1 1 ' 16": So 
that, taking a medium of thefe three refults, you will have 
the latitude of Alexandria 31 n / 32 // , or, in round num- 
ber, 31 ii 7 30", nor do I think there poflibly can be 5" dif- 

By an eclipfe, moreover, of the firft fatellite of Jupiter, 
obferved on the 23d day of June 1769, I found its longi- 
tude to be 30 i^'^c/'eaft, from the meridian of Green- 

We arrived at Alexandria the 20th of June, and found 
that the plague had raged in that city and neighbourhood 
from the beginning of March, and that two days only be- 
fore our arrival people had begun to open their houfes 
and communicate with each other ; but it was no matter, 
St John's day was pq/l, the miraculous nucta, or dew, had 
fallen, and every body went about their ordinary bufmefs in 
iafety, and without fear. 

With very great pleafure I had received my inflruments 
at Alexandria. I examined them, and, by the perfect Hate 
In which they arrive d. knew the obligations I was under 



to my correfpondents and friends. Prepared now for any 
enterprife, I left with eagernefs the thread-bare inquiries 
into the meagre remains, of this once-famous capital of 

The journey to Rofetto is always performed by land, as 
the mouth of the branch of the Nile leading to Rofetto, call- 
ed the Bogaz*, is very mallow and dangerous to pafs, and 
often tedious ; befides, nobody wifhes to be a partner for 
any time in a voyage with Egyptian failors, if he can pof- 
fibly avoid it< 

The journey by land is alfo reputed dangerous, and 
people travel burdened with arms, which they are deter- 
mined never to ufe. 

For my part, I placed my fafety, in my difguife, and my 
^behaviour. We had all of us piflols at our girdles, againlt 
an extremity ; but our fire-arms of a larger fort, of which 
\ve had great ftore, were fent with our baggage, and other 
inftruments, by the Bogaz to Rofetto. I had a fmall lance*, 
called a Jerid, in my hand, my fervants were without any 
vilible arms. 

We left Alexandria in the afternoon, and about three 
miles before arriving at Ahoukeer, we met a man, in ap« 
pearance of fome confequence, going to Alexandria. 

Vol. I. G As 

* Means a narrow or fhallow entrance of a river from the ocean. 


As we had no fear of him or his party, we neither court- 
ed nor avoided them. We pafTed near enough, however, to 
give them the ufual falute, Salam Alicumy to which the 
leader of the troop gave no anfwer, but faid to one of his 
fervants, as in contempt, Bedowe! they are peafants, or coun- 
try' Arabs. I was much better pleafed with this token that 
we had deceived them, than if they had returned the falute 
twenty times. 

Some inconfiderable ruins are at Aboukeer, and feem to 
denote, that it was the former fituation of an ancient citv. 
There is here alfo an inlet of the fea ; and the diftance, fome- 
thing lefs than four leagues from Alexandria, warrants us 
to fay that it is Canopus, one of the moft ancient cities in 
the world ; its ruins, notwithstanding the neighbourhood 
of the branch of the Nile, which goes by that name, have 
not yet been covered by the increafe of the land of Egypt. 

At Medea,, which we fuppofe, by its diftance of near 
feven leagues, to be the ancient Heraclium, is the paftagc or 
ferry which terminates the fear of danger from the Arabs 
of Libya; and it is here *fuppofed the Delta, or Egypt, be- 

Dr Shawj- is obliged to confefs,, that between Alexandria 
and the Canopic branch of the Nile, few or no veftiges are 
fecn of the increafe of the land by the inundation of the 
river \ indeed it would have been a wonder if there had* 


* Herod, p. i©8, f Shaw's Travels p. 293*. 


Alexandria, and its environs, are part of the defert of 
Barca, too high to have ever been overflowed by the Nile, 
from any part Of its lower branches ; or elfe there would 
have been no neceffity for going fo high up as above Ro- 
fetto, to get level enough, to bring water down to Alexan- 
dria by the canal. 

Dr Shaw adds, that the ground hereabout may have been 
an ifland ; and fo it may, and fo may almoft any other 
place in the world ; but there is no fort of indication that it 
was fo, nor viable means by which it was formed. 

We faw no vegetable from Alexandria to Medea, excepting 
fome fcattered roots of Abfmthium ; nor were thefe luxu- 
riant, or promifing to thrive, but though they had not a 
very ftrong fmell, they were abundantly bitter ; and their 
leaves feemed to have imbibed a quantity of faline particles, 
with which the foil of the whole defert of Barca is ftrongly 

We faw two or three gazels, or antelopes, walking one by 
one, at feveral times, in nothing differing from the fpecies 
of that animal, in the defert <of Barca and Cyrenaicum ; 
and the * jerboa, another inhabitant "of thefe deferts ; but 
from the multitude of holes in the ground, which we faw 
at the root of almoft every plant of Abfmthium, we were 
very certain its companion, the j- Ceraftes, or horned viper, 
was an inhabitant of that country alfo. 

C 2 From 

See a figure of this animal in the Appendix. f See Appendix, 


Prom Medea, or the Pa{Tage, our road lay- through very dry 
fand ; to avoid which, and feek firmer footing, we were 
obliged to ride up to the bellies of our horfes in the fea. 
If the wind blows this quantity of dull: or fand into the Me- 
diterranean, it is no wonder the mouths of the branches of 
the Nile are choked up. 

All Egypt is like to this part of it, full 'of deep dull: and 
fand, from the beginning of March till the firil of the in- 
undation. It is this fine powder and fand, raifed and loofen- 
ed by the heat of the fun, and want of dew, and not being 
tied fait, as it were, by any root or vegetation, which the 
Nile carries off with it, and buries in the fea, and which 
many ignorantly fuppofe comes from Abyfhnia, where every 
river runs in a bed of rock. 

When you leave the fea^ you ftrike off nearly at right 
angles, and purfue your journey to the eaftward of north. 
Here heaps of ftone and trunks of pillars, are fet up to 
guide you. in your road; through moving fands, which 
Hand in hillocks in proper directions, and which conduct, 
you fafely to Rofetto, furrounded on one fide by thefc hills 
&f fand, which feem ready to cover it. 

Rosetto is upon that branch of the Nile which was call- 
ed the Bolbuttic Branch, and is about four miles from the 
fea. It probably obtained its prefent name from the Vene- 
tians, or Genoefe, who monopolized the trade of this coun- 
try, before the Cape of Good Hope was difcovered; for it 
is known to the natives by the name, of Raihid, by which 
is meant the Orthodox. 



The reafon of this If have already explained, it is fome 
time or other to be a fubftitute to Mecca, and to be bleffed 
with all that holinefs, that the poifeflion of the relicrues, o£ 
their prophet can give it. 

Dr Shaw* having always in his mind the ftrengthening 
of Herodotus's hypothefis, that Egypt is created by the Nile, fays, . 
that perhaps this was once a Gape, becaufe Rafhid has 
that meaning. But as Dr Shaw underflood Arabic perfectly 
w r ell r he mult therefore have known, that Rafhid has no 
fuch fignification in any of the Oriental Languages. Ras, 
indeed, is a head land, or cape \ but Ralht has no fuch fig- 
nification, and Rafhid a very different one, as I have al- 
ready mentioned* 

Rashid then, or Rofetto, is a large, clean, neat town, or 
village, upon the eaflern fide of the Nile. It is about three 
miles long, much frequented, by ftudious and religious 
Mahometans ; among thefe too are a coniiderable number of. 
merchants, it being the entrepot between Cairo and Alex- 
andria, and vice verfa ; here too the merchants have their 
factors, who fuperintend and watch over the merchandife 
which panes the Rcgaz to and from Cairo. 

There are many gardens, and much verdure, about' Ro- 
fetto; the ground is low, and retains long the • moifture it 
imbibes from' the overflowing of the Nile. Here alfo are 
many curious plants -and flowers, brought from different, 
countries, by Fakirs, and merchants. . Without this, Egypt, 


* Shaxr 'g Travels, p. 294. 



fubject to fuch long inundation, however it may abound 
in neceiTaries, could not boaft of many beautiful produc- 
tions of its own gardens, though flowers, trees, and plants, 
were very much in vogue in this neighbourhood, two hun- 
dred years ago, as we find by the obfervations of Profper 

The fludy and fearch after every thing ufeful or beau- 
tiful, which for fome time had been declining gradually, 
fell at lafl into total contempt and oblivion, under the 
brutal reign of thefe lafl Haves*, the moil infamous re- 
proach to the name of Sovereign. 

Rosetto is a favourite halting-place of the Chriftian tra- 
vellers entering Egypt, and merchants eflablifhed there. 
There they draw their breaths, in an imaginary increafe of 
freedom, between the two great links of tyranny, oppref- 
fion, and injuftice, Alexandria and Cairo. 

Rosetto has this good reputation, that the people are 
milder, more tradable, and lefs avaricious, than thofe of 
the two lan-mentioned capitals ; but I mull fay, that, in my 
time, I could not difcern much difference. 

The merchants, who trade at all hours of the day with 
Chriftians, are indeed more civilized, and lefs infolent, than 
the foldiery and the reft of the common people, which is 
the cafe every where, as it is for their own intereft ; but 


* The MamalukeiSeyg. 

/ . 


dieir priefts, and moullahs, their foldiers, and people living 
in the country, are. in point of manners, jufl as bad as the 

Rosetto is in lat. 31* 24' 15" N. ; it is the place where 
we embark for Cairo, which we accordingly did on June 
the 30th. 

There is a wonderful deal of talk at Alexandria of the 
danger of palling over the defert to Rofetto. The fame 
converfation is held here. After you embark on the Nile 
in your way to Cairo, you hear of pilots, and matters of 
veflels, who land you among robbers to fhare your plunder, 
and twenty fuch like ftories, all of them of old date, and 
which perhaps happened long ago, or never happened at 

But provided the government of Cairo is fettled, and you 
do not land at villages in itrife with each other, (in which 
circumitances no perfon of any nation is fafe) you muft be 
very unfortunate indeed, if any .great accident befal you be- 
tween Alexandria and Cairo. 

For, from the conflant intercourfe between thefe two ci- 
ties, and the valuable charge confided to thefe mailers of 
vefTels, they are all as well known, and at the leail as much 
under authority, as the boatmen on the river Thames ; and, 
if they mould have either killed, or robbed any perfon, it 
muft be with a view to leave the country immediately ; elfe 
either at Cairo, Rofetto, Fue, or Alexandria, wherever they 
were firfl caught, they would infallibly be hanged. 

v. i. c CHAP* 


& &"** ' ■ #g 

G H A P. II. 

Author s Reception at Cairo — Procures Letters from the Bey and the Greek 
Patriarch — Vifits the Pyramids— -Qbfervatioits on their Conjiruclion, 

IT was in the beginning of July we arrived at Cairo, re- 
commended to the very hofpitable houfe of Julian and 
Bertran, to whom I imparted my refolution of purfuing 
my journey into Abyffinia. 

The wildnefs of the intention feemed to ftrike them great- 
ly, on which account they endeavoured all they could to 
perfuade me againfl it, but, upon feeing me refolved, offer- 
ed kindly their moft effectual fervices,. 

As the government of Cairo hath always been jealous of 
this enterprife I had undertaken, and a regular prohibition 
had been often made by the Porte, among indifferent people, 
I pretended that my deftination was to India, and no one 
conceived any thing wrong in that. 

This intention was not long kept fecret, (nothing can be 
concealed at Cairo:) All nations, Jews, Turks, Moors, Cophts, 
and Franks, are conftantly upon the inquiry, as much after 
things that concern other people's bufinefs as their own. 

The plan I adopted was to appear in public as feldom as 
pofllble, unlefs difguifed ; and I foon was confidered as a 



Fakir, or Dervich, moderately fkilled in magic, and who cared 
for nothing but ftudy and books. 

This reputation opened me, privately, a channel for pur- 
chafmg many Arabic manufcripts, which the knowledge of 
the language enabled me to chufe, free from the load of 
tralh that is generally impofed upon Chriflian purchafers. 

The part of Cairo where the French are fettled is exceed- 
ingly commodious, and fit for retirement. It confifts of one 
long ftreet, where all the merchants of that nation live to- 
gether. It is fruit at one end, by large gates, where there 
is a guard, and thefe are kept conftantly clofe in the time of 
the plague. 

At the other end is a large garden tolerably kept, in which 
there are feveral pleafant walks, and feats; all the enjoy- 
ment that Chriftians can hope for, among this vile people, 
reduces itfelf to peace, and quiet ; nobody feeks for more. 
There are, however, wicked emiffaries who are conftantly em- 
ployed, by threats, lies, and extravagant demands, to tor- 
ment them, and keep them from enjoying that repofe„ 
which would content them inflead of freedom, and more 
folid happinefs, in their own country. 

I have always confidered the French at Cairo, as a num- 
ber of honeft, polilhed, and induftrious men, by fome fa- 
tality condemned to the gallies ; and I mull own, never did 
a fet of people bear their continual vexations with more 
fortitude and manlinefs. 

Vol. I, D Thei* 


Their own affairs they keep to themfelves, and, notwith- 
standing the bad profpect always before them, they never 
fail to put on a chearful face to a ftranger, and protect and 
help him to the utmoft of their power ; as if his little con- 
cerns, often ridiculous, always very troublefome ones, were 
the only charge they had in hand. 

But a more brutal, unjuft, tyrannical, oppreilive, avari- 
cious fet of infernal rnifcreants, there is not on earth, than 
are the members of the government of Cairo. 

There is alfo at Cairo a Venetian conful, and a houfe of 
that nation called Pint, all excellent people. 

The government of Cairo is much praifed by fome. It 
may perhaps have merit when explained, but I never could 
underitand it, and therefore cannot explain it 

It is faid to confift of twenty-four Beys ; yet its admirers 
could never fix upon one year in which there was that 
number. There were but feven when I was at Cairo, and 
one who commanded the whole. 

The Beys are underfloGd to be veiled with the fovereign 
power of the country ; yet fometimes a Kaya commands 
absolutely, and, though of an inferior rank, he makes his 
iervants, Beys or Sovereigns. 

At a time of peace, when Beys are contented to be on an 
eq^nlitv, and no ambitious one attempts to govern the 
whole, there is a number of inferior officers depending up- 
on each of the J3eys, fuch as Kayas, Schourbatchies, and 



the like, who are but fubje&s in refpecT to the Beys, yet ex- 
ercife unlimited jurifdiction over the people in the city, and 
appoint others to do the fame over villages in the. country. 

There are perhaps four hundred inhabitants in Cairo, who 
have abfolute power, and adminifter what they call jufiice ? 
in their own way, and according to their own views. 

Fortunately in my time this many-headed monfcer was 
no more, there was but one Ali Bey, and there was neither 
inferior nor fuperior jurifdiction exercifed, but by his offi- 
cers only. This happy ftate did not lafl long. In order to 
be a Bey, the perfon mufl have been a flave, and bought for 
money, at a -market. Every Bey has a great number of fer- 
vants, flaves to him, as he was to others before ; thefe are 
his guards, and thefe he promotes to places in his houfe- - 
hold, according as they are, qualified.., 

The fir ft cf thefe domeftic charges is that of hafnadar;,, 
or treafurer, who governs his whole houfehold ; and When- 
ever his matter the Bey dies, whatever number of children \ 
he may have, they never fucceed him; but this man mar-t- 
ries his wife, and inherits his dignity and fortune*. = 

The Bey is old, the wife is youngs fo is thehafnadar, upom 
whom fhe depends for every thing, and whom ihe muft .; 
look upon as the prefumptive hufband ; and thofe people 
who conceal, or confine their women, and are- jealous, up- 
on the moft remote occafion, never feel anyjealoufy for the 
probable confequences of this pafiion, from the exiitence of 
ftich connection, 

B'2; • _ It. 


It is very extraordinary, to find a race of men in power, 
all agree to leave their fucceffion to ftrangers, in preference 
to their own children, for a number of ages ; and that no 
one mould ever have attempted to make his fon fucceed him, 
either in dignity or eftate, in preference to a nave, whom 
he has bought for money like a beaft. 

The Beys themfelves have feldom children, and thofe 
they have, feldom live. I have heard it as a common obfer- 
vation, that Cairo is very unwholefome for young children 
in general ; the prostitution of the Beys from early youth 
probably give their progeny a worfe chance than thofe of 

The inftant that I arrived at Cairo was perhaps the only 
one in which I ever could have been allowed, fmgle and un- 
px'otected as I was, to have made my intended journey. 

Ali Bey, lately known in Europe by various narratives 
of the laft tranfadlions of his life, after having undergone 
many changes of fortune, and been banifhed by his rivals 
from his capital, at laft had enjoyed the fatisfaclion of a re- 
turn, and of making himfelf abfolute in Cairo. 

The Port had conftantly been adverfe to him, and he 
cherimed the ltrongeft refentment in his heart. He wiflied 
nothing fo much as to contribute his part to rend the Ot- 
toman empire to pieces. 

A favourable opportunity prefented itfelf in the Ruffian 
war, and Aii Bey was prepared to go all lengths in fup- 
port of that power. But never was there an expedition fo 



fuccefsful and fo diflant, where the officers were lefs in- 
ftrueted from the cabinet, more ignorant of the countries, 
more given to ufelefs parade, or more intoxicated with plea- 
fure, than the Ruffians on the Mediterranean then were. 

After the defeat, and burning of the Turkifh fquadron, 
upon the coaft of Alia Minor, there was not a fail appeared 
that did not do them homage. They were prope ly and 
advantageoully lituated at Paros, or rather, I mean, a fqua- 
dron of fhips of one half their number, would have been 
properly placed there. 

The number of Bafhas and Governors in Caramania, 
•very feldom in their allegiance to the Port, were then in ac- 
tual rebellion ; great part of Syria was in the fame fituation, 
down to Tripoli and Sidon ; and thence Shekh Daher, from 
Acre to the plains of Efdraelon, and to the very frontiers of 

With circumftances fo favourable, and a force fo tri- 
umphant, Egypt and Syria would probably have fallen 
difmembered from the Ottoman empire. But it was very 
plain, that the Ruffian commanders were not provided 
with inftructions, and had no idea how far their victory 
might have carried them, or how to manage thofe they 
had conquered. 

They had no confidential correfpondence with Ali Bey, 
though they might have fafcly milled him as he would 
have trailed them ; but neither of them were provided with 
proper negotiators, nor did they ever underltand one ano- 
ther till it was too late, and till their enemies, taking ad- 


vantage of their tardinefs, had rendered the firft and great 
fcheme impoffible, 

Carlo Rozetti, a Venetian merchant, a young man of 
capacity and intrigue, had for fome years governed the Bey 
abfolutely. Had fuch a man been on board the fleet with 
a commiflion, after receiving inftructions from Peterfburgh, , 
the Ottoman empire in. Egypt was at an end. 

The Bey, with all his good fe'nfe and underflanding, was 
Hill a mamaluke, and had the principles of a Have, . Three 
men of different religions pofTefTed his confidence and go- 
verned his councils all at a time. The one was a Greek, 
the other a Jew, and the third an Egyptian Copht, his fecre- 
tary. It would have required a great deal of difcernment : 
and penetration to have determined which of thefe was the, 
moft worthlefs, or moll likely to betray him, . 

The fecretary, whofe name was Rifk, had the addrefs to 
iupplant the other two at the time they thought themfelves 
at the pinnacle of their glory ; over-awing every Turk, and' 
robbing every Chriflian, the Greek was bammed from Egypt,- ; 
and the Jew baflinadoed to death. Such is the tenure of; 
Egyptian miniilers. 

Risk profeffed aflrology, and the Bey, like all other Turk's, ., 
believed in it. implicitely, and to this folly he faerificed his 
own good underflanding ; and Rifle,, probably in pay to Con-. 
ftantinople, led him from one. wild fcheme to another, tilh 
he undid, hinw-by the liars. 


The apparatus of inflruments that were opened at the 
cuflom-houfe of Alexandria, prepofTefled Rifk in favour of 
my fuperior knowledge in aflrology. 

The Jew, who was mailer of the cuflom-houfe, was not 
only ordered to refrain from touching or taking them out 
of their places {a great mortification to a Turkifh cuflom- 
houfe, where every thing is handed about and fhewn) but 
an order from the Bey alfo arrived that they fhould be fent 
to me without duty or fees, becaufe they were not merchan- 

I was very thankful for that favour, not for the fake of 
faving the dues at the cuilom-houfe, but becaufe I Was ex~ 
cufed from having them taken out of their cafes by rough 
and violent hands, which certainly would have broken fome- 

Risk waited upon me next day, and let me know from 
^vhom the favour came ; on which we all thought this was 
a hint for a prefent ; and accordingly, as I had other bufi- 
nefs with the Bey, I had prepared a very handfome one. 

But I was exceedingly aflonifhed when defiring to know 
the time when it was to be offered ; it not only was refufed, 
but fome few trifies were fent as a prefent from the fecre- 
tary with this mefTage : " That, when I had rcpofed, he 
*' would vifit me, defire to fee me make ufe of* thefe inftru- 
" ments ; and, in the mean time, that I might reft confident, 
" that nobody durft any way moleft me while in Cairo, for 
" I was under the immediate protection of the Bey." 



He added alfo, " That if I wanted any thing I mould fend 
" my Armenian fervant, Arab Keer, to him, without trou- 
" bling myfelf to communicate my ncceflities to the French, 
" or trufl my concerns to their Dragomen." 

Although I had lived for many years in friendmip and 
in conitant good undcrftanding with both Turks and Moors, 
there was fomething more polite and confiderate in this 
than I could account for. 

I had not feen the Bey, it was not therefore any particu- 
lar addrefs, or any prepoffemon in my favour, with which 
thefe people are very apt to be taken at firft fight, that could 
account for this ; I was an abfolute ftranger ; I therefore 
opened myfelf entirely to my landlord, Mr Bertram 

I told him my apprehenflon of too much fair weather 
in the beginning, which, in thefe climates, generally leads 
to a ftorm in the end ; on which account, I fufpected fome 
defign ; Mr Bertran kindly promifed to found Rifk for me. 

At the fame time, he cautioned me equally againfl offend* 
ing him, or trufling myfelf in his hands, as being a mam 
capable of the blackeft defjgns, and mercilefs in the execu- 
tion of them. 

It was not long before Rifk's curiofity gave him a fair 
opportunity. He inquired of Bertran as to my knowledge 
of the ffcars ; and my friend, who then faw perfectly the 
drift of all his conduct, fo prepofrefTed him in favour of my 
fuperior fcience, that he communicated to him in the in- 
ftant the great expectations he had formed, to be enabled 



>y me, to forefee the deftiny of the Bey; the fuccefs of the 
war ; and, in particular, whether or not he mould make 
himfelf mailer of Mecca ; to conquer which place, he was 
about to difpatch his Have and fon-in-law, Mahomet Bey A- 
bouDahab, at the head of an army conducting the pilgrims. 

Bertran communicated this to me with great tokens of 
joy : for my own part, I did not greatly like the profeflion 
of fortune-telling, where baftinado or impaling might be the 
reward of being niiftaken. 

But I was told I had moft credulous people to deal with, 
and that there was nothing for it but efcaping as long as 
poflible, before the ifliie of any of my prophecies arrived, 
and as foon as I had done my own bufinefs. 

This was my own idea likewife; I never faw a place 
I liked worfe, or which afforded lefs pleafure or inftrucrion 
than Cairo, or antiquities which lefs anfwered their defcrip- 


In a few days I received a letter from Rifle, defiring me 
to go out to the Convent of St George, about three miles 
from Cairo, where the Greek patriarch had ordered an 
apartment for me; that I fhould pretend to the French mer- 
chants that it was for the fake of health, and that there 
I fhould receive the Bey's orders. 

Providence feemed to teach me the way I was to go. 
I went accordingly to St George, a very folitary manfion, 
but large and quiet, very proper for ftudy, and ftill more for 

Vol. I. E executing 


executing a plan which I thought moll . neceiTary for m^ 

During my flay at Algiers, the Rev. Mr TOnyn, the king's 
chaplain to that factory, was abfent upon leave. The bigot- 
ted catholic priefts there neither marry, baptize,, nor bury 
the dead of thofe that are Proteftants. 

There was a Greek prieft, * Father Chriftopher, who con- 
ftantly had offered gratuitoufly to perform thefe functions. 
The civility, humanity, and good character of the man, led 
me to take him to refide at my country houfe, where I lived 
the greateil part of the year ; belides that he was of a chear- 
ful difpofition, I had pradlifed much with him both in 
fpeaking and reading Greek with the accent, not in ufe in 
our fchools, but without which that language, in the mouth 
of a ftranger, is perfectly unintelligible all over the Archi- 

Upon my leaving Algiers to go on my voyage, to Bar- 
bary, being tired of the place, he embarked on board avef- 
fel, and landed at Alexandria, from which foon after he was 
called to Cairo by the Greek patriarch Mark,, and made 
Archimandrites^ which is the fecond dignity in the Greek 
church under the patriarch. . He. too was well acquainted 
in the houfe of Ali Bey, where all were Georgian and Greek 
ilaves ; and it was at his felicitation that Rifk had defired 
the patriarch to fiirnifhr-me with an apartment in the, Con- 
vent of St George, . 


* Vid Lrrtroduciiqa, . 


The next day after my arrival I was furprifed by the viik 
of my old friend Father Chriftopher ; and, not to detain the 
reader with ufelefs circumftances, the intelligence of many 
vifits, which I mail comprehend in one, was, that there were 
many Greeks then in Abyflinia, all of them in great power, 
and fome of them in the firft places of the empire ; that they 
correfponded with the patriarch when oceafion offered, and, 
at all times, held him in fuch refpect, that his will, when 
dignified to them, was of the greateft authority, and that 
obedience was paid to it as to holy write 

Father Christopher took upon him, with the greateft 
readinefs, to manage the letters, and we digefted the plan 
of them ; three copie were made to fend feparate ways, 
and an admonitory letter to the whole of the Greeks then 
in Abyflinia, in form of a bull. 

By this the patriarch enjoined them as a penance, upon 
^hich a kind of jubilee was to follow, that, laying afide their 
pride and vanity, great fins with which he knew them much 
infeEled, and, inftead of pretending to put themfelves on a foot- 
ing with me when I mould arrive at the court of Abyflinia, 
they mould concur, heart and hand, in ferving me ; and 
that, before it could be fuppofed they had received inftruc- 
tions from me, they fhould make a declaration before the 
king, that they were not in condition equal to me, that I was 
a free citizen of a powerful nation, and fervant of a great king; 
that they were born flaves of the Turk, and, at belt, ranked 
but as would my fervant s; and that, in fact, one of their 
countrymen was in that flation then with me. 

E z After 


After having made that declaration publicly, and froiue 
fede, in prefence of their priefl,he thereupon declared to thern^ 
that all their pall fins were forgiven. 

All this the patriarch mofl willingly and chearfully per- 
formed. I faw him frequently when I was in Cairo ; and 
we had already commenced a great friendfhip and intimacy- 

In the mean-while, Rife fen t to me, one night about nine 
o'clock, to come to the Bey. I faw him then for the firft 
time. He was a much younger man than I conceived him 
to be; he was fitting upon a large fofa, covered with crim- 
fon-cloth of gold ; his turban, his girdle, and the head of 
his dagger, all thick covered with fine brilliants; one in his 
turban, that ferved to fupport a fprig of brilliants alfo, was 
among the largefl I had ever feem 

Hs entered abruptly into dif courfe. upon the war between 
Ruffia and the Turk, and afked me if I had calculated what 
would be the confequence of that war? I faid,, the Turks 
would be beaten by fea and land wherever they prefented 


AGAiN,Whether Conflantinople would be burned or taken? 
— I fa ; d,. Neither ; but peace would be made, after much 
bloodihed, with little advantage to either party,,- 

He clapped his hands together, and fworc an oath in 
Turkifh, then turned to Rifk, who flood before him, and 
faid,That will be fad indeed! but truth is truth, and God 

is mercifuk 



He offered me coffee and fweatmeats, promifed me his 
protection, bade me fear nothing, but, if any body wronged 
me, to acquaint him by Rifk. 

Two or three nights afterwards the Bey fent for me 
again. It was near eleven o'clock before I got admittance 
to him. 

I met thejaniffary Aga going out from him, and a num- 
ber of foldiers at the door. As I did not know him, I paf- 
fed him without ceremony, which is not ufual for any per- 
fon to do. Whenever he mounts on horfeback, as he was 
then juft going to do, he has abfolute power of life and 
death, without appeal, all over Cairo and its neighbour^ 

He flopt me juft at the threfhold, and afked one of the 
Bey's people who I was ? and was anfwered, " It is Hakim 
Englefe," the Englilh philofopher, or phyfician. 

He afked me in Turkiih, in a very polite manner, if I 
would come and fee him, for he was not well ? I anfwered 
him in Arabic, " Yes, whenever he pleafed, but could net 
then Hay, as I had received a meffage that the Bey was wait- 
ing." He replied in Arabic, " No, no ; go, for God's fake go ; 
any time, will- do. for me." 

The Bey was fitting, leaning forward, with a wax taper 
in one hand, and reading a fmall flip of paper, which he 
held clofe to his face. He feemed to have little light, or 
weak eyes ; nobody was near him ; his people had been all 
difmiffed, or were following the janiffary Aga out. 



He did not feem to obfervc me till I was clofe upon him, 
and ftarted when I faid, " Salami I told -him I came upon 
his meffage. He faid, I thank you, did 1 fend for you ? and 
without giving me leave to reply, went on, " O true, 1 did 
fo," and fell to reading his paper again. 

After this was over, he complained that he had been ill, 
that he vomited immediately after dinner, though he eat 
moderately ; that his ftomach was not yet fettled, and was 
afraid fomething had been given him to do him mifchief. 

I felt his pulfe, which was low, a- d weak ; but very little 
feverifh. I defired he would order his people to look if his 
meat was drefTed in copper properly tinned; I aflured him he 
■was in no danger, and infinuated that I thought he had been 
guilty of fome excefs before dinner; at which he fmiled, and 
faid to Rifk, who was ftanding by, " Afrite ! Afrite" ! he is a 
devil ! he is a devil ! I faid, If your ftomach is really uneafy 
from what you may have ate, warm fome water, and, if 
you pleafe, put a little green tea into it, and drink it till it 
makes you vomit gently, and that will give you eafe ; after 
which you may take a dim of ftrong coffee, and go to bed, 
or a glafs of fpirits, if you have any that are good. 

He looked furprifed at this propofal, and faid very calm- 
ly, " Spirits ! do you know I am a MuiTulman V But I, Sir, 
faid I, am none. I tell you what is good for your body, and 
have nothing to do with your religion, or your foul. He 
feemed vaftly diverted, and pleafed with my frankncfs, and 
only faid, " He fpeaks like a man." There was no word of 
die war, nor of the Rullians that night. I went home def- 



perately tired, and peevilh at being dragged out, on fo fool- 
ifh an errand. 

Next morning, his fecretary Rifk came to me to the con- 
vent. The Bey was not yet well ; and the idea ilill remain- 
ed that he had been poifoned. Rifk told me the Bey had 
great confidence in me. I afked him how the water had 
operated ? He faid he had not yet taken any of it, that he 
did not know how to make it, therefore he was come at 
the defire of the Bey, to fee how it was made. 

I immediately mewed him this, by infufmg fome greens 
tea in fome warm water. But this was not all, he modefl-- 
iy infinuated that I was to drink it, and fo vomit myfelf, in^ 
order tofhew him how to do with the Bey. 

I excused myfelf from being patient and phyfician ai£ 
the fame time, and told him, I would vomit Bim, which 
would anfwer the fame purpofe of inilruction; neither was - 
this propofal accepted, 

The old Greek prieft, Father Chriilopher* coming at the 
fame time, we both agreed to vomit the Father, who would 
not confent, but produced a Caloyeros, or young monk, and ? 
we forced him to take the water whether he would or not. 

As my favour with the Bey was now.eftabliffied by my ■ 
midnight interviews, I thought of leaving my folitary 
manfion at the convent. I defired Mr Rifk: to procure me 
peremptory letters of recommendation to Shekh Haman, . 
to the governor of Syene, Ibrim, and Berr, in Upper Egypt, 
I procured alfo the fame from the janinaries, to thefe three 



laft places^ as their garrifons are from that body at Cairo, 
which they call their Port. I had alfo letters from Ali Bey, 
to the Bey of Suez, to the SherrifTe of Mecca, to the Naybe 
(fo they call the Sovereign) of Mafuah, and to the king of 
Sennaar, and his minifler for the time being. 

Having obtained all my letters and difpatches, as well 
from the patriarch as from the Bey, I fet about preparing 
f jr my journey. 

Cairo is fuppofed to be the ancient Babylon*, at leafl part 
of it. It is in lat. 30 2 1 30'* north, and in long. 31 p i6 ! eaft, 
from Greenwich. I cannot affent to what is faid of it, that 
h is built in form of a crefcent. You ride round it, gar- 
dens and all, in three hours and a quarter, upon an afs., at 
an ordinary pace, which will be above three miles an hour. 

The Galiili f, or Amnis Trajanus, panes through the 
length of it, and fills the lake called Birket el Hadje, the 
firfl fupply of water the pilgrims get in their tirefome jour- 
ney to Mecca. 

On the other fide of the Nile, from Cairo, is Geeza, fo call- 
ed, as fome Arabian authors fay, from there having been 
a bridge there ; Geeza fignifies the Paflage. 

About eleven miles beyond this are the Pyramids, call- 
ed the Pyramids of Geeza, the defcription of which is in 


Ptol. Geo^raph, lib. 4 Cap. 5. f Shaw's travels p. 294, 


every body's hands. Engravings of them had been publifh- 
ed in England, with plans of them upon a large fcale, two 
years before I came into Egypt, and were fhewn me by Mr 
Bavidfon conful of Nice, whofe drawings they were. 

He k was too that difcovered the fmall chamber above 
the landing-place, after you afcend through the long gal- 
lery of the great Pyramid on your left hand, and he left 
the ladder by which he afcended, for the fatisfactron of 
other travellers. But there is nothing in the chamber fur- 
ther worthy of notice, than its having efcaped difcovery fo 
-many ages, 

I think it more extraordinary Hill, that, for fuch a time 
as thefe Pyramids have been known, travellers were con- 
tent rather to follow the report of the ancients, than to 
make ufe of their own eyes. 

Yet it has "been a conftant belief, that the Hones compo- 
sing thefe Pyramids have been brought from the * Libyan 
mountains, though any one who will take the pains to re- 
move the fand on the-fouth fide, will find the folid rock 
there hewn into fteps, 

And ki the roof of the large chamber, where the Sar- 
cophagus Hands,, as alfo in the top of the roof of the gallery, 
as you go up into that chamber, you fee large fragments 

Vol. I. F of 

* Herod, lib. 2, cap. 8, 


of the rock, affording an unanfwerable proof, that th'ofe 
Pyramids were once huge rocks, flanding where they now 
are ; that fonie of them, the molt proper from their form, 
were chofen for the body of the Pyramid, and the others 
hewn intofleps, to ferve for the fuperftructure, and the ex^ 
terior parts of them. 




6WI/61 ////f> 

uywJcr// . 

-Lo/idon 2\d?fyKdJ)e£. r / se /~<5't/ ■ 61/ £Ifol>inson 8c G? ■ 




Leaves Cairo — Embarks on the Nile for Upper Egypt* — Viftts Metrahenny 
and Mohannan——Reafons for fuppofing this thefttuation of Memphis. 

HAVING now provided every thing necenary, and taken a 
rather melancholy leave of our very indulgent friends, 
who had great apprehenfions that we fhould never return; 
and fearing that our flay till the very excemve heats were 
paft, might involve us in another difficulty, that of mif- 
fing the Etefian winds, we fecured a boat to carry us to Fur* 
Ihout, therefidence ofHamam, the Shekh of Upper Egypt. 

This fort of vefTel is called a Canja, and is one of the 
moll commodious ufed on any river, being fafe, and expedi- 
tious at the fame time, though at firft light it has a llrong 
appearance of danger. 

That on which ~we embarked was about 100 feet from 
Hern to flem, with two mails, main and foremail, and two 
monflrous Latine fails ; the main-fail yard being about 200 
feet in length. 

The flru6ture of this vefTel is eafily conceived, from the 
jdraught, plan, and fecflion. It is about 30 feet in the beam* 
and about 90 feet in keel, 

The keel is not flraight, but a portion of a parabola whofe 
•curve is almofl infenfible to tjfe eye. But it has this good 

F 2 effect 


effect in failing, that whereas the bed of the Nile, when the 
water grows low, is full of fand banks under water, the keel 
under the ilem, where the curve is greatefl, firfl ilrikes up- 
on thefe banks, and is fail, but the reft of the fhip is afloat ;. 
fo that by the help of oars, and afliitance of the ilream, 
furling the fails, you get eafily off; whereas, was the keel 
ftraight, and the veiTel, going with the preiTure of that im- 
menfe main-fail, you would be fo fail upon the bank as to 
lie a wreck for ever.. 

Th i s yard and fair is never lowered. The failors- climbr and 
furLit as it ilands. When they fhift the fail, they do it with 
a thick ilick like, a quarter ilaff, which they calL a nobeot, put 
between the laihing of the yard and the fail ; they then twiffc 
this Hick round till the fail and yard turn over to the. fide re- 

When I fay tlie yard andfail are never lowered, Imean \ 
while we are getting up the ilream, before the wind ; for, 
otherwife, when the veiTel returns, they take out the maf\ 
lay down the yards, and put by their fails, fo that the; 
boat defcends like a wreck broadfide forwards ; otherwife 9 \ 
being fo heavy a-loft, were fhe to touch with her ilem go* 
ing down the ilream, ihe could not fail to carry away her v 
mails, and perhaps be ilaved to pieces. 

> The cabin has a very decent and agreeable dining-room^ 
about twenty feet fquare^ with windows that have clofe 
and latticed ihutters, fa that you may, open them at will 
in the day-time, and enjoy the frefhnefs of the air; but? 
great care muft be taken to keep thefe Ihut at night. 

4 certain 

\ Km/a seirat ' toyffar ho/muS ruu/tna . 



'//v//^/// ry /7/r ( ft////?/; 

Zondon Fu///i//i// Dec r / J 'i?rty ■ 7w <£ TtoTrinson ic Co . 


A certain kind of robber, peculiar to the Nile* is con- 
ftantly on the watch to rob boats, in which they fuppofe 
the crew are off their guard. They generally approach the 
boat when it is calm, either fwimming under water, or when 
it is dark, upon goats fkins ; after which, they mount with 
the utmoft fllence, and take away whatever they can lap 
their hands om 

They are not very fond, I am told, of meddling with ve£ 
fels whereon they fee Franks, or Europeans, becaufe by- 
them fome have been wounded with fire-arms. 

The attempts are generally made when you are at -anchor^; 
or under weigh, at night, in very moderate weather ; but 
oftenell when you are falling down the ftream without 
malls ; for it requires, ftrengtli, vigour, and* fkill, to get 
aboard a veiTel going before a brifk wind ; though indeed 
they are abundantly provided with all thefe requifites. 

Behind the dining-room (that is, nearer the Hern,) youi 
have a bed-chamber ten feet long, and a place for putting' 
your books and arms. With the latter we were plentiful- 
ly f applied, both- with thofe of the ufeful kind, and thofe 
(fuch as large blunderbufies,) meant to ftrike terror. We had' 
great abundance of ammunition likewife, both for our de-~ 
fence and fport. 

With books we were lefs fumimed, yet our library was* 
efafen, and a very dear one ; for, finding how much my bag- 
gage was increafed by the accemon of* the large quadrant 
and its foot, and Dolland's large achromatic teiefcope, I be-*- think it folly to load myfelf more with things to he* 



carried on mens moulders through a country full of moun- 
tains, which it was very doubtful whether I fhould get li- 
berty to enter, much more be able to induce favages to car- 
ry thefe incumbrances for me. 

To reduce the bulk as much as poflible, after confider- 
ing in my mind what were likeliefl to be of fervice to me 
in the countries through which I was paffing, and the feve- 
ral inquiries I was to make, I fell, with fome remorfe, upon 
garbling my library, tore out all the leaves which I had 
marked for my purpofe, deflroyed fome editions of very 
rare books, rolling up the needful, and tying them by them- 
felves. I. thus reduced my library to a more compact form. 

It was December 12th when I embarked on the Nile at 
Bulac, on board the Canja already mentioned, the remain- 
ing part of which needs no defcription, but will be under- 
ftood immediately upon infpection. 

At firft we had the precaution to apply to our friend Rifk 
concerning our captain Hagi Haffan Abou Cufli, and we ob- 
liged him to give his fon Mahomet in fecurity for his be- 
haviour towards us. Our hire to Furfhout was twenty-feven 
patakas, or about L. 6 : 15 : o Sterling. 

There was nothing fo much we defired as to be at fome 
diftance from Cairo on our voyage. Bad affairs and extor- 
tions always overtake you in this deteflable country, at the 
very time when you are about to leave it. 

The wind was contrary, fo we were obliged to advance 
againft the ftream, by having the boat drawn with a rope. 


We were furprifed to fee the alacrity with which two 
young Moors beftirred themfelves in the boat, they fupplied 
the place of mailers, companions, pilots, and feamen to us. 

Our Rais had not appeared, and I did not augur much 
good from the alacrity of thefe Moors, fo willing to proceed 
without him. 

However, as it was conformable to our own wifhes, we 
encouraged and cajoled them all we could. We advanced 
a few miles to two convents of Cophts, called Deireteen*. 

Here we flopped to pafs the night, having had a fine 
view of the Pyramids of Geeza and Saccara, and being then 
in fight of a prodigious number of others built of white 
clay, and flretching far into the defert to the fouth-wefl. 

Two of thefe feemed full .as large as thofe that are call- 
ed the Pyramids of Geeza. One of them was of a very ex- 
traordinary form, it feemed as if it had been intended at 
firfl to be a very large one, but that the builder's heart or 
means had failed him, and that he had brought it to a very 
mif-fhapen difproportioned head at laft. 

We were not a little difpleafed to find, that, in the firfl 
promife of punctuality our Rais had made, he had difap- 
pointed us by abfenting himfelf from the boat. The fear 
of a complaint, if we remained near the town, was the rea- 
fon why his fervants had hurried us away ; but being now 


* This has been thought to mean the Convent of Figs, but it only fignifies the Two Convents,, 


out of reach, as they thought, their behaviour was entirely 
changed ; they fcarce deigned to fpeak to us, but fmoked 
their pipes, and kept up a converfation bordering upon ri- 
dicule and infolence. 

On the fide of the Nile, oppofite to our boat, a little far- 
ther to the fouth, was a tribe of Arabs encamped. 

These are fubject to Cairo, or were then at peace with its 
government. They are called Howadat, being a part of the 
Atouni, a large tribe that pofTefTes the Ifthmus of .Suez, and 
from that go up between the Red Sea and the mountains 
that bound the eaft part of the Valley of Egypt, They reach 
to the length of CofTeir, where they border upon another 
large tribe called Ababde, which extends from thence up 
into Nubia. 

Both thefe are what were anciently called Shepherds •, and 
are now conftantly at war with each other. 

The Howadat are the fame that fell in with Mr Irvine* 
in thefe very mountains, and conducted him fo generoufly 
and fafely to Cairo. Though little acquainted with the man- 
ners, and totally ignorant of the language of his conduc- 
tors, he imagined them to be, and calls them by no other 
name, than " the Thieves" 

One or two of thefe draggled down to my boat to feek 
tobacco and coffee, when I told them, if a few decent men 


* See Mjjjrvine's Letters 


among them would come on board, I lhould make them 
partakers of the coffee and tobacco I had. Two of them 
accepted the invitation, and we prefently became great 

I remembered, when in Barbary, living with the tribes 
of Noile and Wargumma (two numerous and powerful clans 
of Arabs in the kingdom of Tunis) that the Howadat, or 
Atouni, the Arabs of the Ifthmus of 3uez, were of the fame 
family and race with one of them. 

I even had marked this down in my memorandum-hook* 
but it happened not to be at hand ; and I did not really re- 
member whether it was to the Noile or Wargumma they 
were friends, for thefe two are rivals, and enemies, fo in 
a miftake there was danger. I, however, caft about a little 
to difcover this if poffible; and foon, from difconrfe and 
circumftances that came into my mind, I found it was the 
Noile to whom thefe people belonged ; fo we foon were fa- 
miliar, and as our converfation tallied fo that we found we 
were true men, they got up and infilled on fetching one of 
their Shekhs. 

I told them they might do fo if they pleafed ; but they 
were full bound to perform me a piece of fervice, to which 
they willingly and readily offered themfelves. I dcfired, that s 
early next morning, they would have a boy and horfe ready 
to carry a letter to Riik, Ali Bey's fecretary, and I would give 
him a piafler upon bringing back the anfwer. 

This they inftantly engaged to perform, but no fooner 

were they gone a-fhore, than, after a fhort council held to- 

Vol. I. G gether, 


getlier, one of our laughing boat-companions flolc off on- 
foot, and, before day, I was awakened by the arrival, of our 
Raxs Abou Cunx, and his fon Mahomet. 

Abou Cuffi was drunk, though a Sherrlffe^ a Mzgi, and half 
a Saint befides,, wlio never tailed fermented liquor, as he told 
me when I hired him. — The fon was terrified out of his wits. 
He faid he mould have been impaled, had the meffenger 
arrived ; and, feeing that I fell upon- means to keep open 
a correfpondenec with Cairo, he told me he would -not run 
the rifk of being furety, and of going back to Cairo to an- 
fwer for his father's faults, leafl, one day or another, upon 
fome complaint of that kind, he might be taken out of his 
bed and baftinadoed to death, without knowing what his 
offence was. 

An altercation enfued; the father declined flaying- upon 
pretty much- the fame reafons, and I was very happy to find 
that Rifk had dealt roundly with them, and that I was ma- 
iler of the firing upon which I could touch) their fears. 

They then both agreed to go the voyage, for none of 
them thought it very fafe to flay ; and I was glad to get 
men of fome fubflance along with me, rather than trull 
to hired vagabond fervants, which I efteemed the two Moors 
to be. 

As the Shekh of the Howadat and I had vowed friend- 
fhip, he offered to carry me to CofTeir by land, without any 
expence, and in perfedt fafety, thinking me diffident of my 
boatmen, from what had pafled. 



I thanked him for this friendly offer, which I am per* 
fuaded I might have accepted very fafely, but I contented 
myfelf with defiring, that one of the Moor fervants in the 
boat mould go to Cairo to fetch Mahomet Abou Cuni's fon's 
cloaths, and agreed that I mould give five patakas additional 
hire for the boat, on condition that Mahomet fhould go with 
us in place of the Moor fervant, and that Abou Cun% the 
father and faint (that never drank fermented liquors) mould 
be allowed to fleep himfelf fober, till his fervant the Moor 
returned from Cairo with his fon's cloaths., v 

In the mean time, I bargained -with the Shekh of the 
Howadat to furnifh me with horfes to go to Metrahenny or 
Mohannan, where once he faid Mimf had flood, a large city, 
the capital of all Egypt. 

All this was executed with great fuccefs. Early in the 
morning the Shekh of the Howadat had pafled at Miniel, 
where there is a ferry, the Nile being very deep, and attend- 
ed me with five horfemen and a fpare horfe for myfelf, at 
Metrahenny, fouth of Miniel, where there is a great planta- 
tion of palm-trees. 

The 13th, in the morning about eight o'clock, we let out 
our vaft fails, and pafTed a very confiderable village called 
Turra, on the eaft fide of the river, and Shekh Atman, a fmall 
village, confifting of about thirty houfes, on the weft 

The mountains which run from the caftle to the eaftward 
of fouth-eaft, till they are about five miles dift&nt from the 
Nile eaft and by north of this ftation, approach again the 
banks of the river, running in a direction fcutli and by 

G 2 weft, 


weft, till they end clofe on the banks of the Nile about 

The Nile here is about a quarter of a mile broad ; and" 
there cannot be the fmalleft doubt, in any perfon difpofed 
to be convinced, that this is by very far *the narrowed part 
of Egypt yet fcen. For it certainly wants of half-ar-mile be- 
tween the foot of the mountain and the Libyan more, which 
cannot be faid of any other part of Egypt we had yet come 
to ; and it cannot be better defcribed than it is by f Hero- 
dotus ; and " again, oppoftte to the Arabian fide, is another 
" ftony mountain of Egypt towards Libya, covered with. 
" fand, where are the Pyramids." 

As this, and many other circumftances to be repeated 
in the fequel, muft naturally awaken the attention of the 
traveller to look for the ancient city of Memphis here, I left 
our boat at ShekhAtman,. accompanied by the Arabs, point- 
ing nearly fouth. We entered a large and thick wood of 
palm-trees, whofe greateft extenfion feemed, to be fouth by 
caft. We continued in this courfe till we came to one, and 
then to feveral large villages, all built amongthe plantation- 
of date-trees, fo as fcarce to be feen. from the fhore. 

These villages are called Metrahenny, a word from the. 
etymology of which I can derive no< information, and leav- 
ing the river, we continued due weft to the plantation that 
is called Mohannan, which, as far as I know, has no figni^ 
fication either. 


* Herod, lib. if.. p. 99. f Herod, lib. ii. cap. 8» 


All to the fouth, in this defert, are vaft numbers of Py- 
ramids ; as far as I could'difcern, all of clay, fome fo dis- 
tant as to appear juft in the horizon. 


Having gained the wefternedge of the palm-trees at Mo- 
hannan, we have a fair view of the Pyramids at Geeza, which 
lie in a direction nearly S. W. As far as I can compute the 
diflance, I think about nine miles, and as near as it was 
poffible to judge by light, Metrahenny, Geeza, and the cen- 
ter of the three Pyramids, made an Ifofceles triangle, or 
nearly fo. 

I asked the Arab what he thought of the diflance ? whe- 
ther it was fartheft to Geeza, or the Pyramids ? He faid, 
they were foivah, fcrwab, juft alike, he believed ; from Me- 
trahenny to the Pyramids perhaps might be fartheft, but he 
would much fooner go it, than along the coaft to Geeza, be- 
caufe he mould be interrupted by meeting with water. 

All to the weft and fouth of Mohannan, we faw great 
mounds and heaps of rubbifh, and califhes that were not of 
any length, but were lined with ftone, covered and choked 
up in many places with earth. 

We faw three large granite pillars S. W. of Mohannan^ 
and a piece of a broken cheft or ciftern of granite ; but no 
obelifks, or ftones with hieroglyphics, and we thought the 
greateft part of the ruins feemed to point that way, or 
more foutherly. 

These, our conductor faid, were the ruins of Mimf, the an- 
cient feat of the Pharaohs kings of Egypt, that there was 
v. i. g another 


another Miffif, far down in the Delta, by which he meant* 
Menouf, below Terrane and Batn el Baccara*. . 

Perceiving now that I could get no further intelligence, 
I returned with my kind guide, whom 1 gratified for his ._ 
pains, and we parted content with each other. 

In the fands I faw a number of hares. He faid, if I 
would go with him to a place near Faioume, I mould kill 
half a boat- load of them in a day, and. antelopes likewife* 
for he knew where to get dogs ; mean- while he invited 
me to moot at them there, which I did not choofe ; for, 
palling very quietly among the date-trees, I wiilied not 
to invite further curiofity. 

All the people in the date villages feemed to be of a 
yellower and more fick-like colour, than any I had ever feen; . 
befides, they had an inanimate, deje6ted, grave countenance, 
and feemed rather to avoid, than wifh any converfation 

It was near four o'clock in the afternoon when we re* 
turned to our boatmen. By the way we met one of our 
Moors, who told us they had drawn up the boat oppolite 
to the northern point of the palm-trees of Metrahenny. 

My Arabinfifted to attend me thither, and, upon his arrival, , 
I made him fome trifling prefents, and then took my leave. 

In the evening I received a prefent of dry dates, and fome 
fugar cane, which does not grow here, but had been brought 


* See the Chart of the Nile. 


to the Shekh by fame of his friends, from fome of the vil- 
lages up the river. 

The learned Dr Pococke, as far as I know, is the firft 
European traveller that ventured to go out of the Beaten 
path, and look for Memphis, at Metrahenny andMohannan. 

Dr Shaw, who in judgment, learning, and candour, is 
equal to Dr Pococke, or any of thofe that have travelled into 
Egypt, contends warmly for placing it at Geeza. 

Mr Niebuhr, the Danifh traveller, agrees with Dr Pococke, 
I believe neither Shaw nor Niebuhr were ever at Metra- 
henny, which Dr Pococke and myfelf vifited - x though alL 
of us have beert often enough at Geeza, and I muft con- 
fefs, Urongly as Dr Shaw has. urged his arguments, I can- 
not confider any- o£ the reafons for placing. Memphis ats* 
Geeza as convincing, and very few of them that do not go- 
to prove jufl the contrary in favour of Metrahenny,. 

Bfeore I enter into the argument, I mull premife, that 
Ptolemy, if he is good for any thing, if he merits the hun- 
dredth part of the pains that have been taken with him by 
his commentators, rauft furely be. received as a competent, 
authority in this cafe. 

The inquiry is intQ the pofition of the old capital of E- 
gypt, not fourfcore miles from the place where he was 
writing, and immediately in dependence upon it. And 
therefore, in dubious cafes, I mall have no doubt to refer to 
bimas deferving the greateft credit, 



Dr Pococke * fays, that the fituation of Memphis was at 
Mohannan, or Metrahenny, becaufe Pliny fays the f Pyra- 
mids were' between Memphis and the Delta, as they certain- 
ly are, if Dr Pococke is right as to the fituation of Memphis. 

Dr Shaw does not undertake to anfwer this direct evi- 
dence, but thinks to avoid its force by alledging a contrary 
fentiment of the fame Pliny, " that the Pyramids J lay be- 
tween Memphis and the Arfmoite nome, and confequently, 
as Dr Shaw thinks, they mult be to the wellward of Mem- 

Memphis, if iituated at Metrahenny, was in the middle of 
the Pyramids, three of them to the N. W. and above three- 
score of them to the fouth. 

When Pliny faid that the Pyramids were between Mem- 
phis and the Delta, he meant the three large Pyramids, com- 
monly called the Pyramids of Geeza, 

But in the laft inftance, when he fpoke of the Pyramids 
of Saccara, or that great multitude of Pyramids fouth ward, 
he faid they were between Memphis and the Arfmoite nome; 
and fo they are, placing Memphis at Metrahenny. 

For Ptolemy gives Memphis 29 50' in latitude, and the 
Arfmoite nome 29 30' and there is 8 7 of longitude betwixt 
them. Therefore the Arfmoite nome cannot be to the weft, 
either of Geeza or Metrahenny ; the Memphitic nome ex- 

* jfococke, vol, I. cap. v. p. 39. fPlin. lib, 5, cap. 9. J Plin. lib. 36. cap. 12. 


cends to the weftward, to that part of Libya called the Scy- 
thian Region ; and fouth of the Memphitic nome is the Ar- 
finoite nome, which is bounded on the weftward by the fame 
part of Libya. 

To prove that the latter opinion of Pliny fliould outweigh 
the former one, Dr Shaw cites *Diodorus Siculus, who fays 
Memphis was moil commodioufly fituated in the very key, 
or inlet of the country, where the river begins to divide itfelf 
into feveral branches, and forms the Delta. 

I cannot conceive a greater proof of a man being blind- 
ed by attachment to his own opinion, than this quotation. 
For Memphis was in lat. 29 ° 50', and the point of the Delta 
was in 30 , and this being the latitude of Geeza, it cannot be 
that of Memphis. That city muft be fought for ten or eleven 
miles farther fouth. 

If, as Dr Shaw fuppofes, it was nineteen miles round, 
and that it was five or fix miles inbreadth, its greateft breadth 
would probably be to the river. Then 1 o and 6 make 1 6, 
which will be the latitude of Metrahenny, according to f Dr 
Shaw's method of computation. 

But then it cannot be faid that Geeza is either in the key- 
or inlet of the country ; all to the weftward of Geeza is plain, , 
and defert, and no mountain nearer it on the other fide than... 
the caftle of Cairo. 

Vol. I. H Dr 

DiccL. Sic. p. 45. § 50.- f3Iiaw's T.avels, p. 295. in t'-clatiturie. quoted. 


Dr Shaw* thinks that this is further confirmed by Pliny's 
faying that Memphis was within fifteen miles of the Delta. 
Now if this was really the cafe, he fuggefts a plain reafon, if 
he relies on ancient meafures, why Geeza, that is only ten 
miles, cannot be Memphis. 

If a perfon, arguing from meafures, thinks he is intitled 
to throw away or add, the third part of the quantity that he 
is contending for, he will not be at a great flrefs to place 
thefe ancient cities in what iituation he pleafes. 

Nor is it fair for Dr Shaw to fuppofe quantities that never 
did exift ; for Metrahenny, inftead of f forty, is not quite 
twenty-feven miles from the Delta ; fuch liberties would 
confound any queftion. 

The Doctor proceeds by faying, that heaps of ruins J alone 
are not proof of any particular place ; but the agreeing of the 
diflances between Memphis and the Delta, which is a fixed 
and flanding boundary, 1; ing at a determinate diflance 
from Memphis, muft be a proof beyond all exception ||. 

If I could have attempted to advife Dr Shaw, or have had 
an opportunity of doing it, I would have fuggefled to him, as 
one who has maintained that all Egypt is the gift of the Nile, 
not to fay that the point of the Delta is a flanding and deter- 
mined boundary that cannot alter. The inconfiflency is 
apparent, and I am of a very contrary opinion. 


Shawls Travels, cap. 4. p. 2.98. fid. ibid. 299. ^ Id ibid. || Id. ibid. 


Babylon, or Cairo, as it is now called, is fixed by the Ca- 
iifh or Amnis Trajanus palling through it. Ptolemy * fays 
fo, and Dr Shaw fays that Geeza was oppofite to Cairo, or in: 
a line eaft and well from it, and is the ancient Memphis.- 

Now, if Babylon is lat. 30 , and fo is Geeza, they may be 
oppoiite to one another in a line, of eaft and weft. But if 
the latitude of Memphis is 29 50 7 , it cannot be at Geeza,- 
which is oppofite to Babylon r but ten miles farther fouth,. 
in which cafe it cannot be oppoiite to Babylon or Cairo. 
Again, if the. point of the Delta be in lat. 30 , Babylon, or 
Cairo, 3o Q y jmd Geeza be 30 , then the point of the Delta: 
cannot be ten miles from Cairo or Babylon, or ten miles, 
from Geeza.. 

It is ten miles from Geeza, and ten miles from Babylon ? 
or Cairo, and therefore the diftances do not agree as Dr 
Shaw fays they do , nor can the point of the Delta x as he 
fays, be a permanent boundary coniiftently with his own' 
figures and thofe of Ptolemy, but it mult have been warned" 
away, or gone io 7 northward; for Babylon, as he fays, is 
a certain boundary fixed by the Amnis Trajanus, and, fuppo- 
fing the Delta had been a fixed boundary, and in lat. 30 , 
then the diftance of fifteen miles would juft have made up 
the fpace that Pliny fays was between that point and Mem- 
phis, if we fuppofe that great city was at Metrahenny. - 

I shall fay nothing as to his next argument in relation 
to the diftance of Geeza from the Pyramids ; becaufe, ma- 
ll 2, king 

*'Ptol. Geograph. lib. iv. cap. 5.;- 


king the fame fuppofitions, it is juft as much in favour of 
one as of the other. 

His next argument is from * Herodotus, who fays, that 
.Memphis lay under the fandy mountain of Libya, and that 
this mountain is a ftony mountain covered with fand, and 
is oppofite to the Arabian mountain. 

Now this furely cannot be called Geeza ; for Geeza is 
under no mountain, and the Arabian mountain fpoken of 
here is that which comes clofe to the ihore atTurra. 

Diodorus fays, it was placed in the flraits or narrow- 
eft part of Egypt ; and this Geeza cannot be fo placed, for, 
by Dr Shaw's own confeffion, it is at leaft twelve miles from 
Geeza to the fandy mountain where the Pyramids Hand on 
the Libyan fide ; and, on the Arabian fide, there is no moun- 
tain but that on which the cafile of Cairo Hands, which 
chain begins there, and runs a confiderable way into the 
defert, afterwards pointing fouth-weft, till they come fo near 
to the eaftern more as to leave no room but for die river at 
Turra ; fo that, if the caufe is to be tried by this point only, 
i am very confident that Dr Shaw's candour and love of 
truth would have made him give up his opinion if he had 
vifited Turra. 

The laft authority I mall examine as quoted by Dr Shaw, 
is to me fo decifive of the point in queflioo, that, were I wri- 
ting to thofe only who are acquainted with Egypt, and tha 
navigation of the Nile, I would not rely upon another. 


■■- i ,, „■ .,. .I,.,, ■ ■ . ■ 1 1 i . . . . . I, - - ■ | _ ^ ^^^ 

*Herod. lib. ii. p. 141. Ibid. p. 168. Ibid. p. ioj. Ibid. p. 103. Edit. Steph. 



Herodotus* fays, "At the time of the inundation, the 
Egyptians do not fail from Naucratis to Memphis by the 
•" common channel of the river, that is Cercafora, and the 
" point of the Delta, but over the plain country, along the 
" very fide of the Pyramids.'* 

Naucratis was on the weft fide of the Nile, about lat, 
3o 30' let us fay about Terrane in my map. They then 
failed along the plain, out of the courfe of the river, upon 
the inundation, clofe by the Pyramids, "whatever fide they 
pleafed, till they came to Metrahenny, the ancient Mem- 

The Etefian wind, fair as it could blow, forwarded their 
courfe whilft in this line. They went directly before the 
wind, and, if we may fuppofe, accomplifhed the navigation 
in a very few hours ; having been provided with thofe barks, 
or canjas, with their powerful fails., which I have already 
defcribed, and, by means of which, they fhortened their 
pafTage greatly, as well as added pleafure to it. 

But very different was the cafe if the canja was going 
to Geeza. 

They had nothing to do with the Pyramids, nor to come 
within three leagues of the Pyramids; and nothing can be 
more contrary, both to fact: and experience, than that they 
would fhorten their voyage by failing along the fide of 
them ; for the wind being at north and north-weft as fair- 
as ponlble for Geeza, they had nothing to do but to keep 


*Herod. lib.ii. $97-p> 123 


as direct upon it as they could lie. But if, as Dr Shaw thinks,, 
they made the Pyramids firfl, I would wifh to know in what 
manner they conducted their navigation to come down up- 
on. Gceza. 

Their vefTels go only before the wind, and they had a 
ilrong fleady gale almoft directly in their teeth. 

They had no current to help them ; for they were in ilill 
water ; and if they did not take down their large yards and 
fails, they were fo top-heavy, the wind had fa much purchafe 
upon them above, that there was no alternative, but, either 
with fails or without, they muft make for Upper Egypt ;.; 
and there, entering into the iiril practicable califh that was> 
full, get into the main ftream. 

But their dangers were not ilill over, for, going clowrk 
with a violent current, and with their Handing, rigging up, 
the moment they touched the banks, their mails and yards 
would go overboard, and, perhaps, the veffel Have to pieces. 

Nothing would then remain, but for fafety^s fake to ilrike: 
their mails and yards, as they always do when they go down, 
the river ; they muft lie broadfide forernoft, the ilrong wind! 
blowing perpendicular, on one iide of the veffel, and the vio- 
lent current pufhing it in a contrary direction on the other j, 
while a man, with a long oar, balances the advantage the wind; 
has of the ilream, by the hold it has of the cabin and upper, 

This would moil infallibly be the cafe of the voyage from. 
Maueratis, unlefs in itriving to fail by tacking, (a manoeuvre 



of which their vefTel is not capable) their canja mould over- 
fet, and then they muft all perilh. 

If Memphis was Metrahenny, I believe mofl people who 
had leifure would have tried the voyage from Naucratis by 
-the plain. They would have been carried ftraight from north 
to fouth. But Dr Shaw is exceedingly miftakcn, if he thinks 
there is any way fo expeditious as going up the current of 
the river. As far as I can guefs, from ten to four o'clock, 
"we feldom went lefs than eight miles in the hour, againft 
a current that furely ran more than fix. This current 
kept our vefTel ftiff, whilft the monftrous fail forced us 
through with a facility not to be imagined. 

Dr Shaw, to put Geeza and Memphis perfectly upon a 
footing, fays*, that there were no traces of the city now to 
be found, from which he imagines it began to decay foon 
after the building of Alexandria, that the mounds and ram- 
parts which kept the river from it were in procefs of time 
neglected, and that Memphis, which he fuppofes was in the 
old bed of the river about the time of the Ptolemies, was 
fo far abandoned, that the Nile at lail got in upon it, and 
overflowing its old ruins, great part of the beft of which had 
heen carried firfl to build the city of Alexandria, that the 
mud covered the reft, fo that no body knew what was its 
true fituation. This is the opinion of Dr Pococke, and 
likewife of M. de Maillet. 

The opinion of thefe two lafl-mentioned authors, that 
the ruins and fituation of Memphis are now become obfcure 


Shaw's Travels, cap. 4. 


is certainly true;, the foregoing difpute is a fufficient evi- 
dence of this. 

But I will not fuffer it to be faid, that, foon after the 
building of Alexandria,. or in the time of the Ptolemies, this 
was the cafe, becaufe Strabo * fays, that when he was in 
Egypt, Memphis, next to Alexandria, was the moil magnifi*. 
cent city in Egypt. 

It was called the Capitalf of Egypt, and j there was entire 
a temple of Ofiris ; the Apis (or facredox) was kept and 
worshipped there. There was likewife an apartment for 
the mother of that ox ftill Handing, ; a temple of Vulcan of 
great magnificence, a large { circus, or fpace for fighting 
bulls ; and a great coloiTus in the front of the city thrown 
down : there was alfo a temple of Venus, and a ferapium, ., 
in a very fandy place, where- the wind heaps up hills of 
moving fand very dangerous to travellers, and a number 
of § fphinxes, (of fome only their heads being vifible) the. 
others covered up to the middle of , their body. , , 

In the || front of the city were a number of palaces them 
in ruins, and likewife lakes. Thefe buildings, he fays, Hood 
formerly upon an eminence ; they lay along the fide of the 
hill, itretching down to the lakes and the groves, and forty 
iladia from the city ; there was a mountainous height, that 
had many Pyramids Handing upon it, the fepulchres of the 
kings, among which there are. three remarkable, and two; 
the wonders, of the world. 


* Strabo. lib. vii. . 914. fid. ibid. | Id., ibid, § Strabo, ibid.. || Id, ibid. 


This is the account of an eye-witnefs, an hiftorian 
of the firft credit, who mentions Memphis, and this ftate of 
it, fo late as the reign of Nero ; and therefore I mail con- 
clude this argument with three obfervations, which, I am 
very forry to fay, could never have efcaped a man of Dr 
Shaw's learning and penetration. 

\ft. That by this defcription of Strabo, who was in it, k 
is plain that the city was not deferted in the time of the 

idly, That no time, between the building of Alexandria 
and the time of the Ptolemies, could it be fwallowed up by 
the river, or its fituation unknown. 

%dfy, That great part of it having been built upon an 
eminence on the fide of a hill, efpecially the large and mag- 
nificent edifices I have fpoken of, it could not be fituated, 
as he fays, low in the bed of the river; for, upon the giving 
way of the Memphitic rampart, it would be fwallowed up 
by it. 

If it was fwallowed up by the river, it was not Geeza ; 
:and this accident muft have been fince Strabo's time, which 
DrShaw will not aver; and it is by much too loofe arguing 
to fay, firft, that the place was deftroyed by the violent over- 
flowing of the river, and then pretend its fituation to be 
Geeza, where a river never came. 

The defcent of the hill to where the Pyramids were, and 
the number of Pyramids that were there around it, of which 
three are remarkable ; the very fandy fituation, and the 

Vol. I. I quantity 


quantity of loofe flying hillocks that were there (dangerous 
in windy weather to travellers) are very flrong pictures of 
the Saccara, the neighbourhood of Metrahenny and Mohan- 
nan, but they have not the fmalleft or moft diftant refem- 
blance to any part in the neighbourhood of Geeza. 

It will be afked, Where are all thofe temples, the Serapi- 
um, the Temple of Vulcan, the Circus, and Temple of Venus ? 
Are they found near Metrahenny ? 

To this I anfwer, Are they found at Geeza ? No, but had 
they been at Geeza, they would have Hill been vifible, as they 
are at Thebes, Diofpolis, and Syene, becaufe they are fur- 
rounded with black earth not moveable by the wind. Vaft 
quantities of thefe ruins, however, are in every ftreet of 
Cairo: every wall, every Bey's fla.ble, every ciftern for horfes 
to drink at, preferve part of the magnificent remains that 
have been brought from Memphis or Metrahenny. — The 
reft are covered with the moving fands of the Saccara ; as 
the fphinxes and buildings that had been defertcd were in 
Strabo's time for want of grafs and roots, which always 
fpread and keep the foil firm in populous inhabited places, 
the fands of the deferts are let loofe upon them, and have 
covered them probably for ever.. 

A man's heart fails him in looking to the fouth and fouth- 
welt of Metrahenny. He is loft in. the immenfe expanfe of 
defert, which he fees full of Pyramids before him. Struck, 
with terror from the unufual fcene of vaftnefs opened all 
at once upon leaving the palm-trees, he becomes difpiritecl 
from the effects of fultry climates,. 



From habits of idlenefs contracted at Cairo, from the 
ftories he has heard of the bad government and ferocity of 
the people, from want of language and want of plan, he 
fhrinks from the attempting any difcovery in the moving 
fands of the Saccara, embraces in fafety and in quiet the 
reports of others, whom he thinks have been more inquifi- 
tive and more adventurous than himfelf. 

Thus, although he has created no new error of his own, 
he is acceflary to the having corroborated and confirmed the 
ancient errors of others; and, though people travel in the 
fame numbers as ever, phyfics and geography continue at 
a Hand. 

In the morning of the 14th of December, after having 
made our peace with Abou Cum, and received a multitude 
of apologies and vows of amendment and fidelity for the 
future, we were drinking coffee preparatory to our leaving 
Metrahenny, and beginning our voyage in earneft, when an 
Arab arrived from my friend the Howadat, with a letter, 
and a few dates, not amounting to a hundred. 

The Arab was one of his people that had been fi ck, and 
wanted to go to Kenne in Upper Egypt. The Shekh expref- 
fed his defire that I would take him with me this trifle of 
about two hundred and fifty miles, that I would give him 
medicines, cure his difeafe, and maintain him all the way. 

On thefe occafions there is nothing like ready compli- 
ance. Ke had offered to carry me the fame journey with 
all my people and baggage without hire; he conducted 
me with fafety and great politenefs to the Saccara ; I thcre- 

I 2 fore 


fore anfwered inftantly, " You mall be very welcome,, 
upon my head be it." Upon this the miferable wretch, 
half naked, laid down a dirty clout containing about ten 
dates, and the Shekh's fervant that had attended him re- 
turned in triumph.. 

I mention this trifling circumftance, to mew how enen- 
tial to humane and civil intercourfe prefents are confidered 
to be in the eaft ; whether it be dates, or whether it be dia- 
monds, they are fo much a part of their manners, that, 
without them an inferior will never be at peace in his own 
mind, or think that he has a hold of his fuperior for his 
favour or protection,. 





Leave Metrabenny — Come to the I/land Halouan — Falfe Pyramid—* 
I'hefe buildings end — Sugar Canes — Ruins of Antinopolis — Recep- 
tion there. 

OUR wind was fair and frefh, rather a little on our 
beam ; when, in great fpirits, we hoifled our main and 
fore-fails, leaving the point of Metrahenny, where our rea- 
der may think we have too long detained him. We faw 
the Pyramids of Saccara ftill S. W. of us ; feveral villages 
on both fides of the river, but very poor and miferable ; 
part of the ground on the eafl fide had been overflowed, 
yet was not fown ; a proof of the oppreflion and diflrefs the 
hufbandman fufFers in the neighbourhood of Cairo, by the 
avarice and difagreement of the different officers of that- 
motely incomprehenfible government, 

After failing about two miles, we faw three men nfh- 
ing in a very extraordinary manner and fituation. They 
were on a raft of palm branches, fupported on a float of 
clay jars, made f aft together. The form was like an Ifofceles 
triangle, or face of a Pyramid ; two men, each provided 
with a calling net,, flood at the two corners, and threw their 
net into the flream together; the third flood at the apex 
of the triangle, or third corner, which was foremoft, and 
threw his net the moment the other two drew theirs out 

4 - of* 


of the water. And this they repeated, in perfect time, and 
with furprifmg regularity. Our Rais thought we wanted 
to buy nfh ; and letting go his main-fail, ordered them on 
board with a great tone of fuperiority. 

They were in a moment alongfide of us ; and one of 
them came on board, laming his miferable raft to a rope at 
our Hern. In recompence for their trouble, we gave them 
fome large pieces of tobacco, and this tranfported them fo 
much, that they brought us a bafket, of feveral different 
kinds of fifli, all fmall ; excepting one laid on the top of 
the bafket, which was a clear falmon-coloured fifh, filvered 
upon its fides, with a fliade of blue upon its back*. It 
weighed about 10 lib. and was molt excellent, being per- 
fectly firm and white like a perch. There are fome of this 
kind 70 lib. weight. I examined their nets, they were ra- 
ther of a .fmaller circumference than our cafting nets in 
England ; the weight, as far as I could guefs, rather heavier 
in proportion than ours, the thread that compofed them be- 
ing fmaller. I could not fufhciently admire their fuccefs, 
in a violent flream of deep water, fuch as the Nile ; for the 
river was at leaft twelve feet deep where they were nfhing, 
.and the current very ftrong; 

These nfhers offered willingly to take me upon the raft 
to teach me ; but I cannot fay my curiofity went fo far. 
They faid their nfhing was merely accidental, and in courfe 
of their trade, which was felling thefe potter earthen jars, 
which they got near Afhmounem ; and after having carried 


Naaied Biany. See Appendix. 


the raft with them to Cairo, they untie, fell them at the mar- 
ket, and carry the produce home in money, or in neceffaries 
upon their back. A very poor ceconomical trade, but fuf- 
ficent, as they faid, from the carriage of crude materials, the 
moulding, making, and fending them to market, to Cairo 
and to different places in the Delta, to afford occupation to 
two thoufand men ; this is nearly four times the number 
of people employed in the largefl iron foundery in Eng- 
land. But the reader will not underfland, that I warrant 
this fact from any authority but what I have given him.. 

About two o'clock in the afternoon, we came to the point 
of an iiland ; there were feveral villages with dute trees on 
both fides of us ; the ground is overflowed by the Nile, and 
cultivated. The current is very ftrong here. We paffed a 
village called Regnagie, and another named Zaragara, one 
the eaft fide of the Nile. We then came to Caphar el Hay- 
at, or the Toll of the Tailor; a village with great plantations, 
of dates, and the largefl we had yet feen. 

We paffed the night on the .S. W. point of the ifland be- 
tween Caphar el Hayat, and Gizier Azali,, the wind failing 
us about four o'clock. This place is the beginning of the 
Heracleotic nsme, and its fituation a fufficient evidence that 
Metrahenn/ was Memphis ; its name is Halouan. 

Thj« ifland is now divided into a number of fmall' ones, 
by caljihes being cut through and through it, and, under 
different Arabic names, they flill reach very far up the flream. 
Handed to fee if there were remains of the olive tree which 



Strabo* fays grew here, but without fuccefs. We may im- 
agine, however, that there was fome fuch like thing ; be- 
caufe oppofite to one of the divifions into which this large 
ifland is broken, there is a village called Zeitoon, or the 
Olive Tree. 

On the 15th of December, the weather being nearly calm, 
wc left the north end of the ifland, or Heracleotic nome ; 
our courfe was due fouth, the line of the river ; and three 
miles farther we paffed Woodan, and a collection of vil- 
lages, all going by that name, upon the eafl : to the weft, 
or right, were fmall iflands, part of the ancient nome of 
which I have already fpoken. 

The ground is all cultivated about this village, to the foot 
of the mountains, which is not above four miles ; but it is 
full eight on the weft, all overflowed and fown. The Nile 
is here but fhallow, and narrow, not exceeding a quarter 
of a mile broad, and three feet deep ; owing, I fuppofe, to 
the refinance made by the ifland in the middle of the cur- 
rent, and by a bend it makes, thus intercepting the fand 
brought down by the ftream. 

The mountains here come down till within two miles of 
rSuf el Woodan, for fo the village is called. We were told 
there were fome ruins to the weftward of this, but only rub- 
bifh, neither arch nor column ftanding. I fuppofe it is the 
Aphroditopolis, or the city of Venus., which we are to. look 


?* Strabo, lib. xvii. p. 936.. 


for here, and the nonie of that name, all to the eaftward 
of it. 

The wind ftill- freshening, we palTed by feveral villages 
on each fide, all furrounded with palm-trees, verdant and 
pleafant, but conveying an idea of famenefs and want of 
variety, fuch as every traveller muft have felt who has fail- 
ed in the placid, muddy, green-banked rivers in Holland. 

The Nile, however, is here fully a mile broad, the water 
deep, and the current Strong. The wind feemed to be exaf- 
perated by the refinance of the Stream, and blew frefh and 
Headily, as indeed it generally -does where the current is 

We pafled Nizelet Embarak, which means the BleiTed 
Landing-place. Mr Norden * calls it Giefiret Barrakaed, 
which he fays is the watering-place of the crofs. Was this even 
the proper name here given it, it fhould be tranflated the 
BlefTed Mand; but, without understanding the language, it 
is in vain to keep a register of names. u 

The boatmen, living either in the Delta, Cairo, or one of 
the great towns in Upper Egypt, and coming constantly load- 
ed with merchandife, or Strangers from thefe great places, 
make fwift pafTages by the villages, either down the river 
with a rapid current, or up with a Strong, fair, and Steady 
wind : And, when the feafcn of the Nile's inundation is over, 
and the wind turns fouthward, they repair all to the Delta, 
Vol. I. K the 

* Norden's travels, vol. II. p. 19, 


the river being no longer navigable above, and there they 
are employed till the next feafon. 

They know little, therefore, and care lefs about the names 
or inhabitants of thefe villages, who have each of them 
barks - of their own to carry on their own trade. There are 
fome indeed employed by the Coptic andTurkifh merchants, 
who are better verfed in the names of villages than others ; 
but, if they are not, and find you do not underfland the 
language, they will never confefs ignorance; they will tell 
you the firfl name that comes uppermofl, fometimes very 
ridiculous, often very indecent, which we fee afterwards, 
pafs into books, and. wonder that fuch names were ever 
given to towns. 

The reader will obferve this in comparing Mr Norden's 
voyage and mine, where he will feldom fee the fame vil- 
lage pafs by the fame name. My Rais, Abou Cuffi, when 
he did not know a village, fometimes tried this with me.*- 
But when he faw me going' to write, he ufed then to tell 
me the truth, that he did not know the village ; but that; 
fuch was the cuftom of him, and his- brethren, to people that, 
did not underfland the language, efpecially if they were 
priefls, meaning Catholic Monks. 

We parTed with great velocity Nizelet Embarak, Cubabac r 
Nizelet Omar, Racca Kibeer, then Racca Seguier, and came 
in fight of Atfia, a large village at fome diilance from the 
Nile ; all the valley here is green, the palm-groves beautiful^ 
and the Nile deep. 



Still it is not the profpect that pleafes, for the whole 
ground that is fown to the fandy afcent of the mountains, 
is but a narrow ftripe of three quarters of a mile broad, and 
the mountains themfelves, which here begin to have a mo- 
derate degree of elevation, and which bound this narrow 
^valley, are white, gritty, fandy, and uneven, and perfectly 
deHitute of all manner of verdure. 

At the fmali village of Racca Seguier there was this 
remarkable, that it was thick, furrounded with trees of a 
different nature and figure from palms ; what they were 
I know not, I believe they were pomegranate-trees ; I thought, 
that with my glafs I difcerned fome reddiih fruit upon 
them ; and we had pafFed a village called Rhoda, a name 
they give in Egypt to pomegranates ; Saleah is on the op- 
posite, or eaft-fide of the river. The Nile divides above the 
village ; it fell very calm, and here we paired the night of 
the fifteenth. - 

Our Rais Abou Cuffi "begged leave to go to Comadreedy, 
-a fmall village on the well of the Nile, with a few palm- 
trees about it ; he faid that his wife was there. As I never 
heard any thing of this till now, I fancied he was going 
to divert himfelf in the manner he had done the night be- 
fore he left Cairo ; for he had put on his black furtout, or 
great coat, his fcarlet turban, and a new fcarlet maul, both 
of which he faid he had brought, to do me honour in my 

I thanked him much for his confideration, but afked 
him why, as he was a SherriiFe, he did not wear the green 
turban of Mahomet ? He anfwered, Poh ! that was a trick 

K 2 put 


put upon flrangers .;. there were many men who wore green • 
turbans, he faid, that were very great rafcals ; but he was a 
Saint, which was better than a ShcrrifFe, and, was known as 
fuch all over the world, whatever colour of a turban he 
wore, or whether a turban at all, and he only dreffed for 
my honour;, would be back early in. the morning, and 
bring me a fair wind. 

" Hassan,. faid I, I fancy it is much more likely that you 
" bring me fome aquavits, if you do not drink it all." He 
promifed that he would fee and procure fome, for mine 
was now at an end. He faid, the Prophet never forbade 
aquavitse, only the drinking of wine ; and the prohibition 
could not be intended for Egypt,. for there was no wine in 
it. But Bouza, fays he, Bouza I will drink, as long- as I can 
walk from ftem to item of a vefTel, and away he went. I 
had indeed no doubt he would keep his refolution of drinks 
ing whether he returned or not. 

We kept, as ufual, a very good watch all night, which 
pafTed without difturbance. Next day, the 17th, was ex- 
ceedingly hazy in the morning, though it cleared about 
ten o'clock. It was, however, fufhcient to fhew the falfity 
of the observation of the author, who fays that the Nile* 
emits no fogs, and in courfe of the voyage we often faw 
other examples of the fallacy of this affertion. 

In the afternoon, the people went afhore to moot pigeons ; 
they were very bad, and black, as it was not the feafon of 


* Hero J. lib. ii. cap. 19. 


grain. I remained arranging my journal, when, with fome 
furprize, I faw the Howadat Arab come in, and fit down 
clofe to me; however, I was not afraid. of any evil inten^ 
tion, having a crooked knife at my girdle, and two piftols 
lying by me. 

What's this ?-How now, friend? faid: I ; Who fent for 
you ? He would have kiifed my hand, faying Fiarduc, I am 
under your protection:, he then pulled out a rag from with- 
in his girdle, andfaid.he was going to Mecca, and had taken 
that with him ; that he was afraid my boatmen would rob 
him, and throw him into the Nile, or get fomebody to rob 
and murder him by the way ; and that one of the Moors, 
HafFan's fervant, had been feeling for his money the night 
before, when he thought him afleep. . 

J made him- count his firm, which amounted to y-\ fequins^ 
and a piece of filver, value about half-a-crown, which in 
Syria they call Abou Kelb, Father Dog. It is the Dutch 
Lion rampant,which the Arabs, who never call a thing by 
its right name, term a dog. — In fhort, this treafure amounted 
to fomething more than three guineas ; and this he defired 
me to keep till we feparated. Do not you tell them, faid he, 
and I will throw off my cloaths and girdle, and leave them 
on board, while I go to fwim, and when they find I have 
nothing upon me they will not hurt me. « 

But what fecurity; faid I, have vou that I do not rob you 
of this, and get you thrown into the Nile fome night ? No, 
no, fays he, that I know is impomble. I have never been 
able to ileep till I fpoke to you ; do with me what you 
pleafe, and my money too, only keep me out of the hands 

2 of 


of thofe murderers. " Well, well, faid I, now you have got 
rid of your money, you are fafe* and you mall be my fer- 
vant ; lye before the door of my dining-room all night, 
they dare not hurt a hair of your head while I am alive." 

The Pyramids, which had been on our right hand at dif- 
ferent diftances fince we palled the Saccara, terminated 
here in one of a very iingular construction. About two 
miles from the Nile, between Suf and Woodan, there is a 
Pyramid, which at firft fight appears all of a piece ; it is of 
unbaked bricks, and perfectly entire ; the inhabitants call 
it the * Falfe Pyramid. The lower part is a hill exactly 
fhaped like a Pyramid for a conliderable height. Upon 
this is continued the fuperftructure in proportion till it ter- 
minates like a Pyramid above ; and, at a diltance, it would 
require a good eye to difcern the difference, for the face of 
the Hone has a great refemblance to clay, of which the 
Pyramids of the Saccara are compofed. 

Hassan Abou Cuffi was as good as his word in one re- 
fpect ; he came in the night, .and had not drunk much fer- 
mented liquors ; but he could find no fpirits, he faid, and 
that, to be fure, was one of the reafons of his return ; I had 
fat up a great part of the night waiting a feafon for obfer- 
vation, but it was very cloudy, as all the nights had been 
fince we left Cairo, 

The i 8th, about eight o'clock in the morning, we pre- 
pared to get on our way;; the wind was calm, and fouth, 




I aiked our Rais where his fair wind was which he promi- 
jfed to bring ? He faid, his wife had quarrelled with him all 
night, and would not give him time to pray; and therefore, 
fays he with a very droll face, you mall fee me 'do 'all that 
a Saint can do for you on this occasion. I afked him what 
that was ? He made another droll face, " Why, it is to draw 
" the boat by the rope till the wind turns fair." I commend- 
ed very much this wife alternative, and' immediately the 
veffel began to. move, but very flowly, the wind being Hill 

On looking into Mr Norden's voyage, Fwas itruck at firil 
fight with this paragraph* : " We faw this day abundance of 
" camels, but they did not come near enough for us to moot 
* them." — I thought with myfelf, to Jhoot camels in Egypt 
would be very little better than to^ooMnen, and that it. was 
very lucky for him the camels did. not come near, if that 
was the only thing that prevented him. Upon looking at 
the note, I fee it is a fmall miftake of the tranflator f, who 
fays, ** that in the original it is Chameaux d'eau, water-- 
" camels; but whether they are a particular fpecies of camels, 
** or 2 different kind of animal, he does not know. 


•"Norden's Travels, vol. ii. p. 17. 

•fl cannot* here orah to rectify another fmall miftake of the tranflator, which involves 
am in a difference with this Author which he did not mean. — 

Mr Norden, in the French, fays, that the mafter of his veffel being much frightened, 
" avoit perdu la tramontane;" the true meaning of which is, That he had loft his- judgment, 
not loft the north-wind, as it is tranflated, which is really nonfenfe. 

Norden's Travels , vol. ii. p. 53, 


But this is no fpecies of camel, it is a bird called a Peli- 
can, and the proper name in Arabic, is Jimmel el Bahar, the 
Camel of the -River. The other bird like a partridge, which 
MrNorden's people {hot,- and did not know its name, and 
which was better than a pigeon, is called Gooto, very com- 
mon in all the defert parts of Africa. I have drawn them 
of many different colours. That of the Deferts of Tripoli, 
and Cyrenaicum, is very beautiful ; that of Egypt is fpotted 
white like the Guinea-fowl, but upon a brown ground, not 
a blue one, as that latter bird is. However, they are all very 
bad to eat, but they are not of the fame kind with the par- 
tridge. Its legs and feet are all covered with feathers, and 
it has but two toes before. The Arabs imagine it feeds on 
ilones, but its food is infects. 

After Comadreedy, the Nile is again divided by another 
fragment of the ifland, and inclines a little to the weftward. 
On the eaft is the village Sidi Ali el Courani. It has only 
two palm-trees belonging to it, and on that account hath 
a deferted appearance ; but the wheat mpon the banks was 
iive inches high, and more advanced than any we had feen. 
The mountains on die eaft-fide come down to the banks of 
the Nile, are bare, white, and fan dy, and there is en this fide 
no appearance of villages. 

The river here is about a quarter of a mile broad, or 
fomcthing more. It mould feem it was the Angyrorum 
Civitas of Ptolemy, but neither night nor day could I get 
an hrflant for obfervation, on account of thin white clouds, 
.which confufed (for they fcarce can be faid to cover) the 
ns continually, 





We palled now a convent of cophts, with a fmall planta- 
tion of palms. It is a miferable building, with a dome -like 
to a faint's or marabout's, and Hands quite alone. 

About four miles from this is the village of Nizelet el 
Arab, confifting of miferable huts. Here begin large planta- 
tions of fugar canes, the firft we had yet £ee;n ; they were then 
loading boats with thefe to carry them to Cairo. I procured 
from them as many as I defired. The canes are about an 
inch and a quarter in diameter, they are cut in round pieces 
about three inches long, and, after having been flit, they 
are fteeped in a wooden bowl of water. They give a very a- 
greeable tafte and flavour to it, and make it the moll re- 
frelhmg drink in the world, whilft by imbibing the water, 
the canes become more juicy, and lofe a part of their heavy 
clammy fweetnefs, which would occafion thirft. I was fur- 
prized at finding this plant in fuch a Hate of perfection fo 
far to the northward. We were now fcarcely arrived in 
lat. 29 , and nothing could be more beautiful and perfect 
than -the canes were. 

I apprehend they were originally a plant of the old con- 
tinent, and tranfported to the new, upon its firft difcovery, 
becaufe here in Egypt they grow from feed. I do not 
know if they do fo in Brazil, but they have been in all times 
the produce of Egypt. Whether they have been found elie- 
where, I have not had an opportunity of being informed, 
but it is time that fome fkiirul perfon, vcrfed in the hiftory of 
plants, fhould feparate fome of the capital productions of the 
old, and new continent, from the adventitious, before, from 
length of time, that which we now know of their hiftory 
be loft. 

Vol. I. L Sugar, 


Sugar, tobacco, red podded or Cayenne pepper, cotton, 
fome fpecies of Solanum, Indigo, and a multitude of others,, 
have not as yet their origin well ascertained. 

Prince Henry of Portugal put his difcoveries to Immedi- 
ate profit, and communicated what he found new in each 
part in Europe, Afia, Africa, and America, to where it was 
wanting. It will be foon difficult to afcertain to each quar- 
ter of the world the articles that belong to it, and fix up- 
on thofe few that are common to all. 

Even wheat, the early produce of Egypt, is not a native 
of it. It grows under the Line, within the Tropics, and as 
far north and fouth as we know. Severe northern win- 
ters feem to be neceflary to it, and it vegetates vigorously 
in froft and fnow. But whence it came, and in what ihape r 
is yet left to conjecture. 

Though the ftripe of green wheat was continued all 
along the Nile, it was interrupted for about half a mile orr 
each fide of the coptifh convent. Thefe poor wretches 
know, that though they may fow, yet, from the violence of 
the Arabs, they fhall never reap, and therefore leave the 
ground deiblate. 

On the fideoppofite to Sment, the ftripe begins again, and! 
continues from Sment to Mey-Moom, about two miles, and 
from Mey-Moom to Shenuiah, one mile further. In this 
fmall llripe, not above a quarter of a mile broad, befides 
wheat, clover is fown, which they call Berfine. I don't think 
it equals what I have fcen in England, but it is fown and 
cultivated in the fame manner. 



Immediately behind this narrow ftripe, the white moun- 
tains appear again, fquare and flat on the top like tables. 
They feem to be laid upon the furface of the earth, not in- 
ferted into it, for the feveral ftrata that are divided lye as 
level as it is poflible to place them with a rule ; they are of 
no coniiderable height. 

We next pafled Bourn, a village on the weft-fide of the 
Nile, two miles fouth of Shenuiah ; and, a little further, 
JBeni Ali, where we fee for a minute the mountains on the 
right or weft-fide of the Nile, running in a line nearly fouth, 
and very high. About five miles from Bouih is the village 
of Maniareifli on the eaft-fide of the river, and here the 
mountains on that fide end. 

Boush is about two miles and a quarter from the river. 
Beni Ali is a large village, and its neighbour, Zeytoom, ftill 
larger, both on the weftern ITiore. I fuppofe this laft was part 
of the Heracleotic nome, where * Strabo fays the olive-tree 
grew, and no where elfe in Egypt, but we faw no appear- 
ance of the great works once faid to have been in that nome. 
A little farther fouth is Baiad, where was an engagement 
between HufTein Bey, and Ali Bey then in exile, in which the 
former was defeated, and the latter reftored to the govern- 
ment of Cairo. 

From Maniareiih to Beni Suef is two miles and a half, 
and oppolite to this the mountains appear again of coniider- 
able height, about twelve miles diftant. Although Beni Suef 

L 2 is 

* Strabo, lib.xvii. p. 936. 


is no better built than any other town or .village that we liadi 
palEed, yet it interefls by its extent; it is the moil coniiderable; 
place we had yet feeia fmce our leaving Cairo. It has a cachefF 
and a mofque, with three large fteeples, and. is 


The country allaround is well cultivated, and feems to ; 
be of the utmoft fertility; the inhabitants are better cloathed, 
and feemingly lefs miferable, and oppreffed, than ihofe we* 
had left behind in the places nearer Cairo. ... 

The Nile is very fhallow at Beni Suef,' and the current; 
ftrong. We touched feveral times in the middle of the) 
itream, and came to an anchor at Baha, about a quarter of: 
a mile above Beni Suef, where we palled the night. 

We were told to keep good watch here alL. night, that, 
there were troops of robbers on the earl-fide . of the water, 
who had lately plundered fome boats, and that the cachefE 
either dared not, or would not give them any arliftance. We, 
did indeed keep Uriel: watch, but . faw no robbers, and were:: 
no other way molefted, . 

The i 8th we had fine weather and a fair wind. Still 
I thought the villages were beggarly, and the conftant groves, 
of palm-trees fo perfectly verdant, did not compenfate for 
the penury of fown land, the narrownefs of the valley, and ! 
barrennefs of the mountains.. 

We palled Manfura,Gadami, Magaga, Malatiah, and other 
fmall villages, fome of them not confifting of fifteen houfes*. 
Then follow Gundiah and Kerm on the weft-fide of the 



river-, with a large plantation of dates, and four miles fur- 
ther Sharuni. All the way from Boufli there appeared no 
mountains on the weft fide, but large plantations of dates, 
which extended from Gundiah four miles.. 

From this to A'bou Azeeze T frequent plantations of fngar 
canes were . now cutting. All about Kafoor is fandy and 
barren on both fides, of the river. . Etfa is on the weft fide of 
the Nile, which here again makes an ifland. All the houfes 
have now receptacles for pigeons on their tops, from which 
is derived, a confiderable profit. They are made of earthen 
pots one above the other, occupying the upper fcory, and 
giving the walls of: the turrets a lighter and more orna- 
mented appearance. . 

We arrived in the evening at Zohora,- about a mile fouth 
of Etfa. It confifts of three plantations of dates, and is five 
miles from Miniet, and there. we pafTed the night of the 
1 8th of December. . 

There was nothing remarkable till we came to Barkaras-, 
a- village on the fide of a hill, planted with thick groves of 

The wind was fo high we fcarcely could carry our fails ; 
the current was ftrong . at Shekh Temine, and the violence 
with which we went through the water was terrible. My 
Rais told me we mould have flackened our fails, if it had 
not been, that, feeing me curious about the conilruclion of 
the vefTel and her parts, and as- we were in no danger of fink- 
ing, though the water was low, he wanted to fhew me what 
;0ie could do.- 



I thanked him for his kindncfs. We had all along pre.- 
fcrved Uriel: friendfhip. Never fear the banks, faid I ; for 
I know if there is one in the way, you have nothing to do 
hut to bid him begone, and he will hurry to one fide direct- 
ly. " I have had paflengers, fays he, who would believe 
" that, and more than that, when I told them ; but there is 
* c no occaiion I fee to walle much time with you in fpeak? 
" ing of miracles." 

