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it without warm admiration. To ourselves, who have watched for some years back, with no unfriendly eyes, the improvement of his taste and the development of his genius, it is an additional source of pleasure to find our most favourable prognostics confirmed, and the promise of the youth so completely answered by the ripened fruits of the man. His juvenile lines on the Apollo Belvidere, with more originality than such productions commonly exbibit, had nevertheless all the characteristics, good or bad, of juvenile poetry. In his • Fazio,' with many remarkable proofs of genius, there was much to prune away, and inuch yet wanting which care and cultivation might supply; and his · Samor' was so overloaded with beauties, that the attention was lost and wearied amid a maze of fragrance, and required some sterner and more naked features from which to, derive new vigour and refreshment.
Tρίς μεν ορέξατ' ιών, το δε τετρατον --He has now produced a poem in which the peculiar merits of his earlier efforts are heightened, and their besetting faults, even beyond expectation, corrected ;--a poem to which, without extravagant encomium it is not unsafe to promise whatever immortality the English language can bestow, and which may, of itself, entitle its author to a conspicuous and honourable place in our poetical pantheon, among those who have drunk deep at the fountain-head of intellect, and enriched themselves with the spoils, without encumbering themselves with the trammels of antiquity. But he must not stop even here. He has yet something to unlearn; he has yet much to add to his own reputation and that of his country. Remarkably as Britain is now distinguished by its living poetical talent, our time has room for him; and has need of him. For sacred poetry, (a walk whịch Milton alone has hitherto successfully trodden,) his taste, his peculiar talents, his education, and his profession appear alike to designate him; and, while, by a strange predilection for the worser half of manicheism, one of the mightiest spirits of the age has, apparently, devoted himself and his genius to the adornment and extension of evil, we may be well exhilarated by the accession of a new and potent ally to the cause of human virtue and happiness, whose example may furnish an additional evidence that purity and weakness are not synonymous, and that the torch of genius never burns so bright as when duly kindled at the Altar.
Art. XI.- Voyage dans l'Intérieur de l'Afrique aux Sources du
Sénégal et de la Gambie, fuit en 1818, par ordre du Gouvernement Français. Par G. Mollien. Paris. 1820. REFORE we attend to M. Mollien, whose' voyage' will occa
sion us little trouble, we must advert to a subject which we VOL. XXIIT. NO. XLV.
have much at heart, and which indeed is somewhat more interesting than any which his book supplies.
We have the painful task of recording the sacrifice of another victim to the cause of African discovery. Mr. Ritchie (the person of whom we speak) was, perhaps, only inferior to Mr. Burckhardt in those qualifications which are peculiarly requisite for conducting researches in a quarter of the globe of which so little is known accurately, and so much remains to be investigated; in some respects, indeed, he might be said to have the advantage of him, being a good practical astronomer, and well acquainted with the use of mathematical and philosophical instruments. He had also a competent knowledge of medicine, having served his apprenticeship with a regular surgeon. At the conclusion of the late war, he went to Paris, and was received into the family of Sir Charles Stuart, in the capacity, we believe, of private secretary. Here he had an opportunity of attending the polytechnic schools; and the progress which he made in natural history, astronomy, chemistry, and other branches of science, joined to his situation in the British Embassy, brought him acquainted with most of the leading men in that capital. Among other eminent characters, he was particularly noticed by the Baron de Humboldt; and when it was publicly reported, that his Majesty's government intended to avail itself of the favourable disposition of the Bashaw of Tripoly to encourage the prosecution of discovery in the interior of Africa, this celebrated traveller, who was then in England, took an opportunity of recommending Mr. Ritchie as a person highly qualified for such an undertaking
On the first intimation given to Mr. Ritchie of what was in contemplation, he immediately resigned the situation which he held in the ainbassador's household, and came over to England. From Lord Bathurst he received the most liberal encouragement. To give more weight to the mission, and to contribute, it was hoped, to his personal security, he was invested with the official character of vice-consul of Mourzouk, the capital of Fezzan. An ample sum was allotted for his expenses, for the purchase of instruments connected with the various objects of science, and for presents to the native chiefs and others. In the spring of 1818 he returned to Paris, where he remained for about six months studying the Arabie language, under the instructions of an Arab whom he met with in that city; and in daily attendance at the observatory, in order to acquire a readiness in the use of astronomical instruments.
Though the principal object of the mission was the determination of the leading geographical features of the interior of Africa, yet, anxious to render the results of the enterprize as useful as possible to the progress of general science, he engaged a young French
man of the name of Dupont, belonging to the Jardin des Plantes, to accompany him, and undertake the collection and preservation of the various objects of natural history which might be met with ini the course of their journey.*
Mr. Ritchie arrived at Malta in September, where he was joined by Lieutenant Lyon of the Albion, (bearing the flag of Sir Charles Penrose,) who volunteered to accompany bim, as did also John Belford, a carpenter in the dock-yard of Malta. The admiral appointed a ship of war to convey him to Tripoli, where he arrived in October, and met with the most flattering reception. The Bashaw granted him all the privileges of British vice-consuls; and protection in every part of the Tripolitan dominions was secured to him in the most ample and unreserved manner.
Mr. Ritchie visited many parts of the regency, and made considerable collections of plants, minerals and insects. He experienced nothing but kindness and civility from every class of the inhabitants; and such was the favourable impression made on his mind by their uniformly obliging and respectful behaviour, that in one of his letters he says, “ I am confident that when I meet with a Tripolitan in the interior, I may expect to find a friend.'
