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I will not dwell upon its streets, its edifices, its public squares, its fountains, though some of these are remarkable enough: but Petersburg has finer streets, Paris and Edinburgh more stately edifices, London far nobler squares, whilst Shiraz can boast of more costly fountains, though not cooler waters. But the population! Within a mud wall, scarcely one league and a half in circuit, are contained two hundred thousand human beings, certainly forming the most extraordinary vital mass to be found in the entire world; and be it always remembered that this mass is strictly Spanish. The population of Constantinople is extraordinary enough, but to form it twenty nations have contributed–Greeks, Armenians, Persians, Poles, Jews, the latter, by the by, of Spanish origin, and speaking amongst themselves the old Spanish language; but the huge population of Madrid, with the exception of a sprinkling of foreigners, chiefly French tailors, glove-makers, and perruquiers, is strictly Spanish, though a considerable portion are not natives of the place. Here are no colonies of Germans, as at St Petersburg; no English factories, as at Lisbon; no multitudes of insolent Yankees lounging through the streets, as at the Havannah, with an air which seems to say the land is our own whenever we choose to take it; but a population which, however strange and wild, and composed of various elements, is Spanish, and will remain so as long as the city itself shall exist. Hail, ye aguadores of Asturia! who, in your dress of coarse duffel and leathern skull-caps, are seen seated in hundreds by the fountain-sides, upon your empty watercasks, or staggering with them filled to the topmost stories of lofty houses. Hail, ye caleseros of Valencia : who, lolling lazily against your vehicles, rasp tobacco for your paper cigars whilst waiting for a fare. Hail to you, beggars of La Mancha! men and women, who, wrapped in coarse blankets, demand charity indifferently at the gate of the palace or the prison. Hail to you, valets from the mountains, mayordomos and secretaries from Biscay and Guipuscoa, toreros from Andalusia, riposteros from Galicia, shopkeepers from Catalonia! Hail to ye, Castilians, Estremenians, and Aragonese, of whatever calling! And, lastly, genuine sons of the capital, rabble of Madrid, ye twenty thousand manolos, whose terrible knives, on the second morning of May, worked such grim havoc amongst the legions of Murat' And the higher orders—the ladies and gentlemen, the cavaliers and señoras; shall I pass them by in silence? The truth is, I have little to say about them; I mingled but little in their society, and what I saw of them by no means tended to exalt them in my imagination. I am not one of those who, wherever they go, make it a constant practice to disparage the higher orders, and to exalt the populace at their expense. There are many capitals in which the high aristocracy, the lords and ladies, the sons and daughters of nobility, constitute the most remarkable and the most interesting part of the population. This is the case at Vienna, and more especially at London. Who can rival the English aristocrat in lofty stature, in dignified bearing, in strength of hand, and valour of heart? Who rides a nobler horse? Who has a firmer seat? And who more lovely than his wife, or sister, or daughter? But with respect to the Spanish aristocracy, I believe the less that is said of them on the points to which I have just alluded the better. I confess, however, that I know little about them. Le Sage has described them as they were nearly two centuries ago. His description is anything but captivating, and I do not think that they have improved since the period of the immortal Frenchman. I would sooner talk of the lower class, not only of Madrid, but of all Spain. The Spaniard of the lower class has much more interest for me, whether manolo, labourer, or muleteer. He is not a common being; he is an extraordinary man. He has not, it is true, the amiability and generosity of the Russian mujik, who will give his only rouble rather
than : stranger shall want; nor his placid courage,
Layard (born in Paris, of French Protestant parents, in 1817) had travelled extensively in the East, and was devoted to the study of Eastern antiquities and manners. The vast mounds near Mosul, on the banks of the Tigris, were traditionally known as the site of the ancient Nineveh; the French consul at Mosul, M. Botta, had made interesting discoveries at Khorsabad; and, stimulated by his example, Mr Layard entered on a course of excavations at the same spot. The generosity of Sir Stratford Canning—now Lord Stratford de Redcliffe—supplied funds for the expedition. In October 1845, Mr Layard reached Mosul, and commenced operations at Nimroud, about eighteen miles lower down the Tigris. He descended the river on a raft.
[Appearance of Nimroud.]
