[ocr errors]

The Nile.

southern part; Middle Egypt; and Lower Egypt, which | very reverse is the case. The waters are speedily dried
included what was called the Delta, a low

district of up, and carried off as vapours by the winds, leaving the
land on the shores of the Mediterranean, formed by the climate so remarkably dry, that meat in the open air
mouths of the Nile into the shape of the Greek letter will not putrefy, but be dried or shrivelled up. Rain,
A, or delta. These divisions are still appropriate, forming snow, thunder, or any of the common atmospheric
an aggregate superficies of 202,000 miles, of which only phenomena, are seldom or never seen or heard.
about 20,000 are susceptible of profitable culture.

Climate-Natural History.

In Egypt the harvests follow each other at the disThe most remarkable natural object in Egypt is the tance of about six or eight weeks, according to the Nile, which periodically overflows its low banks, and different kinds of grain, leaving time in most cases for inundates the greater part of the country. The Nile a succession of crops wherever there is a full command is formed by the union of two streains in the upper of water. The cold season commences with December, country, the Bahr-el - Abiad (white river), and the and continues for about two months. Early in FebBahr-el-Azrek (blue river), in latitude 15° 49' north. ruary spring appears, when the atmosphere acquires a The former, rising in Abyssinia, to the south-west of delightful warmth, and the trees put forth their bloglake Demben, comes from the south-east, and was con- soms. The period of summer may be said to commence sidered by Bruce as the Nile. The latter, however, in June, and to end at the close of September. The which comes from the south-west, and is supposed to transition from the one season to the other is so imperrise in the Mountains of the Moon, in the centre of ceptible, that it is scarcely possible to say when the Africa, brings down the greatest mass of water, and is one begins and the other ends. During these four considered as the true Nile. There were anciently months the heat is intense; the fields to which the reckoned seven principal mouths by which the waters swelling river has not attained, are parched like a of the Nile were poured into the Mediterranean; only desert, and no green leaf is seen but such as are prothose of Damietta and Rosetta are at present navi. duced by artificial irrigation. Autumn, which is only gable; the others have been silted up. The distance marked by a slight diminution of temperature, comfrom the confluence of its two head branches to the mences about the middle of October, when the leaves sea is about 1500 miles; from its highest sources pro- fall, and the Nile retires within its channel; and till bably not far from 2500 miles. At certain points in the approach of that season, which can only be called its course the Nile falls over a series of cataracts, or, winter from its situation in the calendar, the face of the properly speaking, descends a series of tumultuous country resembles a beautiful and variegated meadow. rapids, for the fall is nowhere above two feet of sheer From the nature of the surface, and the universal descent. The cataracts are not altogether a bar to aridity of the surrounding desert, Egypt is much hotter navigation, as flat-bottomed boats which sail up the than most other countries under the same parallel. river may be drawn up by an extraordinary force. From March to November, the atmosphere is inflamed

The grand phenomenon connected with the Nile is by a scorching sun and a cloudless sky, the average its annual overflow of the banks which border it-an height of the thermometer being about 90°; during the event looked for with as much certainty as the daily other six months it is about 60o. At sunset, the winds rising of the sun. These valuable inundations are fall, and the nights are generally cool, and the dews owing to the periodical rains which fall between the heavy. Except along the sea-shores, rain is a phenotropics. They begin in March, but have no effect upon menon in Egypt. At Cairo, there are on an average the river until three months later. Towards the end four or five showers in the year; in Upper Egypt, one of June it begins to rise, and continues rising at the or two at most; nor are they considered as beneficial rate of about four inches a day, until the end of Sep-to the agriculture of the country. Storms of thunder tember, when it falls for about the same period of time. and lightning are still more uncommon. Herodotus, the Grecian historian, informs us, that in In its geological features, Egypt presents great his time a rise of sixteen cubits was sufficient to water variety, including specimens of almost every formation, the country. At present, twenty-two cubits are con- from the earliest to the most recent. Several granitic sidered a good rise. The towns are generally built in chains of hills stretch to a considerable extent. These such a situation and manner as not to be overflowed by contain vast quarries of syenite, from which the ancients the inundation, and in some parts of the country there drew the stupendous masses required for their colossal are long raised causeways upon which the people may statues and obelisks. Between Assouan and Esna lics travel during the floods. It is only in cases of an ex- the sandstone, or middle district, which supplied blocks traordinary rise that any villages are destroyed. The for the temples; and beyond it, the northern or cal. inundations, instead of being viewed as a calamity, are careous district stretches to the southern angle of the considered a blessing, for they are the cause of inex- Delta. This last chain supplied materials for the haustible fertility. After the waters have subsided, the Pyramids, and many public buildings. The limestone earth is found covered with a fine fertilising mud, extends from Syene to the Mediterranean, and, in which has been left there by the river. The whole Lower Egypt, from Alexandria to the Red Sea, in the valley of the Nile may be considered as an alluvial vicinity of Suez. Other valuable rocks are abundant plain composed of the washed-down mud and sand of in Egypt, and various precious minerals are found. Central Africa, and it is therefore to these inunda- Anciently, the country was more generally fertile tions that Egypt owes its existence.

