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made him an adept in Arabic ; it also was
good training for his intended dangerous
journey, to hold his own against the machina-
tions of the savage old Algerian Dey, Ali
Bashaw, who then carried on a "roaring
trade " in piracy and dealings in Christian
slaves (Vol. I., p. 102).

Bruce afterwards travelled
in Tunis, Tripoli, and Syria,
entering Egypt, and then, via
the Red Sea and Jeddah,
amidst perilous incidents,
reached Massowah,and finally
Gondar, the Abyssinian capital.
His knowledge of medicine
proved a talisman to the
good graces of the ruling
powers. He was appointed a
" Baalomaal," or commander of
the Koccob Horse, accom-
panied the King and Ras
Michael in the field, and in
other ways conformed to the
wild Abyssinian life.

At length his ardent wish
was gratified : he visited Lake
Dembea, or Tana, and ar-
rived at his dreamland, the
village of Geesh, and close
thereto the bubbling " Fountains of the Blue
Nile," in the country of the Agows, south-
west of Abyssinia. Here, then, at the goal
of his ambition, his trials and sufferings for a
passing moment were lightened by the idea
that he had secured the " Blue Ribbon " of
geographical research — the source of the Nile.
Carried away by his emotion the knight-
errant drank from the Nile spring, to his
king, his country, and his Scottish Dulcinea.
Vanity of human wishes ! Had Bruce re-
visited these glimpses of the moon one hundred
and twenty years later, he would still have
found his successors a-hunting out head-
streams of "Father Nile" (Einin's "Kifu," p. 6),



in spite of Punch's clever cartoon of Speke's finally northwards to become the Blue

arrival there, or Baker's Lake, or Stanley's Nile (p. 4).

Ruwenzori. The two or three " fountains " Satisfied that he had achieved an immortal

were enclosed with mounds of earth by the

natives, who held them sacred, and sacrificed


bullocks in honour of the river on certain
holy-days and festivals. Brace's temporary
fervour quickly cooled to a strict scientific
examination of them and the tracing of the
infant Abai in its remarkable curve round
Godjam and Amot, first south, then west, and

triumph, Bruce soon afterwards departed from
Abyssinia, and wending homewards traversed
Sennaar and the Nubian Desert to the Nile,
enduring many hardships on the way. Thanks
to the letter that he carried from the Patri-
arch of Cairo to the priests of Abyssinia — for



the land of Prester John had been converted
to Christianity in the third century — Bruce
had been received with much distinction at
Gondar. But he found it much more diffi-
cult to leave than to enter that country.
Covilham, a Portuguese, had discovered this
before him. For this adventurer, the first
European that had ever reached the Abys-
sinian capital, was detained there for life,
accordinsr to the ancient law that no stranger
should be allowed to go out of the country ;
though, as the Jesuits were afterwards ex-
pelled, the rule was not without exceptions.
Bruce, however, almost the earliest traveller
that had visited Abyssinia after the eviction
of the Jesuits, found the law ready to be
applied in his case. It was, indeed, only
when his health gave way, and it was feared
he would die and bring bad luck to the land,
that the King permitted his agreeable guest
to depart, after taking " a very solemn oath "
that he would return as soon as he was well.

At Marseilles he met the famous BuiTon,
in whose company he journeyed to Paris,
where for a time this " Scottish Alcibiacles " —
to use the title he had earned by his exploits
in love and war during his Abyssinian ex-
periences — was the lion of the famous salons
of the Ancien Regime, But poor Bruce was
soon to begin that career of disappointment
which Avas his lot in after-life, and the dis-
paragement which, until comparatively re-
cently, had dimmed his undoubted merits as
an explorer. The first of these blows to his
self-complacence was when he learnt that the
lady in whose honour he had quaffed a
gourd of Nile water had married during his
absence. Then he was told by D'Anville,
the geographer, that Pedro Paez (p. 27),
of whose name he had until then been
ignorant, had anticipated his discovery of
the source of the Blue Nile, and that, after
all, the Blue Nile was not the main stream,
but a tributary.