" You are miftaken, Rais, I replied, very much miftaken ; 
" I love to hear modern miracles vaftjy, there is always fome 
" amufement in them."—" Aboard your Christian mips, fays 
" he, you always have a prayer at twelve o'clock, and drink 
" a glafs of brandy ; fmce you won't be a Turk like me, I 
" wifli at lead you would be a Chriftian." — Very fairly put, 
faid I, Haflan, let your veffel keep her wind if there is no 
danger, and I mall take care to lay in a Hock for the whole 
voyage at the firft town in which w r e can purchafe it. 

We pafled by a number of villages on the weftern 
ihore, the eaftern feeming to be perfectly unpeopled : Firft, 
Fefhne, a confiderable place ; then *Minict, or the ancient 
rhylsc, a large town which had been fortified towards the 
water, at leail there were fome guns there. A rebel Bey 
had taken poifellion of it, and it was ufual to flop here, the 
river being both narrow and rapid ; but the Rais was in great 
fpirits, and refolved to hold his wind, as I had defired him, 
and nobody made us any fignal from fhore. 


Signifies the Narrow Pafiage, and is meant what Phyla is in Latin. 


We came to a village called Rhoda, whence we law the 
magnificent ruins of the ancient city-of Antinous, built by- 
Adrian. Unluckily I knew nothing of thefe ruins when I 
left Cairo, and had taken no pains to provide myfelf with 
letters of recommendation as I could eafily have done. Per-* 
haps I might have found it difficult to avail myfelf of them,, 
and it was, upon the whole, better as it was. 

I asked the Rais what fort of people they were ? He faid 
that the town was compofed of very bad Turks, very bad 
Moors, and very bad Chriftians; that feveral devils had been, 
feen among them lately, who had been difcovered by being 
better and quieter than any of the reft. — The Nubian geo- 
grapher informs us, that it was from this town Pharaoh 
brought his magicians, to compare their powers with thofe 
of Mofes ; an anecdote worthy that great hiftorian. 

I told the Rais, that I mufl, of neceflity, go afhore, and 
afked him, if the people of this place had no regard for 
faints ? that I imagined, if he would put on his red turban 
as he did at Comadreedy for my honour, it would then ap- 
pear that he was a faint, as he before faid he was known to be 
all the world over. He did not feem to be fond of the ex- 
pedition ; but hauling in his main-fail, and with his fore- 
fail full, Hood S. S. E. directly under the Ruins. In a lliort 
time we arrived at the landing-place ; the banks are low, 
and we brought up in a kind of bight or fmall bay, where 
there was a flake, fo our vcfTel touched very little, or rather 
fwung clear. 

Abou Cuffi's fon Mahomet, and the Arab, went on more,, 
under pretence of buying fome provifion, and to fee how 



the land lay, but after the character we had of the inhabi- 
tants, all our fire-arms were brought to the door of the ca- 
bin. In the mean time, partly with my naked eye and 
partly with my glafs, I obferved the ruins fo attentively as 
to be. perfectly in love with them. 

These columns of the angle of the portico were ftanding 
fronting to the north, part of the tympanum, cornice, 
frize, and architrave, all entire, and very much ornamented; 
thick trees hid what was behind. The columns were of 
the largeit fize and fluted ; the capitals Corinthian, and in 
all appearance entire. They were of white Parian marble 
probably, but had loft the extreme whitenefs, or polifli, of 
the Antinous at Rome, and were changed to the colour of 
the fighting gladiator, or rather to a brighter yellow. I 
faw indiftinctly, alfo, a triumphal arch, or gate of the town, 
in the very fame ftyle ; and fome blocks of very white min- 
ing ftone, which feemed to be alabafter, but for what em- 
ployed. I do not know. 

"No perfon had yet ftirred, when all on a fudden we heard 
the noife of Mahomet and the Moor in ftrong dfpute. Up- 
on this the Rais ftripping off his coat, leaped afhore, and 
flipped off the rope from the flake, and another of the 
Moors ftuck a ftrong perch or pole into the river, and twill- 
ed the rope round it. We were in a bight, or calm place, 
fo that the ftream did not move the boat. 

Mahomet and the Moor came prefently in fight; the 
people had taken Mahomet's turban from him, and they 
were apparently on the very word terms. Mahomet cried 
to us, that the whole town was corning, and getting near 

2 the 


T^ie boat, he and the Moor jumped in with great agility. 
A number of people was afTembled, and three mots were 
fired at us, very quickly, the one after the other. 

I cried out in Arabic, "Infidels, thieves, and robbers ! come 
" on, or we mall prefently attack you :" upon which I im- 
mediately fired a mip-blunderbufs with piflol fmall bullets, 
but with little elevation, among the bullies, fo as not to 
touch them. The three or four men that were nearefl fell 
flat upon their faces, and Hid away among the bufhes 011 
their bellies, like eels, arid we faw no more of them. 

We now put our vefTel into the flream, filled our fore- 
fail, and flood off, Mahomet crying, Be upon your guard, if 
you are men, we are the Sanjack's foldiers, and will come 
for the turban to-night. More we neither heard nor faw. 

We were no fooner out of their reach, than our Rais, 
filling his pipe, and looking very grave, told me to thank 
God that I was in the veffel with fuch a man as he was, as 
it was owing to that only I efcaped from being murdered 
a-fhore. " Certainly, faid I, Haffan, under God, the way of 
" efcaping from being murdered on land, is never to go 
** out of the boat, but don't you think that my blunderbufs 
"*' was as effectual a mean as your holinefs ? Tell me, Maho- 
*" met, What did they do to you ?" He faid,They had not feen 
us come in, but had heard of us ever fince we were at Metra- 
henny, and had waited to rob or murder us ; that upon 
now hearing we were come, they had all ran to their 
houfes for their arms, and were coming down, immediate- 
ly, to plunder the boat ; upon which he and the Moor ran 
off, and being met by thefe three people, and the boy, on 

Vol. L M the 


the road, who had nothing in their hands, one of thems 
{hatched the turban off. He likewife added, that there were 
two parties in the town ; one in favour of Ali Bey, the other 
friends to a rebel Bey who had taken Miniet ; that they 
had fought, two or three days ago, among themfelves, and 
were going to fight again, each of them having called A- 
rabs to their amftance.. " Mahomet Bey, fays my Howadat 
" Arab, will come one of thefe days with the foldiers,, 
" and bring our Shekh and people with him, who will 
" burn their houfes, and deflroy their corn, that they will 
" be all flarved to death next year." 

Hassan and his fon Mahomet were violently exafperated, 
and nothing would ferve them but to go in again near the 
more, and fire all the guns and blunderbuffes among the 
people. But, befides that I had no inclination of that kind, 
I was very loth to fruilrate the attempts of fome future 
traveller, who may add this to the great remains of archi- 
tecture we have preferved already. 

It would be a fine outfet for fome engraver; the elegance 
and importance of the work are certain. From Cairo the 
diftance is but four days pleafant and fafe navigation, and- 
in quiet times, protection might, by proper means, be eafily 
enough obtained at little expence, 




Woyage to Upper Egypt continued — AJhmounein, Ruins there — Gazva Kl~ 
beer Ruins — Mr Nor den mijiaken — Achmim — Convent of Catholics 
— Dendera — Magnificent Ruins — Adventure with a Saint there. 

THE Rais's curiofity made him attempt to prevail with 
me to land at Reremont, three miles and a half off, juft 
a-headof us ; this I underflood was a Coptic Chriflian town* 
and many of Shekh Abade's people were Chriftians alfo. I 
thought them too near to have any thing to do with either 
of them. At Reremont there are a great number of Perfian 
wheels, to draw the water for the fugar canes, which be- 
long to Chriftians. The water thus brought up from the 
river runs down to the plantations, below or behind the 
town, after being emptied on the banks above ; a proof that 
here the defcent from the mountains is not an optic fallacy, 
as Dr Shaw fays. 

We paned Afhmounein, probably the ancient Latopolis, a 
large town, which gives the name to the province, where 
there are magnificent ruins of Egyptian architecture ; and 
after that we came to Melawe, larger, better built, and bet- 
ter inhabited than Afhmounein, the refidence of the Ca- 
cheff. Mahomet Aga was there at that time with troops 
from Cairo, he had taken Miniet, and, by the friendHiip 

M 2 of 


of Shekh Hamam, the great Arab, governor of Upper Egypt^, 
he kept all the people on that ilde of the river in their alle- 
giance to Ali Bey. 

I had feen him at Cairo, and Rifk had fpoken to him to* 
do me fervice if he met with me, which he promifed. I 
called at Melawe to complain of our treatment at Shekh. 
Abade, and fee if I could engage him, as he had nothing elfe 
to employ him, to pay a vilit to my friends at that inhofpi'- 
table place. This I was told he would do upon the flight- 
ell intimation. He, unfortunately, however, happened- to 
be out upon fome party ; but I was lucky in getting an old ; 
Greek, a fervant of his, who knew I was a friend, both to. 
the Bey and to his Patriarch*. 

He brought me about a gallon of brandy, and a jar of Ie=- 
mons and oranges, preferved in honey ; both very agreea- 
ble. He brought likewife a lamb, and fome garden-fluffs. 
Among the fweetmeats was fome horfe-raddifh preferved" 
like ginger, which certainly, though it might be whole- 
fome, was the very worfl fluff ever I tafted. I gave a good 
fquare piece of it, well wrapt in honey, to the Rais, who 
coughed and fpit half an hour after, crying he was poi- 

I saw he did not wifh me to flay at Melawe, as he was 
afraid of the Bey's troops, that they might engage him in 
their fervice to carry them down, fo went away with great 
good will, happy in the acquifition of the brandy, declaring 
he would carry fail as long as the wind held. 


We patted Molle, a fmall village with a great number of 
acacia trees intermixed with the plantations of palms. Thefe 
©ccalion a pleaiing variety, not only from the difference of 
the mape of the tree, but alfo from the colour and diverfity 
of the green. 

As the fycamore in Lower Egypt, fo this tree feems to be 
the only indigenous one in the Thebaid. It is the Acacia 
Vera, or the Spina Egyptiaca, with a round yellow flower. 
The male is called the Saiel ; from it proceeds the gum ara- 
ble, upon inciiion with an ax. This gum chiefly comes from 
Arabia Petrea, where thefe trees are molt numerous. But it 
is the tree of all deferts, from the northmoft part of Arabia, 
to the extremity of Ethiopia, and its leaves the only food 
for camels travelling in thofe defert parts. This gum is 
called Sumach in the weft of Africa, and is a principal arti- 
cle of trade on the Senega among the Ialofes. 

A large plantation of Dates reaches all along the weft- 
fide, and ends in a village called Mafara. Here the river, 
though broad, happened to be very fhallow \ and by the 
violence with which we went, we Ituck upon a fand bank 
fo fait, that it was after fun-fet before we could get off; 
we came to an anchor oppofite to Mafara the night of the: 
19th of December., 

On the 20th, early in the morning, we again fet fail and 
paiTed two villages, the firft called Welled Behi, the next 
Salem, about a mile and a half diftant from each other oil; 
the weft fide of the Nile. The mountains on the weft fide 
of the valley are about fixteen miles off, in a high even 
ridge, running in a direction fouth-eaft ; while the moun- 


tains on the eaft run in a parellel direction with the river, 
and are not three miles diflant. 

We paffed Deirout on the eaft iide, and another called Zo- 
hor,in the fame quarter, furrounded with palms; then Sirade 
on the eaft fide alfo, where is a wood of the Acacia, which 
feems very luxuriant ; and, though it was now December, 
and the mornings efpecially very cold, the trees were in 
full flower, We palled Monfalout, a large town on the 
weftern fhore. It was once an old Egyptian town, and place 
of great trade ; it was ruined by the Romans, but re-efta- 
blifhed by the Arabs. 

An Arabian \ author fayo, that, digging under the foun- 
dation of an old Egyptian temple here, they found a croco- 
dile made of lead, with hieroglyphics upon it, which they 
imagine to be a talifman, to prevent crocodiles from palling 
further. Indeed, as yet, we had not feen any ; that animal 
delights in heat, and, as the mornings were very cold, he 
keeps himfelf to the fouthward. The valley of Egypt here 
is about eight miles from mountain to mountain. 

We paffed Siout, another large town built with the re r 
mains of the ancient city f Ifiu. It is fome miles in land, 
upon the fide of a large califh, over which there is an an- 
cient bridge. This was formerly the ftation of the caravan 
for Sennaar. They affembled at Monfalout and Siout, un- 
der the protection of a Bey refiding there. They then pafs- 
ed nearly fouth-weft, into the fandy defert of Libya, to El 


* MeffoudL f Itin. Anton, p. 14. 


Wall, the Oafis Magna of antiquity, and fo into the great 
Defert of Selima. 

Three miles beyond Siout, the wind turned directly 
fouth, fo we were obliged to flay at Tima the reft of the 20th. 
I was wearied with continuing in the boat, and went on 
ihore at Tima. It is a fmall town, furrounded like the reft 
with groves of palm-trees. Below Tima is Bandini, three 
miles on the eaft fide. The Nile is here full of fandy iflands. 
Thofe that the inundation has firft left are all fown, thefe 
are chiefly on the eaft. The others on the weft were barren 
and uncultivated ; all of them moftly compofed of fand. 

I walked into the defert behind the village, and mot 
a confiderable number of the bird called Gooto, and feveral 
hares likewife, fo that I fent one of my fervants loaded to 
the boat. I then walked down paft a fmall village called 
Nizelet el Himma, and returned by a ftill fmaller one call- 
ed Shuka, about a quarter of a mile from Tima. I was ex- 
ceedingly fatigued with the heat by the fouth Wind * blow- 
ing, and the deep fand on the fide of the mountain. I was> 
then beginning my apprenticefhip, which I fully compleated. 

The people in thefe villages were in appearance little 
lefs mifcrable than thofe of the villages we had pailed- 
They feemed fhy and furly at firft, but, upon convention, 
became placid enough. I bought fome medals from them 
of no value, and my fervants telling them I was a phyfician,.. 
I gave my advice to feveral of the lick. This reconciled 


It is called Hamfeen, becaufe it is expe&ed to blow all Pentecoft. 


them perfectly, they brought me frefh water and fome fu- 
gar-canes, which they fplit and fteeped in it. If they were 
fatisfied, I was very much fo. They told me of a large fcene 
of ruins that was about four miles diflant, and offered to 
fend a perfon to conduct me, but I did not accept their of- 
fer, as I was to pafs there next day. 

The 2 i ft, in the morning, we came to Gawa, where is' 
the fecond fcene of ruins of Egyptian architecture, after 
leaving Cairo. I immediately went on ihore, and found 
a fmall temple of three columns in front, with the capitals 
entire, and the columns in feveral feparate pieces. They 
feemed by that, and their flight proportions, to be of the 
mofl modern of that fpecies of building; but the whole 
were covered with hieroglyphics, the old flory over again, 
the hawk and the ferpent, the man fitting with the dog's 
head, with the perch, or meafuring-rod ; in one hand, the he- 
mifphere and globes with wings, and leaves of the banana- 
tree, as is fuppofed, in his other. The temple is filled with 
rubbifh and dung of cattle, which the Arabs bring in here 
to fhelter them from the heat, 

Mr Norden fays, that thefe are the remains of the ancient 
Diofpolis Parva, but, though very loth to differ from him, 
and without the leaf! defire of criticifing, I cannot here be 
of his opinion. For Ptolemy, I think, makes Diofpolis Parva 
about lat. 2 6° 40', and Gawa is 27 2o 7 , which is by much 
too great a difference. Befides, Diofpolis and its nome were 
far to the fouthward of Panopolis ; but we fhall fhew, by 
undoubted evidence, that Gawa is to the northward. 





There are two villages of this name oppolite to each 
other ; the one Gawa Shergieh, which means the Eaftern 
Gawa, and this is by much the large!! ; the other Gawa 
Garbieh. Several authors, not knowing the meaning of thefe 
terms, call it Gawa Gebery ; a word that has no fignifica- 
tion whatever, but Garbieh means the Weftern. 

I was very well pleafed to fee here, for the firfl time, two 
fhepherd dogs lapping up the water from the ftream, then 
lying down in it with great feeming leifure and fatisfac- 
tion. It refuted the old fable, that the dogs living on the 
banks of the Nile run as they drink, for fear of the croco- 

All around the villages of Gawa Garbieh, and the plan-, 
tations belonging to them, Mefhta and Raany, with theirs 
alfo joining them (that is, all the well fide of the river) are 
cultivated and fown from the very foot of the mountains to 
the water's edge, the grain being thrown upon the mud as 
foon as ever the water has left it. The wheat was at this 
time about four inches in length. 

We palled three villages, Shaftour, Commawhaia, and 
Zinedi; we anchored off Shaftour, and within fight of Taahta. 
Taahta is a large village, and in it are feveral mofques. On 
the eaft is a mountain called Jibbel Heredy, from a Turkifh 
faint, who was turned into a make, has lived feveral hun- 
dred years, and is to live for ever. As Chriftians, Moors, 
and Turks, all faithfully believe in this, the confequence is, 
that abundance of nonfenfe is daily writ and told concern- 
ing it. Mr Norden difcuiTes it at large, and afterwards 
gravely tells us, he does not believe it ; in which I certainly 

Vol. I. N mufl 


mull heartily join him, and recommend to my readers to do 
the fame, without reading any thing about it. 

On the 2 2d, at night, we arrived at Achmim. I landed 
my quadrant and inflruments, with a view of obferving an 
eelipfe of the moon; but, immediately after her rifmg, 
clouds and mill fo effectually covered the whole heavens, 
that it was not even poflible to catch a ilar of any fize par- 
ang the meridian. 

Achmim is a very considerable place. It belonged once 
to an Arab prince of that name, who poffefTed it by a grant 
from the Grand Signior, for a certain revenue to be paid 
3'early. That family is now extinct ; and another Arab prince, 
Hamam Shekh of Furfhout, now rents it for his life-time, 
from the Grand Signior, with all the country (except Girge) < 
from Siout to Luxor. 

The inhabitants of Achmim are of a very yellow, un- 
healthy appearance, probably owing to the bad air, occaiion- 
ed by a very dirty califh that panes through the town. . 
There are, likewife, a great many trees, bnmes, and gar- 
dens, about the fcagnated water, all which in.creafe the bad . 
quality of the air. . 

There is here what is called a Hofpice, or Convent of re-^ - 
ligious Francifcans, for the entertainment of the converts, . 
or persecuted Chriflians in Nubia, when they can find them. 
This inflitution I fpeak of at large in the fequel. One of 
the lafl princes of the houfe of Medicis, all patrons of learn- - 
ing, propofed to furnifh them with a compleat obfervatory, , 
with the moll perfect and expenfive inflruments ; but they 



refufed them, from a fcruple leafl it would give umbrage 
to the natives. The fear that it mould expofe their own ig- 
norance and idlenefs, I mult think, entered a little into the 

They received us civilly, and that was juft all. I -think 
I never knew a number of prieils met together, who differ- 
ed fo little in capacity and knowledge, having barely a ro- 
tine of fcholaftic difputation, on every other fubject in- 
conceivably ignorant. But I underftood afterwards, that 
they were low men, all Italians ; fome of them had been 
barbers, and fome of them tailors 'at Milan ; they affected 
to be all Anti-Copernicans, upon fcripture principles, for 
they knew no other aftronomy. 

These priefts lived in great eafe and fafety, were much 
protected and favoured by this Arab prince Hamam ; and 
their acting as phyficians reconciled them to the people. 
They told me there were about eight hundred catholics in 
the town, but I believe the fifth part of that number would 
never have been found, even fuch catholics as they are. 
The reft of them were Cophts, and Moors, but a very few 
of the latter, fo that the miiiionaries live perfectly unmo- 

' The re was a manufactory of coarfe cotton cloth in the town, 
•to confiderable extent; and great quantity of poultry, eiteemed 
the beft in Egypt, was bred here, and fent down to Cairo. The 
reafon is plain, the great export from Achmim is wheat ; all 
the country about it is fown with that grain, and the crops 
are fuperior to any in Egypt. Thirty-two grains pulled from 
the car was equal to forty-nine or the beft Barbary wheat 

N 2 gathered 


gathered in the fame feafon ; a prodigious difproportion, if it 
holds throughout. The wheat, however, was not much 
more forward in Upper Egypt, than that lower down the 
country, or farther northward. It was little more than 
four inches high, and fown down to the very edge of the 

The people here wifely purfuing agriculture, fo as to pro- 
duce wheat in the greateft quantity, have dates only about 
their houfes, and a few plantations of fugar cane near 
their gardens. As foon as they have reaped their wheat, 
they fow for another crop, before the fun has drained the 
moiilure from the ground. Great plenty of excellent fi£h 
is caught here at Achmim, particularly a large one called 
the Binny, a figure of which I have given in the Appendix* 
I have feen them about four feet long, and one foot and a 
half broad. 

The people feemed to be very peaceable, and well dif- 
pofed, but of little curiofity. They exprefled not the leafl 
furprife at feeing my large quadrant and telefcopes mount- 
ed. We paHed the night in our tent upon the river fide, 
without any fort of moleltation, though the men are re- 
proached with being very great thieves. But feeing, I fup- 
pofe, by our lights, that we were awake, they were afraid. 

The women feldom marry after fixteen ; we faw feveral 
with child, who they faid were not eleven years old. Yet 
I did not obferve that the men were lefs in fize, lefs vigor- 
ous and active in body, than in other places. This, one 
would not imagine from the appearance thefe young wives 
make. They are little better coloured than a corpfe, and 



look older at iixteen, than many Englifh women at fixty, fo 
that you are to look for beauty here in childhood only. 

Achmim appears to be the Panopolis of the ancients, not 
only by its latitude, but alfo by an infcription of a very large 
triumphal arch, a few hundred yards fouth of the convent. 
It is built with marble by the Emperor Nero, and is dedi- 
cated in a Greek infcription, iiani ©eq. The columns that 
were in its front are broken and thrown away; the arch it- 
felf is either funk into the ground, or overturned on the 
fide, with little feparation of the feveral pieces. 

The 24th of December we left Achmim, and came to the 
village Shekh Ali on the weft, two miles and a quarter dif- 
tant. We then palled Hamdi, about the fame diftance far- 
ther fouth ; Aboudarac and Salladi on the eafl ; then Salladi 
Garbieh, and Salladi Shergieh on the eaft and weft, as the 
names import ; and a number of villages, almoft oppofite, 
on each fide of the river. 

At three o'clock in the afternoon we arrived at Girge, 
the largeft town we had feen fince we left Cairo ; which, 
by the latitude Ptolemy has very rightly placed it in, mould 
be the Diofpolis Parva, and not Gawa, as Mr Norden makes 
it. For this we know is the beginning of the Diofpolitan 
nome, and is near a remarkable crook of the Nile, as it 
fhould be. It is alfo on the weftern fide of the river, as 
Diofpolis was, and at a proper diftance from Dendera, the 
ancient Tentyra, a mark which cannot be miftaken. 

The Nile makes a kind of loop here ; is very broad, and 
the current ftrong. We palled it with a wind at north; but 



the waves ran high as in the ocean. All the country, on 
both fides of the Nile, to Girge, is but one continued grove 
of palm-trees, in which are feveral villages a fmall diftance 
from each other, Doulani, Confaed, Deirout, and Berdis, on 
the weft fide ; Welled Hallifi, and Beni Haled, on the eait. 

The villages have all a very picturefque appearance 
among the trees, from the many pigeon-houfes that are on 
the tops of them. The mountains on the eaft begin to de- 
part from the river, and thofe on the weft to approach near- 
er it. It feems to me, that, foon, the greateft part of Egypt 
on the eaft fide of the Nile, between Achmim and Cairo, will 
be defert; not from the riling of the ground by the mud, 
as is fuppofed, but from the quantity of fand from the 
mountains, which covers the mould or earth feveral feet 
deep. This 24th of December, at night, we anchored be- 
tween two villages, Beliani and Mobanniny. 

Next morning, the 25th, impatient to vifit the greateft, 
.and moil magnificent fcene of ruins that are in Upper Egypt, 
we fet out from Beliani, and, about ten o'clock in the fore- 
noon, arrived at Dendera. Although we had heard that the 
people of this place were the very worft in Egypt, we were 
not very apprehenfive. We had two letters from the Bey, 
to the two principal men there, commanding them, as they 
would anfwer with their lives and fortunes, to have a fpe- 
cial care that no mifchief befel us; and likewife a very 
.preffing letter to Shekh Kamam at Furfhout, in whofe ter- 
ritory we were. 

I pitched my tent by the river fide, juft above our bark, 
and fent a mefiage to the two principal people, firfl to the 



one, then to the other, defiring them to fend a proper 
perfon, for I had to deliver to them the commands of the 
Bey. » I did not choofe to truft thefe letters with our boat- 
man; and Dendera is near half a mile from the river. The 
two men came after fome delay, and brought each of them 
a fheep ; received the letters, went back with great fpeed, 
and, foon after, returned with a horfe and three afles, to 
carry me to the ruins. 

Dendera is a confiderable town at this day, all covered 
with thick groves of palm-trees, the fame that Juvenal de- 
scribes it to have been in his time. Juvenal himfelf muft 
have feen it, at leafl once, in paffing, as he himfelf died in 
a kind of honourable exile at Syene, whilfl in commands 
there. . 

Terga fuga celeri, firafiantious omnibus in/I ant ^ '. 
^ui vidua colunt umbrofe c Tentyra palma. 

Juv. Sat. 15. v. 757.. 

This place is governed by a cacheff appointed by Shekh 
Hamam. A mile fouth of the town, are the ruins of two 
temples, one of which is fo much buried under ground, 
that little of it is to be feen ; but the other, which is by far 
the moil: magnificent, is entire, and accemble on every fide. 
It is alfo covered with hieroglyphics, both within and with- 
out, all in relief ; and of every figure, fimple and compound, 
that ever has been publifhed, or called an hieroglyphic. 

The form of the building is an oblong fquare, the ends 
of which are occupied by two large apartments, or vefli- 
bules, mpported by monftrous columns, all covered with 

2. hieroglyphics 


hieroglyphics likewife. Some are in form of men and 
bealts ; fome feem to be the figures of inftruments of facri- 
fice, while others, in a fmaller fize, and lefs diftinct form, 
feem to be infcriptions in the current hand of hieroglyphics, 
of which I {hall fpeak at large afterwards. They are all 
finifhed with great care. 

The capitals are of one piece, and confift of four huge 
human heads, placed back to back againft one another, with 
bat's ears, and an ill-imagined, and worfe-executed, fold of 
drapery between them. 

Above thefe is a large oblong fquare block, ftill larger 
than the capitals, with four flat fronts, -difpofed like pannels, 
that is, with a kind of fquare border round the edges, while 
the faces and fronts are filled with hieroglyphics ; as are 
the walls and cielings of every part of the temple. Between 
thefe two apartments in the extremities, there are three 
other apartments, refembling the firft, in every refpect, only 
that they are fmaller. 

The whole building is of common white ftone, from 
the neighbouring mountains, only thofe two in which have 
been funk the pirns for hanging the outer doors, (for it 
feems they had doors even in thofe days) are of granite, or 
black and blue porphyry. 

The top of the temple is flat, the fpouts to carry off the 
water are monflrous heads of fphinxes ; the globes with 
wings, and the two ferpents, with a kind of lhield or breaft- 
plate between them, are here frequently repeated, fuch as 
we fee them on the Casrthaf < ian medals. 

4. The 


The hieroglyphics have been painted over, and great 
part of the colouring yet remains upon the Hones, red, in all 
itsfhades,efpecially that dark dufky colour called TyrianPur- 
ple ; yellow, very freih ; fky-blue (that is, near the blue of an 
eaftern fky, feveral fhades lighter than ours ; green of dif- 
ferent fhades ; thefe are all the colours preferred. 

I could difcover no veftiges of common houfes in Den- 
dera more than in any other of the great towns in Egypt. 
I fuppofe the common houfes of the ancients, in thefe warm 
countries, were conftructed of very flight materials, after they 
left their caves in the mountains. There was indeed no 
need for any other. Not knowing the regularity of the Nile's 
inundation, they never could be perfectly fecure in their 
own minds againft the deluge ; and this flight ftruclure 
of private buildings feerns to be the reafon fo few ruins 
are found in the many cities once built in Egypt. If there 
ever were any ether buildings, they mufl be now covered 
with the white fand from the mountains, for the whole 
plain to the foot of thefe is o erflowed, and in culti- 
vation. It was no part, either -of my plan or inclination, to 
enter into the detail of this extraordinary architecture. 
Quantity, and folidity, are two principal circumflances that 
ere feen there, with a vengeance. 

It ftrikes and impofes on you, at firft fight, but the im- 
preflions are like thofe made by the fize of mountains, 
which the mind does not retain for any confiderable time 
after feeing them ; I think, a very ready hand might fpend 
fix months, from morning to night, before he could copy 
the hieroglyphics in the innde of the temple. They arc, 
however, in feveral combinations, which have not appeared 

Vol. I, O in 


in the collection of hieroglyphics,. I wonder that, being, 
in die neighbourhood, as we are, of Lycopolis, we never fee a 
wolf as an hieroglyphic ; and nothing, indeed, but what 
has fome affinity to water ; yet the wolf is upon all the med- 
als, from which I apprehend that the worfhip of the wolf, 
was but a modern fuperftition. 

Dender a Hands on the edge of a fmall, but fruitful plain ; : 
the wheat was thirteen inches high, now at Chriftmas ; 
their harveft is in the end of March.. The valley is not above 
five miles wide, from mountain to mountain. Here we 
firfl faw the Doom-tree in great profufion growing among. 
the palms, from which it fcarcely is diftinguifhable at a dif- 
tance. It is the * Talma Thebaica Cuciofera. Its ftone is, 
like that of a peach covered with a black bitter pulp, whichi 
refembles a walnut over ripe. 

A little before we came to Dendcra we faw the firil 
crocodile, and afterwards hundreds, lying upon every ifland,. 
like large flocks of cattle, yet the inhabitants of Dendera. 
drive their beafts of every kind into the river, and they 
ftand there for hours. The girls and women too, that come 
to fetch water in jars, Hand up to their knees in the water 
for a confiderable time ; and if we guefs by what happens, 
their danger is full as little as their fear, for none of them, ? 
that ever I heard of, had been bit by a crocodile. However,., 
if the Denderites were as keen and expert hunters of Cro- 
codiles, as fome f hiftorians tell us they were formerly, 
there is furely no part in the Nile where they would have 
better fport than here, immediately before their own city.. 


* Thepphraft. Hift. Plan. lib. iii. cap. 8— lib. iv. cap. 2» fStrabo lib. vii. p. 941*. 

The source of the nile. 107 

Having made fome little acknowledgment to thofe who 
ihad conducted me through the ruins in great fafety, I re- 
turned to the Canja, or rather to my tent, which I placed in 
the firft firm ground. I faw, at fome diftance, a well-dreiTed 
man, with a white turban, and yellow fhawl covering it, 
and a number of ill-looking people about him. As I 
thought this was fome quarrel among the natives, I took 
110 notice of it, but went to my tent, in order to rectify my 
quadrant for obfervation. 

As foon as our Rais faw me enter my tent, he came with 
cxpremons of very great indignation. " What fignifies it, 
faid he, that you are a friend to the Bey, have letters to 
every body, and are at the door of Furfhout, if yet here is- 
a man that will take your boat away from you?" 

" Softly, foftly, I anfwered, HajfTan, he may be in the 
right. If Ali Bey, Shekh Hamam, or any body want a boat 
for public fervice, I mult yield mine. Let us hear." 

Shekh Hamam and Ali Bey! fays he; why it is a fool, ail 
idiot, and an afs ; a fellow that goes begging about, and fays 
he is a faint ; but he is a natural fool, full as much knave 
as fool however; he is a thief, I know him to be a thief." 

If he is a faint, faid I, Hagi HafTan, as you are another, 
known to be fo all the world over, I don't fee why I mould 
interfere ; faint againll faint is a fair battle." — ** It is the 
Cadi, replies he, and no one elfe." 

" Come away with me, faid I, HafTan, and let us fee this 
cadi ; if it is the cadi, it is not the fool, it may be the knave." 

O 2 We 

108 travels to discover 

He was fitting upon the ground on a carpet, moving his' 
head backwards and forwards;, and faying prayers withi 
beads in his hand. I had no good opinion of him from his* 
firft appearance, but faid, Salam alkum, boldy ; this feemed to- 
offend him, as he looked at me with great contempt, and; 
gave me no anfwer, though he appeared a little difconcert-' 
ed by my confidence. 

" Ar e you the Cafr, faid he, to whom that boat belongs ?*' 

" No, Sir, faid I, it belongs to Hagi HafTan." 

" Do you think, fays he, I call Hagi HafTan, who is a Sher~- 

a ri-ffe, Cafrr 

" That depends upon the meafure of your prudence, fai$ 
u I, of which as yet I have no proof that can enable me to' 
" judge or decided 

" Are you the Chnjllan that was at the ruins in the mornv 
" ing ? fays he." 

" I was at the ruins in the morning, replied I, and / am- 
" a Cbriplan. Ali Bey calls that denomination of people 
" Nassaranij that is the Arabic of Cairo and Conflantinoplej, 
** and I underlland no other.'* 

" I am, faid he, going to Girge, and this holy faint is witli. 
" me, and there is no boat but your's bound that way, for 
" which reafon I have promifed to take him with me.' v 


By this time the faint had got into the boat, and fat for- 
ward ; he was an ill-favoured, low, lick-like man, and feem- 
ed to be almoft blind. 

You mould not make rafh promifes, laid f to the cadi, 
for this one you made you never can perform ; I am not go- 
ing to Girge. All Bey, ivhofejlave you are^ gave me this boat, 
but told me, I was not to fhip either faints or cadies. There 
is my boat, go a-board if you dare ; and you, Hagi Haflan, 
let me fee you lift an oar, or loofe a fail, either for the cadi 
or the faint,, if I am not with them. 

I went to my tent, and the Rais followed me. " Hagi 
" Haflan, faid I, there is a proverb in my country, It is bet- 
" ter to flatter fools than to fight them : Cannot you go to- 
" the fool, and give him half-a-crown ? will he take it, do 
** you think, and abandon his journey to Girge? after- 
* wards leave me to fettle with the cadi for his voyage thi- 
" ther." 

" He will take it with all his heart, he will kifs your hand 
tt for half-a-crown, fays Haflan.'' 

" Let him have half-a-crown from rne, faid I, and deflre 
** him to go about his bufmefs, and intimate that I give him 
" it in charity, at fame time expecl: compliance with the 
" condition." 

In the interim, a Chriflian Copht came into the tentr 

" Sir, faid he, you don't k aow what you are doing ; the cadi 

is a great man, give him h ovefent, and have done with 




" When he behaves better, it will be time enough for that, 
41 faid I? — If you are a friend of his, advife him to be quiet, 
" before an order comes from Cairo by a Serach, and car- 
" ries him thither. Your countryman Rifle would not give 
" me the advice you do?" 

Risk! fays he; Do you know Rifk? Is not that RifkV wri- 
ting, faid I, fhewing him a letter from the Bey? Wallah ! 
(by God) it is, fays he, and away he went without fpeaking 
a word farther. 

The faint had taken his half-crown, and had gone away 
fmging, it being now near dark. — The cadi went away, and 
the mob difperfed, and we directed a Moor to cry, That all 
people fhould, in the night-time, keep away from the tent, 
or they would be fired at ; a Hone or two were afterwards 
thrown, but did not reach us. 

I finished my obfervation, and afcertained the latitude 
of Dendera, then packed up my inftruments, and fent them 
on board. 

Mr Norden feems greatly to have miftaken the pofition 
of this town, which, confpicuous and celebrated as it is by 
ancient authors, and juftly a principal point of attention to 
modern travellers, he does not fo much as defcribe ; and, in 
his map, he places Dendera twenty or thirty miles to the 
fouthward of Badjoura ; whereas it is about nine miles to 
the northward. For Badjoura is in lat. 26 3', and Dendera 
is in 26 10C 



It is a great pity, that he who had a tafle for this very 
remarkable kind of architecture, ihould have paired it, both: 
in going up and coming down ; as it is, beyond comparifon^ 
a place that would have given more fatisfaction than all 
Upper Egypt. 

While we were linking our tent, a great mob came down,., 
but without the cadi. As I ordered all my people to take their 
arms in their hands, they kept at a very confiderable dis- 
tance; but the fool, or faint, got into the boat with a yellow 
flag in his hand, and fat down at the foot of the main-mall, 
faying, with an idiot fmile, That we fhould fire, for he was 
out of the reach of the mot ; fome ftones were thrown, but. 
did not reach us. 

I ordered two of my fervants with large brafs fhip-blun— 
derbulfes, very bright and glittering, to get upon the top of. 
the cabbin. I then pointed a wide-mouthed Swedifh blun- 
derbufs from one of the windows, and cried out, Have 

a care ; the next Hone that is thrown I fire my cannon: 

amongft you, which will fweep away 300 of you inllantly 
from the face of the earth ; though I believe there were not: 
above two hundred then prefent.. 

I ordered Hagi HafTan to call off his cord immediately, 
and, as foon as the blunderbufs appeared, away ran every 
one of them, and, before they could collect thernfelves to 
return, our veilel was in the middle of the flream. The 
wind was fair, though not very frefh, on which we fet both 
our fails, and made great way. 

2: The 


The faint, who had been fmging all the time we were 
difputing, began now to fhew fome apprehenfions for his 
own fafety : He afked Hagi HafTan, if this was the way to 
Girge ? and had for anfwer, " Yes, it is the fool's way to 
" Girge." 

We carried him about a mile, or more, up the river ; then 
a convenient landing-place offering, I afked him whether 
he got my money, or not, laft night ? He faid, he had for 
yefterday, but he had got none for to-day. — " Now, the next 
thing I have to afk you, faid I, is, Will you go afhore of your 
own accord, or will you be thrown into the Nile ? He an- 
fwered with great confidence, Do you know, that, at my 
word, I can fix your boat to the bottom of the Nile, and 
make it grow a tree there for ever .?" " Aye, fays Hagi Haf- 
fan, and make oranges and lemons grow on it likewife, 
can't you ? You are a cheat." " Come, Sirs, faid I, lofe no time, 
put him out." I thought he had been blind and weak ; 
and the boat was not within three feet of the fhore, when 
placing one foot upon the gunnel, he leaped clean upon land. 

We flacked our veffel down the ftream a few yards, fill- 
ing our fails, and ftretching away. Upon feeing this, our 
faint fell into a defperate paffion, curling, blafpheming, and 
ftamping with his feet, at every word crying " Shar Ullah !" 
I. e. may God fend, and do jullice. Our people began to 
taunt and gibe him, afking him if he would have a pipe of 
tobacco to warm him, as the morning was very cold ; but I 
bade them be content. It was curious to fee him, as far as 
we could difcern, fometimes fitting down, fometimes jump- 
ing and flapping about, and waving his flag, then running 



^.bout a hundred yards, as i2 it were after us ; but always 
returning, though at a flower pace. 

None of the reft followed. He was indeed apparently the 
tool of that rafcal the cadi, and, after his defigns were frus- 
trated, nobody cared what became of him. He was left in 
the lurch, as thofe of his character generally are, after ferv- 
ing the purpofe of knaves* 

r^ Sf'0 , . ■ i i. i , ... iifl^gg 

Vol. I. P CHAP. 




Arrive at Fur/bout— -Adventure of Friar Chrijlopher — Vifit Thebes—— 
Luxor and Carnac — Large Ruins at Edfu and Efne Proceed on our 

"E arrived happily at Furfhout that fame forenoon, and 
went to the convent of Italian Friars, who, like thofe 
of Achmim, are of the order of the reformed Francifcans, 
of whofe million I Aiall fpeak at large in the fequel. 

We were received more kindly here than at Achmim ; 
but Padre Antonio, fuperior of that lafl convent, upon which 
this of Furfliout alio depends, following us, our good recep- 
tion fullered a fmall abatement. In fhort, the good Friars 
would not let us buy meat, becaufe they faid it would be a 
Jhame and reproach to them; and they would not give US any, 
for fear that fliould be a reproach to them Iikewife, if it was 
told in Europe they lived well. 

After fome time I took the liberty of providing for my- 
felf, to which they fubmitted with chriflian patience. Yet 
thefe convents were founded exprefsly with a view, and 
from a neceffity of providing for travellers between Egypt 
and Ethiopia, and we were flricHy intitled to that enter- 


tainment. Indeed there is very little ufe for this inftitu- 
tion in Upper Egypt, as long as rich Arabs are there, much 
more charitable and humane to flranger Chriflians than 
the Monks. 

Furshout is in a large and cultivated plain. It is nine 
miles over to the foot of the mountains, all fown with 
wheat. There are, likewife, plantions of fugar canes. The 
town, as they faid, contains above 10,000 people, but I have 
no doubt this computation is rather exaggerated. 

We waited upon the Shekh Hamam ; who was a big, 
tall, handfome man ; I apprehend not far from fixty. He 
was drelTed in a large fox-fkin peliffe over the reft of his 
cloaths, and had a yellow India ihawl wrapt about his head, 
like a turban. He received me with great politenefs and 
condefenfion, made me fit down by him, and afked me more 
about Cairo than about Europe. 

The Rais had told him our adventure with the faint, at 
which he laughed very heartily, faying, I was a wife man. 
and a man of conduct. To me he only faid, " they are 
bad people at Dendera ;" to which I anfwered, " there were 
very few places in the world in which there were not fome 
bad." He replied, " Your obfervation is true, but there they 
are all bad ; reft yourfelves however here, it is a quiet place ; 
though there are ftill fome even in this place not quite fo 
good as they ought to be." 

The Shekh was a man of immenfe riches, and, little by 
little, had united in his own perfon, all the feparate diftricts 

P 2 of 


of Upper Egypt, each of which formerly had its particular- 
prince. But his interefl was great at Conftantinople, where- 
he applied directly for what he wanted, infomuch as to give 
a jealoufy to the Beys of Cairo. He had in farm from the 
Grand Signior almoft the whole country, between Siout and 
Syene, or AfTouan. I believe this is the Shekh of Upper Egypt, 
whom Mr Irvine fpeaks of fo gratefully. He was betrayed, 
and murdered fometime after, by one of the Beys whom heu 
had protected in his own country. 

While we were at Furfhout, there happened a very ex- 
traordinary phenomenon. It rained the whole night, and 
till about nine o'clock next morning ; and the people be- 
gan to be very apprehenfive leafl the whole town lhould be 
dcilroyed. It is a perfect prodigy to fee rain here ; and; 
the prophets faid it portended a difTolution of government, 
which was juftly verified foon afterwards, and at that time: 
indeed, was extremely probable. 

Furshout is in lat i6° 3' 30"; above that, to the foutli- 
ward, on the fame plain, is another large village, belonging 
to Shekh Ifmael, a nephew of Shekh Hamam. It is a large: 
town, built with clay like Furfhout, and furrounded with 
groves of palm trees, and very large plantations of fugar. 
canes. Here they make fugar., 

Shekh Ismael was a very pleafant and agreeable man,, 
but in bad health, having a violent afthma, and fometimes. 
pleuretic complaints, to be removed by bleeding only. He 
had given thefe friars a houfe for a convent in Badjoura;. 
but as they had not yet taken pofTeilion of it, he defired me. 
to come and flay there.. 



Friar Christopher, whom I underltood to have been a 
Milanefe barber, was his phylician, but he had not the fci- 
ence of an Englifh barber in furgery. He could not bleed, 
but with a fort of inftrument refembling that which is ufed 
in cupping, only that it had but a fmgle lancet ; with this 
he had been lucky enough as yet to efcape laming his 
patients. This bleeding inftrument they call the Tabange, or 
the Piftol, as they do the cupping inftrument likewife. I never 
could help fhuddering at feeing the confidence with which 
this man placed a fmall brafs box upon all forts of arms, and 
drew the. trigger for the point to go where fortune pleafed,. 

Shekh Ismael was very fond of" this furgeon, and the- 
furgeon of his patron ; all would have gone well, had not 
friar Chriflopher aimed likewife at being an Aflronomer. A- 
bove all he gloried in being a violent enemy to the Coperni- 
can fyftem, which unluckily he had miftaken for a herefy in,* 
the church ; and partly from his own flight ideas and ftock: 
of knowledge, partly from fome Milanefe almanacs he had 
got, he attempted, the weather being cloudy, to foretel the 
time when the moon was to change, it being that of the 
month Ramadan, when the Mahometans' lent, or failings 
was to begin. 

It happened that the Badjoura people, and their Shekh 
Ifmael, were upon indifferent terms with Hamam, and his 
men of Furfhout, and being defirous. to get a triumph over 
their neighbours by the help of their friar Chriflopher, they 
continued to eat, drink, and fmoke, two days after the con- 
junction, . 



The moon had been feen the fecond night, by a Eakir*, 
in the defert, who had fent word to Shekh Hamam, and he 
had begun his fail. But Ifmael, allured by friar Chriftophcr 
that it was impoffible, had continued eating. 

The people of Furfhout, meeting their neighbours fing- 
ing and dancing, and with pipes of tobacco in their mouths, 
all cried out with aflonifhment, and afked, " Whether they had 
" abjured their religion or not?" — From words they came 
to blows ; feven or eight were wounded on each fide, luckily 
none of them mortally. — Hamam next day came to inquire 
at. his nephew Shekh Ifmael, what had been the occasion of 
all this, and to confult what was to be done, for the two 
villages had declared one another infidels. 

I was then with my fervants in Badjoura, in great quiet 
and tranquillity, under the protection, and very much in the 
confidence of Ifmael ; but hearing the hooping, and noife 
in the ftreets, I had barricadoedmy outer-doors. A high wall 
furrounded the houfe and court-yard, and there I kept quiet, 
fatisfied with being in perfect fafety. 

In the interim, I heard it was a quarrel about the keep- 
ing of Ramadan, and, as I had provifions, water, and employ- 
ment enough in the houfe, I refolved to flay at home till 
they fought it out ; being very little interefted which of 
them mould be victorious. — About noon, I was fent for to 
Ifmael's houfe, and found his uncle Hamam with him. 


A poor faints 


He told me, there were feveral wounded in a quarrel a- 
bout the Ramadan, and recommended them to my care. 
" About Ramadan, faid I ! what, your principal fall ! have 
" you not fettled that yet ?" — Without anfwering me as to 
this, he afked, " When does the moon change ?" As I knew 
nothing of friar Chriftopher's operations, I anfwered, in 
hours, minutes, and feconds, as I found them in the ephe- 

"Look you there, fays Hamam, this is fine work!" and, 
directing his difcourfe to me, " When fhall we fee it ?" Sir, 
faid I, that is impoffible for me to tell, as it depends on the 
Hate of the heavens ; but, if the fky is clear, you muft fee 
her to-night ; if you had looked for her, probably you would 
have feen her laft night low in the horizon, thin like a 
thread ; fhe is now three days old. — He flarted at this, then 
told me friar Chriftopher's operation, and the confequences 
of it. 

Ismael was afhamed, curfedhim, and threatned revenge. 
It was too late to retract, the moon appeared, and fpoke for 
herfelf; and the unfortunate friar was difgraced, and 
banifhed from Badjoura. Luckily the pleuretic flitch came 
again, and I was called to bleed him, which I did with a lan- 
cet; but he was fo terrified at its brightnefs, at the ceremony 
of the towel and the bafon, and at my preparation, that it 
did not pleafe him, and therefore he was obliged to be 
reconciled to Ghriflopher and his tabange. — Badjoura is in 
lat. 2 6° 3 7 \G"\ and is fituared on the weftern Aiore of the 
Nile, as Furfliout is likewife, 



We left Furfhout the 7th of January 1769, early in the 
morning. We had not hired our boat farther than Fur- 
fhout ; but the good terms which fubfifted between me and 
the faint, my Rais, made an accommodation very eafy to 
carry us farther. He now agreed for L. 4 to carry us to 
Syene and down again ; but, if he behaved well, he expect- 
ed a trifling premium. " And, if you behave ill, Haflan, 
'*' faid I, what do you think you deferve?" — "To be hanged, 
" faid he, I deferve, and defire no better." 

Our wind at nrft was but fcant. The Rais faid, that he 
thought his boat did not go as it ufed to do, and that it was 
growing into a tree. The wind, however, frefhened up to- 
wards noon, and eafed him of his fears. We palled a large 
town called How, on the weft fide of the Nile. About four 
o'clock in the afternoon we arrived at El Gourni, a fmall 
village, a quarter of a mile diftant from the Nile. It has in 
it a temple of old Egyptian architecture. I think that this, 
and the two adjoining heaps of ruins, which are at the fame 
diftance from the Nile, probably might have been part of 
the ancient Thebes. 

Shaamy and Taamy are two colofTal flames in a fitting 
pofture covered with hieroglyphics. The fouthmoft is of 
one flone, and perfectly entire. The northmoft is a good 
deal more mutilated. It was probably broken by Camby fes; 
and they have fmce endeavoured to repair it. The other 
lias a very remarkable head-drefs, which can be compared 
to nothing but a tye-wig, fuch as worn in the prefent day. 
Thefe two, fituated in a very fertile fpot belonging to The- 
bes, were apparently the Nilometers of that town, as the 
marks which the water has left upon the bafes fufheiently 

2 fliew. 


{hew. The bafes of both of them are bare, and uncovered, 
to the bottom of the plinth, or loweft member of their pe- 
deftal ; fo that there is not the eighth of an inch of the 
lowed part of them covered with mud, though they Hand 
in the middle of a plain, and have Hood there certainly a- 
bove 3000 years ; fince which time, if the fanciful rife of 
the land of Egypt by the Nile had been true, the earth mould 
have been raifed fo as fully to conceal half of them both. 

These flames are covered with infcriptions of Greek and 
Latin ; the import of which feems to be, that there were 
certain travellers, or particular people, who heard Memnon's 
ftatue utter the found it was faid to do, upon being (truck 
with the rays of the fun. 

It may be very reafonably expected, that I mould here 
fay fomething of the building and fall of the firft Thebes ; 
but as this would carry me to very early ages, and inter- 
rupt for a long time my voyage upon the Nile ; as this is, be- 
sides, connected with the hiftory of feveral nations which I 
am about to defcribe, and more proper for the work of an 
hiftorian, than the curfory defcriptions of a traveller, I Ihall 
defer faying any thing upon the fubject, till I come to treat 
of it in the firft of thefe characters, and more efpecially till 
I ihall fpeak of the origin of ttiejbcpberds, and the calami- 
ties brought upon Egypt by that powerful nation, a people 
often mentioned by different writers, but whofe hiftory 
hitherto has been but imperfectly known. 

Nothing remains of the ancient Thebes but four pro- 
digious temples, all of them in appearance more ancient, 
but neither fo entire, nor fo magnificent, as thofe of Dendera. 

Vol, I. Q^ The 


The temples at Medinet Tabu are the moft elegant of thefe. 
The hieroglyphics are cut to the depth of half-a-foot, hi 
fome places, but we have ftill the fame figures, or rather a 
lefs variety, than at Dendera. 

The hieroglyphics are of four forts ' r firft,.fuch as have 
only the contour marked, and, as it were, fcratched only 
in the ftone. The fecond are hollowed; and in the 
middle of that fpace rifes the figure in relief, fo that the 
prominent part of the figure is equal to the flat, unwrought 
furface of the ftone, and feems to have a frame round it,. 
deiigned to defend the hieroglyphic from mutilation. The 
third fort is in relief, or baffo relievo, as it is called, where 
the figure is left bare and expofed, without being funk in, 
or defended, by any compartment cut round it in the ftone^ 
The fourth are thofe mentioned in the beginning of this 
defcription, the outlines of the figure being cut very deep 
in the Hone. 

All the hieroglyphics, but the laft mentioned, which do 
not admit it, are painted red, blue, and green, as at Dendera,, 
and with no other colours* 

Notwithstanding all this variety in the manner of ex- 
ecuting the hicroglyphical figures, and the prodigious mul- 
titude which I have feen in the feveral buildings, I never 
could make the number of different hieroglyphics amount 
to more than five hundred and fourteen, and of thefe there 
were certainly many, which were not really different, but 
from the ill execution of the fculpture only appeared fo. 
From this I conclude, certainly, that it can be no entire lan- 
guage which hieroglyphics are meant to contain, for no 



language could be comprehended in five hundred words, 
and it is probable that thefe hieroglyphics are not alphabetical, 
or Jingle letters only ; for five hundred letters would make 
t-jo large an alphabet. The Chinefe indeed have many more 
letters in ufe, but have no alphabet, but who is it that under- 
Jiands the Chinefe? 

There are three different characters which, I obferve, 
have been in ufe at the fame time in Egypt, Hieroglyphics, 
the Mummy character, and the Ethiopic. Thefe are all 
*hree found, as I have feen, on the fame mummy, and there- 
fore were certainly ufed at the fame time, The lalt only I 
believe was a language* 

The mountains immediately above or behind Thebes, are 
liollowed out into numberlefs caverns, the firfl habitations of 
the Ethiopian colony which built the city. I imagine they 
continued long in thefe habitations, for I do not think the 
temples were ever intended but for public and folemn utes, and 
in none of thefe ancient cities did I ever fee a wall or foun- 
dation, or any thing like a private houfe ; all are temples and 
tombs, if temples and tombs m thofe times were not the fame 
thing. But veftiges of houfes there are none, whatever * Diodo- 
rus Siculus may fay, building with ftone was too expenfive for 
individuals ; the houfes probably were all of clay, thatched 
•with palm branches, as they are at this day* This is one rea- 
fon why fo few ruins of the immenfe number of cities we 
hear of remain. 

Qji Thebes, 

Diod. Sic, lib, I. 


Thebes, according to Homer, had a hundred gates. We can— 
not, however, difcover yet the foundation of any wall that 
it had ; and as for the horfeinen and chariots it is faid to 
have fent out, all the Thebaid Town with wheat would not 
have maintained one-half q£ them. 

Thebes, at leaft the ruins of the temples, called Medinet 
Tabu, are built in a long ftretch of about a mile broad, mofl 
parfimonioufly chofen at the fandy foot of the mountains. 
The Horti* Pennies, or hanging gardens, were furely formed 
upon the fides of thefe hills, then fupplied with water by 
mechanical devices. The utmoft is done to fpare the plain, 
and with great reafon ; for all the fpace of ground this 
ancient city has had to maintain its myriads of horfes and 
men, is a plain of three quarters of a mile broad, between 
the town and the river, upon which plain the water rifes to 
the height of four, and live feet, as we may judge by the 
marks on the ftatues Shaamy and Taamy. All this pretend*- 
ed populoufnefs of ancient Thebes I therefore believe fabu- 

It is a circumilance very remarkable, in building the fitft" 
temples, that, where the fide-walls are folid, that is, not fup- 
ported by pillars, fome of thefe have their angles and faces 
perpendicular, others inclined in a very considerable angle 
to the horizon. Thofe temples, whofe walls are inclined, 
you may judge by the many hieroglyphics and ornaments, 
are of the jfirft ages, or the greatefl antiquity. From which, 
I am difpofed to think, that fmgular conftruction was a rem- 

* Plin, lib. 26. cap. 14. 


nant of the partiality of the builders for their firfl domi- 
ciles ; an imitation of the Hope*, or inclination of the fides 
of mountains, and that this inclination of flat furfaces to 
each other in building, gave afterwards the firft idea of Py- 
ramids f. 

A number of robbers, who much refemble our gypfie^, 
live in the holes of the mountains above Thebes. They are 
all out-laws, punifhed with death if elfewhere found. Of- 
man Bey, an ancient governor of Girge, unable to fuffer 
any longer the diforders committed by thefe people, order- 
ed a quantity of dried faggots to be brought together, and, 
with his foldiers, took poffemon of the face of the moun- 
tain, where the greateft number of thefe wretches were: 
He then ordered all their caves to be filled with this dry 
brulh wood, to which he fet fire, fo that mofl of them were 
deftroyed ; but they have fince recruited their numbers, with*-- 
out changing their manners. . 

About half a mile north of El Gourni, are the magnifi- 
cent, ftupendous fepulchres, of Thebes, The mountains 
of the Thebaid come clofe behind the town ; they are not 
run in upon one another like ridges, but ftand mfulated 
upon their bafes ; fo that you can get round each of them. 
A hundred of thefe, it is faid, are excavated into fepulchral, 
and a variety of other apartments. I went through feven of 
them with a great deal of fatigue. It is a folitary place ; 


* See Norden'f views of the Temples at Efne and Edfu. Vol; ii. plate ■&. p. 80. 

f This inclined figure of the fides, is frequently found in the fmall boxes within, the. 


and my guides, either from a natural impatience and diftafte 
that thefe people have at fuch employments, or, that their 
fears of the banditti that live in the caverns of the moun- 
tains were real, importuned me to return to the boat, even 
before I had begun my fearch, or got into the mountains 
where are the many large apartments of which I was in 

In the firft one of thefe I entered is the prodigious far- 
cophagus, fome fay of Menes, others of Ofimandyas ; pof- 
fibly of neither. It is fixteen feet high, ten long, and fix 
broad, of one piece of red-granite ; and, as fuch, is, I fuppofe, 
the fineft vafe in the world. Its cover is ftill upon it, (bro- 
ken on one fide,) and it has a figure in relief on the outfide. 
It is not probably the tomb of Ofimandyas, becaufe, Diodo- 
rus * fays, that it was ten ftadia from the tomb of the kings ; 
whereas this is one among them. 

There have been fome ornaments at the outer-pillars, or 
outer-entry, which have been broken and thrown down. 
Thence you defcend through an inclined pafTage, I fuppofe, 
about twenty feet broad ; I fpeak only by guefs, for I did 
not meafure. The fide-walls, as well as the roof of this paf- 
f age, are covered with a coat of flucco, of a finer and more 
equal grain, or furface, than any I ever faw in Europe. I 
found my black-lead pencil little more worn by it than by 
writing upon paper. 


* Pied. Sic. lib, ic 


Upon the left-hand fide is the crocodile feizing upon the 
apis, and plunging him into the water. On the right-hand 
is the * fcarabseus thebaicus, or the thebaic beetle, the firfl 
animal that is feen alive after the Nile retires from the land ; 
and therefore thought to be an emblem of the refurrection. 
My own conjecture is, that the apis was the emblem of the 
arable land of Egypt ; the crocodile, the typhon, or cacods- 
mon, the type of an over-abundant Nile ; that the fcarabseus 
was the land which had been overflowed, and from which 
the water had foon retired, and has nothing to do with the 
refurreclion or immortality, neither of which at that time 
were in contemplation. 

Farther forward on the right-hand of the entry, the 
pannels, or compartments, were flill formed in flucco, but, 
in place of figures in relief, they were painted in frefco. 
I dare fay this was the cafe on the left-hand of the pafTage, 
as well as the right. But the firft difcovery was fo unex- 
pected, and I had flattered myfelf that I fhould be fo far 
mailer of my own time, as to fee the whole at my leifure, 
that I was rivetted, as it were, to the fpot by the firft fight of 
thefe paintings, and I could proceed no further. 

In one pannel were feveral mufical inftruments ftrowed 
upon the ground, chiefly of the hautboy kind, with a mouth- 
piece of reed. There were alfo fome fimple pipes or flutes. 
With them were feveral jars apparently of potter - ware, 
which, having their mouths covered with parchment or 


* See the figure of this Infeft in Paul Lucas. 


ikin, and being braced on their fides like a drum, were pro- 
bably the inftrument called the tabor, or * tabret, beat upon 
by the ha* "s, coupled in earlieft ages with the harp, and 
preferved ftill in Abyflinia, though its companion, the laft- 
mentioned inftrument, is no longer known there. 

In three following pannels were painted, in frefco, three, 
harps, which merited the utmoft attention, whether we con- 
fider the elegance of thefe inftruments in their form, and 
the detail of their parts as they are here clearly exprefled, 
or confine ©urfelves to the reflection that neceffarily follows, 
to how great perfection mufic mull have arrived, before an 
artift could have produced fo complete an inftrument as 
either of thefe. 

As the firftliarp feemed to be the moft perfect, and leaft 
fpoiled, I immediately attached myfelf to this, and deiired 
my clerk to take upon him the charge of the fecond. In 
this way, by fketching exactly, and loofely, I hoped to have 
made myfelf matter of all the paintings in that cave, per- 
haps to have extended my refearches to others, though, in 
the fequel, I found myfelf miferably deceived. 

My firft drawing was that of a man playing upon a harp; 
he was ftanding, and the inftrument being broad, and flat 
at the bafe, probably for that purpofe, fupported itfelf eafily. 
with a veiy little inclination upon his arm ; his head is 
clofe fhaved, his eye-brows black, without beard or muf- 

tach >es« 

* Gen. xxxi, 27. Ifa. chap. xxjc. ver. 32. 

-/Y. ,<-, r4 sculn . 


Z on/fan jfiiJ>h/)h/ J)it r ii'i]t/a Jn/ £Jfol>ijwon k.Co. 


Radioes. He has on him a loofe fhirt, like what they wear at 
this day in Nubia (only it is not blue) with loofe fleeves, 
and arms and neck bare. It feemed to be thiCfc muflin, or 
cotton cloth, and long-ways through it is a crimfon flripe 
about one-eighth of an inch broad ; a proof, if this is Egyp* 
tian manufacture, that they underftood at that time how to 
dye cotton, crimfon, an art found out in Britain only a very 
few years ago. If this is the fabric of India, Hill it proves 
the antiquity of the commerce between the two countries, 
and the introduction of Indian manufactures into Egypt. 

It reached down to his ancle ; his feet are without fan* 
tlals ; he feems to be a corpulent man, of about fixty years of 
age, and of a complexion rather dark for an Egyptian. To 
guefs by the detail of the figure, the painter feems to have 
had the fame degree of merit with a good fign-painter in 
Europe, at this day.— If we allow this harper's ftature to be 
five feet ten inches, then we may compute the harp, in its 
-extreme length, to be fome thing lefs than fix feet and a 

This inflrument is of a much more advantageous form 
•than the triangular Grecian harp. It has thirteen firings, 
but wants the forepiece of the frame oppofite to the longefl 
firing. The back part is the founding-board, compofed of 
four thin pieces of wood, joined together in form of a cone, 
that is, growing wider towards the bottom ; fo that, as the 
length of the firing increafes, the fquare of the correfpond- 
ing fpace in the founding-board, in which the found was to 
undulate, always increafes in proportion. The whole prin- 
ciples, on which this harp is conftructed, are rational and 

Vol. I, R ingenious. 


ingenious, and the ornamented parts are executed in the 
very befl manner. 

The bottom and fides of the frame feem to be fineered, and 
inlaid, probably with ivory, tortoife-fhell, and mother-of- 
pearl, the ordinary produce of the neighbouring feas and 
deferts. It would be even now impoilible, either to con- 
ftruct or to finifh a harp of any form with more tafte and 
elegance. Befides the proportions of its outward form, we 
muff obferve likewife how near it approached to a perfect 
inftrument, for it wanted only two firings of having two 
complete octaves ; that thefe were purpofely omitted, not 
from defect of tafte or fcience, mull appear beyond contra- 
diction, when we confider the harp that follows., 

I had no fooner finifhed the harp which I liad taken in" 
hand, than I went to my affiftant, to fee what progrefs he had 
made in the drawing in which he was engaged. I found,, 
to. my very great furprife, that this harp differed effentially, 
in form and diftribution of its parts, from the one I had 
drawn, without having loft any of its elegance ; on the con- 
trary, that. it was finilhed with full more attention than 
the other. It feemed to be fineered with the fame materials,, 
ivory and tortoife-lheil, but the firings were differently dif- 
pofed, the ends of the three longeft, where they joined to 
the founding-board below, were defaced by a hole dug in 
the wall. Several of the firings in different parts had been 
fcraped as with a knife, for the reft, it was very perfect. It 
had eighteen firings. A man, who feemed to be flill older 
than the former, but in habit perfectly the fame, bare-footed,, 
clofe fhaved, and of the fame complexion with him, flood 


V • / • 

////y /// ^'rr./fv/, /// /Ac . Jr/////rA</'&/ o/ ( ; >wwi 


,/ ./£. 

.ftiStoh'd DeeTjffyja . by <?. ~Robmson k Co . 


playing with both his hands near the middle of the harp, 
in a manner feemingly lefs agitated than in the other. 

I went back to my firfl harp, verified, and examined my 
drawing in all its parts ; it is with great pleamre I now give 
a figure of this fecond harp to the reader, it was miflaid 
among a multitude of other papers, at the time when I was 
folicited to communicate the former drawing to a gentle- 
man then writing the Hiflory of Mufic, which he has already 
fubmitted to the public ; it is very lately and unexpectedly 
this lail harp has been found ; I am only forry this accident 
has deprived the public of Dr Burney's remarks upon it. I 
hope he will yet favour us with them, and therefore abflain 
from anticipating his reflections, as I confider this as his pro- 
vince ; I never knew any one fo capable of affording the pub- 
lic, new, and at the fame time juft lights on this fubjedl. 

There flill remained a third harp of ten firings, its precife 
form I do not well remember, for I had feen it but once 
w r hen I firfl entered the cave, and was now preparing to 
copy that likewife. I do not recoiled: that there was any 
man playing upon this one, I think it was rather refting 
upon a wall, with fome kind of drapery upon one end of it, 
and was the fmallefl of the three. But I am not at all fo 
certain of particulars concerning this, as to venture any 
defcription of it ; what I have faid of the other two may be 
abfolutely depended upon. 

I look upon thefe harps then as the Theban harps in 
life in the time of Sefoflris, who did not rebuild, but deco- 
rate ancient Thebes ; I confider them as affording an in- 

R 2 conteflible 


conteftible proof, were they the only monuments remaining; 
that every art neceflary to the conftruetion, ornament, and 
life of this instrument, was in the higheft perfection, and. 
if fo, all the others mull have probably attained to the fame, 

We fee in particular the ancients then poiTe fled an art 
relative to architecture, that of hewing the hardeft Hones 
with the greater! eafe, of which we are. at. this day utterly 
ignorantand incapable.. We have no inftrument that could 
do it, no compofition that could make tools of temper fufr 
iicient to cut. bafs reliefs in granite or porphyry fo readily; 
and our ignorance in.this is. the. more completely fhewn, in 
that we have all the reafons to believe, the cutting inftru- 
ment with which they did thefe furprriing feats was com- 
pofed of brafs ;. a. metal of which, after a thoufand experi-, 
ments, no tool has ever been made that could ferve the 
purpofe of a common knife, though we are at the fame 
time certain, it was of brafs the ancients made their razors*. 

These harps, in my opinion, overturn all the account* 
hitherto given of the earlieft Hate of mufic and muficat 
inftruments in the eaft ; and are altogether in their form,- 
ornaments, and compafs, an inconteftihle proof, ftronger than 
a thoufand Greek quotations, that geometry, drawing, me- 
chanics, and mulic, were at the greatefl perfection when this- 
inftrument was made, and that the period from which we 
date the invention of thefe arts, was only the beginning of 
die sera of their reftoration. This was the fentiment of Solo- 
mon, a writer who lived at the time when this harp waspainted^ 
"Is there (fays Solomon) any thing whereof it may be faid > 

" See, 


" See, this is new! it hath been already of ol4 time which 
"was before us*." 

We find, in thefe very countries, how a later calamity, of 
the fame public nature r the conquefl of the Saracens, occa- 
fioned a fimilar downfal of literature, by the burning the 
Alexandrian library under the fanatical caliph Omar. We 
fee how foon after, they flourifhed, plantedby the fame hands , 
that before. had rooted them out. 

The effects of a revolution occasioned, at the period I am 
now fpeaking of, by the univerfal inundation of the Shepherd^ . 
were the deftruction of Thebes, the ruin of architecture, 
and the downfal of aftronomy in Egypt. Still a remnant 
was left in the colonies and correfpondents of Thebes, 
though fallen. Ezekielf celebrates Tyre as being, from her 
beginning, famous for- the tabret and harp, and it is pro- 
bably to Tyre the taite for mufic fled from the contempt and 
perfecution of the barbarous Shepherds; who, though a 
numerous nation, to this day never have yet pollened any 
fpecies of mufic, or any kind. of. mufical inftruments capable, 
of improvement, . 

Although it is a curious fubjecl; for reflection, it mould 
not furprife us to find here the harp, in fuch variety of form. 
Old Thebes, as we prefently fhall fee, had been deitroyed, 
and was foon after decorated and adorned; but not rebuilt 
by Sefoitris. It was fome time between the reign of Menes, 
the irfl king of the Thebaid, and the firit general war of 


•Eccles. chap. i. ver. icv -{*Ezek, chap, xxviii, ver. 13. 


the Shepherds, that thefe decorations and paintings were 
made. This gives it a prodigious antiquity ; but fuppofmg 
it was a favourite inftrument, confequently well underilood 
at the building of Tyre * in the year 1320 before Chrift, and 
Sefoftris had lived in the time of Solomon, as Sir Ifaac New- 
toni magincs ; ftill there were 320 years fince that inflru- 
ment had already attained to great perfection, a fumcient 
time to have varied it into every form. 

Upon feeing the preparations I was making to proceed 
farther in my refearches, my conductors loft all fort of fub- 
ordination. They were afraid my intention was to fit in 
this cave all night, (as it really was,) and to vifit the others 
next morning. With great clamour and marks of difcon- 
tent, they dafhed their torches againfl the largelt harp, and 
made the bell of their way out of the cave, leaving me and 
my people in the dark ; and all the way as they went, they 
made dreadful denunciations of tragical events that were 
immediately to follow, upon their departure from the cave. 

There was no poiTibility of doing more. I offered them 
money, much beyond the utmoft of their expectations ; 
but the fear of the Troglodytes, above Medinet Tabu, had 
fallen upon them ; and feeing at laft this was real, I was not 
myfelf without apprehenfions, for they were banditti, and 
outlaws, and no reparation was to be expected, whatever 
they ihould do to hurt us. 


* Nay, prior to this, the harp is mentioned as a common inftrument in Abraham's time 1370 
tears before Chrift, GeD. chap, xxxii. ver. 27. 


Very much vexed, I mounted my horfe to return to the 
boat. The road lay through a very narrow valley, the 
fides of which were covered with bare loofe Hones. I had 
no fooner got down to the bottom, than I heard a greal deal 
of loud fpeaking on both fides of the valley ; and, in an in- 
flant, a number of large Hones were rolled down upon 
me, which, though I heard in motion, I could not fee, on 
account of the darknefs ; this increafed my terror. 

Finding, by the impatience of the horfe, that feveral of 
thefe flones had come near him, and that it probably was 
the noife of his feet which guided thofe that threw them, I 
difmounted, and ordered the Moor to get on horfeback ; 
which he did, and in a moment galloped out of danger. 
This, if I had been wife, I certainly might have done before 
him, but my mind was occupied by the paintings. Never- 
thelefs, I was refolved upon revenge before leaving thefe 
banditti, and liftened till I heard voices, on the right fide of 
the hill. I accordingly levelled my gun as near as poiTible^ 
by the ear, and fired one barrel among them. A moment's 
filence enfued, and then a loud howl, which feemed to have 
come from thirty or forty perfons, I took my fervant's 
blunderbufs, and difcharged it where I heard the howl, 
and a violent confufion of tongues followed, but no more 
ftones. As I found this was the time to efcape, I kept along 
the dark fide of the hill, as expeditioufly as poflible, till I 
came to the mouth of the plain, when we reloaded our 
firelocks, expecting fome interruption before we reached 
the boat ; and then we made the beft of our way to the 



We found our Rais full of fears for us. He had been 
told, that, as foon as day light mould appear, the whole 
Troglodytes were to come down to the river, in order to 
plunder and deftroy our boat. 

This night expedition at the mountains was but partial, 
the general attack was referved for next day. Upon hold* 
ing council, we were unanimous in opinion, as indeed we 
had been during the whole courfe of this voyage. We 
thought, fince our enemy had left us to-night, it would be 
our fault if they found us in the morning. Therefore, 
without noife, we call off our rope that fattened us, and let 
eurfelves over to the other fide. About twelve at night a 
gentle breeze began to blow, which wafted us up to Luxor, 
where there was a governor, for whom I had letters. 

From being convinced by the fight of Thebes, which had 
not the appearance of ever having had walls, that the fable 
of the hundred gates, mentioned by Homer, was mere in- 
vention, I was led to conjecture what could be the origin of 
that fable. 

That the old inhabitants of Thebes lived in caves in 
the mountains, is, I think, without doubt, and that the 
hundred mountains I have fpoken of, excavated, and adorn- 
ed, were the greateft wonders at that time, feems equally 
probable. Now, the name of thefe to this day is Beeban el 
Meluke, the ports or gates of the kings, and hence, perhaps, 
come the hundred gates of Thebes upon which the Greeks 
have dwelt fo .much. Homer never faw Thebes, it was de- 
molifhed before the days of any profane writer, either in 
profe or verfe. What he added to its hiftory muft have been 
from imagination. 

3 All 


All that is faid of Thebes, by poets or hiflorians, after 
the days of Homer, is meant of Diofpolis ; which was built 
by the Greeks long after Thebes was deftroyed, as its name 
teftifies; though Diodorus *fays it was built by Bufiris. It 
was on the eafl fide of the Nile, whereas ancient Thebes was 
on the weft, though both are confidered as one city; and 
fStrabo fays, that the river X runs through the middle of 
Thebes, by which he means between old Thebes and Diof- 
polis, or Luxor and Medinet Tabu. 

While in the boat, I could not help regretting the time 
1 had fpent in the morning, in looking for the place in the 
narrow valley where the mark of the famous golden circle 
was vifible, which Norden fays he faw, but I could difcern 
no traces of it any where, and indeed it does not follow 
that the mark left was that of a circle. This magnificent 
inftrument was probably fixed perpendicular to the horizon 
in the plane of the meridian ; fo that the appearance of the 
place where it flood, would very probably not partake of 
the circular form at all, or any precife fhape whereby to 
know it. Befides, as I have before faid, it was not among 
thefe tombs or excavated mountains, but ten Hades from 
them, fo the veftiges of this famous inftrument § could not 
be found here. Indeed, being omitted in the lateft edition 
of Norden, it would feem that traveller himfelf was not 
perfectly well allured of its exiftence. 

Vol. I. S We 

* Diod. Sic. Bib. lib. i. p. 42. § d. f Strabo, lib. 1 7. p. 943. J Nab. ch. 3. ver. 8, & 9. 

5 A fimilar inftrument, erecled by Eratofthenes at Alexandria, cut of copper, was ufed by 
Hipparchus and Ptclemy. — Aim. lib. I. cap. 11. 3. cap. 2, Vide his remarks on Mr 
Greave'sPyramidographia, p. 134. 


We were well received by the governor of Luxor, who 
was alfo a believer in judicial aftrology. Having made him 
a fm'all prefent, he furnifhed us with provifions, and, among 
feveral other articles, fome brown fugar ; and as we had 
feen limes and lemons in great perfection at Thebes, we 
were refolved to refrefh ourfelves with fome punch, in re- 
membrance of Old England. But, after what had happen- 
ed the night before, none of our people chofe to run the rifk 
of meeting the Troglodytes. We therefore procured a fer- 
vant of the governor's of the town, to mount upon his goat- 
flcin filled with wind, and float down the ftream from Luxor 
to El Gournie, to bring us a fupply of thefe, which he foon. 
after did. 

He informed us, that the people in the caves had, early 
in the morning, made a defcent upon the townfmen, with 
a view to plunder our boat ; that feveral of them had been 
wounded the night before, and they threatened to purfue 
us to Syene. The fervant did all he could to frighten them, 
by faying that his mailer's intention was to pafs over with 
troops, and exterminate them, as Ofman Bey of Girge had 
before done, and <we were to affift him with our fire-arms.- — - 
After this we heard no more of them. 

Luxor, and Carnac, which is a mile and a quarter below 
it, are by far the largeft and moll magnificent fcenes of ruins 
in Egypt, much more extenfive and ftupendous than thofe 
of Thebes and Dendera put together. 

There are twoobelifks here of great beauty, and in good 
prefervation, they are lefs than thofe at Rome, but not at 
all mutilated. The pavement, which is made to receive 



the fhadow, is to this day fo horizontal, that it might ftill 
be ufed in obfervation. The top of the obelifk is femicircu- 
lar, an experiment, I fuppofe, made at the inflance of the 
obferver, by varying the fhape of the point of the obelifk, 
to get rid of the penumbra. 

At Carnac we faw the remains of two vaft rows of 
fphinxes, one on the right-hand, the other on the left, (their 
heads were moftly broken) and, a little lower, a number of 
termini as it Ihould feem. They were compofed of bafaltes, 
with a dog or lion's head, of Egyptian fculpture. They 
Hood in lines like wife, as if to conduct or ferve as an avenue 
to fome principal building. 

They had been covered with earth, till very lately a * Ve- 
netian phyfician and antiquary bought one of them at a 
very confiderable price, as he faid, for the king of Sardinia. 
This has caufed feveral others to be uncovered, though no 
purchafer hath yet offered 

Upon the outiide of the walls at Carnac and Luxor there 
feems to be an hiftorical engraving inftead of hieroglyphics ; 
this we had not met with before. It is a reprefentation of 
men, horfes, chariots, and battles ; fome of the attitudes are 
freely and well drawn, they are rudely fcratched upon the 
furface of the ft one, as fome of the hieroglyphics at Thebes 
are. The weapons the men make ufe of are ihort javelins, 
fuch as are common at this day among the inhabitants of 

S 2 Egypt* 

* Signior Donati. 


Egypt, only they have feathered wings like arrows. There 
is alfo diltinguifhed among the reft, the figure of a man on., 
horfeback, with a lion fighting furioufly by him, and Dio- 
dorus * fays, Ofimandyas was fo represented at Thebes. This>, 
whole compofition merits great attention.. 

I have faid, that Luxor is Diofpolis,, and mould think, that 
that place, and Carnac together, made thejovis Civitas Magna 
of Ptolemy, though there is 9' difference of the latitude by 
my observation compared with his. But as mine was made 
on the fouth of Luxor, if his was made on the north of Car* 
nac, the difference will be greatly diminifhed. 

The 17th we took leave of our friendly Shekh of Luxor,, 
and failed with a very fair wind, and in great fpirits. The 
liberality of the Shekh of Luxor had extended as far as even- 
to my Rais, whom he engaged to land me here upon my 
return. — I had procured him confiderable eafe in fome com- 
plaints he had ; and he faw our departure with as much 
regret as in other places they commonly did our arrival.. 

On the eaftern more are Hambde, Mafchergarona, Tot,. 
Senimi, and Gibeg. Mr Norden feems to have very much 
confufed the places in this neighbourhood, as he puts Er- 
ment oppofite to Carnac, and Thebes farther fouth than 
Erment, and on the eafl fide of the Nile, whilft he places 
Luxor farther fouth than Erment. But Erment is fourteen 
miles farther fouth than Thebes, and Luxor about a quar- 

* Diod. Sic. Bib. lib. i. p, 45. § c. 


rer of a mile (as I have already faid) farther fouth on the Eafi 
fide of the river, whereas Thebes is on the Weft. 

He has fixed a village (which he calls * Demegeit) in the 
fituation where Thebes Hands, and he calls it Crocodilopolis ^ 
from what authority I know not ; but the whole geography 
is here exceedingly conf ufed, and out of its proper pofition. 

In the evening we came to an anchor on the eaftern more 
nearly oppofite to Erne. Some of our people had landed to 
moot, trufting to a turn of the river that is here, which 
would enable them to keep up with us ; but they did not 
arrive till the fun was fetting, loaded with hares, pigeons, 
gootos, air very bad game. I had, on my part, ftaid on 
board, and had mot two geefe, as bad eating as the others;, 
but very beautiful in their plumage*- 

We pafifed over to Erne next morning. It is the ancienr- 
Latopolis, and has very great remains, particularly a large 
temple, which, though the whole of it is of the remotefb 
antiquity, feems to have been built at different times, or 
rather out of the ruins of different ancient buildings. The 
hieroglyphics upon this are very ill executed, and are not 
painted. The town is the refidence of an Arab Shekh, and 
the inhabitants are a very greedy, bad fort of people ; but 
as I was drefTed like an Arab, they did not moleft, becaufe 
they did not know me. 

The 1 8th, we left Efne, and paued the town of Edfu, 
where there is likewife confiderable remains of Egyptian 
architecture. It is the Appollinis Civitas Magna. 


* Vide Noidtn's map of the Nile. 


The wind failing, we were obliged to flop in a very poor, 
defolate, and dangerous part of the Nile, called Jibbel el Sil- 
felly, where a boom, or chain, was drawn acrofs the river, 
to hinder, as is fuppofed, the Nubian boats from committing 
piratical practices in Egypt lower down the flream. The 
Hones on both fides, to which the chain was fixed, are very 
vifible ; but I imagine that it was for fifcal rather than for 
warlike purpofes, for Syene being garrifoned, there is no 
poffibility of boats pafling from Nubia by that city into 
Egypt. There is indeed another purpofe to which ij might 
be defigned ; to prevent war upon the Nile between any 
two flates. 

We know from Juvenal*, who lived fome time at Syene, 
that there was a tribe in that neighbourhood called Ombi, 
who had violent contentions with the people of Dendera 
about the crocodile ; it is remarkable thefe two parties were 
Anthropophagi fo late as Juvenal's time, yet no hiftorian 
fpeaks of this extraordinary fact, which cannot be called 
in queftion, as he was an eye-witnefs and refided at Syene. 

Now thefe two nations who were at war had a- 
bove a hundred miles of neutral territory between 
them, and therefore they could never meet except on the 
Nile. But either one or the other pofTeffing this chain, 
. could hinder his adverfary from coming nearer him. As 
the chain is in the hermonthic nome, as well as the capital 
of the Ombi, I fuppofe this chain to be the barrier of this 


*Juven. Sat. 15. ver. 76. 


fail ftate, to hinder thofe of Dendera from coming up the 
river to eat them. 

About noon we palled Goom Ombo, a round building 
like a caftle, where is fuppofed to have been the metropolis of 
Ombi, the people laft fpoken of. We then arrived at Daroo*, 
a miferable manfion, unconfcious that, fome years after,, 
we were to be indebted to that paltry village for the man 
who was to guide us through the defert, and reftore us to 
our native country and our friends^ 

We next came to Shekh Ammer, the encampment of the 
Arabs f Ababde, I fuppofe the fame that Mr Norden calls 
Ababuda, who reach from near Cofleir far into the defert. 
As I had been acquainted with one of them at Badjoura, 
who delired medicines for his father, I promifed to call up- 
on him, and fee their effect, when I mould pafs Shekh Am- 
mer, which I now accordingly did ; and by the reception I 
met with, I found they did not expect I would ever have 
been as good as my word. Indeed they would probably 
have been in the right, but as I was about to engage myfelf 
in extenfive deferts, and this was a very confiderable nation 
in thefe tracts, I thought it was worth my while to put my- 
felf under their protection- 

Shekh Ammer is not one, but a collection of villages, 
compofed of miferable huts, containing, at this time, about 
a thoufand effective men : they poffefs few horfe, and are 


* Idris Welled Hamran, our guide through thegreat defert, dwelt in this village, 

f The ancient Adei» 


moflly mounted on camels. Thefe were friends to Shekh 
Hamam, governor of Upper Egypt for the time, and confe- 
quently to the Turkifh government at Sycne, as alfo to the 
janiflaries there at Deir and Ibrim. They were the barrier, or 
bulwark, againft the prodigious number of Arabs, the Bifha- 
reen, and others, depending upon the kingdom of Sennaar. 

iBRAHrM, the fon, who had feen me at Furfhout and Bad- 
joura, knew me as foon as I arrived, and, after acquainting 
his father, came with about a dozen of naked attendants, 
with lances in their hands to efcort me. I was fcarce got 
into the door of the tent, before a great dinner was brought 
after their cuftom ; and, that being difpatched, it was a thou- 
fand times repeated, how little they expected that I would 
liave thought or inquired about them. 

We were introduced to their Shekh, who was lick, in a 
corner of a hut, where he lay upon a carpet, with a cufhion 
under his head. This chief of the Ababde, called Nimmer, 
u e. the 'Tiger (though his furious qualities were at this time 
in great meafure allayed by ficknefs) alked me much about 
the ftate of Lower Egypt I fatisfied him as far as pomble, 
but recommended to him to confine his thoughts nearer 
home, and not to be over anxious about thefe diftant coun- 
tries, as he himfelf feemed, at that time, to be in a declining 
flate of health. 

Nimmer was a man about fixty years of age, exceedingly 
tormented with the gravel, which was more extraordinary 
as he dwelt near the Nile ; for it is, univerfally, the difeafe 

2 • with 

* The Bifhareen are the Arabs who live in the frontier between the two nations. They are 
She nominal fubje&s of Sennaar, but, in fad, indifcreet banditti, at lealt as to Grangers. 


with thofe who ufe water from draw-wells, as in the defert. 
But he told me, that, for the firft twenty-feven years of his 
life, he never had feen the Nile, unlefs upon fome plunder- 
ing party; that he had beenconftantly at war with the people 
of the cultivated part of Egypt, and reduced them often to 
the ftate of ftarving ; but now that he was old, a friend to 
Shekh Hamam, and was refident near the Nile, he drank of 
its water, and was little better, for he was already a martyr 
to the difeafe. I had fent him foap pills from Badjoura, 
which had done him a great deal of good, and now gave 
him lime-water, and promifed him, on my return, to mew 
his people how to make it. 

A very friendly converfation enfued, in which was repeat- 
ed often, how little they expected I would have vifited them ! 
As this implied two things ; the firft, that I paid no regard 
to my promife when given ; the other, that I did not efteem 
them of confequence enough to give myfelf the trouble, 
I thought it right to clear myfelf from thefe fufpicions. 

'" Shekh Nimmer, faid I, this frequent repetition that you 
*' thought I would not keep my word is grievous to me. I am 
" a Chriftian, and have lived now many years among you 
*' Arabs. Why did you imagine that I would not keep my 
" word, fmce it is a principle among all the Arabs I have 
" lived with, inviolably to keep theirs ? When your fon Ibra- 
" him came to me at Badjoura, and told me the pain that 
" you was in, night and day, fear of God, and defire to do 
" good, even to them I had never feen, made me give you 
" thofe medicines that have eafed you. After this proof of 
" my humanity, what was there extraordinary in my com- 
" ing to fee you in the way ? I knew you not before ; but 

Vol. I. T t£ mv 


" my religion teaches me to do good to all men, even to. 
" enemies, without reward, or without confidering whether 
" I ever mould fee them.again.'* 

"Now, after the drugs I fent you by Ibrahim, tell me, 
u and tell me truly, upon the faith of an Arab, would your 
" people, if they met me in the defert, do me any wrong, 
"more than now, as I have eat and drank with. you to-day ?" 

The old man Nimmerj on' this rofe from his carpet, and 
fat upright, a, more ghaftly and more horrid figure I ne- 
ver faw. " No, faid he, Shekh, curfed be thofe men of my 
people, or others, that ever mall lift up their hand : againfl 
you, either in the Defert or the Tell, i. <?..the part, of Egypt which? 
is cultivated. As long as you are in this country, or between; 
this and Coueir, my fon mall ferve you with heart and hand;, 
one night of pain that your medicines from, would; 
not be repaid, if I was to follow you on foot to Meflir, that 
is Cairo*!' 

I then thought it a proper time- to enter into conver-i- 
fation about penetrating into AbyfTmia that way, and they 
difcufTed it among themfelves in a very friendly, and ate 
the fame time in a- very fagacious and fenfible manner. 

" We could carry you to El Haimer,. (which I underftood' 
to be a well in the defert, and which I afterwards wa& 
much better acquainted with to my forrow.) We could) 
condu<5l you fo far, fays old Nimmer, under God, without 
fear of harm^'alL that country was Chriftian once, and w&- 



Chriftians like yourfelf % The Saracens having Nothing in 
their power there, we could carry you fafely to Suakem, but 
the Bilhary are men not to be trufted, and we could go no 
farther than to land you among them, and they would put 
you to death, and laugh at you all the time they were tor- 
menting you f. Now, if you want to vifit Abyflinia, go 
by Colfeir and Jidda, there you Chriflmns command the coun- 

"I told him, I apprehended, the Kennaufs^ about the fecond 
cataract, above Ibrim, were bad people. He faid the Ken^ 
noufs were, lie believed, bad enough in their hearts, but 
they were wretched Haves, and fervants, had no power in 
itheir hands, would not wrong any body that was with his 
people ^ if they uid, he would extirpate them in a day." 

'" I told him, I was fatisfied of the truth of what was faid, 
and afked him the bell way to Cofleir. He faid, the bell 
"way for me to go, was frcm Kenne, or Cuffj and that he 
was carrying a quantity of wheat from Upper Egypt, while 
Shekh Hamam was fending another Cargo from his country, 
l>oth which would be delivered at Cofleir, and loaded there 
for Jidda." 

" All that is right, Shekh, faid 1, but fuppofe your people 
meet us in the defert, in going to Coffeir, or otherwife, hoW 
fhould we fare in that cafe ? Should we fight ?" " I have 

T 2 told 

* They were Shepherds Indigent, not Arabs. 
'*f S>gi Ludit in Hofpite /.%<?—>■ Was a character long ago given to the Moors. 

Horace Ode. 


told you Shekh already, fays he, Curfed be the man who 
lifts his hand againft you, or even does not defend and be- 
friend you, to his own lofs, were it Ibrahim my own fon." 

I then told him I was bound to CofTeir, and that if I 
found myfelf in any difficulty, I hoped, upon applying to 
his people, they would protect me, and that he would give 
them the word, that I was yagoube, a phyfician, feeking no 
harm, but doing good ; bound by a vow, for a certain time, 
to wander through deferts, from fear of God, and that they 
fhould not have it in their power to do me harm. 

The old man muttered fomething to his fons in a dialect 
I did not then underftand ; it was that of the Shepherds of 
Suakem. As that was the firft word he fpoke, which I did 
not comprehend, I took no notice, but mixed fome lime- 
water in a large Venetian bottle that was given me when 
at Cairo full of liqueur, and which would hold about four 
quarts ; and a little after I had done this the whole hut was 
fdled with people. 

There were firlejls and monks of their religion, and the 
heads of families, fo that the houfe could not contain 
half of them. The great people among them came, 
and, after joining hands, repeated a kind of * prayer, 
of about two minutes long, by which they declared 
themfelves, and their children, accurfed, if ever they 
lifted their hands againft me in the Tell, or Field in the 
defert, or on the river ; or, in cafe that I, or mine mould fly 


* This kind of oath was in ufe among the Arabs, or Shepherds, early as the time of Abraham, 
Gen. xxi. 22, 23. xxvi. 28, 



to them for refuge, if they did not protect us at the rilk of 
their lives, their families, and their fortunes, or, as they 
emphatically expreiTed it, to the death of the laft male child 
among them. 

Medicines and advice being given on my part, faith 
and protection pledged on theirs, two bufliels of wheat 
and feven fheep were carried down to the boat, nor could 
we decline their kindnefs, as refufmg a prefent in that coun- 
try (however it is underftood in ours,) is juft as great an af- 
front, as coming into the prefence of a fuperior without a 
prefent at all, 

I told them, however, that I was going up among Turks 
who were obliged to maintain me, the confequence there- 
fore will be, to fave- their own, that they will take your 
flieep, and make my dinner of them ; you and I are Arabs, 
and know what-2V& are. They all muttered curfes between 
their teeth at the name of Turk, and we agreed they mould 
keep the fheep till I came back, provided they mould be 
then at liberty to add as many more. 

This was all underftood between us, and we parted 
perfectly content with one another. But our Rais was very 
far from being fatisfied, having heard fomething of the 
feven fheep"; and as we were to be next day at Syene, where 
he knew we were to get meat enough, he reckoned that 
they would have been his property. To ftine all caufe of 
difcontent, however, I told him he was to take no notice of 
my vifit to Shekh Ammer, and that I would make him a- 
mends when I returned, 






Arrives at Syene — Goes to fee the CataraSl — Remarkable Tombs-— 4be 
Jituat'ton of Syene — The Aga propofes a Vifiito Deir and Ibrim—Tbe 
Author returns to Kenne, 

WE failed on the 20th, with the wind favouring us, till 
about an hour before fun-rife, and about nine o'clock 
came to an anchor on the fouth end of the palm groves, 
and north end of the town of Syene, nearly oppofite to an 
ifland in which there is a fmall handfome Egyptian temple, 
pretty entire. It is the temple of * Gnuphis, where formerly 
was the Nilometer. 

Adjoining to the palm trees was a very good comfort- 
able houfe, belonging to Huflein Schourbatchie, the man 
that ufed to be fent from that place to Cairo, to receive the 
pay of the janmaries in garrifon at Syene, upon whom too I 
had credit for a very fmall fum. 

The reafons of a credit in fuch a place are three : Firft, 
in cafe of licknefs, or purchafe of any antiquities : Secondly, 
that you give the people an idea (a very ufeful one) that 
you carry no money about with you : Thirdly, that your 


ri»m ' 1. i_l,i ■ . 1 1 1 1 _ __u mi 1 1 a 1 ii - 11 _ 11 . u ■■■ ■ ■ 1 1 ■ a, 1 1 ■ 1 

* Strabo, lib. xvii. p. 944.. 


money changes its- value, and is not even current beyond 

Hussein was not at home, but was gone fomewhere up- 
on bufinefs, but I had hopes to find him in the courfe of the- 
day. Hofpitality is never refufed, in thefe countries, upon 
the flighteft pretence. Having therefore letters to him, and 
hearing his houfe was empty, We fent our people and bag- 
gage to it. 

I was not well arrived before a janilTary came, in long Tur- 
kiih cloaths, without arms, and a white wand in his hand, to 
tell me that Syene was a garrifon town, and that the Aga 
was at the caftle ready to give me audience. 

I returned him for anfwer, that I was very fenfible it was 
myfirft duty, as a ftranger,to wait upon the Aga in a garrlfoned 
town of which he had the command, but, being bearer of 
the Grand Signior's Firman, having letters from the Bey of 
Cairo, and from the Port of JanhTaries to him in particular, and,, 
at prefent being indifpofed and fatigued, I looped he would 
indulge me till the arrival, of my landlord ; in which in- 
terim I fhould take a little reft, change my cloaths, and be 
more in the fituation in which I would wifh to pay my re- 
flects to hirm 

I received immediately an anfwer by two janinaries, who- 
infilled to fee me,, and were accordingly introduced while: 
I was lying down to reft. They faid that Mahomet Aga had; 
received my menage, that the reaion of fending to me wa& 



mot either to hurry or diiturb me ; but the earlier to know 
in what he could be of fervice to me; that he had a particular 
letter from the Bey of Cairo, in confequence of which, he had 
difpatched orders to receive me at Efne, but as I had not 
waited on the CachefF there, he had not been apprifed. 

After giving coffee to thefe very civil meffengers, and 
taking two hours reft, our landlord the Schourbatchie ar- 
rived ; and, about four o'clock in the afternoon, we went to 
the Aga. 

The fort is built of clay, with fome fmall guns mounted 
on it ; it is of ftrength fufficient to keep people of the coun- 
try in awe. 

I found the Aga fitting in a fmall kiooik, or clofet, upon 
a ftone-bench covered with carpets. As I was in no fear of 
him, I was refolved to walk according to my privileges ; 
and, as the meaneft Turk would do before the greateft man 
in England, I fat down upon a cufhion below him, after 
laying my hand on my breaft, and faying in an audible voice, 
with great marks of refpect, however, Salam alicum I to which 
he anfwered, without any of the ufual difficulty, Alicum falami 
Peace be between us is the falutation ; 'There is peace between us is 
the return. 