than in the present day, owing to the encroachment of In Upper and Middle Egypt there are immense the sands of the adjacent deserts, and the long period numbers of canals on the left bank of the river. of desolation and mismanagement in which it has Mehemet Ali, the late pacha, opened many of the existed. Still, owing to the inundations, the lands are old canals, which had been closed for centuries, and more than usually productive, and yield crops of wheat, dug new ones; among the latter, the canal of Mah. barley, rice, millet, maize, flax, beans, cotton, tobacco, moud, connecting the harbour of Alexandria with the sugar-cane, and other useful vegetables. Of fruits, the Nile, near Fouah, 48 miles long, 90 feet broad, the citron, lemon, pomegranate, apricot, banana or and 18 deep, is a magnificent work.. The Delta is plantain, and the palm-date, flourish luxuriantly. The bordered by a number of maritime lakes or lagoons, palm is cultivated to a large extent in the inundated which at different periods have undergone considerable and irrigated lands, and groves of it, yielding a delightchanges; some of them had been dried up, when, from ful shade, are to be seen, consisting of several thousand various causes, their connection with the ocean, which trees. Another celebrated production of Egypt is the had been interrupted, was again resumed, and the lotus, a species of water-lily, of great beauty, exhibiting exhausted basins replenished with water. It inight be broad round leaves, amid which the flowers, in the supposed, that in consequence of the annual inunda- form of cups, of bright white and azure, expand on the tions, Egypt would be a wet or moist country; but the surface of the waters. The roots of vegetables were


used as food by the ancient Egyptians. There is also orders, or those of dissolute lives, ever taste wine. the papyrus, not less celebrated than the lotus, and The Arabs carry on the common trades of civilised which furnished a material used as paper, before the life, but in a very unskilful and imperfect manner. invention of that article; it is, like the lotus, an aqua- After enumerating the various Oriental races who tic plant, growing to the height of eight or ten feet inhabit Egypt, it need hardly be mentioned that amid the swamps of the Nile.

Mohammedanism is the prevailing religion. Generally In zoology, the camel, so emphatically named the speaking, those who profess Christianity know nothing ship of the desert, has long been domesticated in the of its doctrines or moral precepts, the practice of their country. The giraffe, or cameleopard, has been occa- faith being confined to a few unmeaning ceremonies, sionally seen. Amongst the ancients, the ichneumon and the repetition of a few established phrases. The was venerated with a species of worship. Ichneumons whole people, high and low, are in a state of intellecare domesticated in Egypt, where they perform the tual darkness; in the towns there exist among Jews, duties of our domestic cat, in ridding the houses of Franks, and Turks, a degree of comfort and some the smaller animals. The names of the crocodile and wealth; but in the country parts many of the inhabihippopotamus are familiarly associated with Egypt and tants are in a state of deplorable wretchedness; and in the Nile; but the latter is now rarely or ever seen several districts they are seen almost entirely naked, below the cataracts. A species of lizard, called the having neither regular food nor clothing, and no lodgmonitor of the Nile; the common cameleon; the lizard; ing except in holes or mud-built hovels. the sorex, or shrew, and the jerboa; the goat, sheep, and the animals which figure in the Egyptian mytho