In London " African Lions " were then not
the rage. Though honourably treated at
Court and in high circles, his expected Nilotic
wreath of victory, like those of his successors

(Burton, Speke, Grant, Baker and Stanley :
representing Ireland, England, Scotland and
Wales), bore thorns as prickly as his native
thistles, or the acacias of the land he had left.
By some, his stories of Abyssinian adventure
and strange customs were scouted ; his very
travels were doubted. He was laughed to scorn
for his " traveller's tales." The coffee-houses
would have none of his fables of Arabs
who hamstrung elephants with swords, and
of Abyssinians who cut steaks from living
oxen, though the Hamrans are now amon«*
the most familiar of tribes ; and if the story
of the live steaks must be credited to the
Abj^ssinians only in times of scarcity, we
now know that they eat raw flesh. Even
in Bruce's own country of Scotland, the
Western Islesmen bled their cattle and
mixed the blood with oatmeal when in
similar straits. But Dr. Johnson, who would
not credit the Lisbon earthquake for three
months after it happened, though he fully
believed in the Cock Lane ghost, headed the
philosophers in pronouncing the Scotsman
a romancer, while George Selwyn and the
wits expressed their incredulity in bons mots
quite as scoffing. " The Travels of Baron
Munchausen" Avere dedicated to him, and
among the endless satires of a similar char-
acter " Peter Pindar " referred to him as the
traveller Avho had

" been where men (what loss, alas!)

Kill half a cow, and turn the rest to grass."*

Doubtless much of the rancour Avas attri-
butable to Bruce having jarred the public
nerves by his realism of savage scenes. To
dine sumptuously on lion's flesh and kill four
hyenas at one shotAvas too uncommon for belief.
Again, his medical intervieAv with the three
negro Funghi queens, six feet high, corpulent
beyond all proportion, with ears like an
elephant's, Aveighed doAvn by gold rings and
sequins, as Avas the gristle of the nose, Avho

* Mansfield Parkyns, as conscientious an authority on
Abyssinia as the Scottish explorer, is confident that
Bruce saw what he described, though the custom is only
practised in cases of emergency or on extraordinary
occasions. It is not the Abyssinian's habitual way of



had to be bled with royal effusion, was too
much of a joke for the then mostly un-
travelled Britons. Captain Cook's voyages
might be true, but Mr. Brace's travels were

Mortified at his treatment in the metro-
polis, Bruce crossed the Border only to find
his own countrymen quite as incredulous as
the English. But by this time the traveller's
good-nature had reached ■ its limits, as a
certain gentleman in East Lothian learnt
when he bluffly remarked in Brace's presence
that it was impossible that anyone could
eat raw flesh. Brace said nothing, but left
the room and, returning with a piece of raw
beef-steak seasoned after the Abyssinian
fashion, offered the unbeliever at the same
time the alternative of eating it or fighting.
Thinking discretion the better part of valour,
he chose the peaceful part. " Now, sir," was
the remark of Bruce when the operation was
completed, "you will never again say it is
impossible ! "

It was seventeen long years ere his friends
could prevail on him to publish his travels
(1790). These, issued in five magnificent
quarto* volumes, obtained no more acceptance
than did the verbal narrative of which they
were the embodiment. Horace Walpole
pronounced them " dull and dear," and the
few remaining years of Brace's life were
embittered by the controversies which they
occasioned. He witnessed, however, the rise
of the African Association (Vol. I., p. 170),
which Avas to rehabilitate his credit, though,
unfortunately, falling on the stairs of his
country mansion, as he was hastening to
escort a lady to her carriage, James Bruce,
after passing through so many dangers,
perished of this prosaic accident in the year

* The second edition, 1805, in seven octavo volumes,
is considered the best.

t Bruce himself and his able draughtsman Luigi
Balugani during their travels in the Barbary States made
many beautiful drawings of monuments long since
destroyed. Some of them were afterwards published by
Sir Lambert Playfair, one of his successors in the Algiers
Consulate, in ' Travels in the Footsteps of Bruce." (1877.)

The acrimony of the scientific and literary
cliques towards the explorer is best buried.
Magnifying his little weakness of sensational
narrative, oblivious to his open, jovial, truthful
nature, balanced by self-respect though occa-
sionally irascible, they lost sight of Brace's
great merits as a bond fide traveller whose
enormous collection of astronomical, archaeo-
logical, and natural history observations will
place him for ever among the heroes of the
Nile. His last act in Cairo was to benefit
his countrymen by obtaining a concession
for them on the Bed Sea without shadow
of honour or reward.

A period of well-nigh three-quarters of a
century rolled on. During this interval many
important events had happened. These not
only affected Egypt and Africa generally, but
also other continents. The American War of
Independence had resulted in the foundation
of the United States. Europe saw the
French Revolution, the Republic, the devas-
tating Napoleonic Wars, the French in Egypt,
their expulsion by the British, and the with-
drawal of the latter. Such times were not
well suited for expeditions after the Nile
sources. Yet in 1814 Burckhardt had gone
as far as Shencly, crossed to the Atbara, and
skirted the east side to Gos Rajeb. Five
} T ears later, Cailliaud had for the first time
visited Meroe, and by 1820 steamers had as-
cended to Korosko. In 1827 Linant Bey had
penetrated to Eleis, 132 miles up the "White
Nile, a year also notable as that in which
Prokesch von Osten surveyed the main river
between Assouan and Wady Haifa. But the
Egyptians, left to themselves for a while, were
soon torn asunder by contending factions.