After fitting down about two minutes, I again got up, and 
flood in the middle of the room before him, faying, I am bear- 
er of ahatefherrifFe, or royal mandate, to you, Mahomet Aga ! 
and took the firman out of my bofom, and prefented it to 
him. Upon this he flood upright, and all the reft of the 
people, before fitting with him likewife ; he bowed his head 

4 upon 


upon the carpet, then put the firman to his forehead, open- 
ed it, and pretended to read it ; but he knew well the con- 
tents, and I believe, befides, he could neither read nor write 
any language. I then gave him the other letters from Cairo, 
which he ordered his fecretary to read in his ear. 

All this ceremony being finifhed, he called for a pipe, 
and coffee. I refufed the firft, as never ufing it ; but I drank 
a difli of coffee, and told him, that I was bearer of a confident 
tlal meffhge from Ali Bey of Cairo, and wifhed to deliver it to 
him without witneffes, whenever he pleafed. The room 
was accordingly cleared without delay, excepting his fecre- 
tary, who was alfo going away, when I pulled him back by 
the cloaths, faying, " Stay, if you pleafe, we fhall need you 
" to write the anfwer." We were no fooner left alone, than 
I told the Aga, that, being a ftranger, and not knowing the 
difpofition of his people, or what footing they were on to- 
gether, and being defired to addrefs myfelf only to him by 
the Bey, and our mutual friends at Cairo, I wifhed to put it 
in his power (as he pleafed or not) to have witneffes of de- 
livering the fmall prefent I had brought him from Cairo. 
The Aga feemed very fenfible of this delicacy ; and particu- 
larly defired me to take no notice to my landlord, the Schour- 
batchie, of any thing I had brought him. 

All this being over, and a confidence eftablifhed with govern* 
ment^ I fent his prefent by his own fervant that night, under 
pretence of defiring horfes to go to the cataract next day. 
The meffage was returned, that the horfes were to be ready 
by fix o'clock next morning. On the 21ft, the Aga fent me 
his own horfe, with mules and affes for my fervants, 10 go 
to the cataract. 

Vol. I. U We 


We patted out at the fouth gate; of the town, into the firft . 
fmall fandy plain.. A very little to our left, there. are a num- 
ber of tomhftones with infcriptions in the Cufic character^, 
which travellers erroneoufly have called unknown language,,, 
and letters, although it was the only letter and language 
known to Mahomet, and the moft learned of his feet in the. 
firft ages. 

The Cufic characters feem to be all written. in capitals,., 
which one might learn to read much more eafily than the. 
modern Arabic, and they more referable the Samaritan. 
We read there — Abdullah el Hejazi el Anfari — Mahomet Ah* 
del Shems el Taiefy el Anfari. The firft of thefe, Abdullah' 
el Hejazi, is Abdullah born in Arabia Petrea. The other is, 
Mahomet the flave of the fun, born in Taief. Now, both of 
thefe are called Anfari, which many writers, upon Arabian 
hiftory, think, means, r bom in Medina; becaufe, when Maho- 
met fled from Mecca, the night of the hegira, the people of 
Medina received him willingly, and thenceforward got the 
name of * Anfari, or Helpers. But this honourable name 
was extended afterwards to all thofe who fought under Ma- 
homet in his wars, and after, even to thofe who had been 
born in his lifetime. 

These of whofe tombs we are now fpeaking, were of the 
army of Haled Ibn elWaalid, whom Mahomet named, Saif 
Ullah, the ' Sword of God,' and who, in the califat of Omar, , 
took and deftroyed Syene, after lofinggreat part of his army 


* This word, improperly ufed and fpelled by M. de Volney, has nothing to do witki 
thefe j&nfaris. 


before it. It was afterwards rebuilt by the Shepherds of Beja s 
then Chriftians, and again taken in the time of Salidan, and, 
with the reft of Egypt, ever fince hath belonged to Cairo. It 
was conquered by, or rather furrendered to, Selim Emperor 
of the Turks, in 1516, who planted two advanced polls (Deir 
and Ibrim) beyond the cataract in Nubia, with fmall garri- 
fons of janiiTaries like wife, where they continue to this day. 

Their pay is ifTued from Cairo ; fome times they mafry 
each others daughters, rarely marry the women of the coun* 
try, and the fon, or nephew, or neareft relation of each cle* 
ceafed, fucceeds as janhTary in room of his father. They 
have loft their native language, and have indeed nothing of 
the Turk in them, but a propenfity to violence, rapine, and 
injuftice ; to which they have joined the perfidy of the Arab, 
which, as I have faid, they fometimes inherit from their 
mother. An Aga commands thefe troops in the caftle. They 
have about two hundred horfemen armed with firelocks : i 
with which, by the help of the Ababde, encamped at Shekh 
Ammer, they keep the Bifhareen, and ail thefe numerous 
tribes of Arabs, that inhabit the Defer-t of Sennaar, in toler- 
able order. 

The inhabitants, merchants, and common people of the 
town, are commanded by a cacheif, There is neither but- 
ter nor milk at Syene (the latter comes from Lower Egypt) 
the fame may be faid of fowls. Dates do not ripen at Syeae, 
thofe that are fold at Cairo come from Ibrim and Dongola* 
There are good filh in the Nile, and they are eafily caught, 
efpecially at the cataract, or in broken water ; there are only 
two kinds of large ones which I have happened to fee, the 

U 2 binny 


binny and the boulti. The binny I have defcribed in its pro^ 
per place. 

After pafling the tomb-ftones without the gate,. we come 
to a plain about five miles long, bordered on the left by 
a hill of no confiderable height, and fandy like the plain, 
upon which are fcen fome ruins, more modern than thofe 
Egyptian buildings we have defcribed. They feem indeedi 
to be a mixture of all kinds and ages. 

The diftance from the gate of the town to Termini, or 
Marada, the fmall villages on the cataract, is exactly fix 
Englifh miles. After the description already given of this 
cataract in fome authors, a traveller has reafon to be fur- 
prifed, when arrived on its banks, to find that veflels faiL 
up the cataract, and confequently the fall cannot be fo vio- 
lent as to deprive people of their hearing*.. 

The bed of the river, occupied by the water, was not 
then half a mile broad. It is divided into a number of fmall 
channels, by large blocks of granite, from thirty to forty 
feet high. The current, confined for a long courfe between- 
the rocky mountains cf Nubia, tries to expand itfelf with 
great violence. Finding, in every part before it, oppofition 
from the rocks of granite, and forced back by thefe, it meets 
the oppofite currents. The chafing of the water againifr 
thefe huge obftacles, the meeting of the contrary currents 
one with another, creates fuch a violent ebullition, and. 


* Cicero de Sonanio Scipronis. 


makes fuch a noife and difturbed appearance, that it filla 
the mind with confufion rather than with terror. 

We faw the miferable Kennoufs (who inhabit the 
banks of the river tip into Nubia, to above the fecond 
cataract) to procure their daily food, lying behind rocks,, 
with lines in their hands, and catching fifh \ they did not 
feera to be either dexterous or fuceefsful in the fport. 
They are not black, but of the darkefl brown ; are not 
woolly-headed, but have hair. They arefmall, light, agile 
people, and feem to be more than half-ftarved. I made a 
iign that I wanted to {peak with one of them ; but feeing 
me furrounded with a number of horfe and fire-arms, they 
did not choofe to truft themfelves. I left my people behind 
with my firelock, and went alone to fee if I could engage 
them in a converfation. At firft they walked off; finding 
I perfified in following them, they ran at full fpeed, and. 
hid themfelves among the rocks. . 

Pliny* fays, that, in his time, the city of Syeue was fitu- 
a F .ed fo directly under the tropic of Cancer, that there was > 
a well, into which the fun fhone fo perpendicular, that if 
was enlightened by its rays down to the bottom. Strabo f 
had faid the fame. The ignorance, or negligence, in the 
Geodefique meafure in this obfervation, is extraordinary ; 
Egypt had been meafu red yearly, from early ages, and the 
diftance between Syene and Alexandria fhould. have been 
known to an ell. From this inaccuracy, I do very much 
fufpect the other meafure Eratofthenes is faid to have made, 
by which he fixed the fun's parallax at 10 feconds and a 
v..i. u half/ 

* Plinv, lib, ii, cap. 73. f Strabo, lib, x?ii. p. 944, . 


half, was not really made by him, but was fome old Chal- 
daic, or Egyptian obfervation, made by more instructed astro- 
nomers which he had fallen upon. 

The Arabs call it ASTouan, which they fay Signifies enlight- 
ened; in allufion, I fuppofe, to the circumstance of the well, 
enlightened within by the fun's being Stationary over it in 
June; in the language of Beja its name Signifies a circle, or 
portion of a circle. 

Syene, among other things, is famous for the firft attempt 
made by Greek aStronomers to afcertain the meafure of the 
circumference of the earth. Eratofthenes, born at Cyrene a- 
bout 276 years before ChriSt, was invited from Athens to A- 
lexandria by Ptolemy Evergetes, who made him keeper of 
the Royal Library in that city. In this experiment two po- 
fitions were aSTumed, that Alexandria and Syene were ex- 
actly 5000 Stades diftant from each other, and that they were 
precifely under the fame meridian. Again, it was verified by 
the experiment of the well, that, in the fummer folftice at 
mid-day, when the fun was in the tropic of Cancer, in its 
greateft northern declination, the well* at that inStant was 
totally and equally illuminated ; and that no Style, or gno- 
mon, erected on a perfect plane, did caSt, or project, any 
manner of Shadow for 150 Stades round, from which it was 
juStly concluded, that the fun, on that day, was fo exactly 
vertical to Syene, that the center of its diSk immediately cor- 
refponded to the center of the bottom of the well. Thcfe 
preliminaries being fixed, Eratofthenes fet about his obfer- 
vation thus : — 


* Strabo, lib. ii.p. 133. 


On tile day of the fummer folilice, at the moment the 
fim was ftationary in the meridian of Syene, he placed a ftyle' 
perpendicularly in the bottom of a half -concave fphere,- 
whichhe expofed in open air to the fun at Alexandria. Now,, 
if that ftyle had call no made at Alexandria, it would have 
been precifely in the fame circumitance with a ftyle in the 
well in Syene ; and the reafon of its not calling the made 
would have been, that the fun was directly vertical to it. 
But he found, on the contrary, this ftyle at Alexandria did 
cart a fhadow ; and by meafuring the diflance of the top of" 
this fhadow from the foot of. the ftyle, he found, that, when, 
the fun call no fhadow at Syene, by being in the zenith, at: 
Alexandria he projected a fhadow ; which mewed he was 
diftant from the vertical .point, or zenith, jj-0=y° 1 2 7 , which, 
was yVth of the. circumference of the whole heavens, or of 
a great circle,-. 

This being fettled, the concltifion was, that Alexandria 
and Syene mufl be diftant from each other by the 50th part- 
of the circumference of the whole earth. 

Now 5000 ftades was the diftance already affirmed be-* 
tween Alexandria and- the well of Syene ; and all that was 
to be done was to repeat 5000 ftades fifty times, or multiply 
5000 ftades by 50, and the anfwer was 250,000 ftades, which 
was the total of the earth's circumference. This, admitting' 
the French contents of the Egyptian ftadiurn to be juft, will 
amount to 1 1,403 leagues for the circumference of the earth 
fought ; and as our prefent account fixes it to be 9000, 
the error will be 2403 leagues in excefs, or more. than one- 
fourth of the whole mm required. 



This obfervation furely therefore is not worth record- 
ing, unlefs to mew the infufficiency or imperfection of the 
method ; it cannot deferve the encomiums * that have been 
beftowed upon it, if juftice has been done to Eratolthenes* 
geodefique meafures, which I do not, by any manner of 
means, warrant to be the cafe, becaufe the meafure of 
his arch of the meridian feems to have been conducted 
with a much greater degree of fuccefs and prechion than 
that of his bafe. 

On the 2 2d, 23d, and 24th of January, being at Syene, in a 
houfe immediately eaft of the fmall ifland in the Nile (where 
the temple of Cnuphis is Hill ftanding, very little injured, and 
which j- Strabo, who was himfelf there, fays was in the an- 
cient town, and near the well built for the obfervation of 
the folftice) with a three-foot brafs quadrant, made by Lang- 
lois, and defcribed by J Monfieur de la Lande, by a mean of 
three obfervations of the fun in the meridian, I concluded 
the latitude of Syene to be 24 o' 45" north. 

And, as the latitude of Alexandria, by a medium of many 
obfervations made by the French academicians, and more 
recently by Mr Niebuhr and myfelf, is beyond pollibility 
of contradiction 31 1 1 7 33 7/ , the arch of the meridian con- 
tained between Syene and Alexandria, mult be 7 io 7 48", or 
1 [ i2 7/ lefs than Eratofthenes made it. And this is a wonder- 
ful precifion, if we confider the imperfection of his inftru- 
ment, in the probable fhortnefs of his radius, and difficulty 


. *— — r 1 ' n 1 1 1 1 <i, 

* Speftacle de la Nature. 
f Strabo, lib. 1 7. p. 944. ^ L'hiftoire d'aftronomie, de M. de la Lande, vol. i. lib. 2, 




(almoft infurmountable) in diftinguifhing the divifion of 
the penumbra. 

There certainly is one error very apparent, in meafuring 
the bafe betwixt Syene and Alexandria ; that is, they were 
not (as fuppofed) under the fame meridian ; for though, to 
my very great concern afterwards, I had no opportunity of 
fixing the longitude at this firft viiit to Syene, as I had done 
the latitude, yet on my return, in the year 1 772, from an 
eclipfe of the firft fatellite of Jupiter, I found its longitude to 
be 2)2> Q 3°'; and the longitude of Alexandria, being 30 16' 7 
there is 3 14/ that Syene is to the eaftward of the meridi 
of Alexandria, or fo far from their being under the fame 
meridian as fuppofed. 

It is impoffible to fix the time of the building of Syene ; 
upon the moil critical examination of its hieroglyphics and 
proportions, I mould imagine it to have been founded fome 
time after Thebes, but before Dendera, Luxor, or Carnac. 

It would be no lefs curious to know, whether the well, 
which Eratofthenes made ufe of for one of the terms of the 
geodefique bafe, and his arch of the meridian, between 
Alexandria and Syene, w r as coeval with the building of that 
city, or whether it was made for the experiment. I ihould 
be inclined to think the former was the cafe ; and the pla- 
cing this city firft, then the well under the tropic, were with 
a view of afcertaining the length of the folar year. In Ihort, 
this point, fo material to be fettled, was the conftant object. 
of attention of the firft aftronomers, and this was the ufe of 
the dial of Ofimandyas ; this inquiry was the occafion of the 
number of obeliiks raifed in every ancient city in Egypt. 

Vol, I. X We 


We cannot niiflake this, if wc obferve how anxiouily theyr 
have varied the; figure of the top, or point of. each obelifk;; 
fome times it is a very fharp one ; fometimes a portion of 
a circle, to try to get rid of the great impediment that per- 
plexed them, the penumbra. 

The projection -of the pavements, conftantly to the north- 
ward, fo diligently levelled, and made into exact. planes by 
large flabs of granite, molt artificially joined, have been fo 
fubitantially fecured, that they might ferve for the obferva- 
tion to this day ; and it is probable, the pofition of this city 
and the well were coeval, the refult of intention, and both 
the works of thefe firfl aftronomers, immediately after the 
building of Thebes. If this was the cafe, we may conclude,, 
that the fact of the fun illuminating the bottom of the well i 
in Eratoflhenes's time was a fuppofed one, from the uniform - 
tradition, that once it had been fo, the periodical change 
of the quantity of the angle, made by the equator and 
ecliptic, not being then known, and therefore that the 
quantity of the celeftial arch, comprehended between Alex- 
andria and Syene, might be as erroneous from another 
caufe, as the bafe had been by amiming a wrong diftance: 
on the earth, in place of one exactly meafured... 

There is at A-xum an obelifk erected by Ptolemy Everge- 
tes, the very prince who was patron to Eratofthenes, with- 
out hieroglyphics, directly facing the fouth, with its top 
iirfl cut into a narrow neck, then fpread out like a fan in 
a femicircular form, with a pavement curioufly levelled to. 
receive the fhade, and make the feparation of the true fha~- 
dow from the penumbra as diilinct as poffible. 



This was probably intended for verifying the experi- 
ment of Eratoilhenes with a larger radius, for, by this 
obelilk, we muft not imagine Ptolemy intended to obferve 
the obliquity of the ecliptic at Axum. Though it was 
true, that Axum, by its fituation, was a very proper place, the 
fun pafling over that city and obelifk twice a-year, yet it 
was equally true, that, from another circumilance, which 
he might have been acquainted with, at lefs expence of time 
than building the obelifk would have cofl him, that he 
hiufelf could not make any ufe of the fun's being twice 
vertical to Axum ; for the fun is vertical at Axum about the 
25th of April, and again about the 20th of Augufl ; and, at 
both thefe feafons, the heaven is fo overcaft with clouds, 
and the rain fo continual, efpecially at mid-day, that it 
would be a wonder indeed, if Prolemy had once feen the fun 
during the months he ftaid there. 

Though Syene, by its fituation mould be healthy, the 
general complaint is a weaknefs and forenefs in the eyes ; 
and this not a temporary one only, but generally ending in 
blindnefs of one, or both eyes ; you fcarce ever fee a perfon 
in the ftreet that fees with both eyes. They fay it is owing 
to the hot wind from the defert ; and this I apprehend to 
be true, by the violent forenefs and inflammation we were 
troubled with in our return home, through the great Defert, 
to Syene, 

"We had now nnifhed every thing we had to do at Syene, 
and prepared to defcend the Nile. After having been quier, 
and well ufed fo long, we did not expect any altercation at 
parting ; we thought we had contented every body, and we 
were perfectly content with them. But, unluckily for us, 

X 2 our 


our landlord, the Schourbatchie, upon whom I had my cre- 
dit, and who had diftinguilhed himfelf by being very fer- 
viceable and obliging to us, happened to be the proprietor of 
a boat, for which, at that time, he had little employment ; 
nothing would fatisfy him but my hiring that boat, in- 
ftead of returning m. that which brought us up. 

This could by no means be done, without breaking faith 
with our Rais, Abou Cum, which I was refolved not to do 
on any account whatever, as the man had behaved honeftly 
and well in every refpect. The janhTaries took the part of 
their brother againft the ilranger, and threatened to cut 
Abou Cum to pieces, and throw him to the crocodiles.. 

On the other part, he was very far from being terrified* 
Ke told them roundly, that he was a fervant of Ali Bey, 
that, if they attempted to take his fare from him, their pay 
mould be Hopped at Cairo, till they furrendered the guilty 
perfon to do him Juftice. He laughed molt unaffectedly at 
the notion of cutting him to pieces ; and declared, that, if he 
was to complain of the ufage he met when he went down to 
Lower Egypt, there would not be a janiffary from Syene 
who would not be in much greater danger of crocodiles 
than he. 

I went in the evening to the Aga, and complained of my 
landlord's behaviour. I told him pofitively, but with great! 
ihew of refpecl, I would rather go down the Nile upon a 
raft, than fet my foot in any other boat but the one that 
brought me up. I begged him to be cautious how he pro- 
ceeded, as it would be my Jlcrj, and not bis, that would go 



to the Bey. This grave and refolute appearance had the 
effefl. The Schourbatchie was fent for, and reprimanded, 
as were all thofe that fided with him ; while privately, to 
calm all animofities againft my Rais, I promifed him a piece 
of green cloth, which was his wifh ; and fo heartily were 
we reconciled, that, the next day, he made his fervants help 
AJbou Cum to put our baggage on board the boat. 

The Aga hinted to me, in converfation, that he wondered 
at my departure, as he heard my intention was to go to Ibrim 
and Deir. I told him, thofe garrifons had a bad name; that 
a Danifh gentleman, fome years ago, going up thither, with 
orders from the government of Cairo, was plundered, and 
very nearly alTamnated, by Ibrahim, Cacheff of Deir. He 
looked furprifed, iliook his head, and feemed not to give me 
credit ; but I perfifted, in the terms of Mr Norden's * Narra- 
tive ; and told him, the brother of the Aga of Syene was 
along with him at the time. "" Will any perfon, faid he, tell 
me, that a man who is in my hands once a month, who has 
not an ounce of bread but what I fu-rnifli him from this 
garrifon, and whofe pay would be ftopt (as your Rais truly 
faid) on the firft complaint tranfxnitted to Cairo, could af- 
faflinate a man with Ali Bey's orders, and my brother along 
with him ? Why, what do you think he is ? I mail fend a fer- 
vant to the Cacheff of Deir to-morrow, who mail bring him 
down by the beard, if he refufes to come willingly." I faid,, 
" Then times were very much changed for the better ; it was 
not always fo, there was not always at Cairo a fovereign 


* Vide Mr Norden's Voyage up the Nile. 


like Ali Bey, nor at Syene a man of his prudence, and capa- 
city in commanding ; but having no bufinefs at Deir 
and Ibrim, I mould not rifk finding them in another hu- 
mour, exercifing other powers than thofe he allowed them 
to have." 

The 26th we embarked at the north end of the town, in 
the very fpot where I again took boat above three years 
afterwards. We now no longer enjoyed the advantage of 
our prodigious main- fail ; not only our yards were lowered, 
but our malts were taken out ; and we floated down the 
current, making the figure of a wreck. The current, pufh- 
ing againfl one of our fides, the wind directly contrary, 
prefiing us on the other, we went down broad fide foremoft ; 
but fo fleadily, as fcarce to be fenfible the veffel was in mo- 

In the evening I ftopt at Shekh Ammer, and faw my pa- 
tient Nimmer, Shekh of the Ababde. I found him greatly 
better, and as thankful as ever ; I renewed my prefcriptions, 
and he his offers of fervice. 

I was vifited, however, with a pretty fmart degree of 
fever by hunting crocodiles on the Nile as I went down, 
without any poifibility of getting near them. 

On the 31ft of January we arrived at Negade, the 
fourth fettlementof the Francifcan friars in Upper Egypt,for 
the pretended million of Ethiopia. I found it to be in lat. 
2 5° 53' 3°"' ft 1S a f^nall neat village, covered with palm- 
trees, and moftly inhabited by Cophts, none of whom the 
friars have yet converted, nor ever will, unlefs by fmall 



jrenfions, which they give to the pooreil of them, to be de— 
eoy-ducks to the reft.. 

Opposite to Negade, on the other fide of the river about 
three miles, is Cus, a large town, the Appollonis Civitas Far- 
va of the ancients. There are no antiquities at this place ; 
but the caravan, which was to carry the corn for Mecca, 
acrofs the deferfe to CofTeir, was to aflemble there. I found 
they were not near ready ; and that the Arabs Atouni had 
threatened they would be in their way, and would not fuf- 
fer them, to pafs, at any rate, and that the guard command-' 
ed to efcort them acrofs the defert, would come from Fur— 
fhout, and therefore I fhould have early warning,. 

It was the 2d of February I returned to Badjoura, and 
took up my quarters in the houfe formerly afligned me,., 
greatly to the joy of Shekh Ifmael, who, though he was 
in the main reconciled to his friend, friar Chriftopher,,. 
had not yet forgot the wounding of the live men by his 
mifcalculating ramadan ; - and was not without fears that 
the fame inadvertence might, fome day or other, be fatal to* 
him, in his pleurify and afthma, or, what is flill more like- - 
ly, by the operation of the tabange, ,. 

As I was now about to launch into that part of my ex- 
pedition, in which I was to have no further intercoufe with 
Europe I fet myfelf to work to examine all my obfervations, 
and put my journal in fuch forwardnefs by explanations, 
where needful, that the labours and pains I had hitherto 
been at, might not be totally loft to the public, if I mould 
perifh in. the journey I had undertaken, which, every day,. 

2: fronii 


from all information I could procure, appeared to be more 
and more defperate. 

Having finifhed thefe, at leaft fo far as to make them 
intelligible to others, I conveyed them to my friends MeiTrs 
Julian and Rofa at Cairo, to remain in their cuftody till I 
mould return, or news come that I was otherwife difpofed 

£j& £*** » — ■ ^v§£ 





*the Author fets out from Kenne — Croffes the Defer t of the Thebaid — Vh* 
fits the Marble Mountains — Arrives at Cofeir, on the Red Sea-—° 
'Tranfaftions there. 

IT was Thurfday, the 16th of February '1769, we heard the 
caravan was ready to fet out from Kenne, the Csene Empo- 
rium of antiquity. From Kenne our road was firft Eaft, for 
half an hour, to the foot of the hills, which here bound the 
cultivated land ; then S. E. when, at 1 1 o'clock in the fore- 
noon, we palled a very dirty fmall village called Sheraffao 
All the way from Kenne, clofe on our left, were defert hills, 
on which not the leaft verdure grew, but a few plants of a 
large fpecies of Solanum, called BurrumbuC. 

At half pall two we came to a well, called Bir Ambar, the 
well of fpices, and a dirty village of the fame name, belong- 
ing to the Azaizy, a poor inconfiderable tribe of Arabs. 
They live by letting out their cattle for hire to the caravans 
that go to CofTeir, and attending themfelves, when neceflary. 
It got its name, I fuppofe, -from its having formerly been a 
ilation of the caravans from the Red Sea, loaded with this 
kind of merchandife from India. The houfes of the Azaizy 
are of a very particular conftruction, if they can be called 

Vol. L Y - houfes. 


houfes. They arc all made of potter-clay, in one piece, 
in fhape of a bee-hive ; the largeft is not above ten feet high, 
and the greateft diameter fix. 

There are no vefliges here of any canal, mentioned to 
have been cut between the Nile and the Red Sea. The 
cultivated land here is not above half a mile in extent from 
the river, but the inundation of the Nile reaches much 
higher, nor has it left behind it any appearance of foil. 
After paflmg Bir Ambar, we pitched our tent about four 
o'clock at Gabba*, a fhort mile from Cuft, on the borders of 
the defert— -here we paffed the night. 

On the 17th, at eight o'clock in the morning, having 
mounted my fervants all on horfeback, and taken the charge 
of our own camels, (for there was a confufion in our cara- 
van not to be defcribed, and our guards we knew were but 
a fet of thieves) we advanced flowly into the defert. There 
were about two hundred men on horfeback, armed with 
firelocks ; all of them lions, if you believed their word or 
appearance ; but we were credibly informed, that fifty of 
the Arabs, at firfl fight, would have made thefe heroes fly 
without any bloodflied. 

I had not gone two miles before I was joined by the 
Howadat Arab, whom I had brought with me in the boat 
from Cairo. He offered me his fervice with great profef- 
fions of gratitude, and told me, that he hoped I would again 
take charge of his money, as I had before done from Cairo. 


*It is no tov,n r but fome fand and a few bufhes, fo called.. 


It was now for the firfl time he told me his name, which 
was Mahomet Abdel Gin, " the Slave of the Devil, or the 
" Spirit." There is a large tribe of that name, many of which 
come to Cairo from the kingdom of Sennaar ; but he had 
been born among the Howadat, oppolite to Metrahenny, 
where I found him. 

Our road was all the way in an open plain, bounded by 
hillocks of fand, and fine gravel, perfectly hard, and not 
perceptibly above the level of the plain country of Egypt. 
About twelve miles diltant there is a ridge of mountains of 
no coniiderable height, perhaps the mofl barren in the world. 
Between thefe our road lay through plains, never three miles 
broad, but without trees, fhrubs, or herbs. There are not 
even the traces of any living creature, neither ferpent nor 
lizard, antelope nor oflrich, the ufual inhabitants of the 
moll dreary deferts. There is no fort of water on the fur- 
face, brackifh or fweet. Even the birds feem to avoid the 
place as peftilential, not having feen one of any kind fo 
much as flying over. The fun was burning hot, and, upon 
rubbing two flicks together, in half a minute they both took 
fire, and flamed ; a mark how near the country was redu- 
ced to a general conflagration ! 

At half pafl three, we pitched our tent near fome draw- 
wells, which, upon tailing, we found bitterer than foot. 
We had, indeed, other water carried by the camels in Ikins. 
This well-water had only one needful quality, it was cold 
and therefore very comfortable for refrefhing us outwardly. 
This unpleafant ftation is called Legeta ; here we were ob- 
liged to pafs the night, and all next day, to wait the arrival 

Y 2 of 


of the "caravans of Cus, Erne, and part of. thofe of KenncV 
and Ebanout. 

While at the wells of Legeta^ my Arab", Ab'del Gin, came- 
to me with his money, which had increafed now to nine- 
teen fequins and a half. " What ! faid I, Mahomet, . are 
you never fafe among your countrymen, neither; by fea 
nor land?" "Oh, no, replied Mahomet; the. difference,, 
when we were on board the boat, was, we had three thieves 
only; but, when ajjembled here*, we fhalLhave above three 
thoufand. — But I have an advice to give you." — "And my 
ears," faid I, "Mahomet, are always open to advice, espe- 
cially in ftrange countries." — " Thefe people," continued 
Mahomet, " are all afraid of the Atouni Arabs ; and, when 
attacked, they will run away,, and leave you in the hands 
of thefe Atouni, who will carry off your baggage. There- 
fore, as you have nothing to do with their corn, do not kill 
any of the Atouni if they come, for that will be a bad affair, . 
but go afide, and let me manage. I will anfwer with my 
life, though all the caravan mould be ftripped flark-naked, 
and you loaded with gold, not one article belonging to you 
mall be touched." I queflioned him very particularly a- 
bout this intimation, as it was an affair of much confe— 
quence, and I was fo well fatisfied, that I refolved to con- 
form ftrictly to it. 

In the evening came twenty Turks from Caramania, : 
which is that part of Afia Minor immediately on the fide of 
the Mediterranean oppofite to the coafl of Egypt ; all of them 
neatly and cleanly dreffed like Turks, all on camels, armed . 
with fwords, a pair of piftols at their girdle, and a fhort neat 
gun; their arms were in very good order, with their flints 



and ammunition flowed in cartridge-boxes, in a very foldier- 
like manner. A few of -thefe fpoke Arabic, and my Greek 
fervant, Michael, interpreted for the reft. Having been in- 
formed, that the large tent belonged to an Englishman, they 
eame into it without ceremony. They told me, that they 
were a number of neighbours and companions, who had fet 
out together to go to Mecca, to the Hadje ; and not knowing 
the language, or cuftoms of the people, they had been but 
indifferently ufed lince they landed at Alexandria, particu- 
larly fomewhere (as I guefled) about Achmim ; that one of 
the Owa-m, or fwimming thieves, had been on board of them 
in the night, and had carried off a fmall portmanteau with- 
about 200 fequins in gold ; that, though a complaint had 
been made to the Bey of Girge, yet no fatisfaction had been 
obtained; and that now they had heard an Englifhman was 
here, whom they reckoned their countryman, they had come 
to propofe, that we mould make a common caufe to defend 
each other againft all enemies. — What they meaned by coim* 
tryman was this : — 

There is in Afia Minor, fomewhere between Anatolia 
and Caramania, a diflrict which they call Caz Dagli, cor- 
ruptly Caz Dangli, and this the Turks believe was the 
country from which the Englifh firft drew their origin ; 
and on this account they never fail to claim kindred with, 
the Englifh wherever they meet, efpecially if they ftand in 
need of their afliilance. 

I told them the arrangement I had taken with the A- 

rab. At lirffc, they thought it was too much confidence to 

place in. him, bat I convinced them, that it was greatly di- 

miniihing our rifk, and, let the worft come to the worft,, 

v, 1. y Lwas 


I was well fatisfied that, armed as we were, on foot, we were 
more than fumcient to heat the Atouni, after thev Had de- 
feated the clownifh caravan of Egypt, from whole courage 
we certainly had nothing to expect. 

I cannot conceal the fecret pleafure I had in finding the 
character of my country fo firmly eftablifhed among na- 
tions fo diftant, enemies to our religion, and llrangers to 
our government. Turks from Mount Taurus, and Arabs 
from the deiert of Libya, thought themfelves unfafe among 
their own countrymen, but trufled their lives and their lit- 
tle fortunes implicitly to the direction and word of an Eng- 
lishman whom they had never before feen. 

These Turks feemed to be above the middling rank of 
people ; each of them had his little cloak bag very neatly 
packed up ; and they gave me to underfland that there 
was money in it. Thefe they placed in my fervants tent, 
aid chained them all together, round the middle pillar of 
it ; tor it was eafy to fee the Axabs of the caravan had 
theft packages in view, from the firft moment of the Turk's 

We flaid all the iSth at I egeta, waiting for the junction 
of the caravans, and departed the 19th at fix o'clock in the 
morning. Our journey, all that day, was through a plain, 
never lefs than a mile broad, and never broader than three; 
the hills, on our right and left, were higher than the for- 
mer, and of a brownifh calcined colour, like the Hones on 
the fides of Mount Vefuvius, but without any herb or tree 
upon them. 

2 At 


At half pall ten, we paiTed a mountain of green and red 
marble, and at twelve we entered a plain called Hamra, 
where we firfl obferved the fand red, with a purple call, of 
the colour of porphyry, and this is the lignification of Ham- 
ra, the name of the valley. Idifmounted here, to examine of 
what the rocks were compofed ; and found, with the great- 
ell pleafure, that here began the quarries of porphyry, with- 
out the mixture of any other Hone ; but it was imperfect, 
brittle, and foft. I had not been engaged in this purfuit an 
hour, before we were alarmed with a report that the A- 
touni had attacked the rear of the caravan ; we were at the 
head of it. The Turks and my fervants were all drawn 
together, at the foot of the mountain, and polled as advan- 
tageoully as pomble. But it foon appeared that they 
were fome thieves only, who had attempted to Ileal fome 
loads of corn from camels that were weak, or fallen lame, 
perhaps in intelligence with thofe of our own caravans. 

All the reft of the afternoon, we faw mountains of a 
perfectly purple colour, all of them porphyry ; nor has 
Ptolemy f much erred in the pofition of them. About four 
o'clock, we pitched our tent at a place called Main el Mafa- 
rek. The colour of the valley El Hamra continued to this 
llation ; and it was very lingular to obferve, that the ants, or 
pifmires, the only living creatures I had yet obferved,, were 
all of a beautiful red colour like the fand* 

The 20th, at fix oclock in the morning, we left Main el 


f PtoL Alraag. lib. 4. Geograph. pag. 104, 


Mafarek, and, at ten, came to the mouth of the defiles.' At 
eleven we began to defcend, having had a very impercep- 
tible afcent from Kenne all the way. 

We were now indemnified for the. famenefs of our na- 
tural productions yefterday; for, on each fide of the plain, 
we found different forts of marble, twelve kinds of which 
I felecled, and took with me. 

At noon, we came to a plain planted with acacia-trees, 
at equal diftances ; fingle trees, fpreading broader than ufual, 
as if on purpofe to proportion the refreihment they gave to 
the number of travellers who Hood in need of it. This is 
a ftation of the Atouni Arabs after rain. From our leaving 
Legeta, we had no water that, nor the following day. 


On the right-hand fide of this plain we found porphyry 
and granite, of very beautiful kinds. All the way, on both 
fides of the valley, this day,,the mountains were of porphyry, 
and a very few of ftone. 

At a quarter pail four, we encamped at Koraim, a fmall 
plain, perfectly barren, confuting of fine gravel, fand, and 
ftones, with a few acacia-trees, interfperfed throughout. 

The 2 i ft, we departed early in the morning from Ko- 
raim, and, at ten o'clock, we palled feveral defiles, perpetually 
alarmed by a report, that the Arabs were approaching; 
none of whom we ever fa w. We then proceeded through 
feveral defiles, into a long plain that turns to the eaft, thea 
oorth-eaft, and north, fo as to make a portion of a circle. 
At the end of this plain we came to a mountain, the great- 
si eft 


eft part of which was of the marble, verde antico> as it is 
called in Rome, but by far the moll beautiful of the kind 
I had ever feen. 

Having parTed this, we had mountains on both fides of 
us, but particularly on our right. The only ones that I my- 
felf examined were of a kind of granite, with reddifh veins 
throughout, with triangular and fquare black fpots. Thefe 
mountains continued to Mefag el Terfowey, where we en- 
camped at twelve o'clock ; we were obliged to bring our 
water from about five miles to the fouth-eafl. This water 
does not appear to be from fprings, it lies in cavities and 
grottos in the rock, of which there are twelve in number, 
whether hollowed by nature or art, or partly by both, is 
more than I can folve. Great and abundant rains fall here 
in February. The clouds, breaking on the tops of thefe 
mountains, in their way to Abyflinia, fill thefe ciflerns with 
large fupplies, which the impending rocks fecure from eva- 

It was the firft frefh water we tailed fince we left the Nile; 
and the only water of any kind fince we left Legeta. But 
fuch had been the forefight of our caravan, that very few 
reforted thither, having all laid in abundant flore from the 
Nile ; and fome of them a quantity fufhcient to ferve them 
till their return. This was not our cafe. We had water, it 
is true, from the Nile ; but we never thought we could have 
too much, as long as there was room in our water-fkins to 
hold more ; I therefore went early with my camel-drivers, 
expecting to have feen fome antelopes, which every night 
come to drink from the well, having no opportunity to do 
it throughout the day. 

Vol* I. Z I hab 


I had not concealed myfelf half an hour, above a nar- 
row path leading to the principal cave, before I faw, firft one 
antelope walking very (lately alone ; then four others, clofe- 
ly following him. Although I was wholly hid as long as 
I lay ftill, he feenied to have difcerned me from the inftant 
that I faw him. I mould have thought it had been the 
fmell that had difcovered me, had not I ufed the precaution 
of carrying a piece of burnt turf along with me, and left 
one with my horfe likewife; perhaps it was this unufual 
fmell that terrified him. Whatever was the caufe, he ad- 
vanced apparently in fear, and feemed to be trufted with 
the care of the flock, as the others teftified no apprehen- 
fion, but were rather fporting or fighting with each other. 
Still he advanced flower, and with greater caution ; but, be- 
ing perfectly within reach, I did. not think proper any long- 
er to rifk the whole from a defire to acquire a greater num- 
ber. I mot him fo juftly, that,, giving one leap five or fix 
feet high, he fell dead upon his head. I fired at the others,, 
retiring all in a croud; killed one likewife, and lamed ano- 
ther, who fled among the mountains, where darknefs pro- 
tected him. We were perfectly content with our acquifi- 
tion, and the nature of the place did not prompt us to look 
after the wounded'. We continued at the well to aflifl our. 
companions who came in want of water, a duty with which 
necefiity binds vis all. to comply. 

We returned near midnight with our game and our wa- 
ter. We found our tents all lighted, which, at that time of : 
night, was unufual. I thought, however,, it was on account 
of my abfence, and to guide me the fur er home. We were 
however furprifed,when, coming within a moderate diflance 
of our tent, wc heard the word called for; I anfwered imme- 


-diately, Charlotte; and, upon our arrival, we perceived the 
Turks were parading round the tents in arms, and foon 
after our Howadat Arab came to us, and with him a mef- 
fenger from Sidi Haffan, defiring me to come inftantly to 
his tent, while my fervants advifed me firft to hear what 
they had to fay to me in mine, 

I soon, therefore, perceived that all was hot well, and I 
returned my compliments to Haffan, adding, that, if he had 
any thing to fay to me fo late, he would do well to come, or 
fend, as it was pall my hour of vinting in the defert, efpe- 
cially as I had not eat, and was tired with having the charge 
of the water. I gave orders to my fervants to put out all 
the extraordinary lights, as that feemed to be a mark of 
fear ; but forbade any one to fleep, excepting thofe who 
had the charge of our beafts, and had been fetching the 

I found that, while our people had been afleep, two per- 
sons had got into the tent and attempted to Ileal one of the 
portmanteaus ; but, as they were chained together, and the 
tent-pole in the middle, the noife had awakened my fer- 
vants, who had feized one of the men ; and that the Turks 
had intended inftantly to have difpatched him with their 
knives, and with great difficulty had been prevented by my 
fervants, according to my conftant orders, for I wifhed to 
• avoid all extremities, upon fuch occafions, when poffible* 
They had indeed leave to deal with their {licks as freely 
as their prudence fuggefted to them ; and they had gone, 
in this cafe, fully beyond the ordinary limits of difcretion^ 
efpecially Abdel Gin, who was the firft to feize the robber. 
In fhort, they had dealt fo liberally with their fticks, that 

Z 2 the 


the thief was only known to be living by his groans, and 
they had thrown him at a fmall diftance, for any perfon to 
own him that pleafed. It appeared, that he was a fervant 
of Sidi Haffan, an Egyptian Have, or fervant to Shekh Ha- 
mam, who conducted or commanded the caravan, if there 
was any conducl or command in it» 

There were with me ten fervants, all completely armed, 
twenty-five Turks, who feemed worthy to be depended up- 
on, and four janiffaries, who had joined us from Cairo, fo 
that there were of us forty men perfectly armed, befides 
attendants on the cattle. As we had people with us who 
knew the wells, and alfo a friend who was acquainted, with' 
the Atouni, nothing, even in a defer t, could reafonably a- 
larm us. 

With great difficulty we pulled down an old acacia-tree, 
and procured fome old-dried camels dung, with which we 
roafted our two antelopes : very ill-roafted they were ; and 
execrable meat, though they had been ever fo well dreffed, 
and had had the beft fauce of Chriftendom. However, we 
were in the defert, and every thing was acceptable. We 
had fome fpirits, which finifhed our repaft that night : it 
was exceedingly cold, and we fat thick about the fire. 

Five men with firelocks, and a number of Arabs with 
lances, having come towards us, and being challenged by. • 
the centinel for not. giving the word, were then defired to 
fiand, or they would be fired upon. They all cried out, 
Salam Allcum ! and I intimated that any three of them: might 
come forward, but defired them to keep away the Arabs; 
Three of them accordingly came, and then two more. They. 

3 delivered? 


delivered a menage from Sidi HafTan, that my people had 
killed a man; they defired that the murderer might be deliver- 
ed to them, and that I fhould come to his tent, and fee juftice 
done. " I told them, that none of my people, however pro- 
u voked, would put a man to death in my abfence, unlefs 
* in defence of their own lives ; that, if I had been there, 1 1 
" fhould certainly have ordered them to fire upon a thief 
" catched in the act of Healing within my tent ; but, fince 
" he was dead, I was fatisfied as to him, only expected that 
" Sidi HafTan would give me up his companion, who had 
*' fled ; that, as it was near morning, I fhould meet him 
" when the caravan decamped, and hear what he had to fay 
" in his defence. In the mean time I forbade any perfon 
" to come near my tent, or quarters, on any pretence what- 
ever, till-day light." Away they went murmuring, but 
what they faid I did not underfland. We heard no more 
of them, and none of us flept. All of us, however, repeated: 
our vows of Handing by each other ; and we fince found, 
that we had flood in the way of a common practice, of ftrip- 
ping thefe poor flrangers, the Turks, who come every year, 
this road to Mecca. 

At dawn of day, the caravan was all in motion, They 
had got intelligence, that two days before, about 300 Atouni- 
had watered at Terfowey; and, indeed, there were marks,- 
of great refort at the well, where we filled the water. We 
had agreed not toToad one of our camels, but let the. cara- 
van go on before us, and meet the Atouni firfl ; that I only 
fliould go on horfeback,. about two hundred yards into the 
plain from the tent,., and all the reft follow me on foot with- 
arms in their, hands,.. 



Hassan, too, was mounted on horfeback, with about a 
hundred of his myrmidons, and a number of Arabs on foot. 
He fent me word that I was to advance, with only two fer- 
vants ; but I returned for anfwer, that I had no intention to 
advance at all ; that if he had any bufinefs, he mould fay 
fo, and that I would meet him one to one, or three to fix, 
juft as he pleafed. He fent me again word, that he wanted 
to communicate the intelligence he had of the Atouni, to 
put me on my guard. I returned for anfwer, that I was al- 
ready upon my guard, againft all thieves, and did not make 
tiny diftinclion, if people were thieves themfelves, or en- 
couraged others to be fo, or whether they were Atouni or 
Ababde. He then fent me a meffage, that it was a cold 
morning, and wifhed I would give him a difh of coffee, 
and keep thofe ftrangers away. I therefore defired one of 
my fervants to bring the coffee-pot, and directing my people 
to fit down, I rode up to him, and dismounted, as he did alfo, 
when twenty or thirty of his vagabonds came, and fat 
down likewife. He faid he was exceedingly furprifed, after 
fending to me laft night, that I did not come to him ; that 
the whole camp was in murmur at beating the man, and 
that it was all that he could do to hinder his foldiers from 
falling upon us, and extirpating us all at once ; that I did 
wrong to protect thofe Turks, who carried always money 
to Mecca for merchandife, and defrauded them of their dues. 

My fervant having juft poured out a difh of coffee to give 
him, I faid, Stay, Sir, till we know whether we are in peace. 
Sidi HafTan, if that is the way of levying dues upon the 
Turks, to fend thieves to rob them in my tent, you fhould 
advife me nrfl of it, and then we mould have fettled the 
bufinefs. With regard to your preventing people from 



murdering me, it is a boaft fo ridiculous that I laugh at it. 
Thofe pale-faced fellows who are about you muffled up in 
burnoofes for fear of cold in the morning, are they capable 
to look janiffaries in the face like mine ? Speak lowly, and 
in Arabic, when you talk at this rate, or perhaps it will not 
be in my power to return you the compliment you did me 
laft night, or hinder them from killing you on the fpot. Were 
ever fuch words fpoken ! faid a man behind ; tell me, ma- 
iler, are you a king ? If Sidi Kalian, anfwered I, is your ma- 
iler, and you fpeak to me on this occafion,. you are a wretch j 
get out of my fight ; I fwear I will not drink a dim of coffee 
while you are here, and will mount my horle directly. 

I then rofe, and the fervant took back the coffee-pot *. 
upon which Haffan ordered his fervant out of his pre- 
fence, faying, " No, no; give me the coffee if we are in peace ; ,? 
and he drank it accordingly. Now, fays he, pail is pail ; the 
Atouni are to meet us at the * mouth of Beder; your people 
are better armed than mine, are Turks, and ufed to fighting.. 
I would willi you to go fore moil, and we will take charge 
of your camels, though my people have 4000 of their own, 
and they have enough to do to take charge of the corn.. 
" And I," faid I, " if I wanted water or provifion, would go 
to meet the Atouni, who would ufe me well. Why, you don't 
know to whom you are fpeaking, nor that the Atouni are 
Arabs of Ali Bey, and that I am his man of confidence, go- 
ing to the Sherriffe of Mecca? The Atouni will not hurt us ; 
but, as you fay, you are commander of the caravan,, we have 


* The Arabs call thefe narrow paffss in the mountains Fum, as the Hebrews did. Pi, .the. 
mouth. Fum el Ceder, is the mouth of Bcder^ Fum el Tctfov/ey, the mouth or pafiage of— 
fbwey ; Piha H'.aroth, the. mouth of the valley cut through with, ravines. 


all fworn we will not fire a fhot, till we fee you heartily en- 
gaged ; . and then we will do our bell to hinder the Arabs 
from Healing the Sherriffe of Mecca's corn, for his fake only" 
They all cried out El Fedtah ! El Fedtah ! fo I faid the prayer 
of peace as a proxy ; for none of the Turks would come near 

Opposite to where we were encamped is Terfowey, a 
large mountain, partly green-marble, partly granite, with 
a red bluili upon a grey ground, with fquare oblong fpots. 
About forty yards within the narrow valley, which fepa- 
rates this mountain from its neighbour, we faw a part of 
the full or fhaft of a monflrous obelilk of marble, very near- 
ly fquare, broken at the end, and towards the top. It was 
nearly thirty feet long, and nineteen feet in the face ; about 
two feet of the bottom were perfectly infulated, and one 
whole fide feparated from the mountain. The gully had 
been widened and levelled, and the road made quite up to 
underneath the block. 

We. faw likewife, throughout the plain, fmall pieces of 
jafper, having green, white, and red fpots, called in Italy, 
" Diafpo Sanguineo." All the mountains on both fides of 
the plain feemed to be of the fame fort, whether they really 
were fo or not, I will not fay, having had no time to exa- 
mine them. 

The 22d, at half pall one in the morning, we fet out full 
of terror about the Atouni. We continued in a direction 
.nearly eafl, till at three we came to the defiles ; but it was 
fo dark, that it was impoffible to difcern of what the coun- 
try on each fide confifled. At day-break, we found our- 




felves at the bottom of a mountain of granite, bare like the 

We faw quantities of fmall pieces of various forts of 
granite, and porphyry fcattered over the plain, which had 
been carried down by a torrent, probably from quarries of 
ancient ages ; thefe were white, mixed with black fpots ; red, 
with green veins, and black fpots. After this, all the moun- 
tains on the right hand were of red marble in prodigious 
abundance, but of no great beauty. They continued, as the 
granite did, for feveral miles along the road, while the oppo- 
fite fide was all of dead-green, fuppofed ferpentine marble. 

It was one of the mod extraordinary fights I ever faw. 
The former mountains were of confiderable height, with- 
out a tree, or fhrub, or blade of grafs upon them ; but thefe 
now before us had all the appearance, the one of having been 
fprinkled over with Havannah, the other with Brazil fnufE 
I wondered, that, as the red is neareft the fea, and the mips 
going down the Abyflinian coaft obferve this appearance 
within lat. 2 6°, writers have not imagined this was called 
the Red &a upon that account, rather than for the many 
weak reafons they have relied upon. 

About eight o'clock we began to defcend fmartly, and, half 
an hour after, entered into another defile like thofe before 
defcribed, having mountains of green marble on every fide 
of us. At nine, on our left, we faw the higheil mountain 
we had yet palled. We found it, upon examination, to be com- 
pofed of ferpentine marble ; and, thro' about one-third of the 
thicknefs, ran a large vein of jafper, green, fpotted with red. 
Its exceeding hardnefs was fuch as not to yield to the blows 

Vol, I, A a of 


of a hammer ; but the works of old times were more ap- 
parent in it, than in any mountain we had feen. Duels, or 
channels, for carrying water tranfverfely, were obferved evi- 
dently to terminate in this quarry ofjafper::a proof that 
water was one of the means ufed in cutting thefe hard i 

About ten- o'clock, defcending very rapidly, with' green, 
marble and jafper on each fide of. us, but no other greeir: 
thing whatever, we had the.firft profpect . of the Red Sea,., 
and, at a quarter paft eleven, we arrived at GofTeir. It has- 
been a wonder with all. travellers, and with myfeif among 
the reft, where the ancients procured that prodigious quan- 
tity of fine marble, with which all their buildings abound.. 
That wonder, however, among many others, now ceafes, 
after having pafTed, in four days, more granite, porphyry,, 
marble, and jafper, than would build Rome, Athens, Corinth,.. 
Syracufe, Memphis, Alexandria, and half a dozen fuch ci- 
ties. It feemed to be very vifible, that thofe openings in the j 
hills, which I call Defiles, were not natural, but artificial ; and.- 
that whole mountains had been cut out at thefe places, to,> 
preferve a Hope towards the Nile as gentle as poflible: this,. 
I fuppofe, might be a defcent of about one foot in fifty at-, 
rnolt; fo that, from the mountains to the Nile, thofe heavy. - 
carriages muil have moved with as little draught as pof- 
lible, and, at the fame time, been fufhcientiy impeded by. 
friction, fo as not to run amain, or acquire an increafed ve- 
locity, againft which, alfo, there muft have been other pro- 
vifions contrived,. As I made another excurfion to thefe : 
marble mountains from CofFeir, I will, once for all, here fet, 
down what I. obferved concerning their natural appcaiv 



The porphyry fhews itfe-lf by a fine purple fand, without 
any glofs or glitter on it, and is exceedingly agreeable to the 
eye. It is mixed with the native white fand, and fixed gra- 
vel of the plains. Green unvariegated marble, is generally 
feen in the fame mountain with the porphyry. Where the 
two veins meet, the marble is for fome inches brittle, bat 
the porphyry of the fame hardnefs as in other places. 

The granite is covered with fand, and looks like Hone of a 
dirty, brown colour. But this is only the change and impref- 
fion the fun and weather have made upon it; for, upon break- 
ing it, you fee it is grey granite, with black fpots, with a red- 
diih call, or bluih over it. This red feems to fade and fuf- 
fer from the outward air, but, upon working or polifhing 
the furface, this colour again appears. It is in greater 
quantity than the porphyry, and nearer the Red Sea. Pom- 
pey's pillar feems to have been from this quarry. 

Next to the granite, but never, as I obferved, joined with 
it in the fame mountain, is the red marble. It is covered 
with fand of the fame colour, and looks as if the whole 
mountain were fpread over with brick duft. There is alfo 
a red marble with white veins, which I have often feen at 
Rome, but not in principal fubjects, I have alfo feen it in 
Britain. The common green (called Serpentine) looks as if 
covered over with Brazil muff. Joined with this green, I 
faw two famples of that beautiful marble they Call Ifabella; 
one of them with a yellowifh call, which we call Quaker- 
colour ; the other with a blueilh, which is commonly termed 
Dove-colour. Thefe two feem to divide the respective 
mountains with the ferpentine. In this green, likewife, it 
was we faw the vein of jafper ; but whether it was abfolute- 

A a 2 ly 


ly the fame with this which is the bloody jafper, or blood- 
Hone, is what we had not time to fettle. 

. I should firft have made-mention of the verde antico, the 
dark green with white irregular fpots, becaufe it is of the 
greatefl value, and neareft the Nile. This is produced in the 
mountains of the plain green, or ferpentine, as is the jafper, 
and is not difcoverable by the duft, or any particular colour 
upon it. Firft, there is a blue fleaky ftone, exceedingly even 
and fmooth in the grain, folid, and without fparks or co- 
lour. When broken, it is fomething lighter than a flate, 
and more beautiful than mod marble ; it is like the lava of 
volcanoes, when polifhed. After lifting this, we come to the 
beds of verde antico ; and here the quarrying is very obvi- 
ous, for it has been uncovered in patches, not above twenty 
feet fquare. Then, in another part, the green ftone has 
been removed, and another pit of it wrought. 

I saw, in feveral places in the plain, fmall pieces of A- 
frican marble fcattered about, but no- rocks or mountains 
of it. I fuppofe it is found in the heart of fome other co- 
loured marble, and in ftrata, like the jafper and verde anti- 
co, and, I fufpecl:, in the mountains of Ifabella marble, efpe- 
cially of the yelloweft fort of it, but this is mere conjecture.. 
This prodigious ftore of marble is placed upon a ridge, 
whence there is a defcent to the eaft or weft, either to the 
Nile or Red Sea. The level ground and hard-fixed gravel 
are proper for the heavieft carriages, and will eafily and 
fmoothly convey any weight whatever to its place of em- 
barkation on the Nile ; fo that another wonder ceafed, how 
the ancients tranfported thofe. vaft blocks to Thebes, Mem- 
phis, and Alexandria,. 



Cosseir is a fmall mud-walled village, built upon the 
more, among hillocks of floating fand. It is defended by a 
fquare fort of hewn Hone, with fquare towers in the angles, 
which have in them three fmall cannon of iron, and one of 
brafs, all in very bad condition ; of no other ufe but to 
terrify the Arabs, and hinder them from plundering the 
town when full of corn, going to Mecca in time of famine. 
The walls are not high ; nor was it neceflary,. if the great 
guns were in order. But as this is not the cafe,, the ram- 
parts are heightened by clay, or by mud-walls, to fcreen. 
the foldiers from the fire-arms of the Arabs, that might, 
otherwife command them from the fandy hills in the neigh- 

There are feveral wells of brackifh water on the N. W. 
of the caflle, which, for experiment's fake, I made drinkable,, 
by filtering it through fand ; but the water in ufe is brought 
from Terfowey, a good day's journey off. 

The port, if we may call it fo, is on the fouth-eafl of the 
town. It is nothing but a rock which runs out about four 
hundred yards into the fea, and defends the veflels, which- 
ride to the weft of it r from the north and north-eafl winds,. 
as the houfes of the town cover them from the north-well. 

There is a large inclofure with a high mud-wall, and, 
within, every merchant has a mop or magazine for his. 
corn and merchandife : little of this lafl is imported, unlefs 
eoarfe India goods, for the confnmption of Upper Egypt 
itfelf, fince the trade to Dongola and Sennaar has been in- 



I had orders from Shekh Hamam to lodge in the caftle. 
But a few hours before my arrival, HufTein Bey Abou Kerfh 
landed from Mecca, and Jidda, and he had taken up the 
apartments which were deftined for me. He was one of 
thofe Beys whom Ali Bey had defeated, and driven from 
Cairo. He was called Abou Kerfh , i. e. Father Belly, from be- 
ing immoderately fat ; his adverfity had brought him a lit- 
tle into fhapes. My fervants, who had gone before, think- 
ing that a friend of the Bey in power was better than an 
enemy outlawed, and banifhed by him, had inadvertently 
put fome of my baggage into the caftle juft when this po- 
tentate was taking pofleffion. Swords were immediately 
drawn, death and definition threatened to my poor fer- 
vants, who fled and hid themfelves till I arrived. 

Upon their complaint, I told them they had acted im- 
properly; that a fovereign was afovereign all the world over; 
and it was not my bufinefs to make a difference, whether 
he was in power or not. I eafily procured a houfe, and 
fent a janiflary of the four that had joined us from Cairo, 
with my compliments to the Bey, defiring reflitution of my 
baggage, and that he would excufe the ignorance of my 
fervants, who did not know that he was at CofTeir ; but 
only, having the firman of the Grand Signior, and letters 
from the Bey and Port of janiffaries of Cairo, they pre- 
fumed that I had a right to lodge there, if he had not taken 
up the quarters. 

It happened, that an intimate friend of mine, Mahomet 
Topal, captain of one of the large Cairo mips, trading to 
Arabia, was a companion of this HufleinBey, and had car- 
ried him to fee Captain Thornhill, and fome of our Englifh 



eaptains at Jidda, who, as their very laudable cuftom is, al~ 
ways fhew fuch people fome civilities. He queftioned the 
ranifTary about me, who told him I was Englifh; that I had: 
the protection I had mentioned, and that, from kindnefs 
and charity, I had. furnifhed the Itranger Turks with water, 
and provision at my own expence, when crofting the defert. 
He profefled himfelf exceedingly afhamed. at the beha- 
viour of his fervants, who had drawn their fabres upon 
mine, and had cut my carpet and fome cords. After which r . 
of his own accord, he ordered his kaya, or next in com- 
mand, to remove from the lodging he occupied, andinflcad, 
of fending back my baggage by my fervant, he directed it 
to be carried into the apartment from which the kaya had 
removed. This I abfolutely refufed, and fent word, I un- 
derstood he was to be there for a, few days only; and as 
I. might flay for a longer time,, I mould only delire to fuc~ 
ceed him after his departure,, in order to put my baggage. 
in fafety from the Arabs ; but for the prefent they were iir 
no danger, as long as be was hi the town. I told him, I would X 
pay my refpects to him. in the evening, when the weather 
cooled. I did fo,,and, contrary to his expectations, brought 
him a fmall prefent. . Great intercourfe of. civility paffed ; 
my fellow-travellers, the Turks, were all feated there, and; 
he gave me, repeatedly, very honourable teftimonlaLs of my 
charity, generality, and'kinclneis to them,. 

These Turks, finding themfelves in a fituation to be 
heard, had not omitted the opportunity of complaining to 
HufTein Bey of the attempt of the Arab to rob them in the 
defert. . The Bey afked me, If it happened in my tent? I 
laid, It was in .that of. my fervants. "What is the rcafon, 



fays he, that, when you Engliili people know £o well what 
good government is, you did not order his head to be 
itruck off, when you had him in your hands, before the 
door of the tent?" — " Sir," faid I, " I know well what good 
government is ; but being a ftranger, and a Chriflian, I 
have no fort of title to exercife the power of life and death 
in this country ; only in this one cafe, when a man at- 
tempts my life, then I think I am warranted to defend 
myfelf, whatever may be the confequence to him. My 
men took him in the fact, and they had my orders, in fuch 
cafes, to beat the offenders fo that they mould not Ileal 
thefe two months again : They did fo ; that was punifh- 
ment enough in cold blood."—" But my blood," fays he, 
" never cools with regard to fuch rafcals as thefe : Go (and 
he called one of his attendants) tell Haffan, the head of the 
caravan, from me, that unlefs he hangs that Arab before 
fun-rife to-morrow, I will carry him in irons to Furfhout." 

Upon this meflage I took my leave ; faying only, " Huf- 
fein Bey, take my advice ; procure a veilel and fend thefe 
Turks over to Mecca before you leave this town, or, be af- 
fured they will all be made refponfible for the death of 
this Arab ; will be flripped naked, and perhaps murdered, 
as foon as your back is turned." It was all I could do to 
get them protected thus far. This meafure was already 
provided for, and the poor Turks joyfully embarked next 
morning. The thief was not at all moleited : he was fent 
out of the way, under pretence that he had fled. 

Cosseir has been miflaken by different authors. Mr 
Huet, Bifhop of Avranches, fays, It is the Myos Hormos 
of antiquity ; others, the Philoteras Portus of Ptolemy. 



The fact is, that neither one nor other is the port, both be- 
ing considerably farther to the northward. Nay, more, the 
prefent town of CofTeir was no ancient port at all ; old Cof- 
feir was five or fix miles to the northward. There can be 
no fort of doubt, that it was the Portus Albus, or the White 
Harbour ; for we find the fteep defcent from Terfowey, and 
the marble mountains, called, to this day, the Accaba, 
which, in Arabic, fignifies a fteep afcent or defcent, is pla- 
ced here by Ptolemy with the fame name, though in Greek 
that name has no Signification. Again, Ptolemy places *Aias 
A Ions, or the mountain Aias, juft over CofTeir, and this moun- 
tain, by the fame name, is found there at this day. And, 
upon this mountain, and the one next it, (both over the 
port) are two very remarkable chalky cliffs ; which, being 
confpicuous and feen far at fea, have given the name of the 
White Port, which CofTeir bore in all antiquity. 

I found, by many meridian altitudes of the fun, taken 
at the cafcle, that CofTeir is in lat. 26 y ; 51" north ; and, hy 
three obfervations of Jupiter's fatellites, I found its longi- 
tude to be 34 4/ 15" eafl of the meridian of Greenwich. 

The caTavan from Syene arrived at this time,, efcorted by- 
four hundred Ababde, all upon camels, each armed with two- 
fhort javelins. The manner of their riding was very whim- 
fical ; they had two frnall faddles on each camel, and fat 
back to back, which might be, in their practice; convenient 
enough ; but I am fure, that, if they had been to fight with* 
us, every ball would have killed two of them, what their ad— 
vantage would have been, I know not?. 

Vol. I. B b The 

*-Etolei». Geograpb. lib. 4. p. 103. 



The whole town was in terror at the influx of fo many 
barbarians, who knew no law whatever. They brought a 
thoufand camels loaded with wheat to tranfport to Mecca. 
Every body fhut their doors, and I among the reft, whilft the 
Bey fent to me to remove into the caftle. But I had no 
fear, and refolved to make an experiment, after hearing 
thefe were people of Nlmmer, whether I could trull them in 
the defert or not. However, I fent all my inftruments, my 
money, and the bell of my baggage, my medicines and 
memorandums, into a chamber in the caftle : after the door 
was locked, and the key brought to me, the Bey ordered to 
nail up pieces of wood acrofs it, and fet a centinel to watch 
it all day, and two in the night. 

I was next morning down at the port looking for fhells 
in the fea, when a fervant of mine came to me in apparent 
fright and hurry. He told me the Ababde had found out 
that Abdel Gin, my Arab, was an Atouni, their enemy, and that 
they had either cut his throat, or were about to do it ; but, 
by the fury with which they feized him, in his fight, he 
could not believe they would fpare him a minute. 

He very providently brought me a horfe, upon which I 
mounted immediately, feeing there was no time to be loft; 
and in the fiihing-drefs, in which I was, with a red turban a- 
bout my head, I galloped as hard as the horfe could carry 
me through the town. If I was alarmed myfelf, I did 
not fail to alarm many others. They all thought it was 
fomething behind, not any thing before me, that occafion* 
ed this fpeed. I only told my fervant at palling, to fend 
two of my people on horfeback after me, and that the Bey 
would lend them horfes, 

I was 


I was not got above a mile into the fands, when I began 
to reflect on the folly of the undertaking. I was going in- 
to the defert among a band of favages, whofe only trade 
was robbery and murder, where, in all probability, I mould 
be as ill treated as the man I was attempting to fave. But, 
feeing a crowd of people about half a mile before me, 
and thinking they might be at that time murdering that 
poor, honeft, and fimple fellow, all confideration of my own 
fafety for the time vanifhed. 

Upon my coming near them, fix or eight of them fur- 
rounded me on horfeback, and began to gabble in their 
own language. I was not very fond of my fituation. It 
would have coft them nothing to have thruft a lance 
through my back, and taken the horfe away; and, after Grip- 
ping me, to have buried me in a hillock of fand, if they 
were fo kind as give themfelves that lafl trouble. How- 
ever, I picked up courage, and putting on the belt appear- 
ance I could, faid to them fteadily, without trepidation," What 
men are thefe before r" The anfwer, after fome paufe, was, 
they are men ; and they looked very queerly, as if they meant 
to afk each other, What fort of a fpark is this? " Are thofe be- 
fore us Ababde, faid I ; are they from Shekh Ammer ?" One 
of them nodded, and grunted fullenly, rather than faid 
"■ Aye, Ababde from Shekh Ammer." " Then Salam Alicum! 
faid I, we are brethren. How does the Nimmer? Who com- 
mands you here ? Where is Ibrahim ? 

At the mention of Nimmer, and Ibrahim, their counten- 
ance changed, not to any thing fweeter or gentler than be- 
fore, but to a look of great furprife. They had not return- 
ed my falmanon, peace be bet-ween us-, but one of them afked 

B b 2 me 


rue who I was ? — " Tell me firft, faid T, who that is you have 
before ?" — " It is an Arab, our enemy, fays he, guilty of our 
blood." — " He is, replied I, my fervant. He is a Howadat 
Arab, his tribe lives in peace at the gates of Cairo, in the 
fame manner your's at Shekh Ammer does at thofe of Af- 
fouan." " I afk you, Where is Ibrahim your Shekh's fon ?" — 
" Ibrahim, fays he, is at our head, he commands us here.' 
But who are you ?" — " Come with me, and fhew me Ibrahim, 
faid I, and I will fhew you who I am." 

I passed by thefe, and by another party of them. They 
had thrown a hair rope about the neck of Abdel Gin, who 
was almofl ftrangled already, and cried out mofl miferably, 
for me not to leave him. I went directly to the black tent 
which I faw had a long fpear thrufl up in the end of it, 
and met at the door Ibrahim and his brother, and feven or 
eight Ababde. He did not recoiled: me, but I difmounted 
clofe to the tent-door, and had fcarce taken hold of the pil- 
lar of the tent, and faid Fiarduc *, when Ibrahim, and his 
brother both knew me. " What ! faid they, are you Tagoube 
our phyfician, and our friend ?" — " Let me afk you, replied 
I, if you are the Ababde of Shekh Ammer, that curfed your- 
felves, and your children, if you ever lifted a hand againft 
me, or mine, in the defert, or in the plowed field : If you 
have repented of that oath, or fworn falfely on purpofe to 
deceive me, here I am come to you in the defert." " What is 
the matter, fays Ibrahim, we are the Ababde of Shekh Am- 
mer, there are no other, and we ftill fay, Curfed be he, whe- 

* That is, I am under your prote&iom 


ther our father, or children, that lifts his hand againft you, 
in the defert, or in the plowed field." " Then, faid I, you 
are all accurfed in the defert, and in the field, for a num- 
ber of your people are going to murder my fervant. They 
took him indeed from my houfe in the town, perhaps that is 
not included in your curfe, as it is neither in the defert nor 
the plowed field?' — I was very angry. "Whew! fays Ibrahim 
with a kind of whittle, that is downright nonfenfe. Who 
are thofe of my people that have authority to murder, and 
take prifoners while I am here ? Here one of you, get up- 
on Yagoube's horfe, and bring that man to me." Then 
turning to me, he defired I would go into the tent and fit 
down : " For God renounce me and mine, (fays he), if it is 
" as you fay, and one of them hath touched the hair of his 
** head, if ever he drinks of the Nile again." 

A number of people who had feen me at Shekh Ammer s 
now came all around me ; fome with complaints of fick- 
nefs, fome with compliments; more with impertinent quef- 
tions, that had no relation to either. At lafl came in the 
culprit Abdel Gin, with forty or fifty of the Ababde who 
had gathered round him, but no rope about his neck. There 
began a violent altercation between Ibrahim, and his men, 
in their own language. All that I could guefs was, that 
the men had the worfl of it ; for every one prefent faid 
fomething harfh to them, as difapproving the action. 

I heard the name of HafTan Sidi HafTan often in the dif- 
pute. I began to fufpect fomething, and defired in Arabic 
to know what that Sidi Halfan was, fo often mentioned in 
difcourfe, and then the whole fecret came out. 



The reader will remember, that this Arab, Abdel Gin, 
was the perfon that feized the fervant of Haflan, the Captain 
of the Caravan, when he was attempting to ileal the Turk's 
portmanteau out of my tent ; that my people had beat him 
till he lay upon the ground like dead, and that HufTein Bey, 
at the complaint of the Caramaniots, had ordered him to be 
hanged. Now, in order to revenge this, Harlan had told the 
Ababde that Abdel Gin was an Atouni fpy, that he had de- 
tected him in the Caravan, and that he was come to learn 
the number of the Ababde, in order to bring his compa- 
nions to furprife them. He did not fay one word that he 
was my fervant, nor that I was at CofTeir ; fo the people 
thought they had a very meritorious facrifice to make, in 
the perfon of poor Abdel Gin. 

All palTed now in kindnefs, frefh medicines were afked 
for the Nimmer, great thankfulnefs, and profeffions, for 
what they had received, and a prodigious quantity of meat 
on wooden platters very excellently drefTed, and moll agree- 
ably diluted with frefh water, from the coldefl rock of Ter- 
fowey, was fet before me. 

In the mean time, two of my fervants, attended by three 
of HufTein Bey, came in great anxiety to know what was 
the matter; and, as neither they nor the Arabs chofe much 
each others company, I fent them with a Ihort account of 
the whole to the Bey ; and foon after took my leave, car- 
rying Abdel Gin along with me, who had been clothed by 
Ibrahim from head to foot. We were accompanied by two 
Ababde, in cafe of accident, 



I cannot help here accufing myfelf of what, doubtlefs, 
may be well reputed a very great fin. I was fo enraged at 
the traitorous part which Harlan had acted, that, at parting, 
I could not help faying to Ibrahim, " Now, Shekh, I have 
done every thing you have defired, without ever expecting 
fee, or reward ; the only thing I now aik you, and it is pro- 
bably the lafl, is, that you revenge me upon this Harlan, 
who is every day in your power." Upon this, he gave me 
his hand, faying, " He mail not die in his bed, or I mall 
never fee old age." 

We now returned all in great fpirits to CofTeir, and I ob~ 
ferved that my unexpected connection with the Ababde had 
given me an influence in that place, that put me above all 
fear of perfonal danger, efpecially as they had feen in the 
defert, that the Atouni were my friends alfo, as reclaiming 
this Arab fhewed they really were. 

The Bey infifted on my flipping with him. At his defire I 
told him the whole flory, at which he feemed to be much fur- 
prifed, faying, feveral times, "Menullah! Menullah! Muck" 
toub !" It is God's doing, it is God's doing, it was written fo. 
And, when I had finifhed, he faid to me, " I will not leave 
this traitor with you to trouble you further ; I will oblige 
him, as it is his duty, to attend me to Furfhout." This he 
accordingly did ; and, to my very great furprife, though he 
might be allured I had complained of him to Shekh Ham* 
am, meeting me the next day, when they were all ready to 
depart, and were drinking coffee with the Bey, he gave me 
a flip of paper, and defired me, by that direction, to buy him 
a fabre, which might be procured in Mecca. It feems it is 
the manufacture of Perfia, and, though I do not underftand 

3 i& 


in the leaft, the import of the terms, I give it to the reader 
that he may know by what defcription he is to buy an ex- 
cellent fabre. It is called Suggaro Tabanne Harefanne A- 
gemmi,yo/- Sidi Hajfan ofFurfhouU 

Although pretty much ufed to ilifle my refentment 
upon impertinences of this kind, I could not, after the trick 
he had played me with the Ababde, carry it indifferently ; 
I threw the billet before the Bey, faying to HafTan, "A fword 
of that value would be ufelefs and mifemployed in the hand 
of a coward and a traitor, fuch as furely you • mufl be fen- 
fible I know you to be." He looked to the Bey as if appeal- 
ing to him, from the incivility of the obfervation ; but the 
Bey, without fcruple, anfwered, "It is true, it is true what 
he fays, HafTan ; if I was in Ali Bey's place, when you dared 
ufe a ftranger of mine, or any ftranger, as you have done 
him, I would plant you upon a iharp flake in the market- 
place, till the boys in the town floned you to death ; but, 
he has complained of you in a letter, and I will be a witnefs 
againfl you before Hamam } for your conduct is not that o£ ; 
a Miijfulman." 

While I was engaged' with the Ababde, a veffel was 
feen in diftrefs in. the offing, and all the boats went out 
and towed her in. It was the veffel in which the twenty- 
five Turks had embarked, which had been heavily loaded- 
Nothing is fo dreadful, as the embarkation in that f ea ; for 
the boats have no decks ; the whole, from flern to ftem, be- 
ing filled choak-fullof wheat, the wafle, that is the flope of- 
oneplankon each fide, which is all that is above the furfacc 
of the waves,. Sacks, tarpaulins, or mats, are wed- along- 

3- the 


the furface of the wheat upon which all the paffengers lye. 
On the leafl agitation of the waves, the fea getting in upon 
the wheat, increafes its weight fo prodigioufly, that, fall- 
ing below the level of the gunnel, the water rufhes in 
between the plank and that part of the vefTel, and down 
it goes to the bottom, 

Though every day produces an accident of this kind 
from the fame caufe, yet fuch is the defire of gaining 
money in that feafon, which offers but once a-year, that 
every fhip fails, loaded in the fame manner as the lafl 
which perrfhed. This was ju-ft the cafe with the vefTei 
that had carried the Turks, Anxious to go away, they 
would not wait the figns of the weather being rightly 
fettled. Ullah Kerlm I they cry, ' God is great and is merci- 
ful' ; and upon that they embark in a navigation, where 
it needs indeed a miracle to fave them. 

The Turks all came afhore but one ; the youngeft, and,- 
according to all appearance, the bell, had fallen over board, 
and periihed. The Bey received them, and with great cha- 
rity entertained them all at his own expence, but they were 
fo terrified with the fea, as almoft to refolve never to make 
another attempt. 

The Bey had brought with him from Jidda, a fmall, but 

tight veflel belonging to * Sheher ; which came from that 

country loaded with frankincenfe, the commodity of that 

Vol. I. C c port, 

On the eafl coafl of Arabia Felix, Syagruro Promontorium, 


port. The Rais had bufinefs down the Gulf at Tor, and 
he had fpoken to the Bey, to recommend him to me. I had 
no bufinefs at Tor, but as we had grown into a kind of 
friendfhip, from frequent converfation, and as he was, ac- 
cording to his own word, a great faint, like my laft boat- 
man, a character that I thought I could perfectly manage, 
I propofed to the Bey, that he and I mould contribute fome- 
thing to make it worth this Captain's pains, to take our 
friends the Turks on board, and carry them to Yambo, that 
they might not be deprived of that bleffmg which would 
refult from their vifit to the Prophet's tomb, and which they 
had toiled fo much to earn. I promifed, in that cafe, to 
hire his veffel at fo much a month upon its return from 
Yambo ; and, as I had then formed a refolution of making a 
furvey of the Red Sea to the Straits of Babelmandeb, the 
Rais was to take his directions from me, till I pleafed 
to difmifs him. 

Nothing was more agreeable to the views of all parties 
than this. The Bey promifed to ftay till they failed, and I 
engaged to take him after he returned ; and as the captain, 
in quality of a faint, aiTured us, that any rock that flood in 
our way in the voyage, would either jump afide, or become 
foft like a fpunge, as it had often happened before, both 
the Turks and we were now allured of a voyage without 

All was fettled to our mutual fatisfaction, when, unluc- 
kily, the Turks going down to their boat, met Sidi HaiTan, 
whom, with reafon, they thought the author of all their 
misfortunes. The whole twenty-four drew their fwcrds, 
and, without feeking fabres from Perfia^ as he had done, 

2 they 


sliey would have cut Sidi HafTan in pieces, but, fortunately 
for him, the Turks had great cloth trowfers, like Dutch- 
men, and they could not run, whilfl he ran very nimbly in 
his. Several piftols, however, were fired, one of which ihot 
him in the back part of the ear ; on which he fled for re- 
fuge to- the Bey y and we never faw him more. 

■ ^r. ,< " 1 ■ i ■ . " ■ ^ ^ 

C c 2 CHAP. 




Voyage to jfibbel Zumrud — Return to Cojfeir— Sails fram CoJJeir——yaf~ 
fateen IJlands-—. Arrive at 'Tor. 

TH E Turks and the Bey departed, and with the Turks 
I difpatched my Arab, Abdel Gin, not only giving him 
fomething myfelf, but recommending him to my beneficent 
countrymen at Jidda, if he mould go there. 

I now took up my quarters in the caftle, and as the Ab- 
abde had told Arrange ftories about the Mountain of Eme- 
ralds, I determined, till my captain mould return, to make a 
voyage thither. There was no poffibility of knowing the 
diftance by report; fometimes it was twenty-five miles, fome- 
times it was fifty, fometimes it was a hundred, and God 
knows how much more. 

I chose a man who had been twice at thefe mountains 
of emeralds ; with the beft boat then in the harbour, and 
on Tuefday the 14th of March, we failed, with the wind at 
North Eaft, from the harbour of CofTeir, about an hour be- 
fore the dawn of day. We kept coafting along, with a very 
moderate wind, much diverted with the red and green ap- 


pearances of the marble mountains upon the coafl. Our 
vefifel had one fail, like a ftraw mattrefs, made of the leaves 
of a kind of palm-tree, which they call Doom. It was fixed 
above, and drew up like a curtain, but did not lower with a 
yard like a fail ; fo that upon ftrefs of weather, if the fail 
was furled, it was fo top-heavy, that the fhip muft founder, 
or the mail be carried away. But, by way of indemnifica- 
tion, the planks of the vefifel were fewed together, and there 
was not a nail, nor a piece of iron, in the whole fhip ; fo 
that, when you flruck upon a rock, feldom any damage en- 
fued. For my own part, from an abfolute deteftation of her 
whole conftruction, I inlifled upon keeping clofe along fhore 3 
at an eafy fail. 

The Continent, to the leeward of us., belonged to our 
friends the Ababde. There was great plenty of fhell-fifh to 
be picked up on every fhoal. I had loaded the vefifel with 
four fkins of frefh water, equal to four hogfheads, with 
cords, and buoys fixed to the end of each of them, fo that, 
if we had been fhipwrecked near land, asx rubbing two 
fhicks together made us fire, I was not afraid of receiving 
fuccour, before we were driven to the laft extremity, provi- 
ded we did not perifh in the fea, of which I was not verv 

On the 15th, about nine o'clock, I faw a large high 
rock, like a pillar, rifing out of the fea. At firft, I took it 
for a part of the Continent ; but, as we advanced nearer it, 
the fun being very clear, and the fea calm, I took an obfer- 
vation,andasourfituation was lat. 25° 6\ and the ifland a- 
bout a league diftant, to the S. S. W. of us, I concluded its 
latitude to be pretty exaclly 25 ° 3' North. This ifland is 

4 . about 


about three miles from the more, of an oval form, rifing 
in the middle. It feems to me to be of granite ; and is cal- 
led, in the language of the country, Jibbel Siberget, which 
has been tranilated the Mountain of Emeralds. Siberget, how- 
ever, is a word in the language of the Shepherds, who, I 
doubt, never in their lives faw an emerald ; and though the 
Arabic translation is Jibbel Zumrud, and that word has been 
transferred to the emerald, a very fine ftone, oftener fcen 
fmce the difcovery of the new world, yet I very much' 
doubt, that either Siberget or Zumrud ever meant Emerald in 
old times. My reafon is this, that we found, both here and 
in the Continent, fplinters, and pieces of green pellucid 
chryftaline fubllance ; yet, though green, they were veiny, 
clouded, and not at all fo hard as rock-cryftal ; a mineral 
production certainly, but a little harder than glafs, and this,. 
I apprehend, was what the Shepherds, or people of Beja, cal- 
led Siberget, the Latins Smaragdus, and the Moors Zumrud,. 

The 16th, at day-break in the morning, Itook the Arab 
of CofTeir, who knew the place. We landed on a 
point perfectly defert; at-firft, fandy like CofTeir, afterwards,, 
where the foil was fixed, producing fome few plants of rue 
or abfmthium. We advanced above three miles farther in 
a perfectly defert country, with only a few acacia-trees fcat- 
tered here and there, and came to the foot of the mountains. 
I afked my guide the name of that place; he faid it was 
Saiel. They are never at a lofs for a name, and thofe who 
do not underftand the language, always believe them. This; 
would have been the cafe in the prefent conjuncture. He 
knew not the name of the place, and perhaps it had no 
name, but he called it Saiel, which -Signifies- a male acacia- 
tree ; merely becaufe he faw an acacia growing there; and, 




with equal reafon, he might have called every mile Saiel, 
from the Gulf of Suez to the line. 

We fee this abufe in the old Itineraries, especially in the 
*Antonine, from fuch a town to fuch a town, fo many miles ; 
and what is the next ftation ? (d feggera) ten miles. This 
el feggera f, the Latin readers take to be the name of a 
town, as Harduin, and ail commentators on the daffies, have 
done. But fo far from Seggera fignifying a town, it imports 
juft the contrary, that there is no town there, but the travel- 
ler mull be obliged to take up his quarters under a tree that 
night, for fuch is the meaning of Seggera as a flation, and 
fo likewife of Saiel. 

At the foot of the mountain, Or about feven yards up 
from the bafe of it, are five pits or ihafts, none of them 
•four feet in diameter, called the Zumrud Wells, from which 
•the ancients are faid to have drawn the emeralds. We were 
not provided with materials, and little endowed with incli- 
nation, to defcend into any one of them, where the air was 
probably bad. I picked up the nozzels, and fome frag- 
ments of lamps, like thofe of which we find millions in 
Italy : and fome worn fragments, but very fmall ones, of 
that brittle green chryltal, which is the fiberget and bilur 
of Ethiopia, perhaps the zumrud, the fmaragdus defcribed 
by Pliny, but by no means the emerald, known fince the 
difcovery of the new world, whofe firfc character abfolute- 

* Itin. Anton. aCarth. p. 4. 
I So the next llage fromSycneis called -Hiera Sycaminos, afycamore-tree, Ptol. lib. 4. p. 108. 


ly defeats its pretention, the true Peruvian emerald being 
equal in hardnefs to the ruby. 

Pliny* reckons up twelve kind of emeralds, and names 
them all by the country where they are found. Many have 
thought the fmaragdus to be but a finer kind of jafper. Pomet 
allures us it is a mineral, formed in iron, and fays he had 
one to which iron-ore was flicking. If this was the cafe, 
the fineft emeralds Ihould not come from Peru, where, as< 
far as ever has been yet difcovered, there is no iron. 

With regard to the Oriental emeralds, which they fay 
come from the Eaft Indies, they are now fufficiently known, 
and the value of each ftone pretty well afcertained ; but all 
our induftry and avarice have not yet difcovered a mine of 
emeralds there, as far as I have heard: That there were 
emeralds in the Eaft Indies, upon the firfl difcovery of it by 
the Cape, there is no fort of doubt ; that there came emeralds 
from that quarter in the time of the Romans, feems to ad- 
mit of as little; but few antique emeralds have ever been 
feen ; and fo greatly in efteem, and rare were they in thofe 
times, that it was made a crime for any artifl to engrave up- 
on an emerald f . 

It is very natural to fuppofe, that fome people of the Eaft 
had a communication and trade with the new world, before 
we attempted to Ihare it with them ; and that the emeralds, 
they had brought from that quarter, were thofe which came 


* Plin. lib, xxxV-ii, cap. 5. f Eitto. 


afterwards into Europe, and were called the Oriental, till 
they were confounded with the * Peruvian, by the quantity 
of that kind brought into the Eaft Indies, by the Jews and 
Moors, after the difcovery of the new Continent. 

But what invincibly proves, that the ancients and we are 
not agreed as to the fame ftone, is, that .f Theophraflus 
fays, that in the Egyptian commentaries he faw mention 
made of an emerald four cubits, (fix feet long,) which was 
fent as a prefent to one of their kings ; and in one of the 
temples of Jupiter in Egypt he faw an obelifk 60 feet high, 
made of four emeralds : and Roderick of Toledo informs 
us, that, when the Saracens took that city, Tarik, their 
chief, had a table of an emerald 365 cubits, or 547! feet 
long. The Moorifh hiftories of the invafion of Spain are 
full of fuch emeralds. 

Having fatisfied my curiofity as to thefe mountains, 
without having feen a living creature, I returned to my boat, 
where I found all well, and an excellent dinner of nfh pre- 
pared. Thefe were of three kinds, called Biffer, Surrum- 
bac, and Nhoude el Benaat. The firft of thefe feems to be 
of the Oyfter-kind, but the Ihells are both equally curved 
and hollow, and open with a hinge on the fide like a muf- 
fel. It has a large beard, like an oyfter, which is not eata- 
ble, but which fhould be flript off. We found fome of thefe 
two feet long, but the largefl I believe ever feen compofes 
the baptifnial font in the church of Notre Dame in Paris J. 
The fecond is the Concha Veneris, with large projecting 

Vol. L D d points 

Tavernier vol. II. Voyag. f Theophraflus Il£giA<0«v, | Clamps, 


points like fingers. The third, called the Breafts of the Vir- 
gin, is a beautiful fhell, perfectly pyramidal, generally a- 
bout four inches in height, and beautifully variegated with 
mother-of-pearl, and green. All thefe fifhes have a pep- 
pery tafte, but are not therefore reckoned the lefs whole- 
fome, and they are fo much the more convenient, that they 
carry that ingredient of fpice along with them for fauce, with, 
which travellers, like me, very feldom burden themfelves. 

Besides a number of very fine fhells, we picked up fe- 
veral branches of coral, coralines, yufler*, and many other 
articles of natural hiftory. We were abundantly provided 
with every thing ; the weather was fair ; and we never 
doubted it was to continue, fo we were in great fpirits, and 
only regreted that we had not, once for all, taken leave of 
CoiTeir, and Hood over for Jidda.. 

In this difpofition we failed about three o'clock in the 
afternoon, and the wind flattered us fo much, that next 
day, the 1 7th, about eleven o'clock, we found ourfelves a- 
bout two leagues a-ftern of a fmall iuand, known to the 
Pilot by the name of Jibbel Macouar. This ifland is at 
leaft four miles from the fhore, and is a high land, fo that 
it may be feen, I fuppofe, eight leagues at fea, but is gene- 
rally confounded with the Continent. I computed myfelf to* 
be about 4' of the meridian diftant when I made the obfer- 
vation, and take its latitude to be about 24° 2/ on the centre 
of the iiland. 


*It is a. Keratophyte> growing at the bottom of the,fea a 


The land here, after running from Jibbel Siberget to 
Macouar, in a direction nearly N. W. and S. E. turns round 
in iliape of a large promontory, and changes its direction to 
N. E. and S. W. and ends in a fmall bay or inlet ; fo that, 
by fanciful people, it has been thought to refemble the nofe 
of a man, and is called by the Arabs, Ras el Anf^ the Cape of 
the Nofe. The mountains, within land, are of a dufky 
burnt colour ; broken into points, as if interfered by tor- 

The coafting vefTels from Mafuah and Suakem which are 
bound to Jidda, in the ftrength of the Summer monfoon, 
Hand clofe in more down the coaft of Abyffinia, where they 
find a gentle Heady eaft wind blowing all night, and a well 
wind very often during the day, if they are near enough 
the more, for which purpofe their velTe Is are built. 

Besides this, the violent North-Eaft monfoon raking in 
the direction of the Gulf, blows the water out of the Straits 
of Babelmandeb into the Indian Ocean, where, being accu- 
mulated, it prefTes itfelf backwards ; and, unable to find 
way in the middle of the Channel, creeps up among the 
mallows on each coaft of the Red Sea. However long the 
voyage from Mafuah to Jibbel Macouar may feem, yet thefe 
gentle winds and favourable currents, if I may fo call thofe 
in the fea, foon ran us down the length of that mountain, 

A large veiTel, however, does not dare to -try this, whilfl 
conftantly among fhoals, and clofe on a lee-fhore; but thofe 
fewed together, and yielding without damage to the ftrefs. 
Hide over the banks of white coral, and even fometimes the 
rocks. Arrived at this ifland, they fet their prow towards 

D cl 2 the 


the oppofite more, and crofs the Channel in one night, to 
the coafl of Arabia, being nearly before the wind. The 
track of this extraordinary navigation is marked upon* the 
map, and it is fo well verified, that no fhip-mafter need 
doubt it. 

About three o'clock in the afternoon, with a favourable 
wind and fine weather, we continued along the coafl, with 
an eafy fail. We faw no appearance of any inhabitants;, 
the mountains were broken and pointed, as before taking 
the direction of the coaft ; advancing and receding as the 
fhore itfelf did. This coaft is a very bold one, nor was there 
in any of the iflands we had feen, fhoals or anchoring places, 
unlefs upon the rock itfelf ; fo that, when we landed, we 
could run our boltfprit home over the land.. 

This ifland, Jibbel Macouar, has breakers running off 
from it at all points ; but, though we hauled clofe to thefe, 
we had no foundings. We then went betwixt it and the 
fmail ifland, that lies S. S. E. from it about three miles, and 
trie; 1 , J or foundings to the leeward, but we had none, al- 
though almofl touching the land. About fun-fet, I faw a 
fmall fandy ifland, which we left about a league to the weft- 
ward of us. It had no flirubs, nor trees, nor height, that 
could diftinguifh it. My defign was to pufli onto the river 
Frat, which is reprefented : in the charts as very large and. 
deep, coming from the Continent ; though, confidering by 
its latitude that it is above the tropical rains, ( is laid 


Vide the track of this Navigation laid down on the Chart. 


down about lat. 21 25'), I never did believe that any fuch 
river exifted. 

In fact, we know no river, north of the fources of the 
Nile, that does not fall into the Nile. Nay, I may fay, that 
not one river, in all Abymnia, empties itfelf into the Red 
Sea. The tropical rains are bounded, and finifli, in lat. 1 6°, 
and there is no river, from the mountains, that falls into 
the defert of Nubia ; nor do we know of any river which 
is tributary to the Nile, but what has its rife under the tro- 
pical rains. It would be a very Angular circumflance, then, 
that the Frat mould rife in one of the dryefl places in the 
globe, that it mould be a river at leafl equal to the Nile ; 
and mould maintain itfelf full in all feafons, which the Nile 
does not ; laft of all, in a country where water is fo fcarce 
and precious, that it mould not have a town or fettlement 
upon it, either ancient or modern, nor that it mould be re- 
forted to by any encampment of Arabs, who might crofs 
over and traffic with Jidda, which place is immediately op- 

On the 18th, at day-break, I was alarmed at feeing no 
land, as I had no fort of confidence in the ikill of my pilot, 
however fare I was of my latitude. About an hour after 
fun-fet, I obferved a high rugged rock, which the pilot told 
me, upon inquiry, was Jibbel, (viz. a Rock), and this was all 
the fatisfaclion I could get. We bore down upon it with a 
wind, fcant enough; and, about four, we came to an an- 
chor. As we had no name for that iiland, and 1 did not 
know that any traveller had been there before me, I ufed 
the privilege by giving it my own, in memory of having 
been there. The fouth of this ifland fcems to be high and. 



rocky, the north is low and ends in a tail, or floping bank, 
but is exceedingly fteep to, and at the length of your 
bark any way from it, you have no foundings. 

All this morning fince before day, our pilot had begged 
us to go no farther. He faid the wind had changed ; that, 
by infallible ligns he had feen to the fouthward, he was 
confident (without any chance of being miftaken) that in 
twenty-four hours we mould have a (torm, which would 
put us in danger of ihipwreck ; that Frat, which I wanted 
to fee, was immediately oppofite to Jidda, fo that either a 
country, or Englifh boat would run me over in a night and 
a day, when I might procure people who had connections 
in the country, fo as to be under no apprehenfion of any 
accident ; but that, in the prefent track I was going, every 
man that I mould meet was my enemy. Although not 
very fuiceptible of fear, my ears were never ihut againfb 
reafon, and to what the pilot Hated, I added in my own 
breaft, that we might be blown out to fea, and want both 
water and provifion. We, therefore, dined as quickly as 
poffible, and encouraged one another all we could. A little 
pafter fix the wind came eaflerly, and changeable, with a 
thick haze over the land. This cleared about nine in the 
evening, and one of the nneft and fteadieil gales that ever 
blew, carried us fwiftly on, directly for CofTeir. The fky 
was full of dappled clouds, fo that, though I, feveral times, 
tried to catch a ftar in the meridian, I was always fruflrated. 
The wind became freiher, but Hill very fair. 

The 19th, at day-break, we faw the land ftretching all 
the way northward, and, foon after, diitinctly difcerned 



Jibbel Siberget upon our lee-bow. We had fcen it indeed 
before, but had taken it for the main-land. 

After palling fuch an agreeable night, we could not be 
quiet, and laughed at our pilot about his perfect knowledge 
of the weather. The fellow fhook his head, and faid, he 
had been miilaken before now, and was always glad when 
it .happened fo ; but flill we were not arrived at Coneir,, 
though he hoped and believed we mould get there in fafety*. 
In a very little time the vane on the mail-head began to 
turn, firlt north, then eail, then fouth, and back again to all 
the points in the compafs ; the Iky was quite dark, wittt 
thick rain to the fouthward of us ; then followed a moft 
violent clap of thunder, but no lightning ; and back again 
came the wind fair at fouth-eaft. We all looked rather down- 
call at each other, and a-general lilence followed. This, how- 
ever, I faw availed us nothing, we were in the f crape, and' 
were to endeavour to get out of it the bell way we could* 
The veiTel went at a prodigious rate. The fail that was 
made of mat happened to be new, and, filled with a ilrong 
wind, weighed prodigiouily. What made this worfe, was, 
the malls were placed a little forward. The firfl thing I 
alked, was, if the pilot could not lower his main-fail? But 
that we found impoflible, the yard being fixed to the mall- 
head, The next Hep was to reef it, by hauling it in part up 
like a curtain : this our pilot defired us not to attempt ; for 
it would endanger our foundering. Notwithflanding which* 
I defired my fervant to help me with the haulyards ; and to 
hold them in his hand, only giving them a turn round the 
bench. This increafing the vefTel's weight above and be- 
fore, as me already had too much preiiiire, made her give 

% two 


two pitches, the one after the other, fo that I thought fhe 
was buried under the waves, and a confiderable deal of wa- 
ter came in upon us. I am fully fatisfied, had lhe not been 
in good order, very buoyant, and in her trim, fhe would 
have gone to the bottom, as the wind continued to blow 
a hurricane. 