State of the Country-Mehemet Ali. logy, such as the dog, ape, buffalo, &c.-still belong Mehemet or Mohammed Ali, the modern reformer and to the zoology of the country. Of birds, the ostrich, the late pacha of Egypt,* was born at Cavallo in Roumelia, ibis, of which there are several species, and the Egyptian a part of European Turkey. His parents, who were of vulture, are most famous. With respect to fishes, the a humble condition of life, had a family of sixteen chil.' country presents nothing remarkable, with the exception dren, of whom he was the youngest; and being a greater perhaps of the polypterus or bony-pike of the Nile, the favourite than his brothers and sisters, he in early life only existing analogue of a numerous division of fishes became accustomed to indulgences, and to be impatient long since extinct, and now only found fossil in the of the control of superiors. His youth, it has been retransition and secondary formations of the geologist. lated, was partly spent in the service of a tobacconist;

but leaving this employment, which was unsuitable to Inhabitants.

his genius, he entered the Turkish army as a common The population of Egypt is composed of an extra- soldier, at a time when troops were raising in his native ordinary mixture of races, and of all shades of colour; district. This was the sphere of life in which he was sine claiming to be descendants of the ancient Egyp- calculated to shine. Distinguishing himself as a soldier tians, though utterly degenerated; others being from by his bold and skilful conduct, he soon 'attracted the Arabian or Saracenic intruders; and so on to the num- attention of beys, pachas, and the sultan himself; and ber of a dozen distinct races; also a variety of mixtures having attained a prominent position in the bloody wars to whom no name can be assigned. The following is that distracted Egypt under the Mamelukes, he rose the common enumeration :-1. The race called Copts, to be pacha, or viceroy, of Egypt, one of the highest the supposed descendants of the ancient Egyptians, posts of honour in the whole Turkish en pire. On and more certainly the feeble remnant of a once nume- getting the command of that province, he speedily rous Christian population. 2. The Fellahs, who com- showed that he was no ordinary man. He established pose the bulk of the labouring class, and who are sup- a regularly-paid, disciplined, and armed military force, posed to be a mixture of ancient Egyptians, Arabians, on the European plan, instead of the irregular bands and Syrians; they are rigid Moslems. 3. The Bedouin of men serving as soldiers in Egypt. The remnant of Arabs, the same in character, manners, and customs the Mamelukes, that remarkable body of men, which, that they are everywhere, and apparently ever have since the days of Saladin, had practically governed been since the days of the patriarchs. 4. Arabian Egypt by overawing the vice-regal authority, he anniGreeks; that is, the descendants of ancient Greek colo- hilated, and thus became the uncontrolled lord of the nists, who have lost their ancient language, and speak land of the Pharaohs, Ptolemies, Cæsars, and Caliphs. a kind of Arabic. Many of them are mariners; but, By the strictness of his government, he rendered Egypt in general, they pursue the inferior and handicraft as safe to travellers as any ordinary civilised country. trades. 5. Jews. To these must be added, as inhabi- Agriculture, commerce, manufactures, all engaged his tants of Egypt, 6. Syrian-Greeks and Maronites, who attention; and though his reforms were accomplished have, within the last century, greatly increased in with a despotic hand, perhaps with no small degree of numbers, and have proved successful rivals of the Copts cruelty, still he prodigiously advanced the cause of and Jews as merchants and agents. 7. Armenians. 8. civilisation and improvement in Egypt, and opened the Turks. 9. Franks or Europeans. 10. Moggrelins, or way for further and more important reforms. Western Arabs. 11. Ethiopians, and other Africans. It is incontestable that Mehemet Ali did much to The following is as near an approximation as can be further the advancement of civilisation in modern obtained of the relative numbers of the different divi- Egypt; but the whole of his efforts at the same time sions of this motley crew :-Copts, 160,000; Arab Fel-tended to personal aggrandisement, and to the complete lahs, 2,250,000; Bedouin Arabs, 150,000; Arabian Greeks, subjection of the people to his will. In order to main25,000; Jews, 20,000; Syrians, 20,000; Armenians, tain his authority, he raised troops from amongst the 10,000; Turks and Albanians, 20,000; Franks, 4000; male population by the most tyrannical means; and so Ethiopians, &c. 7500; which amount in all to 2,666,500. much was this forced military service detested, that The Arabs have been divided into three classes :

great numbers of young men mutilated themselves, by First, the wild independent Bedouins, who occupy the destroying an eye, or cutting off one or more fingers, in Desert; second, the pastoral tribes, who feed their order to escape the conscription. His revenue,' says flocks upon the borders of Egypt, and occasionally Mr Lane, speaking of the pacha in 1836, is geneenter the cultivated provinces; and lastly, the pea