At this juncture there rose a figure

destined to play an important part in the

later history of the Upper Nile „ .

J L L . Mehemet All.

regions. Mehemet Ah (p. 32), of
humble Roumelian birth, was originally a
tobacconist, and afterwards entered the
Turkish Army. From the ranks to be
Viceroy of Egypt his career was rapid.
Unable to control by fair means the turbu-
lent, poAverful Mameluke Beys, who struggled



for supremacy, Mehemet Ali had recourse to
foul measures. The atrocious massacre in
cold blood of the Mamelukes in the Citadel
of Cairo is historical, and rests as one of
the sad stains on the character of the other-
wise vigorous-minded Viceroy (p. 28). Ali's

and shades of character. AYhat between the
reorganisation of his army, the construction
of a navy, social, mercantile and many other
projects of colossal magnitude, Mehemet Ali
after a time found himself driven to extremi-
ties. Still, his lust of power and dominion


ambition for dominancy lay even further afield,
and picking up the gage of war in Syria, he
routed the Sultan's forces, and it took a
combination of European nations to help
Turkey to drive Mehemet Ah back to
Egyptian ground Meanwhile the Viceroy
had gathered into his service iroin many
nationalities, craftsmen, mingled with a few
men of science, and an abundance of wily
uhlitary and other adventurers of all sorts

knew no bounds, and so the rating passion
must have vent.

Indeed, it was no pure desire to serve
the interests of geographical science, nor
even emulation to outvie his great Egyptian
predecessors in the discovery of the source
of the Xile, that led him so very near success.
Even less had antiquarian research a serious
place in his programme. Sly as a fox,
sagacious and yet unscrupulous, several



motives seem to have actuated him : for
instance, the acquisition of the supposed
rich o-old mines of Sennaar and Kordofan ;
an unstinted supply of negro slaves as
recruits for his army ; and, doubtless also,
extension of territory. With these to lure
him on, there may have lain hidden other
visionary projects of plenitude and power to
come. " Where a Turk sets his foot no grass
will grow." Some truth under-
lies this proverb in so far as the
Beled-Soudan is concerned ;
for neither Mehemet Ah nor
his successors were in the
lono' run fortunate in then
ventures towards its reduction
and good government. Nor
did happiness follow their

influence in his desire to be at a distance.
Moreover, according to those behind the scenes,
there might be something in the fact that His
Excellency Ahmed Pasha, Governor-General
of Beled-Soudan, was a trifle too powerful
and far away from Cairo to be coerced ; and
there were even storm-clouds portending
a future Sultan of Nigritia, in his son-in-law

advances among the negroid

Nile regions generally, al-
though rivers of blood were
shed and untold wealth spent
thereon. Ali's first move
was to despatch his sons
Ibrahim and Ismail Pasha
with a great force to over-
awe and subdue Upper Nubia.
The Arab tribes, unfortunately
for themselves, were disunited
and suffered defeat accord-
ingly. Ibrahim pressed east
into Taka (Kassala), while
Ismail advanced by Sennaar
and Fasood to the confines
of Abyssinia. Another section
of the Egyptian army, under the notoriously
cruel Mohammed Bey, Defterdar, the son-in-
law of the Viceroy, had, meanwhile, with his
bloodthirsty Turkish Arnauts swept Kordofan
with slaughter and rapine. Sad indeed was
the fate of the inhabitants. Thus, within
a short interval, the whole Nile Valley to
12° N. was under the iron heel of Egypt.

In the autumn of 1838 Ali himself made
a sudden dash to his newly acquired southern
provinces, ostensibly to correct men and
measures; though — so it was said— political
embarrassments and his creditors had a strong


1, Battle-axe and eye-gouge : Shier Tribe ; 2, 3. 1, 5, Boomerang-shaped weapons :
Xiam knives ; S, Bari arrows ; 9, Niain-Nlam spears ; 10, Dyor arrows.

