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4 at Nature's feast, and to whom even the crumbs that fall free the table should be denied. The demand for labour, we mus
understand, regulates, or ought to regulate, the productions ' human beings as well as of horses, -as if this demand did no • depend upon their pumber, and was always steady in this grez ! manufacturing country; or as if, when the merchant's order is completed, these animate tools might be locked up in a ware
house till wanted again for a new speculation. if we shoula · feel indisposed to practise that selfishness which seems to be
the natural consequence of this doctrine, and stretch out on:
band to relieve the destitute, we are guilty of wasting the funds • destined to the maintenance of labour, of indirectly creating . that poverty which we mean to relieve; and the last and most . tremendous penalty of our crime is announced in the shape of an excessive population and universal misery.'
From such heartless generalizations, from the economics of philosophers, and the political nostrums of writers who are any thing but philosophers, it is refreshing to recur to the consoling certainties of the Gospel. The belief that the Allwise Author of Nature is perpetually superintending the development of His own plans, that the whole well-being of each separate unit of the aggregate population of the universe, is the object of His distinct, and equal, and infinite attention, that " Christ died for “ all," and that the destiny of the meanest participant in our nature is nothing less than immortality;--this belief, while it tends to check the haughtiness of science, while it reproves that contemptuous and unfeeling estimate of the many which is so prevalent anong the aristocracy of intellect, is at the same time the animating and the sustaining principle of genuine benevolence. Connected with this belief is the conviction that for all the disorders of society there exists in the religion of Christ an adequate remedy; that this only efficient means of transforming the character of the individual and of bettering the mass, is the instrument by which a Sovereign Agency is accomplishing His merciful designs. To the Poor, in His economy, no mean or opprobrious station is assigned : they would seem to be distinguished as the chosen subjects of bis moral kingdom, to whom more especially the Gospel was in the first instance addressed. “ He that despiseth” them is said to " reproach bis Maker :" in a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, this impiety would seem to be if possible aggravated; it would be to reproach his Saviour. These are views foreign enough, it may be, from the business and the speculations of political economy; but we could not bring ourselves to dismiss the topic of the Poor Laws, without thus briefly adverting to what can never be at variance with sound philosophy or genuine science, the principles of Christianity,
Art. III. Narrative of an Expedition to explore the River Zaire,
usually called the Congo, in South Ajrica, in 1816, under the Direction of Captain J. K. Tuckey, R.N. To which is added, The Journal of Professor Smith ; some General Observations on the Country and its Inhabitants; and an Appendix, containing the Natural History of that Part of the Kingdom of Congo through which the Zaire Hows. Published by Permission of the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty. 4to. pp. 580. A Map, 14 Plates, and Wood
cuts in the Letter-press. Price 21. 2s. 1818. WH
HY is it so desirable, that the yet unknowo parts of our
globe should be explored ? It is obvious, that infinitely the greater part of what the explorers must have to behold and describe, could not have, for its own sake, any manner of interest. They would have to tell us of wide tracts of dead level, covered with grass, or with snow, or with dust and burning sand; of insignificant hills ; of streams, like those that divide our parishes or counties; of swamps, forests, or jungles; of shores, sometimes low and sometimes rising into cliffs ; of islands of sundry shapes, breadths, and heights, and which inight all have been, for any thing it signifies to us, of other shapes, breadths, and heights. As to inhabitants, there may be none, or there may be some hordes or scatterings of filthy and fierce or stupid savages or barbarians, with utensils and contrivances almost to the amount of the number of their fingers and toes ; or there may be something in more of the form of regulated communities, advanced a tenth or a fifth part toward what we should call by courtesy civilization, with some partial cultivation of the soil, some fixed assemblages of the nature of towns, some conveniences, arts, and manufactures, and a large supply of kings, priests, conjurers, gods, and fantastic ceremonies, each bearing a name in some uncouth and unutterable form of orthography. Their dresses shall be, in shape and in the distribution of red blue and yellow, like and uolike, in given degrees, the dresses of other tribes and nations already known to us. Their established customs--or call them institutions--of polity, law, and superstition, shall exhibit, perhaps, soine little novelty of absurdity and mischief. There shall occur now and then some extraordinary effect of the eleinents, or soine remarkable rock, or eavern, or cascade, or striking view of scenery,--which objects and aspects the beholder sball probably describe as much resembling specified remarkable appearances of the same order in our own or in neighbouring countries.
The reader, who had waited most impatiently for the publication of the results of the adventure of discovery, as for the lifting of a veil to disclose some grand mysterious spectacle, passes bastily through the series of these exhibitions; and when he comes to the end, is very apt to be sensible of a certain
discontented feeling which, in the subsidence of all the interest previously raised by curiosity, suggests the ungracious question of what he has gained by this disclosure of the unknown, and forces his reflection back on the question of what it was that he had really promised himself to gain.
In the displacency and mortification attending the reduction of his undefined anticipative imagery to plain matter of fact, and in the extinction of so much ardent feeling, he is reduced to bethink himself of such matters as the advancement of science, some added means of safety or facility to navigation, and the benefits of some possible addition to distant commerce. He recals to mind the lofty terms in which these things have been held forth, and tries to excite in himself a corresponding interest. He perceives that in sober truth something may be made out on these points; he can conceive that a few persons, earnestly devoted to these objects, respectively, may receive much gratification from the facts and observations available to their service, and he may acknowledge, perhaps, that what has been contributed to these interests by the results of the undertaking, may be almost worth the energy, the toil, the time, the expense, and the disasters, which it shall have cost in the execution. But still, (we are excepting the small number of men specifically and zealously intent on science, navigation, &c.) he is irresistibly made sensible that it was not exactly the consideration of these objects that had fired his imagination at the thought of a daring adventure into the unknown regions of the world. While these were not excluded from bis contemplation, he feels that the emphasis of his imaginings was in something less technical, something of more poetical and moral element, something more related to magnificence and emotion.