* Mehemet, who is now at the advanced age of eighty-five, sants or Fellahs, who are devoted to agriculture and the arts. The latter, who form the bulk of the resigned in favour of his son Ibrahim, who was formally invested

with the government of Egypt by the Turkish sultan in Septempopulation, are described as a fine race of men in ber 1848. Ibrahim, who has all along been the chief pride of his their persons, active in agricultural employments, and father, survived this elevation only for a few weeks-dying on possessed of many good qualities. In their dress and the 10th November 1848 at the age of fifty-nine. Achmed, the household economy in general, though not strangers son of a younger brother of Ibrahim, and grandson of Mehemet, to comfort, they are so to everything like luxury. is now viceroy and vizier of Egypt, acting of course in the spirit Their food is very plain, and none but the higher and under the influence of his grandfuther.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small]

rally said to amount to about £3,000,000 sterling. from abroad. The cultivation of cotton was introduced Nearly half arises from the direct taxes on land, and by Mehemet, and succeeds well, the exports of this from indirect exactions from the fellaheen (fellahs or article in 1834 having been 200,000 cwts.; and in 1845, agriculturists), the remainder principally from the cus- | 18,000 tons. Flax-growing has also been revived, and tom-taxes, the tax on palm-trees, a kind of income-tax, exports to some extent have been annually made to and the sale of various productions of the land [no one Britain since 1839. The late pacha also endeavoured to being permitted to export corn or cotton but himself]; extend the cultivation of sugar, introduced improved by which sale the government, in most instances, ob- sugar-mills, and brought persons from the British colotains a profit of more than 50 per cent. Mehemet nies to distil rum. He also invited Armenians from Ali has increased his revenue to this amount by the Smyrna and the East Indies, to teach his people how to most oppressive measures. He has dispossessed of cultivate opium and indigo, and prepare them for the their lands all the private proprietors throughout his market. There are about 2,000,000 of date-trees in dominions, allotting to each, as a partial compensa- Egypt, each of which yields by its fruit from 8s. to 168. tion, a pension for life proportioned to the extent and per annum. A few attempts have been made to introquality of the land which belonged to him. The far- duce the vine. Onions are still produced and consumed mer has therefore nothing to leave to his children in prodigious quantities, as in the days of Herodotus. but his hut, and perhaps a few cattle and some small The pacha established model farms, with improved savings. The direct taxes on land are proportioned ploughs, pumping apparatus, &c.; but even his despoto the natural advantages of the soil. Their average tism could scarcely induce the people to abandon their amount is about 8s. per feddan, which is nearly equal | ancient rude processes and implements. to an English acre. But the cultivator can never cal- The pacha was also a great manufacturer. He built culate exactly the full amount of what the government large mills, and procured skilled workmen, at a great will require of him: he suffers from indirect exactions expense, from France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, and of quantities (differing in different years, but always Britain, to conduct them. He had manufactories of levied per feddan) of butter, honey, wax, wool, baskets cotton yarn and cotton cloth, woollens, carpets, ironof palm-leaves, ropes of the fibres of the palm-tree, and ware, muskets, cannon, bayonets, gunpowder, &c. which other commodities; he is also obliged to pay the hire are still carried on by his successor. All these estabof the camels which convey his grain to the govern- lishments are believed to have been attended with loss, ment shooneh (or granary), and to defray various other and in some cases the loss was heavy. The spinning-mills expenses. A portion of the produce of his land is taken for cotton were the most extensive of the manufactories. by the government, and sometimes the whole produce, There were twenty-two of these in 1839, which, accordat a fixed and fair price, which, however, in many parts ing to Dr Bowring, produced about 210,000 rottoli of of Egypt, is retained to make up for the debts of the yarn monthly, of various qualities, from coarse to insolvent peasants. The fellah, to supply the bare very fine. The Cairo rottoli is, we believe, just equal necessaries of life, often obliged to steal, and convey to the British pound, while the Alexandrian rather exsecretly to his hut, as much as he can of the produce ceeds two pounds. The pacha had three manufactories of his land. He may either himself supply the seed of arms, which turned out 1600 muskets and bayonets for his land, or obtain it as a loan from the govern- per month. The largest one was managed by an Enginent; but in the latter case he seldom obtains a suffi- | lishman, as indeed were most of the mills, factories, cient quantity; a considerable portion being generally water-works, and other machinery. These and other stolen by the persons through whose hands it passes innovations and improvements are still carried on with before he receives it. It would be scarcely possible unsubdued ardour by Mehemet, whose retirement from for them to suffer more, and live. It may be hardly office is rather nominal than real. He is still, though necessary, therefore, to add, that few of the fellahs considerably upwards of fourscore, the centre and spirit engage with assiduity in the labours of agriculture, of all reforming vitality and progress throughout the unless compelled to do so by their superiors. The country: he maintains modern Egypt. pacha has not only taken possession of the lands of All travellers represent Mehemet as a person of plain the private proprietors, but he has also thrown into and affable manners in private life, and fond of his his treasury a considerable proportion of the incomes family. Dr Bowring speaks of him as follows :-Meof religious and charitable institutions, deeming their hemet Ali was forty-six years old before he had learned accumulated wealth superfluous. He first imposed a either to read or to write. This he told me himself. tax (of nearly half the amount of the regular land-tax) I have heard that he was taught by his favourite wife. upon all land which had become a wuckf (or legacy But he is fond of reading now; and one day, when I unalienable by law) to any mosque, fountain, public entered his divan unannounced, I found him quite school, &c.; and afterwards took absolute possession of alone, with his spectacles on, reading a Turkish volume, such lands, granting certain annuities in lieu of them, which he was much enjoying, while a considerable pile for keeping in repair the respective buildings, and for of books was by his side. " It is a pleasant relief,” he the maintenance of those persons attached to them, as said, " from public business; I was reading some amusnazirs (or wardens), religious ministers, inferior ser-ing Turkish stories" (probably the Arabian Nights); vants, students, and other pensioners.' Mr Lane sub-" and now let us talk-what have you to tell me ?” sequently mentions that sometimes the poverty of There is a great deal of sagacity in Mehemet Ali's parents causes them to sell their children to any one conversation, particularly when he knows or discovers, who will purchase them, which presents a shocking as he usually does, the sort of information which his idea of the oppressed and degraded condition of the visitor is most able to give. He discourses with engihumble order of modern Egyptians.

