Obrazy na stronie

precaution apply their mouth to the plant.' But so for- | African Coast to the Plains of Antisana, which are higher midable are the guards with which nature has furnished this above the level of the sea than the summit of the Peak of reservoir, that animals are often seen lamed in the hoof Teneriffet. Here the northern Birch, there the Datefrom this cause.

Palm, affords a shelter from the noon-day sun to the When night comes on after the burning day, and brings animals of which we have been speaking. The same genus a diminution of temperature, the persecuted animals are which, in North-eastern Europe, combats with wolves and not allowed to enjoy this alleviation; enormous bats attack bears, is exposed in another hemisphere to the attacks of them during sleep, and suck their blood, or hang to tigers and crocodiles ! their coats and form wounds, in which mosquitos, gad-flies, But it is not only from these enemies that the herds and and a multitude of insects, deposit their eggs, and convert troops of cattle and horses are exposed to danger, they them into festering sores. Thus, during the dry season, have a fearful foe among the fish. The stagnant lakes of the larger quadrupeds lead a life of ceaseless misery in Bera and Bastro are filled with innumerable electric eelst, these regions.

which possess the power, at pleasure, of sending a very On the approacn of the rainy season, the whole scene is powerful shock from any part of their slimy yellow-spotted quickly and strangely changed: the deep-blue of the ever- bodies; they are five or six feet long, and possess this ex cloudless sky becomes lighter; at night, the black spot in traordinary faculty in sufficient power to kill the largest the glorious southern constellation of the cross is hardly animals if they can discharge their organs at once, and in perceivable: the soft phosphorescent glimmer of the the most favourable direction. At one time they existed magellanic clouds is extinguished, and even the vertical in such numbers in one of the water-courses of the road stars of the eagle and ophiuchus, shine with a tremulous from Uritucu, that every year many horses, stunned by and less planet-like light'. A few solitary clouds first their shocks, were drowned in crossing the ford. All other appear, like distant mountains in the south; vapours fish fly the neighbourhood of this formidable eel; and the spread themselves like veils across the zenith, and the angler, on the bank, is often startled by a shock conveyed distant thunder announces the approach of the refreshing to him along his moistened line g. rain.

Scarcely is the surface of the earth moistened, when the reeking grounds are overspread with Kyllingia, Paspalum, The comparative efficiency of the deserts and steppes of and other sedges and grasses ; herbaceous Mimosæ unfold the globe, as barriers between the adjoining countries, is their leaves, and, together with the early song of birds, and proved by the great difference which exists in the physical the opening flowers of the water-plants, salute the rising and moral characters of these contiguous lands. sun. The horses and cattle now revel in the perfect enjoy- Africa's northern deserts separate the two great human ment of existence, though the beautiful spotted jaguar races, which, originating from a common home, have long Jurks in the tall herbage, and darts, like the eastern tiger, been at variance, and whose discord has been the subject on the unwary animal.

of mythology, under the fabled strife of Osiris and Typhon. According to the natives, the moistened shores of the North of Mount Atlas dwell the smooth, long-haired people, ponds are occasionally seen to rise and break into clods, of tawny complexion and Caucasian features; southwards, which are cast, with a noise like that of a mud-volcano, on the contrary, from Senegal towards Soudan, Negres into the air. The prudent spectator, aware of the cause, alone are found, in various stages of improvement. hastens from the place; for a gigantic water-snake or a In middle Asia, the steppes of Mongolia divide Siberian fearful crocodile rises from the pit, aroused from their torpor barbarism from the earliest seat of human cultivation in by the first gush of rain.

the Indian peninsula. By degrees, the rivers which form the southern boundary In South America, the Llanos and Pampas limit tho to the plains, the Arauca, the Apuré, and the Payara, extent of European half-civilization, which has more overflow their banks, and the same animals which, in the recently been introduced there. North, between the mounpreceding half year, fainted from thirst on the parched and tain-chains of Venezuela and the Caribbean Sea, thriving burning soil, are now compelled to live as amphibious : towns and cheerful villages crowd on each other, and a one part of the steppes becomes a vast lake, navigable for taste for the arts, and intellectual improvement, as well as large vessels, which can sail ten or twelve miles together their necessary result, the noble zeal for civil freedom, are straight across the country. The mares withdraw with now aroused." Towards the south, a gloomy wilderness their foals to the higher banks, which again resume their surrounds the steppes; forests thousands of years old, an character of islands; but with each day these dry spots impenetrable thicket, fill the marshy territory between the diminish, and at last, from want of pasture, the crowded Orinoco and the Amazon; mighty masses of granite narhorses are seen swimming about for hours together, seeking row the bed of the foaming streams; mountain and forest a scanty food from the flowering grasses which still rear re-echo the thunder of the cataract, combined with the their heads above the brown turbid waters. Many foals roar of the tiger and the dead howl of the bearded ape. are drowned in consequence, and many are seized by Where the shallower waters leave a sand-bank dry, the crocodiles, or struck and disabled by their serrated tails: body of the lurking crocodile is seen lying, its jaws opened not unfrequently cattle and horses are afterwards seen, to seize its prey, and so motionless that it is often covered who have escaped from these monsters, and carry on their with birds, who perch on it. The spotted boa, with his tail limbs the marks of the sharp teeth of these blood-thirsty wound round a branch of a tree, and his iong body doubled lizards.

