« ZurückWeiter »
or, by uniting her strength to that of Austria, to renew, in the minds of her soldiery, those dangerous recollections which are connected with the younger Napoleon.' On the state of the public mind in France, we have already spoken. It may here be enough to remark, Ist. That he knows little of that which is the peculiar excellence and in some degree, the weakness of the French character, who does not know how mere a trifle with them is domestic faction, or even domestic happiness and freedom, in comparison with the public greatness and foreign renown of their country. And 2dly, he is still more ignorant of the bent of men's passions and prejudices, if he does not know that the present bias of the disaffected in France is not towards an Emperor but a Republic. The king, then, may with perfect safety, raise an army to any amount in a popular cause, and he may send this army where he will, without the least apprehension that a boy bred up in Austria will ever again become the favourite of the French people and soldiery.
The last objection, and, we will own, by far the most plausible, is that, though the actual strength of Russia may not greatly exceed that proportion which is desirable as a counterpoise to France, yet, from the principles of improvement and increase which are at work in her provinces, and which have a wider field for their development than any other country can shew, except, perhaps, America,—this proportion must soon be lost between her and regions which, like France and Austria, are already densely peopled, and whose internal wealth and external commerce must have nearly reached their limit. This is true, and this is what we meant by our admission that the empire of the Czars had not yet attained the eminence to which it is destined. It is not merely probable, it is little less certain than a law of nature, that a few generations more will see the governments of Tobolsk and Irkutsk as well peopled and cultivated as the present governments of Moscow and Kalouga; that Otchotsk will be the seat of an extensive and valuable commerce; that the language of Russia will be spoken along the whole coast of north-west Ainerica ; that Owhyhee will be her Ceylon, and the Japanese islands her Hindostan. But, while we foresee all this, we foresee it without alarm or envy, since we behold in her the probable instrument of disseminating Christianity and science through regions the farthest removed from their ordinary direction, and since we are convinced that her advances in commerce and colonization are events of all others, the most favourable to the independence of Europe.
We do not mean that this end is to be immediately obtained by the revolt of her colonies. This is an event, indeed, which must in the course of_things at length take place, but we wish well enough both to Russia and her colonies to desire that it may be yet
far distant. But long before that time arrives, the more the character of Siberia becomes European, the more she rivals the pa rent state in civilization, wealth, and number of inhabitants, the more incessant attention will the management of her affairs require, and the less power, we may say, the less inclination, will her sovereigns possess to extend their frontier on the side of Europe. When the banks of the Amour shall be as well peopled as those of the Don, and the frontier of Kolhyvan be cultivated like that of Poland, the protection of territories so important will require a different force from the Cossacks who now patrole there, and the armies of ancient Russia will be still more called forth, to repress or subdue the predatory hordes of Tartary, to calm the ferments of the Altaian mountaineers, and overawe the wealthy and suspected inhabitants of the plain. The government, which is already on the wing to return from Petersburg to Moscow, will transfer its perch still farther eastward to Nishnei-Novogorod or Casan ; and the white Khan,' as his Asiatic subjects call him, will grow more and more detached from the more distant concerns of western Europe. It is a circumstance well worth observing in the history of nations that, when an empire has passed a certain limit, it always ceases to be so formidable to its neighbours as while it was yet in its commencement; that, if it does not fall asunder with its own weight, it becomes at least disjointed and unwieldy; that domestic jealousies begin where foreign dangers end, and that the power which seemed likely to give laws to the universe, concludes very often by soliciting the aid of foreigners, against its own satraps, its own subjects, the children or brethren of its own sovereign. It was not by Persia but by Macedon that the liberties of Greece were overthrown.
In the mean time, however, (for a change like this is not the work of a day,) and while Russia is fulfilling the splendid destiny which nature seems to have appointed her,-it is plain,' that the South of Africa, that New Holland and Ceylon, and the Indian islands afford a field if not so extensive, yet by no means less advantageous to our commerce and colonies; and that hers and ours may live and grow together, not only without mutual interference, but with mutual support and countenance. Nor is this all, the more her colonies on the Pacific Ocean increase in extent and value; the greater and richer the stream of intercourse between the mouth of the Amour and Japan or China; the more obvious will be her interest to cultivate a close friendship with the only power which can assist, or, if provoked, endanger her remote possessions. It is impossible, as Sir Robert Wilson well knows, that, on the strength of the Euxine or the Baltic, a great naval force can be erected or perpetuated. And it is idle to say that this want can be
supplied supplied by a connexion with the little kingdom of the Netherlands and the permission to take shelter in the Texel or the Scheldt. It is with the lords of the Cape and of New South Wales, with a great nation, with an enormous navy and a vast maritime population that Russia must labour to cement her union; and, so long as that union remains, all Europe is in a string between us.