I began now to throw off my upper coat and trowfers, 
that I might endeavour to make fhore, if the vefTel mould 
founder, whillt the fervants feemed to have given themfelves 
up, and made no preparation. The pilot kept in clofe by 
the land, to fee if no bight, or inlet, offered to bring up in ; 
but we were going with violence, that I was fatif- 
fied we mould overfet if we attempted this. Every ten mi- 
nutes we ran over the white coral banks, which we broke 
in pieces with the grating of a file, upon iron, and, what 
was the mofl terrible of all, a large wave followed higher 
than our ftern, curling over it, and feemed to be the inftru- 
ment deftined by Providence to bury us in the abyfs. 

Our pilot began apparently to lofe his underftanding 
with fright. I begged him to be fteady, perfuading him to 
take a glafs of fpirits, and defired him not to difpute or 
doubt any thing that I fhould do or order, for that I had 
feen much more terrible nights in the ocean ; I affured him, 
that all harm done to his vefTel fhould be repaired when 
we fhould get to CofTeir, or even a new one bought for him, 
if his own was much damaged. He anfwered me nothing, 
but that Mahomet was the prophet of God. — Let him prophecy, 
faid I, as long as he pleafes, but what I order you is to keep 
fteady to the helm ; mind the vane on the top of the maft, 
and fleer ftraight before the wind, for I am refolved to cut 

i that 


that main- fail to pieces, and prevent the mad from going a- 
way, and your vefTel from linking to the bottom. I got no an- 
fwer to this which I could hear, the wind was fo high, ex- 
cept fome thing about the mercy and the merit of Sidr Ali 
el Genowi. I now became violently angry. *• D — n Sidi 
Ali el Genowi, faid I, you beaft, cannot you give me a ra- 
tional anfwer ? Stand to your helm, look at the vane ; keep 
the vefTel ftraight before the wind, or, by the great G — d 
who fits in heaven, (another kind of oath than by Sidi Ali el 
Genowi), I will ihoot you dead the firft yaw the (hip gives, or 
the firft time that you leave the fteerage where you are 
{landing." He anfwered only, Maloom, i. e. very well. — All 
this- was fooner done than faid ; I got the main- fail in my 
arms, and, with a large knife, cut it all to mreds, which 
eafed the vefifel greatly, though we were flill going at a pro- 
digious rate. 

About two o'clock the wind feemed to fail, but, half an 
hour after, was more violent than ever. At three, it fell 
calm. I then encouraged my pilot, who had been very at- 
tentive, and, I believe, had pretty well got through the 
whole lift of faints in his calendar, and I allured him that 
he fhould receive ample reparation for the lofs of his main- 
fail. We now faw diftinctly the white cliffs of the two 
mountains above Old ColTeir, and on the 19th, a little before 
fun-fet, we arrived fafely at the New. 

We, afterwards, heard how much more fortunate we had 
been than fome of our fellow- failors that fame night ; three 
of the velfels belonging to ColTeir, loaded with wheat for 
Yambo, perifhed, with all on board of them, in the gale ; a- 
mong thefe was the vefTel that firft had the Turks on board. 

Vol. I. E e This 


This account was brought by Sidi Ali el Meymoum el 
Shehrie, which fignifies * Ali, the ape or monkey, from 
Sheher.* For though he was a faint, yet being in figure liker 
to a monkey, they thought it proper to diftinguifh him by 
that to which he bore the greateft refemblance. 

We were all heartily lick of CoiTeir embarkations, but the 
veiTel of Sidi Ali el Meymoum, tho' fmall, was tight and well- 
rigged ; had fails of canvas, and had navigated in the In- 
dian Ocean ; the Rais had four flout men on board, appa- 
rently good failors ; he himfelf, though near fixty, was a 
very active, vigorous little man, and to the full as good a 
failor as he was a faint. It was on the 5th of April, after ha- 
ving made my lafc obfervation of longitude at Cofleir, that 
I embarked on board this veilel, and failed from that port. 
It was neceifary to conceal from fome of my fervants our 
intention of proceeding to the bottom of the Gulf, leaft, 
finding themfelves among Chriftians fo near Cairo, they 
might defert a voyage of which !they were lick, before it 
was well begun. 

For the firft two days we had hazy weather, with little 
wind. In the evening, the wind fell calm. We faw a high 
land to the fouth-weft of us, very rugged and broken, which 
feemed parallel to the coaft, and higher in the middle than 
at either end. This, we conceived, was the mountain that 
divides the coaft of the Red Sea from the eaftern part of the 
Valley of Egypt, correfponding to Monfalout and Siout. 
We brought to, in the night, behind a fmall low Cape, tho* 
•the wind was fair, our Rais being afraid of the Jaflateen 
Mauds, which we knew were not far a- head. 



AVe caught a great quantity of fine fiih this night with 
a line, fome of them weighing 14 pounds. The befl were 
blue in the back, like a falmon, but their belly red, and 
marked with blue round fpots. They refembled a falmon 
in fhape, but the fifli was white, and not fo firm. 

In the morning of the 6th we made the Jaffateen Iflands. 
They are four in number, joined by fhoals and funken rocks. 
They are crooked, or bent, like half a bow, and are danger- 
ous for fhips failing in the night, becaufe there feems to 
be a paffage between them, to which, when pilots are at- 
tending, they neglect two fmall dangerous funk rocks, that 
lie almoft in the middle of the entrance, in deep water. 

I understood, afterward s, from the Rais, that, had it not 
heen from fome marks he faw of blowing weather, he 
would not have come in to the Jaffateen Iflands, but flood 
directly for Tor, running between the iiland Sheduan, and 
a rock which is in the middle of the channel, after you pafs 
Ras Mahomet. But we lay fo perfectly quiet, the whole 
night, that we could not but be grateful to the Rais for his 
care, although we had feen no apparent reafon for it. 

Next morning, the 7th, we 'left our very quiet birth in 
the bay, and ftood clofe, nearly fouth-eaft, along-fide of the 
two fouthermoft Jaffateen Iflands, our head upon the center 
of Sheduan, till we had cleared the eaftermofc of thofe 
iflands about three miles. Wc then paffed Sheduan, leaving 
it to tbc eaflward about three leagues, and keeping nearly 
a N. N. W. courfc, to range the well fide of Jibbel Zeit. This 
is a large defert iiland, or rock, that is about four miles 
from the main. 

E e 2 The 


The paffag^ between them is practicable by fmall craft 
only, whofe planks are fewed together, and are not affec- 
ted by a ftroke upon hard ground ; for it is not for want 
of water that this navigation is dangerous. All the well 
coail is very bold, and has more depth of water than the 
eail ; but on this fide there is no anchoring ground, nor 
fhoals. It is a rocky fhore, and there is depth of water eve- 
ry where, yet that part is full of funken rocks ; which, 
though not vifible, are near enough the furface to take up 
a large (hip, whofe deflrutftion thereupon becomes inevi- 
table. This I prefume arifes from one caufe. The moun- 
tains on the fide of Egypt and Abymnia are all (as we hare 
Hated) hard flone, Porphyry, Granite, Alabailer, Bafaltes, and 
many forts of Marble. Thefe are all therefore fixed, and 
even to the northward of lat i6°, where there is no rain, 
very fmall quantities of dull or fand can ever be blown from 
thern into the fea. On theoppoflte, or Arabian fide, the fea- 
coafc of the Hejaz, and that of the Tehama, are all moving 
fands ; and the dry winter- monfoon from the fouth-eaft 
blows a large quantity from the deferts, which is lodged a- 
mong the rocks on the Arabian fide of the Gulf, and con- 
fined there by the north-eafl or fummer-monfoon, which is> 
in a contrary direction, and hinders them from coming; 
over, or circulating towards the Egyptian fide.. 

From this it happens, that the weil, or Abyilinian fide, is; 
full of deep water, interfperfed with funken rocks, unmafk- 
ed, or uncovered with fand, with which they would other- 
wife become iilands. Thefe are naked and bare all round, 
and fharp like points of fpears ; while on the eafl-fide there 
are rocks, indeed, as in the other, but being between the fouth- 
eaft monfoon, which drives the fand into its coail, and the 
i north- well 


north-weft monfoon which repels it, and keeps it in there, 
every rock on the Arabian fhore becomes an ifland % and eve- 
ry two or three iflands become a harbour. 

Upon the ends of the principal of thefe harbours large 
heaps of ftones have been piled up, to ferve as fignals, or 
marks, how to enter ; and it is in thefe that the large vef- 
fels from Cairo to Jidda, equal in fize to our 74 gun mips, 
(but from the citterns of mafon-work built within for hold- 
ing water, I fuppofe double their weight) after navigating 
their portion of the channel in the day, come fafely and 
quietly to, at four o'clock in the afternoon, and in thefe 
little harbours pafs the night, to fail into the channel again, 
next morning at fun-rife. 

Therefore, though in the track of my voyage to Tor, I 
am feen running from the well fide of Jibbel Zeit a W. N. 
W. courfe (for I had no place for a compafs) into the har- 
bour of Tor, I do not mean to do fo bad a fervice to huma- 
nity as to perfuade large mips to follow my track. There 
are two ways of inftructing men ufefully, in things abfo- 
lutely unknown to them. The firft is, to teach them what 
they can do fafely. The next is, to teach them what they 
cannot do at all, or, warranted by a preffing occafion, attempt 
with more or lefs danger, which mould be explained and 
placed before their eyes, for without this lail no man knows 
the extent of his own powers. With this view, I will venture, 
without fear of contradiction, to fay, that my courfe from 
Coiieir, or even from Jibbel Siberget, to Tor, is impoilible to 
a great ihip. My voyage, painful, full of care, and danger- 
ous as it was, is not to be accounted a furety for the lives of 
thousands. It may be regarded as a foundation for furveys 
hereafter to be made by perfons more capable, and better 

3 protected ; 


proteclecl ; and in this cafe will, I hope, be found a valuable- 
fragment, becaufe, whatever have been my conscientious 
fears of running fervants, who work for pay, into danger of 
lofmg their lives by. peril of the fea, yet I can fafely fay, that 
never did the face of man, or fear of danger to myfelf, deter 
me from verifying with my eyes, what my own hands have ; 
put upon paper. 

In the days of the Ptolemies, and, as I mall fhew, long 
before, the weft coaft of the P^ed Sea, where, the deepefl wa- 
ter, and moft dangerous rocks are, was the track which the 
Indian and African mips chofe, when loaded with the richeft 
merchandife that ever veiTels fmce canned. The Ptolemies 
built a number of large cities on this coaft ; nor do we hear 
that mips were obliged to abandon that track, from the dif- 
afters that befel them in the navigation. On the contrary, 
they avoided the coaft of Arabia ; and one reafon, among 
others, is plain why they ihould ; — they were loaded with 
the moft valuable commodities, gold, ivory, gums, and pre- 
cious ftones ; room for ftowage on board therefore was very- 

Part of this trade, when at its greateft perfection, was 
carried on in veflels with oars. We know from the prophet 
Ezekiel*, 700 years before Chrift, or 300 after Solomon had . 
iiniihed his trade with Africa and India, that they did not 
always make ufe of fails in the track of the monfbons ; and ; 
confequentiy a great number of men muft have been necef- 


*Ezek. chap, xxvii. 6th and 29th verfes» 


fary for fo tedious a voyage. A number of men being ne- 
ceifary, a quantity of water was equally fo ; and this muft 
have taken up a great deal of ftowage. Now, no where on 
th? coaft of Abyihnia could they want water two days ; and 
fcarce any where, on the coaft of Arabia, could they be fure 
of it once in fifteen, and from this the weftern coaft was 
called Ber el Ajam*, corruptly Azamia, the country of water, in 
oppofition to the eaftern more, called Ber el Arab, where 
there was none. 

A deliberate furvey became abfolutely necefTary, and 
as in proportion to the danger of the coaft pilots became 
more fkilful, when once they had obtained more com- 
plete knowledge of the rocks and dangers, they preferred 
the boldeft Ihore, beeaufe they could ftand on all night, and 
provide themfelves with water every day. Whereas, on 
the Arabian fide, they could not fail but half the day, would 
be obliged to lie to all night, and to load themfelves with 
water, equal to half their cargo. 

I now fhall undertake to point Out to large mips, the way 
ny which they can fafely enter the Gulf of Suez, fo as that 
-they may be competent judges of their own courfe, in cafe 
of accident, without implicitly furrendering themfelves, and 
property, into the hands of pilots. 

In the firft place, then, I am very confident, that, taking 
their departure from Jibbel el Ouree, fhips may fafely ftand 


* Ajan,in the language of Shepherds, fignifies rain-water* 


on all night mid-channel, until they are in the latitude of 

The Red Sea maybe divided into four parts, of which the 
Channel occupies two, till about lat. 26 , or nearly that of 
Coffeir. On the well fide it is deep water, with many rocks, 
as I have already faid. On the eafl fide, fhat quarter is 
occupied by iflands, that is, fand gathered about the rocks, 
the caufes whereof I have before mentioned ; between 
which there are channels of very deep water, and harbours, 
that protect the largefl mips in any winds. But among thefe, 
from Mocha down to Suez, you mull fail with a pilot, and. 
during part of the day only. 

To a perfon ufed to more civilized countries, it appears 
no great hardlhip to fail with a pilot, if you can get one, 
and in the Red Sea there are plenty; but thefe are creatures 
without any fort of fcience, who decide upon a manoeuvre 
in a moment, without forethought, or any warning given. 
Such pilots often, in a large ihip deeply loaded, with 
every fail out which, flie- can carry, in a very inflant cry out 
to let go your anchors, and bring you to, all Handing', in the 
face of a rock, or fand. Were not our feamen's vigour, and 
celerity in execution, infinitely beyond the fkill and forefight 
of thofe pilots, I believe very few mips, coming the inward 
paiTage among the iilands, would ever reach the port in 

If you are, however, going to Suez, without the confent 
of the Sherriffe of Mecca, that is, not intending to fell your 
cargo at Jidda, or pay your cuflom there, then you fliould 



take in your water at Mocha; or, if any reafon fhould hin- 
der you from touching that more, a few hours will carry 
you to Azab, or Saba, on the Abyffinian coaft, whofe latitude 
I found to be 13 $' north. It is not a port, but a very to- 
lerable road, where you have very fafe riding, under the 
fhelter of a low defert ifland called Crab Ifland, with a few 
rocks at the end of it. But it muft be remembered, the 
people are Galla, the molt treacherous and villanous wretch- 
es upon the earth. They are Shepherds, who fometimes are 
on the coaft in great numbers, or in the back of the hills 
that run clofe along the fhore, or in miferable villages 
compofed of huts, that run nearly in an eaft and weft direc- 
tion from Azab to Raheeta, the largeft of all their villages. 
You will there, at Azab, get plenty of water, fheep, and goats, 
as alfo fome myrrh and incenfe, if you are in the proper 
feafon, or will ftay for it. 

I again repeat it, that no confidence is to be had in the 
people. Thofe of Mocha, who even are abfolutely necefTary 
to them in their commercial tranfactions, cannot truft them 
withput furety or hoftages. And it was but a few years be- 
fore I was there, the mrgeon and mate of the Elgin Eaft-In- 
dia man, with feveral other failors, were cut off, going on 
fhore with a letter of fafe conduct from their Shekh to pur- 
chafe myrrh. Thofe that were in the boat efcaped, but moft 
of them were wounded. A fhip, on its guard, does not fear 
banditti like thefe, and you will get plenty of water and 
provifion, though I am only fpeaking of it as a ftation of 

If you are not afraid of being known, there is a low 

black ifland on the Arabian coaft called Camaran, it is in 

Vol. I. F f lat 


lat. 15 39', and is diftinguiihed by a white houfe, or fortrefs r 
on the weft end of it, where you will procure excellent wa- 
ter, in greater plenty than at Azab ; but no provifions, or 
only fuch as are very bad. If you mould not wifh to be feen, 
however, on the coaft at all, among the chain of iflands that 
reaches almoit acrofs the Gulf from Loheia to Mafuah, 
there is one called Foofht, where there is good anchorage ; 
it is laid down in my map in lat. 15 59 7 43" N. and long.. 
42 ° 27' E. from actual, obfervation taken upon the iiland. 
There is here a quantity of excellent water, with a faint or 
monk to take care of it, and keep the wells clean. This 
poor creature was fo terrified at feeing us come alhore with 
fire-arms, that he lay down upon his face on the fand ; nor 
would he rife, or lift up his head* till" the Rais had explain- 
ed to me the caufe of his fear, and till, knowing I was not 
in any danger of furprife, I had fent my guns on board. 

From this to Yambo there is no fafe watering place. In* 
deed if the river Frat were to be found, there is no need of any 
other watering place in the Gulf; but it is abfolutely necef- 
fary to have a pilot on board before you make Ras Mahomet; , 
becaufe, over the mountains of Auche, the Elanitic Gulf, and* 
the Cape itfelf, there is often a great haze, which lafts for.- 
many days together, and many fliips are conftantly loft, by 
miftaking the Eaftern Bay, or Elanitic Gulf, for the entrance 
of the Gulf of Suez ; the former has a reef of rocks nearly^ 
acrofs it. 

After you have made Sheduan, a large iiland" three* 
leagues farther, in a direction nearly north and by weft,. is a. 
bare rock, which, according to their ufual carelefsnefs and 
indifference, they are not at the pains to call by any other- 


name but JMel 9 the rock, ifland, or mountain, in general. 
You fhould not come within three full leagues of that rock, 
but leave it at a diftance to the weftward. You will then 
fee fhoals, which form a pretty broad channel, where you 
have foundings from fifteen to thirty fathoms. And again, 
ftanding on directly upon Tor, you have two other oval 
fands with funken rocks, in the channel, between which 
you are to fleer. All your danger is here in light, for you 
might go in the infide, or to the eaftward, of the many 
fmall iilands you fee toward the fhore; and there are the 
anchoring places of the Cairo vefTels, which are marked 
with the black anchor in the draught. This is the courfe 
bell known and practifed by pilots for mips of all fizes. But 
by a draught of Mr Niebuhr, who went from Suez with 
Mahomet Rais Tobal, his track with that large fhip was 
through the channels, till he arrived at the point, where 
Tor bore a little to the northward of eafl of him. 

Tor may be known at a diftance by two hills that ftand 
near the water fide, which, in clear weather, may be feen 
fix leagues off. Juft to the fouth-eaft of thefe is the town 
and harbour, where there are fome palm-trees about the 
-houfes,the moreremarkable,thatthey are the firlt you fee on 
the coaft. There is no danger in going into Tor harbour, 
the foundings in the way are clean and regular ; and by 
giving the beacon a fmall birth on the larboard hand, you 
may haul in a little to the northward, and anchor in iive 
or fix fathom. The bottom of the bay is not a mile from the 
beacon, and about the fame diftance from the oppofite fhore. 
There is no fenfible tide in the middle of the Gulf, but, by 
the fides, it runs full two knots an hour. At fprings, it is 
high water at Tor nearly at twelve o'clock. 

F f 2 On 


On the 9th we arrived at Tor, a fmall draggling village; 
with a convent of Greek Monks, belonging to Mount Sinai 
Don John de Caftro * took this town when it was walled, 
and fortified, foon after the difeovery of the Indies by the 
Portuguefe ; it has never finee been of any connderation. It 
ferves now, only as a watering-place for fhips going to, and 
from Suez. From this we have a diftinet view of the points 
of the mountains Horeb and Sinai, which appear behind 
and above the others, their tops being often covered with 
mow in winter. 

There are three things, (now I am at the north end of 
the Arabian Gulf,) of which the reader will expect fome ac- 
count, and I am heartily forry to fay, that I fear I mail be 
obliged to difappoint him in all, by the unfatisfactory rela^ 
tion I am forced to give. 

The firfl is, Whether the Red Sea is not higher than the 
Mediterranean, by feveral feet or inches ? To this I anfwer, 
That the fact has been fuppofed to be fo by antiquity, and 
alledged as a reafon why Ptolemy's canal was made from 
the bottom of the Heroopoiitic Gulf, rather than brought 
due north acrofs the Lfthmus of Suez ; in which laft cafe, 
it was feared it would fubmerge a great part of Alia Mi*- 
nor. But who has ever attempted to verify this by experi- 
ment ? or who is capable of fettling the difference of levels, 
amounting, as fuppofed, to fome feet and inches, between 
two points 120 miles diftant from each other, over a delert 
that has no fettled furface, but is changing its height every- 
day i 

* Vide his Journal publiflied by Abbe Vertot. 


day ? Befides, fince all feas are, in fact, but one, what is it 
that hinders the Indian Ocean to flow to its level ? What is 
it that keeps the Indian Ocean up ? 

Till this lafl branch of the queflion is refolved, I mall 
take it for granted that no fuch difference of level exifls, 
whatever Ptolemy's engineers might have pretended to him; 
becaufe, to fuppofe it fact, is to fuppofe the violation of one 
very material law of nature. 

The next thing I have to take notice of, for the fatisf ac- 
tion of my reader, is, the way by which the children of If- 
rael pafled the Red Sea at the time of their deliverance from 
the land of Egypt, 

As fcripture teaches us, that this pafTage, wherever it might 
be, was under the influence of a miraculous power, no parti- 
cular circumflance of breadth, or depth, makes one place 
likelier than another. It is a matter of mere curiofity, and 
can only promote an illuflration of the fcripture, for which 
reafon, I do not decline the confideration of it, 

I shall fuppofe, that my reader has been fumciently con- 
vinced, by other authors, that the land of ColTien, where 
the Ifraelites dwelt in Egypt, was that country lying eafl of 
the Nile, and not overflowed by it, bounded by the moun- 
tains of the Thebaid on the fouth, by the Nile and Medi- 
terranean on the well and north, and the Red Sea and de- 
fert of Arabia on the eafl. It was the Heliopolitan nome, 
its capital was On; from predilection of the letter O, com- 
mon to the Hebrews, they called it Gofhen ; but its proper 
name was Gefhen, the country of Grafs, or Paflurage ; or of 



the Shepherds ; in opposition to the reft of the land which 
"was fown, after having been overflowed by the Nile. 

There were three ways by which the children of Ifrael, 
flying from Pharaoh, could have entered Paleftine. The 
firft was by the fea-coaft by Gaza, Aikelon, and joppa. This 
was the plaineft and neareft way ; and, therefore, fitteft for 
people incumbered with kneading troughs, dough, cattle, 
and children. The fea-coaft was full of rich commercial 
cities, the mid-land was cultivated and fown with grain. 
The eaftern part, neareft the mountains, was full of cattle 
and Shepherds, as rich a country, and more powerful tham 
the cities themfelves. 

This narrow valley, between the mountains and the fea, 
ran all along the eaftern fhore of the Mediterranean, from 
Gaza northward, comprehending the low part of Paleftine 
and Syria. Now, here a fmall number of men might have 
palTed, under the laws of hofpitality ; nay, they did con- 
stantly pafs, it being the high road between Egypt, and 
Tyre, and Sidon. But the cafe was different with a multi- 
tude, fuch as fix hundred thoufand men having their cattle 
along with them. Thefe muft have occupied the whole 
land of the Philiftines, deftroyed all private property, and 
undoubtedly have occafioned fome revolution; and as they 
were not now intended to be put in poiTeffion of the land 
of promife, the meafure of the iniquity of the nations be- 
ing not yet full, God turned them aiide from going that 
way, though the neareft, leaft they "mould fee war*," that 

'2 is, 

* Gen. chap- xiii. ver, 1 7th. 


xs, Ieail the people fhould rife againll them, and deilroy 

There was another way which led fouth^-weft, upon Beer- 
fheba and Hebron, in the middle, between the Dead Sea and 
the Mediterranean. This was the direction in which Abra- 
ham, Lot, and Jacob, are ftrppofed to have reach edEgypt. But 
there was neither food nor water there to fuflain the Ifrael- 
ites. When Abraham and Lot returned out of Egypt, they 
were obliged to feparate by confent, becaufe Abraham faid 
to his brother^ "The land will not bear us both*." 

The third way was ftraight eaft into Arabia, pretty-much; 
the road by which the Pilgrims go at this day to Mecca St , 
and the caravans from Suez to Cairo. In this track they 
would have gone round by the mountains of Moab, eaft of 
the Dead Sea, and palled Jordan in the plain oppoiite to Jeri- 
cho, as they did forty years afterwards. But it is plain from, 
fcripture, that God's counfels were to make Pharaoh and 
his Egyptians an example of his vengeance; and, as none 
of thefe roads led to the fea, they did not anlwer the Divine 
intention. . 

About twelve leagues from the fea, there was a narrow 
road which turned to the right, between the mountains, 
through a valley called Badeah, where their courfe was near- 
ly fouth-eail ; this valley ended in a pafs, between two con- 
fiderable mountains, called Gewoube on thefouth; andjibbel 
Attakah on the north, and opened into the low flripe of 


* Gen. chap. xiii. ter. 6th, Exod. chap, xiii. ver. 1 7th. . 


country which runs all along the Red Sea ; and the Ifraelites 
were ordered to encamp at Pihahiroth, oppofite to Baal-zeph- 
on, between Migdol and that fea. 

It will be neceflary to explain thefe names. Badeah, Dr 
Shaw interprets, the Valley of the Miracle, but this is forcing an 
etymology, for there was yet no miracle wrought, nor was 
there ever any in the valley. But Badeah, means barren, bare, 
and uninhabited ; fuch as we may imagine a valley between 
flony mountains, a defert valley. Jibbel Attakab,\\c tranflates 
alfo, the Mountain of Deliverance. But fo far were the Ifraelites 
from being delivered on their arrival at this mountain, that 
they were then in the greateft diftrefs and danger. Attakah, 
means, however, to arrive or come up with, either beCaufe there 
they arrived within fight of the Red Sea; or, as I am rather 
inclined to think, this place took its name from the arrival 
of Pharaoh, or his coming in light of the Ifraelites, when 
encamped between Migdol and the Red Sea, 

Pihahiroth is the mouth of the valley, opening to the 
flat country and the fea, as I have already faid, fuch are 
called Mouths; in the Arabic, Fum; as I have obferved in my 
journey to Cofleir, where the opening of the valley is called 
Fum el Beder, the mouth of Beder; Fum el Terfowey, the mouth 
of Terfowey. Hhoreth, the flat country along the Red Sea, 
is fo called from Hhor, a narrow valley where torrents run, 
occafioned by fudden irregular mowers. Such we have al- 
ready defcribed on the eaft fide of the mountains, border- 
ing upon that narrow flat country along the Red Sea, where 
temporary fhowers fall in great abundance, while none of 
them touch the weft fide of the mountains or valley of 




Egypt. Pihahiroth then is the mouth of the valley Badeah; 
which opens to-Hhoreth, the narrow, ftripe of land where 
fhowers falL 

Baal-Zephqn, the God'of the watch-tower, was, proba- 
bly, fome idol's temple, which ferved for a fignal-houfe up- 
on the Cape which forms the north entrance of the bay op- 
polite to Jibbel Attakah, where there is Hill a mofque, or 
faint's tomb. It was probably a light-houfe, for the direc- 
tion of ihips going to the bottom of the Gulf, to prevent 
miftaking it for another foul bay, under the high land, 
where. there is alfo a tomb of a. faint called Abou Derage. 

The laft rebuke God gave to Pharaoh, by flaying all the 
firfl-born, feems to have made a ftrong impreffion upon the 
Egyptians. Scripture fays, that the people were now urgent 
with the Ifraelites to be gone, for they faid, " We be all 
dead men *." And we need not doubt, it was in order to 
keep up in their hearts a: motive of refentment, ftrong e*- 
nough to make them purfue the Ifraelites, that God caufed 
the Ifraelites to borrow, and take away the jewels of the 
Egyptians ; without fome new caufe of anger, the late ter- 
rible chaftifement might have deterred them. While, there- 
fore, they journeyed eaft ward towards the defert, the Egyp- 
tians had no motive to attack them, becaufe they went with 
permiflion there to facrifice, and were on their return. to 
reftore them -their moveables. But when the Ifraelites were 
obferved turning to the fouth, among the mountains, they 
VoLr I. G g were 

" "* ' '" i-^— - ■ ■ ■ ■ ■ - ■ - ■ , ■ ■ , >„■ — . ■■. a i i- . i !■■■■' ' ' » ' ' 

* Exod. cb. xii. 32> 


were then fuppofed to flee without a view of returning, be- 
caufe they had left the way of the defert ; and therefore 
Pharaoh, that he might induce the Egyptians to follow 
them, tells them that the Ifraelites were now entangled a- 
mong the mountains, and the wildernefs behind them, 
which was really the cafe, when they encamped at Pihahi- 
roth, before, or fouth of Baal-Zephon, between Migdol and 
the fea. Here, then, before Migdol, the fea was divided, 
and they palfed over dry mod to the wildernefs of Shur, 
which was immediately oppofite to them ; a fpace fome- 
thing lefs than four leagues, and fo eafily accomplifhed in 
one night, without any miraculous interpofition. 

Three days they were without water, which would bring 
them to Korondel, where is a fpring of brackifh, or bitter 
water, to this day, which probably were the waters ofMarah *. 

The natives ftill call this part of the fea Bahar Kolzum, 
or the Sea of Deftruction ; and jufl oppolite to Pihahiroth is 
a bay, where the North Cape is called Ras Mufa, or the Cape 
of Mofes, even now. Thefe are the reafons why I believe 
the paffage of the Ifraelites to have been in this direction. 
There is about fourteen fathom of water in the channel, 
and about nine in the fides, and good anchorage every 
where ; the farthefi: fide is a low fandy coaft, and a very 
eafy landing-place. The draught of the bottom of the Gulf 
given by Doctor Pococke is very erroneous, in every part of 

It was propofed to Mr Niebuhr, when in Egypt, to in- 
quire, upon the fpot, Whether there were not fome ridges 


# Such is the tradition among the Natives. 


of rocks, where the water was mallow, fo that an army at 
particular times might pafs over? Secondly, Whether the 
Etefian winds, which blow ftrongly all Summer from the 
north weft, could not blowfo violently againft the fea, as to 
keep it back on a heap,fo that the Ifraelites might havepaiTed 
without a miracle ? And a copy of thefe queries was left for 
me, to join my inquiries like wife. 

But I muft confefs, however learned the gentlemen 
were who propofed thefe doubts, I did not think they me- 
rited any attention to folve them. This paiTage is told us, 
by fcripture, to be a miraculous one; and, if fo, we have no- 
thing to do with natural caufes. If we do not believe 
Mofes, we need not believe the tranfaction at all, feeing 
that it is from his authority alone we derive it. If we be- 
lieve in God that he made the fea, we muft believe he could 
divide it when he fees proper reafon, and of that he muft be 
the only judge. It is no greater miracle to divide the Red 
Sea, than to divide the river of Jordan. 

If the Etefian wind blowing from the north- weft in rum- 
mer, could heap up the fea as a wall, on the right, or to 
the fouth, of fifty feet high, ftill the difficulty would remain, 
of building the wall on the left hand, or to the north. Be- 
fides, water Handing in that pofition for a day, muft have 
loft the nature of fluid. Whence came that cohelion of 
particles, that hindered that wall to efcape at the fides ? This 
is as great a miracle as that of Mofes. If the Etefian winds 
had done this once, they muft have repeated it many a 
time before and fmce, from the fame caufes, Yet, * Dio- 

G g 2 dorus 

* Siod, Sic, Lib. 3, p. izz, 


dorus Siculus fays, the Troglodytes, the indigenous inhabi- 
tants of that very fpot, had a tradition from father to fon, 
from their very earlieft and remoteft ages, that once this 
divifion of the fea did happen there, and that after leaving 
its bottom fometimes dry, the fea again came backhand co- 
vered it with great fury. The words of this author are of 
the moll remarkable kind. We cannot think this heathen 
is writing in favour of revelation. He knew not Mofes, 
nor fays a word about Pharaoh, and his holl ; but records 
the miracle of the divifion of the fea, in words nearly as 
itrong as thofe of Mofes, from the mouths of unbiased, un- 
defigning Pagans. 

Were all thefe difficulties furmounted, what could we 
do with the pillar of fire ? The anfwer is, We mould not 
believe it. Why then believe the pailage at all? We have no 
authority for the one, but what is for the other; it is alto- 
gether contrary to the ordinary nature of things, and if not 
a miracle, it mull be a fable. 

The caufe of the feveral names of the Red Sea, is a fub- 
ject of more liberal inquiry. I am of opinion, that it cer- 
tainly derived its name from Edom, long and early its 
powerful mafter, that word fignifying Red in Hebrew. It 
formerly went by the name of Sea of Edom, or Idumea; 
fince, by that of the Red Sea. 

It has been obferved, indeed, that not only the Arabian 
Gulf, but part of the Indian Ocean % went by this name, 


* Dionyfii Periegefis, v. 38. et Comment. Euftathii in eundem. Strabo, lib. xvi. 
j>. 7^5. Agathemeri GeograpVia, lib. ii. cap. n. 


though far diflant from Idumea. This is true, but when 
we confider, as we fhall do in the courfe of this hiftory, that 
the maflers of that fea were ftill the Edomites, who went 
from the one fea directly in the fame voyage to the other* 
we fhall not difpute the propriety of extending the name to 
part of the Indian Ocean alfo. As for what fanciful people* 
have faid of any rednefs in the fea itfelf, or .colour in the 
bottom, the reader may affure himfelf all this is fiction, the 
Red Sea being in colour nothing different from the Indian, 
x>r any other Ocean. 

There is greater difficulty in afligning a -reafon for the 
•Hebrew name, Yam Suph ; properly fo called, fay learned 
authors, from the quantity of weeds in it. But I mufl con- 
fefs, in contradiction to this, that I never in my life, (and I 
have feen the whole extent of it) faw a weed of any fort in 
it ; and, indeed, upon the flightefl confideration, it will oc- 
cur to any one, that a narrow gulf, under the immediate 
influence of monfoons, blowing from contrary points fix 
months each year, would have too much agitation to pro- 
duce fuch vegetables, feldom found, but in ftagnant waters, 
and feldomer, if ever, found in fait ones. My opinion then 
is, that it is from the j- large trees, or plants of white coral, 
ipread every where over the bottom of the Red Sea, per- 
fectly in imitation of plants on land, that the fea has ob- 
tained this name. If not, I fairly confefs I have not any 
other conjecture to make. 


• * Jerome Lobo, the greateft liar of the Jefuits, ch. iv. p. 46. Englifh translation, 
f I faw one of thefe, which, from a root nearly central, threw out ramifications in ■$, 
-Jbztxly circular form, meafuring twenty-fix feet diameter every way. 


No fea, or mores, I believe, in the world, abound more in 
fubjects of Natural Hiftory than the Red Sea. I fuppofe I 
have drawings and fubjects of this kind, equal in bulk to 
the journal of the whole voyage itfelf. But the vaft ex- 
pence in engraving, as well as other confiderations, will 
probably hinder for ever the perfection of this work in 
this particular. 

>^g?» V» i mSSm m SS i i ' •BWr}&±4 





Sail from Tor — Pafs the Elanitic Gulf- — See Raddua—— Arrive at Tambb 
— -Incidents there — Arrive at Jidda* 

OUR Rais, having difpatched his bufinefs, was eager to 
depart ; and, accordingly, on the 1 1 th of April, at day- 
break, we flood out of the harbour of Tor. At firft, we 
were becalmed in, at the point of the Bay fouth of Tor 
town, but the wind frefhening about eight o'clock, we flood 
through the channels of the firft four fhoals, and then be- 
tween a fmaller one. We made the mouth of a fmall Bay, 
formed by Cape Mahomet, and a low fandy point to the eaft- 
ward of it. Our vefTel feemed to be a capital one for fail*, 
ing, and I did every thing in my power to keep our Rais in 
good humour. 

About half a mile from the fandy point, we ftruck upon 
a coral bank, which, though it was not of any great con- 
lift ence or folidity, did not fail to make our mail nod. As 
I was looking out forv/ard when the vefTel touched, and 
the Rais by mc, I cried out in Arabic, " Get out of the way 
you dog !" the Rais, thinking my difcourfe directed to him, 
feemed very much furprifed, and afked, " what I meant V 

€ '"Why 


" Why did you not tell me, faid I, when I hired you, that all! 
the rocks in the fea would get out of the way of your vef- 
fel? This ill-mannered fellow here did not .know bis duty ; . 
he was ileeping I fuppofe, and has given us a hearty jolt,, 
and I was abufmg him for it, till you mould chaHife him 
fome other way." He fhook his head, and faid, " Well!, 
you do not believe, but God knows the truth ; well now 
where is the rock ? Why he is gone/' However, very pru-. 
dently, he anchored foon afterwards, though we had recei^ 
ved no damage. 

At night, by an obfervation of two ftars in the meridian,, , 
I concluded the latitude of Cape Mahomet to be 27 54', N... 
It mull be underftood of the mountaineer highJandy which 
forms the Cape, not the low point. The ridge of- rocks 
that run along behind Tor, bound that low fandy country* 
called the Defert of Sin, to - the eaflward^ and end in this 
Gape, which is the high land obferved at fea; but the 
lower part, or fouthermoft extreme of the Cape, runs a- 
bout three leagues off from the high land, and is fo low, 
that it cannot be feen from deck above three leagues. It 
was called, by the ancients, Pharan Promontorium ; not be* 
caufe there was a light-houfe * upon the end of it, (though 
this may have perhaps been the cafe, and a very necefTary and 
proper iituation it is) but from the Egyptian and Arabic word, 
Farekf, which ngnines to divide, as being the point, or high ^ 
land that, divides the Gulf of Suez from the Elanitic Gulf. 1 

I went. 

* Anciently called Pharos. 

-J- The Koran is, therefore, called El FaKkan, or the Divider^ or Diftingui/her between tme*. 
feith and hexefyc 


I went afhorehere to gather fhells, and mot a fmall ani- 
mal among the rocks, called Daman Ifrael, orlfrael'sLamb; 
I do not know why, for it has no refemblance to the iheep 
kind. I take it to be the faphan of the Hebrew Scripture, 
which we tranflate by the coney. I have given a drawing, 
and defcription of it, in its proper place *. I fhot, likewife, 
feveral dozens of gooto, the leaft beautiful of the kind I had 
feen, being very fmall, and coloured like the back of a part- 
ridge, but very indifferent food. 

The 1 2th, we failed from Cape Mahomet, juft as the fun 
appeared. We pafTed the iiland of Tyrone, in the mouth of 
the Elanitic Gulf, which divides it near equally into two ; 
or, rather the north-weft fide is narrowest. The direction 
of the Gulf is nearly north and fouth. I judge it to be 
about fix leagues over. Many of the Cairo fhips are loft 
in miftaking the entry of the Elanitic for that of the Heroo- 
politic Gulf, or Gulf of Suez ; for, from the iiland of Tyrone, 
which is not above two leagues from the Main, there runs 
a ftring of iflands, which feem to make a femicircular bar 
acrofs the entry from the point, where a fhip, going with 
a fouth wind, would take its departure ; and this range of 
iflands ends in a fhoal with funken rocks, which reaches 
near five leagues from the Main. It is probable, that, upon 
thefe iflands, the fleet of Rehoboam perimed, when failing 
for the expedition of Ophir f, 

Vol. I. H h I take 

See the artic'e Afhkoko in the Appendix. f 2 Chron. chap. xx. ver. 37th. 


. I take Tyrone to be the ifland of Safpirene of Ptolemy, 
though this geographer has erred a little, both in its lati- 
tude and longitude. 

.We paused the fecond of thefe iflands, called Senaffer, 
about three leagues to the northward, fleering with a 
frefh gale at fouth-eaft, upon a triangular ifland that has 
three pointed eminences upon its fouth-fide. We pafled 
another fmall ifland which has no name, about the fame 
diflance as the former; and ranged along three black rocks> 
the fouth-wefl of the ifland, called Sufange el Bahar, or the Sea- 
Spunge. As our veflel made fome water, and the wind had been 
very ftrong all the afternoon, the Rais wanted to bring up 
to the leeward of this ifland, or between this, and a cape of 
land called RasSelah; but, not being able to find foundings 
here, he fet fail again, doubled the point, and came to an- 
chor under the fouth cape of a fine bay, which is a ftation 
of the Emir Hadje, called Kalaat el Moilab y the Caftle, or Sta- 
tion of Water* 

We had failed this day about twenty-one leagues ; and, 
as we had very fair and fine weather, and were under no 
lort of concern whatever, I could not neglect attending to 
the difpofition of thefe iflands, in a very fplendid map late- 
ly publiflied. They are carried too far into the Gulf. 

The 13th, the Rais having, in the night, remedied what 
was faulty in his vefTel, fet fail about feven o'clock in the 
morning. We pafled a conical hill on the land, called 
Abou Jubbe, where is the fepulchre of a faint of that name* 
The mountains here are at a confiderable diflance ; and no- 
thing can be more defolate and bare than the coafl. In 



the afternoon, we came to an anchor at a place called Kel- 
la Clarega, after having palTed an ifland called Jibbel Nu- 
man, about a league from the fhore. By the fide of this 
fhoal we caught a quantity of good fifh, and a great num- 
ber alfo very beautiful, and perfectly unknown, but winch, 
when roafted, fhrank away to nothing except fkin, and 
when boiled, diflblved into a kind of blueifh glue. 

On the 14th, the wind was variable till near ten o'clock^ 
after which it became a little fair. At twelve it was as fa- 
vourable as we could wifh ; it blew however but faintly. 
We pafled firft by one iHand furrounded by breakers, and 
then by three more, and anchored clofe to the fhore, at a 
place called Jibbel Shekh, or the Mountain of the Saint. 
Here I refolved to take a walk on fhore to flretch my limbs, 
and fee if I could procure any game, to afford us fome va- 
riety of food. I had my gun loaded with ball* when a vail 
flock of gooto got up before me, not five hundred yards 
from the fhore. As they lighted very near me, I lay down 
among the bent grafs, to draw the charge, and load with 
fmall fhot. While I was doing this, I faw two antelopes, 
which, by their manner of walking and feeding, did not 
feem to be frightened. I returned mv balls into the gun, 
and refolved to be clofe among the bent, till they mould 
appear before me. 

I had been quiet for fome minutes, when I heard behind 
me fomething like a perfon breathing, on which I turned 
about, and, not without great furprife, and fome little fear, 
faw a man, Handing jufl over me. I flarted up, while the 
man, who had a little flick only in his hand, ran two or 
three fteps backwards, and then flood. He was almofc per- 

H h 2 fectly 


fec"lly naked: he had half a yard of coarfe rag only wrapfr 
round his middle, and a crooked knife fluck in it, I afked 
him who he was? He faid he was an Arab belonging to 
Shekh Abd el Macaber. L then defired to know where his 
mailer was ? He replied, he was at the hill a little above, 
with camels that were going to Yambo* He then* in his , 
turn, afked who I was M told him I was an Abyflinian Have 
of the SherrifFe of Mecca, was going to Cairo by fea, but wifh- 
ed much to fpeak to his mafter,.if he would go and bring 
him. The favage went away with great willingnefs, and 
he no fooner disappeared, than Ifet out as quickly as pom* 
ble to the boat, and we got her hauled out beyond the 
fhoals, where we palled the night. We faw afterwards difr 
tinctly about fifty men, and. three or four camels ;'the men 
made feveral figns to us, but we were perfectly content with 
the diflance that was between us, and fought no more to 
kill antelopes in the neighbourhood of Sidi Abd el Maca- 

I would not have it imagined, that my cafe was abfo- 
lutely defperate, even if I had been known as a Chriftian, and 
fallen into the hands of thefe Arabs, of Arabia Deferta, or 
Arabia Petrea, fuppofed to be the moll barbarous people in 
the world, as indeed they probably are. Kofpitality, and 
attention to one's word, feem in thefe countries to be in pro- 
portion to the degree in which the people are favage. A very 
eafy method is known, and followed with conflant fuccefs, . 
by ail the Chriflians trading to the Red Sea from Suez to 
Jidda, to fave themfelves if thrown on the coafl of Arabia* 
Any man of confederation from any tribe among the Arabs, 
comes to Cairo, gives his name and defignation to the Chrifr 
tian failor, and receives a very fmall prefent, which is rer 



peated annually if he performs fo often the voyage. And 
for this the Arab promifes the Chriftian his protection*, 
fliould he ever be. fo unfortunate as to be fhipwrecked on- 
their coaftv 

The Turks are very bad feamen, and lofe many fhips;'. 
the greateft part of the crew are therefore Chriilians ; when: 
a veffel ftrikes, or is afhore, the Turks are all maffacred if 
they cannot make their way good by force ; but the Chrif- 
tians prefent themfelves to the Arab, crying Fiarduc, which 
means, * we are under immediate protection.' If they are afk> 
ed, who is their Gaffeer, or Arab, with whom they are im 
friendship ? They anfwer, Mahomet Abdelcader is our Gaf- 
feer, or any other. If he is not there, you are told he is 
abfent fo many days journey off, or any diflance. This ac- 
quaintance or neighbour, then helps you, to fave what you 
have from the wreck, and one of them 'with his lance; 
draws a circle, large enough to hold you and yours. He 
then flicks his lance in the fand, bids you abide within that* 
circle, and goes and brings your Gaffeer, with what camels r 
you want, and this Gaffeer is obliged, by rules known only 
to themfelves, to carry you for nothing, or very little, where- 
ever you go, and to furnifh. you with provisions all the way,, 
Within that circle you are as fafe on thedefert coaft of Ara- 
bia, as in a citadel ; there is no example or exception to the 
contrary that has ever yet been known. There are many 
Arabs, who, from Situation, near dangerous fhoals or places,, 
where fhips often perifh (as between Ras Mahomet and Ras; 
Selah, *Dar el Hamra, and fome others) have perhaps fifty 


* See the Map, 


or a hundred Chriftians, who have been fo protected: So 
that when this Arab marries a daughter, he gives perhaps 
his revenue from four or five protected Chriftians, as par t 
of his daughter's portion. I had, at that very time, a Gaf - 
eer, called Ibn Talil, an Arab of Harb tribe, and I fhould 
have been detained perhaps three days till he came from 
near Medina, and carried me (had I been Ihipwrecked) to 
Yambo, where I was going. 

On the 15th we came to an anchor at El Har*, where 
we faw high, craggy, and broken mountains, called the 
Mountains of Ruddua. Thefe abound with fp rings of wa~ 
ter ; all fort of Arabian and African fruits grow here in per- 
fection, and every kind of vegetable that they will take 
the pains to cultivate. It is the paradife of the people of 
Yambo ; thofe of any fubftance have country houfes there ; 
but, ftrange to tell, they flay there but for a fhort time, and 
prefer the bare, dry, and burning fands about Yambo, to one 
of the fmeft climates, and moil verdant pleafant countries, 
that exifls in the world. The people of the place have told 
me, that water freezes there in winter, and that there are 
fome of the inhabitants who have red hair, and blue eyes, 
a thing fcarcely ever feen but in the coldeil mountains in 
the Eaft. 

The 1 6th, about ten o'clock, we palled a mofque, or 
Shekh's tomb on the main land, on our left hand, called 
Kubbet Yambo, and before eleven we anchored in the -mouth 

* of 

* El Har fignifks extreme heat. 


of the port in deep water. Yambo, corruptly called Imbo, 
is an ancient city, now dwindled to a paultry village. Ptolemy 
calls it Iambia Vicus, or the village Yambia; a proof it was 
of no great importance in his time. But after the conqueft 
of Egypt under Sultan Selim, it became a valuable ftation, 
for fupplykig their conquefts in Arabia, with warlike ftores, 
from Suez, and for the importation of wheat from Egypt to 
their garrifons, and the holy places of Mecca and Medina. 
On this account, a large caftle was built there by Sinan Ba- 
fha ; for the ancient Yambo of Ptolemy is not that which is 
called fo at this day. It is fix miles farther fouth ; and is 
called Yambo el Nachel, or, Yambo among the palm-trees/ 
a great quantity of ground being there covered with this 
fort of plantation. 

Yambo, in the language of the country, fignifies a foun- 
tain or fpring, a very copious one of excellent water being 
found there among the date trees, and it is one of the fta- 
tions of the Emir Hadje in going to, and coming from Mec- 
ca. The advantage of the port, however, which the other 
has not, and the protection of the caftle, have carried tra- 
ding vefTels to the modern Yambo, where there is no water, 
but what is brought from pools dug on purpofe to receive 
the rain when it falls. 

There are two hundred janifTaries in the caftle, the clef- 
eendents of thofe brought thither by Sinan Baiha ; who 
have fucceeded their fathers, in the way I have obferved they 
did at Syene, and, indeed, in all the conquefts in Arabia, 
and Egypt. The inhabitants of Yambo are defervedly reck- 

4 oneci 


oned * the moll barbarous of any upon the Red Sea, and 
the janhTaries keep pace with them, in every kind of malice 
and violence. We did not go afhore all that day, becaufe 
we had heard a number of fhots, and had received intelli- 
gence from fhore, that the janhTaries and town's people, 
for a week, had been fighting together ; I was very unwil- 
ling to interfere, wifhing that they might have all leifure 
to extirpate one another, if poflible ; and jny Rais feemed 
mod heartily to join me in my wijhes. 

In the evening, the captain of the port came on board, 
and brought two janhTaries with him, whom, with fome dif- 
ficulty, I fuffered to enter the vefifel. Their firft demand 
was gun-powder, which I pofitively refufed. I then afked 
them how many were killed in the eight days they had 
been engaged ? They anfwered, with fome indifference, not 
many, about a hundred every day, or a few lefs or more, 
chiefly Arabs. We heard afterwards, when we came on 
fhore, one only had been wounded, and that a foldier, by a 
fall from his horfe. They infilled upon bringing the vef- 
fel into the port ; but I told them, on the contrary, that ha- 
ving no bufinefs at Yambo, and being by no means under 
the guns of their callle, I was at liberty to put to fea with- 
out coming afhore at all ; therefore, if they did not leave us, 
as the wind was favourable, I would fail, and, by force, carry 
them to Jidda. The janhTaries began to talk, as their cullomis, 
in a very blullering and warlike tone ; but I, who knew my 
interell at Jidda, and the force in my own hand ; that my 


* Vide Irvine's letters* 


veiTel was afloat, and could be under weigh in an inilant, 
never was lefs difpofed to be bullied, than at that moment. 
They afked me a thoufand queflions, whether I was a Ma- 
maiuke, whether I was a Turk, or whether I was an Arab, 
and why I did not give them fpirits and tobacco ? To all 
which I anfwered, only, that they fliould know to-morrow 
who I was ; then I ordered the Emir Bahar, the captain of 
the port, to carry them afhore at his peril, or I would take 
their arms from them, and confine them on board all night* 

The Rais gave the captain of the port a private hint, to 
take care what they did, for they might lofe their lives ; 
and that private caution, underltood in a different way per- 
haps than was meant, had effect upon the foldiers, to make 
them withdraw immediately. When they went away, I 
begged the Emir Bahar to make my compliments to his 
•mailers, HafTan and HufTein, Agas, to know what time I 
fhould wait upon them to-morrow ; and „d cured him, in 
the mean time, to keep his foldiers afhore, as I was not dif- 
pofed to be troubled with their infolence. 

Soon after they went, we heard a great firing, and faw 
lights all over the town ; and the Rais propofed to me to 
flip immediately, and fet fail, from which meafure I was not 
at all averfe. But, as he faid, we had a better anchoring 
place under the mofquc of the Shekh, and, befides, that 
there we would be in a place of fafety, by reafon of the ho- 
linefs of the faint, and that at our own choice might even 
put to fea in a moment, or flay till to-morrow, as we were 
in no fort of doubt of being able to repel, force by force, if 
attacked, we got under weigh for a few hundred yards, 

Vol. I. I i and 



and dropt our anchor under the fhrine of one of the great- 
eft faints in the world. 

At night the firing had abated, the lights diminifhed, 
and the captain of the port again came on board. He was 
furprifed at miffing us at our former anchoring place, and 
ftill more fo, when, on our hearing the noife of his oars, we 
hailed, and forbade him to advance any nearer, till he 
fhould tell us how many he had on board, or whether he 
had foldiers or not, otherwife we fhould fire upon them : to 
this he anfwered, that there were only himfelf, his boy, and 
three officers, fervants to the Aga. I replied, that three 
ftrangers were too many at that time of the night, but,, 
lince they were come from the Aga, they might advance. 

All our people were fitting together armed on the fore- 
part of the vefTel ; I foon divined they intended us no 
harm, for they gave us the falute Salam Alicum ! before they 
were within ten yards of us. I anfwered with great com- 
placency ; we handed them on board, and fet them down 
upon deck. The three officers were genteel young men, 
of a fickly appearance, drelTed in the f afhion of the count- 
ry, in long burnoofes ioofely hanging about them, ftrip- 
ed with red and white ; they wore a turban of red, green, 
and white, with ten thoufand taffels and fringes hang- 
ing down to the fmall of their backs.. They had in their 
hand, each, a Ihort javelin, the fhaft not above four feet and 
a half long, with an iron head about nine inches, and two 
or three iron hooks below the fhaft, which was bound 
round with brafs-wire, in feveral places, and fhod with iron 
at the farther end,. 



They afked me where I came from ? I faid, from Conflan- 
tinople, laft from Cairo ; but begged they would put no 
more queilions to me, as I was not at liberty to anfwer them. 
They faid they had orders from their mailers to hid me wel- 
come, if I was the perfon that had been recommended to 
them by the Sherriffe, and was Ali Bey's phyfician at Cairo. 
I faid, if Metical Aga had advifed them of that, then I was 
the man. They replied he had, and were come to bid me 
welcome, and attend me on more to their mailers, when- 
ever I pleafed. I begged them, to carry my humble refpects 
to their mailers ; and told them, though I did not doubt of 
their protection in any fhape, yet I could not think it confift- 
ent with ordinary prudence, to rifk myfelf at ten o'clock at 
night, in a town fo full of diforder as Yambo appeared to have 
been for fome time, and where fo little regard was paid to 
difcipline or command, as to fight with one another. They 
faid that was true, and I might do as I pleafed ; but the firing 
that I had heard did not proceed from fighting, but from 
their rejoicing upon making peace. 

In fhort, we found, that, upon fome difcufiion, the gar- 
rifon and townfmen had been fighting for feveral days, in 
which diforders the greatell part of the ammunition in the 
town had been expended, but it had fince been agreed on 
by the old men of both parties, that no body had been to 
blame on either fide, but the whole wrong was the work or 
a Camel A camel, therefore, was feized, and brought witn- 
out the town, and there a number on both fides having met, 
they upbraided the camel with every thing that had been 
either faid or done. The camel had killed men, he had 
threatened to fet the town on fire ; the camel bad threatened 
to burn the Aga's houfe, and the caflle ; he had curfed the 

I i 2 Grand 


Grand Signior, and the Sherriffe of Mecca, the fovereigns 
of- the two parties ; and, the only thing the poor animal 
was interefled in, be had threatened to deilroy the wheat 
that was going to Mecca. After having fpent -great part of 
the afternoon in upbraiding the camel, whole meafure of in- 
iquity, it feenis, was near full, each man thrufl him through' 
with a lance, devoting him Bits mamb'ui & Dirisj by a kind of. 
prayer, and with a thoufand curfes upon his head. Aften 
which, every man retired, fully fatisfied the wrongs*, 
he hadreceived from the cameL. 

The reader will eafily obferve in this, fome traces of the 
*azazel, or fcape-goat of the Jews, which was turned out> 
into the wildernefs, loaded with the fms .of the people. 

Next morning I went tothe palace, as we call it, in which* 
were fome very handfome apartments. There was a guard 
of janhTaries at the door, who, being warriors, lately come 
from the bloody battle with the camel y _ did not. fail to iheva 
marks of infolence, which they wifhed to be miftaken for. 

The two Agas were fitting on a high bench upon Perfiarv 
carpets; and about forty well-dreiTed and well-looking men,: 
{many of them old) fitting on carpets upon* the floor, in a; 
femi-circle round them. They behaved. with great polite-^ 
nefs and attention, and afked no queftions but general ones;.. 
as, How the fea agreed with me ? If there, was plenty at Cairo h 


*L,evit. cbap.xvi. ver.,5. 


till I was going away, when the youngeft of the Agas in-< 
quired, with a feeming degree of diffidence, Whether Ma* 
hornet Bey Abou Dahab, w r as ready to march ? As I knew 
well what this queftion meant, I anfwered, I know not if 
he is ready, he has made great preparations. The other Aga 
faid, I hope you will be a meffenger of peace 1 1 anfwered; 
I intreat you to afk me no queftions ; I hope, by the grace of 
God, all will go well. Every perfon prefent applauded the 
fpeech; agreed to refpecl: my fecret, as they fuppofed. I had 
one, and they all were inclined to believe, that X was a man 
in- the confidence of Ali Bey, and that his hoftile dengns* 
againft Mecca were laid afider- this was juft what I wifhed 
them to fuppofe ; for it fecured me againft ilhufage all the 
time I chofe to ftay there ; and of this I had a proof in the 
inftant, for a very good houfe was provided for me by the 
Aga, and a man of his fent to. {hew. me. to it. 

I wondered the Rais had mot come home with me ; who^ 
in about half an hour after I had got into my houfe, cam& 
and told me, that, when the captain of the boat came ow 
board the firft time with the two foldiers, he had put a note y 
which they call ti/kera, into his hand, preifing him into, the, 
SherrifFe's ■ fervice, to carry wheat to Jidda, and,: with tho 
wheat, a number of poor pilgrims that were going to Mecca-, 
at the SherrifiVs expence. Finding us,. however^ out of the. 
harbour, and, fufpectmg from our manners and carriage: 
towards the janiffaries, that we were people who knew what- 
we had to trull to, he had taken the two foldiers ashore, 
with him, who were by no means fond of their reception, 
or inclined to ftay in fuch company ; arid, indeed, our drefles- 
and appearances in the boat were fully as likely to make 
ftrangers believe we fhould rob them, as theirs were to im- 

2.. PJ" e £^ 


prefs us with an apprehenfion that they would rob us. The 
Rais faid alfo, that, after my audience, the Aga had called 
upon him, and taken away the tijkera, telling him he was 
free, and to obey nobody but me ; and fent me one of h is 
fervants to fit at the door, with orders to admit nobody but 
whom I pleafed, and that I might not be troubled with the 
people of Yambo. 

Hitherto all was well; but it had been with me an ob- 
servation, which had conftantly held good, that too profper- 
ous beginnings in thefe countries always ended in ill at the 
laft. I was therefore refolved to ufe my profperity with 
great temperance and caution, make myfelf as ftrong, and 
ufe my ftrength as little, as it was poffible for me to do. 

There was a man of confiderable weight in Aleppo, 
named *Sidi Ali Tarabolouffi, who was a great friend of Dr 
RufTel, our phyfician, through whom I became acquainted 
with him. He was an intimate friend and acquaintance of 
the cadi of Medina, and had given me a letter to him, 
recommending me, in a very particular manner, to his pro- 
tection and feryices. I inquired about this perfon, and was 
told he was in town, directing the diftribution of the corn 
to be fent to his capital. Upon my inquiry, the news were 
carried to him as foon almoft as his name was uttered; on 
which, being defirous of knowing what fort of man I was, 
about eight o'clock in the evening he fent me a menage, 
and, immediately after, I received a vifit from him. 

I was 

* Native of Tripoli : it is Turkifti, 


I was putting my telefcopes and time-keeper in order, 
and had forbid admittance to any one ; but this was fo holy 
and fo dignified a perfon, that all doors were open to him. 
He obferved me working about the great telefcope and 
quadrant in my Ihirt, for it was hot beyond conception upon 
the fmalleU exertion. Without making any apology for the 
intrufion at all, he broke out into exclamation, how lucky 
he was ! and, without regarding me, he went from telefcope 
to clock, from clock to quadrant, and from that to the ther- 
mometer, crying, Ah tibe, ah tibe ! This is fine, this is fine!- 
He fcarcely looked upon me, or feemed to think I was worth 
his attention, but touched every tiling fo carefully, and 
handled fo properly the brafs cover of the alidade, which 
inclofed the horfe-hair with the plummet, that he feemed 
to be a man more than ordinarily verfed in the ufe of aftro- 
nomical inflruments. In fhort, not to repeat ufelefs matter 
to the reader, I found he had lludied at Conftantinople, un-- 
derilood the principles of geometry very tolerably, was ma- 
iler of Euclid fo far as it regarded plain trigonometry; the* 
demonflrations of which he rattled off fo rapidly, that it 
was impoffible to follow, or to underftand him. He knew 
nothing of fpherics, and all his aftronomy refolved itfelf at 
laft into maxims of judicial aftrology, firlt and fecond houfes ; 
of the planets and afcendancies, very much in the flyle of. 
common almanacks.. 

He defired that my door might be open to him at all 
times, efpecially when I made obfervations ; he alfo knew 
perfectly the divifion of our clocks, and begged he might: 
count time for me.. All this was eafily granted, and I had 
from him, what was moll ufeful, a hiflory of the fituation 
of the government of the place, by which I learned, 

x, that. 


that the two young men (the governors) were flaves of the 
Sherriffe of Mecca ; that it was impoflible for any one, the 
moft intimate with them, to tell which of the two was 
mpft bafe or profligate; that they would have robbed us 
all of the laft farthing, if they had not been reftrained by 
fear; and that there was a foreigner, or a frank, very lately 
going to India, who had difappeared, but, as he believed, had 
been privately put to death in prifon, for he had never 
after been heard of 

Though I cannot fay I relifhed this account, yet I put on 
the very beil face poffible, " Here, in a garrifon town, faid 
I, with very worthlefs foldiers, they might do what they 
pleafed with fix or feven ftrangers, but I do not fear them ; 
I now tell them, and the people of Yambo, all and each of 
them, they had better be in their bed fick of the plague, than 
touch a hair of my dog, if I had one." " And fo, fays he 
they know, therefore reft and rejoice, and ft ay as long with 
us as you can." " As fhort time as poffible, faid I, Sidi Ma- 
homet ; although I do not fear wicked people, I don't love 
them fo much as to ftay long with them." 

He then afked me a favour, that I would allow my Rais 
jto carry a quantity of wheat for him to Jidda ; which I wil- 
lingly permitted, upon condition, that he would order but 
one man to go along with it ; on which he declared folemn- 
ly, that none but one fliould go, and that I might throw 
him even into the feci, if he behaved improperly. How- 
ever, afterwards he fent three ; and one who deferved of- 
ten to be thrown into the fea 9 as he had permitted. " Now 
friend, faid I, I have done every thing that you have deli- 
red, tliough favours fliould have begun witli you upon 


) S ///>r , y /')r/// • y/^rr/./// 

/,-//./ <n /■„;>/,/,,.' /J,. ■ * - : 'i;.y faj ,: /,. 'lmf> '" & '■' ■ 

> ,'// ./, 


your own principle, as I am the flranger. Now, what I have 
to afk you is this,— Do you know the Sliekh of Beder Hu- 
nein ? Know him ! fays he, I am married to his filler, a 
daughter of Harb ; he is of the tribe of Harb." " Harb be 
it then (faid I) your trouble will be the lefs ; then you are to 
fend a camel to your brother-in-law, who will procure me 
the largefl, and moil perfect plant poflible of the Balfam of 
Mecca. He is not to break the Item, nor even the branches, 
hut to pack it entire, with fruit and flower, if poflible, and 
wrap it in a mat." He looked cunning, fhrugged up his 
Ihoulders, drew up his mouth, and putting his finger to his 
nofe, faid, " Enough, I know all about this, you fhall find 
what fort of a man I am, I am no fool, as you fhall fee." 

I received this the third day at dinner, but the flower 
{if there had been any) was rubbed off. The fruit was in 
feveral flages, and in great perfection. The drawing, and 
defcription from this * plant, will, I hope, for ever obviate 
all difficulty about its hiflory. He fent me, likewife, a quart 
bottle of the pure balfam, as it had flowed that year from 
the tree, with which I have verified what the old botanifls in 
their writings have faid of it, in its feveral flages. He told 
me alfo the circumflances I have related in my defcription of 
the balfam, as to the gathering and preparing of the feveral 
kinds of it, and a curious anecdote- as to its origin. He faid 
the plant was no part of the creation of God in the fix days, 
but that, in the lafl of three very bloody battles, which Ma- 
homet fought with the noble Arabs of Harb, and his kinf- 

Vol. I. Kk men 

* See the article Bale/Tan in the Appendix. 


men the Beni Koreifh, then Pagans at Beder Hunein, that 
Mahomet prayed to God, and a grove of balfam-trees grew 
tip from the blood of the flain upon the field of battle ; and, 
that with the balfam that flowed from them he touched 
the wounds even of thofe that were dead, and all thofe pre- 
deftined to be good Mujfulmen afterwards, immediately came 
to life. " I hope, faid I, friend, that the other things you 
told me of it, are fully as true as this, for they will other- 
wife laugh at me in England." " No, no, fays he, not half 
fo true, nor a quarter fo true, there is nothing in the world 
fo certain as this." But his looks, and his laughing very 
heartily, mewed me plainly he knew better, as indeed moll 
of them do. 

In the evening, before we departed, about nine o'clock,. 
I had an unexpected vifit from the youngeft of the two 
Agas ; who, after many pretended complaints of ficknefs, 
and injunctions of fecrecy, at laft modeftly requefted me to 
give him fome JJoin ' poifon, that might kill bis brother, without 
fufpicion, and after fome time mould elapfe. I told him, 
fuch propofals were not to be made to a man like me ; that 
all the gold, and all the filver in the world, would not en- 
gage me to poifon the pooreft vagrant in the ftreet, fuppo- 
fmg it never was to be fufpected, or known but to my own 
heart. All he faid, was, " Then your manners are not the 
fame as ours." — I anfwered, dryly, " Mine, I thank God, are 
not," and fo we parted* 

Yambo, or at leafl the prefent town of that name, I found, 
by many obfervations of the fun and ftars, to be in latitude 
2 4° 3' 2>$" north, and in long. 38 16' 30" eaft from the meri- 
dian of Greenwich. The barometer, at its highefl, on the 23d 



of April, was 27 8', and, the loweft on the 27th, was 26° 11', 
The thermometer, on the 24th of April, at two o'clock in 
the afternoon, Hood at 91 , and the loweft was 66° in the 
morning of the 26th of fame month. Yambo is reputed 
very unwholefome, but there were no epidemical difeafes 
when I was there. 

The many delays of loading the wheat, the defire of 
doubling the quantity I had permitted, in which both the Rais 
and my friend the cadi confpired for their mutual intereft, 
detained me at Yambo all the 27th of April, very much a- 
gainft my inclination. For I was not a little uneafy at 
thinking among what banditti I lived, whofe daily wiih was 
to rob and murder me, from which they were reftrained 
by fear only ; and this, a fit of drunkennefs, or a piece of 
bad news, fuch as a report of Ali Bey's death, might remove 
in a moment. Indeed we were allowed to want nothing. 
A fheep, fome bad beer, and fome very good wheat-bread, 
were delivered to us every day from the Aga, which, with 
dates and honey, and a variety of prefents from thofe that 
I attended as a phyfician, made us pafs our time comfort- 
ably enough ; we went frequently in the boats to fifh at 
fea, and, as I had brought with me three fizgigs of differ- 
ent fizes, with the proper lines, I feldom returned without 
killing four or five dolphins. The fport with the line was 
likewife excellent. We caught a number of beautiful fifh 
from the very houfe where we lodged, and fome few good 
ones. We had vinegar in plenty at Yambo; onions, and 
feveral other greens, from Raddua ; and, being all cooks, we 
lived well. 

K k 2 On 


On the 28th of April, ill the morning, I failed with a car- 
go of wheat that did not belong to me, and three pafTengers r 
inflead of one, for whom only I had undertaken. The wind 
was fair, and I faw one advantage of allowing the Rais to 
load, was, that he was determined to carry fail to make a- 
mends for the delay. There was a tumbling, difagreeable 
fwell, and the wind feemed dying away. One of our paf- 
fengers was very lick. At his requeft, we anchored at 
Djar, a round fmall port, whofe entrance is at the north-eaft. 
It is about three fathoms deep throughout, unlefs jufc upon 
the fouth fide, and perfectly flickered from every wind. We 
faw here, for the firft time, feveral plants of rack tree, grow- 
ing confiderably within the fea-mark, in fome places with 
two feet of water upon the trunk. I found the latitude of 
Djar to be 23 36' 9" north. The mountains of Beder Hu- 
nein were S. S. W. of us. 

The 29th, at five o'clock in the morning, we failed from 
Djar. At eight, we pafTed a fmall cape called* Ras el Him- 
ma ; and the wind turning flill more frefh, we pafTed a kind 
ef harbour called Maibeed, where there is an anchoring 
place named El Horma. The fun was in the meridian when 
we pafTed this ; and I found, by obfervation, El Horma wa& 
in lat. 2 3 o' 30" north. At ten we paiTed a mountain on 
land called Soub ; at two, the fmall port of Muftura, under 
a mountain whofe name is Hajoub ; at half pall four we 
came to an anchor at a place called Harar. The wind had 
been contrary all the night, being fouth-eafl, and rather 

frefh ; 

* Cape Fever, 


frefli; we thought, too, we perceived a current fetting ftrong* 
ly to the weflward. 

On the 30th we failed at eight in the morning, but the 
wind was unfavourable, and we made little way. We were 
furrounded with a great many marks, fome of which feem- 
ed to be large. Though I had no line but upon the fmall 
fizgigs for dolphins, I could not refrain from attempting 
one of the largeft, for they were fo bold, that fome of them, 
we thought, intended to leap on board. I flruck one of the 
mod forward of them, juft at the joining of the neck ; but 
as we were not practifed enough in laying our line, fo as to 
ran out without hitching, he leaped above two feet out of 
the water, then plunged down with prodigious violence, 
and our line taking hold of fomething Handing in the way, 
the cord fnapped afunder, and away went the ihark. All 
the others difappeared in an inftant ; but the Rais faid, as 
foon as they fmelled the blood, they would not leave the- 
wounded one, till they had torn him to pieces. I was truly 
forry for the lofs of my tackle, as the two others were real- 
ly liker harpoons, and not fo manageable. But the Rais, 
whom I had ftudied to keep in very good humour, and had 
"befriended in every thing, was an old harpooner in the 
Indian Ocean, and he pulled out from his hold a compleat 
apparatus. He not only had a fmall harpoon like my firft 5 
but better conftructed. He had, likewife, feveral hooks 
with long chains and lines, and a wheel with a long hair 
line to it, like a fmall windlafs, to which he equally fixed 
the line of the harpoon, and thofe of the hooks. This was 
a compliment he faw I took very kindly, and did not 
doubt it would be rewarded in the proper time. 



The wind frefhening and turning fairer, at noon we 
brought to, within fight of Rabac, and at one o'clock an- 
chored there. Rabac is a fmall port in lat. 22° 35' 30" north. 
The entry is E. N. E. and is about a quarter of a mile broad. 
The port extends itfelf to the eaft, and is about two miles 
long. The mountains are about three leagues to the north, 
and the town of Rabac about four miles north by eaft from 
the entrance to the harbour. We remained all day, the firfl 
of May, in the port, making a drawing of the harbour. The 
night of our anchoring there, the Emir Hadje of the pilgrims 
from Mecca encamped about three miles off. We heard 
his evening gun. 

The pafTengers that had been lick, now infilled upon go- 
ing to fee the Hadje ; but as I knew the confequence would 
be, that a number of fanatic wild people would be down 
upon us, I told him plainly, if he went from the boat, he 
fhould not again be received ; and that we would haul out 
of the port, and anchor in the offing ; this kept him with 
us. But all next day he was in very bad humour, repeat- 
ing frequently, to himfelf, that he deferved all this for em- 
barking with infidels. . 

The people came down to us from Rabac with water 
melons, and fkins full of water. All fhips may be fup- 
plied here plentifully from wells near the town ; the wa- 
ter is not bad. 

The country is level, and feemingly uncultivated, but 
has not fo defert a look as about Yambo. I mould fufpect 
by its appearance, and the frefhnefs of its water, that it 



rained at times in the mountains here, for we were now 
confiderably within the tropic, which panes very sea: as 
el Himma, whereas Rabac is half a degree to the fouth- 

On the 2d, at five o'clock in the morning, we failed from 
Rabac, with a very little wind, fcarcely making two knots 
an hour. 

At half pall nine, Deneb bore eafl and by fouth from us. 
This place is known by a few palm-trees. The port is 
fmall, and very indifferent, at leafl for fix months of the 
year, becaufe it lies open to the fouth, and there is a pro- 
digious fwell here. 

At one o'clock we pafifed an ifland called Hammel, a- 
bout a mile off; at the fame time, another ifland, El Me- 
mifk, bore eafl of us, about three miles, where there is good 

At three and three quarters, we pafTed an ifland called 
Gawad, a mile and a quarter fouth-eafl of us. The main 
bore likewife fouth-eafl, diflant fomething more than a 
league. We here changed our courfe from fouth to W. S. W. 
and at four o'clock came to an anchor at the fmall ifland of 

The 3d, we failed at half pafl four in the morning, our 
courfe W. S. W. but it fell calm ; after having made about a 
league, we found ourfelves off Ras Hateba, or the Woody 
Cape, which bore due eafl of us. After doubling the cape, 

4 the 


the wind frefhening, at four o'clock in the afternoon we 
anchored in the port -of Jidda, clofe upon the key, where 
the officers of the cuflom-houfe immediately took poiTeflion 
of our baggage. 

flR jmi . " feg& 




Occurrences at Jidda — Vifit of the Vizir-~-Alarm of the Factory — Great 
Civility of the Englijh trading from India — Polygamy — Opinion of 
Dr Arbuthnot ill-founded — Contrary to Reafon and Experience — 
Leave Jidda. 

THE port of Jidda is a very extenfive One, conlifting of 
numberlefs fhoals, fmall liiands, and funken rocks, 
with channels, however, between them, and deep water. 
You are very fafe in Jidda harbour, whatever wind blows, 
as there are numberlefs fhoals which prevent the water 
from ever being put into any general motion; and you may 
moor head and Hern, with twenty anchors out if you pleafe. 
But the danger of being loft, I conceive, lies in the going in 
and coming out of the harbour. Indeed the observation 
is here verified, the more dangerous the port, the abler the pi- 
lot s^ and no accidents ever happen. 

There is a draught of the harbour of Jidda handed about 
among the Englilh for many years, very inaccurately, and 
very ill laid flown, from what authority I know not, often 
condemned, but never corrected ; as alfo a pretended chart 
of the upper part of the Gulf, from J'c'da to Mocha, full of 
foundings. As I was fome months at Jidda, kindly enter- 

Vol. I. L 1 tained* 


tained, and had abundance of time, Captain Thornhill, and 
fome other of the gentlemen trading thither, wifhed me 
to make a furvey of the harbour, and promifed me the 
amftance of their officers, boats, and crews. I very wil- 
lingly undertook it to oblige them. Finding afterwards, 
however, that one of their number, Captain Newland, had 
undertaken it, and that he would be hurt by my interfering, 
as he was in fome manner advanced in the work, I gave 
up all further thoughts of the plan. He was a man of real 
ingenuity and capacity, as well as very humane, well beha- 
haved, and one to whom I had been indebted for every fort 
of attention. 

God forgive thofe who have taken upon them, very 
lately, to ingraft a number of new foundings upon that 
miferable bundle of errors, that Chart of the upper part 
of the Gulf from Jidda to Mocha, which has been toiled 
about the Red Sea thefe twenty years and upwards. One 
of thefe, fmce my return to Europe, has been fent to 
me new duelled like a bride, with all its original and mor- 
tal fins upon its head. I would beg leave to be under- 
(lood, that there is not in the world a man more averfe than 
I am to give offence even to a child. It is not in the fpirit 
of criticifm I fpeak this. In any other cafe, I would not 
have made any obfervations at all. But, where the lives 
and properties of fo many are at Hake yearly, it is a fpecies 
of treafon to conceal one's fentiments, if the publifhing of 
them can any way contribute to fafety, whatever offence it 
may give to unreafonable individuals. 

Of all the vcffcls in Jidda, two only had their log lines 
properly divided, and yet all were fo fond of their fuppofed 



accuracy, as to aver they had kept their courfe within five 
leagues, between India and Babelmandeb. Yet they had 
made no eftimation of the currents without the * Babs, nor 
the different very itrong ones foon after palling Socotra ; 
their half-minute glaifes upon a medium ran 57"; they had 
made no obfervation on the tides or currents in the Red 
Sea, either in the channel or in the inward paffage ; yet 
there is delineated in this map a courfe of Captain Newland's, 
which he kept in the middle of the channel, full of fharp 
angles and ihort flretches ; you would think every yard 
was meafured and founded. 

To the fpurious catalogue of foundings found in the old 
chart above mentioned, there is added a double proportion 
of new, from what authority is not known ; fo that from 
Mocha, to lat. 17 you have as it were foundings every 
mile, or even lefs. No one can call his eyes on the upper 
part of the map, but mull think the Red Sea one of the moll 
frequented places in the world. Yet I will aver, without fear 
of being contradicted, that it is a characleriilic of the Red 
Sea, fcarce to have foundings in any part of the channel, 
and often on both fides, whilil afhore foundings are hardly 
found a boat-length from the main. To this I will add, that 
there is fcarce one ifland upon which I ever was, where the 
boltfprit was not over the land, while there were no found- 
ings by a line heaved over the Hern. I mull then protefl 
againfl making thefe old mofl erroneous maps a founda- 
tion for new ones, as they can be of no ufe, but mull be of 

L 1 2 detriment. 

This is a common Tailor's phrafe for the Straits of Babelmandeb. 


detriment. Many good feamen of knowledge and enter- 
prife have been in that fea, withinthefe few years. Let then* 
fay, candidly, what were their ihftruments, what their dif- 
ficulties were, where they had doubts, where they fuccecd--' 
ed, and where they were difappointed ? Were thefe acknow- 
ledged by one, they would be fpeedily taken up by others,- 
and reclined by the help of mathematicians and good ob- 
fcrvers on more. 

Mr Niebuhr has contributed much, but we mould reform 
the map on both fides ; though- there is a great deal done, 
yet much remains Hill to do. I hope that my friend Mr 
Dalrymple, when he can afford time, ■•will give us a founda- 
tion more proper to build upon, than that old rotten one,' 
however changed in form, and fuppofed to have been im- 
proved, if he really has a number of obfervations by him 
that can be relied on, otherwife it is but continuing the 
delufion and the danger, 

If mips of war afterwards, that keep the channel, fhall 
come, manned with flout and able feamen, and expert young 
officers, provided with lines, glaffes, good compaffes, and a 
number of boats, then we mail know thefe foundings, at 
leaf! in part. And then alfo we fhall know the truth of 
what I now advance, viz. that mips like thofe employed 
hitherto in trading from India (manned and provided as 
the bell of them are) were incapable, amidfl unknown tides 
and currents, and going before a monfoon, whether fouihi 
ern or northern, of knowing within three leagues where 
any one of them had ever dropt his founding line, unlefs he 
was clofe on board fome ifland, fhoal, remarkable point, or 
in a harbour. 

2 Till 


Till that time, I would advife every man failing in the 
Red Sea, efpecially in the channel, where the pilots know 
no more than he, to trail to his own hands for fafety in the 
minute of danger, to heave the lead at leaft every hour, 
keep a good look-out, and ihorten fail in a freih wind, or in 
the night-time, and to confider all maps of the channel of 
the Arabian Gulf, yet made, as matters of mere curiofity, 
and not fit to trail a man's life to. Any captain in the India 
fervice, who had run over from Jidda into the mouth of 
the river Frat, and the neighbouring port Kilnt, which 
might every year be done for L. 10 Sterling extra expences, 
would do more meritorious fervice to the navigation of that 
iea, than all the foundings that were ever yet made from Jib- 
Del Zekir to the ifland of Sheduan, . 

From Yambo to Jidda I had flept little, making my me- 
moranda as full upon the fpot as poiTible. I had, befides, 
an aguifh diforder, which very much troubled me, and in 
drefs and cieanlinefs was fo like a Galiongy (or Turkifh fea- 
man) that the* Emir Bahar was ailonifhed at hearing .my 
fervants fay I was an Englifhman, at the time they carried 
away all my baggage and inilruments to the cuflom-houfe. 
He fent his fervant, however, with .me to the Bengal- houfe, 
who promifed me, in broken Englilfi, all the way, a very 
magnificent reception from my countrymen, Upon his 
naming all the captains for my choice, I defircd to be car- 
ried to a Scotchman, a relation of my own, who was. then acci- 
dentally leaning over the rail of the ilahs-cafe, leading up 


Captain of the port, ■ 


to his apartment. I fainted him by his name ; he fell into 
a violent rage, calling me villain, thief, cheat, and renegado rafcal; 
and declared, if I offered to proceed a ftep further, he would 
throw me over Hairs. I went away without reply, his cur- 
fes and abufe followed me long afterwards. The fervant, 
my conductor, fcrewed his mouth, and ihrugged up his 
fhoulders. " Never fear, fays he, I will carry you to the bejl 
of them all." We went up an oppofite flair-cafe, whilft I thought 
within myfelf, if thofe are their India manners, I fhall keep 
my name and fituation to myfelf while I am at Jidda. I 
flood in no need of them, as I had credit for iooo fequins and 
more, if I mould want it, upon Youfef Cabil, Vizir or Gover- 
nor of Jidda. 

I was conducted into a large room, where Captain Thorn- 
hill was fitting, in a white callico waiftcoat, a very high- 
pointed white cotton night-cap, with a large tumbler of 
water before him, feemingly very deep in thought. The 
Emir Bahar's fervant brought me forward by the hand, a 
little within the door ; but I was not defirous of advancing 
much farther, for fear of the falutation of being thrown 
down flairs again. He looked very fteadily, but not ftern- 
ly, at me ; and defired the fervant to go away and fliut the 
door. " Sir, fays he, are you an Englifhman ?" — I bowed. — 
" You furely are fick, you fhould be in your bed, have you 
been long fick ?" — I faid, " long Sir," and bowed. — " Are you 
wanting a paffage to India ?" — I again bowed. — " Well, fays 
he, you look to be a man in diftrefs ; if you have a fecret, 
I fhall refpect it till you pleafe to tell it me, but if you want 
a paffage to India, apply to no one butThornhill of the Bengal 
merchant. Perhaps you are afraid of fomebody, if fo, afk for 
Mr Greig, my lieutenant, he will carry you on board my fhip 



directly, where you will be fafe." — " Sir, faid I, I hope you 
will find me an honeft man, I have no enemy that I know, 
either in Jidda or elfewhere, nor do I owe any man any 
thing." — " I am lure, fays he, I am doing wrong, in keeping 
a poor man Handing, who ought to be in his bed. Here!. 
Philip! Philip!" — Philip appeared. "Boy, fays he, in Portu- 
guefe, which, as I imagine, he fuppofed I did not under- 
Hand; here is a poor Englishman, that fliould be either in 
his bed or his grave ; carry him to the cook, tell him to give 
him as much broth and mutton as he can eat ; the fellow 
feems to have been ftarved, but I would rather have the 
feeding of ten to India, than the burying of one at Jidda." 

Philip de la Cruz was thefon of a Portuguefe lady, whom 
Captain Thornhill had married; a boy of great talents, and 
excellent difpofition, who carried me with great willingnefs 
to the cook. I made as aukward a bow as I could to Capt. 
Thornhill, and faid, " God will return this to your honour 
fome day." Philip carried me into a court-yard, where they 
ufed to expofe the famples of their India goods in large 
bales. It had a portico along the left-hand fide of it, which 
feemed deiigned for a liable. To this place I was introduced, 
and thither the cook brought me my dinner. Several of 
the Erglifh from the veffels, lafcars, and others, came in to 
look at me ; and I heard it, in general, agreed among them s 
that I was a very thief-like fellow, and certainly a Turk, 
and d- — n them if they iliould like to fall into my hands. 

I fell fail alleep upon the mat, while Philip was order- 
ing me another apartment. In the mean time, fome of 
my people had followed the baggage to the Cuftom-houfe r 
and fome of them ilaid on board the boat, to prevent the 

3. pilfering 


p ; lfering of what was left. The keys had remained with 
me, and the Vizir had gone to fleep, as is ufual, about mid- 
day. As foon as he awaked, being greedy of his prey, he 
fell immediately to my baggage, wondering that fuch a 
quantity of it, and that boxes in fuch a curious form, mould 
belong to a mean man like me; he was therefore full of 
hopes, that a fine opportunity for pillage was now at hand. 
He afked for the keysof the trunks, my fervant laid, they 
were with me, but he would go inftantly and bring them. 
That, however, was too long to flay; no delay could pofli- 
bly be granted. Accuftomed to pilfer, they did not force 
the locks, but, very artift like, took off the hinges at the 
back, and in that manner opened the lids, without opening 
the locks. 

The firfl thing that prefented itfelf to the Vizir's fight, 
was the firman of the Grand Signior, magnificently written 
and titled, and the inscription powdered with gold duft, and 
wrapped in green taffeta. After this was a white fattin bag, 
addreffed to the Khan of Tartary, with which Mr Peyfibnel, 
French conful of Smyrna, had favoured me, and which I had 
not delivered, as. the Khan was then prifoner at Rhodes. The 
next was a green and gold fills, bag, with letters directed to 
the Sherriffe of Mecca ; and then came a plain crimfon-fattin 
bag, with letters addreffed to Metical Aga, fword- bearer (or 
Selictar, as it is called) of the Sherriffe, or his great minifler 
and favourite. He then found a letter from Aii Bey to him- 
felf, written with all the Superiority of a Prince to a flave. 

In this letter the Bey tokl him plainly, that he heard the 
governments of Jidda, Mecca, and other States of the Sher- 
rifle, were diforderly, and that merchants, corning about 



their lawful buiinefs, were plundered, terrified, and detain- 
ed. He therefore intimated to him, that if any fuch thing 
happened to me, he mould not write or complain, but he 
would fend and punifh the affront at the very gates of Mec- 
ca. This was very unpleafant language to the Vizir, be- 
caufe it was now publicly known, that Mahomet Bey Abou 
Dahab was preparing next year to inarch againft Mecca, 
for fome offence the Bey had taken at the SherrifFe. There 
was alfo another letter to him from Ibrahim Sikakeen, 
chief of the merchants at Cairo, ordering him to furnifli me 
with a thoufand fequins for my prefent ufe, and, if more 
were needed, to take my bill. 

These contents of the trunk were fo unexpected, that Ca- 
bil the Vizir thought he had gone too far, and called my 
fervant in a violent hurry, upbraiding him, for not telling 
who I was. The fervant defended himfelf, by faying, that 
neither he, nor his people about him, would fo much as re- 
gard a word that he fpoke ; and the cadi of Medina's prin- 
cipal fervant, who had come with the wheat, told the Vizir 
plainly to his face, that he had given him warning enough, 
if his pride would have fuffered him to hear it. 

All was now wrong, my fervant was ordered to nail up 
the hinges, but he declared it would be the lafl action of 
his life ; that nobody opened baggage that way, but with 
intention of ftealing, when the keys could be got ; and, 
as there were many rich things in the trunk, intended as 
prefents to the SherrifFe, and Metical Aga, which might 
have been taken out, by the hinges being forced off before 
he came, he warned his hands of the whole procedure, but 

Vol. I. Mm knew 



knew his mailer would complain, and loudly too, and would 
be heard both at Cairo and Jidda. The Vizir took his refo- 
lution in a moment like a man. He -nailed .up the baggage, 
ordered, his horfe to be brought, and attended by a num- 
ber of naked blackguards (whom they call foldiers) he came 
down to the Bengal houfe, on which the whole factory took, 

About twenty-fix years before, the EngliiK traders from 
India, to Jidda, fourteen in number, were all murdered, fit- 
ting at dinner, by a mutiny of thefe wild people. The houfe 
has, ever fince, lain in ruins, having been pulled down and* 
forbidden to be rebuilt. 

Great inquiry was made after the EnglifK nobleman,, 
whom nobody had feen; but it was faid that one of his 
fervants was there in the Bengal houfe ; I was fitting drink- 
ing coffee on the mat, when the Vizir's horfe came, and : 
the whole court was filled. One of the clerks of the cuf- 
tom-houfe afked me where my mailer was? I faid, " In 
heaven." The Emir Bahar's fervant now brought forward 
the Vizir to me, who had not difmounted himfelf. He re- 
peated the fame queftion, where my mailer was ?— - 1 told 
him, I did not know the purport of his -queftion, that I was 
the perfon to whom the baggage belonged, which he had 
taken to the cuftom-houfe, and that it was in my favour the 
Grand Signior and Bey, had written. He feemed very much 
furprifed, and aiked me how I could appear in fuch a drcfs? 
- — " You cannot aikthat feriouily, faid I ; I believe no pru- 
dent man would drefs better, confidering the voyage I 
have made., But, befides, you did not leave it in my power, 



as every article, but what I have on me, has been thefe four 
hours at the cuftom-houfe, waiting your pleafure." 

We then went all up to our kind landlord, Captain 
Thornhill, to whom I made my excufe, on acount of the ill 
lifage I had flrfl met with from my own relation. He laugh^ 
ed very heartily at the narrative, and from that time we 
lived in the greateft friendfhip and confidence. All was 
made up, even with Youfef Cabil ; and all heads were em- 
ployed to get the ftrongefl letters pollible to the Naybe of 
Mafuah, the king of Abymnia, Michael Suhul the miniHer, 
and the king of Sennaar, 

Meticax Aga, great friend and protestor of the Engliih 
at Jidda, and in effect, we may £a.y, fold to ihem r for the great 
prefents and profits he received, was himfelf originally 
an Abyflinian Have, was the man of confidence, and directed 
the fale of the king's, and MichaeFs gold, ivory, civet, and 
fuch precious commodities, that are paid to them in kind- 
he furnifhed Michael, likewife, with returns in fire-arms * 
and this had enabled Michael to fubdue Abymnia, murder 
the king his mafter, and feat another on his throne. 

On the other hand, the Naybe of Mafuah, whofe ifland 
belonged to the Grand Signior, and was an appendage 
of the government of the Baiha of Jidda, had endea- 
voured to withdraw himfelf from his allegiance, and fet 
up for independency. He paid no tribute, nor could the 
Bafha,who had no troops, force him, as he was on the Abyf- 
fmian fide of the Red Sea. Metical Aga, however, and the 
Bafha, at lad agreed; the latter ceded to the former the 
ifland and territory of Mafuah, for a fixed furn annually ; 

M m 2 and 


and Metical Aga appointed Michael, governor of Tigre, re- 
ceiver of his rents. The Naybe no fooner found that 
he was to account to Michael, than he was glad to pay 
his tribute, and give prefents to the bargain ; for Tigre was 
the province from which he drew his fuftenance, and Mi- 
chael could have over-run his whole territory in eight days, 
which once, as we fhall fee hereafter, belonged to Abyffi* 
nia. Metical's power being then univerfally acknowledg- 
ed and known, the next thing was to get him to make ufe 
of it in my favour. 

We knew of how little avail the ordinary futile recom- 
mendations of letters were. We were veteran travellers, 
and knew the ftyle of the Eaft too well, to be duped by let- 
ters of mere civility. There is no people on the earth more 
perfectly polite in their correfpondence with one another, 
than are thofe of the Eafl ; but their civility means little 
more than the fame fort of expreffions do in Europe, to 
fhew you that the writer is a well-bred man. But this 
would by no means do in a journey fo long, fo dangerous, 
and fo ferious as mine,. 

We, therefore, fet about procuring effective letters, 
letters of bulinefs and engagement, between man and 
man ; and we all endeavoured to make Metical Aga a very 
good man, but no great head-piece, comprehend this per- 
fectly. My letters from Ali Bey opened the affair to him-, 
and firft commanded his attention. A very handfome pre* 
fent of piftols, which I brought him, inclined him in my 
favour, becaufe, as I was bearer of letters from his fuperiorj 
X might have declined beflowing any prefent upon him. 



The Englifh gentlemen joined their influence, powerful 
enough, to have accomplifhed a much greater end, as every- 
one of thefe have feparate friends for their own affairs, and 
all of them were defirous to befriend me. Added to thefe 
was a friend of mine, whom I had known at Aleppo, Ali 
Zimzimiah, /. e. ? keeper of the holy well at Mecca,' a poll of 
great dignity and honour. This man was a mathematician, 
and an aftronomer, according to their degree of knowledge 
in that fcience. 

All the letters were written in a ftyle fuch as I could 
have defired, but this did not fuffice in the mind of a very 
friendly and worthy man, who had taken an attachment 
to me fince my firft arrival. This was Captain Thomas 
Price, of the Lion of Bombay. He firfl propofed to Metical 
Aga, to fend a man of his own with me, together with the 
letters, and I do firmly believe, under Providence, it was to 
this laft meafure I owed my life. With this Captain Thorn- 
hill heartily concurred, and an AbyfTmian, called Mahomet 
Gibberti, was appointed to go with particular letters be- 
fides thofe I carried myfelf, and to be an eye-witnefs of my 
reception there. 

There was fome time necefTary for this man to make 
ready, and a confiderable part of the Arabian Gulf flill re- 
mained for me to explore. I prepared, therefore, to fet out 
from Jidda, after having made a confiderable flay in it. 

Of all the new things I yet had feen, what mofl aflonifh- 
ed me was the manner in which trade was carried on at 
this place. Nine fliips were there from India; fome of them 
worth, I fuppofe,,L. 200,000. One merchant, a Turk, living 



at Mecca, thirty hours journey off, where no Chriflian dares 
go, whilit the whole Continent is open to the Turk for 
efcape, offers to purchafe the cargoes of four out of nine of 
thefe mips himfelf ; another, of the fame caft, comes and 
fays, he will buy none, unlefs he has them all. The fam- 
ples are fhewn, and the cargoes of the whole nine fhips are 
carried into the wildelt part of Arabia, by men with whom 
one would not wifli to trufl himfelf alone in the field. This 
is not all, two India brokers come into the room to fettle the 
price. One on the part of the India captain, the other on 
that of the buyer the Turk. They are neither Mahometans 
nor Chriftians, but have credit with both. They fit down on 
the carpet, and take an India fhawl, which they carry on 
their moulder, like a napkin, and fpread it over their hands. 
They talk, in the mean time, indifferent converfation, of the 
arrival of fhips from India, or of the news of the day, as if 
they were employed in no ferious bufinefs whatever. After 
about twenty minutes fpent in handling each others fingers 
below the fhawl, the bargain is concluded, fay for nine fhips, 
without one word ever having been fpoken on the fubject, 
or pen or ink ufed in any fhape whatever. There never was 
one inftance of a difpute happening in thefe fales. 

But this is not yet all, the money is to be paid. A pri- 
vate Moor, who has nothing to fupport him but his cha- 
racter, becomes refponfible for the payment of thefe car- 
goes ; his name was Ibrahim Saraf when I was there, L e, 
Ibrahim the Broker. This man delivers a number of coarfe 
hempen bags, full of what is fuppofed to be money. He 
marks the contents upon the bag, and puts his feal upon 
the firing that ties the mouth of it. This is received for 
what is marked upon it, without any one ever having open- 



ed one of the bags, and, in India, it is current for the value- 
marked upon it, as long as the bag lafls. 

Jidda is very unwholefome, as is, indeed, all the eaft 
coaft of the Red Sea. Immediately without the gate of that 
town, to the eaftward, is a defert plain filled with the huts 
of the Bedoweens, or country Arabs, built of long bundles 
of fpartum, or bent grafs, put together like fafcines. Thefe 
Bedoweens fupply Jidda with milk and butter. There is 
no flirring out of town, even for a walk,unlefs for about 
half a mile, in the fouth fide by the fea, where there is a 
number of ftinking pools of ftagnant water, which contri- 
butes to make the town very unwholefome. 