together, watches the opportunity and darts on some young This appearance reminds the thoughtful observer of the bull, or a more feeble deer, as it approaches the bank, and, power of conforming, with exterior circumstances with after smearing the body with its venomous saliva, sucks it which Nature has endowed, in common with man, certain in slowly and with effort through its distended throat and species, both of animals and plants. The horse and the ox, neck|l; and then lies for weeks overcome with the mass like the farinaceous grasses, have been carried by him over of food, till it is digested, and hunger again compels it the whole earth; from the Ganges to the Plata, from the to seek a new meal.

These various appearances are the results of increasing moisture + The pressure of the atmosphere is hence so much diminished on in the air, and therefore precede the rain. The drier the atmosphere, these plains, that when the wild cattle are baited by hounds, blood the deeper the blue of the sky; hence, the intense azure of that of issues from their nose and mouth. tropical climates. English travellers are even struck with the great Gymnotus Electricus; it belongs to a very different section of difference between their native sky and that of Italy in this respect. the class, to that of the eel (Murena) properly so called.-See An instrument has been contrived by which the depth of blue has Saturday Magasine, Vol. IV., p. 144. been measured, and meteorological observations are made with it; it $ The identity of Voltaism, or Galvanism, and electricity is well is called a Cyanometer, (blue measurer.) As the moisture increases, known, the action of the former species of these two divisions, is distant objects become more obscure and faint; and the heavenly supposed to exist, in a latent state, in all organized matter, where bodies, therefore, are not so bright. The spot in the Cross is an dissimilarly constituted parts are in contact, and appears to be astronomical phenomenon on which scientific men are not agreed; intimately connected with the phenomenon of vitality, as well as it appears much darker than the rest of the sky, and, therefore, just with almost every one of the physical world. the reverse of those apparent clusters of stars which compose what # The saliva with which this serpent covers its victim accelerates are called Nebulæ, the Milky-way, and the Magellanic clouds. putrefaction, the muscular part becomes softened like jelly, and Most of our readers are familiar with Capt. Hall's eloquent descrip- enables the reptile to swallow whole limbs at a time. When swimtion of the effects of seeing the constellations of the southern hemi- | ming in the Orinoco, they raise their head above the water like a sphere, as they gradually rise above the horizon, in sailing; and dog: they occasionally atiain a length of forty-five feet as it is said, especially the feelings excited by the Cross, the sign of our salvation, but the largest skin ever brought to Europe has not exceeded two and planted by God in the heavens as a beacon to man.-See Saturday twenty. The American serpent (a python,) is a distinct species Magazine, Vol. III., p. 139,

from the East Indian,

VARrous races of natives inhabit this grand and wild eastern side of the Andes, and extends from their foot to scenery, separated by a decided difference of language. the Atlantic. Captain Sir F. B. Head, who journeyed over Some lead a wandering life, ignorant of agriculture, and this immense expanse in 1825, has given the latest, and living on ants, gums, and even earth, like the Otomaks by far the most interesting account of it; and from his and Jaruren, the outcasts as it were of mankind.

