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drank at solemn repasts; the wine was a spirit extracted (as at the present day) from rice. One of the odes states that, “in the tenth moon, the rice is cut to make the wine of spring.” This wine was kept in vessels of boof earth. The lower orders drank out of horns rough or cut. The metals referred to are gold, silver, iron, lead, and copper. Articles were manufactured of all these metals Gold was obtained from mines in the south ; mines of iron were worked in Shense by Kung-lew, in the 18th century B. c. References to matters relating to war are numerous, and seem to denote that, excepting in the use of fire-arms, the Chinese have made little progress in the art military since those early tumes.—Tait's Magazine.
Germann. .Niederlandische Sagen—Gesammelt und mit Anmerkungen begleitet, herausgegeben von Johann Wilhelm Wolf. (Legends of the Netherlands, collected, illustrated with Notes, and edited by J. W. Wolf). Leipsic. 1843. 8vo. pp. 708.
Since the year 1818, when those profound scholars and philologists, the brothers Grimm, published their collection of German Traditions, a spirit of inquiry into these interesting relics of the literature of the people has manifested itself in almost every country of Europe, and produced numerous volumes of popular legends, calculated alike to interest the mere reader for amusement, and the o investigator into national antiquities and the history of fiction.
Too many of these collections have, however, been disfigured by one glaring and unpardonable fault—an attempt to invest their contents with a dignity and importance utterly at variance with their artless and fragmentary character. The best and most interesting of these traditions, although furnishing admirable materials for the poet and romancer, possess, in their childlike simplicity, a grace beyond the reach of art, and are always most effective when narrated in the homely style of the old crone whom Akenside so admirably describes:
“By night The village matron, round the joint, Suspends the infant audience, with her tales, Breathing astonishment, of witching rhymes And evil spirits; of the deathbed call To him who robb'd the widow, and devour'd The orphan's portion; of unquiet souls Risen from the grave, to ease the heavy guilt Of deeds in life concealed; of shapes that walk At dead of night, and clank their chains, and wave
The torch of hell around the murderer's bed."
From this offence against propriety and good taste, the vast body of Flemish traditions, here gathered together by the industry and research of the editor, is entirely free, as indeed might be expected from the complaints to which he has given utterance, against such of his predecessors as have fallen into this error. Thus, while he commends Schayes for his ‘Essais Historiques sur les Usages, les Croyances, et les Traditions des Belges,' and Dr. Bovy for his “Promenades Historiques, he does not scruple to point out the defects of Berthoud in his Chroniques et Traditions surnaturelles de la Flandre, and to denounce as utterly unworthy of notice the “Chroniques des Rues de
Bruxelles.” As it will be seen fron these re
marks, that the editor of the present collection has had many predecessors, even in our own day, in the great work of collecting the traditionary remains of the Netherlands; and as he has moreover diligently sought them out from time-honored chronicles, and noted them down from the recitation of venerable graybeards, in whose memory the tales heard in their youth still held their place, and in addition to these sources, has been favored with communications from some of the most distinguished Flemish antiquaries, it will readily be believed that the five or six hundred legends with which his goodly octavo volume is filled, sorm a perfect storehouse of Flemish traditionary lore—the value of which is certainly considerably increased by the editor's notes and comments. The connexion which subsists between the early language and literature of England and Flanders, and the light which they are calculated to throw upon each other, render the present volume one of peculiar interest to the antiquaries of this country, who will find in it many a striking picture of the manners and customs of bygone times, many a startling illustration of old world feelings and old familiar phrases.
SELECT LIST OF RECENT PUBLICATIONS.
Walpy's Schrevelius' Greek Lexicon, translated into English, edited by the Rev. J. R. Major, D. D.
Guide to the Geology of Scotland, with a Geological Map and Plates, by James Nichol.
Library of Travel, Vol. I. “Syria and the Holy Land,' by Walter K. Kelly.
An Aid-de-camp's Recollections of Service in China, by Captain A. Cunnynghame.
Die Lehre von der Trinität in ihrer historischen Entwickelung. Wol. I. von G. A. Meier. Hamburgh.
Moses Mendelssohn's Gesammelte Schristen. Herausg. von Dr. G. B. Mendelssohn. Wol. IV.
Repertorium der classichen Philologie, herausg., von Dr. G. Muhlmann und E. Janicke. Leipzig.
Histoire Ancienne et Moderne de l'Eglise des frères de Bohemie et de Moravie. Par A. Bost. Paris.
Histoire de Lion X. Par Audin. Paris.
Ein erster Versuch über den Accent im Sanscrit. von O. Boehtlingk. Petersburgh. fied from Bom
HARRIS’S HIGHLANDS OF ETHIOPIA.
From the North British Review.