In short, the matter comes to this : there is something prodigiously captivating to the human inind in what is veiled, mysterious, unknown; especially when the subject is at the same time of a nature to admit of conjecture; and this is the grand main principle of the interest which the generality of cultivated persons take in the setting out of enterprises of discovery. Čuriosity, sublimed, if we may so express it, by mystery, eagerly seeks the more dirett gratification of disclosure. Much of what these persons are in the practice of saying of the promotion of science or commerce, is little more than an almost upconscious effort to give an appearance of pointing toward palpable utility, to a passion which they may bave some apprehension will seem rather romantic.
The information brought back by the explorers, being received at the cost of a complete extinction of the charm of mystery, will generally, even if the undertaking attained its utmost success, be accompanied, in the recipients, with a certain sense of
disappointment, an unpleasant fall of that bigh-wrought state of mind, in which they had been waiting for it. The exception to this will he in cases where the scenes and objects brought to view are themselves of an extraordinary and magnificent character. Such visions of Nature as those transferred to us from South America, by Azara and Humboldt, are even more striking and enchanting as presented in clear view before us, than as fancied through the magnifying obscurity and mystery of the previous imperfect knowledge or mere conjecture. And if the latter traveller shall ever accomplish his long announced design respecting the mountain-sublimities of central Asia, there can be no fear that his representations of reality will reduce any man of lofty imagination to regret the difference between the ideas of anticipation and those of ascertained fact.
So far as relates to the interest felt for the persons to whose lot it falls to unveil the partially or wholly unknown parts of the earth, there is therefore a vast difference in point of good fortune, between the respective shares assigned to them. To any reader of the bold and manful adventure of Lewis and Clarke across North America, it will occur that while they, after describing one striking scene or specactle, had to traverse perhaps five hundred niles of monotonous country before they found another to describe, the same length of journey in some other imperfectly known regions, and especially in the southern part of the same great continent, might have afforded another courageous band of explorers, a numerous series of noble subjects for description.
It can be but slightly conjectured what would have been the fortunes, in this respect, had their undertakings been successful, of the two African parties who terminated their career so far: short of their object. That object, contemplated in prospect, was indeed of a nature to take mighty hold of the imagination, both of those who were to execute the project, and those who were to wait for the result. The greatest part of the ample scene of the enterprise was absolutely unknown, and an unequalled degree of the captivation of mystery was added to this darkness, by the circumstance of a great and renowned river concealing its termination. But it may be permitted to doubt whether the vast region which, in the event of success, would have been for the first time traversed and revealed, would have supplied to us any very enthusiastic gratifications beyond the delight of seeing overcome at last all that had for so many ages defied the investigation. To judge from whatever Park had described and Adams reported, with the addition now of so much as Capt. Tuckey was permitted to survey, and all this combined with what we know of many other tracts of Africa, we may be allowed to console ourselves by assuming the pre
bability, that the picture which would have been furnished to us, would have been as insignificant as it would have been immense. The determination of the question respecting the river, would indeed have been a great geographical fact gained. It would have been an exchange of so much ignorance for so much knowledge; some time or other that knowledge might have become'available to some practical utility, as perhaps in the way of commerce; though it is perfectly evident froin all that has been seen or reasonably guessed of interior Africa, that ages may pass away before such a state of nature and society can become of any material importance in the economy of European arts and traffic. Meanwhile, on the breakiog up and dissipating of the profound and solemn darkness which has for thousands of years rested on this vast retired mysterious region, the ardent curiosity which had so long looked towards it in vain, might have sunk in some strange undefinable sense of disappointment and disenchant ment on being permitted to gaze at last on veritable tracts of indifferent earth, and of sand, and of marsh; and on some tribes of miserable barbarians, here thinly spread over a hundred miles of pestilential wilderness, and there more numerously assembled, in some city, a distant rival of that magnificent far-famed imperial metropolis of golden-roofed palaces and mansions, which we have not yet been able to forgive the unlucky stroller Adams for having most innocently happened to discover, to be an accumulation of mud huts. It may well be doubted whether, as a mere matter of feeling, this sense of chill and prostration of what had been a fine romantic imaginativeness, would have been compensated by the demonstration of what is so probably the fact, that the river Niger is no other than the piver Zaire. So wayward an essence is this spirit of man!-But it is quite time to leave these speculations, and come to the plain official task of giving a brief account of the book before us.
An Introduction, much compressed, though of great length, and written with the information and intelligence so well known to qualify the person to whoin it bas been attributed,* exhibits a clear rapid view of the principal points still remaining unattained and desirable in the great course of discovery so success. fully prosecuted during the last half cerrtury ;-of the limited information and the speculations respecting the interior of Africa ;-of the theories and conjectures concerning the ultimate direction and termination of the Niger ;-of the strong presumptions in favour of the opinion of its identity with the Zaire; -of the project, the preparation, the instructions, and the flattering prospects, of the expedition to this latter river, and of the disastrous fate to which its careful and costly equip