work we shall principally take our notice. While the Orinoco and the Meta flow between their The Pampas are about nine hundred miles in breadth: banks, these tribes live on fish and turtle; they kill the and in the same latitude, that of Buenos Aires, are divided former by arrows when they rise to the surface, and are into three very distinct regions. On leaving Buenos Aires, very expert in the use of their weapon for this chase. As the earth for about one hundred and eighty miles is clothed soon as the river begins to rise, the fishery ceases, and with large thistles and clover; for the next four hundred during the floods, which last two or three months, these and fifty, the plain presents nothing but long grass, and Ptomaks consume enormous quantities of earth as food; the remainder, to the base of the Cordillera, is covered with large stores are kept in their huts, ready prepared by evergreen trees and shrubs; the two latter divisions are baking, in pyramidal heaps of balls*; and the Missionaries little changed during the year, the grass only becoming state, that one man will eat from three quarters to a pound more brown from the summer-heats, but the district of and a quarter of it in a day. According to their own

thistles varies in a singular manner. In winter, the avdwal, this clay is their principal food during the rainy country looks like a vast turnip-field, the clover is luxuseason, occasionally adding a lizard or a small fish if they riant, and the herds of wild cattle grazing in unrestrained can obtain either, or a fern-root; but they are so fond of liberty, present a beautiful scene. The clover disappears this strange diet, that, even during the dry season, when as spring advances, the thistles gain the ascendancy, and they have an ample supply of fish, they daily swallow some attain an altitude of ten or eleven feet; forming a of the clay after a repast, by way of a treat. They are of forest impenetrable to man or beast by their strong and a dark copper complexion, with disagreeable Tartarian prickly stems and leaves; the road through them is features, robust, but not with prominent bellies, as most hemmed in on each side, cutting off all view, and so rapid savages, and they appear to undergo little diminution in is the growth, and so effectual the barrier, that Captain flesh during the season of their earth-diet, nor does their Head says, it is not impossible that an army might be health appear at all injured by it'.

completely surrounded by them and imprisoned, before it Other tribes, like the Maquiritars and the Makos, are could escape. Dried and withered by the increasing heat, more cultivated, consume fruits raised by themselves, and this forest yields at last to the periodical hurricanes that have fixed abodes in consequence. But large portions of sweep over the plains; it lies strewed along, fertilizing the territory between the Cassiquiare and the Atabapo, are soil anew by its decay, and the succession is renewed by tenanted only by the tapir and the gregarious species of the re-appearance of the clover-crop, apes; yet in these deserted plains, images carved in the The grass and woody regions, though less varied, are rocks, show that at some former period they were the not less beautiful; the former seems to be without a weed, abodes of more cultivated races than any now bordering on and in the latter such order exists in the growth of the them, which, generally speaking, are in the lowest scale of trees, that a rider may gallop between them in every human existence, and quite incapable of executing any

direction. such sculptures.

The climate of the Pampas, like that of all continents, is Among the present degraded races, the most violent pas- varied by intense heat during the summer, while the winter sions, as might be expected, reign without control. Whole is about as cold as November in our latitude; but the effects races drink the blood of their enemies, and others more occasioned by the difference in the moisture of the atmoskilled than all civilized mankind ever are in the knowledge sphere, is the more striking feature in the regions of wood of vegetable poisons, have their thumb-nail dipped in a and grass. Owing to the level nature of the country, its most violent one I, always ready to inflict the mortal wound distance from the ocean, and other causes, the air is so dry, on any enemy whom they can surprise. The weaker tribes, that dead animals dry up in their skins on the plains, as when migrating, are compelled, for self-preservation, to they do in the great deserts of Africa. There is no dew at obliterate with care their footmarks, in order to foil their night in the hottest weather: on the contrary, in the first, relentless and ingenious pursuers.

or eastern region, the air is excessively damp, animal decomposition after death is rapid, the walls of the houses

in Buenos Aires are so damp, as to make them disagreeable, THE PAMPAS.

and sugar, salt, &c., can hardly be kept from dissolving; South AMERICA contains another plain three times as

but it does not appear that even this part is unhealthy in extensive as the Llanos, if not so interesting from its

consequence, so that on the whole, the climate of the productions. This plain, called the Pampas, lies on the country is beautiful and salubrious.

Like the Llanos, there are few fixed residents on these

fertile plains; the native Indians wander in tribes from “ On the 6th of June, 1800, on our return from the Rio Negro, place to place over the southern part, and a few straggling when we descended the Orinoco, we passed a day in a mission

towns and huts, the residence of the keepers of enormous inhabited by the earth-eating Otomaks; the village was called La Conception di Uranua, and was picturesquely situated against a

herds, are widely scattered over the rest. The impolicy of granite rock. The earth which this people devour is an unctuous the Spanish government having prevented the natural mild clay, true potters'-earth, coloured yellowish-gray by a little advantages of the country from being available, the want oxide of iron; it is carefully selected for use, and is found on some

of good navigation and of a harbour on the coast, are banks on the shores of the Orinoco and Meta. They distinguish one kind of carth from another by the taste, for all clay is not equally impediments to the progress of cultivation. agreeable to them : they knead the earth into balls of from four to