neers about mechanical improvements with military In pursuing his schemes of improvement and family men on the art of war-with sea-officers on ship-buildaggrandisement, Mehemet Ali acted as a despotic mono- ing and naval manquvres — with travellers on the polist in all matters relating to both agriculture and countries they have visited-with politicians on public commerce. He not only dictated what article of pro- affairs. He very willingly talks of foreign countries, duce shall be cultivated, but the price at which it should and princes and statesmen, and is in the habit of be sold. According to Dr Bowring, it appears that in mingling in the conversation all sorts of anecdotes 1834, the country produced about 500,000 quarters of about himself, and the events connected with his hiswheat, 450,000 quarters of dourah, 400,000 of beans, tory. His phrases are often poetical, and, like most 280,000 of barley, and 80,000 of maize. Of wheat, Orientals, he frequently introduces proverbs and imahowever, the produce sometimes rises to 1,000,000 of gery. heard him once say, speaking of the agriculquarters. The average price of wheat is from 20s. to ture of Egypt, “ When I came to this country, I only 278. per quarter at Cairo, but in years of scarcity it scratched it with a pin; I have now succeeded in culrises to 60s. Egypt is generally an exporting country, tivating it with a hoe; but soon I will have a plough though sometimes, as in 1837, forced to draw supplies passing over the whole land.”