Jidda, befides being in the moil unwholefome part of 
Arabia, is, at the fame time, in the moll barren and defert 
lituation. This, and many other inconveniencies, under 
which it labours, would, probably, have occafioned its being 
abandoned altogether, were it not for its vicinity to Mecca,.. 
and the great and fudden influx of wealth from the India 
trade, which, once a-year, arrives in this part, but does not 
continue, palling on, as through a turnpike, to Mecca ; 
whence it is difperfed all over the eaft. Very little advan- 
tage however accrues to Jidda. The cuftoms are all imme- 
diately fent to, a needy fovereign, and a hungry let of re- 
lations, dependents and minifters at Mecca. The gold is re- 
turned in bags and boxes, and panes on as rapidly to the 
mips as the goods do to the market, and leaves as little 
profit behind. In the mean time, provifions rife to a prodi- 
gious price, and this falls upon the townfmen, while all-: 
the profit of the traffic is in the hands of firangers ; moil of 
whom, after the market is over, (which does not lafl fix 



weeks) retire to Yemen, and other neighbouring countries, 
which abound in every fort of provifion. 

Upon this is founded the obfervation, that of all Maho- 
metan countries none are fo monogam as thofe of Jidda, 
and no where are there fo many unmarried women, altho' 
this is the country of their prophet, and the permiffion of 
marrying four wives was allowed in this diftrict in the firfl 
inflance, and afterwards communicated to all the tribes. 

But Mahomet, in his permiffion of plurality of wives, 
feems conftantly to have been on his guard, againft fuffer- 
ing that, which was intended for the welfare of his people, 
from operating in a different manner. He did not permit 
a man to marry two, three, or four wives, unlefs he could 
maintain them. He was interefted for the rights and rank 
of thefe women ; and the man fo marrying was obliged 
to fhew before the Cadi, or fome equivalent officer, or 
judge, that it was in his power to fupport them, according 
to their birth. It was not fo with concubines, with women 
who were purchafed, or who were taken in war. Every 
man enjoyed thefe at his pleafure, and their peril, that is, 
whether he was able to maintain them or not. 

From this great fcarcity of provifions, which is the re- 
mit of an extraordinary concourfe to a place ahnoft defti- 
tute of the neceffaries of life, few inhabitants of Jidda can 
avail themfelves of the privilege granted him by Mahomet. 
He therefore cannot marry more than one wife, becaufe he 
cannot maintain more, and from this caufe arifes the want 
of people, and the large number of unmarried women. 



When in Arabia Felix, where every fort of provifion is ex- 
ceedingly cheap, where the fruits of the ground, the gener- 
al food for man, are produced fpontaneoufly, the fupport- 
ing of a number of wives colls no more than fo many 
flaves or fervants ; their food is the fame, and a blue cotton 
fhirt, a habit common to them all, is |not more chargeable 
for the one than the other. The confequence is, that celi- 
bacy in women is prevented, and the number of people is 
increafed in a fourfold ratio by polygamy, to what it is in 
thofe that are monogamous. 

I know there are authors fond of fyllem, enemies to 
free inquiry, and blinded by prejudice, who contend that 
polygamy, without diftinction of circumflances, is detri- 
mental to the population of a country. The learned Dr 
Arbuthnot, in a paper addrefTed to the Royal Society*, has 
maintained this ftrange doctrine, in a llill llranger manner. 
He lays it down, as his firft position, that in femine mafculino 
of our firft parent Adam, there was imprelfed an original 
neceility of procreating, ever after, an equal number of 
males and females. The manner he proves this, has received 
great incenfe from the vulgar, as containing un unanswer- 
able argument. He fhews, by the calling of three dice, 
that the chances are almoll infinite, that an equal number 
of males and females mould not be born in any year ; and 
he pretends to prove, that every year in twenty, as taken 
from the bills of mortality, the fame number of males and 
females have conllantly been produced, or at leall a greater 
proportion of men than of women, to make up for the ha- 

Vol. I. N n vock 

* Philofopk Tranfaft. Vol. 27. p. 186. 


vock occasioned by war, murder, drunkennefs, and all fpe- 
cies of violence to which women are not fubject, 

I need not fay, that this, at leaft, fufficiently fhews the* 
weaknefs of the argument. . For, if the equal proportion had 
been in fcmine mafculino of our firft- parent, the confequence 
muft have been, that male and female would have been in- 
variably born, from the creation to the end of all things. 
And it is a fuppofition very unworthy of the wifdom of God, 
that, at the creation of man, he could make an allowance 
for any deviation that was to happen, from crimes, againit 
the commiffion of which his poiitive precepts ran. Weak 
as this is, it is not the weakeil part of this artificial argu- 
ment, which, like the web, of a fpider too finely woven, 
whatever part you. touch it on, the whole falls to pieces. . 

After taking it for granted, that he has proved the equa- 
lity of the two fexes in number, from the bills of mortality 
in London, he next fuppofes, as a confequence, that all the 
world is in the fame predicament ;. that is, that an equal 
number of males and females is produced every where. 
Why Dr Arbuthnot, an eminent phyfician (which furely 
implies an informed naturalifl) mould imagine that this 
inference would hold, is what I am not able to account for, 
lie mould know, let us fay, in the countries of the eaft, that 
fruits, flowers, trees, birds, fifh, every blade of grafs, is com- 
monly different, and that man, in his appearance, diet, ex- 
ercife, pleafure, government, and religion, is as widely dif- 
ferent ; why he fhould found the iffue of anAfiatic, how- 
ever, upon the bills of mortality in London, is to the full as , 
abfurd as to affert, that they do not wear either beard or, 
whifkers in Syria, becaufe that is not the cafe in London. 

I AM. 


I am well aware, that it maybe urged by thofe who per- 
mit themfelves to fay every thing, becaufe they are not at 
pains to confider any thing, that the courfe of my argument 
w il lead to a defence of polygamy in general, the fuppofed 
doctrine of the Thelypthora*. Such refledtions as thefe, 
unlefs introduced for merriment, are below my animadver- 
fion ; all I mall fay on that topic is, that they who find en* 
couragement to polygamy in Mr Madan's book, the Thelyp- 
thora, have read it with a much more acute perception than 
perhaps I have done ; and I ihall be very much miftaken, 
if polygamy increafes in England upon the principles laid 
down in the Thelypthora. 

England, fays Dr Arbuthnot, enjoys an equality of both 
fexes, and, if it is not fo, the inequality is fo imperceptible, 
that no inconvenience has yet followed. What we have 
now to inquire is, ^Vnether other nations, or the majority 
of them, are in the fame fituation ? For, if we are to decide 
by this, and if we mould happen to find, that, in other 
countries, there are invariably born three women to one 
man, the conclufion, in regard to that country, mull be, that 
three women to one man was the proportion of one fex to 
the other, imprefied at the creation injenune of our firft parent. 

I contess I am not fond of meddling with the globe 
he/ore the deluge. But as learned men feem inclined to think 
that Ararat and Euphrates are the mountain and river of 
antediluvian times, and that Mefopotamia, or Diarbekir, is 
the ancient fituation of the terref trial paradife, I cannot give 

N n 2 Br 

* A late publication of Dr Ivkdan's, little underflood, as it would feem. 


Dr Arbuthnot's argument fairer play*, than to tranfport my- 
felf thither ; and, in the fame fpot where the neceffity was 
impofed of male and female being produced in equal num- 
bers, inquire how that cafe Hands now. The pretence that 
climates and times may have changed, the proportion can- 
not be admitted, fince it has been taken for granted, that it 
exifls in the bills of mortality in London, and governs them to 
this day ; and, iince it was founded on neceffity, which muft 
be eternaL 

Now, from a diligent inquiry into the fouth, and fcrip- 
ture-part of Mefopotamia, Armenia, and Syria, from Mouful 
(or Nineveh) to Aleppo and Antioch, I find the proportion to 
be fully two women born to one man. There is indeed a 
fraction over, but not a confiderable one. From Latikea, 
Laodicea ad mare, down the coaft of Syria to Sidon, the num- 
ber is very nearly three, or two and three-fourths to one man. 
Through the Holy Land, the country called Horan^ in the 
Ifthmus of Suez, and the parts of the Delta, unfrequented 
by ftrangers, it is fomething lefs than three. But, from 
Suez to the flraits of Babelmandeb, which contains the three 
Arabias, the portion is fully four women to one man, which, 
I have reafon to believe, holds as far as the Line, and 30° 
beyond it. 

Th e Imam of Sana * was not an old man when I was in 
Arabia Felix in 1769; but he had 88 children then alive, o£ 
whom 14 only were fons. — The prieft of the Nile had 70 and 


* Sovereign of Arabia Felix, whofe capital is Sand, 


odd children; of whom, as I remember, above 50 were 

It may be objected, that Dr Arbuthnot, in quoting the 
bills of mortality for twenty years, gave molt unexception- 
able grounds for his opinion, and that my fmgle aflertion 
of what happens in a foreign country, without further foun- 
dation, cannot be admitted as equivalent teflimony ; and I 
am ready to admit this objection, as bills of mortality there 
are none in any of thefe countries. I mall therefore fay in 
what manner I attained the knowledge which I have juft 
mentioned. Whenever I went into a town, village, or in- 
habited place, dwelt long in a mountain, or travelled jour- 
nies with any fet of people, I always made it my bufmefs 
to inquire how many children they had, or their fathers, 
their next neighbours, or acquaintance. This not being a 
captious queftion, or what any one would fcruple to an- 
fwer, there was no intereft to deceive ; and if it had been 
poflible, that two or three had been fo wrong-headed among: 
the whole, it would have been of little confequence. 

I then afked my landlord at Sidon, (fuppofe him a wea- 
ver,) how many children he has had ? He tells me how 
many fons, and how many daughters. The next I alk is zu- 
fmith, a tailor, a filk-gatherer, the Cadi of the place, a cow- 
herd, a hunter, a nfher, in fhort every man that is not a 
ftranger, from whom I can get proper information. I fay,, 
therefore, that a medium of both fexes ariiing from three 
or four hundred families indiscriminately taken, mall be 
the proportion in which one differs from the other ; and 
this, I am confident, will give the refult to be three women 



to one man in 50 out of the 90 under every meridian of 
the globe. 

Without giving Mahomet all the credit for abilities 
that fome have done, we may furely fuppofe him to know 
what happened in his own family, where he mull have 
fecn this great difproportion of four women born to one 
man ; and from the obvious confequences, we are not to 
wonder that one of his firfl cares, when a legiflator, was 
to rectify it, as it llruck at the very root of his empire, 
power, and religion, With this view, he enacted, or rather 
revived, the law which gave liberty to every individual to 
marry four wives, each of whom was to be equal in rank 
and honour, without any preference but what the predilec- 
tion of the hufband gave her. By this he fecured civil 
rights to each woman, and procured a means of doing a- 
way that reproach, of. dying without ijfue, to which the minds 
of the whole fex have always been fenfible, whatever their 
religion was, or from whatever part of the world they 

Many, who are not converfant with Arabian hiftory, have 
imagined, that this permifiion of a plurality of wives was 
given in favour of men, and have taxed one of the moft 
political, mcejfary meafures, of that legiflator, arifing from mo- 
tives merely civil, with a tendency to encourage lewdnefs, 
from which it was very far diftant. But, if they had con- 
fidered that the Mahometan law allows divorce without 
any caufe ajjlgned, and that, every day at the pleafure of the 
man ; befides, that it permits him as many concubines as he 
can maintain, buy with money, take in war, or gain by the 
.ordinary means of addrefs and iblicitations, — they will think 



fuch a man was before fufficiently provided, and that there 
was not the leaft reafon for allowing him to marry four 
wives at a time, when he was already at liberty to marry a^ 
new one every day. 

DrArbuthnot lays it down as a felf-evident pofition- 
that four women will have more children by four men, 
than the fame four women would have by one. This affer- 
tion may very well be difputed, but ftill it is not in point. 
For the queftion with regard to Arabia, and to a great part 
of the world befides, is, Whether or not four women and 
one man, married, or cohabiting at difcretion, fhall produce 
more children, than four women and one man who is de^- 
barred from cohabiting with any but one of the four, the 
others dying unmarried without the knowledge of man ? 
or, in other words, Which fhall have moil children, one man 
and one woman, or one man and four women? This 
queftion I think needs no difcuffion. 

Let us now coniider, if there is any further reafon why 
England mould not be brought as an example, which Ara- 
bia, or the Eaft in general, are to -follow. 

Women in England are commonly capable of child-bear-- 
Ihg at fourteen, let the other term be forty-eight, when they 
bear no more ; thirty- four years, therefore, an Englifh wo- 
man bears children. At the age of fourteen or fifteen they 
are objects of our love; they are endeared by bearing us 
children after that time, and none I hope will pretend,, that, , 
at forty-eight and fifty, an Engliih woman is not an agree- 
able companion. Perhaps the lall years, to thinking minds, , 
are fully more agreeable than the firft. We grow old toge- 



ther, we have a near profpect of dying together; nothing can 
prefent a more agreeable picture of focial life, than mono- 
gamy in England. 

The Arab, on the other hand, if fhe begins to bear chil- 
dren at eleven, feldom or never has a child after twenty. 
The time then of her child-bearing is nine years, and four 
women, taken altogether, have then the term of thirty-fix. So 
that the Englifh woman that bears children for thirty-four 
years, has only two years lefs than the term enjoyed by the 
four wives whom Mahomet has allowed; and if it be grant- 
ed an Englifh wife may bear at fifty, the terms are equal. 

But there are other grievous differences. An Arabian 
girl, at eleven years old, by her youth and beauty, is the ob- 
ject of man's defire ; being an infant, however, in under- 
ftanding, fhe is not a rational companion for him. A man 
marries there, fay at twenty, and before he is thirty, his wife, 
improved as a companion, ceafes to be an object of his de- 
fires, and a mother of children ; fo that all the beft, and 
mofl vigorous of his days, are fpent with a woman he can- 
not love, and with her he w r ould be deflined to live forty, 
or forty-five years, without comfort to himfelf by increafe of 
family, or utility to the public. 

The reafons, then, againfl: polygamy, which fubfifl in 
England, do not by any means fubfift in Arabia ; and that 
being the cafe, it would be unworthy of the wifdom of God, 
and an unevennefs in his ways, which we fhall never fee, 
to f abject two nations, under fuch different circumflances, 
abfolutely to the fame obfervances. 

I consider 



I consider the prophecy concerning Ifhmael, and his des- 
cendants the Arabs, as one of the moft extraordinary that 
we meet with in the Old Teflament. It was alfo one of the 
earlieft made, and proceeded upon grounds of private repa- 
ration. Hagar had not finned, though flie had fled from 
Sarah with Ifhmael' her fon into the wildernefs. In that 
defert there were then no inhabitants, and though Ifli- 
mael's * fucceflion was incompatible with God's promife to 
Abraham and his fon Ifaac, yet neither Hagar nor he ha- 
ving finned, juftice required a reparation for the heritage 
which he had loft. God gave him that very wildernefs 
which before was the property of no man, in which Ifh- 
mael was' to erecl: a kingdom under the moft improbable 
circumftances poflible to be imagined. His f hand was to 
be againft every man, and every man's hand againft him. 
By his fword he was to live, and pitch his tent in the face of 
his brethren. 

Never has prophecy been fo completely fulfilled. It fub- 
fifted from the earlieft ages ; it was verified before the time 
of Mofes ; in the time of David and Solomon ; it fubfifted in 
the time of Alexander and that of Auguftus Csefar ; it fubfift- 
ed in the time of Juftinian, — all very diftant, unconnected 
periods ; and I appeal to the evidence of mankind, if, with- 
out apparent fupport or necemty, but what it has derived 
from God's promife only, it is not in full vigour at this very 
day. This prophecy alone, in the truth of which all forts of 

Vol. I. Oo religions 

* Gen. xv. \% f Gen.-xvi. i-a. 




religions agree, is therefore of itfelf a fufficient proof, with* 
out other, of the Divine authority of the fcripture. 

Mahomet prohibited all pork and wine ; two articles 
which muft have been, before, very little ufed in Arabia. 
Grapes, here, grow in the mountains of Yemen, but never 
arrive at maturity enough for wine*. They bring them 
down for this purpofe to Loheia, and there the heat of the 
climate turns the wine four before they can clear it of its faeces, 
fo as to make it drinkable ; and we know that, before the* 
appearance of Mahomet, Arabia was never a wine country. 
As for fwine, I never heard of them in the peninfula of 
Arabia, (unlefs perhaps wild in the woods about Sana, ) and; 
it was from early times inhabited by Jews before the com- 
ing of Mahomet. The only people therefore that ate fwine's, 
fiefh muft have been Chriftians., and they were a feci; of lit-. 
tic account. Many of thefe, moreover, do not eat pork yet 9 
but all of them were opprefTed and defpifed every- where, 
and there was no inducement for any other people to imi- 
tate them,. 

Mahomet then prohibiting only what was merely neu- 
iral, or indifferent to the Arabs, indulged them in that to> 
which he knew they were prone. 

At the feveral converfations I had with the Englifh men* 
€hants at Jidda, they complained grievoufly of the manner 
in which they were oppreiTed by the merriffe of Mecca and 
his officers. The duties and fees were increafed every voyage ; 
their privileges all taken away, and a mod deflructive mea- 
fiire introduced of forcing them to give prefents, which was 
©ajy an inducement to opprefs, that the gift might be the 
4 greater 


greater. I afked them if I mould obtain from the Bey of 
Cairo permiflion for their fliips to come down to Suez, whi- 
ther there were merchants in India who would venture 
to undertake that voyage ? Captain Thornhill promifed, 
for his part, that the very feafon after fuch permiflion 
mould arrive in India, he would difpatch his fhip the Ben- 
gal Merchant, under command of his mate Captain Greig, 
to whofe capacity and worth all his countrymen bore very 
ready teftimony, and of which I myfelf had formed a very 
good opinion, from the feveral converfations we had to- 
gether. This fcheme was concerted between me and Cap- 
tain Thornhill • only ; and tho' it muft be confefled it had 
the appearance of an airy one, (lince it was not to be at- 
tempted, till I had returned through Abyflinia and Nubia, 
againft which there were many thoufand chances,) it was 
executed, notwithflanding, in the very manner in which it 
had been planned, as will be after ftated. 

The kindnefs and attention of my 'countrymen did not 
leave me as long as I was on more. They all did me the 
honour to attend me to the water edge. If others have ex- 
perienced pride and prefumption, from gentlemen of the 
Eaft-Indies, I was molt happily exempted from even the ap- 
pearance of it at Jidda. Happy it would have been for me, 
if I had been more neglected.. 

All the quay of Jidda was lined with people to fee the 
Englilh falute, and along with my veiTel there parted, at the 
fame time, one bound to Mafuah, which carried Mahomet 
Abdel cader, Governor of Dahalac, over to his government.. 

O o 2. Dahalac 


Dahalac f is a large ifland, depending upon Mafuah, but 
which has a feparate firman, or commiflion, renewed every 
two years. This man was a Moor, a fervant of the Naybe 
of Mafuah, and he had been at Jidda to procure his firman 
from Metical Aga, while Mahomet Gibberti was to come 
with me, and was to bring it to the Naybe. This Abd el ca- 
der no fooner was arrived at Mafuah, than, following the turn 
of his country for lying, he fpread a report, that a great man, 
or prince, whom he left at Jidda, was coming fpeedily to 
Mafuah ; that he had brought great prefents to the SherrifFe 
and Metical Aga ; that, in return, he had received a large 
fum in gold from the SherrifFe's Vizir, Youfef Cabil; befides 
as much as he pleafed from the Englifh, who had done 
nothing but feaft and regale him for the feveral months he 
had been at Jidda; and that, when he departed, as this great 
man was now going to vifit the Imam in Arabia Felix, all 
the Englifh fhips hoifled their colours, and fired their can- 
non from morning to night, for three days fucceflively, 
which was two days after he had failed, and therefore what 
he could not poffibly have feen. The confequence of all 
this was, the Naybe of Mafuah expected that a man with 
immenfe treafures was coming to put himfelf into bis hands. 
I look therefore upon the danger I efcaped there as fuperior 
,to all thofe put together, that I have ever been expofed to : 
of fuch material and bad confequence is the mofl contemp- 
tible of all weapons, the tongue of a liar and a fool ! 


* The iflaud of the Shepherds. 


Jidda is in lat. 2 8° o' 1" north, and in long. 39 16' 45" 
eafl of the meridian of Greenwich. Our weather there had 
few changes. The general wind was north- weft, or more 
northerly. This blowing along the direction of the Gulf 
brought a great deal of damp along with it ; and this damp 
increafes as the feafon advances. Once in twelve or four- 
teen days, perhaps, we had a fouth wind, which was always 
dry. The higheft degree of the barometer at Jidda, on the 
5th of June, wind north, was 26 6\ and the loweft on the 
1 8th of fame month, wind north- well, was 25 7'. The 
•higheft degree of the thermometer was 97 on the 12th of 
julv, wind north, the loweft was 78 wind north. 

Sfe ™ ' ' „ ' ..' , ■ " r '& # 





• ■' .' ■ . . , - 

Sails from Jidda- — Konfodah — Ras Heli boundary of Arabia Felix— 

Arrives at Loheia — Proceeds to the Straits of the Indian Ocean , . Ar- 

rives there — Returns by Azab to Loheia. 

IT was on the 8th of July 1769 I failed from the harbour 
of Jidda on board the fame veffel as before, and I fuffer- 
ed the Rais to take a fmall loading for his own account, up- 
on condition that he was to carry no pafiengers. The wind 
was fair, and we failed through the Englifh fleet at their 
anchors. As they had all honoured me with their regret at: 
parting, and accompanied me to the ihore, the Rais was fur- 
prifed to fee the refpecl paid to his little veffel as it paffed 
under their huge fterns, every one hoifting his colours, and 
fainting it with eleven guns, except the ihip belonging to 
my Scotch friend, who fhewed his colours, indeed, but did 
not fire a gun, only Handing upon deck, cried with the 

trumpet, " Captain wifhes Mr Bruce a good voyage." 

I flood upon deck, took: my trumpet, and anfwered, " Mr 

Bruce wifhes Captain a fpeedy and perfect return of 

his underltanding ;' r a wifh,. poor man, that has not yet 
been accomplifhed, and very much to my regret, it does not 
appear probable that ever it will.. That night having pair- 


ed a duller of fhoals, called the Shoals of Safia, we anchor- 
ed in a fmall bay, Merfa Gedan, about twelve leagues from 
the harbour of Jidda. 

The 9th of July, we paned another fmall road called 
Goofs, and at a quarter pall nine, Raghwan, eall north-eall 
two miles, and, at a quarter pall ten, the fmall Port of Sodi, 
bearing eall north-eall, at the fame dillance. At one and 
three quarters we palled Markat, two miles dillant nonh- 
ead by eall ; and a rock called Numan, two miles dillant to the 
fouth-weft. After this the mountain of Somma, and, at a 
quarter pall fix, we anchored in a fmall unfafe harbour, 
called Merfa Brabim, of which we had feen a very rough and 
incorrect delign in the hands of the gentlemen at Jidda. 
I have endeavoured, with that draught before me, to cor- 
rect it fo far that it may now be depended upon. 

The 10th, we failed, at five o'clock in the morning, with 
little wind, our courfe fouth and by well ; I fuppofe we were 
then going fome thing lefs than two knots an hour. At 
half after feven we palled the illand Abeled, and two other 
fmall mountains that bore about a league fouth-well and 
by well of us. The wind frelhened as it approached mid- 
day, fo that at one o'clock we went full three knots an hour, 
being obliged to change our courfe according to the lying 
of the illands. It came to be about fouth fouth-ealt in the 
end of the day. 

At a quarter after one, we paned Ras el Alkar, meaning 
the Cape of the Soldiers, or of the Army. Here we faw fome 
trees, and, at a confiderable dillance within the Main, moun- 
tains to the north-eall of us. At two o'clock we paned in 

2 .the 


the middle channel, between five fandy iflands,. air covered 
with kelp, three on the eaft or right hand, and two on the 
weft. They are called Gtnnan elAbiad, or. the White Gardens, 
I fuppofe from the green herb growing upon the white 
fand. At half after two, with the fame wind, we paffed an : 
ifland bearing eaft from us, the Main about a league dif-. 
tant. At three we paffed clofe to an ifland bearing fouth- 
weft of us, about a mile off. It is of a moderate height, 
and is called Jibbel Surreine. At half paft four our courfe was : 
fouth-eaft and by fouth; we paffed two iflands. to the fouth-. 
eaft of us, at two miles, and a fmaller, weft, fouth-weft a 
quarter of a mile diftant. From, this to the Main will be, 
about five miles, or fomething more. At fifty -.minutes after* 
four, came up to an ifland which reached to Konfodah. We 
faw to the weft, and weft fouth-weft of us, different fmall 
iflands, not more than half a. mile, diftant. We heaved the 
line, and had no foundings at thirty-two fathom, yet, if 
any where, I thought there we were to find fhoal water. At 
five o'clock, our courfe being fouth-eaft and by fouth, we 
paffed an ifland a quarter' of a mile to the weft of us, and- 
afterwards a number of others in a row; and, at half paft: 
eight, we arrived at an anchoring-place, but which cannot 
be called a harbour, named Merfa Hadou,., 

The nth, we left Merfa Hadou at four o'clock in the 
morning. Being calm, we made little way; our courfe 
was fouth fouth-eaft, which changed to a little more eaft- 
erly. At fix, we tacked to ftand in for Konfodah harbour, 
which is very remarkable for a high mountain behind it, 
whofe top is terminated by a pyramid or cone of very regu* 
lar proportion. There was no wind to carry us in; we 
hoifted out the boat which I had bought at Jidda for my 

2 pleafure 


pleafure and fafety, intending it to be a prefent to my Rais 
at parting, as he very well knew. At a quarter pall eight, 
we were towed to our anchorage in the harbour of Kon- 

Konfodah means the town of the hedge-hog*. It is afmall 
village, confifting of about two hundred miferable houfes, 
built with green wood, and covered with mats, made of the 
doom, or palm-tree ; lying on a bay, or rather a mallow bafon, 
in a defert wafte or plain. Behind the town are fmall hil- 
locks of white fand. Nothing grows on ihore excepting 
kelp, but it is exceedingly beautiful, and very luxuriant ; 
farther in, there are gardens. Fifh is in perfect plenty ; but- 
ter and milk in great abundance; even the defert looks 
freflier than other deferts, which made me imagine that 
rain fell fometimes here, and this the Emir told me was the 

Although I made a draught of the port,, it is not worth 
the publifhing. For though in all probability it was once 
deep, fafe, and convenient, yet there is nothing now but a 
kind of road, under fhelter of a point, or ridge of land, which 
rounds out into the fea, and ends in a Cape, called Ras Mo- 
zeffia. Behind the town there is another fmall Cape, upon 
which there are three guns mounted, but with what in- 
tention it was not pollible to guefs. 

The Emir Ferhan, governor of the town, was an Abyffi- 

nian Have, who invited me on more, and we dined together 

Vol. I. P p on 

* Or Porcupine. j 


on very excellent provision, drefled according to their cuf- 
tom. He faid the country near the fhore was defert, bu* 
a little within land, or where the roots and gravel had fix- 
ed the fand, the foil produced every thing, efpecially if they 
had any mowers of rain. It was fo long fmce I had heard 
mention of a Ihower of rain, that I could not help laughing, 
and he feemed to think that he had faid fomething wrong, 
and begged fo politely to know what I laughed at, that I 
was obliged to confefs. " The reafon, faid I, Sir, is an ab- 
furd one. What pafled in my mind at that time was, that 
1 had travelled about two thoufand miles, and above twelve 
months, and had neither feen nor heard of xjhower of rain 
till now, and though you will perceive by my converfation 
that I underfland your language well, for a ftranger, yet t 
declare to you, the moment you fpoke it, had you afked, 
what was the Arabic for a Ihower of rain, I could not have 
told you. I declare to you, upon my word, it was that 
which I laughed at, and upon no other account what- 
ever." " You are going, fays he, to countries where you 
will have rain and wind, fufhciently cold, and where the 
water in the mountains is harder than the dry land, and 
people Hand upon it * We have only the remnant of 
their fhowers, and it is to that we. owe our greateft happi- 

I was very much pleafed with his converfation. He 
feemed to be near fifty years of age, was exceedingly well 
drefled, had neither gun nor piftol about him, not even a 


5 Yemen, or the high land of Arabia Felix, where water freezes, 



knife, nor an Arab fervant armed, though they were all 
well dreiled ; but he had in his court-yard about threefcore 
of the finefl horfes I had for a long time feen. We dined 
juft oppofite to them, in a fmall faloon ftrowed with India 
carpets ; the walls were covered with white tiles, which I 
fuppofe he had got from India ; yet his houfe, without, was 
a very common one, diftinguifhed only from the reft in the 
village by its fize. 

• He feemed to have a more rational knowledge of things* 
and fpoke more elegantly than any man I had converfed 
with in Arabia. He faid he had loft the only feven fons he 
had, in one month, by the fmall-pox : And when I at- 
tempted to go away, he wiflied I would ftay with him fome 
time, and faid, that I had better take up my lodgings in 
his houfe, than go on board the boat that night, where I 
was not perfectly in fafety. On my feeming furprifed at 
this, he told me, that laft year, a veilel from Mafcatte, on the 
Indian Ocean, had quarrelled with his people ; that they 
had fought on the more, and feveral of the crew had been 
killed ; that they had obftinately cruized in the neighbour- 
hood, in hopes of reprifals, till, by the change of the mon- 
foon, they had loft their pafTage home, and fo were necef- 
farily confined to the Red Sea for fix months afterwards ; he 
added, they had four guns, which they called patareroes, 
and that they would certainly cut us off, as they could not 
mifs to fall in with us. This was the very'worft news that 
I had ever heard, as to what might happen at fea. Before 
this, we thought all ftrangers were our friends, and only 
feared the natives of the coaft for enemies ; now, upon a 
bare defencelefs more, we found ourfelves likely to be a 
prey to both natives and ftrangers. 

P p 2 Oun 


Our Rais, above all, was feized with a panic ; his country 
was jufl adjoining to Mafcatte upon the Indian Ocean, and 
they were generally at war. He faid he knew well who 
they were, that there was no country kept in better order 
than Mafcatte ; but that thefe were a fet of pirates, belong- 
ing to the Bahareen ; that their veflels were ftout, full of 
men, who carried incenfe to Jidda, and up as far as Mada- 
gafcar ; that they feared no man, and loved no man, only 
were true to their employers for the time. He imagined (I 
fuppofe it was but imagination,) that he had feen a veilel in 
the morning, (a lug-fail vefTel, as the pirate was defcribed to 
be,) and it was with difficulty we could prevail on the Rais not 
to fail back to Jidda. I took my leave of the Emir to return 
to my tent, to hold a confultation what was to be done. 

Kontodah is in the Iat. 19 7' North. It is one of the 
moll unwholefome parts on the Red Sea,provifion is very dear 
and bad, and the water, (contrary to what the Emir had 
told me) execrable. Goats flefh is the only meat, and that 
very dear and lean. The anchorage, from the caftle, bears 
north-weft a quarter of a mile diftant, from ten to feveri 
fathoms, in fand and mud- 

On the 14th, our Rais, more afraid of dying by a fever 
than by the hands of the pirates, confented willingly to put 
to fca. The Emir's good dinners had not extended to the 
boat's crew, and they had been upon fhort commons. The 
Rais's fever had returned fmce he left Jidda, and I gave him 
lbme dofes of bark, after which he foon recovered. But he 
was always complaining of hunger, which the black flelh 
of an old goat, the Emir had given us, did not fatisfy. 



We failed at fix o'clock in the morning, having firft, by- 
way of precaution, thrown all our ballaft over-board, that 
we might run into fhoal water upon the appearance of the 
-enemy. We kept a good look-out toward the horizon all 
around us, efpecially when we failed in the morning. I ob- 
served we became all fearlefs, and bold, about noon; but to- 
wards night the panic again feized us, like children that 
are afraid of ghofts ; though at that time we might have 
been fure that all ftranger veJTels were at anchor. 

We had little wind, and paned between various rocks to 
the weftward, continuing our courfe S. S. E. nearly, fome- 
what more eafterly, and about three miles diftant from the 
fhore. At four o'clock, noon, we paned Jibbel Sabeia, a 
fandy ifland, larger than the others, but no higher. To 
this ifland the Arabs of Ras Heli fend their wives and chil- 
dren in time of war; none of the reft are inhabited. At five 
we paned Ras Heli, which is the boundary between Yemen, 
or Arabia Felix, and the* Hejaz, or province of Mecca, the 
firft belonging to the Imam, or king of Sana, the other to 
the SherriiFe lately fpoken of. 

I desired my Rais to anchor this night clofe under the 
Cape, as it was perfectly calm and clear, and, by taking a 
mean of five obfervations of the paiFage of fo many ftars, the 
moil proper for the purpofe, over the meridian, I determined 
the latitude of Ras Heli, and confequently the boundary of 


* Arabia- Deferta* 


the two ftates, Hejaz and Yemen, or Arabia Felix and Arabia 
Deferta, to be 1 8° 36' north. 

The mountains reach here nearer to the fea. We an- 
chored a mile from the more in 15 fathoms, the banks were 
fand and coral ; from this the coafl: is better inhabited. 
The principal Arabs to which the country belongs are Co- 
trufhi, Sebahi, Helali, Mauchlota, and Menjahi. Thefe are 
not Arabs by origin, but came from the oppofite coafl: near 
Azab, and were Shepherds, who were ftubborn enemies to 
Mahomet, but at laft converted ; they are black, and woolly- 
headed. The mountains and fmall iflands on the coafl:, far- 
ther inland to the eaftward, are in poflemon of the Habib. 
Thefe are white in colour, rebellious, or independent Arabs, 
who pay no fort of obedience to the Imam, or the Sherriffe 
of Mecca, but occafionally plunder the towns on the coaft. 

All the fandy defert at the foot of the mountains is call- 
ed Tehama, which extends to Mocha. But in the maps it is 
marked as a feparate country from Arabia Felix, whereas it 
is but the low part, or fea-coaft of it, and is not a feparate 
jurisdiction. It is called Tenia in fcripture, and derives its 
name from Taami in Arabic, which fignifies the fea-coafl. 
There is little water here, as it never rains ; there is alfo no 
animal but the gazel or antelope, and but a few of them. 
There are few birds, and thofe which may be found are ge- 
nerally mute. 

The 15th, we failed with little wind, coafling along the 
more, fometimes at two miles diftance, and often lefs. The 
mountains now feemed high. I founded feveral times, and 
found no ground at thirty fathoms, within a mile of the 



fhore. We patted feveral ports or harbours ; firft Merfa Amec, 
where there is good anchorage in eleven fathom of water, 
a mile and a half from the more ; at eight o'clock, No- 
houde, with an ifland of the fame name ; at ten, a harbour 
and village called Dahaban. As the fky was quite overcaft, 
I could get no obfervation, though I watched very attentive- 
ly. Dahaban is a large village, where there is both water 
and provifion, but I did not fee its harbour. It bore E. N. E. 
of us about three miles diflant. At three quarters pall 
eleven we came up to a high rock, called Kotumbal y and I 
lay to, for obfervation. It is of a dark-brown, approaching 
to red ; is about two miles from the Arabian more, and 
produces nothing. I found its latitude to be 17 £7' north. 
A fmall rock ftands up at one end of the bafe of the moun- 

We came to an anchor in the port of Sibt, where I went 
afhore under pretence of feeking provifions, but in reality 
to fee the country, and obferve what fort of people the in- 
habitants were. The mountains from Kotumbal ran in 
an even chain along the coaft, at no great diftance, but of 
fuch a height, that as yet we had feen nothing like them. 
Sibt is too mean, and too fmall to be called a village, even 
in Arabia. It confifts of about fifteen or twenty miferable 
huts, built of ftraw; around it there is a plantation of doom- 
trees, of the leaves of which they make mats and fails, 
which is the whole manufacture of the place.. 

Our Rais made many purchafes here. The Cotrujhi, the 
inhabitants of this village, feem to be as brutifh a people 
as any in the world. They are perfectly lean, but mufcu* 
Iar, and apparently itrong; they wear all their own hair, 

xi which 


which they divide upon the crown of their head. It is 
black and bufhy, and, although fufficiently long, feems to 
partake of the woolly quality of the Negro. Their head 
is bound round with a cord or fillet of the doom leaf, like 
the ancient diadem. The women are generally ill-favour- 
ed, and go naked like the men. Thofe that are married 
have, for the moll part, a rag about their middle, fome of 
them not that. Girls of all ages go quite naked, but 
feem not to be confcious of any impropriety in their ap- 
pearance. Their lips, eye-brows, and foreheads above the 
eye-brow, are all marked with flibium, or antimony, the 
common ornament of favages throughout the world. They 
feemed to be perfectly on an equality with the men, walk- 
ed, fat, and fmoked with them, contrary to the practice of 
all women among the Turks and Arabs. 

We found no provifions at Sibt, and the water very bad. 
We returned on board our vefTel at fun-fet, and anchored, 
in eleven fathom, little lefs than a mile from the more. 
About eight o'clock, two girls, not fifteen, fwam off from 
the fliore, and came on board. They wanted flibium for 
their eye-brows. As they had laboured fo hard for it, I gave 
them a fmall quantity, which they tied in a rag about their 
neck. I had killed three fharks this day ; one of them, very 
large, was lying on deck. I afkca them if they were not 
afraid of that fifh ? They faid, they knew it, but it would 
not hurt them, and defired us to eat it, for it was good, 
and made men flrong. There appeared no fymptoms of 
jealoufy among them. The harbour of Sibt is of a femi- 
circular form, fcreened between N. N. E. and S. S. W. but 
to the fouth; and fouth weft, it is expofed, and therefore is 
good only in fummer. 

4 The 


The 1 6th, at five in the morning, we failed from the port 
of Sibt, but, the wind being contrary, were obliged to fleer 
to the W. S. W. and it was not till nine o'clock we could 
relume our true courfe, which was fouth-eaft. At half 
pafl four in the afternoon the main bore feven miles eafl, 
when we pafled an ifland a quarter of a mile in length, 
called Jibbd Foran y the Mountain of Mice. It is of a rocky- 
quality, with fome trees on the fouth end, thence it rifes 
infeniibly, and ends in a precipice ori the north. At fix, 
we pafled the ifland * Derege, low and covered with grafs, 
but round like a fhield, which is the reafon of its name. 
At half pafl fix Ras Tarfa bore E. S. E. of us, diflant about 
two miles ; and at three quarters after fix we paffed feve- 
ral other iflands, the largefl of which is called Saraffer. It is 
covered with grafs, has fmall trees upon it, and, probably, 
therefore water, but is uninhabited. At nine in the even* 
•ing we anchored before Djezan. 

Djezan is in lat. 16 45' north, fituated on a cape, 
which forms one fide of a large bay. It is built, as are all 
the towns on the coaft, with flraw and mud. It was once 
a very confiderable place for trade, but finee coffee hath 
been fo much in demand, of which they have none, that 
commerce is moved to Loheia and Hodeida. It is an ufur- 
pation from the territory of the_ Imam, by a Sherriffe of the 
family of Beni HafTan, called Booarijh. The inhabitants are 
all Sherriffes, in other terms, troublefome, ignorant fanatics. 
Djezan is one of the towns mofl fubjecc %<o fevers. The 
Vol. I. Q^q Faren- 

* .Derege, from that v/orj in Hebrew. 


Farenteit*, or worm, is very frequent here. They have- 
great abundance of excellent fifh, and fruit in plenty, which 
is brought from the mountains, whence alfo they are fup- 
plied with very good water, 

The 17th, in the evening, we failed from Djezan; in the 
night we pafled feveral fmall villages called Dueime y which 
I found to be in lat. 16 12' 5" north. In the morning, be- 
ing three miles diflant from the more, we paiTed Cape Got 
ferah, which forms the north fide of a large Gulf. The 
mountains here are at no great diftance, but they are not 
high. The whole country feems perfectly bare and defert, 
without inhabitants. It is reported to be the mofl un whole- 
fome part of Arabia Felix. 

On the 18th, at feven in the morning, we firft difcovered 
the mountains, under which lies the town of Loheia. Thefe 
mountains bore north north-eaft of us, when anchored in 
three- fathom water, about five miles from the fhore. The 
bay is fo fhallow, and the tide being at ebb, we could get 
no nearer ; the town bore eaft north-eaft of us. Loheia is 
built upon the fouth-weft fide of a peninfula, furrounded 
every where, but on the eaft, by the fea. In the middle of 
this neck there is a fmall mountain which ferves for a for- 
trefs, and there are towers with cannon, which reach acrofs 
on each fide of the hill to the more. Beyond this is a plain 9 
where the Arabs intending to attack the town, generally 
aflemble. The ground upon which Loheia Hands is black 


*'It figaifies Pharaoh's warm. 


earth, and feems to have been formed by the retiring of the 
fea. At Loheia we had a very uneafy fenfation, a kind of 
prickling came into our legs, which were bare, occafion- 
ed by the fait effluvia, or fleams, from the earth, which all 
about the town, and further to the fouth, is ftrongly impreg- 
nated with that mineral. 

Fish, and butcher meat, and indeed all forts of provi- 
sion, are plentiful and reafonable at Loheia, but the water 
is bad. It is found in the fand at the foot of the mountains, 
down the fides of which it has fallen in the time of the rain, 
and is brought to the town in fkins upon camels. There is 
alfo plenty of fruit brought from the mountains by the 
Bedowe', who live in the fkirts of the town, and fupply it 
with milk, firewood, and fruit, chiefly grapes and bananas. 

The government of the Imam is much more gentle 
than any Moorifh government in Arabia or Africa; the 
people too are of gentler manners, the men, from early 
ages, being accuftomed to trade. The women at Loheia are 
as folicitous to pleafe as thofe of the moll polifhed nations 
in Europe ; and, though very retired, whether married or 
unmarried, they are not lefs careful of their drefs arid 
perfons. At home they wear nothing but a long fliift of 
fine cotton-cloth, fuitable to their quality. They dye their 
feet and hands with * henna, not only for ornament, but 
as an ailringent, to keep them dry from fweat : they 
wear their own hair, which is plaited, and falls in long tails 

Qjj 2 The 

I 1 11 -. -- - . I - j 1 II llll - ' 1- 

* Lrguflrum <*Egyptiacum Latifoliutn, 


The Arabians confider long and flraight hair as beauti* 
fiiL The Abymnians. prefer the fhort and curled. The 
Arabians perfume themfelves and . their fhifts with a com*- 
pofitidn of mulli, ambergreafe, incenfe, and benjoin, which 
they mix with, the fharp horny nails that are at the extre-r 
mity of the iim furrumbac ; but why. this ingredient is added 
I know not, as the fmell of it, when burnt, does not at all 
differ from that of horn. They put^all thefe ingredients into 
a. kind of cenfer on charcoal, and .Hand over the fmoke of 
it. The fmell is very agreeable; but, in Europe, it would; 
be a very, experuive. article of luxury,. 

The Arab women are not black, there are even fome ex- 
ceedingly fair. They are more corpulent than the men, 
but. are not much efteemed.~-The Abyffinian girls, who 
are bought for money, are greatly preferred ; among other 
reafonsj becaufe their time of bearing children is longer; 
few Arabian women have children after the age of .twenty^ 

At Loheia we received a letrer-Trom Mahomet Gibberti, 
telling us, that it would yet be. ten days before he could 
join us, and-deliring us to be ready by ahat time; This hur- 
ried us extremely, for we were much afraid we fhould not 
have time to fee the remaining part of the Arabian Gulf, to 
where it joins with the Indian Ocean*. 

On the 27th, in the evening, we parted from Loheia, but 
were obliged to tow the boat out. . About nine, we anchor- 
ed between an ifland called Ormook, and the land ; about 
el even, we fet fail with a ; wind at north-eaft, and pafTed a 
clufler ofiflands on our left. . 

Th£:. Fubb//iU VeeT/fiySq ■ fy G./HuObiso/i ic u> . 



The 28th, at five o'clock in the morning, we faw the 
fmall ifland of Rafab ; at a quarter after fix we -palled be- 
tween it and a large ifland called Camaran, where there is 
a-Turkiih garrifon and town, and plenty of good water. 
At twelve- we palled a low round ifland, 1 which feeiried to 
confift of white fand. The weather being cloudy, I could 
get no obfervation. Atone o'clock.we were. off. Cape Ifrael. 

As the weather was fair, and the wind" due north and 
Heady, though little of it, my Rais faid that we had bettor 
ftretch over to Azab, than run along the coaft in the direc- 
tion we were now going, becaufe, fomewhere between Ho- 
deida and Cape Nummel, there was foul ground, with which 
he fhould not like to engage inthe night- Nothing could, 
he more agreeable to me. For, though I knew the people: 
of Azab were not to be trufted, yet there were two things 
I thought I might accompliih, by being on my guard. The 
one was, to learn what thofe ruins were that I had heard 
fo much fpoken of in Egypt and at Jidda, and which are 
fuppofed to have been works of the Queen of Sheba, whofe 
country this was. The other was., to obtain the myrrh and 
franki'icenfe-tree, which grow upon that coaft only, but: 
neither of which had as yet been defcribed by any authors. 

At four o'clock we pafFed a dangerous lhoal, which is j 
the one I fuppofe our Rais was afraid of If fo, he could not 
have adopted a worfe meafure, than by ftretching over from 
Cape Ifrael to Azab in the night; for, had the wind come 
wefterly, as it foon after did, we fhould have probably been 
on the bank ; as it was, we palled it fomething lefs than a 
mile, the wind was north, and we were going at a great 
rate. At fun-fet we faw Jibbel Zekir, with. three fmali 

iflands* . 



iflands, on the north fide of it. At twelve at night the 
wind failing, we found ourfelves about a league from the 
weft end of Jibbel Zekir, but it then began to blow frefh 
from the weft ; fo that the Rais begged liberty to abandon 
the voyage to Azab, and to keep our firft intended one to 
Mocha. For my part, I had no defire at all to land at Mocha. 
Mr Niebuhr had already been there before us ; and 1 was 
fure every ufeful observation had been made as to the coun- 
try, for he had ftaid there a very confiderable time, and was 
ill ufed. We kept our courfe, however, upon Mocha town. 

The 29th, about two o'clock in the morning, we paned 
fix iflands, called Jibbel el Ouree ; and having but indiffer- 
ent wind, we anchored about nine off the point of the fhoal, 
which lies immediately eaft of the north fort of Mocha. 

The town of Mocha makes an agreeable appearance 
from the fea» Behind it there is a grove of palm-trees, that 
do not feem to have the beauty of thofe in Egypt, probably 
owing to their being expofed to the violent fouth-wefters 
that blow here, and make it very uneafy riding for veftels ; 
there is, however, very feldom any damage done. The port 
is formed by two points of land, which make a femi-circle. 
Upon each of the points is a fmall fort ; the town is in the 
middle, and if attacked by an enemy, thefe two forts are fo 
detached that they might be made of more ufe to annoy the 
town, than they could ever be to defend the harbour. The 
ground for anchorage is of the very beft kind, fand without 
coral, which laft chafes the cables all over the Red Sea. 

On the 30th, at feven o'clock in the morning, with a gen- 
tle but fteady wind at weft, we failed for the mouth of the 



Indian Ocean. Our Rais became more lively and bolder as 
he approached his own coaft, and offered to carry me for 
nothing, if I would go home with him to Sheher, but I had 
already enough upon my hand. It is, however, a voyage 
fome man of knowledge and enterprife mould attempt, as the 
country and the manners of the people are very little known.. 
But this far is certain, that there all the precious gums 
grow ; all the drugs of the galenical 'fchool y the frankincenfe^ 
myrrh, benjoin, dragons-blood, and a multitude of others, 
the natural hiftory of which no one has yet given us. 

The coaft of Arabia, all along from Mocha to the Straits 9 
is a bold coaft, clofe to which you may run without danger 
night or day. We continued our courfe within a mile of 
the more, where in fome places there appeared to be fmall 
woods, in others a flat bare country, bounded with moun- 
tains at a confiderable diftance, Our wind freihened as we 
advanced. About four in the afternoon we faw the moun- 
tain which forms one of the Capes of the Straits of Babel- 
mandeb, in fhape refembling a gunner's quoin. About fix 
o'clock, for what reafon I did not know, our Rais infill- 
ed upon anchoring for the night behind a fmall point, I 
thought, at firft, it had been for pilots. 

The 31ft, at nine in the morning, we came to an anchor 
above Jibbel Raban, or Pilots Ifland, juft under the Cape 
which, on the Arabian fide, forms the north entrance of the 
Straits. We now faw a fmall veilel enter a round harbour, 
divided from us by the Cape. The Rais faid he had a de- 
fign to have anchored there laft night ; but as it was trouble- 
fome to get out in the morning by the wefterly wind, 
he intended to run over to Perim ifland to pafs the night, 

3. - and 



and give us an opportunity to make what obfervations we 
pleafed in quiet. 

We caught here a prodigious quantity of the fineft fifh 
that I had ever before feen, but the filly Rais greatly trou- 
bled our enjoyment, by telling us, that many of the fifh in 
that part were poifonous. Several of our people took the 
alarm, and abftained; the rule I made ufe of in chooiing. 
mine, was to take all thofe that were likefl the fifh of our 
own northern feas, nor had I ever any reafon to complain. 

At noon, I made an obfervation of the fun, -jufl under 
the Cape of the Arabian fhore, with a Hadley's quadrant, 
and found it to be in lat. ii° 38' 30", but by many pafTages 
of the flars, obferved by my large aftronomical quadrant 
in the ifland of Perim, all deductions made, I found the 
true latitude of the Cape mould be rather 12° 39' 2.0" north. 

Perim is a low ifland, its harbour good, fronting the 
Abyflinian fhore. It is a barren, bare rock, producing, on 
fome parts of it, plants of abfynthium, or rue, in others kelp, 
that did not feem to thrive; it was at this time perfectly 
fcorched by the heat of the fun, and had only a very faint 
appearance of having ever vegetated. The ifland itfelf 
is about five miles in length, perhaps more, and about 
two miles in breadth. It becomes narrower at both 
ends. Ever fince we anchored at the Cape, it had begun to 
blow flrongly from the weft, which gave our Rais great 
apprchenfion, as, he faid, the wind fometimes continued in 
that point for fifteen days together. This alarmed me not 
a little, leaft, by miffing Mahomet Gibberti, we fhould lofe 
^ur voyage. We had rice and butter, honey and flour. 

% The 


The fea afforded us plenty of fiifi, and I had no doubt but 
hunger would get the better of our fears of being poifon- 
ed : with water we were likewife pretty well fupplied, but 
all this was rendered ufeiefs by our being deprived of fire. 
In lhort, though we could have killed twenty turtles a-day, 
all we could get to make fire of, were the rotten dry roots of 
the rue that we pulled from the clefts of the rock, which, 
with much ado, ferved to make lire for boiling our coffee 

The ill of Auguft we ate drammock, made with cold 
'water and raw flour, mixed with butter and honey, but we 
foon found this would not do, though I never was hungry* 
in my life, with fo much good provifion about me ; for, 
befides the articles already fpoken of, we had two fkins of 
wine from Loheia, and a fmall jar of brandy, which I had 
kept exprefsly for a feaft, to drink the King's health on ar- 
riving in his dominions, the Indian Ocean. I therefore pro- 
pofed, that, leaving the Rais on board, myfelf and two men 
mould crofs over to the fouth fide, to try if we could get 
any wood in the kingdom of Adel. This, however, did not 
pleafe my companions. We were much nearer the Arabian 
more, and the Rais had obferved feveral people on land, 
who feemed to be fifhers. 

If the Abyflinian more was bad by its being defert, the 
danger of the Arabian fide was, that we mould fall into the 
hands of thieves. But the fear of wanting, even coffee, 
was fo prevalent, and the repetition of the drammock dofe 
fo difgufting, that we refolved to take a boat in the drven- 
. ing, with two men armed, and fpeak to the people we had 
feen. Here again the Rais's heart failed him. He faid 
the inhabitants on that coaft had fire-arms as well as we, 
Vol. I. R r and 


and they could bring a million together, if they wanted 
them, in a moment ; therefore we fhould forfake Perim 
ifland for the time, and, without hoifting in the boat, till 
we faw further, run with the vefTel clofe to the Arabian 
fhore. There, it was conceived, armed as we were, with 
ammunition in plenty, we fhould be able to defend our- 
felves, if thofe we had feen were pirates, of which I had not 
any fufpicion, as they had been eight hours in our fight?, 
without having made one movement nearer us ; but I was, 
the only perfon on board that was of that opinion.. 

Upon attempting to get our vefTel out, we found the 
wind flrong againll us ; fo that we were obliged, with great 
difficulty and danger, to tow her round the weft, point, at 
the expence of many hard knocks, which fhe got by the 
way. During this operation, the wind had calmed confi- 
derably; my quadrant, and every thing was on board; all our 
arms, new charged and primed, were laid, covered with 
a cloth, in the cabbin, when we found happily that the wind 
became due eaft, and with the wind our refolution chan- 
ged. We were but twenty leagues to Mocha, and not a- 
bove twenty-fix from Azab, and we thought it better, 
rather to get on our return to Loheia, than to flay and 
live upon drammock, or fight with the pirates for firewood.. 
About fix o'clock, we were under weigh. The wind be- 
ing perfectly fair, we carried as much fail as our vefTel 
would bear, indeed, till her mafts nodded again. But be- 
fore we begin the account of our return, it will be neceffary 
to fay fomething of thefe famous Straits, the commu- 
nication between the Red Sea and Indian Ocean.. 

4 Thjs 


This entrance begins to mew itfelf, or take a fhape be- 
tween two capes ; the one on the continent of Africa, the 
other on the peninfula of Arabia. That on the African fide 
is a high land, or cape, formed by a chain of mountains, 
which run out in a point far into the fea. The Portuguefe, 
or Venetians, the firft Chriftian traders in thofe parts, have 
called it Gardefui, which has no fignification in any language. 
But, in that of the country where it is fituated, it is called 
Garde fan, and means the Straits of Burial, the reafon of which 
will be feen afterwards. The oppofite cape is Fartack, on 
the eaft coafl of Arabia Felix, and the diftance between them, 
in a line drawn acrofs from one to another, not above fifty 
leagues. The breadth between thefe two lands diminifhes 
gradually for about 150 leagues, till at laft it ends in the 
Straits, whofe breadth does not feem to me to be above fix 

After getting within the Straits, the channel is divided 
into two, by the ifland of Perim, otherwife called Mehun. The 
inmoft and northern channel, or that towards the Arabian 
more, is two leagues broad at moil, and from twelve to 
feventeen fathom of water. The other entry is three leagues 
broad, with deep water, from twenty to thirty fathom. From 
this, the coafc on both fides runs nearly in a north-weft di- 
rection, widening as it advances, and the Indian Ocean grows 
flraiter. The coaft upon the left hand is part of the king- 
dom of Adel, and, on the right, that of Arabia Felix. The 
pafTage on the Arabian more, though the narrowed and flial- 
lowefl of the two, is that moft frequently failed through, 
and efpecially in the night ; becaufe, if you do not round 
the fouth-point of the ifland, as near as poffible, in attempt- 
ing to enter the broad one, but are going large with the 

R r 2 wind 


wind favourable, you fall in with a great number of low 
fmall iilands, where there is danger. At ten o'clock, with 
the wind fair, our eourfe almoft nortk-ealt, we palled three _- 
rocky iilands about a mile on our left* 

On the 2d, at fun-rife^ we faw land a-head, which we 
took to be the Main, but, upon nearer approach, and the day 
becoming clearer, we found two low iilands to the leeward ;.... 
one of which we fetched with great difficulty. We found 
there the flock of an old acacia-tree, and two or three bundles 
of wreck, or rotten flicks, which we gathered with great 
care ; and all of us agreed, we would eat breakfaft, dinner, 
and fupper hot, inftead of the cold repair we had made up- 
on the drammock in the Straits. We now made feveral 
large fires ; one took the charge of the coffee, another boil- 
ed the rice; we killed four turtles, made ready a dolphin ; 
got beer, wine, and brandy, and drank the King's health in 
earneit, which our regimen would not allow us to do in 
the Straits of Babelmandeb. While this good chear was 
preparing, 1 faw with my glafs, firft one man running along 
the coaft weftward, who did not flop ; about a quarter of an 
hour after, another upon a camel, walking at the ordinary, 
pace, who difmounted juft oppofite to us, and, as I thought,, 
kneeled down to fay his prayers upon the fand. We had 
launched our boat immediately upon feeing the trunk of. 
the tree on the ifland; fo we were ready, and I ordered two, 
of the men to row me on more, which they did. 

It is a bay of but ordinary depth, with flraggling trees,; 
and fome flat ground along the coaft. Immediately behind 
is a row of mountains of a brownifh or black colour. The 
man remained motionlefs, fitting on the ground, till the 



boat was afliore, when I jumped out upon the land, being 
armed with a ihort double-barrelled gun, a pair of piftols, 
and a crooked knife. As foon as the amore, 
he made the bell of his way to his camel, and got upon his 
back, but did not offer to go away. 

I sat down on the ground, after taking the white tur- 
ban off my head, and waving it feveral times in token of 
peace, and feeing that he did not flir, I advanced to him a- 
bout a hundred yards. . Still he flood, and after again wav- 
ing to him withmy hands, as inviting him to approach, I 
made a fign as if I was returning to the fliore. Upon fee- 
ing this, he advanced feveral paces, and flopt. I then laid 
my gun down upon the land, thinking that had frightened 
him, and walked up as near him as he would fuffer me ; 
that is, till I faw he was preparing to go away. I then wav- 
ed my turban, and cried, Salam, Salam. He ftaid till I -was 
within ten yards of him. He was quite naked, was black, 
and had a fillet upon his head, either of a black or blue rag, 
and bracelets of white beads upon both his arms. He ap- 
peared as undetermined what to do. I fpoke as didinclly 
to him as I could, Salam Alkum:. — He anfwered fomething 
like Salam, but what it was I know not. I am, faid I, a 
ftranger from India, who came la-fl from Taj our a in the bay 
of Zeyla, in the kingdom of Adel. He nodded his head, and 
faid fomething in an unknown language, in which I heard 
the repetition of Taj oura and Adel. I told him- 1 wanted 
water, and made a fign of drinking. He pointed up the 
coaft to the eaftward, and faid, Raheeda, then made a fign of 
drinking, and faid Tjde. I now found that he underftood me, 
and aiked him where Azab was. ? he pointed to a mountain 




jufl before him, and faid, Eh owah Azab Tybe, ftill with a 
reprefentation of drinking. 

I debated with myfelf, whether I mould not take this 
favage prifoner. He had three fhort javelins in his hand, 
and was mounted upon a camel. I was on foot, and above 
the ancles in fand, with only two piftols, which, whether 
they would terrify him to furrender or not, I did not know ; 
I mould, otherwife, have been obliged to have mot him, 
and this I did not intend. After having invited him as cour- 
teoufly as I could, to the boat, I walked towards it my- 
felf, and, in the way, took up my firelock, which was ly- 
ing hid among the fand. I faw he did not follow me a flep, 
but when I had taken the gun from the ground, he fet off 
at a trot as fail as he could, to the weflward, and we prefent- 
ly loll him among the trees, 

I returned to the boat, and then to dinner on the ifland, 
which we named Traitor's Iiland, from the fufpicious beha- 
viour of that only man we had feen near it. This excuriion 
loft me the time of making my obfervation ; all the ufe I 
made of it was to gather fomc flicks and camel's dung, 
which I heaped up, and made the men carry to the boat, to 
ferve us for firing, if we mould be detained. The wind was 
very fair, and we got under weigh by two o'clock. 

About four we palled a rocky ifland with breakers on its 
fouth end, we left it about a mile to the windward of us. 
The Rais called it Crab-ifland. About five o'clock we came 
to an anchor clofe to a cape of no height, in a fmall bay, 
in three fathom of water, and leaving a fmall ifland jufl oil 
our ilern. We had not anchored here above ten minutes, 



before an old man and a boy came down to us. As they 
had no arms, I went afhore, and bought a flrin of water. 
The old man had a very thievifh appearance, was quite na- 
ked, and laughed or fmiled at every word he faid. He fpoke 
Arabic, but very badly ; told me there was great plenty of 
every thing in the country whither he would carry me. He 
faid, moreover, that there was a king there, and a people that 
loved Grangers. 

The murder of the boat's crew of the Elgin Eail-India- 
man, in that very fpot where he was then fitting and praif- 
ing his countrymen, came prefently into my mind. I 
found my hand involuntarily take hold of my piftol, and I 
was, for the only time in my life, ftrongly tempted to com- 
mit murder. I thought I faw in the looks of that old vag- 
rant, one of thofe who had butchered fo many Englifhmen 
in cold blood. 

From his readinefs to come down, and being fo near 
the place, it was next to impomble that he was not one of 
the party. A little reflection, however, faved his life ;; 
and I afked him if he could fell us a fheep, when he faid 
they were coming. Thefe words put me on my guard, 
as I did not know how many people might accompany 
them. I therefore defired him to bring me the water to the 
boat, which the boy accordingly did, and we paid him, in 
cohol, or ftibium, to his wifhes.. 

Immediately upon this I ordered them to put the boat 
afloat, demanding, all the time, where were the fheep ? A 
few minutes afterwards, four flout young men came down,: 
digging a f ter them two lean goats, which the old man- 



maintained to me were fheep. Each man had three light 
javelins in his hand, and they began to wrangle exceeding- 
ly about the animals, whether they were fheep or goats, 
though they did not feem to undcriland one word of our 
language, but the words Jheep and goat in Arabic. In five 
minutes after, their number increafed to eleven, and I thought 
it was then full time for me to go on board, for every one of 
them feemed, by his difcourfe and geftures, to be violently 
agitated, but what they faid I could not comprehend. I drew 
to the fhore, and then put mylelf on board as foon as poffi- 
ble. They feemed to keep at a certain diftance, crying out 
Belled^ belled I and pointing to the land, invited me to come 
afhore ; the old hypocrite alone feemed to have no fear, but 
followed me clofe to the boat. I then refolved to have a free 
difcourfe with him. " There is no need, faid I to the old 
man, to fend for thirteen men to bring two goats. We 
bought the water from people that had no lances, and we 
can do without the flieep, though we could not want the 
water, therefore, every man that has a lance in his hand 
let him go away from me, or I will lire upon him." 

They feemed to take no fort of notice of this, and came 
rather nearer. " You old -grey headed traitor, faid I, do 
you think I don't know what you want, by inviting me on 
more ; let all thofe about you with arms go home about 
their bufmefs, or I will in a minute blow them all off the 
face of the earth. He then jumped up, with rather more 
agility than his age feemed to promifc, and went to where 
the others were fitting in a clufter, and after a little con- 
verfation the whole of them retired. 



The old fellow and the boy now came down without 
fear to the boat, when I gave them tobacco, fome beads, and 
antimony, and did every thing to gain the father's confidence. 
But he ftill fmiled and laughed, and I faw clearly he had taken 
his refolution. The whole burden of his fong was, to per- 
fuade me to come on fhore, and he mentioned every induce- 
ment, and all the kindnefs that he would fhew me. " It 
is fit, you old rogue, faid I, that, now your life is in my 
hands, you fhould know how much better men there are 
in the world than you. They were my countryrnen, eleven 
or twelve of whom you murdered about three years ago, 
in the very place where you are now fitting, and though I 
could have killed the fame number to-day, without any 
danger to myfelf, I have not only let them go away, but 
have bought and fold with you, and given you prefents, when, 
according to your own law, I fhould have killed both you 
and your fon. Now do not imagine, knowing what I know, 
that ever you fhall decoy me afhore ; but if you will bring 
me a branch of the myrrh tree, and of the incenfe tree to- 
morrow, I will give you two fonduclis for each of them." 
He faid, he would do it that night. " The fooner the bet- 
ter, faid I, for it is now becoming dark." Upon this he fent 
away his boy, who in lefs than a quarter of an hour came 
back with a branch in his hand. 

I could not contain my joy, I ordered the boat to be drawn 
upon the fhore, and Went out to receive it ; but, to my great 
difappointment, I found that it was a branch of Acacia, 
or Sunt, which we had every where met with in Egypt, Sy- 
ria, and Arabia. I told him, this was of no ufe, repeating 
the word Gerar, Sa'iel^ Sunt. He anfwered Eh owah Saiel; but 
being afked for the myrrh (mour), he faid it was far up 
- Vol. L S f in 


in the mountains, but would bring it to me if I would go- 
to the town. Providence, however, had dealt more kindly 
with us in the moment than we expected. For, upon go- 
ing afhore out of eagernefs to get the myrrh, I faw, not a 
quarter of a mile from us, fitting among the trees, at leaft 
thirty men, armed with javelins, who all got up the mo- 
ment they faw me landed. I called to the boatmen to fee 
the boat afloat, which they immediately did, and I got 
quickly on board, near up to the middle in water ; but as 
I went by the old man, I gave him fo violent a blow upon 
the face with the thorny branch in my hand, that it felled 
him to the ground. The boy fled, and we rowed, off; but 
before we took leave of thefe traitors, we gave them a dis- 
charge of three blunderbufTes loaded with piflol-lhot, in 
the direction where, in ail probability, they were lying to- 
fee the boat go off. 

I directed the Rais to ftand out towards Crab-ifland,. 
and there being a gentle breeze from the more, carrying 
an eafy fail, we flood over upon Mocha town, to avoid fome 
rocks or illands, which he faid were to the weflward. 
"While lying at Crab-ifland, I obferved two ftars pafs the 
meridian, and by them I concluded the latitude of that 
iiland to be 13 2' 45" North. 

The wind continuing moderate, but more to the fouth- 
ward, at three o'clock in the morning of the 3d, we palled 
Jibbel el Ouree, then Jibbel Zekir ; and having a Heady 
gale, with fair and moderate weather, palling to the weft- 
ward of the ifland Rafab, between that and fome other 
iflands to the north-earl, where the wind turned contrary, 
we arrived at.Loheia, the 6th, in the morning, being the 




third day from the time we quitted Azab. We found every- 
thing well on our arrival at Lolieia ; but no word of Ma- 
homet Gibberti, and I began now to be uneafy. The rains 
in Abyflinia were to ceafe the 6th of next month, Septem- 
ber, and then was the proper time for our journey to Gon- 

The only money in the country of the * Imam, is a fmall 
piece lefs than a lixpence, and by this the value of all the 
different denominations of foreign coin is afcertained. It 
has four names, Commefh, Loubia, Muchfota, and Harf, but 
the firft two of thefe are moll commonly ufed. 

This money is very bafe adulterated filver, if indeed 
there is any in it. It has the appearance of pewter ; on the 
one fide is written Olmafs, the name of the Imam ; on the o- 
ther, Emir el Moumeneen, Prince of the Faithful, or True Be- 
lievers ; a title, firft taken by Omar after the death of Abou 
Beer ; and fince, borne by all the legitimate Caliphs. There 
are likewife Half-commeihes, and thefe are the fmalleft 
fpecie current in Yemen. 


1 FONDUCLI, --------- 8o- 



- 00 I 
> 4° J 

When the Indian merchants or veflels are here, the foil- 
ducli is raifed three commefhes more, though all fpecie is 

S f 2 fcarce 

Arabia Felix, or Yemen. 


fcarce in the Imam's country, notwithftanding the quantity 
continually brought hither for coffee, in filver patakas, that 
is, dollars, which is the coin in which purchafes of any 
amount are paid* When they are to be changed into com- 
mefhes, the changer or broker gives you but 39 inftead of 
40, fo he gains iLper cent, for all money he changes, tha.t is,, 
by giving bad coin for good. 

The long meafure in Yemen is the peek of Stamboul, as 
they call it ; but, upon meafuring it with a ftandard of a 
Stamboul peek, upon a brafs rod made on purpofe, I found 
it 26{ inches, which is neither the Stambouline peek, the 
Hendaizy peek, nor the el Belledy peek. The peek of Stam- 
boul is 23} inches, fo this of a diftinct peek, which 
may be called *Yemani. 

The weights of Loheia are the rotolo, which are of two 
forts, one of 140 drachms, and ufed in felling fine, the other 
160 drachms, for ordinary and coarfer goods. This laft is 
divided into l6 ounces, each, ounce into 10 drachms ; 100 of 
thefe rotolos are a kantar, or quintal. The quintal of Yemen, 
carried to Cairo or Jidda, is 113 rotolo, becaufe the rotolo of 
thefe places is 144 drachms.. Their weights appear to be of 
Italian origin, and were probably brought hither when the 
Venetians carried on this trade. There is another weight, 
called famnzala, which I take to be the native one of the 
country.. It is equal to 20 rotolo, of 160 drachms each. 


* That is, the Eeek of Arabia Felix, or Yeruea. 


The cufto'ms, which at Mocha are three per cent, uponm-- 
dia goods, are five here, when brought directly from India; 
but all goods whatever, brought from Jidda by merchants, 
whether Turks or natives, pay {even per cent. atLoheia. 

Loheia is in lat. i5°4o' 52" north, and in long.. 42 58' i$f 
eaft of the meridian of Greenwich. — The barometer, at its 
higheft on the 7th day of Auguft, was 2 6° 9', and its lowell 
2 6° i', on the 30th of July. — The thermometer, when at its 
higheft, was 99 on the 30th of the fame month, wind north- 
eaft ; and its loweil was 8 1° on the 9th of Auguft, wind fouth- 
by eaft. 

On the 31ft of Auguft, at four o'clock in the morning, 
I faw a comet for the firft time. The head of it was fcarce- 
ly vifible in the telefcope, that is, its precife form, which 
was a pale indiftincT: luminous body, whofe edges were not 
at all defined. Its tail extended full 20 . It feemed to be 
a very thin vapour, for through it I diftinguilhed feveral 
ftars of the fifth magnitude, which feemed to be increafed 
in fize. The end of its tail had loft all its fiery colour, and 
was very thin and white. I could diftinguifh no nucleus, 
nor any part that feemed redder or deeper than the reft ; 
for all was a dim-ill-defined fpot. At 4*"* i' 24", on the 
morning of the 31ft, it was diftant 20 40' from Rigel; its 
tail extended to three ftars in Eridanus.. 

The ill of September Mahomet Gibberti arrived, bring- 
ing with him the firman for the Naybe of Mafuah, and let- 
ters from Metical Aga to *Ras Michael. He alfo brought 

a letter 

♦Governor of the Province of TigreinAbyflinia... 


a letter to me, and another to Achmet, the Naybe's nephew, 
and future fucceffor, from Sidi Ali Zimzimia, that is, * the 
keeper of Ifhrnael's well at Mecca, called Zimzim* In this 
letter, Sidi Ali defires me to put little truft in the Naybe, but 
to keep no fecret from Achmet his nephew, who would cer- 
tainly be my friend. 

jg&t afegte fe i i "" jjjgg 





chap. xnr. 

Sails for Majuah — Pajfes a Volcano — Comes to Dabalac-— Troubled with 
a Ghojl— Arrives at Mafuah, 

AL L being prepared for our departure, we failed from- 
Loheia on the $& of September 1769, but the wind 
failing, we were obliged to warp the vefiel out upon her an- 
chors. The harbour of Loheia, which is by much the largefl 
in the Red Sea, is now fo fhallow, and choked up, that, 
unlefs by a narrow canal through which we enter and go 
out, there is no where three fathom of water, and in many 
places not half that depth. This is the cafe with all the 
harbours on the eaft-coaft of the Red Sea, while thofe on 
the wefc are deep, without any banks or bars before them y 
which is probably owing, as I have already faid, to the vio- 
lence of the north-well winds, the only conflant flrong winds 
to be met with in this Gulf. Thefe occafion llrong cur- 
rents to fet in upon the eafl-coaft, and heap up the fand and 
gravel which is blown in from Arabia. 

All next day, the 4th, we were employed at warping out 
our veiTel againfl a contrary wind. The 5th, at three quar- 
ters pail five in the morning, we got under fail with little 



wind. At half pail nine, Loheia bore eaft north- eaft about 
four leagues diftant ; and here we came in fight of feveral 
fmall, barren, and uninhabited iflands. Booarifh bore fouth- 
weft two miles off; Zebid one mile and a half diftant, eaft 
and by north ; Amar, the fmalleft of all, one mile fouth ; 
and Ormook, fouth-eaft by eaft two miles. 

The Arabs of the mountain, who had attempted to furprife 
Loheia in the fpring, now prepared for another attack againft 
it, and had advanced within three days journey. This obli- 
ged the Emir to draw together all his troops from the neigh- 
bourhood ; all the camels were employed to lay in an ex- 
traordinary ftock of water. 

Our Rais, who was a ftranger, and without connections 
in this place, found himfelf under great difficulties to pro- 
vide water enough for the voyage, for we had but a fcanty 
provifion left, and though our boat was no more than lixty 
feet long, we had about forty people on board of her. I had 
indeed hired the vefTel for myfelf, but gave the Rais leave 
to take fome known people pafTengers on board, as it was 
very dangerous to make enemies in the place to which I 
was going, by fruftrating any perfon of his voyage home, 
even though I paid for the boat, and ftill as dangerous to 
take a perfon unknown, whofe end in the voyage might be 
to defeat my defigns. We were refolved, therefore, to bear 
away for an ifland to the northward, where they laid the 
water was both good, and in plenty. 

In the courfe of this day, we pafTed feveral fmall iflands, 
and, in the evening, anchored in feven fathom and a half of 
water, near a fhoal diltant four leagues from Loheia. We 

3 I there 


there obferved the bearings and diftances of feveral iflands, 
with which we were engaged; Foofht, W.b.N.^ north, four 
leagues ; Baccalan N.W.b.W. three leagues ; Baida, a large 
high rock above the water, with white fteep cliffs, and a 
great quantity of fea-fowl ; Djund, and Mufracken, two 
large rocks off the weft point off Baccalan, W.N.W.£ weft, 
eleven miles ; they appear, at a diftance, like a large heap 
of ruins : Umfegger, a very fmall ifland, nearly level with 
the water, W.N.W.^r weft four miles diftant ; Nachel, S.E.^E. 
one league off; Ajerb S.E.b.E.i fouth, two leagues ; Sur- 
bat, an ifland S.E.b.E.| fouth, diftant ten miles ; it has a 
marabout or Shekh's tomb upon it : Dahu and Dee, two 
fmall iflands, clofe together, N.W.^ weft, about eleven 
miles diftant; Djua S.E.4- fouth; it is a fmall white ifland 
four leagues and a half off: Sahar, W.^ north, nine miles off. 

On the 6th, we got under fail at five o'clock in the morn- 
ing. Our water had failed us as we forefaw, but in the 
evening we anchored at Foofht, in two fathoms water eaft 
of the town, arid here ftaid the following day, our failors 
being employed in filling our fkins with water, for they 
make no ufe of cafks in this fea. 

g Foosht is an ifland of irregular form. It is about five 
miles from fouth to north, and about nine in circumference* 
It abounds in good fifh. We did not ufe our net, as our 
lines more than fupplied us. There were many kinds, paint- 
ed with the moft beautiful colours in the world, but I al- 
ways obferved, the more beautiful they were, the worfe for 
eating. There were indeed none good but thofe that re- 
fembled the fifh of the north in their form, and plainnefs 
of their colours. Foofht is low and fandy on the fouth, and 
Vol. L T t on 


on the north is a black hill or cape of no confiderable 
height, that may be feen at four leagues off. It has two 
watering-places ; one on the eaft of the iiland, where we 
now were, the other on the weft. The water there is bitter, 
but it had been troubled by a number of little barks, that 
had been taking in water jufl before us. The manner of 
filling their goat fkins being a very flovenly one, they take 
up much of the mud along with it, but we found the water 
excellent, after it had fettled two or three days ; when it 
came on board, it was as black as ink. It was incompara- 
bly the bell water we had drank fmce that of the Nile. . 

This ifland is covered with a kind of bent grafs, which 
want of rain, and the conftant feeding of the few goats that 
are kept here, prevent from growing to any height. The 
end of the ifland, near the north cape, founds very hollow, 
underneath, like Solfaterra, near Naples ; and as quantities of 
pumice Hones are found here, there is great appearance that: 
the black hill was once a volcano* Several large ihells 
from the fifh. called Bifler, fome of then! twenty inches 
long,, are feen turned upon their faces, on the furface of 
large ftones, of ten or twelve ton weight. Thefe Ihells are 
funk into the ftones, as if they were into pafte, and the 
Hone raifed round about, £o as to conceal the edge of the 
fhell ; a proof that this ftone has, fome time lately, been foft 
or liquified. For, had it been long ago, the weather- and! 
fun would have worn the furface of the ihell, but it feems 
perfectly entire, and is fct in that hard brown rock, as the. 
ftone of a ring is in a golden chafing. 

The inhabitants of Foofht are poor fifhermen, of the fame 
degree of blaeknefs as thofe between Heli and Djezan ; like 



them too, they were naked, or had only a rag about their 
waift. Their faces ure neither ftained nor painted. They 
catch a quantity of nfh called Seajan, which they carry to 
Loheia, and exchange for Dora and Indian corn, for they 
have no bread, but what is procured this way. They alfo 
have a flat full, with a long tail to it, whofe fkin is a fpecies 
of fhagreen, with which the handles of knives and fwords 
are made. Pearls too are found here, but neither large nor 
of a good water, on the other hand, they are not dear ; they 
are the produce of various fpecies of fhells, all Bivalves *. 

The town conlifts of about thirty huts, built with fag- 
gots of bent grafs or fpartum, and thefe are fupported with- 
in with a few flicks, and thatched with the grafs, of which 
they are built. The inhabitants feemed to be much terri- 
fied at feeing us come a-fhore all armed ; this was not done 
out of fear of them, but, as we intended to flay on more all 
night, we wifhed to be in a fituation to defend ourfelves 
againft boats of flrollers from the main. The faint, or Ma- 
rabout, upon feeing me pafs near him, fell flat upon his 
face, where he lay for a quarter of an hour ; nor would he 
get up till the guns, which I was told had occafioned his 
fears, were ordered by me to be immediately fent on board. 

On the 7th, by an obfervation of the meridian altitude 
of the fun, I found the latitude of Foofht to be 15 59' 43" 
north. There are here many beautiful ihell-fifh ; the con- 
cha veneris, of feveral fizes and colours, as alfo fea urchins, 

T t 2 or 

* See the article Pearl in the Appendix. 


or fea-eggs. I found, particularly, one of the pentaphylloid 
kind, of a very particular form. Spunges of the common 
fort are likewife found all along this coaft. The bearing* 
and diflances of the principal iflands from Foofht are : 

Baccalan, and the two rocks Djund 1 Am n es 

and Mufracken, E. N. E. j 

Baida rock, E. by N. 4 miles.. 
Sahar, - - S. E. 3 do. 
Ardaina, - W.N.W. 8 do.. 
Aide en, - - N.-^E. 9 do.., 

Baccalan is an ifland, low, long, and as broad as FoofRt >; 
inhabited by filhermen ; without water in fummer, which 
is then brought from Foofht, but in winter they preferve the 
rain-water in cifterns. Thefe were built in ancient times y , 
when this was a place of importance for the fifhing of pearls* 
and they are in perfect repair to this day ; neither the ce- 
ment of the work, nor the ftuoco within, having at all dif- 
fered. Very violent mowers fall here from the end of Oc- 
tober to the beginning of March, but at certain intervals.. 

All the iflands on this eaft-fide of the channel' belong 
to the Sherriffe Djezan Booarifh, but none are inhabited ex- 
cept Baccalan and Foofht. This laft ifland is the mofl con- 
venient watering-placefor mips, bound up the channel from> 
jibbel Tcir, from which it bears N. E. by E. :% E. by the com- 
pafs, nineteen leagues diftant. It mould be remembered, 
however, that the weflern watering-place is mofl: eligible,, 
becaufe, in that cafe, navigators need not engage themfelves 
among the iflands to the eaftward, where they will have 
T&neven foundings two leagues from the land ; but, though 




they mould fall to the eaflward of this ifland, they will- 
have good anchorage, from nine to eighteen fathoms wa- 
ter ; the bottom being good fand, between the town and 
the white rock Baida. 

Having fupplied our great and material want of water, 
we all repaired on board in the evening of the 7th ; we 
then found ourfelves unprovided with another neceflary, 
namely fire ; and my people began to remember how cold 
our ftomachs were from the drammock at Babelmandeb. 
Firewood is a very fcarce article in the Red Sea. It is, never- 
thelefs, to be found in fmall quantities, and in fuch only it 
is ufed. Zimmer, an ifland to the northward, was known 
to afford fome ; but, from the time I had landed at Fooflit, 
on the 6th, a trouble of a very particular kind had fallen 
upon our veilel, of which I had no account till I had return- 
ed on board, 

An Abyffinian, who had died on board, and who had 
been buried upon our coming out from Loheia bay, had 
been feen upon the boltfprit for two nights, and had ter- 
rified the failors very much ; even the Rais had been 
not a little alarmed ; and, though he could not directly 
fay that he had feen him, yet, after I was in bed on the 7th, 
he complained ferioufly to me of the bad confequences it 
would produce if a gale of wind was. to rife, and the ghofl 
was to keep his place there, and defired me to come forward 
and fpeak to him. " My good Rais," faid I, " I am exceedingly 
tired, and my head achs much with the fun, which hath 
been violent to-day. You know the Abyfiinian paid for his* 
paffage, and, if he does not overload the fhip, (and I appre- 
hend he mould be lighter than when we tookhim on board) 

4 I do 



I do not think, that in juftice or equity, either you or I can 
hinder the ghoft from continuing his voyage to Abyfiinia, 
as we cannot judge what ferious bufinefs he may have 
there." The Rais began to blefs himfelf that he did not 
know any thing of his affairs. — " Then, faid I," " if you do 
not find he makes the veffel too heavy before, do not moleft 
him ; becaufe, certainly if he was to come into any other 
part of the fhip, or if he was to infift to fit in the middle of 
you (in the difpofition that you all are) he would be a great- 
er inconvenience to you than in his prefent poll." The 
Rais began again to blefs himfelf, repeating a verfe of the 
Koran; " bifmilla fheitan rejem," in the name of God keep 
the devil far from me. " Now, Rais," faid I, " if he does us 
no harm, you will let him ride upon the boltfprit till he is 
tired, or till he comes to Mafuah, for I fwear to you, unlefs 
he hurts or troubles us, I do not think I have any obliga- 
tion to get out of my bed to moleft him, only fee that he 
carries nothing off with him. 

The Rais now feemed to be exceedingly offended, and 
faid, for his part he did not care for his life more than any 
other man on board ; if it was not from fear of a gale of 
wind, he might ride on the boltfprit and be d — — n'd ; but 
that he had always heard learned people could fpeak to 
ghofts. Will you be fo good, Rais, faid I, to ftep forward, 
and tell him, that I am going to drink coffee, and mould 
be glad if he would walk into the cabbin, and fay any thing 
he has to communicate to me, if he is a Chriftian, and 
if not, to Mahomet Gibberti. The Rais went out, but, as 
my fervant told me, he would neither go himfelf, nor could 
get any perfon to go to the ghoft for him. He came back, 
however, to drink coffee with me. I was very ill, and ap- 

2 prehenfive 


prehenfive of what the French call a Coup defokil. " Go, 
laid I to the Rais, to Mahomet Gibberti, who was lying juft 
before us, tell him that I am a Chriftian, and have no juris- 
diction over ghofts in thefe feas." 

A moor called Tafim, well known to me afterwards, now 
came forward, and told me, that Mahomet Gibberti had 
been very bad ever fmce we failed, with fea-fickncfs, and 
begged that I would not laugh at the fpirit, or fpeak fo fa- 
miliarly of him, becaufe it might very poflibly be the devil, 
who often appeared, in thefe parts. The Moor alfo defired 
I w^ould fend Gibberti fome coffee, and order my fervant to 
boil him fome rice with freih water from Foofht ; for hi- 
therto our fifh and. our rice had been boiled in fea water, 
which I conftantly preferred. This bad news of my friend 
Mahomet banifhed all merriment,. I gave therefore the ne- 
ceflary orders to my fervant to wait upon him, and at the 
fame time recommended to Yafine to go forward with the 
Koran in his hand, and read all night, or till we mould get 
to Zimmer, and then, or in the morning, bring me an ac- 
count of what he had feen. 

The 8th, early in the morning, we failed from Foofht^ 
but the wind being contrary, we did not arrive at our def- 
tination till near mid-day, when we anchored in an open, 
road abo*t half a mile from the ifland, for there is no har- 
bour in Baccalan, Foofht, nor Zimmer. I then took my 
quadrant, and went with the boat afhore, to gather wood, 
Zimmer is a much fmaller ifland than Foofht, without in- 
habitants, and 'without water; though, by the ciflerns which 
flill remain, and are fixty yards fquare, hewed out of the folid- 
rock, we may imagine this was once a place of conic- 

quencc ;■; 


quence: rain in abundance, at certain feafons, flill falls 
there. It is covered with young plants of rack tree, whofe 
property it is, as I have already faid, to vegetate in fait wa- 
ter. The old trees had been cut down, but there was a 
considerable number of Saiel, or Acacia trees, and of thefe 
we were in want. 

Although Zimmer is faid to be without water, yet there 
are antelopes upon it, as alfo hyaenas in number, and it is 
therefore probable that there is water in fome fubterrane- 
ous caves or clefts of the rocks, unknown to the Arabs or 
fifhermen, without which thefe animals could not fubfift. 
It is probable the antelopes were brought over from Arabia 
for the SherrifFe's pleafure, or thofe of his friends, if they 
did not fwim from the main, and an enemy afterwards 
brought the hyaena to difappoint that amufement.. Be that 
as it will, though I did not myfelf fee the animals, yet I 
obferved the dung of each of them upon the fand, and in 
the citterns ; fo the fa<5l does not reft wholly upon the ve- 
racity of the boatman. We found at Zimmer plenty of the 
large ihell fiiri called BifTer and Surrumbac, but no other. 
I found Zimmer, by an obfervation of the fun at noon, to 
be in lat. i6° f North, and from it we obferved the follow- 
ing bearings and diftances, 


Sahaanah, - - dift. 9 miles, - - S. by W. 

Fooiht, - - - 




- N.W.byN.^W. 

Aideen, - - - 




- E. 

Ardaina, - 



do. - 

- E. by S. 




do. - 

- n. mi n. 




do. - 

- W. N. W.| W. 



We failed in the night from Zimmer. When we came 
nearer the channel, the iflands were fewer, and we had ne- 
ver lefs than twenty-five fathom water. The wind was 
conftantly to the north and weft, and, during all the heat 
of the day, N. N. W. At the fame time we had vifibly a 
ftrong current to the northward. 

The 9th, at fix o'clock in the morning, the ifland Rapha 
bore N. E. by eaft, diftant about two leagues, and in the 
fame direction we faw the tops of very high mountains in 
Arabia Felix, which we imagined to be thofe above Djezan; 
and though thefe could not be lefs than twenty-fix leagues 
diflance, yet I diitinguifhed their tops plainly, fome mi- 
nutes before fun-rife. At noon I obferved our latitude to 
be 1 6° io' 3" north, lb we had made very little way this day, 
it being for the moil part calm. Rapha then bore E.| north, 
diftant thirteen miles, and Doohaarab N. N. W. five miles 
oft. We continued under fail all the evening, but made 
little way, and ftill lefs during the night. 

On the 10th, at feven in the morning, I firfl faw Jibbel 
Teir, till then it had been covered with a mift. I ordered 
the pilot to bear down directly upon it. All this forenoon 
our veffel had been furrounded with a prodigious number 
of fharks. They were of the hammer-headed kind, and 
two large ones feemed to vie with each other which 
mould come neareft our veffel. The Rais had fitted a large, 
harpoon with a long line for the large fifh in the channel, 
and I went to the boltfprit to wait for one of the marks, 
after having begged the Rais, firfl to examine if all was tight 
there, and if the ghofl had done it no harm by fitting fo 
many nights upon it. He ihook his head, laughing, and 

Vol. I, U u faid 3 

m8 travels, to discover- 

raid, " The marks fcek fornething more fubflantial'tlfan 
ghofts." " If I am not miftaken, Rais,faid I, this ghoftfceks 
fomething more,©, and you ihall fee the end 
of it." 

I struck the largeft mark about a foot from the head 
with filch force, that the whole iron was buried in his bo- 
dy. He muddered, as a perfon does when cold, and lliook. 
the ihaft of the harpoon out' of the focket,. the weapon 
being made fo on purpofe ; the fhaft fell acrofs, kept fixt to 
the line, and ferved as a float to briiig him up when he di- 
ved, and impeded him when lie fwam. No, falmon fiflier 
ever faw finer fport with a nfh and a rod. He had thirty 
fathom of line out, and we had thirty fathom more ready to 
give him. He never dived, but failed round the veftel like 
a fhip, always keeping part of his back above water. . The 
Rais, who directed us, begged we would not pull him, but 
give him as much more line as he wanted; and indeed we 
law it was the weight of the line that galled him, for he 
went round the vefTel without feeking to go farther from 
us. At laft he came nearer, upon our gathering up the 
line, and upon gently pulling it after, we brought him along- 
Ude, till we faftened a ftrong boat-hook in his throat : a 
man fwung upon a cord was now let down to cut his tail, 
while hanging on the ihip's fide, but he was, if not abfolute- 
ly dead, without the power of doing harm. He was eleven 
feet feven inches from his fnout to his tail,, and nearly four 
feet round in the thicker! part. of him. He had in him a 
dolphin very rately fwallowed, and about half a yard of 
blue cloth. He was the largeft, the Rais faid, he had ever. 
fzen, either in, the Red Sea or the Indian Ocean. 

%. About 



About twenty minutes before twelve o'clock we were 
-about four leagues diftant from the ifland, as near as I 
could judge upon a parallel. Having there taken my oh-* 
fervation, and all deductions made, I concluded the latitude 
of the north end of Jibbel Teir to be 15 38' north ; thirty- 
two leagues weft longitude from Loheia, fifty-three eaft 
longitude from Mafuah, and forty-fix leagues eaft of the 
meridian of Jidda. Jibbel Teir, or the Mountain of the Bird,, 
is called by others, Jibbel Douhan, or the Mountain of 
Smoke. I imagine that the fame was the origin of our 
tname of * Gibraltar, rather than from Tarik, who firft landed 
in Spain ; and one of my reafons is, that fo cdnfpicuous 
-a mountain, near, and immediately in the face of the moors 
of Barbary, muft have been known by fome name, long be- 
fore Tarik with his Arabs made his defcent into Spain. 

The reafon of its being called Jibbel Douhan, the 
Mountain of Smoke, is, that though, in the middle of 
the fea, it is a volcano, which throws out lire, and though 
nearly extinguished, fmokes to this day. It probably 
has been the occalion of the creation of great part of 
the neighbouring iflands. Did it burn now, it would be of 
great ufe to fhipping in the night, but in the earlieft hif- 
tory of the trade of that fea, no mention is made of it, as in 
a Hate of conflagration. It was - called Orneon in Ptolemy^ 
the Bird-Ifland, the fame as Jibbel Teir. It is likewife call- 
ed Sheban, from the white fpot at the top of it, which feems 
to be fulphur, and a part feems to have fallen in, and to 

U u 2 * have 

* Jibbel Teir, the Mountain of the .bird ; corruptly, Gibraltar. 


have enlarged the crater on this fide. The ifland is four 
miles from fouth to north, has a peek in form of a pyramid 
in the middle of it, and is about a quarter of a mile high. 
It defcends, equally, on both fides, to the fea; has four open- 
ings at the top, which vent frnoke, and fometimes, in ftrong 
fouthcrly winds it is faid to throw out fire. There was no 
fuch appearance when we palled it. The hland is perfect- 
ly defert, being covered with fulphur and pumice Hones.. 

Some journals that I have feen are full of indraughts, 
whirlpools, and unfathomable depths, all around this ifland. 
I mull however take the liberty of faying to thefe gentle- 
men, who are otherwife lb very fond of foundings as to 
diilribute them all over the channel, that they have been 
unfortunate in placing thdir unfathomable depths here, 
and even foundings. It is probable thefe are occafioned 
by the convulfions in the earth made by this volcano ; but 
the only indraught we faw was a ftrong current fetting 
northward, and there are foundings as far as three leagues 
eail of it, in 33 fathom water, with a fandy bottom. Between 
this and the ifland Rafab you have foundings from 20 to 35 
fathom, with fand and rocks ; and on the north-eafi fide you 
have good anchoring, from a league's diftance, till within 
a cable's length of the fhore, and there is anchorage five 
leagues S. W. by. W. in twenty-five fathoms, and I believe 
alfo, in the line from Loheia to Dahalac, the effects of the 
convulfions of this vulcano. Such, at lealt, is the informa- 
tion I procured at Mafuah from the pilots ufed to this na- 
vigation in fearch of fulphur; fuch was the information al- 
fo of my Rais, who went twice loaded with that commo- 
dity to his own country at Mafcatte ; no other people go 
there. Both Abyflinians and Arabians believe that this is 



the entry or paflage by which the devil comes up to this 

Six leagues E. by S. of this ifland there is a dangerous* 
fhoal with great overfalls, on which a French Ihip ftruck in 
the year 1 75 1, and was faved with very great difficulty. Jibbel 
Teir is the point from which all our mips, going to Jidda, 
take their departure, after failing from Mocha, and palling 
the iflands to the fouthward. 

We left Jibbel Teir on the i ith with little wind at well, but 
towards mid-day it freshened as ufual, and turned north ward 
to N.N. eaft. We were now in' mid-channel, fo that we flood 
on ilraight for Dahalac till half pall four, when a boy, 
who went aloft, faw four iflands in a direction N. W. by 
W4 weft. We were Handing on with a frefh breeze, and 
all our fails full, when I faw, a little before fun-fet, a white- 
fringed wave of the well-known figure of a breaker. I 
cried to the Rais for God's fake to fhorten fail, for I faw a 
breaker a-head, Ilraight in our way. He faid there was no 
fuch thing ; that I had miftaken it, for it was a fea-gull. A- 
bout feven in the evening we ilruck upon a reef of coral' 
rocks. Arabs are cowards in all fudden dangers, which 
they confider as particular directions or mandates of pro- 
vidence, and therefore not to be avoided. Few uncultiva- 
ted minds indeed have any calmnefs, or, immediate refource 
in themfelves when in unexpected danger. The Arab fai- 
lors were immediately for taking the boat,* and failing to 
the iflands the boy had feen. The Abyffinians were for cut- 
ting up the planks and wood of the inlide of the veflel, and 
making her a raft, 

A violent 



A violent difpute enfued, and after that a battle, when 
night overtook us, ftill fa ft upon the rock. The Rais and 
Yafme, however, calmed the riot, when I begged the paf- 
fengers would hear me. I told them, " You all know, or 
mould know, that the boat is mine, as I bought it with my 
money, for the fafety and accommodation of myfelf and fer- 
vants ; you know, likewile, that I and my men are all wdl 
armed, while you are naked ; therefore do not imagine that 
we will fufFer any of you to enter that boat, and fave your 
lives at the expence of ours. On this veilel of the Rais is 
your dependence, in it you are to be faved or to periffi; 
therefore all hands to work, and get the veflel off, while it 
is calm ; if me had been materially damaged, me had been 
funk before now." They all feemed on this to take cou- 
rage, and faid, they hoped I would not leave them. I told 
them, if they would be men, I would not leave them while 
there was a bit of the veffel together. 