The Highlands of Ethiopia. By Major W. Cornwallis Harris, of the Hon. East India Company's Engineers. Author of “Wild Sports in Southern Africa,” “Portraits of African Game Animals,” &c. In three volumes. London: Longman and Co. 1844. These volumes contain an account of Major Harris's journey to the Christian court of Shoa, in Abyssinia, and of what he learned regarding that court and kingdom during a residence of eighteen months. He went thither as the chief of an embassy to the Negoos, or King of Shoa, from the British Government; having been chosen by the Governor-General of India, who had charge of the affair, in consequence of previous experience of his talents and general acquirements. The object of the mission was to establish relations of alliance and commercial intercourse between the two governments and their subjects, and thereby to promote the extinction of the slave trade, the diffusion of legitimate traffic, and the increase of geographical and general knowledge. J. : The Embassy was despatc DEcEMBER, 1844.
bay in April, 1841. Including the savans it consisted of ten persons, was attended by a small escort of British soldiers, besides some artisans and serváhts, and was amply supplied with the stores necessary for conciliating, by gifts or bribes, the chiefs of the barbarous countries through which it was to pass. Every security seems to have been taken for the attainment of its objects. And, accordingly, if we may believe Major Harris, the embassy was successful. A commercial convention was in due time concluded between Great Britain and Shoa. It consisted of sixteen articles. They are not published in these volumes, but Major Harris tells us that “they involved the sacrifice of arbitrary appropriation by the Crown of the property of foreigners dying in the country—the abrogation of the des. potic interdiction which had, from time immemorial, precluded the purchase, or display of goods by the subject, and the removal of penal restrictions upon voluntary movement within and beyond the kingdom;” which restrictions, it seems, are a modification of an old national rule, not to permit a stranger who had once entered Abyssinia ever to depart from it. These are certainly great improvements in the laws of the Shoan kingdom; and if the
convention shall lead to the actual entrance of British traders and British manufacturers among the Shoan people, it will as greatly ameliorate their condition. Major Harris does not say what provision was made for the creation of such actual intercourse between the people of the two governments. The Shoan country is a tempting field for commerce; but its frontiers are between three and four hundred miles distant from the western coast of the Red Sea. The route lies through a country difficult to traverse from its physical peculiarities, and dangerous from the habits and prejudices of its inhabitants. A sase transit must be secured to the trader. Perhaps this was the subject of one of the sixteen articles of the convention. We should have been glad of some information on this point; for one of the first questions which these volumes suggest, regards the practical utility of having a treaty of commerce with the ruler of an inland territory accessible only through countries so little friendly to the traders for whose protection the convention is designed. But to this, and some other inquiries of equal interest, they give no satisfactory answer. The objects of the Embassy, and its measures, are not, however, the topics to which we mean to devote this paper. Our design is to extract such information as we can condense within a limited space, respecting the people and country visited by Major Harris. On these subjects, his volumes, and the recent journals of the English Church Missionaries, Messrs. Isenberg and Krapf, afford us much interesting and curious information, and give the first minute account, by modern eye-witnesses, of the southern provinces of the ancient empire of Abyssinia. Neither Bruce the traveller, nor Gobat the missionary, who penetrated farther than any other modern visitors, reached the limits of Shoa. Hence the work of Major Harris opens up what is, to British readers in general, an entirely new country, and depicts a people which, if it cannot be termed new, is only on that account inore interesting. Its monarchs claim to be descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. They are the undoubted successors of those Christian Emperors of Ethiopia, who, in the earlier centuries, entered into alliances with the Emperors of Rome, and who, in the sixteenth century, renewed, through the Portuguese, a friendly intercourse with Christian Europe. Since the rupture of that
friendship, their country has been almost altogether concealed from view, or has been seen only, as it were, by glimpses, and when placed at disadvantage. Any tolerable description of it must therefore possess a very peculiar interest, bringing before us, as it does, a people who at once excite the curiosity awakened by utter strangers, impress us with the reverence due to historical antiquity, and move in us the sympathies of brotherhood in religion. It is difficult to imagine a more attractive subject for a book. But the volumes before us, though in some respects highly interesting, are on the whole very unsatisfactory. Their chief defect is a want of precise information. The proceedings of the embassy are not detailed distinctly, or with that specification of names, time, place and circumstances, by which ordinary journalists give life and authenticity to their narrations. Of the individuals attending it, we learn from a list, that Captain D. Graham was principal assistant, Messrs. Kirk and Impey, surgeons, Dr. Roth, naturalist, &c. But they scarcely appear in the narrative; and neither from it, nor from the vague compliment in the preface, could any reader have the least notion of the great services to the embassy rendered by the Rev. Mr. Krapf. A similar obscurity besets many other topics, and makes the information regarding them most disficult of apprehension. One main cause of this is the style of the author, which will direct words. In the preface, he tells us, never let him tell his story in plain and that, “written in the heart of Abyssinia, amidst manifold interruptions and disadvantages, these pages will be found redolent of no midnight oil.” Accordingly, we expected to find an artless, unlabored, and rather rude and blunt narration, betokening an intelligent yet unrhetorical and practical soldier. To our surprise, and disappointment, we found one directly the reverse, artificial and rhetorical in an unusual degree, as if the author's chief thought had been how to be impressive—to place objects and incidents in the most picturesque positions, and clothe them in the most sonorous diction. Of a work of travels, the style is an inferior quality. Nor should we have made any complaint, if the fault had been on the side of poverty; but, in the opposite fault, there is conveyed one of those claims to literary merit, which we, as critics, are bound either to allow or reject.