It was evening as we approached the spot. The spring rains had clothed the mound with the richest verdure, and the fertile meadows which stretched around it were covered with flowers of every hue. Amidst this luxuriant vegetation were partly concealed a few fragments of bricks, pottery, and alabaster, upon which might be traced the well-defined wedges of the cuneiform character. Did not these remains mark the nature of the ruin, it might have been confounded with a natural eminence. A long line of consecutive narrow mounds, still retaining the appearance of walls or ramparts, stretched from its base, and formed a vast quadrangle. The river flowed at some distance from them : its waters, swollen by the melting of the snows on the Armenian hills, were broken into a thousand foaming whirlpools by an artificial barrier, built across the stream. On the eastern bank the soil had been washed away by the current ; but a solid mass of masonry still withstood its impetuosity. The Arab, who guided my small raft, gave himself up to religious ejaculations as we approached this formidable cataract, over which we were carried with some violence. Once safely through the danger, my companion explained to me that this unusual change in the quiet face of the river was caused by a great dam which had been built by Nimrod, and that in the autumn, before the winter rains, the huge stones of which it was constructed, squared, and united by cramps of iron, were frequently visible above the surface of the stream. It was, in fact, one of those monuments of a great people, to be found in all the rivers of Mesopotamia, which were undertaken to insure a constant supply of water to the innumerable canals, spreading like network over the surrounding country, and which, even in the days of Alexander, were looked upon as the works of an ancient nation. No wonder that the traditions of the present inhabitants of the land should assign them to one of the founders of the human race ! The Arab was telling me of the connection between the dam and the city built by Athur, the lieutenant of Nimrod, the vast ruins of which were now before us—of its purpose as a causeway for the mighty hunter to cross to the opposite palace, now represented by the mound of Hammum Ali--and of the histories and fate of the kings of a primitive race, still the favourite theme of the inhabitants of the plains of Shinar, when the last glow of twilight faded away, and I fell asleep as we glided onward to Baghdad.
The ‘cuneiform character’ referred to is the arrowheaded alphabet, or signs and characters found on bricks, on cylinders, on the remains of ancient buildings, and on the smooth surfaces of rocks, from the Euphrates to the eastern boundary of Persia. Professor Grotofend deciphered certain names in these inscriptions, and his discovery has been followed up by Sir Henry Rawlinson, Dr Hincks, and others, with distinguished success. Mr Layard commenced his operations at Nimroud on a vast mound, 1800 feet long, 900 broad, and 60 or 70 feet high. On digging down into the rubbish, chambers of white marble were brought to light; then sculptures with cuneiform inscriptions, winged lions with human heads, sphinxes, bassreliefs representing hunting-pieces and battlescenes, with illustrations of domestic life. One discovery caused great consternation among the labourers.
[Discovery of a Colossal Sculpture.]
On the morning I rode to the encampment of Sheikh Abd-ur-rahman, and was returning to the mound, when I saw two Arabs of his tribe urging their mares to the top of their speed. On approaching me, they stopped. ‘Hasten, O Bey, exclaimed one of them—‘hasten to the diggers, for they have found Nimrod himself. Wallah, it is wonderful, but it is true ! we have seen him with our eyes. There is no god but God;’ and both joining in this pious exclamation, they galloped off, without further words, in the direction of their tents.
On reaching the ruins I descended into the new trench, and found the workmen, who had already seen
me as I approached, standing near a heap of baskets and cloaks. Whilst Awad advanced and asked for a present to celebrate the occasion, the Arabs withdrew the screen they had hastily constructed, and disclosed an enormous human head sculptured in full out of the alabaster of the country. They had uncovered the upper part of a figure, the remainder of which was still buried in the earth. I saw at once that the head must belong to a winged lion or bull, similar to those of Khorsabad and Persepolis. It was in admirable preservation. The expression was calm, yet majestic, and the outline of the features shewed a freedom and knowledge of art scarcely to be looked for in the works of so remote a period. The cap had three horns, and, unlike that of the human-headed bulls hitherto found in Assyria, was rounded and without ornament at the top. I was not surprised that the Arabs had been amazed and terrified at this apparition. It required no stretch of imagination to conjure up the most strange fancies. This gigantic head, blanched with age, thus rising from the bowels of the earth, might well have belonged to one of those fearful beings which are pictured in the traditions of the country as appearing to mortals, slowly ascending from the regions below. One of the workmen, on catching the first glimpse of the monster, had thrown down his basket and run off towards Mosul as fast as his legs could carry him. I learned this with regret, as I anticipated the consequences. Whilst I was superintending the removal of the earth, which still clung to the sculpture, and giving directions for the continuation of the work, a noise of horsemen was heard, and presently Abd-ur-rahman, followed by half his tribe, appeared on the edge of the trench. As soon as the two Arabs had reached the tents, and published the wonders they had seen, every one mounted his mare and rode to the mound, to satisfy himself of the truth of these inconceivable reports. When they beheld the head, they all cried together: “There is no god but God, and Mohammed is his prophet !” It was some time before the sheikh could be prevailed upon to descend into the pit, and convince himself that the image he saw was of stone. ‘This is not the work of men's hands, exclaimed he, “but of those infidel giants of whom the prophet—peace be with him !—has said that they were higher than the tallest date-tree; this is one of the idols which Noah—peace be with him —cursed before the flood. In this opinion, the result of a careful examination, all the bystanders concurred.