Tu-e boat was immediately launched, and one of my 
fervants, the Rais, and two failors, were put on board. They 
were foon upon the bank, where the two failors got out, 
who cut their feet at firil upon the white coral, but after- 
wards got firmer footing. They attempted to pufh the fhip 
backwards, but (lie would not move. Poles and handfpikes 
were tried in order to ilir her, but thefe were not long 
enough. In a word, there was no appearance of getting 
her off before morning, when we knew the wind would 
rife, and it was to be feared ihe would then be dalhed to 
pieces, Mahomet Gibberti, and Yafme, had been reading 
the Koran aloud ever fince the veffel flruck. I faid to them 
in palling, " Sirs, would it not be as wife for you to leave 
your books till you get a-lhore, and lend a hand to the 




people?" Mahomet anfwered, " that he was fo weak and 
lick, that he could not ftancL'' But Yafme did not flight the 
rebuke, he flopped himfelf naked, went forward on the 
veflel, and then threw himfelf into -the fea. He, firfl, very 
judicioufly, felt what room there was for (landing, and 
found the bank was of confiderable breadth, and that we 
were fluck upon the point of it ; that it rounded,-, flan ting 
away afterwards, and Teemed very deep at the fides, fo the 
people, flanding on the right of it, could not reach the vef- 
fel to pufh • it, only thofe upon the point. The Rais and 
Yafme now cried for- poles and handfpikes, which were 
given them ; two more men let themfelves down by the fide, , 
and flood upon the bank» I then defired the Rais to get> 
out a line, come a-flern with the boat, and draw her in the 
farne direction, that they puihed. . 

As foon as the boat could be towed a-flern, a gr„eat cry 
was fet up, that fhe began to move. A little after, a gentle 
wind juft made itfelf felt from the e aft, and the cry from* 
the Rais was,Hoifl the fore-fail and put it a- back. This being 
immediately done, and a gentle breeze filling the fore-fail 
at the time, they all pufhed, and the veflel Aid gently off,. 
free from the ffioal. : I cannot fay I partook of the' joy fo-. 
fuddenly as the others did. I had always fome fears a plank 
might have been ftarted ; but we faw the advantage of a 
veflel being fewed, rather than nailed together, as fhe not 
only was unhurt, but made very little water. The people-: 
were ail exceedingly tired, and nobody thought they could 
enough praife the courage and readinefs of Yafme. From, 
that day he grew into consideration with me, which increa- 
sed, ever after, till my departure from Abyfiinia..- 


The latitude of our place, at noon, had" been 15 32' 12" 
I reclined my quadrant, and hung it up. Seeing the clear 
of the Lyre not far from the meridian, I was willing to be 
certain of that dangerous place we had fallen upon. By- 
two observations of Lucida Lyra, and Lucida Aquilce, and by a 
mean of both, I found the bank to be in lat. 15 28' 15" 

There was a circumftance, during the hurry of this 
tranfaetion, that gave us all reafon to be furprifed. The 
ghoft was fuppofed to be again feen on the boltfprit, as if 
pufhing the vefTel ailiore ; and as this was breaking cove- 
nant with me, as a paflenger, I thought it was time fome 
notice fhould be taken of him, fmce the Rais had referred 
it entirely to me. I inquired who the perfons were that 
had feen him. Two moors of Hamazen were the firft that 
perceived him, and afterwards a great part of the crew 
had been brought to believe the reality of this vifion. I 
called them forward to examine them before the Rais, and 
Mahomet Gibberti, and they declared that, during the night, 
they had feen him go and come feveral times ; once, he was 
pufhing againfl the boltfprit, another time he was pulling 
upon the rope, as if he had an anchor aihore ; after this 
he had a very long pole, or flick, in his hand, but it ieemed 
heavy and flifT, as if it had been made of iron, and when 
the vefTel began to move, he turned into a fmall blue flame, 
ran along the gunnel on the larboard fide of the fhip, and, 
upon the vefTel going off, he difappeared. " Now, faid I, " it 
is plain by this change of fhape, that he has left us for 
ever, let us therefore fee whether he has done us any 
harm or not. Hath any of you any baggage flowed for- 
wards V The ftrangers anfwered, " Yes, it is all there." Then 




faid I, go forward, and fee if every man has got his own. They 
all did this without lofs of time, when a great noife and con- 
fufion enfued ; every one was plundered of fomething, ftibi- 
urn, nails, brafs wire, incenfe and beads ; in fliort, all the 
precious part of their little ftores was flolen. 

All the pafTengers were now in the utmofl defpair, and 
began to charge the failors. " I appeal to you, Yafine and 
Mahomet Gibberti, faid I, whether thefe two moors who 
faw him ofteneft, and were moft intimate with him, have 
not a chance of knowing where the things are hid ; 
for in my country, where ghofts are very frequent, they are 
always amfted in the thefts they are guilty of, by thofe 
that fee and converfe with them. I fuppofe therefore it is 
the fame with Mahometan ghofts." " The very fame, faid 
Mahomet Gibberti and Yafine, as far as ever we heard." 
** Then go, Yaline, with the Rais, and examine that part of 
the fhip where the moors flept, while I keep them here ; 
and take two failors with you, that know the fecret places.'* 
Before the fearch began, however, one of them told Yafine 
where every thing was, and accordingly all was found and 
reftored. I would not have the reader imagine, that I here 
mean to value myfelf, either upon any fupernatural know- 
ledge, or extreme fagacity, in fuppofing that it was a piece 
of roguery from the beginning, of which I never doubted. 
But while Yafine and the failors were bufy pufhing off the 
vefifel, and I a-itern at an observation, Mahomet Gibberti's 
fervant, fitting by his mailer, faw one of the moors go to 
the repofitory of the baggage, and, after ftaying a little, 
come out with a box and package in his hand. This he 
told his mafter, who informed me, and the ghoft finding 
his aiTociates discovered, never was feen any more. 
Vol. I. X x The 


The i 2th, in the morning, we found that this moal was a 
fand bank, with a ridge of coral rocks upon it, which 
flretches hither from Selma, and ends a little farther to the 
northward in deep water. At fun-rife the iflands bore as 
follow : — 




miles - - 

S. S. E. % E. 

Selma - 

- do. - 





- - do. - 


do. - - 

S. W.i s. 

Zober - 

- - do. - 


do. - - 

W. by S.i S. 


do. - 


do. - - 

N. N. W. 

Furfh - 

do. - 


do. - - 


These iflands lie in a femi-circle round this moal. 
There were no breakers upon it, the fea being fo perfectly 
calm. I fuppofe if there had been wind, it would have bro- 
ken upon it, as I certainly faw it do before we {truck ; be- 
tween Megaida and Zober is a fmall fharp rock above the 
furface of the fea. 

We got under fail at fix in the morning, but the wind 
was very faft decaying, and foon after fell dead-calm. To- 
wards eleven, as ufual, it frefhened, and almoit at due north. 
At noon I found our lat. to be 15 29' 33" north, from which 
we had the following bearings : — 

Selma, - 


- 5 miles, 

- S.E.-JS. 


- do. - - 

4 do. - - 

- S. S. E. 



- 2 do. 


Dubia, - 

- do. - - 

5 do. - - 

- W.byS.-VS. 


■ do. - 

1 do. 

- N. W. 


- do. - ■ 

-5 do. 

- N.W.byN. 


Cigala, - diflant - 6 miles, - - N. 
Furfh, - do. - -3 do. - - - N.E.byN.iN. 

— and the rocks upon which we ilruck, E. by S.|S. fome- 
thing lefs than five miles off. 

At four o'clock in the afternoon we faw land, Which our 
pilot told us was the fouth end of Dahalac. It bore well by 
fouth, and was diflant about nine leagues. As our courfe 
was then well by north, I found that we were going whi- 
ther I had no intention to land, as my agreement was to 
touch at Dahalac el Kibeer, which is the principal port, and 
on the fouth end of the ifland, where the India mips for- 
merly ufed to refort, as there is deep water, and plenty of 
fea-room between that and the main. But the freight of 
four facks of dora, which did not amount to ten ihillings, 
was fufficient to make the Rais break his word, and run 
a rifk of cancelling all the meritorious fervices he had fo 
long performed for me. So certain is it, that none of thefe 
people can ever do what is right, where the fmallefl trifle is 
thrown into the fcale to bias them from their duty. 

At fix in the evening we anchored near a fmall ifland 
called Racka Garbia, or Well Racka, in four fathom of flony- 
ground. By a meridian altitude of Lurida Aquila?, I concluded 
the lat. to be if 3 i' 30" north, and our bearings as follow:— 

Dallacken, - diflant - 3 miles, - - N.E.^E. 


do. - 

5 do - 

- - S.E.byE.^S. 

Dellefheb, - 

- do. 

- 6 do. 

- . - E.N.E4-E. 

D ubia, - - 

do. - 

1 1 do. 

- - E.byS.|S. 

Racka Garbia, 

- do. • 

■ 2 do. ■ 

. - S.W.byW.^S. 




On the 13th, a little after fun-rife, we continued our courfe 
weft, and a very little foutherly, with little wind. At eight 
o'clock we paned Dalgroufht, north by eaft about a league 
diftance, and a new ifland, Germ Malco, weft by north. At- 
noon,. I obferved our latitude to be 15 ^. 1.3" north; and 
our bearings as follow :■ — 

Dallacken, - - diftant - 6 miles, - - E.byS, 

Racka, - - do. - 6 do. - - S.E.byS.. 

GermMalco, - do. - 6 do. - - S. S.W. 

Dalgroufht, - - do. - 4 do. - - E..N. E.. 

Dennifarek, - do. - 7 do. - . - N. N.W.. 

Seide el Arabi, - do. - 4 do.. - - W.byS. 

Dahal Coufs> - - do. -9, do. - N.W.byN.. 

The fouth cape of the ifland of Dahalac is called Ras 
Sbouke, which, in Arabic, means the Cape of Thorns, becaufe 
upon it are a quantity of funt^ or acacia, the thorny-tree 
which bears the gum-arabic. We continued our courfe. 
along the eaft fide of Dahalac, and, at four o'clock in the 
afternoon, faw Irwee, which is faid to anfwer to the centre 
of the ifland. It bore then fouth-weft of us four miles. We 
alfo faw two fmall iflands^Tarza and Siahd Sezan ; thefirft,, 
north by weft three miles ; the fecond, north-eaft by eaft, 
but fomething farther. After having again violently ftruck. 
on the coral rocks in the entry, at fun-fet we anchored im 
die harbour of Dobelew.. 

This harbour is in form circular, and. funrciently defend- 
ed from all winds, but its entrance is too narrow, and with- 
in, it is full of rocks. The bottom of the whole port is co~ 
■vrerxd with large ramifications of white coral, with huge 



black Hones ; and I could no where obferve there were above 
three fathom water, when it was full fea. The pilot in- 
deed faid there were feven, or twelve at the mouth ; but fo 
violent a tide rufhed in through the entrance, that no veflel 
could efcape being driven upon the rocks, therefore Imade 
no draught of it. 

Dobelew is a village three miles fouth-wefl of the Har- 
bour. It confrils of about eighty houfes, built of Hone 
drawn from the fea ; thefe calcine like ihells, and make good 
enough morter, as well as materials for building before 
burning. All the houfes are covered with bent-grafs, like 
thofe of Arabia. The 17th, I got my large quadrant a-fhore, 
and obferved the fun in the meridian in that village, and 
determined the lat. of its fouth-wefl extremity, to be 1 5 42' 2 z" 

Irwee is a village flill frnaller than Dobelew, about four 
miles diflant. From this obfervation, compared with our 
account, we computed the fouthern cape of Dahalac, called 
Ras Sbouke, to be in lat. 15 27' 30" ; and Ras Antalou, or the 
north cape, to be in lat. 15 54' 30'' north.. 

The whole length of the ifland, whofe direction is from 
north-weft to fouthueafl, is thirty-feven miles, and its greafc- 
eft breadth eighteen, which did within a very little agree 
with the account the inhabitants gave us, who made its 
length indeed fomething more. 

Dahalac is by far the larger! ifland in the Red' Sea, as 
none, that we had hitherto feen, exceeded five miles in 
length. It is low and even, the foil fixed gravel and white 




fand, mixed with fhells and other marine productions. It 
is deftitute of all forts of herbage, at leaft in fummer, unlefs 
a fmall quantity of bent grafs, jufl fufficient to feed the few 
antelopes and goats that are on the ifland. There is a very 
beautiful fpecies of this laft animal found here, fmall, fhort- 
haired, with thin black fharp horns, having rings upon them, 
and they are very fwif t of foot. 

This illand is, in many places, covered with large plan- 
tations of Acacia trees, which grow to no height, feldom a- 
bove eight feet, but fpread wide, and turn flat at top, pro- 
bably by the influence of the wind from the fea. Though 
in the neighbourhood of Abymnia, Dahaiac does not par- 
take of its feafons : no rain falls here, from the end of 
March to the beginning of October ; but, in the intermedi- 
ate months, efpeciaily December, January, and February, 
there are violent mowers for twelve* hours at a time, which 
deluge the ifland, and fill the ciflerns fo as to ferve all next 
fummer ; for there are no hills nor mountains in Dahaiac, 
and confequently no fprings, Thefe ciflerns alone preferve 
the water, and of them there yet remain three hundred and 
fevcnty, -all hewn out of the folid rock. They fay thefe 
were the works of the Perfians ; it is more probable they 
were thofe of the firft Ptolemies. But whoever were the 
conftrucTors of thefe magnificent refervoirs, they were a 
very different people from thofe that now poffefs them, 
who have not induftry enough to keep one of the three 
hundred and feventy clear for the ufc of man. All of them 
are open to every fort of animal, and half full of the filth 
they leave there, after drinking and warning in them. The 
water of Dobclew, and Irwce, taftcd flrong of mufk, from 
the dung of the goats and antelopes, and the fmell before 

4 you 


you drink it is more naufeous than the tafte ; yet one of 
thefe cifterns, cleaned and fhut up with a door, might afford 
them wholefome fweet water all the year over. 

After the rains fall, a prodigious quantity of grafs im- 
mediately fprings up ; and the goats give the inhahitahts 
milk, which in winter is the principal part of their fubfift- 
ence, for they neither plow nor fow. All their employ- 
ment is to work the veffels which trade to the different 
parts of the coaft. One half of the inhabitants is conftantly 
on the Arabian fide, and by their labour is enabled to fur- 
nifh with * dora, and other provifions, the other half who 
flay at home ; and when their time is expired, they are re- 
lieved by the other half, and fupplied with neceffaries in 
their turn. But the fuftenance of the poorer fort is en- 
tirely fhell and other fifli. Their wives and daughters are 
very bold, and expert nfher-women. Several of them, en- 
tirely naked, fwam off to our veffel before we came to an 
anchor, begging handfuls of wheat, rice, or dora. They 
are very importunate and flurdy beggars, and not eafily put 
off with denials. Thefe mifcrable people, who live in the 
villages not frequented by barks from Arabia, are foiue- 
times a whole year without tailing bread. Yet fuch is the 
attachment to the place of their nativity, they prefer living 
in this bare, barren, parched fpot, almoft in want of neceiTa- 
ries of every kind, efpecially of thefe effential ones, bread 
and water, to thofe pleafant and plentiful countries on both 
fides of them. This preference we mufl not call flrange, 
for it is univerfal : A ftrong attachment to our native 


Millet, or Indian corn. 



country, whatever is its condition, has been imprefled by 
Providence, for wife ends, in the breafts of all nations; from 
Lapland to the Line, you find it written precifely in the 
Came character,. 

There are twelve villages, or towns, in Dahalac, little dif- 
ferent in fize from Dobelew ; each has a plantation of doom- 
trees round it, which furnifh the only manufacture in the 
iiland. The leaves of this tree, when dried, are of a glofTy 
white, which might very eafily be miftaken for fattin ; of 
thefe they make bafkets of furpriiing beauty and neatnefs, 
{taining part of the leaves with red or black, and working 
them into figures very artificially. I have known fome of 
thefe, refembling ftraw-baikets, continue full of water for 
twenty-four hours, without one drop coming through. They 
fell thefe at Loheia and Jidda, the largeft of them for four 
commefh, or fixpence. This is the employment, or rather 
amufement of the men who flay at home ; for they work 
but very moderately at it, and all of them indeed take fpe- 
cial care, not to prejudice their health by any kind of fatigue 
from induftry, 

People of the better fort, fuch as the Shekh and his rela- 
tions, men privileged to be idle, and never expofed to the 
fun, are of a brown complexion, not darker than the inha- 
bitants of Loheia. But the common fort employed in fifh- 
ing, and thofe who go conftantly to fea, are not indeed 
black, but red, and little darker than the colour of new 
mohogany. There are, befides, blacks among them, who 
come from Arkeeko and the Main, but even thefe, upon 
marrying, grow lefs black in a generation. 

i The 


The inhabitants of Dahalac. feemed to be a fimple, fear- 
ful, and inoffenfive people. It is the only part of Africa, or 
Arabia, (call it which you pleafe) where you fee no one 
carry arms of any kind ; neither gun, knife, nor fword, is 
to be feen in the hands of any one. Whereas, at Loheia, 
and on all *he coafl of Arabia, and more particularly at 
Yambo, every perfon goes armed ; even the porters, naked, 
and groaning under the weight of their burden, and heat 
of the day, have yet a leather belt, in which they carry a 
crooked knife, fo monftroufly long, that it needs a particu- 
lar motion and addrefs in walking, not to lame the -bearer. 
This was not always the cafe at Dahalac ; feveral of the Por- 
tuguefe, on their iiril arrival here, were murdered, and the 
iiland often treated ill, in revenge, by the armaments of that 
nation. The men feem healthy. They told me they had 
no difeafes among them, unlefs fometimes in Spring, when 
the boats of Yemen and Jidda bring the fmall-pox among 
them, and very few efcape with life that are infected. I could 
not obferve a man among them that feemed to be fixty 
years old, from which I infer, they are not long livers, 
though the air mould be healthy, as being near the chan- 
nel, and as they have the north wind all fummer, which 
moderates the heat. 

Of all the iflands We had paiTed on this fide the channel, 
Dahalac alone is inhabited. It depends, as do all the reft, 
upon Mafuah, and is conferred by a firman from the Grand 
Signior, on the Bafha of Jidda ; and, from him, on Metical 
Aga, then on the Naybc and his fervants. The prefent go- 
vernor's name was Hagi Mahomet Abd el cader, of whom 
I have before fpoken, as having failed from Jidda to Mafuah 
before me, where he did nie all the dif-fervice in his power* 

Vol. I, Y y and 


and nearly procured my aflafiination. The revenue of this 
governor confirms in a goat brought to him monthly by eacli 
of the twelve villages. Every vefTel, that puts in there for. 
Mafuah, pays him alfo a pound of coffee, and every one 
from Arabia, a dollar or pataka. No fort of fmall money is. 
current at Dahalac, excepting Venetian glafs-beads, old and, 
new, of all fizes and colours, broken and whole.. 

Although this is the miferable ftate of Dahalac at pre- 
fent, matters were widely different in former times. The 
pearl fifhery flourifhed greatly here, under the Ptolemies ; 
and even long after, in the time of the Caliphs, it produced a 
great revenue, and, till the fovereigns of Cairo, of theprefent 
miferable race of flaves, began to withdraw themfelves 
from their dependency on the port (for even after the reign 
of Selim, and the conquefts of Arabia, under Sinan Baffia* 
the Turkifh gallies were ftill kept up at Suez, whilil Ma* 
iuah. and Suakem had Bafhas) Dahalac was the principal 
ifland that furniihed the pearl fifhers, or divers. It was* 
indeed, the chief port for the fifhery on the fouthern part 
of the Red Sea, as Suakem was on the north ; and the 
Bafha of Mafuah pafTed part of every fummer here, to avoid 
the heat at his place of refidence on the Continent.. 

The fifhery extended from Dahalac and its iflands nearly 
to lat. 20°. The inhabited iflands furnifhed each a bark, 
and fo many divers, and they were paid in wheat, flour, &c. 
fuch a portion to each bark, for their ufe, and fo much to 
leave with their family, for their fubfiftence ; fo that a 
few months employment furnifhed them With every thing 
neceflary for the reft of the year. The fifhery was rented, 
in latter times, to the Baina of Suakem, but there was a place 



between Suakem, and the fuppofed river Frat, in lat. 21 28' 
north, called Gungunnah, which was referved to the Grand 
Signior in particular, and a fpecial officer was appointed to 
receive the pearls on the fpot, and fend them to Conftanti- 
nople. The pearls found there were of the largeft fize, and 
inferior to none in water, or roundnefs. Tradition fays, 
that this was, executively, the property of the Pharaohs, by 
which is meant, in Arabian manufcrip's, the old kings of 
Egypt before Mahomet. 

In the fame extent, between Dahalac and Suakem, was 
another very valuable fifhery, that of * tortoifes, from 
which the fineft mells of that kind were produced, and a 
great trade was carried on with the Eafl Indies, (China ef- 
pecially) at little expence, and with very coniiderable pro- 
fits. The animal itfelf (the turtle) was in great plenty, be- 
tween lat. 1 8° and 20 , in the neighbourhood of thofe low 
fandy iflands, laid down in my chart. 

The India trade flourifhed exceedingly at Suakem and 
Mafuah, as it had done in the profperous time of the Ca- 
liphs. The Banians, -(then the only traders from the Eafl 
Indies) being prohibited by the Mahometans to enter the 
Holy Land of the Hejaz, carried all their veiTels to Konfo- 
dah in Yemen, and from thefe two ports had, in return, at 
the firft hand, pearls, tortoife-fhell, which fold for its weight 
of gold, in China ; Tibbar, or pure gold of Sennaar, (that 
from Abyflinia being lefs fo) elephant's teeth, rhinoceros 

Y y 2 horns 

* See the article Tortoife in the Appendix* 


horns for turning, plenty of gum Arabic, cama, myrrri^ 
frankincenfe, and many other precious articles ; thefe were 
all bartered, at Mafuah and Suakem, for India, goods. But 
nothing which violence and injuftice can ruin, ever can. 
fubfift under Turkifh government.; The Bafhas paying dear- - 
ly for their confirmation at Conftantinople, and uncertain- 
if they Ihould hold this office long enough to raakfe-reim- 
burfements for the money they had already advanced, had 
not patience to flay till the courfe of trade gradually indem- 
nified them, .but proceeding from extortion to extortion, 
they at lafl became downright robbers, feizing the cargo 
of the fhips wherever they could find them, and exercifing 
the mod mocking cruelties on the perfon. they belonged to, . 
flaying the factors alive, and impaling thofe that remained : 
in their hands, to obtain, by. terror, remittances from India. . 
The trade was thus abandoned, and the revenue ceafed. . 
There were no bidders at Constantinople for the farm, no- 
body had trade in their heads when their lives were every - 
hour in danger. Dahalac became therefore dependent on ■: 
the Bafha of Jidda, and he appointed an * Aga, who paid i 
him a moderate fum, and appropriated to himfelf the pro- - 
villous and falary allowed for the pearTfifhery, or the great- - 
eft part of them. 

The Aga at Suakem endeavoured, in vain, to make the 
Arabs and people near him work without falary, fo they 
abandoned an. employment which produced nothing but , 
punifhment; and, in time, they grew ignorant of the iifhery.. 


* A Subaltern Governor. . 


in which they once were fo well flailed and had been edu- 
cated. This great nurfery of feamen therefore was loft, and 
the gallies, being no longer properly manned,, were either 
given up to rot, or turned into merchant-fhips for carrying 
the coffee between Yemen and Suez, thefe veffels were un- 
armed, and indeed incapable of armament, and unfervice- 
able by their conftruction ; beiides, they were ill-manned, 
and fo carelefsly and ignorantly navigated, that there was 
not a year, that one or more did not founder, not from ftrefs 
of weather, (for they were failing in a pond) or from any 
thing, but ignorance, or inattention. 

Trade took again its ancient courfe towards Jidda. The 
Sherriffe of Mecca, and all the Arabs, were interested to get ' 
it back to Arabia, and with it the government of their own 
countries. That the pearl fifhing might, moreover, no 
longer be an allurement for the Turkifh power to main- 
tain itfelf here, and opprefs them, they difcouraged the 
practice of diving, till it grew into defuetude; this brought' 
infenfibly all the people of the . iflands to the continent,, 
where they were employed in coafling veffels, which con- 
tinues their only occupation to this day. This policy fuc- 
ceeded ; the princes of Arabia became again free from the 
Turkifh power, now but 'a' fhadow, and Dahalac, Mafuah, 
and Suakem, returned to ■•their ancient mafters, to which 
they are fubjecl at this inftant, governed indeed by Shekhs 
of their own country, and preferving only the name of 
Turkifh government,, each being under the command of a 
robber and affaffm. 

The immenfe treafures in the bottom of the Red Sea, 
have t .ius been abandoned for near two hundred -years, - 

s~ thou eh* 


though they never were richer in all probability than at pre- 
fent. No nation can now turn them to any profit, but the 
Englifh Eaft India Company, more intent on multiplying the 
number of their enemies, and weakening themfelves by 
fpreading their inconfiderable force over new conquefts,than 
creating additional profit by engaging in new articles of 
commerce. A fettlement upon the river Frat, which never yet 
has belonged to any one but wandering Arabs, would open 
them a market both for coarfe and fine goods from the 
fouthern frontiers of Morocco, to Congo and Angola, and fet 
the commerce of pearls and tortoife fhell on foot again. All 
this fection of the Gulf from Suez, as I am told, is in their 
charter, and twenty mips might be employed on the Red 
Sea, without any violation of territorial claims. The myrrh, 
the frankincenfe, fome cinnamon, and variety of drugs, are 
all in the pofTeffion of the weak king of Adel, an ufurper, 
tyrant, and Pagan, without protection, and willing to trade 
with any fuperior power, that only would fecure him a 
miferable livelihood. 

If this does not take place, I am perfuaded the time is 
not far off, when thefe countries mall, in fome fhape or 
other, be fubjecls of a new mailer. Were another Peter, a- 
nother Elizabeth, or, better than either, another Catharine 
to fucceed the prefent, in an empire already extended to 
China; — werefuch a fovereign, unfettered by European poli- 
tics, to profecute that eafy talk of pufhing thofe mounte- 
banks of fovereigns and ftatefmen, thefe ftage-players of 
government, the Turks, into Afia, the inhabitants of the 
whole country, who in their hearts look upon her already 
as their fovereign, becaufe Hie is the head of their religion, 
would, I am perfuaded, fubmit without a blow that in- 



iiant the Turks were removed on the other fide of the Hel- 
ls fpont. 

There are neither horfes, dogs, fheep, cows, nor any fort 
of quadruped, but goats, affes, a few half-ftarved camels 
and antelopes at Dahalac, which lafl are very numerous. 
The inhabitants have no knowledge of fire-arms, and there 
are no dogs, nor be alls of prey in the iilafid to kill them ; 
they catch indeed fome few of them in traps. 

On our arrival at Dahalac, on the 14th, we faw fwallows 
there, and, on the 16th, they were all gone. On our land- 
ing at Mafuah, on the 19th, we faw a few; the 21ft and 226. 
they were in great flocks ; on the 2d of October they were, 
all gone. It was the blue long-tailed fwallow, with the flat 
head; but there was, likewife, the Englifh martin, blacky 
and darkifh grey in the body, with a white breafl. 

The language at Dahalac is that of the Shepherds; Arabic 
too is fpoken by mofl of them. From this ifland we fee: 
the high mountains of Habejh, running in an even ridge like, 
a wall, parallel to the coaft, and down to Suakem. 

Before I leave Dahalac, Imuft obferve, that, in a wretch- 
ed chart, in the hands of fome of the Englifh gentlemen at 
Jidda, there were foundings marked all along the eafl- 
coafl of Dahalac, from thirteen to thirty, fathoms, within 
two leagues of the fliore. Now, the iflands I have men- 
tioned occupy a much larger fpace than that ; yet none of 
them are fet down in the chart ; and, where the foundings 
are marked thirty, forty, and even ninety fathom, all is full 
of flioals under water, with iflands and funken coral rocks, 

3, fome 


fome of them near the furface, though the breakers do not 
appear upon them, partly owing to the waves being ftea- 
died by the violence of the current, and fomewhat kept off 
by the ifland. This dangerous error is, probably, owing to 
the draughts being compofed from different journals, where 
the pilot has had different ways of meaiuring his diftance ; 
fome ufmg forty-two feet to a thirty- fecond glafs, and fome 
twenty-eight, both of them being confidered as one com- 
petent divifion of a degree ; the diflances are all too ihort, 
and the foundings, and every tiling elfe, coiifequently out 
of their places.. 

Whoever has to navigate in the Abymnian fide of the 
channel, will do well to pafs the ifland Dahalac on the eaft 
fide, or, at leaft, not approach the outmofl iiland, Wowcan, 
nearer than ten leagues ; but, keeping about twelve leagues 
meridian diftance weft of Jibbel Teir, or near mid-channel 
between that and the ifland, they will then be out of dan- 
ger; being between lat. 15 20' and i5°4o', which laft is the 
latitude, as I obferved, of Saiel Noora, and which is the 
northern ifland, we faw, three leagues off Ras Antalou, the 
northmoft cape of Dahalac. 

Both at our entering into the port of Dobelew on the 
54th, and our going out of it on the 17th, we found a tide 
running like a fluice, which we apprehended, in fpite of 
our fails being full, would force us out of our courfe upon 
the rocks. I imagine it was inert at its greateft ftrcngth, it 
now being near the equinoctial full moon. The channel be- 
tweenTerra Firm a and the iiland being very narrow, and the 
influence of the fun and moon then nearly in the equator, 



had occalior :d this unufual violence of the tide, by forcing 
a large column of water through fo narrow a fpace. 

On the 1 7th, after we had examined our venel, and found 
Aiehad received no damage, andprovided water (bad as it was) 
for the remainder of our voyage, we failed from Dobelew, 
but, the wind being contrary, we were obliged to come to 
an anchor, at three quarters pall four o'clock, in ten fathom 
water, about three leagues from that port, which was to the 
fouth-weil of us ; the bearings and diltances are as follow: — 

Derghiman Kibeer, diftant 10 miles, - - W.S.W. 

Deleda, - _ - do. 7 do. - - W.byN. 

Saiel Sezan, - - - do. 4 do. - - S. E. 

Zeteban, - do. 5 do. - - N. E. 

Dahalac, - - do. 12 do. - - S.S.W. 

Dahalhalem, - - do. 12 do. - N. W.byN. 

On the 1 8th, we failed, Handing off and on, with a con- 
trary wind at north-well, and a llrong current in the fame 
direction. At half pall four in the morning we were forced 
to come to an anchor. There is here a very fhallow and 
narrow palTage, which I founded myfelf in the boat, barely 
one and a half fathom, or nine feet of water, and we were 
obliged to wait the filling of the tide. This is called the 
Bogaz, which fignifies, as I have before obferved, the narrow 
and ihallow palTage. It is between the hland Dahalac and 
the fouth point of the illand of Noora, about forty fathom 
broad, and, on each fide, full of dangerous rocks. The 
hlands then bore, 

Vol. I. Z z Derghiman 


Derghiman Seguier, - diftant 3 miles, - - S. \V.'. 

Derghiman Kibeer,: ' - do. 5. do.- - - S. 

Dahalhalem, - - - do. 4 do. - - E. N. E. . 

Noora, ,-. -. >'H - do. 2 do.. - - N. Eh.No. 

The tide now entered with an unufual" force, and ran 
more like the Nile, or a torrent, or Itream conducted, to. turn 
a mill, than the fea, or the effects of a tide. At half pail 
one o'clock, there was water enough to pafs, and we foon 
were hurried through it by the violence of the current, 
driving us in a manner truly tremendous. . 

At half after. three, we. pa/Ted. .between Ras Antalou, the 
North Cape of Dahalac, and the fmall iiland Dahalottom, 
which has fome trees upon it. . On this iiland is, the tomb 
of Shekh * AbouGafar, mentioned by Poncet, in his' voy- 
age, who miflakes the name of die faint for that of the ill and. 
The ftrait between the Cape and the iiland is a mile and a 
half broad. At four in the afternoon, we anchored near a 
a fmall iiland called Surat. All between this and Dahalac,- 
there is no water exceeding feven fathom, till you are near 
Dahalac Kibeer, whofe port has water for large veiTelSj 
but is open to every point, from fouth-weil to north-well, 
and has a great fwell. 

All ihips coming to the weftward of Dahalac had better 
keep within the iiland Drugerut, between that and the; 
main, where there is plenty of water, and room enough to 


Poncet's Voyage, tranilated into Englifh, printed for W. Lewis in 1709, in i2mo,page 121. 


work, tho', even hefe v there are iflaridsa* head; and clear wea- 
ther, as well as a good look-out, will always be necefTary. 
, j 1 : . '• 

On, the 19th of September, at three quarters pan; fix inl 
the morning, we failed from our anchorage near Surat. 
At a quarter paft nine, Dargeli, an riiand with trees upon 
it, bore N. W. by W. two miles and a half diftant ; and 
Drugerut three leagues and a half north and by eaft, when 
it fell calm. 

At eleven o'clock, we paaed the iiland of .Dergai- 
ham, bearing N. by Eaft, three miles diftant, and at five 
in the afternoon we came to an anchor in the harbour of 
Mafuah, having been * feventeen days on our pafTage, in- 
cluding the day we firft went on board, though this voy- 
age, with a favourable wind, is generally made in three 
days ; it often has, indeed, been failed in lefs. 

The reader will obferve, that many of the iflands begin 
with Dahal, and fome wdth Del, which laft is only an ab- 
breviation of the former, and both of them fignify ijland, 
in the language of Beja, otherwife called Geez, or the lan- 
guage of the fhepherds. MafTowa, too, though generally 
fpelled in the manner I have here expreffed it, mould pro- 
perly be written Mafuah, which is the harbour or w r ater of 
the Shepherds. Of this nation, fo often mentioned already in 
this work, as well as the many other people lefs powerful 
and numerous than they that inhabit the countries be- 
tween the tropics, or frontiers of Egypt and the Line, it will 

Z z 2 be 

* This mud not be attributed wholly to the weather. We fpent much time in furveying 
the iiknds, and in obfervation. 


he neceflary now to fpeak in fome detail, although the con- 
nexion they all have with the trade of the Red Sea, and 
with each other, will oblige me to go back to very early 
times, to the invention of letters, and all the ufeful arts, 
which had their beginning here, were carefully nouriflied, 
and came probably to as great a perfection as they did ever 
fince arrive at any other period. 

Sfe f " ' i .... - .' ■ **t%g 










Of the India trade in its earliejl ages — Settlement of Ethiopia — Iroglo^ 
dytes — Building ofthefrjl Cities* 

TH E farther back we go into the hiftory of Eaftern na- 
tions, the more reafon we have to be furprifed at the 
accounts of their immenfe riches and magnificence. One 
who reads the hiltory of Egypt is like a traveller walking 
through its ancient, ruined, and deferted towns, where all 
are palaces and temples, without any trace of private or 
ordinary habitation. So in the eariieft, though now mutila- 


ted, accounts which we have of them, all is power, fplen- 
dour, and riches, attended by the luxury which was the 
necelTary confequence, without any clue or thread left us 
by which we can"" remount, or be conducted, to the fource 
or fountain whence this variety of wealth had flowed ; 
without ever being able to arrive at a period, when thefe 
people were poor and mean, or even in a Itate of mediocri- 
ty, or upon a footing with European nations. 

The facred fcriptures, the mofl ancient, as well as the 
mofl credible of all hiltories, reprefent Paleltine, of which 
they particularly treat, in the earliefl ages, as not only full of 
poliflied, powerful, and orderly ftates, but abounding alfo 
in filver and gold *, in a greater proportion than is to be 
found this day in any flate in Europe, though immenfely 
rich dominions in a new world have been added to the 
pofTemon of that territory, which furnifhed the greateft 
quantity of gold and filver to the old. Palefline, however, 
is a poor country, left to its own refources and produce 
merely. It mufl have been always a poor country, with- 
out fome extraordinary connection with foreign nations. 
It never contained either mines of gold or filver, and though, 
at moft periods of its hiflory, it appears to have been but 
thinly inhabited, it never of itfelf produced wherewithal 
to fupport and maintain the few that dwelt in it. 

Mr de Montesquieu t, fpeaking of the wealth of Semi- 
ramis, imagines that the great riches of the Aflyrian 


* Exod. xxxviii 39. f Lib. 21. cap. 6. 


empire in her reign, arofe from this queen's having plun* 
dered fome more ancient and richer nation, as they, in 
their turn, fell afterwards a prey to a poorer, but more 
warlike enemy. But however true this facl may be with 
regard to Semirarnis, it does not folve the general .difficulty; 
as flill the fame queilion recurs, concerning the wealth of 
that prior nation, .which; the AiTyrians plundered, and 
from which they received their treafure. I believe the ex- 
ample is rare, that a large kingdom has been enriched by 
war. Alexander conquered all Alia, part of Africa, and a 
confiderable portion of Europe ; he plundered Semiramis's 
kingdom, and all thofe that were tributary to her ; he went 
farther into the Indies than ever lhe did," though her terri- 
tories bordered upon the river Indus itfelf;,yet neither Ma- 
cedon, nor any of the neighbouring provinces of Greece, 
could ever compare with the frnall diliricls of Tyre and Si- 
don for riches, . 

War diiperfes wealth in the very^inflant it acquires it; 
but commerce, well regulated, conttantly and honefiiy fup- 
ported, carried on with ceconomy and punctuality, is the 
only thing that ever did enrich 1 extenfive kingdoms ; and; 
one hundred hands employed at the loom. will bring to a 
country more riches and abundance, than ten tlioufand- 
bearing fpears and ihields. We need not go far to pro- 
duce an example that will confirm this.. The fubjecls 
and neighbours of Semirarnis had brought fpices by land > 
into AfTyria. The Illimaelites and Midianites, the mer- 
chant! and carriers of gold from Ethiopia, and- more imme- 
diately from Paleftine, met in her dominions ; and there 
was, for a rime, the mart of the Earl India trade. But, by 
an bfurd ex; edition with an army into India, in hopes to? 

enrich. 1 


enrich herfelf all at once, fhe effectually ruined that com- 
merce, and her kingdom fell immediately afterwards. 

Whoever reads the hiftory of the moil ancient nations, will 
find the origin* of wealth and power to have rifen in the 
call ; then to have gradually advanced weftward, fpreading 
itfelf at the fame time north and fouth. They will find the 
riches and population of thofe nations decay in proportion 
as this trade forfakes them ; which cannot but fuggeft to 
a good underflanding, this truth conftantly to be found in 
the difpofition of all things in this univerfe, that God makes 
ufe of the fmalleft means and caufes to operate the greatefl 
and moll powerful effects. In his hand a pepper-corn is the 
foundation of the power, glory, and riches of India; he 
makes an acorn, and by it communicates power and rich- 
es to nations divided from India by thoufands of leagues 
of fea. 

Let us purfue our confideration of Egypt. Sefoftris, be- 
fore the time we have been juft fpcaking of, paffed with a 
fleet of large lhips from the Arabian Gulf into the Indian 
Ocean ; he conquered part of India, and opened to Egypt 
the commerce of that country by fea. I enter not into the 
credibility of the number of his fleet, as there is fcarce any 
thing credible left us about the fhipping and navigation of 
the ancients, or, at leafl, that is not full of difficulties and 
contradictions ; my bufinefs is with the expedition, not with 
the number of the lhips. It would appear he revived, ra- 
ther than firft difcovered, this way of carrying on the trade 
to the Eafc Indies, which, though it was at times intermit- 
ted, (perhaps forgot by the Princes who were contending 
for the fovereignty of the continent of Afia), was, nevertbe- 

4 lefs, 


lefs, perpetually kept up by the trading nations themfelves, 
from the ports of India and Africa, and on the Red Sea from 

The pilots from thefe ports alone, of all the world, had 
a fecret confined to their own knowledge, upon which the 
fuccefs of thefe voyages depended. This was the pheno- 
mena of the trade-winds * and monfoons, which the pilots 
of Sefoftris knew; and which thofe of Nearchus feeni to 
have taught him only in part, in his voyage afterwards, 
and of which we are to fpeak in the.fequel. Hiftory fays 
further of Sefoftris, that the Egyptians confidered him as 
their greateft benefactor, for having laid open to them the 
trade both of India and Arabia, for having overturned the 
dominion of the Shepherd kings ; and, laftly, for having re- 
ftored to. the Egyptian individuals each their own lands, 
which had been wrefted from them by the violent hands of 
the Ethiopian Shepherds, during the firft ufurpation of thefe 
princes. ---, 

In memory of his having happily accomplifhed thefe 
■events, Sefoftris is faid to have built a fhip of cedar of a 
hundred and twenty yards in length, the outfide of which 
he covered with plates of gold, and the infide with plates 
of filver, and this he dedicated in the temple of Ills. I will 
not enter into the defence of the probability of his reafons 
for having built a fhip of this fize, and for fuch a purpofe, 
as one of ten vards would have fuflicientlv anfwerecL The 

Vol. I. 3 A ufe 

* Thefe are far from being fynonymous terms, as we fliall fee afterwards. 


ufe it was made for, was apparently to ferve for a hiero- 
glyphic, of what he had accomplished, viz. that he had laid' 
open the gold and filver trade from the mines in Ethiopia, 
and had navigated the ocean in mips made of wood, which 
were the only ones, he thereby infinuated, that could be 
employed in that trade. The Egyptian fliips, at that time, 
were all made of the reed papyrus *, covered with ikins or 
leather, a construction which no people could venture to.* 
prefent to the ocean. 

There is much to be learned from a proper underfland- 
ing of thefe lafl benefits conferred by Sefoftris upon his 
Egyptian fubjecfts. When we underfland thefe, which is 
very eafy to any that have travelled in the countries we are 
fpeaking of, (for nations and caufes have changed very lit- 
tle in thefe countries to this day), it will not be difficult to 
find afolution of this problem, What was the commerce that, 
progreffively, laid the foundation of all that immenfe gran- 
deur of the eaft ; what polifhed them, and cloathed them 
with filk, fcarlet, and gold ; and what carried the arts and 
fciences among them, to a pitch, perhaps,,never yet. furpaf- 
fed, and this fome thoufands of years before the nations in 
Europe had any other habitation than their native woods, or 
cloathing than the fkins of beafts, wild and domeftic, or 
government, but that firfl, innate one, which nature had 
given to the ftrongeft?. 

Let us inquire what was the connection Sefoftris brought 
about between Egypt and India ; what was that commerce 

3 of 

' i i ii ■ iiiuiii i i.i i wi i n n .. _ i r 

* See the -artcle papyrus Iu the Appendix* 


-of Ethiopia and Arabia, by which he enriched Egypt, and 
what was their connection with the peninfula of India ; who 
were thofe kings who bore fo oppofrte an office, as to be at 
the fame time Shepherds ; and who were thofe Shepherds, near, 
and powerful enough to wreit the property of their lands 
from four million of inhabitants. 

To explain this, it will be neceflary to enter into fome de- 
tail, without which no perfon dipping into the ancient or 
modern hiflory of this part of Africa, can have any precife 
idea of it, nor of the different nations inhabiting the penin- 
fula, the fource of whofe wealth confifted entirely in the 
early, but well-eftablifhed commerce between Africa and 
India. What will make this fubject of more eafy explana- 
tion is, that the ancient employment and occupations of 
thefe people in the firfl ages, were ftill the fame that fublift 
at this day. The people have altered a little by colonies of 
ftrangers being introduced among them, but their man- 
ners and employments are the fame as they originally were. 
What does not relate to the ancient hiflory of thefe people, 
I mail only mention in the courfe of my travels when pafs- 
ing through, or fojourning amongfl them. 

Providence had created the inhabitants of the penin- 
fula of India under many difadvantages in point of climate. 
The high and wholefome part of the country was covered 
with barren and rugged mountains ; and, at different times 
of the year, violent rains fell in large currents down the 
fides of thefe, which overflowed all the fertile land below ; 
and thefe rains were no fooner over, than they were fuc- 
ceedecl by a fcorching fun, the effect of which upon the hu- 
<man body, was to render it feeble, enervated, and incapable 

3A2 of 


of the efforts necefTary for agriculture. In this flat coun- 
try, large rivers, that fcarce had declivity enough to run, 
crept flowly along, through meadows of fat black earth, 
ftagnating in many places as they went, rolling an abun- 
dance of decayed vegetables, and filling the whole air with 
exhalations of the molt corrupt and putrid kind. Even 
rice, the general food of man, tire fafeft and molt friendly 
to the inhabitants of that country, could not grow but by 
laying under water the places where it was fown, and there- 
by rendering them, for feveral months, abfolutely improper 
for man's dwelling. Providence had done this, but, never 
failing in its wifdom, had made to the natives a great, 
deal more than a fufficient amends. 

Their bodies were unfit for the fatigues of agriculture; 
nor was the land proper for common cultivation. But this 
country produced fpices of great variety, efpecially a 
fmall berry called Pepper, fuppofed, of all others, and with 
reafon, to be the greateft friend to the health of man. This 
grew fpontaiieoufly, and was gathered without toil. It was, 
at once, a perfect remedy for the inclemencies and difeafes 
of the country, as well as the fource of its riches, from the 
demand of foreigners. This fpecies of fpice is no where 
known but in India, though equally ufeful in every putrid 
region,, where, unhappily, thefe difeafes reign. Pro- 
vidence has not, as in India, placed remedies fo near them, 
thus wifely providing for the welfare of mankind in gene- 
ral, by the dependency it has forced one-man to have upon 
another. In India, and fmiilar climates, this fpice is not 
ufed in fmall quantities, but in fuch, as to be nearly equal 
to t&at of brc ad. 

4 kN 


In cloathing, Providence had not been lefs kind to India. 
The lilk worm, with little fatigue and trouble to man, al- 
moft without his interference, provided for him a fluff, at 
once the fofteft, the mofl light and brilliant, and confe- 
quently the beft adapted to warm countries ; and cotton, 
a vegetable production, growing every where in great abun- 
dance, without care, which may be conlidered as almofl e- 
qual to filk, in many of its qualities,, and fuperior to it in. 
fome, afforded a variety Hill cheaper for more general ufe. 
Every tree without culture produced them fruit of the moll 
excellent kind ; every tree afforded them ihade, under 
which, with a very light and portable loom of cane, they 
could pals their lives delightfully in a calm and rational en- 
joyment, by the gentle exercife of weaving, at once provid- 
ing for the health of their bodies, the neceffities of their fa- 
milies, and the riches of their country. 

But however plentifully their fpices grew, in whatever 
quantity the Indians confumed them, and however gene- 
rally they wore their own manufactures, the fuperabun- 
dance of both was fuch, as naturally led them to look out 
for articles againfl which they might barter their fuperflui- 
ties. This became noceffary to fupply the wants of thofc 
things that had been with-held from them, for wife ends, 
or which, from wantonnefs, luxury, or flcnder neccffity, 
they had created in their own imaginations, 

Ear to the wefewardof them, but part of the fame con- 
tinent, connected by a long delert, and dangerous coafr, 
was the peninfula of Arabia, which produced no fpices, tho' 
the necefiities of its climate fubjected its inhabitants to the 
fame difcafes as thofe in India, In fact, the country and. 



climate were exactly fimilar, and, confequently, the plenti- 
ful ufe of thefe warm productions was as neceffary there, 
as in India, the country where they grew. 

It is true, Arabia was not abandoned wholly to the incle- 
mency of its climate, as it produced myrrh and frankin- 
cenfe, which, when tifed as perfumes or fumigations, were 
powerful antifeptics of their kind, but adminiftered rather 
as preventatives, than to remove the diforder when it once 
prevailed. Thefe were kept up at a price, of which, at this 
day, we have no conception, but which never diminifhed 
from any circumflance, under which the country where 
they grew, laboured. 

The iilk and cotton of India were white and colourlefs, 
liable to foil, and without any variety; but Arabia produced 
gum and dyes of various colours, which were highly agree- 
able to the tafte of the Aiiatics. We find the facred fcrip- 
tures fpeak of the party-coloured garment as the mark of 
the greateft honour *. Solomon, in his proverbs, too, fays, 
that he decked his bed with coverings of tapeftry of Egypt f. 
But Egypt had neither filk nor cotton manufactory, no, 
nor even wool. Solomon's coverings, though he had 
them from Egypt, were therefore an article of barter with 

Balm, or Balfam J, was a commodity produced in Arabia, 
fold at a very high price, which it kept up till within thefe 


* Gen. xxxvii. 3 and 2 Sam. xiii. 18. ' f Prov. vii. 16. 

t Vide Appendix, where this tree is defcribed. 



few centuries in the eaft ; when the Venetians carried on 
the India trade by Alexandria, this Balfam then fold for its 
weight in gold ; it grows in the fame place, and,, I believe, 
nearly in the fame quantity as ever, but, for very obvious 
reafons*, it is now of little value.. 

The bails of trade, or a. connection between thefe two 
countries, was laid, then, from the beginning, by the hand 
of Providence. The wants and neceffities of the one found 
a fupply, or balance from the other. Heaven had placed 
diem not fardiftant, could the pafTage be made by fea ; but 
violent, Heady, and unconquerable winds prefented them- 
felves to make that paiTage of the ocean impomble, and we 
are not to doubt, but, for a very confiderable time, this was 
the reafon why the commerce of India was diffufed through 
the continent, by land only, and from this arofe the riches 
of Semiramis. 

But, however precious the merchandife of Arabia was, it 
was neither in quantity, nor quality, capable of balancing 
the imports from India. Perhaps they might have paid for 
as much as was ufed in the peninfula of Arabia itfelf, but, 
beyond this there was a vail continent called Africa, capa- 
ble of confuming many hundred fold more than Arabia ; 
which lying under the fame parallel with India, part of it 
flill farther fouth, the difeafes of the climate, and the wants 
of its numerous inhabitants, were, in many parts of it, the 
fame as thofe of Arabia and India ; befides which there was 


* The quantity of furular drugs brought from the New World. 


the Red Sea, and divers communications to the north- 


Neither their luxuries nor necefTaries were the fame 
as thofe of Europe. And indeed Europe, at this time, was 
probably inhabited by fhepherds, hunters, and fifhers, who 
had no luxury at all, or fuch as could not be fupplied from 
India ; they lived in woods and marines, with the animals 
which made their fport, food, and cloathing. 

The inhabitants of Africa then, this vail Continent, were to 
foe fupplied with the necefTaries, as well as the luxuries of 
life, but they had neither the articles Arabia wanted, nor 
thofe required in India, at leaft, for a time they thought 
fo ; and fo long they were not a trading people, 

It is a tradition among the Abyflinians, which they fay 
they have had from time immemorial, and which is equally 
received among the Jews and Chriftians, that almoft imme- 
diately after the flood, Cufh, grandfon of Noah, with his 
family, pairing through Atbara from the low country of 
£gypt, then without inhabitants, came to the ridge of 
mountains which flill feparates the flat country of Atbara 
from the more mountainous high-land of Abyflinia. 

By calling his eye upon the map, the reader will fee a 
chain of mountains, beginning at the Ifthmus of Suez, that 
runs all along like a wall, about forty miles from the Red 
Sea, till it divides in lat. 13 , into two branches. The one 
goes along the northern frontiers of Abyflinia, crofTes the 
Nile, and then proceeds wefbward, through Africa towards 
tl^e Atlantic Ocean. The other branch goes fouthward, and 



then eaft, taking the form of the Arabian Gulf; after 
which, it continues fouthward all along the Indian Ocean, 
in the fame manner as it did in the beginning all along, 
the Red Sea, that is parallel to the coafl. 

Their tradition fays, that, terrified with the late dread- 
ful event the flood, ftill recent in their minds, and appre- 
heniive of being again involved in a fimilar calamity, they 
chofe for their habitation caves in the fides of thefe moun- 
tains, rather than trull themfelves again on the plain. It 
is more than probable, that, foon after their arrival, meet- 
ing here with the tropical rains, which, for duration, ftill 
exceed the days that occafioned the flood, and obferving, 
that going through Atbara, that part of Nubia between the 
Nile and Aflaboras, afterwards called Meroe, from a dry cli- 
mate at firft, they had after fallen in with rains, and as thofe 
rains increafed in proportion to their advancing fouthward, 
they chofe to flop at the firfl mountains, where the country 
was fertile and pleafant, rather than proceed farther at the 
rifk of involving themfelves, perhaps in a land of floods, 
that might prove as fatal to their poflerity as that of Noah 
had been to their anceflors. 

This is a conjecture from probability, only mentioned 
for illuflration, for the motives that guided them cannot 
certainly be known; but it is an undoubted fact, that here the 
Cufhites, with unparalleled induflry, and with inflruments 
utterly unknown to us, formed for themfelves commodi- 
ous, yet wonderful habitations in the heart of mountains 
of granite and marble, which remain entire in great num- 
bers to this day, and promife to do fo till the confummation 
of all things. This original kind of dwellings foon ex- 

Vol. I. 3 B tended 


tended themfelves through the neighbouring mountains. 
As the Cufhites grew populous, they occupied thofe that were 
next them, fpreading the induftry and arts which they cul- 
tivated, as well to the eaftern as to the weftern ocean, but, 
content with their firft choice, they never defcended from 
their caves, nor chofe to refide at a diftance on the plain. 

It is very angular that St Jerome does not know where 
to look for this family, or defcendents of Cufh ; though 
they are as plainly pointed out, and as often alluded to by 
fcripture, as any nation in the Old Teftament. They are 
defcribed, moreover, by the particular circumftances of 
their country, which have never varied, to be in the very 
place where I now fix them, and where, ever iince, they 
have remained, and ftill do to this prefent hour, in the fame 
moat ains, and the fame lioufes of ilone they formed for 
themfelves in the beginning. And yet Bochart *, profef- 
fedly treating this fubject, as it were induftriouily, involves 
it in more than Egyptian darkncfs. I rather refer the 
reader to his work, to judge for himfelf, than, quoting it 
by extracts, communicate the confuiion of his ideas to my 

The Abyffinian tradition further fays, they built the city 
of Axum feme time early in the days of Abraham. Soon 
after this, they pufhed their colony down to Atbara, where 
we know from Herodotus *, they early and fuccefs fully 
purfued their ftudies, from which, Jofephus fays|, they were 
called Meroetes, or inhabitants of the ifland of Meroe. 


* Boch. lib. 4. cap., 3. f Herod, lib. 2.. cap, 29. X Jofeph. antiquit. Jud. 


The prodigious fragments of colofTal flames of the dog- 
ftar, ftill to be feen at Axum, fufficiently fhew what a ma- 
terial object of their attention they confidered him to be ; 
and Seir, which in the language of the Troglodytes, and 
in that of the low country of Meroe, exactly correfponding 
to it, fignifies a dog, inftructs Us in the reafon why this 
province was called Sire, and the large river which bounds 
it, Siris. 

I apprehend the reafon why, without forfaking their 
ancient domiciles in the mountains, they chofe this iitua- 
tion for another city, Meroe, was owing to an imperfection 
they had difcovered (both in Sire and in their caves below 
it) to refult from their climate. They were within the 
tropical rains ; and, confequently, were impeded and inter- 
rupted in the necenary obfervations of the heavenly bodies, 
and the progrefs of aftronomy which they fo warmly culti- 
vated. They muft have feen, likewife, a neceffity of building 
Meroe farther from them than perhaps they wifhed, for the 
fame reafon they built Axum in the high country of Abyf- 
finia in order to avoid the fly (a phenomenon of which I 
fhall afterwards fpeak) which purfued them everywhere 
within the limits of the rains, and which muft have given 
an abfolute law in thofe lirft times to the regulations of 
the Culhite fettlements. They therefore went the length 
of lat. 1 6°, where I faw the ruins fuppofed to be thofe of 
Meroe*, and caves in the mountains immediately above that 
fituation, which I cannot doubt were the temporary habita- 
tion of the builders of that firft feminary of learning. 

3B2 It 

* At Gerri in my return through the defert. 


It is probable that, immediately upon their fuccefs at 
Meroe, they loft no time in ftretching on to Thebes. We 
know that it was a colony of Ethiopians, and probably from 
Meroe, but whether directly, or not, we are not certain. A 
very fhort time might have paffed between the two eftablifh- 
rnents, for we find above Thebes, as there are above Meroe, a 
vail number of caves,which the colony made provifionally, 
upon its firft arrival, and which are very near the top of the 
mountain, all inhabited to this day. 

Hence we may infer, that their ancient apprehenfions 
of a deluge had not left them whilft, they faw the whole 
land of Egypt could be overflowed every year without rain 
falling upon it ; that they did not abfolutely, as yet, truft to 
the liability of towns like thofe of Sire and Meroe, placed up- 
on columns or ftones, one laid upon the other, or otherwife, 
that they found their excavations in the mountains were 
finifhed with lefs trouble, and more comfortable when com=- 
plete, than the houfes that were built. It was not long 
before they aflumed a greater degree of courage. 

c y 1 . ' 1 gg=g =**i^ 





Saba and the South of Africa peopled — Shepherds, their particular Em~ 
ployment and Circumjlances — Abyjfinia occupied by feven fir anger Na- 
tions — Specimens of their fever al Languages — Conjectures concerning 

WHILE thefe improvements were going profper- 
oully in the central and northern territory of the. 
defcendents of Cum, their brethren to the fouth were not 
idle, they had extended themfelves along the mountains, 
that run parallel to the Arabian Gulf ; which was in alL 
times called Saba, or Azabo, both which fignify South, not 
becaufe Saba was fouth of Jerufalem, but becaufe it was 
on the fouth coafl of the Arabian Gulf, and, from Arabia 
and Egypt, was the firft land to the fouthward which 
bounded the African Continent, then richer, more import- 
ant, and better known, than the reft of the world. By that ac^. 
quifition, they enjoyed all the perfumes and aromatics in 
the eaft, myrrh, and frankincenfe, and caffia; all which 
grow fpontaneoufly in that ftripe of ground, from the Bay 
of Bilur weft of Azab, to Cape Gardefan, and then fouth- 
ward up in the Indian Ocean, to near the coaft of Melinda, 
where there is cinnamon, but of an inferior kind. 

3 Arabia, 



Arabia probably had not then fet itfelf up as a rival to 
this fide of the Red Sea, nor had it introduced from Abyfli- 
nia the myrrh and frankincenfe, as it did afterwards, for 
there is no doubt that the principal mart, and growth of 
thefe gums, were always near Saba. Upon the confumption 
increafing, they, however, were tranfplanted thence into 
Arabia, where the myrrh has not fucceeded. 

The Troglodyte extended himfelf Hill farther fouth. As 
an aflronomer, he was to difengage himfelf from the tro- 
pical rains and cloudy flues that hindered his correfpon- 
dent obfervations with his countrymen at Meroe and Thebes. 
As he advanced within the fouthern tropic, he, however, 
ftill found rains, and made his houfes mch as the fears of 
a deluge had inftructed him to do. He found there folid and 
high mountains, in a fine climate ; but, luckier than his 
countrymen to the northward, he found gold and filver in 
large quantities, which determined his occupation, and made 
the riches and confequence of his country. In thefe moun- 
tains, called the Mountains of Sofala, large quantities of both 
metals were difcovered in their pure unmixed ftate, lying 
in globules without alloy, or any neceflity of preparation or 

The balance of trade, fo long againfl the Arabian and 
African continents, turned now in their favour from the 
immenfe influx of thefe precious metals, found in the 
mountains of Sofala, juft on the verge of the fouthern tro- 
pical rains. 

Gold and filver had been fixed upon in India as proper 
returns for their manufactures and produce. It is impoffi- 



ble to fay whether it was from their, hardnefs or beauty, or 
what other reafon governed the mind of man in making 
this ftandard of barter. The hiftory of the particular tran- 
factions of thofe times is loft, if, indeed, there ever was 
fuch hiftory, and, therefore, all further inquiries are in 
vain. The choice, it feems, was a proper one, fince it has 
continued unaltered fo many ages in. India, and has been 
univerfally adopted by all nations pretty much in the pro- 
portion or value as in India, into which continent gold and 
filver, from this very early period, began to flow, have con- 
tinued fo to do to this day, and in all probability will do to 
the end of time. What has become of that immenfe quan- 
tity of bullion, how it is confumed, or where it is deposited, 
and which way, if ever it returns, are doubts which I never 
yet found a perfon that could fatisfactorily folve. 

The Cufhite then inhabited the mountains, whilft the 
northern colonies advanced from Meroe to Thebes, bufy 
and intent upon the improvement of architecture, and build- 
ing of towns, which they began to fubftitute for their caves;, 
they thus became traders, farmers, artificers of all kinds, 
and even practical aftronomers, from having a meridian 
night and day free from clouds, for fuch was that of the 
Thebaid. As this was impomble to their brethren, and fix 
months continual rain confined them to thefe caves, we 
cannot doubt but that their fedentary life made them ufe- 
ful in reducing the many obfervations daily made by thofe 
of their countrymen who lived under a purer fky... Letters 
too, at leaft one fort. of them, and arithmetical characters, we 
are told, were invented by this middle part of the Cumites 3 . 
while trade and aftronomy, the natural hiftory of the winds 

i. audi 


and feafons, were what necefTarily employed the part of the 
colony eflablifhed at Sofala moll to the fouthward. 

The very nature of the Cufhites commerce, the collect- 
ing of gold, the gathering and preparing his fpices, necef- 
farily fixed him perpetually at home ; but his profit lay in 
the difperfing of thefe fpices through the continent, other- 
wife his mines, and the trade produced by the pofTemon of 
them, were to him of little avail. 

A carrier was abfolutely neceffary to the Cufhite, and 
Providence had provided him one in a nation which were 
his neighbours. Thefe were in moll refpects different, as 
they had long hair, European features, very dufky and dark 
complexion, but nothing like the black-moor or negro ; they 
lived in plains, having moveable huts or habitations, attend- 
ed their numerous cattle, and wandered from the necef- 
fities and particular circumftances of their Thefe 
people were in the Hebrew called Phut, and, in all other 
languages, Shepherds; they are fo flill, for they flill exifl ; 
they fubfifl by the fame occupation, never had another, 
and therefore cannot be miflaken ; they are called Balous, 
Bagla, Belowee, Berberi, Barabra, Zilla and Habab *, which 
all fignify but one thing, namely that of Shepherd. From 
their place of habitation, the territory has been called Bar- 
barla by the Greeks and Romans, from Berber, in the origi- 
al fignifying jhephcrd. The authors that fpeak of the Shep- 
herds feem to know little of thofe of the Thebaid, and flill 


* It is very probable, fome of thefe words fignified different degrees among them, as we 
thall fee in the fequcl. 


lefs of thofe of Ethiopia, whilft they fall immediately upon 
the fhepherds of the Delta, that they may get the fooner rid 
of them, and thruft them into AfTyria, Paleftine, and Arabia. 
* They never fay what their origin was ; how they came to 
"be fo powerful; what Was their occupation ; or, properly, 
the land they inhabited ; or what is become of them now, 
though they feem inclined to think the race extinct 

The whole employment of the lhepherds had been the 
difperfing of the Arabian and African goods all over the 
continent ; they had, by that employment, rifen to be a 
great people: as that trade increafed, their quantity of cat- 
tle increafed alfo, and confequently their numbers, and the 
extent of their territory. 

Upon looking at the map, the reader will fee a chain of 
mountains which I have defcribed, and which run in a 
high ridge nearly ftraight north, along the Indian Ocean, 
in a direction parallel to the coaft, where they -end at Cape 
Gardefan. They then take the direction of the coait, and 
run weft from Cape Gardefan to the Straits of Babelmandeb, 
inclofing the frankincenfe and myrrh country, which ex^ 
tends confiderably to the weft of Azab. From Babelman- 
<leb they run northward, parallel to the Red Sea, till they 
end in the fandy plain at the Ifthmus of Suez, a name pro- 
bably derived from Suah, Shepherds, 

Although this ftripe of land along the Indian Ocean, 
and afterwards along the Red Sea, was neceffary to the mep- 
herds, becaufe they carried their merchandife to the ports 
there, and thence to Thebes and Memphis Upon the Nile, 
yet the principal feat of their refidence and power was that 

Vol. I. 3 C flat 


flat part of Africa between the northern tropic and the 
mountains of Abyffinia. This is divided into various dis- 
tricts ; it reaches from Mafuah along the fea-coaft to Suakem, 
then turns weftward, and continues in that direction, having 
the Nile on the fouth, the tropic on the north, to the deferts 
of Selima, and the confines of Libya on the weft. This 
large extent of country is called Beja. The next is that 
diftrict * in form of a fhield, as Meroe is faid to have been ; 
this name was given it by Cambyfes. It is between the 
Nile and Aftaboras, and is now called Atbara. Between the 
river Mareb, the ancient Aftufafpes on the eaft, and Atbara 
on the weft, is the fmall plain territory of Derkin, another 
diftrict of the fhepherds. All that range of mountains 
running call and weft, inclofing Derkin and Atbara on the 
fouth, and which begins the mountainous country of Abyf- 
finia, is inhabited by the negro woolly-headed Cufhite,,or 
Shangalla, living as formerly in caves, who, from having- 
been the moft cultivated and inftructed people in the 
world, have, by a ftrange reverfe of fortune, relapfed into 
brutal ignorance, and are hunted by their neighbours 
like wild beafts in thofe forefts, where they ufed to reign in 
the utmoft luxury, liberty, and fplendour. But the nobleft, 
and moft warlike of all the fhepherds, were thofe that inhabi- 
ted the mountains of the Habab, a confiderable ridge reach- 
ing from the neighbourhood of Mafuah to Suakem, and who 
ftill dwell there. 

In the ancient language of this country, &?, or St/a/j^dgniRcd 
fliepherd, or fhepherds ; though we do notknow any particu- 
lar rank or degrees among them, yet we may fuppofe thefe 
called {\m$y Jlitpherds were the common fort that attended 


IXosL.Stc. lib.. j. cap,. 


the flocks, Another denomination, part of them bore, was 
Hycfos, founded by us Agfos, which lignifies armed fhepherds % 
or fuch as wore harnefs, which may be fuppofed the fol- 
diers, or armed force of that nation. The third we fee men- 
tioned is Ag-ag, which is thought to be the nobles or 
chiefs of thofe armed fhepherds, whence came their title 
King of Kings *. The plural of this is Agagi, or, as it is writ- 
ten in the Ethiopic, Agaazi. 

This term has very much puzzled both Scaliger and Lu- 
dolf ; for, finding in the Abyffinian books that they are call- 
ed Agaazi, they torment themfelves about finding the ety- 
mology of that word. They imagine them to be Arabs 
from near the Red Sea, and Mr Ludolf f thinks the term fig- 
nifies banijhed men, Scaliger, too, has various guefles about 
them nearly to the fame import. All this, however, is with- 
out foundation ; the people affert themfelves at this day to 
be Agaazi, that is, a race of Shepherds inhabiting the moun- 
tains of the Habab, and have by degrees extended them- 
felves through the whole province of Tigre, whofe capital 
is called Axum, from Ag and Suah, the metropolis, or princi- 
pal city of the fhepherds that wore arms. 

Nothing was more oppofite than the manners and life 
of the Cufhite, and his carrier the fhepherd. The firft, 
though he had forfaken his caves, and now lived in cities 
which he had built, was necefTarily confined at home by his 
commerce, amaffing gold, arranging the invoices of his 

3 C 2 fpices, 

* This was the name of the king of Amalek; he was an Arab fhepherd, flain by Sa- 
muel, 1 Sam. xv. 33. 

f Ludolf lib. 1 cap. 4. 


fpices, hunting in the feafon to provide hirnfelf with ivory; . 
and food throughout > the. winter. His mountains, and the 
cities he built afterwards, were iituated upon a loomy, black 
earth, fo that as foon as the tropical rains began to fall, a 
wonderful phenomenon deprived him of his cattle. Large 
fwarms of flies appeared wherever that 5 loomy earth was, 
which made him abfoiutely dependent in this refpecl upon i 
the mepherd, but this affected the mepherdalfo* 

This infect is called Zimb ; it has not been defcribed by 
any naturalift. It is in fize very little larger than a bee, of - 
a thicker proportion, and his. wings, which are broader than 
thofe of a bee, placed feparate like thofe of a fly ; they are 
of pure gauze, without colour, or. fpot upon them ; the 
head is large, the upper jaw or lip is fharp, and has at the 
end of it a ftrong-pointed hah' of about a. quarter of an- 
inch long ; the lower jaw: has, two of thefe pointed hairs, . 
and this pencil of hairs* when joined together, makes a re- 
iiftence to the finger nearly equal to that of a Itrong hog's 
brittle. Its legs are ferrated in the inude, and the whole, 
covered with brown hair or down. As foon, as this plague 
appears, and their buzzing is heard, all the cattle for- 
iake their food, and run .wildly about the plain, till they 
die, worn out with fatigue, fright, and hunger. No remedy, 
remains, but to leave the black earth, and iiaiten. down to 
the fands of Atbara, and there, they remain while the rains , 
laft, this cruel enemy never daring to pjirfue. them farther. . 

What enables the Ihepherd to perform the long and! 
toilfome journies acrofs Africa is the camel, emphatically 
called by the Arabs, the frAp of Jbe defcrt. He feems to have 
been created for this very trade,.- endued with, parts and. 



qualities adapted to the office he is employed to difcharge. 
The drieft thiftle, and the bared thorn, is all the food this 
itfeful quadruped requires, and even thefe, to fave time, 
he eats while advancing on his journey, without flopping, 
or occafioning a moment of delay. As it is his lot to crofs 
immenfe deferts, where no water is found, and countries 
not even moiilened by the dew of heaven, he is endued with 
the power at one wate ring-place to lay in a- ilore, with 
which he fupplies himfelf for thirty days to come- To 
contain this enormous quantity of fluid, Nature has form- 
ed large citterns within him, from which, once filled, he- 
draws at pleafure the quantity he wants, and pours it into 
his ftomach with the fame efTecl as if he then drew it from 
a fpring, and with this he travels, patiently and vigorouily, 
all day long, carrying ;a prodigious load upon him, through 
countries infected .with poifonous winds, and glowing with 
parching and never-cooling fands. Though his fize is im- 
menfe, as is his ftrength,; and his body covered with a thick 
fkin, defended with flrong hair, yet ftill he is not capable 
to fuftain the violent punctures the fly makes with -his 
pointed probofcis. ; He mud lofe no dme in removing to the 
fands of Atbara ; for, when once attacked by this ily, his 
body, head, and legs break cut into large holies, which fweil, 
break, and putrify, to the certain deftruction of the creature. 

Even the -elephant, and rhinoceros, who, by reafon of- 
their enormous bulk,, and the vaft quantity of food and ,: 
water they daily need, cannot fhift to defert and dry places 
as the feafon may require, are obliged to roll tliemfelves in 
mud a;:d mire, which, when, dry, coats them over like ar- 
mour, and enables them to Hand their ground againft this 
:d ankiun-, yet I have found fome of thefe tubercules- 

2. upon. 


upon almoft every elephant and rhinoceros that I have feen, 
and attribute them to this caufe. 

All the inhabitants of the fea-coaft of Melinda, down to 
Cape Gardefan, to Saba, and the fouth coaft of the Red Sea, 
are obliged to put themfelves in motion, and remove to the 
next fand in the beginning of the rainy feafon, to prevent all 
tlieirftockofcattlefrombeingdeftroyed. Thisis notapartiale- 
migration ; the inhabitants of all the countries from the 
mountains of Abyffinia northward, to the confluence of the 
Nile andAftaboras, are once a-year obliged to change their a- 
bode, and feek protection inthefands of Beja; nor is there any 
alternative, or means of avoiding this, though a hoftile band 
was in their way, capable of fpoiling them of half their 
fubflance ; and this is now actually the cafe, as we fhall fee 
when we come to fpeak of Sennaar, 

Of all thofe that have written upon thefe countries, the 
prophet Ifaiah alone has given an account of this animal, 
and .the manner of its operation. Ifa. vii. ch. 18. and 19. ver. 
*' And it fhall come to pafs, in that day, that the Lord fhall 
*' hifs for the fly that is in the uttermofl part of the rivers of 
" Egypt," — " And they fhall come, and fhall reft all of them 
" in the defolate vallies *, and in the holes of the rocks, and 
" upon all thorns, and upon all bufhes." 

The mountains that I have already fpoken of, as running 
through the country of the Shepherds, divide the feafons 


* That is, they fhall cut off from the cattle their ufual retreat to the defert, by taking poffcfTion 
of thofe places, and meeting them there where ordinarily they never come, and which therefore 
re the refuge of the cattle. 


by a line drawn along their fummit, fo exa<5Uy, that, while 
the eaftern fide, towards the Red Sea, is deluged with rain 
for the fix months that conftitute our winter in Europe, the 
weftern fide towards Atbara enjoys a perpetual fun, and ac- 
tive vegetation. Again, the fix months, when it is our Jitm- 
mer'm Europe, Atbara, or the weftern fide of thefe mountains, 
is conftantly covered with clouds and rain, while, for the 
fame time, the fhepherd on the eaftern fide, towards the 
Red Sea, feeds his flocks in the moft exuberant foliage and 
luxuriant verdure, enjoying the fair weather, free from the 
.fly or any other moleftation. Thefe great advantages have 
very naturally occafioned thefe countries of Atbara and 
Beja to be the principal refidence of the fhepherd and his 
cattle, and have entailed upon him the neceffity of a per- 
petual change of places. Yet fo little is this inconvenience, 
fo fhort the peregrination, that, from the rain on the weft 
fide, a man, in the fpace of four hours, will change to the 
oppofite feafon, and find himfelf in fun-mine to the eafi> 

When Carthage was built, the carriage of this commer- 
cial city fell into the hands of Lehabim, or Lubim, the Li- 
byan peafants, and became a great acceflion to the trade, 
power, and number of the fhepherds. In countries to which 
there was no accefs by Hupping, the end of navigation was 
nearly anfwered by the immenfe increafe of camels ; and 
this trade, we find, was carried on in the very earlieft ages 
on the Arabian fide, by the Ifhmaelite merchants trading to 
Palefcinc and Syria, from the fouth -end of the peninfula, 
with camels. This we learn particularly from Genefis, they 
brought myrrh and fpices, or pepper, and fold them for 

4 filver ; 




filver; they had alfo balm, or balfam, but this it feems, in 
thofe days, they brought froni Gilead. 

We are forry, in reading this curious anecdote preferved 
to us in fcripture, to find, in thofe early ages of the India 
trade, that another fpecies of commerce was clofely con- 
nected with it, which -modern philanthropy has branded as 
the difgrace of 'human nature. It is plain, from the paffage, 
the commerce of felling men was thenuniverfally eftablifh- 
ed. Jofeph* is bought as readily, andibid as currently im- 
imediately after, as any ox or camel could be at this day. 
Three nations, Javan, Tubal, and Mefhecht, are mentioned 
as having their principal trade at Tyre in the felling of men ; 
and, as late as St John's time:):, this is mentioned as a prin- 
cipal part of the trade of Babylon ; notwithftanding which, 
no prohibition from God, or cenfure from the prophets, 
have ever fligmatized it either as irreligious or immoral; 
on the contrary, it is always fpoken of as favourably as any 
fpecies of commerce whatever. For this, and many other 
reafons which I could mention, I cannot think, that pur- 
chafing flaves is, in itfelf, either cruel or unnatural. To 
purchafe any living creature to abufe it afterwards, is cer- 
tainly both bafe and criminal; and the crime becomes fiill 
of a deeper dye, when our fellow-creatures come to be the 
fufFerers. But, although this is an abufe which accidentally 
follow the trade, it is no neceilary part of the trade itfelf .; 
and, it is againfl this abufe the wifdom of the legiflature 
ihould be directed, not againft the trade itfelf. 


* Gen. chap, xxxvii. ver. 25. 28* _f Ezek. cliap. xxvii. vet. 13. 

$ Rev, chap, xviii.ver. y . 


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On the eaftern fide of the peninfula of Africa, many thou- 
fand flaves are fold to Afia, perfectly in the fame manner 
as thofe on the well fide are fent to the Weft Indies; but no 
one, that ever I heard, has as yet opened his mouth againft 
the fale of Africans to the Eaft Indies ; and yet there is an 
aggravation in this lafl fale of Haves that mould touch us 
much more than the other, where no fuch additional grie- 
vance can be pretended. The flaves fold into Afia are moft 
of them Chriftians; they are fold to Mahometans, and, with 
their liberty, they are certainly deprived of their religion like- 
wife. But the treatment of the Afiatics being much 
more humane than what the Africans, fold to the Weft 
Indies, meet with, no clamour has yet been raifed againft 
this commerce in Afia, becaufe its only bad confequence is 
apoftacy; a proof to me that religion has no part in the pre- 
fent difpute, or, as I have faid, it is the abufe that accident- 
ally follows the purchafing of flaves, not the trade itfelf, that 
fliould be confidered as the grievance. 

It is plain from all hiftory, that two abominable prac-^ 
tices, the one the eating of men, the other of facrificing 
them to the devil, prevailed all over Africa. The India 
trade, as we have feen in very early ages, firft eftablifhed 
the buying and felling of flaves; fince that time, the eating 
of men, or facrificing them, has fo greatly decreafed on the 
eaftern fide of the peninfula, that now we fcarcely hear of 
an inftance of either of thefe that can be properly vouched. 
On the weftern part, towards the Atlantic Ocean, where the 
fale of flaves began a considerable time later, after the 
difcovery of America and the Weft Indies, both of thefe hor- 
rid practices are, as it were, general, though, I am told, lefs 
fo to the northward fince that event. 

Vol. L r D. These 


There is ftill alive a man of the name of Matthews, who 
was prefent at one of thofe bloody banquets on the weft 
of Africa, to the northward of Senega. It is probable the con- 
tinuation of the Have-trade would have abolifhed thefe, in 
time, on the weft fide alfo. Many other reafons could be 
alledged,did my plan permit it. But I ihall content myfeif 
at prefent, with faying, that I very much fear that a relaxa- 
tion and effeminacy of manners, rather than genuine ten- 
dernefs of heart, has been the caufe of this violent paroxyfm 
of philanthropy, and of fome other meafures adopted of late 
to the difcouragementof discipline, which I do not doubt will 
foon be felt to contribute their mite to the decay both of trade 
and navigation that will neceffarily follow. 

The Ethiopian fhepherds at firft carried on the trade on 
their own fide of the Red Sea ; they carried their India com- 
modities to Thebes, likewife to the different black nations to 
the fouth-weft ; in return, they brought back gold, probably 
at a cheaper rate, becaufe certainly by a fhorter carriage than 
by that from Ophir. 

Thebes became exceedingly rich and proud, though, by 
the moft extenfive area that ever was affigned to it, it never 
could be either large or populous. Thebes is not mention- 
ed in fcripture by that name ; it was deftroyed before the 
days of Mofes by Salatis prince of the Agaazi, or Ethiopian 
fhepherds ; at this day it has affumed a name very like the 
ancient one. The firft fignification of its name, Medinet 
Tabu, I thought was the Town of our Father. This, hiftory 
fays, was given it by Sefoftris in honour of his father ; in 
the ancient language, its name was Amnion No. The next 
that prefented itfelf was Theba, which was the Hebrew 



name for the Ark when Noah was ordered to build it— . 
Thou malt " make thee an Ark (Theba) of gopher- wood*" 

The figure of the temples in Thebes do not feem to be 
far removed from the idea given us of the Ark. The third 
conjecture is, that being the firft city built and fupported 
en pillars, and, on different and feparate pieces of ftone, it 
got its name from the architects firft expreffion of appro- 
bation or furprife, Tabu, that it flood infulated and alone, 
and this feems to me to be the moft conformable both to 

the HetfCW 1 l^vl-l^jxi^. 

The fhepherds, for the moft part, friends and allies of the 
Egyptians, or Cufhite, at times were enemies to them. We 
need not, at this time of day, feek the caufe; there are many 
very apparent, from oppofite manners, and, above all, the 
difference in the dietetique regimen. The Egyptians wor- 
fhipped the cow, the Shepherds killed and ate her. The 
Shepherds were Sabeans, worfhipping the hoft of heaven— 
the fun, moon, and ftars. Immediately upon the building 
of Thebes and the perfection of fculpture, idolatry and the 
groffeft materialifm greatly corrupted the more pure and 
fpeculative religion of the Sabeans. Soon after the build- 
ing of Thebes, we fee that Rachel, Abraham's wife, had 
idols f ; we need feek no other probable caufe of the devas- 
tation that followed, than difference of religion* 

Thebes was deftroyed by Salatis, who overturned the 
firft Dynafty of Cufhite, or Egyptian kings, begun by Me-* 
nes, in what is called the fecond age of the world, and 

3 D 2 founded 

* Gen. n. 14. f Gen. kkxv. 4. 


founded the firfl Dynafly of the Shepherds, who behaved 
very cruelly, and wrefted the lands from their firfl owners ; 
and it was this Dynafly that Sefoflris deflroyed, after calling 
Thebes by his father's name, Amnion No, making thofe de- 
corations that we have feen of the harp in the fepulchres on 
the weft, and building Diofpolis on the oppofite fide of the 
river. The fecond conqueft of Egypt by the Shepherd 
was that under Sabaco, by whom it has been imagined 
Thebes was deflroyed, in the reign of Hezekiah king of 
Judah, who is faid to have made peace with So * king of 
Egypt, as the tranflator has calW u: ~~ » — -*-* l4 -s So fu* 
the name of the king;, wherpas it only denoted his quality 
of fhepherd. 

From this it is plain, all that the fcripture mentions a- 
bout Amnion No, applies to Diofpolis on the other fide of 
the river. Amnion No and Diofpolis, though they were on 
different fides of the river, were confidered as one city, 
thro' which the Nile flowed, dividing it into two parts. This 
is plain from profane hiftory, as well as from the prophet 
Nahum f , who defcribes it very exactly, if in place of the 
vrozdjea was fubflituted river y as it ought to be.. 

There was a third invafion of the Shepherds after the 
building of Memphis, where a J king of Egypt § is faid to 
have inclofed two hundred and forty thoufand of them in 
a city called Abaris ; they furrendered upon capitulation, 
and were banifhed the country into the land of Canaan. 
That two hundred and forty thoufand men mould be 

inc i 1 

* 2 Kings, xvii. 4. f Nahum, chap. iii. 8. J Mifphragmuthofis. § j\Iaaethou>, 

Apud. Jofephum Apion, lib,, i.p. 460^ 


inclofed in one city, fo as to bear a fiege, feems to me ex- 
tremely improbable; but be it fo, all that it can mean 
is, that Memphis, built in Lower Egypt near the Delta, had 
war with the Shepherds of the Iithmus of Suez, or the dif- 
tricts near them, as thofe of Thebes had before with the 
Shepherds of the Thebaid. But, however much has been 
written upon | the fubjeel, the total expulfion of the Shep- 
herds at any one time by any King of Egypt, or at any one 
place, mull be fabulous, as they have remained in their an- 
cient feats, and do remain to this day ; perhaps in not fo 
great a number as when the India trade was carried on 
by the Arabian Gulf, yet ftill in greater numbers than any 
other nation of the Continent. 

The mountains which the Agaazi inhabit, are called Habab % 
from which it comes, that they themfelves have got that 
name. Habab, in their language, and in Arabic like- 
wife, Signifies a fcrpcnt, and this I fuppofe explains that hif- 
torical fable in the book of Axum, which fays, a ferpent 
conquered the province of Tigre, and reigned there. 

It may be afked, Is there no other people that inhabit 
Abyflinia, but thefe two nations, the Cufhites and the Shep- 
herds ? Are there no other nations, whiter or fairer than 
them, living to the fouthward of the Agaazi ? Whence* did 
thefe come ? At what time, and by what name are they cal- 
led ? To this I anfwer, That there are various nations which 
agree with this description, who have each a particular 
name, and who are all known by that of Habejh, in Latin 
Cmvena, fignifying a number of diftincl: people meeting acci- 
dentally in one place. The word has been greatly mifun- 
derftood, and mifapplied, both by Scaliger and Ludolf, and 

3 a nunu 


a number of others ; but nothing is more confonant to the 
hiftory of the, country than the tranflation I have given it, 
nor will the word itfelf bear any other. 

The Chronicle of Axum, the moil ancient repofitory of 
the antiquities of that country, a book efteemed, I fhall not 
fay how properly, as the firft in authority after the holy 
fcriptures, fays, that between the creation of the world and 
the birth of our Saviour there were 5500 years *; that A- 
byffinia had never been inhabited till 1808 years before 
Chrift*; and 200 years after that, which was in the 1600, it 
was laid wafte by a flood, the face of the country much 
changed and deformed, fo that it was denominated at that 
time Oure Midre, or, the country laid wajk, or, as it is called 
in fcripture itfelf, a land which the waters or floods had 
fpoiled f ; that about the 1400 year before Chrilt it was 
taken pofieffion of by a variety of people fpeaking different 
languages, who, as they were in friendfhip with the Agaazi, 
or Shepherds, pollening the high country of Tigre, eame 
and fat down befide them in a peaceable manner, each occu- 
pying the lands that were before him. This fettlement is 
what the Chronicle of Axum calls Angaba, the entry and e- 
flablifhment of thefe nations, which nnifhed the peopling 

of Abyflinia . 


Tradition further fays, that they came from Paleftine. 
All this feems to me to wear the face of truth. Some time 
after the year 1500, we know there happened a flood which 


* Eight years lefs than the Greeks and other followers of the Septuagint. 
f Ifaiah, chap, xviii. ver. 2. 



oxcafioned great devaluation. Paufanius fays, that this flood 
happened in Ethiopia in the reign of Cecrops ; and, about 
the 1490 before Chrift, the Ifraelites entered the land of pro- 
mife,, under- Caleb and Jofhua. We are not to wonder at 
the great impremon that invafion made upon the minds of 
the inhabitants of Paleftine. We fee by the hiftory of the 
harlot, that the different nations had been long informed 
by prophecies, current and credited among themfelves, that 
they were to be extirpated before the face of the Ifraelites, 
who for fbme time had been hovering about their frontiers. 
But now when Jofhua had pafTed the Jordan, after having mi- 
raculoufly dried up the river * before his army had inva- 
ded Canaan, and had taken and deftroyed Jericho, a panic 
feized the whole people of Syria and Paleftine. 

These petty Hates, many in number, and who had all 
different languages, feeing a conqueror with an immenfe 
army already in poffemon of part of their country, and 
who did not conduct himfelf according to the laws of o- 
ther conquerors, but put the vanquished under faws and 
harrows of iron, and deftroyed the men, women, and child- 
ren, and fometimes even the cattle, by the fword, no long- 
er could think of waiting the arrival of fuch an enemy, 
but fought for fafety by fpeedy flight or emigration. The 
Shepherds in Abyffinia and Atbara were the moft natural re- 
fuge thefe fugitives could feek ; commerce muft have long 
made them acquainted with each others manners, and they 

v. i. 3 d muft; 

Joihua, iii. 1 6, 


muft have been already entitled to the rights of hofpitality 
by having often palTed through each other's country. 

Procopius* mentions that two pillars were ftanding in his 
time on the coafl of Mauritania, oppofiteto Gibraltar, upon 
which were infcriptions in the Phoenician tongue: " We are 
" Canaanites, flying from the face of Jofhua, the fon of Nun, 
" the robber :" A character they naturally gave him from 
the ferocity and violence of his manners. Now, if what 
thefe infcriptions contain is true, it is much more credible, 
that the different nations, emigrating at that time, mould 
feek their fafety near hand among their friends, rather than 
go to an immenfe diflance to Mauritania, to rifk a precari- 
ous reception among flrangers, and perhaps that country 
not vet inhabited. 

Upon viewing the feveral countries in which thefe 
nations have their fettlements, it feems evident they were 
made by mutual confent, and in peace ; they are not fepa- 
rated from each other by chains of mountains, or large 
and rapid rivers, but generally by fmall brooks, dry the 
greatefl part of the year ; by hillocks, or fmall mounds of 
earth, or imaginary lines traced to the top of fome moun- 
tain at a diflance ; thefe boundaries have never been dis- 
puted or altered, but remain upon the old tradition to this 
day. Thefe have all different languages, as we fee from 
fcripture all the petty flates of Paleftine had, but they have 
no letters, or written character, but the Geez, the character 


* Procop. de belio vind. lib. 2. cap. 10. 
* A Moorifli author, Ibn el Raquique, fays, this infcription was on a ftone on a mountain at 
Carthage. Marmol. lib. i. cap. 25. 


of the Cufhite fhepherd by whom they were firll invented 
and ufed, as we mall fee hereafter. I may add in further 
proof of their origin, that the curfe * of Canaan feems to 
have followed them, they have obtained no principality, but 
ferved the kings of the Agaazi or Shepherds, have been 
hewers of wood and drawers of water, and fo they flill 

The firll and moll considerable of thefe nations fettled in 
a province called Amhara ; it was, at firll coining, as little 
known as the others ; but, upon a revolution in the country, 
the king fled to that province, and there the court flaid 
many years, fo that the Geez, or language of the Shepherds, 
was dropt, and retained only in writing, and as a dead lan- 
guage ; the facred fcriptures being in that language only, 
faved the Geez from going totally into difufe. The fecond 
were the Agows of Damot, one of the fouthern provinces of 
Abyflinia, where they are fettled immediately upon the 
fources of the Nile. The third are the Agows of Lafla, or 
Tcheratz Agow, from Tchera, their principal habitation ; 
theirs too is a feparate language ; they are Troglodytes that 
live in caverns, and feem to pay nearly the fame worfhip to 
the Siris, or Tacazze, that thofe of Damot pay to the Nile. 

I take trie old names of thefe two lall-mentioned na- 
tions, to be funk in the circumflances of this their new fet- 
tlement, and to be a compound of two words Ag-oha, the 
Shepherds of the River, and I alfo imagine, that the idolatry 

Vol. I. 3 E they 

* Gen. ix. 253 26, and 27. veries. 


they introduced in the worfhip of. the Nile, is a further 
proof that they came from Canaan, where they imbibed 
materialifm in place of the pure Sabean worfhip of the 
Shepherds, then the only religion-of. this part of Africa. 

v The fourth is a nation bordering upon the fouthern-' 
banks of the Nile near Damot. It calls itfelf Gafat, which, 
figniiies oppreffed by violence, torn, expelled; or chaced a- 
way by force. If we were to follow the idea ariling mere- 
ly from this name, we might be led to imagine, that thefe 
were part of the tribes torn . from Solomon's fbn and fuccef- 
for, Rehoboam. This, however, we cannot do confluent 
with the faith to be kept by a hiflorian with his reader. 
The evidence of the people themfelves, and the tradition of. 
the country, deny they ever were Jews, or ever concerned 
with that colony, brought with Menilek and the queen of 
Saba, which eftablifhed the Jewifh hierarchy. They declare, 
that they are now Pagans, and ever were fo;. that they are 
partakers with their neighbours the Agows in the worfhip 
of the river Nile, the extent or particulars of which I can- 
not pretend to explain.- — The fifth is a tribe, which, if we 
were to pay any attention to fimilarity of names, we mould 
be apt to imagine we had found here in Africa a part 
of that great Gaulifh nation fo widely extended in Europe? 
and Afia. A comparifon of their languages, with what we 
know exifts of the former, cannot but be very curious. — 
Thefe are the Galla, the moft confiderable of thefe nations,, 
fpecimens of whofc language I have cited. This word, in 
their own language, figniiies Shepherd* -, they fay that for- 

* Thefe people likewife call themfelves Agaazt, or Agagi, they have over-run the kingdom of 
Congo fouth of the Line, and on the Atlantic Ocean, as the Galla have done that part of the king- 
dom of Add and AbyfTmia, on the Eafiern, or Indian Ocean. Purch. lib.ii. chap. 4. Seft. 8; 


roerly they lived on the borders of the fouthern rains, with- 
in the fouthern tropic ; and that, like thefe in Atbara, they 
were carriers between the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, and 
fupplied the interior part of the peninfula with Indian com- 

The hiftory of this trade is unknown ; it muft have been 
little lefs ancient, and nearly as extensive, as the trade to 
Egypt and Arabia. It probably fuffered diminution, when 
the mines of Sofala were given up, foon after the difcovery 
of the new world. The Portuguefe found it Hill ftauriihing, 
when they made their firft conquefts upon that coaft ; and 
they carry it on ftill in an obfcure manner, but in the fame 
tract to their fettlements near Cape Negro on the weilern 
ocean. From thefe fettlements would be the proper place 
to begin to explore the interior parts of the peninfula, on 
both fides of the fouthern tropic, as protection and affiftance 
could probably be got through the whole courfe of it, and 
very little fkill in language would be necenary. 

When no employment was found for this multitude of 
men and cattle, they left their homes, and proceeding north* 
ward, they found themfelves involved near the Line, in 
rainy, cold, and cloudy weather, where they fcarcely ever 
faw the fun. Impatient of fnch a climate, they advanced 
ftill farther, till about the year 1537, tne 'y appeared in great 
numbers in the province of Bali, abandoning the care of 
camels for the breeding of horfes. At prefent they are all 
cavalry. I avoid to fay more of them in this place, as I mall 
be obliged to make frequent 'mention of them in the courfe 
of my narrative. 

^£2 The 


The Falafha, too, are a people of Abyflinia, having a par- 
ticular language of their own ; a fpecimen of which I have 
alfo published, as the hiflory of the people feems to be curi* 
ous. I do not, however, mean to fay of them, more than 
of the G alia, that this was any part of thofe nations who 
fled from Palefline on the invajion of Jofhua. For they are 
now, and ever were, Jews, and have traditions of their own 
as to their origin, and what reduced them to the prefent 
Hate of feparation, as we fhall fee hereafter, when I come to 
fpeak of the translation of the holy fcripture,. 

In order to gratify fuch as are curious in the ftudy and 
hiftory of language, I, with great pains and difficulty, got 
the whole book of the Canticles tranflated into each of thefe 
languages, by priefts efteemed the moft verfant in the lan^ 
guage of each nation. As this barbarous polyglot is of too 
large a fize to print, I have contented myfelf with copying 
fix verfes of the nrft chapter in each language; but the 
whole book, is at the fervice of any perfon of learning that 
will bellow his time in ftudying it, and, for this purpofe, 
I left it in the Britifh Mufeum, under the direction of Sir 
jofeph Banks, and the Bifhop of Carlifle, 

These Convene, as we have obferved, were called Habefty, 
a number of diftincl: nations meeting in one place. Scrip- 
ture has given them a name, which, though it has been ill 
tranflated,. is precifely Convene, both in the Ethiopic and He- 
brew. Our Englifh tranflation calls them .the mingled people* \.. 
whereas it mould be the Jcparate nations, who, though met and 
fettled together, did not mingle, which is flriclly Convene. 


* Jerc rn„ chap, xiii. vei\ 23, — id. xxv. 24.— -Ezek.. chap. xxx. ver. j» 


The inhabitants then who poSTeSTed Abyffinia, from its 
fbuthern boundary to the tropic of Cancer, or frontiers of 
Egypt, were the Cuihites, or polifhed people, living in 
towns, firft Troglodytes, having their habitations in caves. 
The next were the Shepherds ; after theSe were the na- 
tions who, as we apprehend, came from Palefline — Amhara, 
Agow of Damot, Agow of Tchera, and Gafat. 