While waiting at Tripoli, Mahommed el Muckne, the Bey of Fezzan, arrived with a large coffila of slaves, taken in one of his annual predatory expeditions into Soudan. To this chief he was introduced and recommended by the Bashaw, and he experienced at his hands, both then and afterwards, every mark of kinduess and attention. He travelled with him to Mourzouk, which they reached on the 3d of May, 1819, having left Tripoli in March. The best house in the place was appropriated for his residence, and the British flag waved for the first time over the capital of Fezzan. Mr. Ritchie soon experienced the important advantages of being a recognized agent of the British government. The character of Englishmen stood high in Tripoli, and was not unknown in Fezzan. By the natives of every description he was treated with all possible respect; and his house became the resort of the principal inhabitants of the city.
Mr. Ritchie had not been long at Mourzouk before it was announced to him that an expedition was on foot against the Eastern
* This wise measure had all the success which might have been expected from it. M. Dupont, (to end his history at once,) after receiving a year's salary at Tripoli before it was due, left Mr. Ritchie, hy the advice, it was supposed, of the French consul at that place; and was heard of no more. We trust this is the last experiment of this kiud that will be tried :
Juugentur capreæ lupis, than a nation so jealous and so envious of our literary reputation unite in a kindly yoke to further its advancement.
Tibboos of the tribe of Burgu, to be conducted by the Bey himself, whom he determined to accompany. During the preparations for this journey he was seized with a fever which confined him to his bed, with frequent delirium, for two months. From this severe attack he recovered but slowly, and never entirely; at intervals the fever returned, and reduced him at length to such a state of debility that, on the 20th October, he expired without a struggle. He had for some months refused to také such nourishment as the place afforded, which was probably miserable enough, and might almost be said to have subsisted on bark. By the death of this young man the cause of African discovery has sustained a great loss. Had his life been spared, there is every reason to believe, from the propriety of his conduct, and the general esteem in which he was held, that he would have conducted the enterprize on which he was engaged to a successful termination. In reporting his death, Colonel Warrington, the resident consul of Tripoli, observes — As a public character, his whole conduct since I have had the honour to know him, entitles him to my warmest approbation and the highest admiration—as a private one, I feel the loss of that friendship which I valued as much as that of any human being. Although our acquaintance was but of short duration, still his virtues, his talents, his prepossessing and most engaging disposition were so conspicuous that it was impossible not to feel more than a common degree of friendship towards him, and the most lively interest on every point relating to his welfare.'
Though the career of Mr. Ritchie was short, we may safely say it has not been without its use. From the moment of his arrival in Africa he commenced his inquiries into African subjects, and collected much important and interesting information respecting the nature of negro slavery in the interior, and the practices of those concerned in this abominable traffic. He was perfectly satistied that the accursed means adopted for making captives, were the chief and almost the sole impediments to the progress of European travellers in Soudan; and that if once abolished, the road from Fezzan to Guinea would be as open as that from London to Edinburgh.' The activity with which of late years this trade has been carried on in the northern parts of Africa, has thrown the whole of Soudan into a most confused and unsettled state; every tribe endeavouring to seize and carry off its neighbours, and committing the most horrible excesses. The number of victims brought from the eastward and the southward to Mourzouk, in the course of the year 1819, amounted to about five thousand.
It appears to have been _Mr. Ritchie's intention to pass a year in exploring the country of Fezzan and the surrounding tribes; and towards the month of November, at which time the season for
travelling travelling commences, to proceed to Bornou. Of this intention he had found means to apprize the Sultan of Bornou and the Sheik of Kanem, through a Hadji of the name of Hamet, whose wife was a daughter of the latter. She had been taken prisoner in one of the inroads made upon Kanem by the Bey of Fezzan, and brought by him to Tripoli, where the Bashaw, on discovering who she was, ordered her to be set at liberty. From both these sovereigns Mr. Ritchie received assurances of the most friendly reception. At Bornou he intended to pass a few months; and from thence to proceed to Kashna, where he also proposed to make some stay, in the hope of procuring some decisive information respecting the trade on the Niger, and the practicability of reaching Egypt by the navigation of that river; or, if he obtained no satisfactory intelligence on this point, to visit Nyffe on the Bahr el Soudan, where Hornemann died; thence to proceed to the southward of the Niger by the way of Dogomba to Ashantee, and embark at Cape Coast for England.
The establishment of a vice-consul at Mourzouk is of such obvious utility that we are glad to find it is meant to be continued, and that Lieutenant Lyon has been appointed to succeed his late friend and fellow traveller. It is important that the character of England should be well known throughout Africa; and we know of no better means of effecting this, than by an accredited agent residing at this central spot. The conduct of Mr. Ritchie bad endeared him to every class of the inhabitants of Fezzan, and the regret for his loss was deep and general. His kind and conciliating manners, bis extensive knowledge, and the medical advice and assistance which he had the means of bestowing, shed a lustre on the British character which is duly appreciated in the states of Tripoli, and is not altogether without respect even as far as the banks of the Niger.
In our last Number we endeavoured to shew, and we are willing to think not unsuccessfully, that the confluence of this great river and the Nile of Egypt was not impossible; we might perhaps have ventured a step further, and, from the general testimony in its favour, have argued it to be not improbable. To this point tends all the information collected by Mr. Ritchie, of whose notes respecting the interior of Africa we shall now lay before our readers a short abstract.
The first part of the intelligence relates to the countries and people between Tripoli and Timbuctoo. It was procured from Mahommed, a schoolmaster in Tripoli, born at Timbuctoo of Tripolitan parents. Ile bad twice travelled from Tripoli to that city, by the way of Ghadames and Tuat. From Tripoli to Ghadames is a journey of thirteen or fourteen days. From that