The semi-barbarism of the people caused frequent difficulties; but the traveller's tact, liberality, and courage overcame them all. In about twelve months, eight chambers were opened. Additional funds for prosecuting researches were obtained through the trustees of the British Museum, and ultimately twenty-eight halls and galleries were laid open, and the most valuable of the exhumed treasures transmitted to the British Museum. Mr Layard afterwards commenced excavations at Kouyunjik, on the plain beyond the Tigris, opposite Mosul, and was there equally successful. In 1849, he undertook a second expedition, funds having been supplied (though with a niggardly hand) by the trustees of the Museum and the government. On this occasion, Mr Layard extended his researches to Babylon and the confines of Persia, but the most valuable results were obtained in the field of his former labours, at Nimroud and Kouyunjik. The sculptures were of all kinds, one of the most remarkable being a figure of Dagon—a four-winged male divinity. There were representations of almost every mode of life-banquets, processions, sieges, forts, captives in fetters, criminals undergoing punishment, &c., The Assyrians appear to have been familiar with the most cruel barbarities—flaying alive, impaling, and torturing their prison: In the mechanical arts they were inferior to the Egyptians, and in moving those gigantic sculptures they had no motive-power but physical force—the captives, malefactors, and slaves being employed. The well-known emblems of Egyptian art appear on those Assyrian marbles, and Sir Gardiner Wilkinson considers this as disproving their early date. They are all, he concludes, within the date 1000 B.C., illustrating the periods of Shalmaneser and Sennacherib; and Mr Layard is also of opinion that the Assyrian palaces he explored were built by Sennacherib, who came to the throne at the end of the seventh century before Christ. The mounds at Nimroud, Kouyunjik, and Khorasan would seem to be all parts of one vast city or capital—the Nineveh of Jonah, which was a three days’ journey, and contained 100,000 children, or a population of half a million. The measurement of the space within the ruins gives an area almost identical with that assigned by the prophet. The account of this second expedition was published by Mr Layard in 1853, under the title of Discoveries in the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon. He afterwards entered into public life, was a short time Under-secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, and member of parliament for Aylesbury; he visited the Crimea during the war with Russia, and on his return was one of the most urgent in demanding inquiry into the management of the army. His zeal was not always controlled by judgment; and those who had most cordially admired him as the enlightened and intrepid explorer of Eastern antiquities, were not disposed to regret that the constituency of Aylesbury, in 1857, declined to return him again to parliament.
We are now amid the date-groves. If it be autumn, clusters of golden fruit hang beneath the fan-like leaves; if spring, the odour of orange blossoms fills the air. The cooing of the doves that flutter among the branches begets a pleasing melancholy, and a feeling of listlessness and repose. The raft creeps round a projecting bank, and two gilded domes and four stately minarets, all glittering in the rays of an Eastern sun, rise suddenly high above the dense bed of palms. They are of the mosque of Kaithaman, which covers the tombs of two of the Imaums or holy saints of the Sheeah sect. The low banks swarm with Arabs—men, women, and naked children. Mud hovels screened by yellow mats, and groaning water-wheels worked by the patient ox, are seen beneath the palms. The Tigris becomes wider and wider, and the stream is almost motionless. Circular boats of reeds, coated with bitumen, skim over the water. Horsemen and riders on white asses hurry along the river-side. Turks in flowing robes and broad turbans; Persians in high black caps and close-fitting tunics; the Bokhara pilgrim in his white head-dress and way-worn garments; the Bedouin chief in his tasseled keffiih and striped aba; Baghdad ladies with their scarlet and white draperies, fretted with threads of gold, and their black horse-hair veils concealing even their wanton eyes; Persian women wrapped in their sightless garments; and Arab girls in their simple blue shirts, are all mingled together in one motley crowd. A busy stream of travellers flows without ceasing from the gates of the western suburb of Baghdad to the sacred precincts of Kaithaman.