Nor is it in Europe only that the prosperity of Russia is likely to be thus advantageous to the British monarchy. There is a nation without the limits of Europe, to whom, for the sake of our kindred race and common language, we would gladly wish prosperity; but whose hope of elevation is built on our expected fall, and who even nów do not affect to conceal the bitterness of their hatred towards the land of their progenitors. Already we hear the Americans boasting that the whole continent must be their own,
that lantic and the Pacific are alike to wash their empire, and that it depends on their charity what share in either ocean they may allow to our vessels.They unroll their map,' and 'point out the distance between Niagara and the Columbia.'-Let them look to this last point well! They will find in that neighbourhood a different race from the unfortunate Indians whom it is the system of their government to treat with uniform harshness. They will find certain bearded men with green jackets and bayonets, whose flag already flies triumphant over the coast from California to the Straits of Anian,—who have, the faculty, wherever they advance, of conciliating and even civilizing the native tribes to a degree which no other nation has attempted,—and whose frontier is more likely to meet theirs in Louisiana, than theirs is to extend to the Pacific. These are not very distant
expectations, and they are unquestionably not unfavourable to England. It only remains to give the moral to our prophecy,—and in this we are happy, though on very different grounds, and in terms not quite the same, to agree
with Sir Robert Wilson. He professes, as we have seen, to dissuade us from resisting Russia.-We see no necessity to resist, but we ernestly deprecate all yielding to vain alarms or popular clamour, which might induce us to injure or offend her. Let us not, on the mere possibility that she may one day become too powerful, dissolve our union with an ancient ally, from whose greatness we now derive and are likely to derive increasing benefits. Let not the two nations whose languages (it is no vain boast,) are one day to divide the world, interfere without necessity in each other's harvests,-but let the rivalry between them be which shall govern best, and be the instrument of most improvement to the goodly fields which Providence has entrusted to their care!
VOL. XIX. NO. XXXVII.
Art. VI.-- Travels in Egypt, Nubia, Holy Land, Mount Liba
non, and Cyprus, in the Year 1814. By Henry Light, Captain
in the Royal Artillery. 4to. London. 1818. THE invasion of Egypt by the army under Buonaparte, and the
consequences attending it, have made that country much more accessible than at any period before that event; and as far as the present pasha's authority extends, an Englishman may now travel without difficulty and without danger,--not always indeed secure from the impositions or the insults of its heterogeneous inhabitants ---yet less liable to either, perhaps, than in any other country where Mahomedanism is the prevailing religion. In the days of Pococke and Norden a journey up the Nile was a serious and hazardous undertaking, whereas now, an English officer, with a few months' leave of absence, thinks he cannot pass them more pleasantly than by taking a trip to the farthest confines of Nubia, to snatch a glance at the wonderful remains of antiquity, or to sketch with a rapid pencil the ruins of the most stupendous and magnificent temples in the world. In his progress upwards as far as the northern limits of Ethiopia, by the aid of Pococke, of Denon, and of Hamilton, he knows the spot on which he is to look for the tombs and the temples, the pillars, the pyramids, and the colossal statues of Egypt, almost with as much precision as he knows the situation, from his road-book, of a gentleman's seat in England. But beyond. Philæ he has no such sure guide. Norden, it is true, has given a general description of Nubia as high as Deir, and Legh a somewhat more particular one as far as Ibrîm: but a detailed account of this valley of the Nile is still wanting,--a desideratum however, which, we are given to understand, will shortly be supplied by the journals of the late intelligent and indefatigable traveller Mr. Burckhardt, now preparing for publication.
Captain Light, of the Royal Artillery, is one of those officers who made a hurried journey up the Nile as far as Ibrîm, the point which terminated also the travels of Mr. Legh. His progress was as rapid as the navigation of the Nile would admit; his object being to get as high up as practicable before the hot weather set in, and to reserve for examination, and for the exercise of his pencil, the ancient remains of cities, temples, catacombs and colossal statues, on his return. Accordingly on his journey downwards he visited most of those celebrated spots where the vast remains of antiquity invite the attention of the passing traveller, and continued at each of them a sufficient length of time to enable him to bring away, if we may judge from the specimens in his book, a very interesting port-folio of accurate and well-executed drawings. We cannot, however, say much for the prints, which are meant to
decorate decorate as well as to elucidate his book; they are engraved in a coarse and heavy style, very unworthy of their excellent originals. At the same time it may be admitted that they give the reader a more just conception of the objects represented, than could be collected from any verbal description however minute. In fact, the most detailed description of architectural ruins must fail to convey to the mind so clear and correct an impression, as the graphical representation of the objects themselves does to the eye; and the more laboured the attempt to describe in words the position, the arrangement, the form and magnitude, of the several parts, the more the picture becomes confused, and the less likely to answer the purpose.
In this view, and in this only, would we venture to pronounce Captain Light's volume a valuable addition to the works already published on Egypt and Nubia. Having travelled at no great distance of time from Mr. Legh, and gone over the same ground, he comes rather at a disadvantage just after the journal of that gentleman has appeared before the public. Not that Mr. Legh filled up the measure of information regarding Egypt or Nubia; far from it; but that the account of his travels, notwithstanding its imperfections, abated the edge of curiosity. Captain Light however labours under a still greater disadvantage, of his own creating
- he had already communicated the prominent features of his remarks on Nubia to Mr. Walpole, who has printed them in' his • Memoirs relating to European and Asiatic Turkey,' to neither of which, by the way, has this part of Captain Light's journal, which is purely African, any relation. We conceive too that in his Syrian expedition the pencil of Captain Light will be found his best auxiliary. Indeed what could be said in a hurried journey through a country already traversed by Pococke and Maundrel, in addition to what had been told by those observant and intelligent travellers, whose facts and observations have been so largely amplified by another traveller of more modern date?
That which was most desirable in Nubia still remains a desideratum. Beyond Philæ, whose latitude and longitude were determined by Nouet, there is not a single spot of which the latitude has been ascertained; the geography therefore of the valley of the Nile to the southward of Philæ must necessarily be defective. Another point in which we are deficient is that of its natural history—the plants, and animals—the geological features, and mineral products—the probable elevation of the Nile above the level of the sea at the second cataract--these and other objects of physical research have been culpably neglected by former travellers, and have not in the slightest degree engaged the attention of Captain Light. In truth, we suspect that he never meant to publish the remarks committed