Oppressed as modern Egypt is, it is gratifying to as fair and impartial a statement as it is possible to reflect that it is improving in various respects. Edu- give within our narrow limits :cation, after European models, has been introduced ; • The Cape territory,' says the former of these authoand printing is now executed at Boulac, near Cairo, rities, writing in 1843,is in general rugged and barren, the press having there produced more than a hun- and deficient in the means both of internal and exterdred different books in the Arabic language, for the nal communication. But a portion of the east coast is use of the military, naval, and civil servants of the of a different character, more especially towards the government. A newspaper and an annual almanac north-east frontier, including the district of Albany, are also regularly printed at Boulac. Another print where the country is well-wooded and watered, and ing establishment has also been set down in Alex- favourable for agriculture and grazing. The west coast, andria, and promises to be of vast service to the in- and a great portion of the rest of the country, consist habitants, as well as to strangers and travellers. A of barren mountains and arid plains; one of which, the considerable export and import trade is now carried on, Great Karroo Desert, a high parched table-land, sepathe raw produce of the country being exchanged for the rating the Cape Town district from the finer country manufactured woollen, cotton, silk, and other goods of to the north-east, extends about 100 leagues in length Europe. The cause of national regeneration is further from east to west, and 30 in breadth. The climate, advanced by the regular transit of European passengers however, is one of the finest in the world; and were on their overland route to and from India.

the aridity of the soil counteracted by irrigation, and For administrative purposes, the country is divided the means of intercourse improved by the formation of into 24 departments, which are subdivided, according to roads, the character of the country would be very difthe French system, into arrondissements and cantons. ferent, as the capabilities of the soil are naturally great. The capital is Cairo, an inland city, with a fluctuating The only parts thickly settled are the Cape and Stelpopulation of 250,000. The chief ports are Alexandria, lenbosch districts—which contain about 3-8ths of the with a population of 60,000, Damietta and Rosetta on whole population--some parts of Worcester, Graaf Reythe Mediterranean side; and Suez and Cosseir on the net, and the British settlements at Graham Town and Red Sea. The annual exports from Alexandria are Bathurst in Albany; the other portions are occupied estimated at £2,500,000; the imports at £3,000,000. chiefly by the Dutch boers. Nearly 225,000 acres are

under crop, yielding annually about 540,000 bushels CAPE COLONY.

of wheat, besides smaller quantities of barley, oats, and

rye; the remainder of the productive surface is chiefly The extreme southern projection of the African con- open pasture land. The principal mercantile comtinent was formally taken possession of, in the name modity is wine, of which about 1,518,000 gallons are of Great Britain, in the beginning of the seventeenth made yearly, besides about 126,630 gallons of brandy. century. No settlement, however, ensued this for- | The vine is grown chiefly in the Stellenbosch district, mality. In 1650, the district was colonised by the and within forty miles round Cape Town; but the wines, Dutch, who afterwards made settlements in Saldanha except that made at Constantia, near Table Mountain, Bay and elsewhere; and disregarding, like other colo- are almost all of very low quality. Of late years, part nising adventurers, the rights of the natives, gradually of the capital which was embarked in the wine trade extended their encroachments, till their territory has been transferred to the production of wool, which reached nearly to the boundaries, of that now known has thus risen into considerable importance. by the name of Cape Colony. In 1795, the Cape was The progress of the Cape Colony has of late years taken possession of by British forces; but at the peace been materially impeded by the invasion of the northof Amiens, in 1800, it was evacuated, and restored to east frontier by the Caffres, and by the extraordinary its former masters. In 1806, it was again taken by emigration of about 20,000 of the Dutch colonists to the British, to whom it was finally ceded at the general Natal, on the east coast. The departure of the farmers peace in 1815. Since then considerable numbers of has produced a rise in the price of provisions at Cape our countrymen-Scotch, English, and Irish-- have Town, which has materially lessened the demand for made it their home; where, following chietly a rural ship refreshments, formerly a principal branch of trade life, they rear herds, flocks, and corn; export wool, at that port, and amounting to about £100,000 yearly. hides, horns, and ivory; and attempt the preparation The chief of the other native exports are-wine of wine, tobacco, aloes, and some other drugs and dye-(1,000,000 gallons), wool, hides and skins, horns, talstuffs. The aboriginal tribes consisted of Hottentots low, flour, wheat, bran, butter, whale oil and fiug, aloes, and Fingoes, Bushmen and Caffres, of whom the two ivory, besides which, coffee, sugar, tea, spices, and a former have become subject to the white settler, and variety of other articles, are shipped at second-hand been greatly reduced in numbers; while the latter have from Brazil, Mauritius, India, and China. In 1836 relactantly retreated into the wilderness, contesting the exports amounted in value to £384,383; the imon the frontier whether barbarism or civilisation shall ports into the colony in the same year amounted to there prevail. The population of the colony-amount-£891,162, chiefly from the United Kingdom. With ing to upwards of 160,000---consists, therefore, of our the exception of foreign spirits (principally brandy), countrymen, of the Dutch boers or farmers, the sub- wines, and spices, the British imports consist almost dued natives, and a number of half-castes-a motley wholly of manufactured goods, and of these upwards of community no doubt, but one which contains within one-third are cottons; the remainder chiefly woollens, it all the elements of steady and successful progress, if apparel, silks, arms, hardware and earthenware. the nature of the country be such as will ultimately The ports are few and in bad condition. The prinrepay their exertions. The administration of public cipal are, Cape Town, the capital and seat of governaffairs is vested in a governor, aided by executive and ment, in Table Bay, population 20,000; Port Elizalegislative councils. In 1842, the gross revenue of the beth, in Algoa Bay, the shipping place for the east part Cape amounted to £149,920, and the expenditure to of the colony; and Simon's Town.' £142,229; the last, however, was exclusive of the ex- • A single glance-weturn to the notes of our travelpenses incurred at home on account of the colony. ling friend-- at Cape Colony, particularly in its eastern