An account of the Highlands of Ethiopia, by MAJOR W. CoRNwALLIs HARRIs, H.E.I.C. Engineers, three volumes, 1844, also abounds with novel and interesting information. The author was emp'd to conduct a mission which the British
government sent to Sahela Selasse, the king of Shoa, in Southern Abyssinia, whose capital, Ankober, was supposed to be about four hundred miles inland from the port of Tajura, on the African coast. The king consented to form a commercial treaty, and Major Harris conceives that a profitable intercourse might be maintained by Great Britain with this productive part of the world.
DAW ID LIVINGSTON E.
Since the period of Mungo Park's travels and melancholy fate, no explorer of Africa has excited so strong a personal interest as MR DAVID LIVINGSTONE, a Scottish missionary, whose Researches in
South Africa were published in 1857. Mr Livingstone had then returned to England, where his arrival was celebrated as a national event, after completing a series of expeditions, commenced sixteen years before, and which he is still prosecuting, for the purpose of exploring the interior of Africa, and spreading religious knowledge and commerce. The narrative describes long and perilous journeys in a country, the greater part of which had never before been visited by an European, and contains a great amount of information respecting the natives, the geography, botany, and natural products of Africa. In the belief that Christianity can only be effectually extended by being united to commerce, Dr Livingstone endeavoured to point out and develop the capabilities of the new region for mercantile intercourse. The missionary, he argues, should be a trader—a fact known to the Jesuits in Africa, and also to the Dutch clergy, but neglected by our Protestant missionary societies. ‘By the introduction of the raw material of our manufactures, African and English interests will be more closely linked than heretofore; both countries will be eventually benefited, and the cause of freedom throughout the world will be promoted. To these patriotic and national advantages indicated by Dr Livingstone, his work possesses the interest springing from a personal narrative of difficulties overcome and dangers encountered, pictures of new and strange modes of life, with descriptions of natural objects and magnificent scenery. The volume fills 687 pages, and is illustrated with maps by Arrowsmith, and a number of lithographs. The style is simple, and a little more practice at book-making would have enabled the traveller to condense his materials and present them in a better shape; but the solid value of the work is not surpassed by any book of travels of modern date. Dr Livingstone was admirably fitted for his mission. He was early inured to hardship. From his wages as a poor weaver, he put himself to college, and studied medicine. His ambition was to become a missionary to China, but the opium war was unfavourable, and he proceeded, under the auspices of the London Missionary Society, to Africa. The most remote station from the Cape then occupied by our missionaries was Kuruman or Latakoo. Thither our author repaired, and excluding himself for six months from all European society, he gained a knowledge of the language of the Bechuanas, their habits, laws, &c., which proved of incalculable advantage to him. The Bechuana people were ruled over by a chief named Sechele, who was converted to Christianity. The people are social and kindly, and Dr Livingstone and his wife set about instructing them, using only mild persuasion. Their teaching did good in preventing wars and calling the better feelings into play, but polygamy was firmly established amongst them: they considered it highly cruel to turn off their wives. They excused themselves by thinking they were an inferior race. In a strain of natural pathos they used to say, ‘God made black men first, and did not love us as he did the white men. He made you beautiful, and gave you clothing, and guns, and gunpowder, and horses, and wagons, and many other things about which we know nothing. But towards us he had no heart. He gave us nothing except the assegai (with which they kill game), and cattle, and rain-making, and he did not give us hearts like yours. The rain-making is a sort of charm—an incantation by which the rain-doctors, in seasons of drought, imagine they can produce moisture. The station ultimately chosen by Dr Livingstone as the centre of operations was about three hundred miles north of Kuruman. In one of his expeditions he was accompanied by two English travellers, Major Vardon and Mr Oswell;" and the party discovered the great lake Ngami, about seventy miles in circumference, till then unknown except to the natives. About one hundred and thirty miles north-east from this point the travellers came upon the river Zambesi, a noble stream in the centre of the continent. In June 1852, he commenced another expedition, the greatest he had yet attempted, which lasted four years. In six months he reached the capital of the Makololo territory, Linyanti, which is twelve hundred miles above the latitude of Cape Town. The people were desirous of obtaining a direct trade with the sea-coast, and with an escort of twenty-seven men he set out to discover the route thither. The traveller's outfit was small enough:
[An African Explorer's Outfit.]