The inhabitants of these isolated residences, descendants six inches in diameter, and toast these before a slow fire till the of Spanish settlers, are termed Gauchos, and live a monooutside becomes reddish ; when wanted they are again softened in tonous life in the hut inhabited by their predecessors. It water. These Indians are very wild, and averse from all agriculture: consists of one room, in which the whole family reside it is a proverbial expression among the farthest nations of the Orinoco, in designating any thing very filthy, to say, “ so dirty that promiscuously; a shed serves for a kitchen, and about fifty the Otomaks eat it.'”-HUMBOLDT.

or a hundred yards off, is a circle of thirty yards, enclosed + To the physiological question, whether, or in what way,

with strong posts, in which the cattle are penned for

this simple earth can supply the place of food, there is, at present, no

slaughter, and which, consequently, is strewed with bones, decided satisfactory answer, but it is a well-known fact, that every

carcasses, horns, and skins of bullocks and horses, while on where within the Tropics, men have a singular and unconquerable the fence are perched vultures attracted by the stench, and craving for swallowing earth at times. The Indian women engaged overcome with gorging on the carrion. in the potteries on the Magdalena, often cat a portion of the clay on

The food of these people consists solely of beef and which they are at work, but all except the Otomaks suffer in their health severely, by the indulgence of this propensity. The negroes

water, and inured from their infancy to fatigue in riding, brought to the West Indies during the prevalence of the slave-trade,

for they never walk, they are hardy and healthy. Their always endeavoured to obtain a kind of clay, simila, to what, as principal occupation is to catch and kill cattle, and their they said, they had been accustomed to eat with impunity in their principal accomplishment, the use of the lusso, to which own country; but the practice was forbidden, from finding that they they are trained from an early age, children being always were injured by it, and the earth was consequently only sold secretly in the markets. According to the accounts of different travellers, a

seen lassoing the dogs or wild birds; the use and nature similar taste is found in many parts of tropical countries.

of this lasso will be presently explained. # This poison is called curare, and is obtained from an unknown

It appears that the indifference to the conveniences or plant, but belonging to a genus which is very poisonous; the single

even the necessaries of civilized life, which characterizes seed of one species is sufficient to kill twenty persons.

the Gaucho, however philosophical it may appear at first

as the result of contentment, leads to the usual conse- , immediately turns his horse round, and causes it to lean quences of moral degradation*.

on the opposite side from the course of the ox, so that when There are no regular roads, of course, through these this is stopped by the lasso being run out, the horse may be plains, and the mode of travelling is extraordinary. A rude able to resist the sudden jerk ; this often, however, draws carriage is prepared for the journey, by having strips of him sliding on all four feet for some yards; but more comsoaked hide bound wet over every part of its wheels and monly the ox, as being unprepared for the check, is thrown frame; this, on drying, contracts and becomes as hard as down, and affords time to the hunter to secure him by wood, and will endure a course of seven hundred miles either dragging him along the ground before he can șise, without being cut or worn through; horses are harnessed or by houghing him. by a single rope from the saddle, and each mounted by a peon, or postilion: the vehicle is dragged at a full gallop

THE GREAT DESERT OF AFRICA. across ditches, lakes, and over all obstacles. At the end of a stage the riders unhook their animals, and set The immense sterile desert of Africa, which equals oneoff to catch other fresh horses from the enclosures near half of Europe in extent, or is nearly three times as large the buildings which serve as post-houses, and the immense as the Mediterranean sea, is called Saharay, and may be troops of horses produced in the country, prevent any delays considered as an ocean of sand, having bays or gulls of from want of fresh relays; but the mode of riding is cruel lesser deserts branching off from it, and various islands, of in the extreme, the sides of the horse are streaming, different magnitudes, of fertile spots in it, called Oases; and the heels and legs of the riders are literally bathed the largest of these, Fezzan, is 300 miles long and 200 in blood.

broad; this is surrounded by an irregular ridge of rocks, Those who, like the Gauchos from youth, are inured to it, except on the west, where it is open to the desert. The or who can stand it, prefer, however, - to ride, instead of fertility of this and other Oases arises from their having using these vehicles. "Captain Head gives an animated a comparatively abundant supply of water from wells, account of the effects of his journey on horseback across supplied from the neighbouring mountains ; for very this country and though at first, suffering from the fatigue little rain falls here any more than in the open desert. of riding one hundred and fifty miles a day, at a fuil gallop Date-palms are the principal vegetable productions, though for weeks together, yet hie states that when broke in to it, the soil and climate are not unfavourable for raising wheat. and strengthened by the temperate yet invigorating diet of These Oases are far more abundant on the eastern than on beef and water, to which a prudent traveller prefers trusting, the western side of the Sahara. The Sahara forms only in preference to encumbering himself with luggage and the major part of a still larger tract, extending to the provisions, it causes no permanent injury to the health, and further side of Arabia, and divided by the valley of the is a very exhilarating and pleasant mode of life.