Be that as it may, an expedition was deter-
mined on to start from Khartoum, to explore
that terra incognita of ages, the An early
White Nile. In the spring of 1839 JSwStf
the Viceroy himself made a month's Nile,
preliminary trip as far as the Shillook Islands,
near El-Ais (Eleis), the imaginary Egyptian ter-
ritorial limit. This cruise ended in the sacrifice
of the first of a long list of martyrs to White
Nile exploration — Herr Baumgarten, a Swiss
by birth, but a graduate of the Austrian School
of Mines, dying on return to Khartoum.

In November of the same year the



expedition started in force on its real mission.
The flotilla consisted of ten large and fifteen
small boats, provisioned for eight months,
and provided with cannon and other warlike
armament, crammed in anyhow, besides a
motley crew of Dongolai boatmen and riff-raff
of Khartoum, stiffened with four hundred of
the tag-rag and bob-tail of negro infantry
regiments. Nor was much to be expected
from three chief officers of nearly equal rank,
all jealous — -and none very zealous — to wit,
a pseudo-general,* an admiral, f and vice-
admiral, J all "Turks," with a Parisian ad-
venturer of the old school,§ and a German
lawyer-soldier.^" Fortune, however, favoured
them in their keeping to the main stream,
and reaching, in a kind of scrambling waj^,
the Elliab tribe, bordering the still fine,
flowing river, in about 6° N. latitude. The
north winds had slackened, and towing been
resorted to. So, instead of determining a
march onwards, and facing difficulties, on
January 26th, 1840, midst a deafening roar
of cannon and fusillade, Arab fashion, the
vessels' prows were turned towards Khartoum,
which was reached on the 30th of March.

Though by no means a thorough success,
this expedition, nevertheless, was remarkable.
Among other facts, it had proved that the
river was easily navigable so far, its course
stretching onwards and source yet remote ;
that no mountainous lands were there visible ;
that the reed-covered marsh country of Hero-
dotus had been safely traversed, the mouths
of several tributary streams had been passed,
and the existence of new populous negro
tribes been ascertained.

The restless Viceroy, dissatisfied with these

results, despatched another expedition in No-

mv , . .,., vember, 1840. This followed the
Mehemet All's . ,

second river s course as in the preced-

expedition. • . , ,i

ing voyage, passing en route the

mouths of the rivers Sobat, Bahr-Zeraf, and

Bahr-el-Ghazel, and making further acquaint-

* Suliman Kaschef. tSelim Bimbashi. J Feizulla Capitan.
§ Thibaut, or Ibrahim Effendi, to use his Moslem name.
% Friedrich Werne, who has given the best account
of the expedition.

ance with the great riverain tribes, the
Shillook, Dinka, Nuehr, Kytch, and Elliab.
Pressing on beyond the highest point pre-
viously attained, and coming in contact
with the Bohr and Shier tribes, at last the
crews' cries of " Jebel!" ("Mountain") raised
their drooping spirits. Here the river widens;
ther are many sandy islands, and no longer
marshes, but the shore begins to rise ; the
vegetation improves ; a tree-land region comes
in proximity to the stream ; durra fields and
herds of cattle are seen ; the villages are
numerous, and tall, black natives swarm,
whilst the boys merrily blow their fifes, shout,
sing and dance.

With hopes revived, the fleet pushed on a
few days more, and came to the country of
the Bari. On the east, hills were near, and
other ranges loomed in the distance, while
towards the south and west isolated mount-
ains here and there broke the horizon line.
The fleet had arrived at the island of
Tshanker, close to the site (east bank)
where Gondokoro was afterwards established.
Friendly relations were set up with the Bari
king Lakono and followers, who came from
Mount Belinian, some miles easterly. The
gold mania had still possession of the
Egyptians, and their cupidity was excited by
seeing yellow copper and iron bracelets.
Avorn, which they learned came from the
Berri district, farther inland. Intelligence was
gathered concerning the mountain ranges,
and that the Tubiri (White Nile) came
fully a month's journey south of the countiy
of Anjan (? Uganda).

A move was made a few miles up stream
towards the conical hill on the left bank,
in ' about Lat. 4° 50' N, when cataracts,,
coupled Avith the dread of natives, arrested
progress, and this second Egyptian Expedi-
tion retreated homeAvards. To grapple Avith
difficulties Avas not the key-note ; for the
leader, Suliman Kaschef, a burly Circassian,
had an eye on a gang of slaves, having sold
some fifteen to the Go\ T ernment for soldiers
on the previous expedition. The worthy
admiral, Selim Bimbashi, of Crete, though


a practical navigator, showed the " white
feather " at the sight of a Bari war-dance
given in their honour. Even among the
accompanying French savants — thebald-pated
M. d'Arnaud, nicknamed " Prince de la Lnne,"
his brother-engineer, M. Sabatier, and the
pseudo-naturalist, M. Thibaut — there was no
cohesion, far less decision for advance ;
Friedrich Werne, a German volunteer, alone
being against this pusillanimous return. On
the way back, the River Sobat was ascended
for a short distance. Though provisioned for
ten months, food was simply wasted, ammu-
nition was carelessly used, and the crews were
insubordinate. As on the previous voyage,
the natives were often robbed and shamefully