We carried one small tin canister, about fifteen inches square, filled with spare shirting, trousers, and shoes, to be used when we reached civilised life, and others in a bag, which were expected to wear out on the way;
* Another English traveller, MR RoualEYN GoRDoN CUMMiNG, penetrated into this region, following a wild sporting career, and has published Five Years of a Hunter's Life in the Far Interior of South Africa, two volumes, 1850.
another of the same size for medicines; and a third for books, my stock being a Nautical Almanac, Thomson's Logarithm Tables, and a Bible; a fourth box contained a magic lantern, which we found of much use. The sextant and artificial horizon, thermometer and compasses, were carried apart. My ammunition was distributed in portions through the whole luggage, so that, if an accident should befall one part, we could still have others to fall back upon. Our chief hopes for food were upon that, but in case of failure I took about twenty pounds of beads, worth forty shillings, which still remained of the stock I brought from Cape Town; a small gipsy tent, just sufficient to sleep in; a sheepskin mantle as a blanket, and a horse-rug as a bed. As I had always found that the art of successful travel consisted in taking as few “impediments’ as possible, and not forgetting to carry my wits about me, the outfit was rather spare, and intended to be still more so when we should come to leave the canoes. Some would consider it injudicious to adopt this plan, but I had a secret conviction that if I did not succeed it would not be for lack of the ‘knickknacks' advertised as indispensable for travellers, but from want of ‘pluck, or because a large array of baggage excited the cupidity of the tribes through whose country we wished to pass.
They ascended the rivers Chobe and Leeambye, and stopped at the town of Shesheke, where Dr Livingstone preached to audiences of five and six hundred. After reaching a point 800 miles north of Linyanti, he turned to the west, and finally reached Loanda, on the shores of the Atlantic. The incidents of this long journey are, of course, varied. The fertility of the country—the Barotze district, and the valley of the Quango, with grass reaching two feet above the traveller's head, the forests, &c., are described at length. There appeared to be no want of food, although the amount of cultivated land is “as nothing with what might be brought under the plough. In this central region the people are not all quite black, some inclining to bronze-the dialects spoken glide into one another. Dr Livingstone confirms the statements by Mr Roualeyn Gordon Cumming with respect to the vast amount of game and the exciting hunting scenes in that African territory. The following is a wholesale mode of destroying game practised by the Bechuanas:
[Hunting on a Great Scale.]
Very great numbers of the large game—buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, tsessébes, kamas or hartebeests, kokongs or gnus, pallas, rhinoceroses, &c.—congregated at some fountains near Kolobeng, and the trap called hopo was constructed in the lands adjacent for their destruction. The hopo consists of two hedges in the form of the letter W, which are very high and thick near the angle, Instead of the hedges being joined there, they are made to form a lane of about fifty yards in length, at the extremity of which a pit is formed, six or eight feet deep, and about twelve or fifteen in breadth and length. Trunks of trees are laid across the margins of the pit, and more especially over that nearest the lane where the animals are expected to leap in, and over that furthest from the lane where it is supposed they will attempt to escape after they are in. The trees form an overlapping border, and render escape almost impossible. The whole is carefully decked with short green rushes, making the pit like a concealed pitfall. As the hedges are frequently about a mile long and about as much apart at their extremities, a tribe making a circle three or four miles round the country adjacent to the opening, and gradually closing up, are almost sure to enclose a large body of game. Driving it up with shouts to the narrow part of the hopo, men secreted there throw their javelins into the affrighted herds, and on the animals rush to the opening presented at the converging hedges, and into the pit till that is full of a living mass. Some escape by running over the others, as a Smithfield market dog does over the sheep's backs. It is a frightful scene. The men, wild with excitement, spear the lovely animals with mad delight: others of the poor creatures, borne down by the weight of their dead and dying companions, every now and then make the whole mass heave in their smothering agonies.
Dr Livingstone left Loanda on 20th September 1854, and returned to Linyanti, which was reached in the autumn of 1855. Excited by the account of what wonders they had seen, as told by the men who accompanied Dr Livingstone to the shores of the Atlantic, the Makololo people flocked to his standard in great numbers when he announced an expedition to the east coast of Africa. With a party of one hundred and fourteen picked men of the tribe, he started for the Portuguese colony of Killimane, on the east coast, in November 1855. The chief supplied oxen, and there was always abundance of game. He found that British manufactures penetrate into all regions.
[English Manufactures in the Interior of South Africa.]