Nile and the Red Sea into three unequal portions, for One constant source of danger in riding over the Pampas, all this part of the globe is of a similar physical character arises from the holes like rabbit-holes, made by an animal in most respects. called the biscachof, or viscacho. When full grown, they The Sahara, or African part, is estimated at about 2500 are nearly as large as badgers, their head is like a rabbit, miles in length by 720 in average breadth. Its sandy but they have large bushy whiskers. In the day-time they sw-face is a general character, but this is of different keep in their burrows, and are only seen to come forth at levels. In many places it is quite naked, but generaliy it sunset; but what appears extraordinary regarding these produces an odoriferous plant, called by the Arabs Shé, animals and their dwellings, is, that in the day time, two somewhat resembling our wild thyme; with this are found small owls sit at the mouth of the holes, into which they other plants, one of which, very thorny, and serving as food retire on the approach of any danger: the same thing is for the camel, is the most common. said to occur in the prairies of North America, with respect In some places large flocks of sheep, goats, or even to the animal called the prairie dog. The fact is, the cattle, find a scanty pasture, but more commonly nothing bird is a variety of the burrowing owl (strir cunicularia,) is to be seen but desolate hills of shifting sands; these are which to save the trouble of making a retreat for itself, termed “ deserts without water," a name conveying to ar. takes possession of the deserted holes of the viscacho, and Arab's ear the fearful idea of an intense and suffocating like the snake mentioned in the note, has no other connexion heat, of a total absence of vegetation, and of the hazard of with the quadruped. This bird belongs to a division of the a dreadful death from want of water. The western divifamily (owl, which can see as well by day as by night, sion is of this nature, and is no less than 1600 miles in and this species not being savage, likes to sit at the door length by half that number in breadth, and is, without of its house and see what is going on in the world.

doubt, the largest desert in the world. The puma, or American lion, a species of ostrich, the One peculiarity of these plains is the abundance of salt gama, the Patagonian cavy, are among the principal indi found every where on the surface. Natron (a carbonate of genous animals of the Pampas.

soda.) is also abundant. In one part of the country, Captain Head found locusts Besides the animals already mentioned, the ostrich is so numerous as to cover the ground. At one of the posts a found in the Sahara, though more abundant in the southern woman was sweeping them away with a broom, and they parts of the continent. Some species of sleer, or gazeiles, swarmed in crowds up his horse's legs; he placed his straw also frequent the fertile spots; but, from the dearth of hat on the ground while he was drinking some water, and vegetation, and want of water, the natural history of this on going to resume it, it was covered with these insects desert iş very limited. biting the straw.

The persevering energy of man has conquered the The method of taking the wild cattle and horses by the obstacles which the Sahara apparently presents to any lasso is singular; this is a long line made of thongs of intercourse between the nations separated by it. From the leather, and having a running noose at one end. The earliest ages traders have traversed it, by uniting in large gaucho, or peon, being mounted on a well-trained horse, bodies, called caravans, and the camel, by its wonderful holds the lasso coiled up loosely in his right hand, but with structure, its strength, docility, and abstemiousness, is the out any risk of its entangling; the other end is fastened means which have enabled man to effect these journeys, by a hook to the saddle. When he has approached suffi- for without it they would be impossible; but even with this ciently near the animal he has selected, he throws the auxiliary, and with all the precautions that experience can lasso, and with such unerring aim, acquired by long prac-take, the caravans have frequently to endure the most tice, that the noose falls on the neck or round the horns. On terrible distress from want of water, for the shifting sands feeling the strange incumbrance, the ox gallops off, the man frequently obliterate the land-marks of the route, and

delayed by the search for the path, the stock is exhausted Captain Head asked a young woman, nursing a very pretty distant wells. The dried and bleached corpses and skeletons

before the multitude can reach one of the few and farchild, “who was its father." "Who knows?" was the reply. + This is a species of Narmot. (Arctomys ludoviciani.