Still, notwithstanding their shortcomings,
Mehemet Ali's expeditions form an era in the
Nile-seeking problem, the river being proved
navigable up to nearly four degrees from
the equator. Thus within two years a jump
of almost a thousand miles of the White
Nile regions had been partially investigated,
entitling, therefore, the founder of the present
reigning dynasty of Egypt to rank even
higher than his great predecessors, the
Pharaohs and the Ptolemies, as a Nilotic
discoverer. The Rejaf rapids and the war-
like Baris, together with the reprehensible
conduct of the Egyptians themselves towards
that and other negro tribes, checked advance
for twenty years afterwards. Even then, scant
progress was made, until the famous journejr
of Speke and Grant eventually burst the
bonds from the south. Yet the interval was
not altogether eventless. Among others may
be mentioned Brim Rollett (1845-50), who
formed a trading-post near where Mehemet
Ali's expedition turned back ; Knoblecher of
the Austrian Mission, who reached Mount
Logwek (1848), and with Vinci founded Gon-
dokoro in 1851, the latter penetrating the
same year eastward among the Berri ; and
Miani (1860) got to Galuffi, not far from the
Albert Lake. In the Bahr-el-Ghazel region
Petherick (1858) journeyed south to Mundo.
But it was not until from 1849-57 that Krapf,

Rebmann, and other missionaries residing on
the East Coast of Africa sent home in-
formation that led to the grandest of all
the Nile discoveries. We refer to the great
Central African Lakes, the tale of which
induced other explorers in quick succession
to fill in many gaps. Hence, through their
labours we have been able in the preceding
chapter to give a sketch of the physical
geography of the regions of the long-sought-
for Caput Nili.

Many exciting events have therefore taken
place in Nile history since Mehemet Ali's
expedition. As a chain leading The Nile
towards these, we must here take T beArat> n:
into consideration the indigenous invasion,
inhabitants themselves, and what led to
the dramatic, the very tragic changes there-

The region known as Beled-Soudan includes
Upper Nubia, Sennaar, and Kordofan. On
the east it is bounded by the Red Sea and
Abyssinia, on the west indefinitely by the
Lybian Desert and Darfur. To the south are
the equatorial provinces, comprising Fashoda,
Bahr-el-Ghazel, and Equatoria. Save Suakim
and a small strip of adjoining land, with per-
haps a wedge of Equatoria, namely, AVadelai,
all the remainder of the area mentioned is now
in the hands of the Mahdi and his followers.
The kingdoms of Unyoro and Uganda and
the Victoria and Albert Nyanza lakes lie
southwards of Equatoria (p. 55).

We shall confine our remarks for the
present to the indigenous peoples of the Beled-
Soudan and the river-side negroes as far as
Equatoria. Disregarding the earliest notices
of the inhabitants and their migrations to
the Kingdom of Ethiopia, as Upper Nubia
was named by the ancients, and of the
Christian communities in that so-called
island of Meroe, we arrive towards the
fifth century at a great irruption of people
from Arabia. These crossed the Red Sea
from El Hedjaz and Yemen, and by suc-
cessive waves of encroachment spread them-
selves over the Beled-Soudan. The bulk of
the native folk seem rather to have been



driven away before the invaders than to have
been absorbed by them. Thus the Nubas of
Dongola retreated to the mountains of Kor-
dofan, and others — adherents of the Christian
creed — wended their way by the Blue Nile
to the confines of Abyssinia.


The Arabs, as in the patriarchal times,
kept divided into tribes, each ruled by its
independent sheik ; whilst they were ever
hostile to and often plundering each other,
of which advantage was taken by their sub-
sequent conquerors. Notwithstanding, they
remained masters of the Soudan until well-
nigh the close of the fifteenth century.

Then there appeared a negro race from the


south, neighbouring the White and Blue Niles
east of Kordofan, who in turn The negro
subdued the Arabs as far north as invasion.
Dongola. These Funghi founded the king-
dom of Sennaar, and with barbaric pomp held
the discordant Arab tribes in vassalage and
tribute for about three hundred and fifty

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