When crossing at the confluence of the Leeba and Makondo, one of my men picked up a bit of a steel watch-chain of English manufacture, and we were informed that this was the spot where the Mambari cross in coming to Masiko. Their visits explain why Sekelenke kept his tusks so carefully. These Mambari are very enterprising merchants; when they mean to trade with a town, they deliberately begin the affair by building huts, as if they knew that little business could be transacted without a liberal allowance of time for palaver. They bring Manchester goods into the heart of Africa: these cotton prints look so wonderful that the Makololo could not believe them to be the work of mortal hands. On questioning the Mambari, they were answered that English manufactures came out of the sea, and beads were gathered on its shore. To Africans our cotton-mills are fairy dreams. ‘How can the irons spin, weave, and print so beautifully?” Our country is like what Taprobane was to our ancestors--a strange realm of light, whence came the diamond, muslin, and peacocks. An attempt at explanation of our manufactures usually elicits the expression, ‘Truly, ye are gods !’
After a journey of six months the party reached Killimane, where Dr Livingstone remained till July, and then sailed for England. One of the Makololo people would not leave him; ‘Let me die at your feet, he said; but the various objects on board the ship, and the excitement of the voyage proved too much for the reason of the poor savage; he leaped overboard, and was drowned. The great object of Dr Livingstone is to turn the interior of this fertile country and the river Zambesi, which he discovered, into a scene of British commerce. The Portuguese are near the main entrance to the new central region, but they evince a liberal and enlightened spirit, and are likely to invite mercantile enterprise up the Zambesi, by offering facilities to those who may push commerce into the regions lying far beyond their territory. The “white men are welcomed by the natives, who are anxious to engage in commerce. Their country is well adapted for cotton, and there are hundreds of miles of fertile land unoccupied. The region near the coast is unh', and the first object must be to secure
means of ready transit to the high lands on the borders of the central basin, which are comparatively healthy. The river Zambesi has not been surveyed, but during four or five months there is abundance of water for a large vessel. There are three hundred miles of navigable river, then a rapid intervenes, after which there is another reach of three hundred miles. Dr Livingstone proposes the formation of stations on the Zambesi beyond the Portuguese territory, but having communication through them with the coast. Shortly after the publication of his Researches, the doctor set out on another and more imposing expedition to the country of the Makololo. He reached the boundaries of civilisation in safety, whence he proceeded to the scene of his labours and triumphs with high hopes and undaunted courage. It may be long ere we learn the success of the mission, and we can only bid him God-speed on his patriotic enterprise.
Expeditions to the arctic regions were continued after the fruitless voyage of Sir John Ross, 1829–33. The interval of 160 miles between Point Barrow, and the furthest point to which Captain Franklin penetrated, was, in 1837, surveyed by MR THOMAs SIMPsoN and the servants of the Hudson's Bay Company. The latter had, with great generosity, lent their valuable assistance to complete the geography of that region, and Mr Simpson was enthusiastically devoted to the same object. In the summer of 1837, he, with his senior officer, Mr Dease, started from the Great Slave Lake, following the steps of Franklin as far as the point called Franklin's Farthest, whence they traced the remainder of the coast to the westward to Point Barrow, by which they completed our knowledge of this coast the whole way west of the Coppermine River, as far as Behring's Straits. Wintering at the northeast angle of the Great Bear Lake, the party descended the Coppermine River, and followed the coast eastwards as far as the mouth of the Great Fish River, discovered by Back in 1834. The expedition comprised ‘the navigation of a tempestuous ocean beset with ice, for a distance exceeding 1400 geographical or 1600 statute miles, in open boats, together with all the fatigues of long land-journeys and the perils of the climate. In 1839 the Geographical Society of London rewarded Mr Simpson with a medal, for ‘advancing almost to completion the solution of the great problem of the configuration of the northern shore of the North American continent. While returning to Europe in June 1840, Mr Simpson died, it is supposed, by his own hand in a paroxysm of insanity, after shooting two of the four men who accompanied him from the Red River colony. Mr Simpson was a native of Dingwall, in Ross-shire, and at the time of his melancholy death was only in his thirty-second year. His Narrative of the Discoveries on the North Coast of America, effected by the Officers of the Hudson's Bay Company during the years 1836–39, was published in 1843.
In 1845 the Admiralty commissioned two ships, the Erebus and Terror, to prosecute the problem of the North-west Passage. Captain Sir John Franklin had returned from Tasmania, and the expedition was placed under charge of that experienced and skilful commander, Captain Crozier being the second in command. The expedition was seen in Davis Strait by some whalers, and it was discovered that they passed the winter of 1845–46 in a small cove between Cape Riley and Beechey Island, facing