Order of the camels and horses who constantly perish on the Rodentia.) It digs holes and burrows; a small speckled snake journey, are the principal guides on many of these dangertakes shelter in these holes, and is believed by the Indians to be the

ous roads. dogs' guard.

We have already mentioned the phenomenon of columns * This animal is not very well known, and it is believed that the of sand raised by whirlwinds, as common to all extensive name is given to more than one species, they make very extensive plains in tropical regions; but ihose which visit the desert clean and neat in their habits, they run and do not leap like rabbits, of Africa have been more particularly described from their hence it is inferred, that they belong rather to the agoutis or cavis than to the hare tribe; it weighs about twenty pounds,

This word in Arabic means Desert,

being better known. The caravans which have traversed | The most western, the plateau of Iran or Persia, is not so these desolate regions from the remotest antiquity, being elevated or extensive, no where exceeding 4000 feet, and constantly exposed to their destructive violence. All not comprehending more than 1,700,000 square miles. In travellers who have crossed these plains, have described length, the two together extend about 5500 miles from west the precursors and the appearance of the storm in similar to east, and vary in hreadth from 700 to 2000 miles. terms: a more death-like stillness in the air, a lurid light, Unfortunately, little is at present known of the natural and those optical phenomena mentioned in p. 36, announce history and productions of this country. The climate, from the approach, and the coming clouds of sand are seen in the great elevation, is very cold, yet a vegetation adorns the horizon. If the direction of the wind brings them many parts of it, and the wild horses, in large droves, towards the caravan, and sufficient time is not allowed for pasture on the more fertile portions. That it was once the escape, the riders, dismounting from their camels and horses, abode of numerous and civilized nations, appears from the throw themselves flat on their faces, closing the mouth and remains of temples and sepulchres found on some of the eyes to keep out the suffocating particles, and the vapour mountains. The present Mongolian population are wanwhich carries them. The camels instinctively bury their dering tribes, professing the religion of the Dalai-Lama, noses in the sand for the same purpose, while the horse, and keeping immense flocks of horses, camels, cattle, unless inured to it by experience, and trained to take the sheep, and goats, and therefore, plentifully provided with same precaution, suffers fearfully, if not fatally. When all the necessaries of life, and, indeed, raised far abore the danger is passed, and the bewildered fainting traveller many other nations in their habits and customs. rises from his constrained position, ho often finds all The desert of Kobi resembles that of Africa, consisting the known landmarks swept away, which were to guide of a mass of barren sand, incapable of cultivation, and him on his path, his associates dead from fatigue, heat, or nearly destituto of water from the absence of vegetation. suffocation, or if he escapes these calamities, his provisions, his clothes, his stock, are usually much injured, if not destroyed by the sand, which is so subtile and penetrating, The tribes who overran the Roman empire, and came as to enter every package, however closely secured and from the East, the Huns, Avars, and Alani, are supposed guarded. We have endeavoured to convey an idea of the to have emigrated from this Table-Land of Asia; and some appearance of a sand-storm and its effects, in the engraving of the Gothic tribes, as they are called, came from a more at the beginning of this paper.

limited plain of Europe, Jutland, and Denmark, which, THE TABLE LAND OF CENTRAL ASIA.

though now peopled, yet preserves some of its natural

characters, and is marked out by extensive heaths, which Between the thirtieth and fiftieth parallels of latitude still present an obstacle to all cultivation. Why these un from the Caspian Sea to Lake Baikal, and from the sources inviting districts should have been so apparently over of the Indus to the wall of China, is an immense Table- peopled that emigration was rendered necessary, when the Land, parts of which are the highest spots, not being mere rest of the known world was comparatively under-populated, peaks of mountains, on the globe. Generally it consists of an is a mystery in history which there is no means of fully assemblage of naked mountains, enormous rocks, and vast explaining: it may be partly accounted for by the plains, the principal of which latter is the Desert of Kobi, peculiar nature of the physical geography of this central or Shamo.

These table-lands form two distinct tracts, region, which presents facilities of communication, and differing in extent and elevation: the most eastern, com- varieties of soil and climate, favourable to the spread of prising the plateau of Thibet, and the great desert of Kobi population. Its present comparative solitude is due to or Gobi, rises from 4 to upwards of 10,000 feet above the moral causes, to which we have not space to do more than level of the sea, and contains about 7,000,000 square miles. / allude.

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VOL. v.


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