With respect to the eligibility of the Cape as an and northern districts, to any one acquainted with the emigration field, numerous and contradictory opinions nature of the vegetable world, would be sufficient to have been offered-interested parties describing it in convince him that it is essentially a dry country, and unmeasured terms of approbation; while others, unsuc- little adapted for agricultural pursuits. As in many cessful in their endeavours to settle, decry it as an arid parts of Mexico and Peru, succulent plants (Cactacece, and sterile waste. The following account, taken from &c.) greatly abound, and are associated with a similar Waterston's Encyclopædia of Commerce, and the aridity of climate. Bulbs are also very plentiful, and, manuscript notes of an intelligent friend, who travelled like the preceding, are fitted by nature to lay up á the country in the early part of 1846, seem to contain store of moisture, when it can be had, against the long

season of drought. This dryness of climate is at once settlers; but granting that this evil were remediedthe blessing and curse of Southern Africa. Upon it which it is not likely soon to be—the absence of any. depend the purity and salubrity of the atmosphere; thing like ports must ever make the means of commerthere are no fens or jungles of rank vegetation, on cial interchange both insecure and expensive. I have which the sun may act, and eliminate those noxious seen imported goods, which were selling at thrice their eflluvia which generate the fevers and agues of damp average value, reduced to their usual price in the unreclaimed countries under a similar parallel. But course of a few days, by the arrival of long-expected while an immediate advantage is thus gained by the vessels; and as suddenly, on the other hand, the report emigrant on the score of health, he is healthy to little of several wrecks raise these goods to the most enormous purpose, so far as his labours as a husbandman are con charges_thus bidding defiance to all the schemes and cerned. He cannot commit his seed to the soil in the calculations of the inland farmer who had his farwell-founded hope of seeing it in good time come to brought produce to dispose of. the sickle. Heaven denies him rain, and he must lead Another serious evil, and one under which its border water: but this artificial supply also frequently fails, population have groaned for years without remedy, is and all his field labour is lost. Or if his dams and the encroachments and depredations to which they are fountains dry not up, then runs he the risk of blight constantly subjected in consequence of the naturally or rust, which will often sweep over his crops, and defenceless state of the northern frontier. The most hopelessly destroy them in a single night. And should troublesome and dangerous of the depredators have of he escape the rust, still the locust may come, and late been the Gaika tribe of the Amakou Caffres, and devour stalk and ear together. The latter pest is so the part of the colony subject to their harassing multitudinously voracious, that I have known nine aggressions the eastern borders. The farmers in that acres of maize, ready for gather, entirely eaten up in neighbourhood, who may be justly reckoned the most the course of a few hours. No doubt much more enterprising in the colony, have from their first settlecorn might be grown in the colony than is at present ment experienced the unwelcome intrusions and vexareared, and years of famine, by prudence and foresight, tious pilferings of their lawless neighbours, who, issuing forestalled by years of plenty; still, so uncertain and forth in little bands, like wolves in the night, have precarious is the growth of grain — particularly of seized and carried off into Caffreland countless herds of wheat-in most of the districts, that Cape Colony can- colonial cattle. To such an extent has this habit of not now be reckoned, nor will ever likely become, an plunder been carried, and so bold have become the deagricultural or grain-growing country.