Interpreters, much lefs acquainted with the hiftorical 
circumftances of thefe countries than the prophets, have } 
either from ignorance or inattention, occafioned an obfcu- 
rity which otherwife did not arife from the text. All thefe 
people are alluded to in fcripture by descriptions that can- 
not be miftaken. If they have occafioned doubts or dif- 
ficulties, they are all to be laid at the door of the translators^ 
chiefly the Septuagint. When Mofes returned with his wife 
Zipporah, daughter of the Sovereign of the Shepherds of 
Midian, carriers of the India trade from Saba into Paleftine, 
and eftablifhed near their principal mart Edom, in Idumea 
or Arabia, Aaron, and Miriam his filler, quarrelled with Mo- 
fes, becaufe he had married one who was, as the translator 
fays, an Ethiopian*. There is no fenfe in this caufe ; Mo- 
fes was a fugitive when he married Zipporah ; She was a 
noble-wornan, daughter of the priefl of Midian, head of a 
people. She likewife, as it would feem, was a Jewefs f , and 
more attentive, at that time, to the preservation of the pre- 
cepts of the law, than Mofes was himfelf ; no exception, 
then, could lie againfl Zipporah, as She was furely, in every 
view, MoSes's Superior. But if the translator had rendered 


* Numb. chap. xii. yer. i. f Exod. chap. iv. ver. 2j, 


it, that Aaron and Miriam had quarrelled with Mofes, be- 
cause he had married a negro, or black-moor, the reproach was 
evident ; whatever intrinfic merit Zipporah might have been 
found to have poffened afterwards, fhe muft have appear- 
ed before the people, at firft fight, as a Jirange woman, or 
Gentile, whom it was prohibited tomarry. Befides, the in- 
nate deformity of the conxplexion, negroes were, at all times, 
rather coveted for companions of men of luxury or pleafure, 
than fought after for wives of fober legiflators, and gover- 
nors of a people. 

The next inftance I {hall give is, Zerah of Gerar*, who 
came out to fight Afa king of Ifrael with an army of a 
million of men, and three hundred chariots, whilft both 
the quarrel and the decifion are represented as immedi- 

Gerar was a fmall diftrict, producing only the Acacia or 
gum-arabic trees, from which it had its name; it had no 
water but what came from a few wells, part of which had 
been dug by Abraham f, after much ftrife with the people 
of the country, who fought to deprive him of them, as of 
a treafure. 

Abraham and his brother Lot returning from Egypt, 
though poor mepherds, could not fubfift there for want of 
food, and water, and they feparated accordingly, by confent J. 


* 2 Chron. chap. xiv. ver. 9. f Gen chap. 21. ver. $0. 
J«Gen. chap. ij. ver. o, and 9. 



Now it mui be confeiTed, as it is not pretended there 
was any miracle here, that there is not a more un- 
likely tale in all Herodotus, than this mure be allowed to 
be upon the footing of the tranflation. The tranflator calls 
Zerah an Ethiopian, which fhould either mean he dwelt in 
Arabia, as he really did, and this gave him no advantage, , 
or elfe that he was a ftranger, who originally came from 
the country above Egypt ; and, either way, it would have 
been impolrible, during his whole life-time, to have collect- 
ed a million of men, one of the greateft armies that ever 
flood, upon the face of the earth, nor could he have fed 
them though they had ate the whole trees that grew in his 
country, nor could he have given every hundredth man. 
one drink of water in a. day from all the wells he had inr 
his country. 

Here, then, is an obvious triiimph for infidelity, becaufe, 
as I have faid, no fupernatural means are pretended. But 
had it been tranflated, that Zerah was a. Mack-moor, a Cujhite- 
negro, and prince of the Cufhites, that were carriers in the* 
Ifthmus, an Ethiopian fhepherd, then the wonder ceafed. 
Twenty camels, employed to carry couriers upon them,, 
might have procured that number of men to meet in a 
fhort fpace of time, and, as Zerah was the aggrefTor, he 
had time to choofe when he mould attack his enemy ; every 
one of thefe fhepherds carrying with them their provifion 
of flour and water, as is their invariable cuflom, might have 
fought with Afa at Gerar, without eating a loaf of Zerah's 
bread, or drinking a pint of his water. 

The next pafTage I'fhall mention is the following: :" The 
'•'labour of Egypt, and merchandifc of Ethiopia, and of the 

£- "Sabeans^.. 


" Sabeans, men of ftature, mail come over unto thee, and 
" they mall be thine*." Here the feveral nations are diftinct- 
ly and feparately mentioned in their places, but the whole 
meaning of the paflage would have been loft, had not the 
iituation of thefe nations been perfectly known ; or, had 
not the Sabeans been mentioned feparately, for both the 
Sabeans and the Cufhite were certainly Ethiopians. Now, 
the meaning of the verfe is, that the fruit of the agricul- 
ture of Egypt, which is wheat, the commodities of the ne- 
gro, gold, filver, ivory, and perfumes, would be brought by 
the Sabean fhepherds, their carriers, a nation of great power, 
which fhould join themfelves with you. 

Again, Ezekiel fays,f "And they mall know that I am 
" the Lord, when I have fet a fire in Egypt, and when all 
" her helpers lhall be deflroyed."— '' In that day mall mef- 
" fengers go forth from me in fhips, to make the carelefs 
" Ethiopians afraid." Now, Nebuchadnezzar was to deftroy 
Egypt X, from the frontiers of Paleftine, to the mountains 
above Atbara, where the Cufhite dwelt. Between this and 
Egypt is a great defert ; the country beyond it, and on both 
fides, was pofTefTed by half a million of men. The Cuihite, or 
negro merchant, was fecure under thefe circumftances from 
any i'nfult by land, but they were open to the fea, and had no 
defender, and meffengers, therefore, in mips or a fleet had 
eafy accefs to them, to alarm and keep them at home, that 
they did not fall into danger by marching into Egypt againft 
Nebuchadnezzar, or interrupting the fervice upon which 
Qod had fent him. But this does not appear from tranfla- 

4 ting 

* Ifa. chap, fdy, ver. 14. f Ezek. chap. xxx. ver. 8. and 9. $ Ezek. chap. xxix. ver. 1 0, 



thigCiuQi, Ethiopian; the flieareft Ethiopian toNebuchad-nez- 
zar, the molt powerful and capable of oppofing him.,, were 
the Ethiopian fhepherds of the Thebaid, and thefe were not 
accemble to fhips ; and the mepherds v fo ;pofted near to the 
;£cene of deftru<ftion to be committed by Nebuchadnezzar^ 
were -enemies to the C^mites living An towns, and they had 
repeatedly themfelves destroyed them, and therefore had no 
temptation to he other than {peculators. 

In feveral other places, the fame prophet fpeaks of Cufh 
as the commercial nation, fympathifing with their country- 
men dwelling in the towns in Egypt, independent of the 
fhepherds, who were really their enemies, both in civil and 
religious matters. " And the fword fhall come upon Egypt, 
" and great pain fhall be in Ethiopia, when the flain fhall 
" fall in Egypt*." Now Ethiopia, as I have before faid, that 
is, the low country of the fhepherds, neareft Egypt, had no 
common caufe with the Cuihkes that lived in towns there { 
it was their countrymen, the Cufhites in Ethiopia, who 
mourned for thofe that fell in Egypt, who were merchants^ 
traders, and dwelt in cities like themfelves. , 

I shall mention but one inftance more : " Can the Ethi- 
" opian change his fkin, or the leopard his fpots ?f" Here 
Cufh is rendered Ethiopian, and many Ethiopians being 
white, it does not appear why they mould be fixed upon, or 
chofen for the queftion more than other people. But had 
•Cufh been tranflated Negro, or Black-moor, the queftion 

Vol. I. .3 E would 

Ezek. chap. xxx. vef. 4. f Jerem. chap. xiH. ver. 25. 


would have been very eafily underftood, Can the negro 
change his fkin, or the leopard his fpots ? 

Jeremiah * fpeaks of the chiefs of the mingled people 
that dwell in the deferts. And Ezekielf alfo mentions them 
independent of all the others, whether Shepherds, or Cu- 
mites, or Libyans their neighbours, by the name of the 
Mingled People. Ifaiah J calls them " a nation fcattered 
" and peeled; apeople terrible from their beginninghitherto; 
" a nation meted out and trodden down, whofe land the ri- 
" vers have fpoiled :" which is a fumcient defcription of 
them, as having been expelled their own country, and fet- 
tled in one that had fuffered greatly by a deluge a fhort 
time before. 

* Jerem. chap. xxv. ver. 24. f E&ek. chap. xxx. ver. 5. £Ifa. chap, xviik ver. 2. 

'tgg ^ 1 i — 1 . . 1 — =^^2 





Origin of Characters or Letters — Ethioplc thejirjl Language — How and 
why the Hebrezv Letter was formed, 

TH E reader will obferve what I have already faid con- 
cerning the language of Habefh, or the Mingled Na- 
tions, that they have not characters of their own ; but when 
written, which is very feldom, it mufl be by ufing the 
Geez alphabet. Kircher, however, fays, there are two cha- 
racters to be found in Abyffinia ; one he calls the Sacred 
Old Syrian, the other the Vulgar, or Common Geez charac- 
ter, of which we are now fpeaking. But this is certainly a 
miftake ; "there never was, that I know, but two original 
characters which obtained in Egypt. The firft was the 
Geez, the fecond the Saitic, and both thefc were the oldefl 
characters in the world, and both derived from hierogly- 

Although it is impoflible to avoid faying fomething 
here of the origin of languages, the reader mull not -expect 
that I fhould go very deep into the falhionable opinions 
concerning them, or believe that all the old deities of the 

3 F 2 Pagan 

Pagan nations were the patriarchs of the Old Tcftamenr, . 
With all refpecl to Sanchoniatho. and. his followers, I can; 
no more believe that Ofiris, the firft king of Egypt, was a 
real perfonage, and that Tot was his fecretary,. than I can 
believe ■Saturn to be the ■patriarch ■■Abraham, and Rachel and 
Leah, Venu$ and Minerva.. I will not fatigue the reader 
with a detail of ufelefs reafons ; if Ofiris is a real perfonage, 
if he was king of Egypt, and; Tot his fecretary, they furely 
travelled to very good purpofe, as all the people of Europe 
and Afia feem to be agreed, that in perfon they flrlt com- 
municated letters and the art of writing to them, but a& 
very different, and very diflant periods. , 

Thebes was built by a colony of Ethiopians from Sire,, 
the city of Seir, or the Dog Staiv Piodorus Siculus fays, 
that the Greeks, by putting: O before Siris, had made the 
word unintelligible to the Egyptians : Siris, then, was Ofiris ;, 
but he was not the Sun, no more than he was Abraham, nor 
was he a real perfonage. He was Syrius,. or the dog-ftar,, 
defigned under the figure of a dog, becaufe of the warning 
he gave to Atbara, where the firfl obfervations were made 
at his heliacal riling, or his difengaging himfelf from the 
rays of the fun, fo as to be viable to the naked eye. He* 
was the Latrator Anubis, and his firfl appearance was figu- 
ratively compared to the barking of a dog, by the warning 
it gave to prepare for the approaching inundation. I be- 
lieve, therefore, this was the firfl hieroglyphic ; and that , 
Ifis, Ofiris, and Tot, were all after inventions relating to it ; ; 
and, in faying this, I am fo far warranted, becaufe there is ; 
not in Axum (once a large city) any other hieroglyphic but : 
of the dog-ftar, as far as I can judge from the huge frag- 
ments, of figures of this animal, remains of which, in differ- 


rent poftures, are dill diftin&ly to be feen upon the pedef- 
tals everywhere among the ruins. 

It is not to be doubted, that hieroglyphics then, but not 
aftronomy, were invented at Thebes, where the theory of 
the dog-ftar was particularly inveftigated, becaufe connect- 
ed with their rural year, Ptolemy* has preferved us an 
obfervation of an helaical rifing of Sirius on the 4th day 
after the fummer folftice, which anfwers to the 2250 year 
before Chrift ; and there are great reafons to believe the 
Thebans were good practical aftronomers long before that 
period t; early, as it may be thought, this gives to Thebes 
a much greater antiquity than does the chronicle of Axum 
juft cited.. 

As fuch obfervations were to be of fervice for ever, they 
became more valuable and ufeful in proportion to their 
priority. The moil ancient of them would be of ufe to the 
aftronomers of this day, for Sir Ifaac Newton appeals to thefe 
of Chiron the Centaur. Equations may indeed be discover- 
ed in a number of centuries, which, by reafon of the 
fmallnefs of their quantities, may very probably have e- 
fcaped the moft attentive and fcrupulous care of two or 
three generations ; and many alterations in the ftarry fir- 
mament, old ftars being nearly extinguished, and new e-* 
merging, would appear from a comparative ftate of the 

v, i. 3 f heavens 


* Uranologion. P. Perau. 
f Banbridge, Ann. canicul. 


heavens made for a feries of ages. And a Theban Herfcbel* 
would have given us the hiftory of planets he then obferved, 
which, after appearing for ages, are now viable no more, 
or have taken a different form. 

The dial, or gold circle of Ofimandyas, mews what an 
immenfe progrefs they had made in aftronomy in fo little 
time. This, too, is a proof of an early fall and revival of 
the arts in Egypt, for the knowledge and ufe of Armillas 
had been loll with the deftru&ion of Thebes, and were not 
again difcovered, that is, revived, till the reign of Ptolemy 
Soter, 300 years before the Chriftian asra. I confider that 
immenfe quantity of hieroglyphics, with which the walls 
of the temples, and faces of the obelifks, are covered, as 
containing fo many aitronomical obfervations. 

I look upon thefe as the ephemerides of fome thoufand 
years, and that fufhciently accounts for their number. Their 
date and accuracy were indifputable; they were exhibited in 
the irioft public places, to be consulted as occafion required; 
and, by the deepnefs of the engraving, and hardnefs of the 
materials, and the thicknefs and foiidity of the block itfelf 
upon which they were carved, they bade defiance at once 
to violence and time. 

I know that mofl of the learned writers are of fentiments 

very different from mine in thefe refpects. They look for 

4 myfleries 

An adronomer greatly above my praife. 


myfteries and hidden meanings, moral and philofophical 
treatifes, as the mbjeels of thefe hieroglyphics. A fceptre, 
they fay, is the hieroglyphic of a king. But where do we 
meet a fceptre upon an antique Egyptian monument ? or 
who told us this was an emblem of royalty among the E- 
gyptians at the time of the firft invention of this figurative 
writing ? Again, the ferpent with the tail in its mouth de- 
notes the eternity of God, that he is without beginning and 
without end. This is a Ghriftian truth, and a Chriftian be- 
lief, but no where to be found in the polytheifm of the in- 
ventors of hieroglyphics. Was Cronos or Ouranus without 
beginning and without end ? Was this the cafe with Ofiris 
and Tot, whofe fathers and mothers births and marriages 
are known ? If this was a truth, independent of revelation, 
and imprinted from the beginning in the minds of men ; 
if it was deftined to be an eternal truth, which muft have 
appeared by every man finding it in his own breait, from 
the beginning, how unnecefFary muft the trouble have been 
to write a common known truth like this, at the expence 
of fix weeks labour, upon a table of porphyry or granite. 

It is not with philofophy as with aitronomy ; the older 
the obfervations, the more ufe they are of to posterity. A 
lecture of an Egyptian prieft upon divinity, morality, or 
natural hiftory, would not pay the trouble, at this day, of 
engraving it upon ftone ; and one of the reafons that I think 
no fuch fubjects were ever treated in hieroglyphics is, that 
in all thofe I ever had an opportunity of feeing, and very 
few people have feen more, I have conftan-tly found the fame 
figures repeated, which obvioufly,and without difpute, allude 
to the hiftory of the Nile, and its different periods of increafe, 
the mode of meafuring t, u.e Et^fian winds ; in fliort, fuch 

1 obfervations 


observations as we every day fee in an almanack, in which 
we cannot fuppofe, that forfaking the obvious import, where 
the good they did was evident, they : mould dif- 
ferent meanings to the hieroglyphic,, to winch no key has 
been left, and therefore their .future inutility muft .have 
been forefeen. 

I shall content myfelf in this wide field, to fix upon one 
famous hieroglyphical perfonage, which is Tot, the fecretary 
of Ofiris, whofe function I mall endeavour to -explain ; if ; I 
fail, I am .in good company; I give it only as .my opinion, 
and fubmit it chearfully to the correction of others. The 
word Tot is Ethiopic, and there can be little doubt it means 
the dog-ilar. It was the name given to the .firft month of 
the Egyptian year. The meaning of the name, in the lan- 
guage of the province of Sire, is an idol, compofed of differ- 
ent heterogeneous pieces ; it is found having this 'iignifica- 
tion in many of their books. Thus a naked man is not 
a Tot, but the body of a naked man, with a -dog's head,, 
an afs's head, or a ferpent inilead of a head, is a Tot. 
According to the import of that word, it is, I fuppofe, 
an almanack, or Section of the phenomena in the heavens 
which are to happen in the limited time it is made tocom- 
prehend,whenexpofedfor the information of the public j and 
the more extenfive its ufe is intended to be, the greater num- 
ber of emblems, or figns of observation, it is charged with. 

Besides many other emblems or figures, the common 
Tot, I think, has ui his hand a crofs with a handle, as it is 
called Crux Anfata^ which has occafioned great fpeculation 
among the decyphcrers. This crofs, fixed to a circle, is fup- 
pofed to denote the four dements, and to be the fymbol of the 

2 influence 

A Table of Hieroglyphics, found at AXUM1771 

Zo/zdo/? I'ub&shed ' Deeemtw vf ''J80 /'</ o./i>/'vifM tC , 


Influence the fun has over them. Jamblichus* records, 
that this crofs, in the hand of Tot, is the name of the divine 
Bcmg that travels through the world. Sozomen f thinks it 
means the life to come, the fame with the ineffable image 
of eternity, Others, ft range difference ! fay it is the phal- 
lus, or human genitals, while a later % writer maintains 
it to be the mariner's compafs. My opinion, on the con- 
trary is, that, as this figure was expofed to the public 
for the reafon I have mentioned, the Crux Anfata in his 

hand was nothing elfe but a monogram of his own name 

TO, and TT fignifying TOT, or as we write Almanack upon 

a collection published for the fame purpofe. 

The changing of thefe emblems, and the multitude of 
them, produced the neceflity of contracting their fize, and this 
again a confequential alteration in the original forms ; and 
a ftile, or fmall portable inftrument, became all that was 
neceifary for finifhing thefe fmall Tots, inftead of a large 
graver or carving tool, employed in making the large ones. 
But men, at laft, were fo much ufed to the alteration, as to 
know it better than under its primitive form, and the en- 
graving became what we may call the firft elements, or 
root, in preference to the original. 

The reader will fee, that, in my hiftory of the civil wars 
in Abyffinia, the king, forced by rebellion to retire to the 
province of Tigre, and being at Axum, found a ftone cover- 
ed with hieroglyphics, which, by the many inquiries I made 

Vol. I. 3 G after 

* Jamblich. de Myft. feci. 8. cap. j. f Sozomen, Eccles. Hift. lib. 7. cap. 15. 
I Herw. theolog. Ethnica, p. 11. 


after infcriptions, and fome converfations I had had with 
him, he guefled was of the kind which I wanted. Full of 
that princely goodnefs and condefcenfion that he ever ho- 
noured me with, throughout my whole flay, he brought it 
with him when he returned from Tigre, and was reftored 
to his throne at Gondar. 

It feems to me to be one of thofe private Tots, or porta- 
ble almanacks, of the moll curious kind. The length of the 
whole Hone is fourteen inches, and fix inches broad, upon 
a bafe three inches high, projecting from the block itfelf, 
and covered with hieroglyphics. A naked figure of a man, 
near fix inches, flands upon two crocodiles, their heads turn- 
ed different ways. In each of his hands he holds two fer- 
pents, and a fcorpion, all by the tail, and in the right hand' 
hangs a noofe, in which is fufpended a ram or goat. On 
the left hand he holds a lion by the tail. The figure is in 
great relief ; and the head of it with that kind of cap or 
ornament which is generally painted upon the head of the 
figure called Ifis, but this figure is that of a man. On each 
fide of the whole-length figure, and above it, upon the face 
of the fcone where it projects, are marked a number of hie- 
roglyphics of all kinds. Over this is a very remarkable 
reprefentation ; it is an old head, with very flrong features, 
and a large bufliy beard, and upon it a high cap ribbed or 
ilriped. This I take to be the Cnuph, or Animus Mundi, 
though Apuleus, with very little probability, fays this was 
made in the likenefs of no creature whatever. The back 
of the fcone is divided into eight compartments*, from the 


*I apprehend this is owing to the circum {knees of the climate, in the four months, the time 
of the inundation,, the heavens were, fia covered as to afford no obfervations to be recorded. 


/„,//</.v'/''//</t>/it//),i .'/.^.^A'/i'.'Afflw << ■/'/' 


top to the bottom, and thefe are filled with hieroglyphics 
in the laft ftage, before they took the entire refemblance 
of letters. Many are perfectly formed ; the Crux Anfata 
appears in one of the compartments, and Tot in another. 
Upon the edge, juil above where it is broken, is 1 1 19, fo fair 
and perfect in form, that it might ferve as an example of 
caligraphy, even in the prefent times ; 45 and 1 9, and fome 
other arithmetical figures, are found up and down among 
the hieroglyphics. 

This I fuppofe was what formerly the Egyptians called 
;a book, or almanack ; a collection of thefe was probably 
hung up in fome confpicuous place, to inform the public of 
the Hate of the heavens, and feafons, and difeafes, to be ex- 
pected in the courfe of them, as is the cafe in the Englifli al- 
manacks at this day. Hermes is faid to have compofed 
36,535 books, probably of this fort, or they might contain 
the correfpondent aftronomical obfervations made in a cer- 
tain time at Meroe, Ophir, Axurn, or Thebes, communicated 
to be hung up for the ufe of the neighbouring cities. Por- 
phyry * gives a particular account of the Egyptian alma- 
nacks. " What is comprifed in the Egyptian almanacks, fays 
he, contains but a fmall part of the Hermaic inflitutions ; all 
that relates to the rifing and fetting of the moon and pla- 
nets, and of the ftars and their influence, and alio fome ad- 
vice upon difeafes." 

It is very remarkable, that, befides my Tot here defcrib- 
ed, there are five or fix, precifely the fame in all rcfpects, al- 

3 G 2 ready 

* PorpyWy Epift. ad Antbonem. 


ready in the Britim Mufeum ; one of them, the largeft of the 
whole, is made of fycamore, the others are of metal. There 
is another, I am told, in Lord Shelburn's collection; this I 
never had an opportunity of feeing ; but a very principal 
attention feems to have been paid to make all of them 
light and portable, and it would feem that by thefe having 
been formed fo exactly fimilar, they were the Tots intend- 
ed to be expofed in different cities or places, and were neither 
more nor lefs than Egyptian almanacks. 

Whether letters were known to Noah before the flood, 
is no where faid from any authority, and the inquiry into 
it is therefore ufelefs. It is difficult, in my opinion, to ima- 
gine, that any fociety, engaged in different occupations, could 
fubfift long without them. There feems to be lefs doubt, 
that they were invented, foon after the difperfion, long be- 
fore Mofes, and in common ufe among the Gentiles of his 

It feems alfo probable, that the firft alphabet was Ethio- 
pic, firft founded on hieroglyphics, and afterwards model- 
led into more current, and lefs laborious figures, for the 
fake of applying them to the expedition of bufinefs. Mr 
Fourmont is fo much of this opinion, that he fays it is evi- 
dent the three firft letters of the Ethiopic alphabet are hiero- 
glyphics yet, and that the Beta refembles the door of a 
houfe or temple. But, with great fubmiflion, the doors of 
houfes and temples, when firft built, were fquare at the top, 
for arches were not known. The Beta was taken from the 
doors of the firll Troglodytes in the mountains, which were 
rounded, and gave the hint for turning the arch, when 
architecture advanced nearer to perfe&ion. 



Others are for giving to letters a divine original: they 
fay they were taught to Abraham by God himfelf ; but 
this is no where vouched ; though it cannot be denied, that 
it appears from fcripture there were two forts of characters 
known to Mofes, when God fpoke to him on Mount Sinai. 
The firft two tables, we are told, were wrote by the finger of 
God, in what character is not faid, but Mofes received them 
to read to the people, fo he furely underftood them. But, 
when he had broken thefe two tables, and had another meet- 
ing with God on the mount on the fubject of the law, God 
directs him fpecially not to write in the Egyptian character 
or hieroglyphics, but in the current hand ufed by the Ethi- 
opian merchants, like the letters upon a fignet ; that is, he 
mould not write in hieroglyphics by a pifture, reprefenting 
the things for that the law forbids ; and the bad confequences 
of this were evident; but he mould write the law in the 
current hand, by characters reprefenting founds, (though 
nothing elfe in heaven or on earth,) or by the letters that 
the Ifhmaelites, Cufhites, and India trading nations had long 
ufed in bufmefs for figning their invoices, engagements,. &c. 
and this was the meaning of being like the letters of a fignet. 

Hence, it is very clear, God did not invent letters, nor 
did Mofes, who underftood both characters before the pro- 
mulgation of the law upon Mount Sinai, having learned 
them in Egypt, and during his long ftay among the Cu- 
fhites, and Shepherds in Arabia Petrea. Hence it lhould 
appear alfo, that the facred character of the Egyptian 
was confidered as profane, and forbid to the Hebrews, 
and that the common Ethiopic was the Hebrew facred 
character, in which the copy of the law was firft wrote. 
The text is very clear and explicit : " And the ftones mall 

« be 


" be with the names of the children of Ifrael, twelve, 
" according to their wtnm, like the engravings of difignet; every 
" one with his name, fhall they be according to the twelve 
" tribes *." Which is plainly, You fhall not write in the way 
ufed till this day, for it leads the people into idolatry ; you 
fhall not type Judah by a /ion, Zebulun by ajhip, Iffachar by 
an afs couching between two burdens ; but, inflead of wri- 
ting by pictures, you fhall take the other known hand, the 
■merchants writing, which fignifies founds, not things; write 
the names Judah, Zebulun, IiTachar, in the letters, fuch as the 
merchants ufe upon their fignets. And, on Aaron's breafl- 
plate of pure gold, was to be written, in the fame alphabet, 
like the engravings of a fignet, holiness to the lord f. 

Th e s e fignets, of the remoteft antiquity in the Eaft, are worn 
ftill upon every man's hand to this day, having the name of 
the perfon that wears them, or fome fentence upon it always 
religious. The Greeks, after the Egyptians, continued the 
other method, and defcribed figures upon their fignet; the 
ufe of both has been always common in Britain. 

We find afterwards, that, in place of flone or gold, for 
greater convenience Mofes wrote in a book, " And it came 
" to pafs, when Mofes had made an end of writing the 
" words of this law in a book, until they were finifTied ; J" — 

Although, then, Mofes certainly did not invent either, 
or any character, it is probable that he made two, perhaps 
more, alterations in the Ethiopic alphabet as it then flood, 

4 with 

* E::od. chap, xxviii. vcr. 2i, f Exod. chap, xxviii. ver. 36. % Deut. chap. xxxi. ver. 24. 


with a view to increafe the difference flill more between 
the writing then in ufe among the nations, and what he 
intended to be peculiar to the Jews. The firfl was altering 
the direction, and writing from right to left, whereas, the 
Ethiopian was, and is to this day, written from left to right, 
as was the hieroglyphical alphabet *. The fecond was ta- 
king away the points, which, from all times, muft have ex- 
ifted and been, as it were, a part of the Ethiopic letters in- 
vented with them, and I do not fee how it is pofllble it ever 
could have been read without them; fo that, which way 
foever the difpute may turn concerning the antiquity of 
the application of the Maforetio points, the invention was 
no new one, but did exiil as early as language was written. 
And I apprehend, that thefe alterations were very rapidly 
adopted after the. writing of the law, and applied to the 
new character as it then flood; becaufe, not long after, 
Mofcs was ordered to fubmit the law itfelf to the people,, 
which would have been perfectly ufelefs, had not reading 
and the character been familiar to them at that time. 

It appears to me alfo, that the Ethiopic words were al- 
ways feparated, and could not run together, or be joined 
as the Hebrew, and that the running the words together in- 
to one muft have been matter of choice in the Hebrew, to 
increafe the difference in writing the two languages, as 
the contrary had been practifed in the Ethiopian language. 
Though there is really little refemblance between the Ethio- 
pic and the Hebrew letters, and not much more between 


Vic'.g the hieroglyphics on the drawing of the flcnc, 


that and the Samaritan, yet I have a very great fufpicion 
the languages were once much nearer a-kin than this difa- 
greement of their alphabet promifes, and, for this reafon, 
that a very great number of words are found throughout 
the Old Teflament that have really no root, nor can be de- 
rived from any Hebrew origin, and yet all have, in the Ethio- 
pic, a plain, clear, unequivocal origin, to and from which 
they can be traced without force or difficulty. 

I shall now finifh what I have to fay upon this fubject, 
by obferving, that the Ethiopic alphabet confifls of twenty- 
fix letters, each of thefe, by a virgula, or point annexed, 
varying in found, fo as to become, in effect, forty-two di- 
ftinct letters. But I mull further add, that at firft they had 
but twenty-five of thefe original letters, the Latin P being 
wanting, fo that they were obliged tofubilitute another letter 
in the place of it. Paulus, for example, they called Taulus, 
Oulus, or Caulus. Petros they pronounced Ketros. At laft 
they fubftituted T, and added this to the end of their alpha- 
bet, giving ir the force of P, though it was really a repeti- 
tion of a character, rather than invention. Befides thefe 
there are twenty others of the nature of dipththongs, but I 
fhould fuppofe fome of thefe are not of the fame antiquity 
with the letters of the alphabet, but have been invented in 
later times by the fcribes for convenience. 

The reader will underftand, that, fpeaking of the Ethio- 
pic at prefent, I mean only the Geez language, the language 
of the Shepherds, and of the books. None of the other 
many languages fpoken in Abyflinia have characters for 
writing. But when the Amharic became fubftituted, in 
common ufe and converfation, to the Geez, after the refto- 

3 ration 


ration of the Royal family, from their long banifhment in 
Shoa, feven new characters were neceflarily added to anfwer 
the pronunciation of this new language, but no book was 
ever yet written in any other language except Geez. On the 
contrary, there is an old law in this country, handed down by 
tradition only, that whoever mould attempt to tranflate 
the holy fcripture into Amharic, or any other language, 
his throat mould be cut after the manner in which they 
kill fheep, his family fold to flavery, and his houfe razed to 
the ground ; and, whether the fear of this law was true 
or feigned, it was a great obstacle to me in getting thofe 
tranllations of the Song of Solomon made which I intend 
for fpecimens of the different languages of thofe diftincl: 

The Geez is exceedingly harm and unharmonious. It is 
full of thefe two letters, D and T, on which an accent is put 
that nearly refembles Hammering. Confidering the fmall 
extent of fea that divides this country from Arabia, we are 
not to wonder that it has great affinity to the Arabic. It is 
not difficult to be acquired by thofe who underfcand any o- 
ther of the oriental languages ; and, for a reafon I have gi- 
ven fome time ago, that the roots of many Hebrew words 
are only to be found here, I think it abfolutely neceiTary 
to all thofe that would obtain a critical fkill in that lan- 

Wemmers,' a Carmelite, has wrote a finall Ethiopic dic- 
tionary in thin quarto, which, as far as it goes, has confider- 
ab le merit; and I am told there are others of the fame kind 
extant, written chiefly by Catholic prierls. But by far the mofl 
copious, diftinct, and beft-digefted work, is that of Job Lu- 

Vol. I. 3H dolf, 


dolf, a German of great learning in the.Eaftern languages-) 
and who has published a grammar and dictionary of the 
Geez in folio. This read with attention is more than iui- 
ficient to make any perfon of yery moderate genius a great 
proficient in the Ethiopic language. He has like wife written 
a fhort eiTay towards a dictionary and grammar of the Am- 
haric, which, confidering the very fmall help he had, Ihews 
his furprifmg talents and capacity. Much, however, re- 
mains Hill to do ; and it is indeed fcarcely poffible to bring 
this to any tolerable degree of forwardnefs for want of 
books, unlefs a man of genius, while in the country itfelf, 
were to give his time and application to it : It is not . 
much more difficult than the former, and lefs connected 
with the Hebrew or Arabic, but has a more harmonious, 
pronunciation. . 





C H A IP. IV. 

Some Account of the Trade Winds and Monfoons—Afiplicati&n of this 
to the Voyage to Ophlr and Tarfb'tfo. 

IT is a matter of real affliction, which fhews the vanity of 
all human attainments, that the preceding pages have 
been employed in describing, and, as it were, drawing from 
oblivion, the hiftory of thofe very- nations that firft convey- 
ed to the world, not the elements of literature only, but all 
forts of learning, arts, and fciences in their full detail and 
perfection. We fee that thefe had taken deep root, and 
were not eafily extirpated. The firft great and fatal blow 
they received was from the deftruction of Thebes, and its 
monarchy, by the firft invafion of the Shepherds under Sa- 
lads, which iliook them to the very foundation. The next 
was in the conqueft of the Thebaic! under Sabaco and his 
Shepherds. The third was when the empire of Lower Egypt 
(I do not think of the Thebaid) was transferred to Mem- 
phis, and that city taken, as writers fay, by the Shepherds 
of Abaris only, or of the Delta, though it is fcarcely proba* 
ble, that r -in ft> favourite a caufc as the deftruction of cities, 
the wliolc Shepherds did not lend their affiiiance. 

s'H-s TbesS 


These were the calamities, we may fuppofe, under which 
the arts in Egypt fell ; for, as to the foreign conquefts of Ne- 
buchadnezzar and his Babylonians, they affected cities and 
the perfons of individuals only. They were temporary, ne- 
ver intended to have lafling confequences ; their beginning 
and end were prophefied at the fame time. That of the 
AiTyrians was a plundering expedition only, as we are told 
by fcripture itfelf, intended to lafl but forty years *, half the 
life of man, given, for a particular purpofe,for the indemnifi- 
cation of the king Nebuchadnezzar, for the hardfhips he 
fuftained at the fiege of Tyre, where the obflinacy of the 
inhabitants, in deflroying their wealth, deprived the con- 
queror of his expected booty. The Babylonians were a 
people the moil polifhed after the Egyptians. Egypt under 
them fuffered by rapacity, but not by ignorance, as it did in 
all the conquefts of the Shepherds. 

After Thebes' was deftroyed by the nrfl Shepherds, com- 
merce, and it is probable the arts with it, fled for a time 
from Egypt, and centered in Edom, a city and territory, the*-' 
we know little of its hiftory, at that period the richeft in the 
world. David, in the very neighbourhood of Tyre and Sidon* 
calls Edom the ftrong citv ; " Who will bring me into the 
u ftrong city ? Who will lead me into Edom f ?" David, 
from an old quarrei, and probably from the recent in- 
iligations of the Tyrians his friends, invaded Edom $,. 
deftroyed the city, and difperfed the people. He was 
the great military power then upon the continent ; Tyre 
and Edom were rivals ; and his conqueft of that lafl 


* Ezek. chap, xxix. ver. n. f Pfalm. chap. Ix. ver. 9. and Pfal. cviii. ver. 10: 

%. 2 oam». chag. yiii. ver. 14. 1 Kings, chap. x'. ver- 15^,1. 6. 


great and trading flate, which he united to his empire,. 
would yet have loll him the trade he fought to cultivate, by 
the very means he ufed to obtain it, had not Tyre been in 
a capacity to fucceed to Edom, and to collect its mariners 
and artificers, fcattered abroad by the conqueft. 

David took pofTemon of two ports, Eloth and Ezion-ga- 
ber *, from which he carried on the trade to Ophir and Tar- 
fhifh, to a very great extent, to the day of his death. We are 
ftruck with aflonifhment when we reflect upon the fum 
that Prince received in fo fhort a time from thefe mines of 
Ophir. For what is faid to be given by King David + and his 
Princes for the building of the Temple of Jerufalem, ex- 
ceeds in value eight hundred millions of our money, if the 
talent there fpoken of is a Hebrew talent J, and not a weight 
of the fame denomination, the value of which was lefs, and 
peculiarly referved for and ufed in the traffic of thefe pre- 
cious metals, gold and filver. It was, probably, an African 
or Indian weight, proper to the fame mines, whence was 
gotten the gold appropriated to fine commodities only, as is 
the cafe with our ounce Troy different from the Averdu- 
poife. • 

Solomon, who fucceeded David in his kingdom, was his- 
fucceffor likewife in the friendfhip of Hiram king of Tyre,, 


* 1 Kirg^j chap. i:i ver. 26. 2 Chron. chap. viii. ver.- 17. f 1 Chron. chap. xxii. ver, 14,- 
1;, \6-. Chap. xxix. ver. $, 4, 5, 6, 7. — Three thoufand Hebrew talents of gold, reduced to 
our money, amount to twenty-one millions and fix: hundred thoufand pounds Sterling. 

J The value of a Hebrew/ talent appears from Exodus, chap. xxxviii. ver. 2^ 1 26. For 
603,550 perfons being taxed at half a fhekei each, they muft have paid in the whole 301,77; »' 
now that fum is faid to amount to 100 talents, 1775 fhekels only ; deducl the two latter fums, 
and there will remain 300,000, which, divided by 108, will leave 3000 fhekels for each o£- 
dicfe taleius.. 


Solomon vifited Eloth and Ezion-gaber* in perfon, and for- 
tified them. He collected a number of pilots, fhipwrights, 
and mariners, his father's conqueft of Edom, 
moil of whom had taken refuge in Tyre and Sidon, the 
commercial Hates in the Mediterranean. Hiram fupplied 
him with faiiors in abundance ; but the fa'ilors fo furnifhed 
from Tyre were not capable of performing the fervice 
which Solomon required, without the direction of pilots and 
mariners ufed to the navigation of the Arabian Gulf and 
Indian Ocean. Such were thofe mariners who formerly li- 
ved in Edom, whom Solomon had now collected in Eloth 
and Ezion-gaber. 

This 1 aft-mentioned navigation was very different in all 
rcfpects from that of the Mediterranean, which, in reipect 
to the former, might be compared to a pond, every fide be- 
ing confined with fhores little diftant the one from the o- 
ther ; even that fmall extent of fea was fo full of iflands, 
that there was much greater art required in the pilot to a- 
void land than to reach it. It was, befides, fubject to vari- 
able winds, being to the northward of 30 of latitude, the 
limits to which Providence hath confined thofe winds all o- 
ver the globe ; whereas the navigation of the Indian Ocean 
was governed by laws more convenient and regular, though 
altogether different from thofe that obtained in the Medi- 
terranean. Before I proceed, it will be necelTary to explain 
this phenomenon. 

It is known to all thofe who are ever fo little verfant in 
the hiftory of Egypt, that the wind frcm the north prevails 


* 2 Chron. chap. viii. ver I 7. 


43 1" 

in that valley all the fumrner months, and is called the E- 
tefian winds - it fweeps the valley from north to fouth, that 
being the direction of Egypt, and of the Nile, which runs 
through the midft of it. The two. chains of mountains,, 
which confine Egypt on the eaft and on the weft, conftraint* 
the wind to take this precife direction. 

It is natural to fuppofe the fame would he the cafe in the 
Arabian Gulf, had that narrow fea been in a direction pa- 
rallel to the land of Egypt, or due north and fouth. The 
Arabian Gulf, - however, or what we call the Red Sea, lies 
from nearly north-weft to fouth-eaft, from Suez to Mocha. 
It then turns nearly eaft and weft till it joins the Indian O- 
cean at the Straits of Babelmandeb, as we have already faid, 
and may be further feen by confulting the map. Now, the 
Eteftan winds, which are due north in Egypt, here take the 
direction of the Gulf, and blow in that direction fteadily all 
the feafon, while it continues north-in the valley of Egypt ; 
that is, from April to October the wind blows north-weft 
up the Arabian Gulf towards the Straits; and,, from No- 
vember till March, directly contrary, down the Arabian 
Gulf, from the Straits of Babelmandeb to Suez and the ifth- 
inus. . 

These winds are by fome corruptly called the trade-winds; ; 
but this name given to them is a very erroneous one, and' 
apt to confound narratives, and make 'them unintelligible. 
A trade-wind is a wind which, all the year through, blows, . 
and has ever blown, from the fame point of the horizon; 
fuch is the fouth- weft, fouth of the Line, in the Indian and 
Pac'fic Ocean. On the contrary, thefe winds, of which we 
have .now fpoken, are called monfoons; each year they blow 

2„ fix: 


fix months from the northward, and the other fix months* 
from the fouthward, in the Arabian Gulf : While in the 
Indian Ocean, without the Straits of Babelmandeb, they 
blow juft the contrary at the fame feafons ; that is, in fummer 
from the fouthward, and in winter from the northward, 
fubject to a fmall inflexion to the eaft and to the weft. 

The reader will obferve, then, that, a vefTel failing from 
Suez or the Elanitic Gulf, in any of the fummer months, 
will find a fteady wind at north-weft, which will carry it in 
the direction of the Gulf to Mocha. At Mocha, the coaft is 
€aft and weft to the Straits of Babelmandeb, fo that the vef- 
fel from Mocha will have variable winds for a fhort fpace, 
but moftly wefterly, and thefe will carry her on to the 
Straits. She is then done with the monfoon in the Gulf, 
which was from the north, and, being in the Indian Ocean, 
is taken up by the monfoon which blows in the fummer 
months there, and is directly contrary to what obtains in 
the Gulf. This is a fouth-wefter, which carries the vefTel 
with a flowing fail to any part in India, without delay or 

The fame happens upon her return home. She fails in 
the winter months by the monfoon proper to that fea, that 
is, with a north-eaft, which carries her through the Straits 
of Babelmandeb, She finds, within the Gulf, a wind at 
fouth-eaft, directly contrary to what was in the ocean ; but 
then her courfe is contrary likewife, fo that a fouth-eafter, 
anfwering to the direction of the Gulf, carries her directly 
to Suez, or the Elanitic Gulf, to whichever way flie pro- 
pofes going. Hitherto all is plain, fimple, and eafy to be 

4 underftood ; 


underftood; and this was the reafon why, in the eaiiieft 
ages, the India trade was carried on without difficulty. 

Many doubts, however, have arifen about a port called 
Ophir, whence the immenfe quantities of gold and lilver 
came, which were neceflary at this time, when provifion 
was making for building the Temple of Jerufalem. In what 
part of the world this Ophir was has not been yet agreed. 
Connected with this voyage, too, was one to TarfhrOi, which 
fuiFers the fame difficulties ; one and the fame fleet perform- 
ed them both in the fame feafon. 

In order to come to a certainty where this Ophir was, it 
will be neceflary to examine what fcripture fays of it, and 
to keep precifely to every thing like defcription which we 
can find there, without indulging our fancy farther. Firft, 
then, the trade to Ophir was carried on from the Elanitic 
Gulf through the Indian Ocean. Secondly, The returns were 
gold, lilver, and ivory, but efpecially filver*. Thirdly, The 
time of the going and coming of the fleet was precifely 
three years f, at no period more nor lefs, 

Now, if Solomon's fleet failed from the Elanitic Gulf to 
the Indian Ocean, this voyage of neceffity mult have been 
made by monfoons, for no other winds reign in that ocean. 
And, what certainly mews this was the cafe, is the precife 
term of three years, in which the fleet went and came be- 
tween Ophir and Ezion-gaber. For it is plain, fo as to fu- 
perfede the neceffity of proof or argument, that, had this 

Vol, I. 3 I voyage 

* 1 Kings, chap. x. yer. 22. f 1 Kings, chap. x. ver. 22, 2 Chron. chap. ix. ver. 24. 


voyage been made with variable winds, no limited term of 
years ever could have been obferved in its going and re- 
turning. The fleet might have returned from Ophir in 
two years, in three, four, or five years ; but, with variable 
winds, the return precifely in three years was not poffible, 
whatever part of the globe Ophir might be fituated in. 


Neither Spain nor Peru could be Ophir ; part of thefe 
Voyages muft have been made by variable winds, and the 
return consequently uncertain. The iiland of Ceylon, in the 
Eaft Indies, could not be Ophir ; the voyage thither is indeed 
made by monfoons, but we have fhewed that a year is all 
that can be fpent in a voyage to the Eaft Indies ; befides, 
Ceylon has neither gold nor filver, though it has ivory. St. 
Domingo has neither gold, nor filver, nor ivory. When the 
Tyrians difcovered Spain, they found a profufion of filver. 
in huge maiTes, but this they brought to Tyre by the Me- 
diterranean, and then fent it to the Red Sea over land to an— 
fwer the returns from India; Tarihiih, too, is not found 
to be a port in any of thefe voyages, fo that part of the 
defcription fails, nor were there ever elephants bred. in.. 


These mines of Ophir were probably what furnilhed the 
Eaft with gold in the earlieft times ; great traces of exca- 
vation muft, therefore, have appeared ; yet in none of the 
places juft mentioned are there great remains of any mines 
that have been wrought. The ancient traces of filver-mines 
in Spain, are not to be found, and there never were any of 
gold. John Dos Santos*, a Dominican friar, fays, that on 

i ■ the. 

Vid. Voyage of Dos Santos, publifhed by Lc Grande. 


the coafl of Africa, in the kingdom of Sofala, the main- 
land opposite to Madagascar, there are mines of gold and 
filver, than which none can be more abundant, eipecially 
in filver. They bear the traces of having been wrought 
from the earlieft ages. They were actually open and work- 
ing when the Portuguefe conquered that part of the pe- 
ninfula, and were probably given up fince the difcovery 
of the new world, rather from political than any other rea- 

John Dos Santos fays, that he landed at Sofala in the 
vear 1586 ; that he failed up the great river Cuama as far as 
Tete, where, always defirous to be in the neighbourhood of 
gold, his Order had placed their convent. Thence he pene- 
trated for above two hundred leagues into the country, and 
faw the gold mines then working, at a mountain called A- 
fura *. At a confiderable diilance from thefe are the filver 
mines of Chicoua; at both places there is great appearance of 
ancient excavations: and at both places the houfes of the 
kings are built with mud and flraw, whilft there are large 
remains of many buildings of Hone and lime. 

It is a tradition which generally obtains in that country, 
that thefe works belonged to the Queen of Saba, and were 
built at the time, and for the purpofe of the trade on the 
Red Sea: this tradition is common to all the Cafrs in 
that country. Eupolemus, an ancient author quoted by 
Eufebius r, fpeaking of David, fays, that he built ihips at 
Eloth, a city in Arabia, and thence lent miners, or, as he 

3 I 2 calls 

* See the map cf this voyage, f Apud Eufeb. Prcep. Evang. lib. 9. 


calls them, metal-men, to Orphi, or Ophir, an illand in the Red 
Sea. Now, by the Red Sea, he underftands the Indian 
Ocean * ; and by Orphi, he probably meant the ifland of 
Madagafcar ; or Orphi (or Ophir) might have been the 
name of the Continent,inftead of Sofala, that is, Sofala where 
the mines are might have been the main-land of Orphi. 

The kings of the ifles are often mentioned in this voy- 
age ; Socotra, Madagafcar, the Gommorrasj and many other 
fmall iflands thereabout, are probably thofe the fcripture 
calls the IJles. All, then, at laft reduces itfelf to the finding 
a place, either Sofala, or any other place adjoining to it, 
which avowedly can furnifh gold, filver, and ivory in quan- 
tity, has large tokens of ancient excavations, and is at 
the fame time under fuch reftriclions from monfoons, that 
three years are abfolutely neceflary to perform the voyage, 
that it needs no more, and cannot be done in lefs, and this 
is Ophir. 

Let us now try thefe mines of Dos Santos by the laws of 
the monfoons, which we have already laid down in defcri- 
bing the voyage to India. The fleets or fhip, for Sofala, part- 
ing in June from Ezion-gaber, would run down before the 
northern monfoon to Mocha. Here, not the monfoon, but 
the direction of the Gulf changes, and the violence of the 
ibuth-wefters, which then reign in the Indian Ocean, make 
themfelves at times felt even in Mocha Roads. The venel 
therefore comes to an anchor in the harbour of Mocha, 
and here fhe waits for moderate weather and a fair wind, 


* Dionyfii Periegefis, ver. 38. and Comment. Euftathii in eundem. Strabo, lib. 16. p. 765.. 
Agathemeri Geographia, lib. z, cap. 11. 


which carries her out of the Straits of Babelmandeb, through 
the few leagues where the wind is variable. If her courfe. 
was now to the Eaft Indies, that is eaft-north-eaft, or north- 
eaft and by north, fhe would find a ftrong fouth-weft wind 
that would carry her to any part of India, as foon as fhe 
cleared Cape Gardefan, to which fhe was bound. 

But matters are widely different if fhe is bound for So- 
fala ; her courfe is nearly fouth-weft, and fhe meets at Cape 
Gardefan a ftrong fouth-wefter that blows directly in hen 
teeth. Being obliged to return into the gulf, fhe miftakes 
this for a trade-wind, becaufe fhe is not .able to make her 
voyage to Mocha but by the fummer monfoon, which car- 
ries her no farther than the Straits of Babelmandeb, and; 
then leaves her in the face of a contrary wind, a ftrong cur- 
rent to the northward, and violent fwell. 

The attempting this voyage with fails, in thefe circum- 
fiances, was abfolutely impoflible, as their vefTels went only 
before the wind : if it was performed at all, itmuft have been* 
by oars*, and great havock and lofs of men muft have been 
the confequence of the feveral trials. This is not conjec- 
ture only ; the prophet Ezekiel defcribes the very fact. 
Speaking of the Tyrian voyages probably of this very one 
he fays, " Thy rowers have brought thee into great waters- 
" (the ocean): the eafl wind hath broken thee in the 
midft of the feasf." In fhort, the eaft,. that is the north-eaft 
wind, was the very monfoon that was to carry them to So- 
fala, yet having no fails, being upon a lee-fhore, a very bold 

3 coaft, 

* Ezek. chap, xxvii. ver. 6. f Ezek. chap, xxvii. ver. z6, 


coaft, and great fwell, it was absolutely impoffible with oars 
'to fave themfelves from deftruction. 

At laft philofophy and obfervation, together with the 
unwearied perfeverance of man bent upon his own views 
and intereft, removed thefe difficulties, and fhewed the raa- 
rinersof the Arabian Gulf, that thefe periodical winds, which, 
in the beginning, they looked upon as invincible barriers to 
the trading to Sofala, when once underftood, were the very 
means of performing this voyage fafely and expeditiously. 

The veffel trading to Sofala failed, as I have faid, from the 
bottom of the Arabian Gulf, in fummer, with the monfoon 
at north, which carried her to Mocha. There the monfoon 
failed her by the change of the direction of the Gulf. The 
fouth-weft winds, which blow without Cape Gardefan in 
the Indian Ocean, forced themfelves round the Capefo as to 
be felt in the road of Mocha, and make it uneafy riding 
there. But thefe foon changed, the weather became mo- 
derate, and the veilei, I fuppofe in the month of Augufl, was 
fafe at anchor under Cape Gardefan, where was the port 
which, many years afterwards, was called Promontorium 
Aromatum. Here the fhip was obliged to flay all No- 
vember, becaufe all thefe fummer months the wind fouth 
of the Cape was a ftrong fouth-wefler, as hath been before 
faid, directly in the teeth of the voyage to Sofala. But this 
time was not loft ; part of the goods bought to be ready for 
the return was ivory, frankincenfe, and myrrh ; and the fhip 
was then at the principal mart for thefe. 

I suppose in November the vefTel failed with the wind at 
north-eaft, with which lire would foon have made her voy- 

i age. 


age : But off the coaft of Melinda, in the beginning of De- 
cember, fhe there met an anomalous monfoon at fourh-weft,. 
in our days firft obferved by Dr Halley, which cut off her 
voyage to Sofala, and obliged her to put in to the fmall har- 
bour of Mocha, near Melinda, but nearer ftill to Tarfhifh, 
which we find here by accident, and which we think a 
ftrong corroboration that we are right as to the reft of the 
voyage. In the Annals of Abyflinia, we fee that AmdaSion y 
making Avar upon that coaft in the 14th century, in a lift 
of the rebellious Moorifh vafTals, mentions the Chief of Tar- 
fhifli as one of them, in the very nutation where we have 
now placed him. 

Solomon's veiTel, then, was obliged to ftay at Tarlhifh till 
the month of April of the fecond year. In May,, the wind 
fet in at north-eaft, and probably carried her that fame month 
to Sofala. All the time fhe fpent at Tarfhiih was not loft, 
for part of her cargo was to be brought from that place, and 
Hie probably bought, befpoke, or left it there. From May 
of the fecond year, to the end of that monfoon in Oclober, 
the vefTel could not ftir; the wind was north-eaft. But this 
time, far from being loft, was neceffary to the traders for 
getting in their cargo, which we mall fuppofe was ready 
for them. 

The fhip fails, on her return, in the month of November 
of the fecond year, with the monfoon fouth-wcft, which in 
a very few weeks would have carried her into the Arabian 
Gulf. But off Mocha, near Melinda and Tarfhifli, fhe met 
the north-eaft monfoon, and was obliged to go into that 
port and ftay there till the end of that monfoon ; after which 
a fouth-weftcr came to her relief in May of the third year.. 



With the May monfoon fhe ran to Mocha within the Straits* 
and was there confined by the rummer monfoon blowing 
up the Arabian Gulf from Suez, and meeting her. Here fhe 
lay till that monfoon, which in fummer blows northerly 
from Suez, changed to a fouth-eaft one in October or No- 
vember, and that very eafily brought her up into the Ela- 
nitic Gulf, the middle or end of December of the third year. 
She had no need of more time to complete her voyage, and 
it was not poflible fhe could do it in lefs. In fhort, fhe 
changed the monfoon fix times, which is thirty-fix months, 
or three years exactly; and there is not another combination 
of monfoons over the globe, as far as I know, capable to 
effect the fame. The reader will pleafe to confult the map, 
and keep it before him, which will remove any difficulties 
he may have. It is for his inftruction this map has been 
made, not for that of the learned prelate * to whom it is 
infcribed, much more capable of giving additional lights, 
than in need of receiving any information I can give, even 
on this fubject. 

The celebrated Montefquieu conjectures, that Ophir was 
really on the coaft of Africa ; and the conjecture of that great 
man merits more attention than the aflertions of ordinary 
people. He is too fagacious, and too enlightened, either to 
doubt of the reality of the voyage itfelf, or to feek for Ophir 
and Tarfhifh in China. Uninformed, however, of the par- 
ticular direction of the monfoons upon the coaft, firft very 
flightly fpoken of by Eudoxus, and lately obferved and de- 


* Dt Douglas, Bifhop of Carlifk. 


Kneated by Dr Halley, he was ftaggered upon confidering 
that the whole diflance, which employed a vefTel in Solo- 
mon's time for three years, was a thoufand leagues, Scarce- 
ly more than the work of a month. He, therefore, fuppofes, 
that the reafon of delay was owing to the imperfection of 
the velTels, and goes into very ingenious calculations, rea- 
sonings, and conclufions thereupon. He conjectures, there- 
fore, that the fhips employed by Solomon were what he 
calls junks* of the Red Sea, made of papyrus, and covered 
with hides or leather. 

Pliny f had faid, that one of thefe junks of the Red Sea- 
was twenty days on a voyage, which a Greek or Roman 
vefTel would have performed in feven - r and Straboj had 
faid the fame thing before him. 

This relative flownefs, or fwiftnefs, will not folve the dif- 
ficulty. For, if thefe junks || were the vefTels employed to 
Ophir, the long voyage, much more they would have been 
employed on the fhort one, to and from India ; now they 
performed this within a year, which was all a Roman or 
Greek vefTel could do, therefore this was not the caufe. 
Thofe employed by Solomon were Tyrian and Idumean vef- 
fels, the belt fhips and failers of their age. Whoever has 
feen the prodigious fwell, the violent currents, and flrong 
fouth-wefters beyond the Straits of Babelmandeb, will not 
need any argument to perfuade him, that no vefTel made of 
papyrus, or leather, could live an hour upon that fea. The 

Vol. I. 3 K junks, , 

* Vide L'Efprit des Loix, liv. xxi. cap. 6. p. 476. f PliP- ] > b - vi - ca P- Z1 - X Strabo, lib. xvi 
; I know there are contrary opinions, and the junks {flight have been- various. - Yide-S-aIp.1-. - 


•junks, indeed, were light and convenient boats, made to 
crofs the narrow gulf between the Sabeans and Homerites, 
•or Cufhites, at Azab upon the Red Sea, and carry provilions 
from Arabia Felix to the more defert coaft of Azab. I have 
hinted, that the names of places fufficiently demonflrate 
the great lofs of men that happened to the traders to Sofala 
before the knowledge of the monfoons, and the introduc- 
tion of the ufe of fails. 

I shall now confider how far the thing is confirmed by 
the names of places in the language of the country, fuch 
as they have retained amori'g them to the prefent day. 

There are three Mochas mentioned in this voyage, fitu- 
ated in countries very diffimilar to, and diftant from, each 
other. The firft is in Arabia Deferta, in lat. 36 nearly, not 
far from the bottom of the Gulf of Suez. The fecond is in 
lat. 1 3 , a fmall diflance from the Straits of Babelmandeb, 
The third Mocha is in lat. 3 fouth, near Tarmifli, on the coaft 
of Melinda. Now, the meaning of Mocha, in the Ethiopic, 
is prifon ; and is particularly given to thefe three places, be- 
caufe, in any of them, a fhip is forced to Hay or be detain- 
ed for months, till the changing of the monfoon fets her 
at liberty to purfuc her voyage. At Mocha, near the bottom 
of the Gulf of Suez, a veflcl, wanting to proceed fouthward 
to Babelmandebj is kept here in prifon all winter, till the 
fummer monfoon fets her at liberty. At Mocha, in Arabia 
Felix, the fame happens to any vefTel wanting to proceed 
to Suez in the fummer months ; flic may come up from 
the Straits of Babelmandeb to Mocha Read by the acciden- 
tal direction of the head of the Gulf; but, in the month of 
May, the ncrtii-wcfl wind obliges her to put into Mocha, 

2 and 


and there to flay till the fouth-eafler relieves her in Novem- 
ber. After you double Gardefan, the fum-mcr monfoon,... 
at north-eafc, is carrying your venel full fail to Sofala, when 
the anomalous monfoon takes her off the coafi: of Melinda^ 
and forces her ' into Tarfhifh, where fhe is imprifoned for fix 
months in the Mocha there. So that this word is very em- 
phatically applied to thofe places where mips are neceffarily 
detained by the change of monfoons, and proves the truths 
of what I have faid. 

The laft Cape on the Abymnian fKore.,. before you run'; 
into the Straits, is Cape Defan, called by the Portuguefe,, 
Cape Baful. This has no meaning in any language ; the 
Abyffinians, on whofe fide it is, call it Cape Dcfim, the Cape 
of Burial. It was probably there where the eaft wind drove j 
aihore the bodies of fuch as had been fhipwrecked in the 
voyage. The point of the fame coaft, which ftretches out 
into the Gulf, before you arrive- at Babelmandeb, was, by 
the Romans, called Promoniorium Aromatum, and fmce, by the 
Portuguefe, Cape Gardefui. But the name given it by the 
Abyffinians and failors on the Gulf is, Cape Gardefan, the: 
Straits of Burial. 

Still nearer the Straits is a fmall port m the kingdom; 
of Adel, called Mete, I e. Death , ..or, he or they are dead. And. 
more to the weitward,.in the fame kingdom, is Mount Felix^ 
corruptly fo called by the Portuguefe. The Latins call it 
Elephas Mons, the Mountain of the Elephant.; and the na^ 
tives, Jibbei Feel, which has the fame fignification. The Por- 
tuguefe, who did not know that Jibbei Feel was Elephas 
Mons, being milled by the found, have called it Jibbei Felix, 
the. Happy Mountain, a name to which it has no fort of title, 

3 : ;K 2.. The 


The Straits by which we enter the Arabian Gulf are by 
the Portuguefe called Babelmandeb, which is nonfenfe. 
The name by which it goes among the natives is Babel- 
mandeb, the Gate or Port of Affliction. And near it Ptolemy * 
places a town he calls, in the Greek, Mandaeth, which ap- 
pears to me to be only a corruption of Mandeb. The Pro- 
montory that makes the fouth fide of the Straits, and the city 
thereupon, is Dira, which means the Hades, or Hell, by Ptole- 
my f called Avpn. This, too, is a tranflation of the ancient 
name,becaufe Awpj (orDirce) has no lignification in the Greek. 
A duller of iflands you meet in the canal, after palling Mo- 
cha, is called Jibbel Zekir, or, the Iflands of Prayer for the 
remembrance of the dead. And flill, in the fame courfe up 
the Gulf, others are called Sebaat Gzier, Praife or Glory be 
to God, as we may fuppofe, for the return from this danger* 
ous navigation. 

All the coafl to the eaftward, to where Gardefan flretches 
out into the ocean, is the territory of Saba, which imme- 
morially has been the mart of frankincenfe, myrrh, and 
balfam. Behind Saba, upon the Indian Ocean, is the Regio 
Chinamonifera, where a confiderable quantity of that wild tin*- 
namon grows, which the Italian druggifes call canella. 

Inland near to Azab, as I have before obferved, are large 
ruins, fome of them of fmall Hones and lime adhering ftrong- 
ly together. There is efpecially an aqueduct, which brought 
formerly a large quantity of water from a fountain in the 
mountains, which mull have greatly contributed to the 


* Pto'. Geog. lib. 4. cap. 7. f id. ibid. 


beauty, health, and pleafure of Saba. This is built with 
large many blocks of marble, brought from the neighbour- 
ing mountains, placed upon one another without lime or 
cement, but joined with thick cramps, or bars of brafs. 
There are likewife a number of wells, not fix feet wide, com* 
pofed of pieces of marble hewn to parts of a circle, and 
joined with the fame bars of brafs alfo. This is exceedingly 
furprifing, for Agatharcides * tells us, that the Alileans and 
CafTandrins, in the fouthern parts of Arabia, (jufl oppofite to 
Azab), had among them gold in fuch plenty, that they would 
give double the weight of gold for iron, triple its weight 
for brafs, and ten times its weight for fdver ; that, in dig- 
ging the earth, they found pieces of gold as big as olive- 
Hones, but others much larger. 

This feems to me extraordinary, if brafs was at fuch a 
price in Arabia, that it could be here employed in the mean- 
eft and moll common ufes. However this be, the inhabitants 
of the Continent, and of the peninfula of Arabia oppofite to it, 
of all denominations agree, that this was the royal feat of the 
Queen of Saba, famous in ecclefiaftical hiftory for her journey 
to Jerufalem ; that thefe works belonged to her, and were 
erected at the place of her refidence; that all the gold, filver, 
and perfumes came from her kingdom of Sofala, which was 
Ophir, and which reached from thence to Azab, upon the 
borders of the Red Sea, along the coafl of the Indian Ocean. 

It will very poflibly be thought, that this is the place in 
which I fhould mention the journey that the Queen of Saba 
made into Palefline ; but as the dignity of the expedition it- 

4 felf, 

* Agath. p. <>o, 


felf, and the place it holds in Jewiih antiquities, merits that 7 
it fhould be treated in a place T>y itfelf, fo the connection 
that it is fuppofed to have with the foundation of the mo- 
narchy of Abyffinia, the- country whofe hiflory I am going 
to write, makes this particularly proper for the fake of con- 
nection ; and I mall, therefore, continue the hiflory of the 
trade of the Arabian Gulf to a period in which I can re- 
fume the narrative of this expedition without occafioning 
any interruption to either.. 

& ?<"• ■ 1 - '■ ' ! i '-Sa gg'. 

CH Afi 



Chap. v. 

Tlucliiating State of the India Trade — Hurt by Military Expeditions of the 
Perfians — Revives under the Ptolemies-— Falls to Decay under the 

THE profperous days of the commerce with the Elanitie 
Gulf feemed to be at this time nearly pall ; yet, after 
the revolt of the ten tribes, Edom remaining to the houfe 
of David, they ftill carried on a fort of trade from the Ela* 
nitic Gulf, though attended with many difficulties. This 
continued till the reign of Jehofaphat* ; but, on Jehoram's 
fucceeding that prince, the Edomites f revolted and chofe 
a king of their own, and were never after fubject to the 
kings of Judah till the reign of Uzziah :j:, who conquered 
Eloth, fortified it, and having peopled it with a colony of 
his own, revived the old traffic. This fubfiited till the reign 
-of Ahaz, when Rezin king of Damafcus took Eloth ||, and 
expelled the Jev^s, planting in their ilead a colony of Syri- 

* 1 Kings, chap. xxii. ~er. 48. 2 C'nron. chap. xx. ver. 36. f 2 Kings, chap. viii. ver. 22. 
2 Chron. chap. xx.i. ver. 10. ±2 Ki*gs, chap. xiv. ver. 22. 2 Chron, chap. 26. ver. ii. 

|| 2 King?, chap. xvi. ver. 6. 


ans. But he did not long enjoy this good fortune, for the 
year after, Rezin * was conquered by Tilgath-pilefer ; and 
one of the fruits of this victory was the taking of Eloth,. 
which never after returned to the Jews, or was of any pro- 
fit to Jerufalem. 

The repeated wars and conqueft to which the cities on 
the Elanitic Gulf had been fubjecT:, jthe extirpation of the 
Edomites, all the great events that immediately followed, 
one another, of courfe difturbed the ufual channel of trade 
by the Red Sea, whofe ports were now confequently become 
unfafe by being in poneffion of ftrangers, robbers, and fol- 
diers ; it changed, therefore, to a place nearer the center of 
police and good government, than fortified and frontier 
towns could be fuppofed to be_ The Indian and African 
merchants, by convention, met in Aflyria, as they had done 
in Semiramis's time ; the one by the Perfian Gulf and Eu- 
phrates, the other through Arabia. Aflyria, therefore, be- 
came the mart of the India trade in the Eaft.. 

The conqueft's of Nabopollafer, and his fon Nebuchadnez- 
zar, had brought a prodigious quantity of bullion, both 
filver and gold, to Babylon his capital. For he had plun- 
dred Tyre f, and robbed Solomon's Temple X of all the gold 
that had been brought from Ophir; and he had, befides, con- 
quered Egypt ancMaid it wafte, and cut off the communica- 
tion of trade in all thefe places, by almoft extirpating the 


* 2 Kings, chap. xvi. ver. 6. 
j-rEzefc. chap, xxvi, ver. 7. t 2 King?, chap, x-xiv ver. 13. and 2 Chron. chap, xxxvk 

ver, .7. 


people. Immenfe riches flowed to him, therefore, on all 
fides, and it was a circumftance particularly favourable to 
merchants in that country, that it was governed by written 
laws that fcreened their properties from any remarkable 
violence or injuflice, 

I suppose the phrafein fcripture, "The law of the Medes 
and Perfians, which altereth not*," muft mean only written 
laws, by which thofe countries were governed, without be- 
ing left to the difcretion of the judge, as all the Eafl was, 
and as it actually now is. 

In this fituation the country was at the birth of Cyrus, 
who, having taken Babylon f and flain BelfhazzerJ, became 
matter of the whole trade and riches of the Eaft. Whatever 
character writers give of this great Prince, his conduct, with 
regard to the commerce of the country, fhews him to have 
been a weak one : For, not content with the prodigious 
profperity to which his dominions had arrived, by the mif- 
fortune of other nations, and perhaps by the good faith 
kept by his fubjects to merchants, enforced by thofe written 
laws, he undertook the mofl abfurd and difaltrous project 
of molefling the traders themfelves, and invading India, 
that all at once he might render himfelf mafler of their 
riches. He executed this fcheme juft as abfurdly as he 
formed it ; for, knowing that large caravans of merchants 
came into Perfia and AfTyria from India, through the Aria- 
na, (the defert coall that runs all along the Indian Ocean to 

Vol. I. 3 L the 

* Dan. chap. vi. ver. 8. and Either, chap. i. ver. 19. -j- Ezra, Ghap. v.ver. 14 

*ad chap. vi. ver. 5. J Dan. chap. v. ver. 30. 


the Perfian Gulf, almoft entirely deftitute of water, and very 
nearly as much fo of provisions, both which caravans al- 
ways carry with them), he attempted to enter India by the 
very fame road with a large army, the very fame way his 
predeceiTor Semiramis had projected 1300 years before; and 
as her army had perilhed > fo did his to a man, without ha- 
ing ever had it in his power to take one pepper-corn by 
force from any part of India, 

The fame fortune attended his fon and fucceilbr Cam- 
byfes, who, obferving the quantity of gold brought from E- 
thiopia into Egypt* refolved to march to the fource, and 
at once make himfelf mailer of thofe treafures by rapine^ 
which he thought came, too flowly through the medium 
of commerce. 

Cambyses's expedition into Africa is too well known for 
me to dwell upon it in this place. It hath obtained, a cele- 
brity by the abfurdity of the project, by the enormous cruelty, 
and havock that attended the courfe of it, and by the great 
and very jufl punifhment that clofed it in the end. It was 
one of thofe many monflrous extravagancies which made up 
the life of the greateft madman that ever difgraced the annals 
of antiquity. The bafefc mind is perhaps the molt capable 
of avarice ; and when this paffion has taken pofieffion of the 
human heart, it is ftrong enough to excite us to underta- 
kings as great as any of thofe dictated by the nobleftof our 

Cambyses, amidil the commiiTion of the moft horrid ex- 
eeiies during the conqueit of Egypt, was informed that^ 
from the fouthof that country, there wasconftantly brought 

a quantity 


a quantity of pure gold, independent of what came from 
the top of the Arabic Gulf, which was now carried into 
AiTvria, and circulated in the trade of his country. This 
fupply of gold belonged properly and exclusively to Egypt; 
and a very lucrative, though not very extenfive commerce, 
was, by its means, carried on with India. He found out 
that the people, pofTefling thefe treafures, were called Mac- 
robil, which lignifies long livers; and that they poffefTed a coun- 
try divided from him by lakes, mountains, and deferts. But 
what Hill affected him moil was, that in his way were a mul- 
titude of warlike Shepherds, with whom the reader is al- 
ready fufficiently acquainted. 

Cambyses, to flatter, and make peace with them, fell fu- 
rioufly upon all the gods and temples in Egypt ; he mur- 
dered the facred ox, the apis, deftroyed Memphis, and all 
the public buildings wherever he went. This was a grati- 
fication to the Shepherds, being equally enemies to thofe 
that worfhipped beafls, or lived in cities. After this intro- 
duction, he concluded peace with them in the mod folemn 
manner, each nation vowing eternal amity with the other. 
Notwithftanding which, no fooner was he arrived at Thebes 
(in Egypt) than he detached a large army to plunder the 
Temple of Jupiter Ammon, the greateft object of the worfhi|> 
of thefe Jhepherds ; which army utterly periihed without a 
man remaining, covered, as I fuppofe, by the moving fands. 
He then began his march again ft the Macrobii., keeping clofe 
to the Nile. The country there being too high to receive 
any benefit from the inundation of the river, produced no 
corn, fo that part of his army died for want of provifion. 

3 L 2 Another 


Another detachment of his army proceeded to the coun- 
try of the Shepherds, who, indeed, furnilhed him with 
food ; but, exafperated at the facrilege he had committed 
againft their god, they conducted his troops through places 
where they could procure no water. After fuffering all 
this lofs, he was not yet arrived beyond 24 , the parallel of 
Syene. From hence he difpatched ambafTadors, or fpies, to 
difcover the country before him, finding he could no longer 
rely upon the Shepherds. Thefe found it full of black war- 
like people, of great fize, and prodigious ftrength of body; 
active, and continually exercifed in hunting the lion, the 
elephant, and other monftrous beails which live in thefe 



The inhabitants fo abounded with gold, that the moil 
common utenfils and inflruments were made of that metal:, 
whilft, at the fame time, they were utter ftrangers to bread 
of any kind whatever ; and, not only fo, but their country 
was, by its nature, incapable of producing any fort of grain 
from which bread could be made. They fubfifted upon 
raw flem alone, dried in the fun, efpecially that of the 
rhinoceros, the elephant, and girafFa, which they had flain 
in hunting. On fuch food they have ever fince lived, and 
live to this day, and on fuch food I myfelf have lived with 
them; yet flill it appears ftrange, that people confined to 
this diet, without variety or change, mould have it for their 
characteriftic that they were long livers. 

They were not at all alarmed at the arrival of Cambyfes's 
arnhaffadors. On the contrary, they treated them as an in- 
ferior fpecies of men. Upon afking them about their diet,. 



and hearing it was upon bread, they called it dung^ I fup- 
pofe as having the appearance of that bread which I have 
feen the miferable Agows, their neighbours, make from 
feeds of baftard rye, which they collecl: in their fields un- 
der the burning rays of the fun. They laughed at Cam- 
byfes's requisition of fubmitting to him, and did not con- 
ceal their contempt of his idea of bringing an army thi- 

They treated ironically his hopes of conqueft, even fuppo- 
fing all difficulties of the defert overcome, and his army 
ready to enter their country, and counfeled him to return 
while he was well, at leaf! for a time, till he mould pro- 
duce a man of his army that could bend the bow that they 
then fent him ; in which cafe, he might continue to ad- 
vance, and have hope of conqueft:. — The reafon of their re- 
ference to the bow will be feen afterwards. I mention thefe 
circumilances of the quantity of gold, the hunting of ele- 
phants, their living upon the raw flem, and, above all, the 
circumftances of the bow, as things which I myfelf can 
teftify to have met with among this very people. It is, in- 
deed, highly fatisfaclory in travelling, to be able to explain 
truths which, from a want of knowledge of the country 
alone, have been treated as falsehoods, and placed to the 
difcredit of hiftorians. 

The Perfians were all famous archers. The mortifica'- 
tion, therefore, they experienced, by receiving the bow they 
could not bend, was a very fenfible one, though the narra- 
tive of the quantity of gold the melTengers had feen made 
a. much greater impreffion upon Cambyfes. To procure 



this treafure was, however, impracticable, as he had no 
provifion, nor was there any in the way of his march. His 
army, therefore, wafted daily by death and difperfion ; and 
he had the mortification to be obliged to retreat into Egypt, 
after part of his troops had been reduced to the neceffity of 
eating each other *. 

Darius, king of Peril a, attempted to open this trade in 
a much more worthy and liberal manner, as he fent mips 
down the river Indus into the ocean, whence they entered 
the Red Sea. It is probable, in this voyage, he acquired all 
the knowledge neceflary for eftablifhing this trade in Per- 
fia; for he mull have palled through the Perlian Gulf, and 
along the whole eaftern coaft of Arabia ; he mull have 
feen the marts of perfumes and fpicqs that were at the 
mouth of the Red Sea, and the manner of bartering for 
gold and filver, as he was neceiTarily in thofe trading 
places which were upon the very fame coafl from which 
the bullion was brought. I do not know, then, why M. de 
Montefquieu f has treated this expedition of Darius fo con- 
temptuoufly, as it appears to have been executed without 
great trouble or cxpence, and terminated without lofs or 
hardfhip ; the ftrongeft proof that it was at firft wifely plan- 
ed. The prince himfelf was famous for his love of learn- 
ing, which we find by his anxiety to be admitted among the 
Magi, and the fenfe he had of that honour) in caufmg it to 
be engraved upon his tomb. 


* Lucan lib. x. wear. 2S0. f Vide MonteGj. liy. ax. chap 8- 


The expedition of Alexander into India was, of all events; 
that which molt threatened the destruction of the commerce 
of the Continent, or the difperfing it into different channels 
throughout the Eaft : Firft, by the detraction of Tyre, which- 
muft have, for a time, annihilated the trade by the Arabian 
Gulf; then by his march through Egypt into the country of 
the Shepherds, and his intended further progrefs into Ethio 
pia to the head of the Nile. If we may judge of what we hear 
of him in that part of his expedition, we mould be apt not to 
believe, as others are fond of doing, that he had fchemes of 
commerce mingled with thofe of conquefts. His anxiety 
about his own birth at the Temple of Jupiter Ammon, this 
firft quefdon that he aiked.of the prieft, " "Where the Nile 
had its fource," feemed to denote a mind bufied about other, 
objects ; for elfe he was then in the very place for informa- 
tion, being in the temple of that horned god *, the deity of 
the Shepherds, the African carriers of the Indian produce ; 
a temple which, though in the midft of fand, and deftitute 
of gold or filver, pollened more and better information con- 
cerning the trade of India and Africa, than could be found 
in any other place on the Continent. Yet we do not hear 
of one queilion being made, or one arrangement taken, re- 
lative to opening the India trade with Thebes, or with Alex- 
andria, which he built afterwards. 

After having viewed the main ocean to the fouth, he 
ordered Nearchus with his fleet to coaft along the Periian, 
Gulf, accompanied by part of the army on land for their 
mutual amftance, as there were a great many hardfhips 

1: which. 

* Lucan,iib* 9. ver. 51 c, 


which followed the march of the army by land, and much 
difficulty and danger attended the fhipping as they were fail- 
ing in unknown feas againft the monfoons. Nearchus himfelf 
informed the king at Babylon of his fuccefsful voyage, who 
gave him orders to continue it into the Red Sea, which he 
happily accomplifhed to the bottom of the Arabian Gulf. 

We are told it was his intention to carry on the India 
trade by the Gulf of Perfia, for which reafon he broke 
down all the cataracts and dams which the Perfians had 
built over the rivers communicating with the Euphrates. 
No ufe, however, feems to have been made of his knowledge 
of Arabia and Ethiopia, which makes me imagine this ex- 
pedition of Alexander's fleet was not an idea of his own. It 
is, indeed, faid, that when Alexander came into India, the 
fouthern or Indian Ocean was perfectly unknown ; but I 
am rather inclined to believe from this circumftance, that 
this voyage was made from fome memorials remaining 
concerning the voyage of Darius. The fact and circum- 
flances of Darius's voyage are come down to us, and, by 
thefe very fame means, it mull be probable they reached 
Alexander, who I do not believe ever intended to carry on 
the India trade at Babylon. 

To render it impoffible, indeed, he could not have done 
three things more effectual than he did, when he deftroyed 
Tyre, and difperfed its inhabitants, persecuted the Orites, or 
land-carriers, in the Ariana, and built Alexandria upon the 
Mediterranean ; which lafl ftep fixed the Indian trade in that 
city, and would have kept it there eternally, had the Cape 
of Good Hope never been difcovered. 



The Ptolemies, the wifeft princes that ever fat upon the 
throne of Egypt, applied with the utmoft care and attention 
to cultivate the trade of India, to keep up perfect and friend- 
ly underftanding with every country that fupplied any 
branch of it, and, inftead of difturbing it either in Alia, Ara- 
bia, or Ethiopia, as their predeceilbrs had done, they ufed 
their utmoft efforts to encourage it in all quarters. 

Ptolemy I. was then reigning in Alexandria, the foun- 
dation of whofe greatnefs he not only laid, but lived to fee 
it arrive at the greateft perfection. It was his conftant fay- 
ing, that the true glory of a king was not in being rich 
himfelf, but making his fubjects fo. He, therefore, opened 
his ports to all trading nations, encouraged Grangers of 
every language, protected caravans, and a free navigation 
by fea, by which, in a few years, he made Alexandria the 
great ftore-houfe of merchandize, from India, Arabia, and 
Ethiopia. He did Hill further to infure the duration of his 
kingdom, at the fame time that he fhewed the utmoft dif- 
intereftcdnefs for the future happinefs of his people. He 
educated his fon, Ptolemy Philadelphus, with the utmoft 
care, and the happy genius of that prince had anfwered 
his father's utmoft expectations ; and, when he arrived at the 
age of governing, the father, worn out by the fatigue of 
long wars, furrendered the kingdom to his fon. 

Ptolemy had been a foldier from his infancy, and con- 
fequently kept up a proper military force, that made him 
every where refpected in thefe warlike and unfettled times. 
He had a fleet of two hundred ffiips of war conftantly ready 
in the port of Alexandria, the only part for which he had 
apprehenfions. All behind him was wifely governed, whilft 
Vol. I. 3 M it 


it enjoyed a mofl flourifhing trade, to the profpcrity o£ 
which peace is neceffary. He died in peace and old age, 
after having merited the glorious name of Soter, or Saviour 
of the kingdom, which he himfelf had founded, the greateil 
part of which differed from him in language, colour, habit, 
and religion. 

It is with aftoniihment we fee how thoroughly he had 
eflablifhed the trade of India, Ethiopia., and Arabia, and what 
progrefs he had already made towards uniting it with that of 
Europe, by a paffage in Athenaeus*, who mentions a feftivafc 
and entertainment given by his fon, Ptolemy Philadelphus, 
to the people of Alexandria at his acceffion, while his father, 
was alive, but had jufl giv^n up his crown.. 

There was in this proceflion a great number of Indian 
women, befides of other countries ; and by Indians we may 
underftand, not only the Afiatic Indians, but the Abyffini- 
ans, and the inhabitants of the higher part of Africa, as all 
thefe countries were comprehended under the common ap- 
pellation of India. Thefe were in the habit of Haves, and 
each led, or was followed by, a camel loaded with incenfe 
of Sheher, and cinnamon, befides other aromatics. After 
thefe came a number of Ethiopian blacks carrying the teeth 
of 600 elephants. Another troop had a prodigious quanti- 
ty oi ebony ; and again others loaded with that iinefl gold, 
which is not dug from the mine, but wafhed from the 
mountains by the tropical rains in fmall pieces, or pellets, 

i which 

*Athen a .lib,5. 


which the natives and traders at this day call Tibbar. Next 
came a pack of 24,000 Indian dogs, all Afiatics, from the 
peninfula of India, followed by a prodigious number of fo- 
reign animals, both beads and birds, paroquets, and other 
birds of Ethiopia, carried in cages ; 130 Ethiopian fheep, 300 
Arabian, and 20 from the Ifle Nubia* ; 26 Indian buffaloes, 
white as fnow, and eight from Ethiopia ; three brown bears, 
and a white one, which laft mufl have been from the north 
of Europe ; 1 4 leopards, 1 6 panthers, four lynxes, one giraf* 
fa, and a rhinoceros of Ethiopia. 

When we reflect upon this prodigious mixture of ani- 
mals, all fo eafily procured at one time, without preparation, 
we may imagine, that the quantity of merchandises, for 
■common demand, which accompanied them, mufl have been 
in the proper proportion. 

The current of trade ran towards Alexandria with the 
greatefl impetuofity, all the articles of luxury of the Eafl 
were to be found there. Gold and filver, which were fent 
-formerly to Tyre, came now down to the Iflhmus (for Tyre 
was no more) by a much fhorter carriage, thence to Mem- 
phis, whence it was fent down the Nile to Alexandria. The 
gold from the weft and fouth parts of the Continent reached 
the fame port with much lefs time and rifk, as there was 
now no Red Sea to pafs ; and here was found the merchan- 
dife of Arabia and India in the greatefl prof uflon. 

3 M 2 To 

*This is probably from Atbara, or the old name of the ifland cf Me roe, which bad received 
that lafi: name only as late as Camby&s. 


To facilitate the communication with Arabia, Ptolemy 
built a town on the coaft of the Red Sea, in the country of 
the Shepherds, and called it Berenice*, after his mother. This 
was intended as a place of neceflary refrefhment for all the 
traders up and down the Gulf, whether of India or Ethio- 
pia ; hence the cargoes of merchants, who were afraid of 
lofmg the monfoons, or had loft them, were carried by the 
inhabitants of the country, in three days, to the Nile, and 
there embarked for Alexandria. To make the communi- 
cation between the Nile and the Red Sea ftill more commodi- 
ous, this prince tried an attempt (which had twice before 
mifcarried with very great lofs) to bring a canal -f from the 
Red Sea to the Nile, which he actually accompliihed, join- 
ing it to the Pelufiac, or Eaftern branch of the Nile. Locks 
and fluices moreover are mentioned as having been em- 
ployed even in thofe early days by Ptolemy, but very trifling 
ones could be needed, for the difference of level is there 
but very fmalL 

This noble canal, one hundred yards broad, was not of 
that ufe to trade which was expected ; merchants Were weary 
of the length of time confirmed in going to the very bot- 
tom of the Gulf, and afterwards with this inland naviga?- 
tion of the canal, and that of the Nile, to Alexandria. It was 
therefore much more expeditious to unload at Berenice, 
and, after three days journey, fend their merchandife direct- 
ly down to Alexandria. Thus the canal was difufed, the 
goods paffed from Berenice to the Nile by land, and that 
road continues open for the fame purpofe to this day. 

* JMin. lib. 6. cap.. 23.. f Strabo,. lib, 17. p. 93/2- 


It mould appear, that Ptolemy had employed the veiTels 
of India and the Red Sea, to carry on his commerce with 
the peninfula, and that the manner of trading directly to 
India with his own mips, was either not known or forgot- 
ten. He therefore fent two ambanadors, or inefTengers> 
Megafthenes and Denis, to obferve and report what was 
the Hate of India fmce the death of Alexander. Thefe two 
performed their voyage fafely and fpeedily. The account 
they gave of India, if it was ftrietly a true one, was, in all 
refpects, perfectly calculated to animate people to the fur- 
ther profecution of that trade. In the mean time, in order 
to procure more convenience for vefTels trading on the Red 
Sea, he refolved to attempt the penetrating into that part of 
Ethiopia which lies on^that fea, and, as 'hiftorians imagine, 
with an intention to plunder the inhabitants of their riches. 

It mufl not, however, be fuppofed, that Ptolemy was not 
enough acquainted with the productions of a country fo near 
to Egypt, as to know this part of it had neither gold nor filver, 
whilft ir was full of forefts likewife ; for it was that part of 
Ethiopia called Barbaria, at this day Barabra, inhabited by 
mepherds wandering with their cattle about the neighbour- 
ing mountains according as the rains fall. Another more pro- 
bable conjecture was, that he wanted, by bringing about a 
change of manners in thefe people, to make them ufeful to 
him in a matter that was of the higheft importance. 

Ptolemy, like his father, had a very powerful fleet and 
army, he but was inferior to many of the princes, his rivals,, 
in elephants, of which great ufe was then made in war. 
Thefe Ethiopians were hunters, and killed them for their 
fubfiilence. Ptolemy, however, wilhed to have them taken 

4 alive^ 


alive, being numerous, and hoped both to furnifh himfelf, 
and difpofe of them as an article of trade, to his neighbours* 

There is fomething indeed ridiculous in the manner in 
which he executed this expedition. Aware of the difficulty 
of fubfifting in that country, he chofe only a hundred Greek 
horfemen, whom he covered with coats of monftrous 
appearance and fize, which left nothing vifible but the 
eyes of the rider. Their horfes too were difguifed by huge 
trappings, which took from them all proportion and fhape. 
In this manner they entered this part of Ethiopia, fpreading 
terror every where by their appearance, to which their 
flrength and courage bore a ftricft proportion whenever 
they came to action. But neither force nor intreaty 
could gain any thing upon thefe Shepherds, or ever make 
them change or forfa-ke the food they had been fo long 
accuftomed to ; and all the fruit Ptolemy reaped from this 
expedition, was to build a city, by the fea-iide, in the fouth- 
eaft corner of [this country, which he called Ptolemais The- 
ron, or Ptolemais in the country of wild beafts. 

I have already obferved, but mall again repeat it, that 
the reafon why mips, in going up and down the Red Sea, 
kept always upon the Ethiopian fliore, and why the great- 
eft number of cities were always built upon that fide is, 
that water is much more abundant on the Ethiopian fide 
than the Arabian, and it was therefore of the greateft con- 
fequence to trade to have that coaft fully discovered and 
civilized. Indeed it is more than probable, that nothing fur- 
ther was intended by the expedition of the hundred Greeks, 
jufl now mentioned, than to gain fumcient intelligence how 
this might be done moil perfectly. 

2 Pto- 


Ptolemy Ever-getes, fon and facceiTor of Ptolemy Phila- 
delphus, availed himfelf of thisdifcovery. Having provid- 
ed himfelf amply with necefTaries for bis army, and order- 
ed a fleet to coaft along befide him, up the Red Sea, he pe- 
netrated quite through the country of the Shepherds into 
that of the Ethiopian Troglodytes, who are black and wool- 
ly-headed, and inhabit the low country quite to the moun- 
tains of Abyfflnia. Nay*, he even afcended thofe moun- 
tains, forced the inhabitants to fubmimon, built a large 
temple at Axum, the capital of Sire, and raifed a great many 
obelilks, feveral of which are Handing to this day. After- 
wards proceeding to the fouth-eafc, he defcended into the 
cinnamon and niyrrh country, behind Cape Gardefan, (the 
Cape that terminates the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean) 
from this, crofTed over to Arabia, to the Homerites, being 
the fame people with the Abyffinians, .only on the Arabian 
more. He then conquered feveral of the Arabian princes, 
who firft refilled him, and had it in his power to have put 
an end to the trade oflndia there, had he not been as great 
a politician as he was a warrior. He ufed his victory, there- 
fore, in no other- manner, than to exhort and oblige thefe 
princes to protect trade, encourage itrangers, and, by every 
means, provide for the furety of neutral intercourfe, by ma- 
king rigorous examples of robbers by fea and land. . 

The reigns of the latter Ptolemies were calculated to 
bring this commerce to a decline, had it not been for two 
great events, the fall of Carthage, deftroyed. by Scipio, and 
that of Corinth, by die conful Mummius. The importance of 


Mop.. Aduli. 


thefe events to Alexandria feems to have fuftained the pro- 
fperity of Egypt, even againft the ravages committed in the 
war between Ptolemy the VI. and VII. Alexandria was 
then befieged, and not only deprived of its riches, but re- 
duced to the utmoft want of neceffaries, and the horrid be- 
haviour of Ptolemy VII. (had it continued) would have foon 
rendered that city defolate. The confequence of fuch a 
conduct, however, made a ftrong impreffion on the prince 
himfelf, who, at once recalling his unjuft edicts, by which 
he had banifhed all foreign merchants from Alexandria, 
became on a fudden wholly addicted to commerce, the encou- 
rager of arts and fciences, and the protector of ftrangers. 

The impolitic conduct in the beginning of his reign, 
however, had affected trade even in India. For the flory 
prefcrved by Pofidonius, and very improperly criticifed by 
Strabo, feems to import little lefs. One day, the troops 
polled on the Arabian Gulf found a iliip abandoned to the 
waves, on board of which was one Indian only, half dead 
with hunger and thirft, whom they brought to the king. 
This Indian declared he failed from his own country, and, ha- 
ving loft his courfe and fpent all his proviiions, he was carried 
to the place where he was found, without knowing where he 
was, and after having furvived the reft of his companions : 
he concluded an imperfect narrative, by offering to be a guide 
to any pcrfon his majefty would fend to India. His propofals 
were accordingly accepted, and Eudoxus was named by 
the king to accompany him. Strabo * indeed laughs at 


* Strabo, lib. ii. p. 98. 
/ - 


this flory. However, we mufl fay, he has not feized the 
moil ridiculous parts of it. 

We are told that the king ordered the Indian to be 
taught Greek, and waited with patience till he had learn* 
ed that language. Surely, before any perfon Could thus 
inftruct him, the mailer mull have had fome language in 
common with his fcholar,or he had better have taught Eu- 
doxus the Indian language, as it would have been as ea- 
fy, and of much more ufe in the voyage he was to under- 
take. Befides, is it poffible to believe, after the many years 
the Egyptians traded backwards and forwards to India, 
that there was not a man in Alexandria who could interpret 
for him to the king, when fuch a number of Egyptians went 
every year to India to trade, and flayed there for months 
each time ? Could Ptolemy Philadelphus, at his father's fefli- 
val, find 600 Indian female Haves, all at once, in Alexandria; 
and, after the trade had lafled fo much longer, were the 
people from India decreafed, or would their language be lefs 
underflood ? The king's wifdom, moreover, did not fhew 
itfelf greatly, when he was going to trull a fhip with his 
fubjedls to fo ikilful a pilot as this Indian, who, in the firil 
voyage, had loll himfelf and all his companions. 

India, however, and the Indian feas, were as well known 
in Egypt as they are now ; and the magnificence and fhew 
which attended Eudoxus's embafTy feems to prove, that 
whatever truth there is in the Indian being found, Eudoxus' 
errand mull have been to remove the bad effects that' the 
king's extortions and robberies, committed upon all flrangers 
in the beginning of his reign, had made upon the trading 
nations. Eudoxus returned, but after the death of Ptole- 

Vol. I. 3 N my„ 


my. The necemty, however, of this voyage appeared ftill 
great enough to make Cleopatra his widow project a fe- 
cond to the fame place, and greater preparations were made 
than for the former one. 

But Eudoxus, trying experiments probably about the 
eourfes of the trade-winds, loll his paflage, and was thrown 
upon the coaft of Ethiopia ; where, having landed, and made 
himfelf agreeable to the natives, he brought home to Egypt 
a particular defcription of that country and its produce, 
which furnifhed all the difcovery neceflary to inftmct the 
Ptolemies in every thing that related to the ancient trade of 
Arabia. In the courfe of the voyage, Eudoxus dif covered 
the part of the prow of a vefTel which had been broken off 
by a ilorm. The figure of a horfe made it an object of in- 
quiry ; and fome of the failors on board, who had been em- 
ployed in European voyages, immediately knew this wreck 
to be part of one of thofe veiTels ufed to trade en the weftern 
ocean. Eudoxus * inftantly perceived all the importance of 
the difcovery, which amounted to nothing lefs, than that 
there was a paiTage round Africa from the Indian to the At- 
lantic Ocean. Full of this thought, he returned to Egypt > 
and, having fhewn the- prow of his vefTel to European mip- 
mafcers, they all declared that this had been part of a vef- 
fel which had belonged to Cadiz, in Spain., 

This difcovery, great as it was, was to none of more im 
portance than to Eudoxus ; for, fome time after, failing 
under the difpleafure of Ptolemy Lathyrus, Vlllth of that 


* Plin.. Nat. HifL lib. 2. cap.. 67^. 


name, and being in danger of his life, he fled and embark- 
ed on the Red Sea, failed round the peninfula of Africa, 
crolTed the Atlantic Ocean, and came fafely to Cadiz. 

The fpirit of inquiry, and defire of travelling, fprCad it- 
felf inflantly through Egypt, upon this voyage of Eudoxus ; 
and different travellers pufhecT their difcoveries into the 
heart of the country, where fome of the nations are report- 
ed to have been fo ignorant as not to know the ufe of fire ; 
ignorance almofl incredible, had we not an inflance of it in 
our own times. It was in the reign of Ptolemy IX. that A- 
gatharcides * drew up his defcription of the Red Sea. 

The reigns of the other Ptolemies ending in the XIII th of 
that name, though full of great events, have nothing ma- 
terial to our prefent fubjeet. Their conftant expence and 
profufion mull have occafioned a great confumption of 
trading articles, and very little elfe was wanting; or, if there 
had, it muft have arrived at its height in the reign of the 
celebrated Cleopatra; whofe magnificence, beauty, and great 
talents, made her a wonder, greater than any in her capital. 
In her time, all nations flocked, as well for curiofity as 
trade, to Alexandria ; Arabs, Ethiopians, Troglodytes, Jews, 
and Medes ; and all were received and protected by this 
princefs, who fpoke to each of them in his own languagef . 

The difcovery of Spain, and the pofTefiion of the mines 
of Attica from which they drew their filver, and the revo- 

3 N 2 lution 

* Dodwe!''$ Difienat. vol. i. Scrip. Gixc. Min. Id. Ox. 1698. 8vo. 
% Plut. Vita. Ant. p. 913. torn, 1. part 2. Lubec. 1624. fol. 


lution that happened in Egypt itfelf, feemed to have fupcr- 
feded the communication with the coaft of Africa ; for, in 
Strabo.'s time r few of the ports of the Indian Ocean, even 
thofe neareft the Red Sea, were known. I mould, indeed,, 
fuppofe, that the trade to India by Egypt decreafed from the 
very time of the conqueft by Casfar. The mines the Romans 
had'at|the fource of the river Betis*, in Spain, did not produce 
them above L. 15,000 a-year; this was not a fufiicient capital 
for carrying on the trade to India, and therefore the immenfc 
riches of the Romans feem to have been derived from the 
greatnefs of the prices, not from the extent of the trade; 
In fact jv we are told that 100 per cent; was a profit in conir 
mon trade upon the Indian commodities. Egypt now, and 
all its neighbourhood, began to wear a face of war, to 
which it had been a ftranger for fo many ages. The north 
of Africa was in conftant troubles, after the firft ruin of 
Carthage • fo that we may imagine the trade to India began 
again, on that fide, to be carried on pretty much in the 
fame manner it had. been before the days of Alexander: 
But it had enlarged itfelf very much on the Perfian fide, 
and found an eafy, fhort inlet, into the north of Europej 
which then furnifhed them a market and confumption of 

I must confefs, notwithftanding, if it is true what 
Strabo fays he heard himfelf in Egypt, that the Romans em- 
ployed one hundred and twenty veflels in the Indian trade J, 
it muft at that time have loft very little of its vigour. We 
mufty however, imagine, that great part of this was for the 


* Strabo, lib. 3. + Plin. Ub. yi. cap. 23. % Strabo, lib. z. p. .81.. 


account, and with the funds of foreign merchants. The 
Jews in Alexandria, until the reign of Ptolemy Phifcon, had 
carried on a very extenfive part of the India trade. All 
Syria was mercantile ; and lead, iron, and copper, fupplied, 
in fome manner, the deficiency of gold and filver, which 
never again was in fuch abundance till after the difcovery 
of America. 