predators, that an open war has been forced on the Being essentially pastoral in its character, let us take colony, as the only means left for the redress of its a view at its capabilities in this respect. In general, grievances. This is not the only time that the Cape from the scanty nature of the sweet-grass” herbage has experienced the horrors of war, and had its borders exclusive of its uncertainty by drought-one to four ransacked by ruthless invaders ; and there is little acres are required to depasture a single sheep, more doubt, however severe and pregnant with suffering to than double that area for a horse, and nearly four the settlers the present conflict may be, that British times as much for an ox or cow. This estimate com- arms will ultimately prevail. prehends good and bad land indifferently over the A general complaint throughout the colony is the entire area of a farm. The large extent of ground scarcity of good servants: many things are left undone thus necessarily requisite for pastural range has led to for which it offers abundant capabilities, from a defithe practice of laying out the country into extensive ciency of labour, as well as from the imperfect kind of farms, averaging from 6000 to 10,000 acres, or from labour to be found. Hottentots, Fingoes, and other nine to fifteen square miles. In many places it has coloured people, are the chief occupants of this walk, been found impossible to apportion the whole land, and are hired at from 5s. to 158. a month, with rations. even under such wide bounds, because of the want White servants are less numerous, and remunerated of water; and large tracts are still left out of occu- more highly-female domestics earning from £12 to pancy from this cause. Families must consequently £20 a year, and males from £18 to £30. All those be kept far apart from each other, and this isolated introduced this season (1846) by the emigrant vessels condition proves a formidable bar to advanced civilisa- from England have found places at such wages. But as tion. Even the villages in a country so divided, and these remarks lead insensibly into the advantages of without any mineral or manufacturing resources to the colony, I may now briefly allude to these. form centres of population, must be few and far be- He who can calmly contemplate and resolutely untween-partaking of the character of mere trading dertake expatriation from his native land, for the sake posts between the distant farmer and merchant im- of an independence which its overcrowded walks of porter. The introduction of fresh blood and home-trade-craft deny, may realise in the Cape this desirable energy from the mother country may improve, and object. He is not foolishly to cherish high expectations has already done much for the tone of society; but either for himself or family; but if he condescend to left to itself and to natural influences, the pastoral look on himself and descendants as a nation of sheppopulation has no tendency to advance beyond the berds, and hazard those contingencies I have already rude and simple condition of shepherds. The coun- noticed, most assuredly may he and his offspring enjoy try has been long enough settled to have become a the easy quiet life of such a race of men. Though not “ States” or a “Canada,” if nature had not put in her clothed in that freshness of verdure which renders home veto, imperatively gainsaying such a consummation. scenery so charming, the Cape possesses a much finer

As a maritime country, its facilities are equally scanty climate, a purer atmosphere, is not less salubrious, and imperfect, compared with those of Britain and and yields abundance of all sorts of fruits found in America. While these two countries are indented by the temperate zones, with many tropical ones in addinumerous bays, gulfs, and inlets, Cape Colony presents tion. But the leading advantage is its antithesis to a mural outline of coast, with scarcely an opening in it Britain in its field of industry being unstocked: hence to admit a vessel to the interior, or a haven to give it is that no one in Africa need starve who is willing to shelter from the seaward storms. There is not, in fact, use his hands, or can fail to find a profitable investa single navigable river opening on the coast, and no ment for capital, if he is cautious in its outlay. The safe accessible harbour from Simon's Bay to Port Natal. farm-labourer will find his services eagerly sought after, Saldanha Bay, on the west coast, is the only complete and liberally paid ; shepherds are in demand, and haven possessed by the colony. This total inaptitude get from £30 to £40 a year; blacksmiths, masons, for inland navigation, and paucity of sea-board har- house and cabinet wrights, earn from 59. to 7s. a day; bours, along a tempestuous coast, inust ever operate as indeed all sorts of labourers and mechanics will find a check on commercial activity, and keep South Africa employment and suitable pay, excluding those of course low in the scale of nations. At present, the want of engaged in weaving, and other similar branches of indusroads also operates seriously against the success of the I try, of which there is nothing of the sort in the colony.?

« ElőzőTovább »