But the ancient trade to India, by the Arabian Gulf and 
Africa, carried on by the medium of thefe two metals, 
remained at home undiminiihed with the Ethiopians, de- 
fended by large extenfive deferts, and happy with the en- 
joyment of riches and fecurity, till a frefh difcovery again 
introduced to them both partners and matters in their 

One of the reafons that makes me imagine the Indian 
trade was not nourifhing, or in great efteem; immediately 
upon the Roman conqueil of Egypt, is, that Auguftus, very 
foon after, attempted to conquer Arabia. He fent Elius 
Gallus, with an army from Egypt into Arabia, who found 
there a number of effeminate, timid people, fcarcely to be 
driven to felf-defence by violence, and ignorant of every 
thing that related to war. Elius, however, found that they 
overmatched him in cunning, and the perfect knowledge 
of the country, which their conflant employment as Carriers 
had taught them. His guides led him round from hard- 
ihip to hardihip, till his army almoft perifhed with hunger 
and thirft, without feeing any of thofe riches his mailer had. 
fent him to take poneflion of. 

3, Thus 


Thus was the Arabian expedition of Auguftus conceived 
with the fame views as thofe of Semiramis, Cyrus, and Cam- 
byfes, defervedly as unhappy in its iflue as thcfe iirft had 

That the African trade, moreover, was loft, appears from 
Strabo *, and his reafoning upon the voyage of Eudoxus, 
which he treats as a fable. But his reafoning proves juft the 
contrary, and this voyage was one foundation for opening 
this trade again, and making this coaft more perfectly 
known. This likewife appears clear from Ptolemy f, who, 
fpeaking of a promontory or cape oppofite to Madagascar, 
on the coaft of Africa, fays it was inhabited by anthropo- 
phagi, or man-eaters, and that all beyond 8° fouth was un- 
known, and that this cape extended to and joined the con- 
tinent of India J. 

* Strabo, lib, ii. p. 98. f Ptol. lib. iv. cap. 9. p. 1 15. £ P to l- lib- vii. cap. 3. 

gfrAa n- SS g%3 



'"vjggS&g^ ■ — 1 ■ 

e h A p. vr. 

^ueen of S aha vijits Jerttfalem—Abyjfinian 'Tradition concerning Her—- 
Suppofed Founder of that Monarchy — Abyjfmia embraces the yewijh 
Religion — yewijh Hierarchy Jiill retained by the Falafha — Some Con- 
jeclures concerning their Copy of the Old Tejlament. 

IT is now that I am to fulfil my promife to the reader, of 
giving him fome account of the vifit made by the Queen 
of Sheba*, as we erroneously call her, and the confequences 
of that vifit ; the foundation of an Ethiopian monarchy, and 
the continuation of the fceptre in the tribe of Judah, down 
to this day. If I am obliged to go back in point of time, it 
is, that I may preferve both the account of the trade of the 
Arabian Gulf, and of this Jewifh kingdom, diftinc~t and un- 
broken. ' . . 

We are not to wonder, if the prodigious hurry and flow 
of bufmefs, and the immenfely valuable transactions they- 
had with each other, had greatly familiarifed the Tyriansr 


*ltfhould properly be Saba, Azab, or Azaba, all fignifyisg Soutfi, 


and Jews, with their correfpondents the Cufhites and Shep- 
herds on the coafc of Africa. This had gone fo far, as very 
naturally to have created a defire in the queen of Azab, the 
fovereign of that country, to go herfelf and fee the applica* 
tion of fetch immenfe treafures that had been exported from 
her country for a feries of years, and the prince who fo 
magnificently employed them. There can be no doubt of 
this expedition, as Pagan, Arab, Moor, Abyflinian, and all 
the countries round, vouch it pretty much in the terms of 

Many* have thought this queen was an Arab. But Saba 
was a feparate ftate, and the Sabeans a diftincT: people from 
the Ethiopians and the Arabs, and have continued fo till 
very lately. We know, from hiftory, that it was a cuftom 
among thefe Sabeans, to have women for their fovereigns 
in preference to men, a cuftom which ftill fubfifts among 
their defcendents. 

Medis levlbufque Sabais-, 

Imperat hos Jexus Reginariimque fubarmis, 

Barbaria "f", pars magna jacet. Claudian. 

Her name, the Arabs fay, was Belkis ; the Abyffinians, 
Maqueda. Our Saviour calls her Queen of the South, without 
mentioning any other name, but gives his fanction to the 
truth of the voyage. " The Queen of the South (or Saba, 

" or 

* Such as Juftin, Cyprian, Epiphanius, Cyril. 

f By this is meant the country between the tropic and mountains of Abyffinia, the 
country of Shepherds, from Berber, Shepherd. 




* or Azab) fhall rife lip in the judgment with this genera* 
tion, and mall condemn it ; for fhe came from the utter- 
moll parts of the earth to hear the wifdom of Solomon ; 
and, behold, a greater than Solomon is here *." No other 
particulars, however, are mentioned about her in fcripture ; 
and it is not probable our Saviour would fay fhe came from 
the uttermoft parts of the earth, if Ihe had been an Arab, 
and had near 50 of the Continent behind her. The gold, 
the myrrh, caffia, and frankincenfe, were all the produce 
of her own country ; arid the many reafons Pineda f gives 
to fhew Ihe was an Arab, more than convince me that lire 
was an Ethiopian or Cufhite fhepherd. 

A strong- objection to her being an Arab, is, that the 
Sabean Arabs, or Homerites, the people that lived oppofite 
to Azab on the Arabian fhore, had kings infleacl of queens, 
which latter the Shepherds had, and ilill have. Moreover, 
the kings of the Homerites were never {ten abroad, and 
were Honed to death if they appeared in public; fubjecls of 
this ftamp would not very readily fufFer their queen to go 
to Jerufalem, even fuppoiing they had a queen, which they 
had not. 

Whether fTie was a Jewefs or a Pagan is uncertain ; Sa- 
baifm was the religion of all the Eafl. It was the conflant 
attendant and ltumbling-block of the Jews ; but conndering 
the multitude of that people then trading from Jerufalem, 
and the long time it continued, it is not improbable fhe was 

Vol. I. 3 O a Jewefs. 

* Matth. chap. xii. ven 42. Luke xi. 31. 

f Pin. de reb. Solomon, lib. iv. cap. 14th. — Jofephus thinks fhe was an Ethiopian, fo do On'gen } 
Auguftin, and St Anfelmo. 


a Jewefs. " And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame 
" of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord, fhe came 
" to prove him with hard queftions*." Our Saviour, more- 
over, fpeaks of her with praife, pointing her out as an ex- 
ample to the Jews f . And, in her thankfgiving before So- 
lomon, fhe alludes to GocC s bkjfing on theyWof Ifrael for ever J,. 
which is by no means the language of a Pagan, but of a. 
perfon fkilled in the ancient hiitory of the Jews.. 

She like wife appears to have been a perfon of learning,, 
and that fort of learning which was then almoft peculiar to 
Paleftine, not to Ethiopia. For we fee that one of the rea- 
fons of her coming, was to examine whether Solomon was 
really the learned man he was faid to be. She came to try 
him in allegories, or parables, in which Nathan had in-- 
ftrueted Solomon... 

The learning of the Eaft, and of the neighbouring kings 
that correfponded with each other, efpecially in Paleftine 
and Syria, confifted chiefly in thefe : " And Joafli king of 
" Ifrael fent to Amaziah king of Judah, faying, The thiftle 
" that was in Lebanon fent to the Cedar that was in Leba- 
" non, faying, Give thy daughter to my fon to wife: and 
" shere pafTed by a wild be aft that was in Lebanon, and 
" trode down the thiftle." — " Thou fayeft, Lo, thou haft: 

" fmitten. 

* i Kings, chap. x. ver i. and 2 Chron. chap. ix. ver. i. 
■f Matt. chap. xii. ver. 43. and Luke, chap xi. ver. 31. 
% 1 Kings, chap. x. ver. 9. and 2 Chron. chap. ix. ver 8,. 


" fmitten the Edomites, and thine heart lifteth thee up to 
" boaft : abide now at home, why fhouldeft thou meddle 
" to thine hurt, that thou fhouldeft fall, even thou, and Ju- 
" dah with thee *?" 

The annals of Abymnia, being very full upon this 
point, have taken a middle opinion, and by no means an 
improbable one. They fay llie was a Pagan when me left 
Azab, but being full of admiration' at the fight of Solo- 
mon's works, fhe was converted to Judaifm in Jerufalem, 
and bore him a fon, whom fhe called Menilek, and who was 
their firft king. However ftrongly they affert this, and how- 
ever dangerous it would be to doubt it in Abymnia, I will not 
here aver it for truth, nor much lefs ftill will I pofitively con- 
tradict it, as fcripture has faid nothing about it. I fuppofe, 
whether true or not, in the circumflances fhe was, whilfl 
Solomon alfo, fo far from being very nice in his choice, was 
particularly addicted to Idumeans f , and other ftrange wo- 
men, he could not more naturally engage himfelf in any 
amour than in one with the queen of Saba, with whom 
he had fo long entertained the moft lucrative connections-, 
and moft perfect friendfhip, and who, on her part, by fo 
long a journey, had furely made fufficient advances. 

The Abyftinians, both Jews and Chriftians, believe the 
"xlvth pfalm to be a prophecy of this queen's voyage to Jeru- 
falem ; that me was attended by a daughter of Hiram's from 
Tyre to Jerufalem, and that the laft part contains a deela- 

3O2 ration 

2 Chron. chap. xxv. ver. 18. 19. f 1 Kings, chap, xu ver. 1. 


ration of her having a fon by Solomon, who was to be king 
over a nation of Gentiles. 

To Saba, or Azab, then, fhe returned with her fon 
Menilek, whom, after keeping him fome years, fhe fent 
back to his father to be inftructed. Solomon did not 
neglect his charge, and he was anointed and crowned 
king of Ethiopia, in the temple of Jerufalem, and at his in.- 
auguration took the name of David. After this he retunv 
ed to Azab, and brought with him a colony of Jews, among 
whom were many doctors of the law of Mofes, particularly 
one of each tribe, to make judges in his kingdom,from whom 
the prefent Umbares (or Supreme Judges, three of whom 
always attend the king) are faid and believed to be 
descended. With thefe came alio Azarias, the fon of 
Zadok the pried, and brought with him a Hebrew tranf- 
eript of the law, which was delivered into his cuflody, as 
he bore the title of Nebrit, or High Prieft ; and this charge,, 
though the book itfelf was burnt with the church of Axum 
in the Moorifh war of Adel, is Hill continued, as it is faid, 
in the lineage of Azarias, who are Nebrits, or .keepers o£ 
the church of Axum, at this day. AH' Abyflinia was there- 
upon converted, and the government of the church and. 
ftate modelled according to what was then in ufe at Jerufa- 

By the laft act of the queen of Saba's reign, fhe fet- 
tled the mode of fucceffion in her country for the future.. 
Firft, ihe enacted, that the crown fhould be hereditary 
in the family of Solomon for ever. Secondly, that, af- 
ter her, no woman mould be capable of wearing that 
crown or being queen, but that it mould defcend to the 



heir male, however diflant, in exclusion of all heirs female 
whatever, however near ; and that thefe two articles mould 
be confidered as the fundamental laws of the kingdom, ne- 
ver to be altered or abolifhed. And, laftly, That the heirs* 
male of the royal houfe, mould always be fent prifoners to a 
high mountain, where they were to continue till their death, 
or till the fuccellion mould open to them. 

What was the reafon of this lafl regulation is not known, 
ft being peculiar to Abyilinia, but the cuftom of having wo- 
men for fovereigns, which was a very old one, prevailed 
among the neighbouring mepherds in the lafl century, as 
we mall fee in the courfe of this hiftory, and, for what we 
know, prevails to this day. It obtained in Nubia till Augus- 
tus's time, when Petreius, his lieutenant in Egypt, fubdued 
her country, and took the queen Candace prifoner. It en- 
dured alfo after Tiberius, as we learn from St Philip's bap- 
tiling the eunuch*fervant of queen Candace, who mull haver 
been fucceffor to the former; for flie, when taken prifoner 
by Petreius, is reprefented as an infirm woman, having but 
one eye -f. Candace indeed was the name of all the fove- 
reigns, in the fame manner Casfar was of the Roman emper- 
ors. As for the laft fevere part, the punifhment of the princes, , 
it was probably intended to prevent fome diforders among 
die princes of her houfe, that flie had obferved frequently 
to happen in the houfe of David £ at Terufalem. 


* Ads, chap. viil. ver. 27 and 38. f This fhews the falfehood of the remaik 

Strabo makes, that it was a cuftom in Meroe, if their fovereign was any way mutilated, for the 

fiibjecls to imitate the imperfection. In this cafe, Candace : s fubje&s would have all loft an eye, 

Suabo, lib. 17. p. 777, 778. 

1, 2 Sam. chap. xvi. ver. 22. 1 Kings, chap., ii. ver, 1 5. 


The queen of Saba having made thefelaws irrevocable to 
all her pofterity, died, after a long reign of forty years, in 
986 before Chrift, placing her fonMenilek upon the throne, 
whofe pofterity, the annals of Abyffinia would teach us to 
believe, have ever fmce reigned. So far we muft indeed 
bear witnefs to them, that this is no new doctrine, but has 
been ftedfaftly and uniformly maintained from their earli- 
eft account of time; firft, when Jews, then in later days after 
they had embraced chriftianity. We may further add, that 
the teftimony of all the neighbouring nations is with them 
upon this fubject, whether they be friends or enemies. They 
only differ in name of the queen, or in giving her two 


This difference, at fuch a diftance of time, mould not 
break fcores, efpecially as we lhall fee that the queens in 
the prefent day have fometimes three or four names, and 
all the kings three, whence has arifen a very great con- 
fufion in their hiftory. And as for her being an Arab, the 
objection is ftill eafier got over. For all the inhabitants of 
Arabia Felix, efpecially thofe of the coafl oppofite to Saba, 
were reputed AbyiTms, and their country part of Abyffinia, 
from the earlieft ages, to the Mahometan conqueft and after. 
They were her fubjects ; firft, Sabean Pagans like herfelf, 
then converted (as the tradition fays) to Judaifm, during the 
time of the building of the temple, and continuing Jews 
from that time to the year 622 after Chrift, when they 
became Mahometans. 

1 I shall therefore now give a lift of their kings of the 
race of Solomon, descended from the queen of Saba, whofe 
device is a lion pafTant, proper upon a field gules, and their 

i motto, 


motto, " Mo Anbafa am Nizikt Solomon am Negade Jude ;" which 
fignhies, * the lion of the race of Solomon and tribe of Judah 
hath overcome.' The Portuguefe miffionaries, in place of 
a lion paflant, which is really the king's bearing, have given 
him, in fome of their publications, a lion rampant, purpofe- 
ly, as is fuppofed, to put a crofs into the paw of this Jewifh 
lion ; but he is now returned to the lion paflant, that he 
was in the time of Solomon, without any fymbol either of 
religion or peace in his paws. 


lj 1 JL 




"-. - 





Menilek, or Davidl. reigned 4 

Katzina reigned, - 

- 9 

Hendedya, or Zagdur, - 1 



Awida, - . - - 11 

Hazer, - 

- 2 

Aufyi, - - ... - 3 



Sawe, - - - 31 



Gefaya, - - - 15 


- 26 

Katar, - - - - 15 

Aglebu, - 


Mouta, - - 20 



Bahas, - 9 



Kawida, 2 



Kanaza, - - -10 

Bazen, - 

- 16 

Menilek fucceeded to the throne in the 986th year before 
Chrift ; and this number of years muft be exhaufted in the 
reign of thefe twenty-two kings, when each reign, in that 
cafe, will amount to more than forty-four years, which is 
impoffible. The reign of the twenty-one kings of Ifrael, at 
a medium, is a little more than twenty-two years at an aver- 
age, and that is thought abundantly high. And, even up- 
on that footing of comparifon, there will be wanting a great 
deal more than half the number of years between Menilek 
and Bazen, fo that this account is apparently falfc. But 
I have another very material objection to it, as well as the 

4 preceding 


preceding one, which is, that there is not one name in the 
whole lift that has an Ethiopic root or derivation. 

The reader will give what credit he pleafes«to this very 
ancient lift. For my part, I content myfelf with difproving 
nothing but what is impoflible, or contrary to the authority 
of fcripture, or my own private knowledge. There are 
other lifts ftill, which I have feen, all of no better authority 
than this. I mall only obferve, upon this laft, -that there is 
a king in it, about nine years before our Saviour's nativity, 
that did me the honour of ufing my name two thoufand 
years before it came into Britain, fpelled in the fame man- 
ner that name anciently was, before folly, and the love of 
novelty, wantonly corrupted it. 

The Greeks, to divert the king, had told him this crrcum- 
llance, and he was exceedingly entertained at it. Some* 
times, when he had feen either Michael, or Fafil *, or any of 
the great ones do me any favour, or fpeak handfomely of 
me, he would fay gravely, that he was to fummon the coun* 
cil to inquire into my pedigree, whether I was defcended of 
the heirs-male of that Brus who was king nine years before 
the nativity; that I was likely to be a dangerous perfon, 
and it was time I mould be fent to Wechne, unlefs I chofe 
to lofe my leg or arm, if I was found, bythe judges, related to 
him by the heirs-male. To which I anfwered, that how- 
ever he made a jeft of this, one of my predeceflors was cer- 
tainly a king, though not of Abyilinia, not nine years be- 
fore, but 1 200 after our redemption ; that the arms of my 

Vol. I. 3 P family 

...*■ — «■ 1 ■»—■■■> — m„ . ....... — ., . „, .—, ■ ■■-■-fa ■ .^.— ■ .■■■■»■,.— «., .... „..»-—— . ____. 

* What immediately follows v/ilj be hereafter explained in the Narrative* 


family were a lion like his ; but, however creditable his ma- 
jefty's apprehenfions as to Abyflinia might be to me, I could 
venture to amire him, the only connections I had the honour 
•ever to have had with bim, were by the hdrs-femde. 

At other times, when I was exceedingly low-fpirited, 
•and defpairing of ever again feeing Britain, he, who well 
knew the caufe, ufed to fay to the Serach Maffery, "Prepare 
" the Sendick and Nagareet ; let the judges be called, and 
" the houfehold troops appear under arms, for Brus is to be 
" buried : he is an Ozoro of the line of Solomon, and, for 
? any thing I know, may be heir to the crown. Bring like* 
" wife plenty of brandy, for they all get drunk at burials in 
" his country." Thefe were days of fun-lhine, when fuch 
jells palfed ; there were cloudy ones enough that followed,, 
which much more than compenfated the very tranfitory 
enjoyment of thefe. 

Although the years laid down in the book of Axum do 
not precifely agree with our account, yet they are fo near, 
that we cannot doubt that the revolt of the ten tribes, and 
deftruction of Rehoboam's fleet which followed, occafioned 
the removal of Menilek' s capital to Tigre *.. But, whatever 
was the caufe, Menilek did remove his court from Azab to 
a place near Axum, at this day called Adega Daid> the Houfe 
of David ; and, at no great diftance, is another called Azabo, 
from his ancient metropolis, where there are old remains 


* The temple which the Queen of Saba had feen built, and fo richly ornamented, was plun- 
dered the 5th year of Rehoboam, by Sefac, which is 13 years before Menilek died. So this 
could not but have difgufted him with the trade of bis ancient habitation at Saba. 


of building of ftone and lime, a certain proof that Axum 
was then fallen, elfe he would have naturally gone thither 
immediately upon forfaking his mother's capital of Azab. 

. That country, round by Cape Gardefan, and fouth to* 
wards Sofala, along the Indian Ocean, was long governed by 
an officer called Babamagafo, the meaning of which is, King 
of the Sea, or Sea Coaft. Another officer of the fame title 
was governor of Yemen, or Arabia Felix, which, from the 
earlieft times, belonged to Abyflinia, down to the Mahome* 
tan conqueft. The king himfelf was called Naga/h, or Na- 
jafhi, fo were the governors of feveral provinces, efpecially 
Gojam; and great confufion has rifen from the multitude 
of thefe kings. We find, for example, fome times three up- 
on the throne at one time, which is exceedingly improbable 
in any country. We are, therefore, to fuppofe, that one of 
thefe only is king, and two of them are the Najafhi, or Na- 
gam, we have juft defcribed ; for, as the regulation of the 
queen of Saba banifhed the heirs-male to the mountain, 
we cannot conceive how three brothers could be upon the 
throne at the fame time, as this law fubfifls to the prefent 
day. This, although it is one, is not the only reafon of the 
confufion, as I fhall mention another in the fequel. 

As we are about to take our leave of the Jewifh religion 
and government in the line of Solomon, it is here the pro- 
per place that I ihould add what we have to fay of the Fa* 
lafha, of whom we have already had occafion to fpeak^ 
when we gave a fpecimen of their language, among thofe 
of the ftranger nations, whom we imagine to have come 
originally from Paleftine. I did not fpare my utmoft pains 
in inquiring into the hiflory of this curious people, and li* 

3P2 ved 

484 * R A V E L S T O D I S C O V E R> 

ved in friendfhip with fcveral efteemed the moft'knowmg'- 
and learned among them, and I am perfuade.d r as far as they 
knew, they told me the truth. 

The account they give of themferveSi which is ^ Supported! 
only by tradition among them, is, that they came with Mc- 
nilek from Jerufalem, fo that they agree perfectly with the 
Abymnians in the flory of the queen-of'Saba, who,» they fay, 
was a Jewefs, andher nation Jews before the time of Solo- 
mon ; that fhe lived a* Saba^ or Azaba, the myrrh and frank-* 
incenfe, country upon the Arabian.GuIf. They fay further*, 
that fhe went to Jerufalem,. under protection of Hiram king 
of Tyre, whole daughter is faid in the xlyth Pfalm to 
have attended her thither ; that fhe went not in ffiips, no/ 
through Arabia, for. fear- of the Ifhmaelites, but from Azab 
round by Mafuah and.Suakem, and was e£corted>by the 
Shepherds, her own Subjects, to Jerufalem, and back agaii>, 
making ufe of her own country vehicle, the camel, and that 
her's was a -white one, of prodigious iize. and exquilke beau-s- 
ty,. ; • 

They agree alfo, ill every particular, with the Abyfliniansj , 
about the remainingpart of the ftory, the birth and inaugura- 
tion of Menilek, who was their firfl king ; alfo the comingv 
of Azarias, and 'twelve elders from the twelve tribes* and o- 
ther doctors of the law, whofe pofterity they deny to have ever 
apoflatifed to Ghriftianity, as the Abyflinians pretend they 
did at tfc|e conversion. They fay, that, when the trade of. 
the Red Sea. fell into the hands of ftrangers, and all com- 
munication i was Shut up between them and Jerufalem, the 
cities were abandoned, and the inhabitants relinquished the 
coaft,;. that they, were the inhabitants, of thefe cities, by 



trade moftly brick and tile-makers, potters, thatchers of 
houfes, and fuch like mechanics, employed in them ; and 
finding- the low country of Dembea afforded' materials for 
exerching thele trades, they carried the article of pottery 
in that province to a degree of perfection fcarcely to bes 

Being very induitrious, thefe people multiplied exceed- 
ingly, and were very powerful at the time of the converfiori 
to Chriftianity, or, as they term it, the Apoflacy under Abre- 
ha and Atzbeha. At this time they declared a prince of the 
tribe of Judah, and of the race of Solomon ancLMenilek, to 
be their fovereign. The name of this prince was Phineas^ 
who refufed to abandon the religion of his forefathers,, and 
from him their fovereigns are lineally defcended ; fo they 
have Hill a prince of the houfe of Judah, although the- A^ 
byfhnians, by way of reproach, have called this family Bet 
Ilrael, intimating that they were rebels, and revolted from 
the family of Solomon and tribe. of Judah, and there is liu 
tie doubt, but that forne of the fucceffors of Azarias adhei 
red to their ancient faith alfo. Although there was no 
bloodfhed upon difference of religion, yetj each having a 
diftinct king with the fame pretenfions, many battles were 
fought from- motives of ambition, and,rivallhip, of fovereign 

About the year 960/3x1 attempt, was made by this family 
to mount the throne of Abyflinia, as we ihall fee hereafter>, 
when the princes of the houfe of Solomon were nearly ex*- 
tirpated upon the rock Damo. This, it is probable, prodn*- 
ced more animofity and blcodfhed. At laft the power of the 
Eaiafha-was- fo much weakened, that they were,p,bligedLta 



leave the flat country of Dembea, having no cavalry to 
maintain themfelves there, and to take poneflion of the rug- 
ged, and almoft inacceffible rocks, in that high ridge called* 
the Mountains of Samen. One of thefe, which nature feems 
to have formed for a fortrefs, they chofe for their metropo- 
lis, and it was ever after called the Jews Rock. 

A great overthrow, which they received in the year 1600, 
brought them to the very brink of ruin. In that battle Gi* 
deon and Judith, their king and queen, were flain. They 
have fince adopted a more peaceable and dutiful behaviour, 
pay taxes, and are fuffered to enjoy their own govern- 
ment. Their king and queen's name was again Gideon 
and Judith, when I was in Abymnia, and thefe names feem 
to be preferred for thofe of the Royal family. At that time 
they were fuppofed to amount to 100,000 effective men. 
Something like this, the fober and mofl knowing Abyf- 
finians are obliged to allow to be truth; but the circum- 
flances of the converiion from Judaifm are probably not all 
before us. 

The only copy of the Old Teftament, which they have, 
is in Geez, the fame made ufe of by the Abyffinian Chrif- 
tians, who are the only fcribes, and fell thefe copies to 
the Jews ; and, it is very lingular that no controverfy, or dif- 
pute about the text, has ever yet arifen between the profef- 
fors of the two religions. They have no keriketib, or vari- 
ous readings; they never heard of talmud, targum, or cabala-: 
Neither have they any fringes * or ribband upon their garments ; 
nor is there, as far as I could learn, one fcribe among them. 


■ n> — 

* Numb. chap. xv. ver. 38, 39. Deut. chap. 22. ver. 12, 


I asked them, being from Judea, whence they got that 
language which they fpoke, whether it was one of the lan- 
guages of the nations which they had learned on the coaft 
of the Red Sea. They apprehended, but it was mere con- 
jecture, that the language which they fpoke was that of 
thofe nations they had found on the Red Sea, after their 
leaving Judea and fettling there ; and the reafon they gave 
w r as certainly a pertinent one; that they came intoAbyf- 
finia, fpeaking Hebrew, with the advantage of having books 
in that language; but they had now forgot their Hebrew*, 
and it was therefore not probable they mould retain any 
other language in which they had no books, and which. 

they never had learned to exprefs by letters. 


I asked them, fince they came from Jerufalem, how it 
happened they had not Hebrew, or Samaritan copies of the 
law, at leafl the Pentateuch or Octateuch. They faid they were 
in pojQTemon of both when they came from Jerufalem ; but 
their fleet being deftroyed, in the reign of Rehoboam, and 
communicationbecoming very uncertainby the Syrian wars,, 
they were, from necemty, obliged to have the fcriptures 
tranflated, or make ufe of the copies in the hands of the 
Shepherds, who, according to them, before Solomon's time* 
were all Jews. 

I asked them where the Shepherds got their copy, be- 
caufe, notwithitanding the invafion of Egypt by Nebuchad- 
nezzar, who was the foreign obftacle the longeft. in their 


* We fee this happened to them in a much fhorter time during the captivity, when they, 
forgot their Hebrew, aad fpoke Chaldaec ever after. 


tway, the Ifhmaelite Arabs had accefs through Arabia to 
^erufalem and Syria, and carried on a great trade thither 
by land. They profefled very candidly they could not give 
a fatisfactory anfwer to that, as the time was very diftant, 
and war had deilroyed all the memorials of thefe tranfac- 
tions. I afked if they really ever had any memorials of 
-their own country, or hiftory of any other. They anfwer- 
ed\ with fome helitation, they had no reafon to fay they e- 
ver had any ; if they had, they were all deilroyed in the 
war with Gragne. This is ail that I could ever learn from 
this people, and it required great patience and prudence in 
making the interrogations, and feparating truth from falfe- 
hood ; for many of them, (as is invariably the cafe with 
barbarians) if they once divine the reafon of your inquiry, 
will fay whatever they think will pleafe you. 

They deny the fceptre has ever departed from Judah, as 
they have a prince of that houfe reigning, and underftand 
the prophecy of the gathering of the Gentiles at the coming 
of Shiloh, is to be fulfilled on the appearance of the Melliah, 
who is not yet come, when all the inhabitants of the world 
are to be Jews. But I muft confefs they did not give an ex- 
planation of this either clearly or readily, or feem to have 
ever confidered it before. They were not at all heated by 
the fubjecl, nor interefted, as far as I could difcern, in the 
jt'lifFerence between us, nor fond of talking upon their reli- 
gion at all, though very ready at all quotations, when a 
perfon was prefent who fpoke Amharic, with the barbarous 
accent that they doj and this makes me .conceive that their 
anceflors were not in Palefline, or prefent in thofe difputes 
.or tranfactions that attended the death of our Saviour, and 
Ixave fubfifted ever after. They pretend that the book of 

2 Enoch 


Enoch was the firft book of fcriptUre they ever received. 
They knew nothing of that of Seth, but place Job immedi- 
ately after Enoch, fo that they have no idea of the time in 
which Job lived, but faid they believed it to be foon after 
the flood ; and they look upon the book bearing his name 
to be the performance of that prophet. 

Many difficulties occur from this account of the Falafha ; 
for, though they fay they came from Jerufalem in the time 
of Solomon, and from different tribes, yet there is but one 
language amongft them ahV and that is not Hebrew or Sa« 
maritan, neither of which they read or underftand ; nor is 
their anfwer to this objection fatisfactory, for very obvious 

Ludolf, the moft learned man that has writ upon the 
fubject, fays, that it is apparent the Ethiopic Old Teftament, 
at leaft the Pentateuch, was copied from the Septuagint, 
becaufe of the many Grecifms to be found in it ; and the 
names of birds and precious ftones, and fome other paffa- 
ges that appear literally to be tranflated from the Greek. 
He imagines alfo, that the prefent Abyffinian verfion is the 
work of Frumentius their firft bifhop, when Abyffinia was 
converted to Chriftianity under Abreha and Atzbeha, about 
the year 333 after Chrift, or a few years later. 

Although I brought with me all the Abyffinian books of 
the Old Teftament, (if it is a tranflation) I have not yet had 
time to make the comparifon here alluded to, but have left 
them, for the curiofity of the public, depofited in the Britifh 
Mufeum, hoping that fome man of learning or curiofity 
would do this for me. In the mean time I mull obferve, 

Vol. I. 3 Q^ that 



that it is much more natural to fuppofe that the Greeks, 
comparing the copies together, expunged the words, or 
pafTages they found differing from the Septuagint, and re- 
placed them from thence, as this would not offend the 
jews,, who very well knew that thofe who tranflated the 
Septuagint verlion were all Jews themfelves. 

Now, as the Abyiiinian copy of the Holy Scriptures, in 
Mr Ludolf's opinion, was tranflated by Frumentius above 
3.30 after Chrifc, and the Septuagint verlion, in the days of 
Philadelphus, or Ptolemy II. above 160 years before Chriffc, 
it will follow, that, if the prefent Jews ufe the copy tranfla- 
ted by Frumentius, and, if that was taken from the Septua- 
gint, the Jews muft have been above 400 years without any 
books whatfoever at the time of the converfionby Frumen- 
tius : So they muft have had all the Jewifh law, which is 
in perfect vigour and force among them, all their Leviticai 
observances, their purifications, atonements, abftinences, , 
and facrifices, all depending upon their memory, without 
writing, at Icafl for that long fpace of 400 years. 

This, though not abfolutely impoflible, is furely very 
nearly fo. V/e know, that, at Jerufalem itfelf, the feat of 
Jewiih law and learning, idolatry happening to prevail, du- 
ring the fhort reigns of only four kings,, the law, n that in- 
terval, became fo perfectly forgotten and unknown, that a 
copy of it being accidentally found and read : ; | uiah, 
that prince, upon his firil learning its content? fo a- 

ftoiiifhed at the deviations, from.; it, that he r, tended 

the immediate deftruction. of the whole city and people. To 
this I ihall only add, that -whoever confiders ; lie (lilT-necked- 
ae£s,. flubbornnefs, and obftinacy, which were ever the cha- 

1 rafters 


meters of this JewiSh nation, they will not eaSily believe that 
they did ever willingly " receive the Old Teftament from a 
" people who were the avowed champions of the New" 

They have, indeed, no knowledge of the New Teftament 
but from conversation ; and do not curfe it, but treat it as 
a folly where it fuppofes the Memah come, who, they feem 
to think, is to be a temporal prince, prophet, prieft, and con- 

Still, it is not probable that a Jew would receive the 
law and the prophets from a Christian, without abfolute ne- 
ceflity, though they might very well receive fuch a copy from 
a brother jew, which all the AbySiinians were, when this 
translation was made. Nor would this, as I fay, hinder them 
from following a copy really made by Jews from the text 
itfeif, fuch as the Septuagint actually was. But, I confers, 
great difficulties occur on every fide, and I defpair of having 
them folved, unlefs by an able, deliberate analyfis of the 
fpecimen of the Falafha language which I have preferved, 
in which I earneftly requeft the concurrence of the learned. 
A book of the length of the Canticles contains words 
enough to judge upon the queflion, Whence the Falafha 
came, and what is the probable caufe they had not a transla- 
tion in their own tongue, Since a verfion became neceSTary ? 

I have lefs doubt that Frumentius translated the New 
Teftament, as he muft have had afii Stance from thofeof his 
own communion in Egypt ; and this is a further reafon 
why I believe that, at his coming, he found the Old Tefta- 
ment already translated into the Ethiopic language and cha- 
sa&er, becaufe Bagla, or Geez, was an unknown letter, and 

3 Qj* the 


the language unknown, not only to him, but likewife to 
every province in Abyflinia, except Tigre ; fo that it would 
have coft him no more pains to teach the nation the Greek 
character and Greek language, than to have translated the 
New Teftament into Ethiopic, uling the Geez character, 
which was equally unknown, unlefs in Tigre. The faving 
of time and labour would have been very material to him ; 
he would have ufed the whole fcriptures, as received in his 
own church, and the Greek letter and language would hava 
been juft as eafily attained in Amhara as the Geez ; and 
thofe people; even of the province of Tigre, that had not 
yet learned to read, would have written the Greek charac- 
ter as eafdy as their own. I do not know that fo early there 
was any Arabic tranflation of the Old Teftament ; if there 
was, the fame reafons would have militated for hispreferring 
this ; and ft ill he had but the New Teftament to undertake. 
But having round the books of the Old Teftament already 
tranflated into Geez, this altered the cafe ; and he, very pro- 
perly, continued the gofpel in that language and letter al- 
io, that it might be a teftimony for the Chriftians, and againft 
the Jews, as it was intended* 

r ^ai , w „ ^>- =ast^ ; 





Books in Ufe in Abyffinia— -Enoch- — AbyJJinia not converted by the ApQ* 
files— Converfion from Judcufm to Chriftianity . by Frumentius. 

THE Abyffinians have the whole fcriptures entire as we 
have, and count the fame number of books ; but 
they divide them in another manner, at leaft in private 
hands, few of them, from extreme poverty, being able to pur- 
chafe the whole, either of the hiflorical or prophetical books 
of the Old Teftament. The fame may be faid of the New* 
for copies containing the whole of it are very fcarce. In- 
deed no where, imlefs in churches,, do you fee more than 
the Gofpels, or the Acts of the Apoftles, in one perfon's pof* 
feffion, and it mull not be an ordinary man that ponefles 
even thefe. . r 

Many books of the Old Teftament are forgot, fo that it is 
the fame trouble to procure them, even in churches, for the 
purpofe of copying, as to confult old records long covered 
with duft and rubbifh. The Revelation of St John is a piece of 
favourite reading among them. Its title is, the Vifon of John A- 
ban Koh'mfii, which feems to me to be a corruption of Apoca- 




r is. At the fame time, we can hardly imagine that 
Frumentius, a Greek and a man of letters, Ihould make fo 
ftrange a miftake. There is no fuch thing as diflinctions 
between canonical and apocryphal books. Bell and the 
Dragon, and the A£ts of the Apoftles, are read with equal 
devotion, and, for the raoft part, I am afraid, with equal 
edification ; and it is in the fpirit of truth, and not of ridi- 
cule, that I fay St George and his Dragon, from idle legends 
only, are objects of veneration, nearly as great as any of 
the heroes in the Old Teftament, or faints in the New. The 
Song of Solomon is a favourite piece of reading among the 
old priefts, but forbidden to' the young ones, to the deacons, 
laymen, and women. The AbyiTmians believe, that this fong 
was made by Solomon in praife of Pharaoh's daughter; and 
do not think, as fome of our divines are difpofed to do, that 
there is in it any myftery or allegory refpecting Chrift and 
the church. It may be afked, Why did I choofe to have this 
book translated, feeing that it was to be attended with this 
particular difficulty .? To this I anfwer, The choice was not 
mine, nor did I at once know all the difficulty. The firfl 
I pitched upon was the book of Ruth, as being the iliortefc; 
but the fubjec"t did not pleafe the fcribes and priefls who 
were to copy for me, and I found it would not do. They 
then chofe the Song of Solomon, and engaged to go through 
with it : and I recommended it to two or three young fcribes, 
who completed the copy by themfelves and their friends. 
I was obliged to procure licence for thefe fcribes whom I 
employed in tranflating it into the different languages; but 
it was a permiffion of courfe, and met with no real, though 
fome pretended difficulty. 



A nephew of Abba Salama*, the Acab Saat, a young man 
of no common genius, afked leave from his uncle before he 
began the tranflation ; to which Salama anfwered, alluding 
to an old law, That, if he attempted fuch a thing, he mould 
be killed as they do fheep ; but, if I would give him the mo- 
ney, he would permit it. I ihould not have taken any no- 
tice of this ; but fome of the young men having told it to 
Ras Michael f , who perfectly gueffed the matter, he called 
upon the fcribe, and alked what his uncle had faid to him, 
who told, him very plainly, that, if he began the tranflation, 
his throat Ihould be cut like that of a fheep. One day Mi- 
chael aiked Abba Salama, whether that was true ; he anfwer- 
ed in the affirmative, and feemed difpofed to be talkative. 
" Then," faid the Ras to the young man, " your uncle de- 
" clares, if you write the book for Yagoube, he fhall cut 
" your throat like a fheep ; and I fay to you, I fwear by St 
" Michael, I will put you to death like an afs if you don't 
" write it ; confider with yourfelf which of the rifks you'll 
" run, and come to me in eight days, and make your choice." 
But, before the eighth day, he brought me the book, very 
well pleafed at having an excufe for receiving the price of the 
copy. Abba Salama complained of this at another time when 
I was prefent, and the name of frank was invidioufly men- 
tioned ; but he only got a flern look and word from the Ras : 
" Hold your tongue, Sir, you don't know what you fay ; you 
" don't know that you are a fool, Sir, but I do; if you talk 
" much you will publifh it to all the world." 

After 1 

* I ftall have occafion to fpeak much of this pried irrthe fecjuel. He v/as a moft inveterate 
and dangerous enemy to all Europeans, the principal eccltfiaftical officer in the king's lioufe*, 

-f-Then Prime Minister, concerning whom much is to be faid hereafter, 


After the New Teftament they place the conftitutions 
of the Apoftles, which they call Symiodos, which, as far as 
the cafes or doctrines apply, we may fay is the written law 
of the country. Thefe were tranflated out of the Arabic. 
They have next a general liturgy, or book of common pray- 
er, befides feveral others peculiar to certain feftivals, under 
whofe names they go. The next is a very large volumi- 
nous book, called Haimanout Abou, chiefly a collection from 
the works of different Greek fathers, treating of, or explain- 
ing feveral herefies, or difputed points, of faith, in the an- 
cient Greek Church. Tranflations of the works of St Atha- 
nafius, St Bazil, St John Chryfoftome, and St Cyril, are 
likewife current among them. The two laft I never faw ; 
and only fragments of St Athanafius ; but they are certain- 
ly extant. 

The next is the Synaxar, or the Flos Sanctorum, in which 
the miracles and lives, or lies of their faints, are at large re- 
corded, in four monftrous volumes in folio, fluffed full of 
fables of the moft incredible kind. They have a faint that 
wreftled with the devil in fhape of a ferpent nine miles long, 
threw him from a mountain, and killed him. Another 
faint who converted the devil, who turned monk, and lived 
in great holinefs for forty years after his converfion, doing 
penance for having tempted our Saviour upon the moun- 
tain : what became of him after they do not fay. Again, 
another faint, that never ate nor drank from his mother's 
womb, went to Jerufalem, and faid mafs every day at the 
holy fepulchre, and came home at night in the fhape of a 
flork. The laft I fhall mention was a faint, who, being ve- 
ry lick, and his ftomach in diforder, took a longing for par- 
tridges ; he called upon a brace of them to come to him, 

3 and 

the Source of the nile. w 

and immediately two roalted partridges camejfying, and rett- 
ed upon his plate, to be devoured. Thefe ftories are cir- 
cumstantially told and vouched by unexceptionable people, 
and were a grievous {tumbling-block to the Jefuits, who 
could not pretend their own miracles were either better e- 
ftablifhed, or more worthy of belief. 

There are other books of lefs nze and confequence, par- 
ticularly the Organon Denghel, or the Virgin Mary's Mufi- 
cal Inflrument, compofed by Abba George about the year 
1440, much valued for the purity of its language, though 
he himfelf was an Armenian. The laft of this Ethiopic li- 
brary is the book of Enoch *. Upon hearing this book firft 
mentioned, many literati in Europe had a wonderful defire 
to fee it, thinking that, no doubt, many fecrets and un- 
known hiftories might be drawn from it. Upon this fome 
impoflor, getting an Ethiopic book into his hands, wrote 
for the title, 'The Prophecies of Enoch, upon the front page of it. 
M. Pierifc f no fooner heard of it than he purchafed it of 
the impoflor for a considerable fum of money : being 
placed afterwards in Cardinal Mazarine's library, where Mr 
Ludolf had accefs to it, he found it was a Gnoflic book up- 
on myfteries in heaven and earth, but which mentioned 
not a word of Enoch, or his prophecy, from beginning to 
end ; and, from this difappointment, he takes upon him to 
deny the exiftence of any fuch book any where elfe. This, 
however, is a miftake ; for, as a public return for the ma- 
ny obligations I had received from every rank of that moil 

Vol. I. . 3 R humane, 

* Vid. Origen contra Cclfurn, lib. 5. Tertull. de Idolol. C. 4. Drus in fuo Enoch, 
Eangius in Ccelo Orientis Exercit. 1. auseft. 5. and G. 
f -Gaflend in vita Pierifc, lib. 5, 


humane, polite, and fcientifLc nation, and more efpeciaily. 
from the fovereign Louis XV. I gave to his cabinet a part 
of every thing curious I had collected abroad ; which was 
received with that degree of confideration and attention 
that cannot fail to determine every traveller of a liberal: 
mind to follow my example. 

Amongst the articles I configned to the library at Paris, 
was a very beautiful and magnificent copy of the prophe- 
cies of Enoch, in large quarto ; another is amongft the books 
of fcripture which I brought home* {landing immediately 
before the book of Job, which, is its proper place in the A- 
byffinian canon ; and a thirdxopy I have prefented to the Bod- 
leian library at Oxford,, by the hands of Dr Douglas the Bi~ 
iliop of Carlifle. The more ancient hiftory of that book is 
well known. The church at firft looked upon it as apocry- 
phal ; and as it was quoted in the book of Jude, the fame 
fufpicion fell upon that book alio. For this reafon, the 
council of Nice threw the epiftle of Jude out of the canon, 
but the council of Trent arguing better, replaced the apo- 
ftle in die canon as before. 

Here we may obferve by the way, that Jiide's appealing 
to the apocryphal books did by no means import, that either 
he believed or warranted the truth of them. But it was an ar- 
gument, a fortiori^ which our Saviour himleif often makes 
ufe of, and amounts to no more than this, You, fays he to 
the Jews, deny certain facts, which mufl be from prejudice,, 
becaufe you have them allowed in your own books, and be- 
lieve them there. And a very flrong and fair way of argu- 
ing it is, but this is by no means, any allowance that they 
are true. In the fame manner, You, fays Jude, do not be- 

a ljeve 


lieve the coming of Chrift and a latter judgment ; yet your 
ancient Enoch, whom you fuppofe was the feventh from A- 
dam, tells you this plainly, and in fo many words, long ago. 
And indeed the quotation is, word for word the fame, in 
the fecond chapter of the book. 

All that is 'material to fay further concerning the book 
of Enoch is, that it is a Gnoftic book, containing th^ age 
of the Emims, Anakims, and Egregores, fuppofed depen- 
dents of the fons of God, when they fell in love with the 
daughters of men, and had fons who were giants. Thefe 
giants do not feem to have been fo charitable to the fons 
and daughters of men, as their fathers had been. For, firlt, 
they began to eat all the beafts of the earth, they then fell 
upon the birds and fifties, and ate them alfo ; their hunger 
being not yet fatisfied, they ate all the corn, all men's la- 
bour, all the trees and bullies, and, not Content yet, they fell 
to eating the men themfelves. The men (like our modern 
failors with the favages) were not afraid of dying, but very 
much fo of being eaten after death. At length they cry to God 
againft the wrongs the giants had done them, and God fends 
a flood w4iich drowns both them and the giants. 

Such is the reparation which this ingenious author has 
thought proper to attribute to Providence, in anfwer to the 
iirft, and the belt-founded complaints that were made to 
him by man. I think this exhaufts about four or five of 
the firfl chapters. It is not the fourth part of the book ; but 
my curiofity led me no further. The catailrophe of the 
giants, and the juflice of the catailrophe, had fully fatisfied 



I cannot but recoiled, that when it was known in Eng- 
land that I had prefented this book to the library of the King 
of France, without Haying a few days, to give me time to reach 
London, when our learned countrymen might have had an 
opportunity of perufing at leifure another copy of this book, 
Doctor Woide fet out for Paris, with letters from the Secre- 
tary of State to Lord Stormont, Ambaflador at that court, deli- 
ring him to affift the doctor in procuring accefs to my pre- 
fent, by permimon from his Moil Chriftian Majefty. This 
he accordingly obtained, and a tranflation of the work was 
brought over ; but, I know not why, it has no where ap- 
peared. I fancy Dr Woide was not much more pleafed with 
the conduct of the giants than I was,. 

I shall conclude with one particular, which is a curious 
one : The Synaxar (what the Catholics call their Flos Sanc- 
torum, or the lives and miracles of their faints), giving the 
hiftory of the Abyffinian converfion to Chriftianity in the 
year 333, fays, that when Frumentius and GEdenus were in- 
troduced to the king, who was a minor,, they found him 
reading the Pfalms of David., 

This book, or that of Enoch, does by no means prove 
that they were at that time Jews. For thefe two were in as 
great authority among the Pagans, who profeffed Sabaifm-j 
the firft religion of the Eaft, and efpecially of the Shepherds^ 
-as among the Jews. Thefe being continued alfo in the 
fame letter and character among the Abyffinians from the 
beginning, convinces me that there has not been any other 
writing in this country, or the fouth of Arabia, fince that 
"which rofe from the Hieroglyphics.. 

4 The 


The Abyffinian hiftory begins now to rid itfelf of part of 
that confufion which is almoft a conftant attendant upon 
the very few annals yet preferved of barbarous nations in 
very ancient times. It is certain, from their hiftory, that 
Bazen was contemporary with Auguftus, that he reigned 
fixteen years, and that the birth of our Saviour fell on the 
8th year of that prince, fo that the 8th year of Bazen was 
thefirftof Chrift. 

Amha Yasous, prince of Shoa, a province to which the 
fmall remains of the line of Solomon fled upon a cata- 
ftrophe, I fhall have occafion to mention, gave me the fol- 
lowing lift of the kings of Abyffinia fince the time of which 
we are tyow fpeaking. From him I procured all the books 
of the Annals of Abyffinia, which have ferved me to com- 
pofe this hiftory, excepting two, one given me by the King, 
the other the Chronicle of Axum, by Ras Michael Gover- 
nor of Tigrd 






Tzenaf Segued, 

Garima Asferi, 





Jan Segued, 

Tzion Heges, 

Moal Genha, 

Saif Araad, 


Abreha and Atzbeha, 333, 


Arphad and Amzi, 

Del Naad, 





Caleb, 522, 

Guebra Mafcal, 



: Armaha, 

Jan Asfeha, 

Jan Segued, 

Fere Sanai, 


960 *. 

This lift is kept in the monaftery of DebraLibanos in Shoa; 
the Abyftinians receive it without any fort of doubt, though 
to rne it feems very exceptionable : If it were genuine, it 
would put this monarchy in a very refpectable light in , 
point of antiquity. 

Great confulion has arifen in thefe old lifts, from their 
kings having always two, and fometimes three names. 


* The length of thefe princes reigns are fo great as to hecome incredible ; but, as we have 
twthing further of their hiftory but their names, we have no data upon which to reform them. 


fhe firft is their chriftened name, their fecond a nick, or bye- 
name, and the third they take upon their inauguration. 
There is, likewife, another caufe of miflake, which is, 
when two names occur, one of a king, the other the 
quality of a king only, thefe are fet down as two brothers. 
For example, Atzbeha is the bkffed, or the faint ; and I very 
much fufpect, therefore,, that Atzbeha. and Abreha, faid 
to be two brothers, only mean Abraham the blejfed, or the 
faint; becaufe, in that prince's time, the country was con- 
verted to Chriflianity ; Caleb* and, Elefbaas, were long 
thought to be contemporary princes, till it was found out, by 
infpecting the ancient authors of thofe times, that this was 
only the name or quality of bkffed, or faint, given to Caleb, in* 
confequence of his expedition into Arabia againit Phineas, 
king of the Jews, and perfecutor of, the Chriilians... 

There are four very interefting events, in the courfe of 
the reign of thefe princes. The firft and- greateft we have 
already mentioned, the birth of Chrift in the 8th year of Ba- 
zen. The fecond is the converfion of Abyflinia to Chrifli- 
anity, in the reign of Abreha and Atzbeha,. in the year of 
Ghrift 233^ according to our account. The third the war 
with the Jews under Calebs The fourth, the mafTacre of the 
princes on the mountain of Darno. The time and circumftan- 
ccs of all thefe are well known, and I fhall relate them in, 
their turn with the brevity becoming a hiflorian.. 

Some eeclefiailicalf writers, rather from attachment to par- 
ticular fyftems, than from any conviction that the opinion. 


* Caleb e! Atfbtha, which has been made Elefbaas throwing away the t. 

f-Surius Tom. 5. d. 24. 0&. Card. Baronius. Tom. 7, Anna!, A, C 522. N, 23, . 


they efpoufe is truth, would perfuade us, that the conversion 
of Abyffinia to Chriilianity happened at the beginning of 
this period, that is, foo'n after the reign of Bazen ; others, that 
Saint Matthias, or Saint Bartholomew, or fome others of the 
Apoftles, after their million to teach the nations, firft preach- 
ed here the faith of Chrift, and converted this people to it. 
It is alfo faid, that the eunuch baptized by Philip, upon his 
return to Candace, became the Apoftle of that nation, which, 
from his preaching, believed in Chrift and his gofpel. All 
thefe might pafs for dreams not worthy of examination, if 
they were not invented for particular purpofesT 

Till the death of Chrift, who lived feveral years after 
Bazen, very few Jews had Jbeen converted even in Judea. We 
have no account in fcripture that induces us to believe, 
that the Apoftles went to any great diftance from each other 
immediately after the crucifixion. Nay, we know poli- 
tively, they did not, but lived in community together for a 
confiderable time. Befides, it is not probable, if the Abyf- 
fmians were converted by any of the Apoftles, that, for. the 
fpace of 300 years, they fhould remain without bilhops, and 
without church-government, in the neighbourhood of many 
ftates, where churches were already formed, without calling 
to their afliftance fome members of thefe churches, who 
might, at leaft, inform them of the purport of the coun- 
cils held, and canons made by them, during that fpace of 
300 years ; for this was abfolutely rieceftary to preferve or- 
thodoxy, and the communion between this, and the church- 
es of that time. And it fhould be obferved, that if, in 
Philip's time, the Chriftian religion had not penetrated (as 
we fee in efFeci it had not) into the court of Candace, fo 
much nearer Egypt, it did not furely reach fo early into tire 



more diftant mountainous country of Abyflinia ; and if the 
.Ethiopia, where Candace reigned, was the fame as Abyflinia, 
the ftory of the queen of Saba mull be given up as a falfe- 
hood ; for, in that cafe, there would be a woman fitting up- 
on the throne of that country 500 years after fhe was ex* 
-eluded by a folemn deliberate fundamental law of the land. 

But it is known, from credible writers, engaged in no 
controverfy, that this Candace reigned upon the Nile in 
Atbara, much nearer Egypt. Her capital alfo was taken in 
the time of Auguftus, a few years before the Converfion, by 
Philip; and we lhall have occafion often to mention heriuc- 
cefTors and her kingdom, as exifling in the reign of the Abyf- 
iinian kings, long after the Mahometan conqueft ; they ex- 
ifted when I paffed through Atbara, and do undoubtedly exifl 
there to this day. What puts an end to all this argument 
is a matter of fact, which is, that the Abymnians continued 
Jews and Pagans, and were found to be fo above 300 yea s 
after the time of the Apoflles. Inltead, therefore, of taking 
the firft of this lift (Bazen) for the prince under whom Abyf- 
finia was converted from Judaifm, as authors have advanced, 
in conformity to the AbyfTmian annals, we mall fix upon 
the 13 th (Abreha and Atzbeha, whom we believe to be but 
one prince) and, before we enter into the narrative of that 
remarkable event, we mall obferve, that, from Bazen to 
Abreha, being 341 years inclufive, the eighth of Bazen be- 
ing the firft -of Chrift, by this account of the converfion, 
which happened under Abreha and Atzbeha, it mult have 
been about ^^^ years after Chrift, or 341 after Bazen. 

But we certainly know, that the firft bifhop, ordained 

for the converfion of Abyffinia, was fent from Alexandria by 

Vol. I. 3 S St 


St Athanafius, who was himfelf ordained to that See about* 
the year 326. Therefore, any account, prior to this ordina- 
tion and converfion, mull be falfe, and this converfion and 
ordination muft have therefore happened about the year 330,, 
or poflibly fome few years later ; for Socrates * fays, that 
St Athanafius himfelf was then but newly elected to the See 
of Alexandria. 

In order to clear our way of difficulties, before we begin 
the narrative of the converfion, we fhall obferve, in this 
place, the reafon I juft hinted at, why fome ecclefiaftical 
writers had attributed the converfion of Abyflinia to the 
Apoflles. There was found, or pretended to be found in 
Alexandria, a canon, of a council faid to be that of Nice, and 
this canon had never before been known, nor ever feen in 
any other place, or in any language, except the Arabic ; and, 
from infpection, I may add, that it is fuch Arabic that fcarce 
will convey the meaning it was intended. Indeed, if it be 
conftrued according to the ftrict rule of grammar, it will 
not convey any fenfe at all. This canon regulated the pre- 
cedency of the Abuna of Ethiopia in all after councils, and 
it places him immediately after the prelate of Seleucia. 
This moll honourable antiquity was looked upon and boail- 
ed of for their own purpofes by the Jefuits, as a difcovery of 
infinite value to the church of Ethiopia. 

I shall only make one other obfervation to obviate a dif- 
ficulty which will occur in reading what is to follow. The 
Abyffinian hiflory plainly and pofitively fays, that when 


Ladolf, vol, 2. lib. iii. cap. 2. 


Frumentius (the apoftle o£ the Abyffinians) came firft into 
that country, a queen reigned, which is an abfolute contra- 
diction to what we have already Hated, and would feem to 
favour the ftory of queen Candace. To this I anfwer, 
That though it be true that all women are excluded from 
the Abyflinian throne, yet it is as true that there is a law, 
or cuitom, as ftrictly obfefved as the other, that the queen 
upon whofe head the king fhall have put the crown in his 
life-time, it matters not whether it be her hufband or fon, 
or any other relation, that woman is regent of the king- 
dom, and guardian of every minor king, as long as me 
lhall live. Suppofing, therefore, a queen to be crowned by 
her hufband, which hufband mould die and leave a fon, 
all the brothers and uncles of that fon would be banifhed, 
and confined prifoners to the mountain, and the queen 
would have the care of the kingdom, and of the king, du- 
ring his minority. If her fon, moreover, was to die, and a 
minor fucceed who was a collateral, or no relation to her, 
brought, perhaps, from the mountain, fhe would flill be re- 
gent ; nor does her office ceafe but by the king's coming of 
age, whofe education, cloathing, and maintenance, fire, in 
the mean time, abfolutely directs, according to her own 
will ; nor can there be another regent during her life-time. 
This regent, for life, is called Iteghe ; and this was probably 
the fituation of the kingdom at the time we mention, as hi- 
fiory informs us the king was then a minor, and confe- 
quently his education, as well as the government of his 
kingdom and houfehold, were, as they appear to have been, 
in the queen, or Iteghes hands ; of this office I mail fpeak 
more in its proper place. 

.3 S 2 Meropius 


Meropius, a philofopher at Tyre, a Greek by nation and 
by religion, had taken a pafTage in a ihip on the Red Sea tcx 
India, and' had with him two young -men, Erumentiijs and 
(Edefius, whom he intended to bring up to trade, after ha- 
ving given them a very liberal' education. It happened' 
their veflet was- caft away on a rock, upon the coaft of A- 
byiilnia. Meropius, defending himfelf) was flain by the 
natives-, and the two boys carried: to Axum, the capital of 
Abyffinia, where the Court then refided. Though young, 
they foon began to fliew the advantages attending a liberal 
education. They acquired the language very fpeedily; 
and, as that country is naturally inclined to admire Gran- 
gers, thefe were' foon looked upon as two prodigies. (Ede-*- 
fms, probably the dulleft of the two, was fet over, the king's 
houfehold and wardrobe^ a place that has been filled con- 
itantly by a ftranger of that nation to this very day. Fru^ 
mentius was judged worthy by the queen to have the care 
of the young prince's education, to which, he dedicated 
himfelf entirely. 

After having inftructed his pupil in all forts of learning, 
he ftrongly impreffed him with a love and veneration for 
the Chriftian religion; after which he himfelf fet out for 
Alexandria, where, as has been already faid, he found St. 
Athanafius* newly elected to. that See.. 

He related to him briefly what had palled in Ethiopia^ 
and the great hopes of the converiion of that nation, if pro- 
per pallors were fent to inftrucT: them.. Athanafius embraced 
that opportunity with all the earneftnefs that became his 


* Vid. Baron, torn. 4. p. 331. et alibi paflim. 


ilation and profemon. He ordained Frumentius bifhop of 
that country, who inftantly returned and found the young 8 
king his pupil in the fame good difpofition as formerly; 
he embraced Chriflianity ; the greatefl part of Abyfllnia fol- 
lowed his example, and the church of Ethiopia continued 
with this bifhop in perfect unity 'and friendfliip till his 
death; and. though great troubles arofe from herefies being, 
propagated in the Eafl, that church, and the fountain whence 
it derived its faith (Alexandria,) remained uncontaminated by 
any falfe doctrine,. 

But it was not long after this, that Arianifm broke out 
under Conftantius the Emperor, and was ftrongly favoured. 
by him. We have indeed a letter of St Athanafius to that 
Emperor, who had applied to him to depofe Frumentius from 
his See for refilling to embrace that herefy, or admit it in- 
to his diocefe.. 

It mould feem, that this converfion of Abymnia was 
quietly conducted, and without blood ; and this is the more 
remarkable, that it was the fecond radical change of reli- 
gion, effected in the fame manner, and with the fame faci- 
lity and moderation. No fanatic preachers, no warm, faints- 
or madmen, ambitious to make or to be made martyrs, di- 
fturbed either of thefe happy events, in this wife, though 
barbarous nation, fo as to involve them in bloodlhed : no 
perfecution was the confequence of this difference of te- 
nets, and if wars did follow, it was from matters merely 

* CHAP; 



fejM%?frT3fc g" mi. -a. 


War of the Elephant — Firft Appearance of the Small-Pox Jews perfe* 

cute the Chri/lians in Arabia — Defeated by the Abyffinians<—- Mahomet 
pretends a divine MiJJion — Opinion concerni?ig the Koran — Revalua- 
tion under Judith — Rejloration of the Line of Solomon from Shoa. 

IN the reigns of the princes Abreha and Atzbeha, the A* 
byflinian annals mention an expedition to have happen* 
ed into the farthefl: part of Arabia Felix, which the Arabian 
authors, and indeed Mahomet himfelf in the Koran calls by 
the name of the War of the Elephant, and the caufe of it 
was this. There was a temple nearly in the middle of the 
peninfula of Arabia, that had been held in the greateft ve- 
neration for about 1400 years. The Arabs fay, that Adam» 
when fliut out of paradife, pitched his tent on this fpot ; 
while Eve, from fome accident or other I am not acquaint- 
ed with, died and was buried on the more of the Red Sea, 
at Jidda. Two days journey eaft from this place, her grave, 
of green fods about fifty yards in length, is fhewn to this 
day. In this temple alfo was a black ftone, upon which 
Jacob faw the vifion mentioned in fcripture, of the angels 
defcending, and afcending into Heaven. It is likewife faid, 
with more appearance of probability, that this temple was 

3 buik 


built by Sefoftris, in his voyage to Arabia Felix, and that 
he was worfhipped there under the name of Oliris, as he 
then was in every part of Egypt. 

The great veneration the neighbouring nations paid to 
this tower, and idol, fuggefted the very natural thought of 
making the temple the market for the trade from Africa 
and India ; the liberty of which, we may fuppofe, had been 
in fome meafure retrained, by the fettlements which fo- 
reign nations had made on both coafts of the Red Sea, To 
remedy which, they chofe this town in the heart of the 
country, acceilible on all fides, and commanded on none, 
calling it Becca, which fignifies the Houfe ; though Maho- 
met, after breaking the idol and dedicating the temple to 
the true God, named it Mecca, under which name it has 
continued, the centre or great mart of the India trade to 
this day. 

In order to divert this trade into a channel more conve- 
nient for his prefent dominions, Abreha built a very large 
church or temple, in the country of the Homerites, and 
nearer the Indian Ocean. To encourage alfo the refort to 
this place, he extended to it all the privileges, protection, 
and emoluments, that belonged to the Pagan temple of 

One particular tribe of Arabs, called Beni Koreiih, had 
the care of the Caba, for fo the round tower of Mecca was 
called. Thefe people were exceedingly alarmed at the prof- 
peel: of their temple being at once deferted, both by its vo- 
taries and merchants, to prevent which, a party of them, 
in the night, entered Abreha's temple, and having nrft 



burned what part of it could be confumed, they polluted 
the part that remained, by beimearing it over with human 

This violent facrilege and affront was foon reported to 
Abreha, who, mounted upon a white elephant at the head of 
a confiderable army, refolved, in return, to deftroy the temple 
of Mecca. With this intent, he marched through that ftripe 
of low country along the fea, called Tehama, where he met 
with no oppofition, nor fuffered any diltrefs but from want of 
water ; after which, at the head of his army, he fat down 
before Mecca, as he fuppofed. 

Abou Thaleb (Mahomet's grandfather, as it is thought) 
-was then keeper of the Caba, who had intereft with his 
countrymen the Beni Koreifh to prevail upon them to make 
no refiftance, nor fhew any figns of wifhing to make a de- 
fence. He had prefented himfelf early to Abreha upon his 
march. There was a temple of Ofiris at Taief, which, as a 
rival to that of Mecca, was looked upon by the Beni Koreifh 
with a jealous eye. Abreha was fo far mifled by the intel- 
ligence given him by Abou Thaleb, that he miftook the 
Temple of Taief for that of Mecca, and razed it to the 
foundation, after which he prepared to return home, 

He was foon after informed of his miftake, and not re- 
penting of what he had already done, refolved to deftroy 
Mecca alfo. Abou Thaleb, however, had never left his fide ; 
by his great hofpitality, and the plenty he procured to the 
Emperor's army, he ib gained Abreha, that hearing, on in- 
quiry, he was no mean man, but a prince of the tribe of 
Beni Koreifh, noble Arabs, he obliged him to fit in his pre- 



fence, and kept him conftantly with him as a companion. 
At laft, not knowing how to reward him fuffici entry, Abre- 
ha defired him to afk any thing in his power to grant, and 
he would fatisfy him. Abou Thaleb, taking him at his 
word, wilhed to be provided with a man, that mould bring 
back forty oxen, the foldiers had ftolen from him. 

Abreha, who expected that the favour he was to afk, was 
to fpare the Temple, which he had in that cafe refolved in 
his mind to do, could not conceal his aftonifhment at fo filly 
a requeft, and he could not help reflifying this to Abou Tha- 
leb, in a manner that mewed it had lowered him in his ef- 
teem. Abou Thaleb, fmiling, replied very calmly, If that 
before you is the Temple of God, as I believe it is, you fhall 
never deftroy it, if it is his will that it fhould Hand : If it is 
not the Temple of God, or (which is the fame thing) if he 
has ordained that you mould deftroy it, I fhall not only aflift 
you in demolifhing it, but fhall help you in carrying away 
the laft ftone of it upon my moulders : But as for me, I am 
a fhepherd, and the care of cattle is my profeflion ; twenty 
of the oxen which are ftolen are not my own, and I fhall 
be put in prifon for them to-morrow ; for neither you nor I 
can believe that this is an affair God will interfere in ; and 
therefore I apply to you for a foldier who will feek the 
thief, and bring back my oxen, that my liberty be not ta- 
ken from me. 

Abreha had now refrefhed his army, and, from regard 
to his gueft, had not touched the Temple ; when, fays the 
Arabian author, there appeared, coming from the fea, a 
flock of birds called Ababil, having faces like lions, and 
each of them in his claws, holding a fmall ftone like a pea, 

Vol. I. 3 T which 


which he let fall upon Abreha's army, fo that they all were 
deftroyed. The author of the manufcript * from which I 
have taken this fable, and which is alfo related by feveral 
other hiftorians, and mentioned by Mahomet in the Koran, 
does not feem to fwallow the ftory implicitly. For he fays, 
that there is no bird that has a face like a lion, that Abou 
Thaleb was a Pagan, Mahomet being not then come, and 
that the ■Chriftians were worfliippers of the true God, the God 
of Mahomet ; and, therefore, if any miracle was wrought 
here, it was a miracle of the devil, a victory in favour of 
Paganifm, and deftructive of the belief of the true God. In 
conclusion, he fays, that it was at this time that the fmall-pox 
and meailes ftrft broke out in Arabia, and almoft totally def- 
troyed the army of Abreha. But if the Hone, as big as a 
pea, thrown by the Ababil, had killed Abreha's army to the 
laft man, it does not appear how any of them could die af- 
terwards, either by the fmall-pox or meafles. 

All that is material, however, to us, in this fa<5t, is, that/ 
the time of the fiege of Mecca will be the sera of the firft 
appearance of that terrible difeafe, the fmall-pox, which we 
ihall fet down about the year $$6; and it is highly probable, 
from other circumftanees, that the Abyflinian army was the 
firft victim to it, 

As for the church Abreha built near the Indian Ocean, it 
continued free from any further infult till the Mahometan 
conqueft of Arabia Felix, when it was finally deftroyed in 
the Khalifat | of Omar. This is. the Abyffinian account, and 


*E1 Hameefy's Siege of Mecca. f. Eetaat el Yemen. 


tliis the Arabian hiftory of the War of the Elephant, which 
I have ftated as found in the books of the moft credible wri- 
ters of thofe times. 

But it is my duty to put the reader upon his guard, 
againft adopting literally what is here fet down, without 
being fatisfied of the validity of the objection that may be 
made againfl: the narrative in general. Abreha reigned 27 
years ; he was converted to Chriftianity in 2,33, and died in 
360 ; now, it is fcarcely poffible, in the mort fpace of 27 years, 
that all Abyflinia and Arabia could be converted to Chrifti- 
anity. The converfion of the Abyflinians is reprefented to 
be a work of little time, but the Arab author, Hameefy, fays, 
that even Arabia Felix was full of churches when this expe- 
dition took place, which is very improbable. And, what 
adds Hill more to the improbability, is, that part of the ftory 
which ftates that Abreha converfed with Mahomet's father, 
or grandfather. For, fuppofmg the expedition in 356, Ma- 
homet's birth was in 558, fo there will remain 202 years, 
by much too long a period for two lives. I do believe we 
ffluft bring this expedition down much lower than the reign 
of Abreha and Atzbeha, the reafon of which we mail fee 

As earlv as the commencement of the African trade with 
Palefcine, the Jcwifh religion had fpread itfelf far into Ara- 
bia, but, after the deftruction of the temple by Titus, a great 
increafe both of number and wealth had made that people 
abfolute mailers in many parts of that peninfula. In the 
Neged, and as far up as Medina, petty princes, calling them- 
felves kings, w r ere eftablifhed ; who, being trained in the 
wars of Palefdne, became very formidable among the pa- 

3 T 2 cific 


cific commercial nations of Arabia, deeply funk into Greek 

PhineAs, a prince of that nation from Medina, having 
beat St Aretas, the Governor of Najiran, began to perfecute 
the Chriftians by a new fpecies of cruelty, by ordering cer- 
tain furnaces, or pits full of fire, to be prepared, into which 
he threw as many of the inhabitants of Najiran as refufed 
to renounce Chriftianity. Among thefe was Aretas, fo call- 
ed by the Greeks, Aryat by the Arabs, and Hawaryat, which 
fignifies the evangelical, by the Abyflinians, together with 
ninety of his companions. Mahomet, in his Koran, men- 
tions, this tyrant by the name of the Mailer of the; fiery pit^ 
without either condemning or praifing the execution ; only 
faying, * the fufFerers fhall be witnefs againft him at the 
lafl day.' 

Justin, the Greek Emperor, was then employed in an 
unfuccefsful war with the Perfians, fo that he could not 
give any afllftance to the afflicted Chriftians in Arabia, but 
in the year 522 he fent an embaffy to Caleb,, or Elefbaas, 
king of Abymnia, intreating him to interfere in favour of 
the Chriftians of Najiran, as he too was of the Greek church. 
On the Emperor's firft requeft, Caleb fent orders to Abreha, 
Governor of Yemen, to march to the amftance of Aretas, the 
fon of him who was burnt, and who was then collecting 
troops. Strengthened by this reinforcement, the young fol- 
dier did not think proper to delay the revenging his father's 
death, till the arrival of the Emperor ;. but having come 
up with Phineas, who was ferrying his troops over an arm 
of the fea, he entirely routed them, and obliged their prince r 
for fear of being, taken, to fwim with his horfe to the near- 



eft more. It was not long before the Emperor had croITed 
the Red Sea with his army ; nor had Phineas loll any time in 
collecting his fcattered forces to oppofe him. A battle was the, 
confequence, in which the fortune of Caleb again prevailed* 

It would appear that the part of Arabia, near Najiran, 
which was the fcene of Caleb's victory, belonged to the 
Grecian Emperor Juftin,becaufe Aretas applied directly to him 
at Constantinople for fuccour ; and it was at Juftin's requeft 
only, that Caleb marched to the affiftance of Aretas, as a 
friend, but not as a fovereign ; and as fuch alfo, Abreha, 
Governor of Yemen, marched to affift Aretas, with the A- 
byffinian troops, from the fouth of Arabia, againft the 
ftranger Jews, who were invaders from Paleftine, and who 
had no connection with the Abyilinian Jewifh. Homerites,. 
natives of the fouth coaft of Arabia, oppofite to Saba. 

But neither of the Jewifh kingdoms were deftroyed by 
the victories of Caleb, or Abreha,northefubfequent conqueft 
of the Perlians. In the Neged, or north part of Arabia, 
they continued not only after the appearance of Mahomet,, 
but till after the Hegira. For it was in the 8th year of that 
sera that Hybar, the Jew, was beiieged in his own caftle in 
Neged, and {lain by Ali, Mahomet's fon-in-law, from that* 
time called Hydar Ali, or Ali the Lion,, 

Now the Arabian manufcripts fays pofitively that this 
Abreha, who ailifted Aretas, was Governor of Arabia Felix, 
or Yemen ; for, by this laft name, I fhall hereafter call the 
part of the peninfula of Arabia belonging to the Abyf- 
finians ; fo that he might very well have been the prince 
who converfcd with Mahomet's father, and loft his army 



before Mecca, •which will bring down the introduction of 
the fmall-pox to the year 522, juft 100 years before the He- 
.gira, and both Arabian and Abyflinian accounts might be 
then true. 

The two officers who governed Yemen, and the oppofite 
coaft Azab, which, as we have above mentioned, belonged 
to Abyflinia, were filled Naja/bi> as was the king alfo, and 
both of them were crowned with gold. I am, therefore, 
perfuaded, this is the reafon of the confufion of names we 
meet in Arabian manufcripts, that treat of the fovereigns of 
Yemen. This, moreover, is the foundation of the ftory 
found in Arabic manufcripts, that JafFar, Mahomet's brother, 
fled to the Najafhi, who was governor of Yemen, and was 
kindly treated by him, and kept there till he joined his bro- 
ther at the campaign of Hybarca. Soon after his great vic- 
tory over the Bcni Koreifh, at the lafl battle of Beder Hu- 
nein, Mahomet is faid to have written to the fame Najafhi 
a letter of thanks, for his kind entertainment of his brother, 
inviting him (as a reward) to embrace his religion, which 
the Najafhi is fuppofed to have immediately complied with. 
Now, all this is in the Arabic books, and all this is true, as 
far as we can conjecture from the accounts of thofe times, 
very partially writ by a fet of warrn-headed bigotted zea- 
lots; fuch as all Arabic authors (hiftorians of the time) un- 
doubtedly are. The error only lies in the application of 
this flory to the Najafhi, or king of Abyflinia, fituated far 
from the fcene of thefe actions, on high cold mountains, 
very unfavourable to thofe rites, which, in low flat and 
warm countries, have been temptations to flothful and in- 
active men to embrace the Mahometan religion. 



A most fhameful proftitution of manners prevailed in 
the Greek church, as alfo innumerable herefies, which wore 
iirft received as true tenets of their religion, but were foon 
after perfecuted in a moil uncharitable maimer, as being 
erroneous. Their lies, their legends, their faints and mi- 
racles, and, above all, the abandoned behaviour of the 
prielthood, had brought their characters in Arabia almoft 
as low as that of the detefled Jew, and, had they been confi- 
dered in their true light,. they had been ftill lower. 

The dictates of nature in the heart of the honefl Pagan, 
conftantly employed in long, lonely, and dangerous voyages, 
awakened him often to reflect: who that Providence was 
that invifibly governed him, fupplied his wants, and often 
mercifully faved him from the detraction into which his 
own ignorance or raihnefs were leading him. Poifoned by 
no fyftem, perverted by no prejudice, he wifhed to know 
and adore his Benefactor, with purity and limplicity of heart,, 
free from thefe fopperies and follies with which ignorant 
priefts and monks had difguifed his worfhip. PoflefTed of 
charity, Heady in his duty to his parents, full of veneration 
for his fuperiors, attentive and merciful even to his beafts ; 
in a word, containing in his heart the principles of the firft 
religion, which God had inculcated in the heart of Noah, 
the Arab was already prepared to embrace a much more per- 
fect one than what Christianity, at that time, disfigured by 
folly and fuperflkion, appeared to him to be, 

Mahomet, of the tribe of Beni Koreifh (at whofe infli- 
gation is uncertain) took upon himfelf to be the apoflle of 
a new religion, pretending to have, for his only object, the 
worfhip of the true God. Oftenfibly full of the morality o£ 

i the 


the Arab, of patience and felf-denial, fuperior even to what 
is made neceiTary to falvation by the gofpel, his religion, 
at the bottom, was but a fyftem of blafphemy and falfe- 
hood, corruption and injuftice. Mahomet and his tribe 
were moft profoundly ignorant. There was not among 
them but one man that could write, and it was not doubt- 
ed he was to be Mahomet's fecretary, but unfortunately Ma- 
homet could not read his writing. The flory of the angel 
who brought him leaves of the Koran is well known, and 
fo is all the reft of the fable. The wifer part of his own re- 
lations, indeed, laughed at the impudence of his pretending 
to have a communication with angels. Having, however, 
gained, as his apoftles, fome of the beft foldiers of the tribe 
of Beni Koreifli, and periifting with great uniformity in 
all his meafures, he eftablifhed a new religion upon the 
ruins of idolatry and Sabaifm, in the very temple of Mecca. 

Nothing fevere was injoined by Mahomet, and the fre- 
quent prayers and warnings with water which he directed, 
were gratifications to a fedentary people in a very hot 
country. The lightnefs of this yoke, therefore, recommend- 
ed it rapidly to thofe who were difgufled with long fail- 
ing, penances, and pilgrimages. The poifon of this falfe, 
yet not fevere religion, fpread itfelf from that fountain to 
all the trading nations : India, Ethiopia, Africa, all Afia, 
fuddenly embraced it ; and every caravan carried into the 
bofom of its country people not more attached to trade, 
than zealous to preach and propagate their new faith. The 
Temple of Mecca (the old rendezvous of the Indian trade) 
perhaps was never more frequented than it is at this day, 
and the motives of the journey are equally trade and reli- 
gion, as they were formerly. 



* I shall here mention, that the Arabs begun very foon to 
ftudy letters, and came to be very partial to their own lan- 
guage ; Mahomet himfelf fo much fo, that he held out his 
Koran, for its elegance alone, as a greater miracle than that 
of railing the dead. This was not univerfally allowed at 
that time ; as there were even then compofitions fuppofed 
to equal, if not to furpafs it. In my time, I have feen in Bri- 
tain a fpirit of enthufiafm for this book in preference to 
all others, not inferior to that which polTelTed Mahomet's 
followers. Modern unbelievers (Sale and his difciples) have 
gone every length, but to fay dire&ly that it was dictated 
by the Spirit of God. Excepting the command in Genelis 
chap. i. ver. 3. " And God faid, Let there be light ; and there 
was light ;" they defy us to mew in fcripture a paffage 
equal in fublimity to many in the Koran. Following, with- 
out inquiring, what has been handed down from one to 
the other, they would cram us with absurdities, which no 
man of fenfe can fwallow. They fay the Koran is compo- 
fed in a ftyle the moft pure, and chafte, and that the tribe 
of Beni Koreilh was the moft polite, learned, and noble of 
all the Arabs. 

But to this I anfwer — The Beni Koreifh were from the 
earlieft days, according to their own * account, part efta- 
blifhed at Mecca, and part as robbers on the fea-coaft, and 
they were all children of Ilhmae]. Whence then came 
their learning, or their fuperior nobility ? Was it found in 
the defert, in the temple, or did the robbers bring it from 
the fea? Soiouthy, one of thofc moft famous then for 

Vol. I. 3 U knowledge 

* El Hameefy. 


knowledge in the Arabic, has quoted from the Koran many 
hundred words, either Abyffinian, Indian, Perfian, Ethiopic, 
Syrian, Hebrew, or Chaldaic, which he brings back to the 
root, and afcribes them to the nation they came from. In- 
deed it could not be otherwife ; thefe caravans, continually 
crowding with their trade to Mecca, muft have vitiated the 
original tongue by an introduction of new terms and new 
idioms, into a language labouring under a penury of vocabu- 
les. • But mail any one for this perfuade me, that a book is a 
model of pure, elegant, chafte Ehglifh, in which there mall 
be a thoufand words of Welfh, Irifh, Gaelic, French, 
Spanifh, Malabar Mexican, and Laponian ? What would be 
thought of fuch a medley ? ;or, at leaft, could it be recom- 
mended as a pattern for writing pure Englifli I 

What I fay of the Koran may be applied to the lan- 
guage of Arabia in general : when it is called a copious 
language, and profeffors wifely tell you, that there are fix 
hundred words for a fword, two hundred for honey, and 
three hundred that fignify a lion, Hill I mull obferve, that 
this is not a copious language, but a confufion of languages: 
thefe, inflead of diftindl names, are only different epithets. 
For example, a lion in Englifli may be called a young lion, a 
white lion, a fmall lion, a big lion : I flyle him moreover the 
fierce, the cruel, the enemy to man, the beafl of the defers 
the king of beafts, the lover of blood. Thus it is in Ara- 
bic ; and yet it is faid that all thefe are words for a lion. 
Take another example in a fword ; the cutter, the divider, 
the friend of man, the mailer of towns, the maker of widows, 
the fharp, the flraight, the crooked ; which may be faid in 
Englifh. as well as in Arabic. 



Thf Arabs were a people who lived in a country, for the 
molt part, defert ; their dwellings were tents, and their prin- 
cipal occupation feeding and breeding cattle, and they mar- 
ried with their own family. The language therefore of fuch 
a people mould be very poor ; there is no variety of images 
in their whole country. They were always bad poets, as 
their works will teflify ; and if, contrary to the general rule, 
the language of Arabia Deferta became a copious one, it 
mull have been by the mixture of fo many nations meet- 
ing and trading at Mecca. It muft, at the fame time, have 
been the mofl corrupt, where there was the greateft con* 
courfe of ffrangers, and this was certainly among the Beni 
Koreifh at the Caba. When, therefore, I hear people praif- 
ing the Koran for the purity of its ftyle, it puts me in mind 
of the old man in the comedy, whofe reafon for loving his 
nephew was, that he could read Greek ; and being afked 
if he underltood the Greek fo read, he anfwered, Not a word 
of it, but the rumbling of the found pleafed him. 

The war that had diffracted all Arabia, firft between the 
Greeks and Perfians, then between Mahomet and the ' Arabs,in 
fupport of his divine million, had very much hurt the trade 
carried on by univerfal confent at the Temple of Mecca* 
Caravans, when they dared venture out, were furprifed up- 
on every road, by the partizans of one fide or the other. Both 
merchants and trade had taken their departure to the fouth- 
ward, and eflablifhed themfelves fouth of the Arabian Gulf, 
in places which (in ancient times) had been the markets 
for commerce, and the rendezvous of merchants. Azab, or 
Saba, was rebuilt ; alfo Raheeta, Zeyla, Tajoura, Soomaal, in 
the Arabian Gulf, and a number of other towns on the In- 
dian Ocean. The conquefl of the Abymnian territories in 

3 U 2 Arabia 

. . <■ 


Arabia forced all thofe that yet remained to take refuge on 
the African fide, in the little districts which now grew into 
confideration. Adel, Mara, Hadea, AuiTa, Wypo, Tarfhiih, 
and a number of other flates, now affumed the name of 
kingdoms, and foon obtained power and wealth fuperior to 
many older ones* 

The Governor of Yemen (or Najafhi) converted now to 
the faith of Mahomet, retired to the African fide of the 
Gulf. His government, long ago, having been fhaken to 
the very foundation by the Arabian war, was at laft totally 
deftroyed* But the Indian trade at Adel wore a face of 
profperity y that had the features of ancient times.. 

Without taking notice of every objection, and answer- 
ing it,, which has too polemical an appearance for a work 
of this kind, I hope I have removed the greateft part of the 
reader's difficulties,, which have, for a long time,, lain in tha 
way, towards his understanding this part of the hiftory. 
There is one, however, remains, which the Arabian hiftbri- 
ans have mentioned, viz. that this Najafhi, who embraced 
the faith of Mahomet-, was avowedly of the royal family of 
Abyflinia. To this I anfwer, he certainly was a perfon of 
that rank, and was undoubtedly a nobleman, as there is no 
nobility in that country but from relationfhip to the king, 
and no perfon can be related to the king by the male line. 
But the females, even the daughters of thofe princes who 
are banifhed to the mountain, marry whom they pleafe ' r 
and all the defcendents of that marriage become noble, be- 
caufe they niuft be allied to the king. So far then they may 
truly afTert, that the Mahometan Governor of Yemen, and 
hiss polterity 5 .were this way related to the king of Abyflinia, 


The source of the nile. $*s 

But the fuppofition that any heirs male of this family be- 
came muflulmen, is, beyond any fort of doubt, without fourig 
dation or probability. 

Omar, after fubduing Egypt, deftroyed the valuable libra> 
ry at Alexandria, but his fucceffors thought very differently 
from him in the article of profane learning. Greek books 
of all kinds (efpecially thofe of Geometry, Aftronomy, and 
Medicine,) were fearched for every where and tranflatecL 
Sciences flourifhed and were encouraged. Trade at the 
fame time kept pace, and increafed with knowledge. Geo- 
graphy and aftronomy were every where diligently ftudied 
and folidly applied to make die voyages of men from place 
to place fafe and expeditious. The Jews (conflant fervants- 
of the Arabs), imbibed a confiderable fhare of their tafte fos 

They had, at this time, increafed very much in number,. 
By the violence of the Mahometan conquefts in Arabia and 
Egypt, where their feci: did principally prevail, they became 
very powerful in AbyfEnia. Arianifrn, and all the various 
herefies that diffracted the Greek church, were received 
there in their turn from Egypt ;. the bonds of Chriftianity 
were diffolved, and people in general were much more wil- 
ling to favour a new religion, than to agree with, or coun- 
tenance any particular one of their own, if it differed from 
that which they adopted in the mereft trifle. This had def^ 
troyed their metropolis in Egypt, jufl now delivered up to 
the Saracens ; and the difpofition of the Abymnians feemed 
fo very much to referable their brethren the Cophts, that 
a revolution in favour of Judaifm was thought full as 
feafible in the country, as it had been in Egypt in favour 

1 ®£ : 


of the newly-preached, but unequivocal religion of Maho- 

An independent fovereignty, in one family of Jews, had 
always been preferved on the mountain of Samen, and the 
royal relidence was upon a high-pointed rock, called the 
Jews Rock: Several other inacceflible mountains ferved as 
natural fortrefTes for this people, now grown very confider- 
able by frequent acceflions of ftrength from Paleftine and 
Arabia, whence the Jews had been expelled, Gideon and Ju- 
dith were then king and queen of the Jews, and their daugh- 
ter Judith (whom in Amhara they call Efther, and fometimes 
Saat> i. e.Jire *,J was a woman of great beauty, and talents for 
intrigue ; had been married to the governor of a fmall diftrict 
called Bugna, in the neighbourhood of Lafta, both which 
countries were likewife much infected with Judaifm. 

Judith had made fo ftrong a party, that me refolved to 
attempt the fubverfion of the Chriftian religion, and, with 
it, the fucceflion in the line of Solomon. The children of 
the royal family were at this time, in virtue of the old law, 
confined on the almofl inacceflible mountain of Damo in 
Tigre. The fhort reign, fudden and unexpected death of 
the late king Aizor, and the defolation and contagion which 
an epidemical difeafe had fpread both in court and capital, 
the weak ftate of Del Naad who was to fucceed Aizor and 
was an infant ; all thefe circumftances 'together,<imprefred 
Judith with an idea that now was the time to place her fa- 
mily upon the throne, and eilablifli her religion by the 


She is alfo called by Vi&or, Tredda Gahcz. 


extirpation of the race of Solomon. Accordingly me fur- 
prifed the rock Damo, and llew the whole princes there, t© 
the number, it is faid, of about 400. 

Some nobles of Amhara, upon the firft news of the cataf- 
trophe at Damo, conveyed the infant king Del Naad, now 
the only remaining prince of his race, into the powerful 
and loyal province of Shoa, and by this means the royal 
family was preferved to be again reftored. ^Judith took 
poileffion of the throne in defiance of the law of the queen 
of Saba, by this the firft interruption of the fucceffion in the 
line of Solomon, and, contrary to what might have been ex- 
pected from the violent means fhe had ufed to acquire Lhe 
crown, £he not only enjoyed it herfelf during a long reign of 
40 years, but tranfmitted it alfo to five of her poflerity, all of 
them barbarous names, originating probably in Lafta : Thefe 
are faid to be, 


Jan Shum, 

Garima Shum, 



Authors, as v/ell Abyfiinian as European, have differed 
widely about the duration of thefe reigns. All that the 
Abyilinians are agreed upon is, that this whole period was 
one fcene of murder, violence, and opprefiion. 

Judith and her defcendents were fucceeded by relations 
of their own, a noble family of Lafta. The hiftory of this 
revolution, or caufe of it, are loft and unknown in t'le coun- 
try, and therefore vainly fought after elfewhei/e. What we 

4 know 


know is, that with them the court returned to the Chrifciau 
religion, and that they were ftill as different from their pre- 
deceffors in manners as in religion. Though ufurpers, as 
were the others, their names are preferved with every mark, 
of refpecT: and veneration. They are, 

Tecla Haimanout, 

Kedus Harbe, 



Imeranha Chriftos* 5 

Naacueto Laab. 

Not being kings of the line of Solomon, no part of their 
hiftory is recorded in the annals, unlefs that of Lalibala, who 
lived in the end of the twelfth, or beginning of the thir- 
teenth century, and was a faint. The whole period of the 
ufurpation, comprehending the long reign of Judith, will by 
this account be a little more than 300 years, in which time 
eleven princes are faid to have fat upon the throne of So- 
lomon, fo that, fuppofmg her death to have been in the 
year 1000, each of thefe princes, at an average, will have 
been a little more than twenty-four years, and this is too 
much. But all this period is involved in darknefs. We 
might guefs, but fince we are not able to do more, it anfwers 
no good purpofe to do fo much. I have followed the hif- 
tories and traditions which are thought the moll authen- 
tic in the country, the fubjecl: of which they treat, and where 
I found them ; and though they may differ from other ac- 
counts given by European authors, this does not influence me, 
as I know that none of thefe authors could have any other 
authorities than thofe I have feen, and the difference only 



muft be the fruit of idle imagination, and ill-founded con- 
jectures of their own. 

In the reign of Lalibala, near about the 1200, there was 
a great perfecution in Egypt againfl the Chriftians, after 
the Saracen conqueft, and efpecially againil the mafons, 
builders, and hewers of ftone, who were looked upon by 
the Arabs as the greateft of abominations ; this prince open- 
ed an afylum in his dominions to all fugitives of that kind, 
of whom he collected a prodigious number. Having be- 
fore him as fpecimens the ancient works of the Troglo- 
dytes, he directed a number of churches to be hewn out of 
the folid rock in his native country of Lafta, where they 
remain untouched to this day, and where they will proba- 
bly continue till the lateft pofterity. Large columns with- 
in are formed out of the folid rock, and every fpecies of or- 
nament preferved, that would have been executed in build- 
ings of feparate and detached flones, above ground. 

This prince undertook to realize the favourite preten- 
lions of the Abyflinians, to the power of turning the Nile 
out of its courfe, fo that it mould no longer be the caufe of 
the fertility of Egypt, now in poffemon of the enemies of 
his religion. We may imagine, if it was in the power of 
man to accomplifh this undertaking, it could have fallen in- 
to no better hands than thofe to whom Lalibala gave the ex- 
ecution of it ; people driven from their native country by 
thofe Saracens who now were reaping the benefits of the 
river, in the places of thofe they had forced to feek habi- 
tations far from the benefit and pleafure afforded by its 

Vol. I. 3 X Thjs 


Tins prince did not adopt the wild idea of turning the 
courfe of the Nile out of its prefent channel ; upon the pof- 
fibility or impofhbility of which, the argument (fo warmly 
and fo long agitated) always mofl improperly turns. His 
idea was to famifh Egypt : and, as the fertility of that coun- 
try depends not upon the ordinary flream,. but the extraor- 
dinary increafe of it by the tropical rains, he is faid to- 
have founds by an- exact furvey arid calculation, that there 
ran on the fummit, or higheft part of the country, feveral 
rivers which could be intercepted by mines, and their flream 
directed into the low country fouthward, inflead of joining 
the Nile, augmenting it and running northward* By this, 
he found he mould be able fo to difappoint its increafe, that 
it never would rife to a height proper to fit Egypt for culti- 
vation. And thus far he was warranted in his ideas of fuc- 
ceeding (as I have been informed by the people of that 
country), that he did interfect and carry into the Indian Q- 
cean, two very large rivers, which have ever fince flowed 
that way, and he was carrying a level to the lake Zawaia, 
where many rivers empty themfelves in the beginning of 
the rains, which would have effectually diverted the courfe 
of them all, and could not but in fome degree diminilh the. 
current below. 

Death, the ordinary enemy of all thefe ftupendous Her* 
culean undertakings, interpofed too here, and put a flop to 
this enterprise of Lalibala. But Amha Yafous, prince of 
Shoa (in whofe country part of thefe immenfe works were) 
a young man of great underftanding, and with whom 1 li- 
ved feverai months in the mofl intimate friendfliip at Gon- 
dar, affured me that they were vifible to this day; and that 
they were of a kind whofe ufe could not be miftaken; that 

2 he 

vV ■ 


he himfelf had often vifited them, and was convinced the un- 
dertaking was very poffible with fucli hands, and in the cir- 
cumftances things then were. He told me likewife, that, in a 
written account which he had feen in Shoa, it was faid that 
this prince was not interrupted by death in his underta- 
king, but perfuaded by the monks, that if a greater quan* 
tity of water was let down into the dry kingdoms of Hadea, 
Mara, and Adel, increafing in population every day, and, 
even now, almoft equal in power to Abymnia itfelf, thefe 
barren kingdoms would become the garden of the world ; 
and fuch a number of Saracens, diflodged from Egypt by 
the firft appearance of the Nile's failing, would fly thither ': 
that they would not only withdraw thofc countries from 
their obedience, but be ftrong enough to over-run the whole 
kingdom of Abymnia. Upon this, as Amha Yafous informed 
me, Lalibala gave over his firft fcheme, which was the fa* 
miihing of Egypt ; and that his next was employing the 
men in fubterraneous churches ; a ufelefs expente, but more 
level to the underftanding of common men than the for- 

Don Roderigo de Lima, ambafTauor from the king of 
Portugal, in 1522 faw the remains of thefe vail works, and 
travelled in them feveral days, as we learn from Alvarez 
the chaplain and hiftorian of that embaffy*, which we fhall 
take notice of in its proper place. 

Lalibala was diftinguifhed both as a poet and an ora- 
tor. The old fable, of a fwarm of bees hanging to his lips 

3X2 in 

* See Alvarez, his relation of this Embafly, 

SS 2 


in the cradle, is revived and applied to him as foretelling 
the fweetnefs of his elocution.. 

To Lalibala fucceeded ImeranhaChriftos, remarkable for 
nothing but being fon of fuch a father as Lalibala, and fa- 
ther to fuch a fon as Naacueto Laab ; both of them difti