The style of these volumes is so turgid and meretricious, as most seriously to detract from their utility, drawing off the attention of the reader from the matters narrated, to fix it on the manner, and frequently obscuring them from his vision in a mist of glittering verbiage. But we leave this topic, and rather proceed to the more pleasant task of giving our readers a general view of the contents of these volumes. In doing so, we must make a selection among an innumerable crowd of objects and incidents well worthy of notice. The Embassy sailed from Bombay in April, 1841. A fortnight carried them to Aden in Southern Arabia. Here they left the steamboat, to purchase horses and other necessaries for the land journey into the African interior, and also to engage a volunteer escort of European soldiers from the garrison. The Embassy quitted Aden on the 15th of May, in the Euphrates brig of war, and stood across the Red Sea to the Gulf of Tadjura. They arrived in about two days; and on the morning of the 17th of May found themselves opposite the town or village of that name, beyond which towered above heaps of lava blocks, the lofty peak of Jebel Goodah. Tadjura consists of about two hundred houses, rudely constructed of frames of unhewn timber, arranged in a parabolic arch, and covered with date matting. In these were sheltered some twelve hundred inhabitants. It is a place of considerable traffic; slaves, ivory, gold dust, and spices, being brought in kafilahs or caravans from the African interior, and exported at this place; while it admits the Indian and Arabian manufactures, and other articles, for which these are exchanged at the inland marts. Here it behooved the Embassy to disembark, and begin the land journey to the kingdom of Shoa, which is about 350 miles inland. The intermediate country, which is called Adel, is in possession of the Adaiel, a particular body or confederacy of the Danákil tribes. Tadjura is the seat of their government; and their present ruler, Sultan Mohammad ibn Mohammad, was then resident there. The first thing necessary was to obtain permission to land, and also liberty to proceed into the interior, along with proper guides, and the means of transport. From a very natural jealousy of this unwonted intrusion upon his territories of an armed body of Franks, the Sultan
and his advisers scrupled to accord the desired permission. This occasioned various visits of ceremony and negotiation; aud as our readers may desire to look on the chief ruler of a country through which they are to travel for some pages, we ex tract the author's description of his appearance at one of them.
“A more unprincely object can scarcely be conceived than was presented in the imbecile, attenuated, and ghastly form of this most meagre potentate, who, as he tottered into the marquée, supported by a long witch-like wand, tendered his hideous, bony claws to each of the party in succession, with all the repulsive coldness that characterizes a Dankáli shake of the hand. An encourager of the staple manufactures of his own country, his decrepit srame was enveloped in a coarse cotton mantle, which, with a blue-checked wrapper about his loins, and an ample turban perched on the very apex of his shaven crown, was admirably in keeping with the harmony of dirt that pervaded the attire of his privy council and attendants. Projecting triangles of leathers graced the toes of his rude sandals; a huge quarto koran, slun over his bent shoulder, rested beneath the le arm, on the hilt of a brass-mounted creese which was girded to his right side: and his illustrious person was farther defended against evil influence by a zone and bandalier thickly studded with mystic amulets and most potent clarms, extracted from the Sacred Book. Enfeebled by years, his deeply surrowed counte nance, bearing an ebony polish, was fringed by a straggling white beard; and it needed not the science of Lavater to detect, in the indifference of his dull leaden eye, and the puckered corners of his toothless mouth, the lines of cunning, cruelty, and sordid avarice.”—Vol. i., pp. 46, 47.
The Danákil Tribes, to which this personage belongs, are the descendants of the Arabs, who many centuries, ago after the Abyssinians were expelled from Arabia, overran and colonized the low tract forming a zone between the Red Sea and the Abyssinian Alps. The precise extent of their territory, and their relation to the Abyssinian Emperor for some centuries, seem to be somewhat doubtful. In the 16th century, however, it is known, that under a famous leader called Graan, they overran Abyssinia itself. Graan was slain by a Portuguese, in the service of the Emperor; the progress of the Mahommedans arrested, and their dominion restricted to the plains over which it now extends. Since then, frequent wars have been waged between them and what remains of the once powerful Abyssinian empire. Commanding as they do the direct passage between the Shoan
kingdom and the East, the Negoos of Shoa has found it necessary to maintain some influence over them; and this being denied to his arms, he has of late sought to obtain it by management and concessions. Of the character and condition of these tribes, Major Harris gives a portrait which is far from pleasing, even when allowance is made for the foolish exaggeration of his style. We cannot give particulars, but may say briefly, that they are a migratory, pastoral, and slave-dealing people—go always armed—are virulent Mahommedans, and exhibit in their government a rude democracy. There are several confederacies; and of these, the one called Adaiel or Debenik-Woema occupies the country between Tadjura and Shoa. This district is, in general, low and level, very barren, quite uncultivated, hot, and scant of water. The Hawash is the chief river; its course is north-east, but the stream is drunk in by the arid soil, and does not reach the sea. After some days of annoying delay in negotiating with the Sultan, a liberal use of gifts, and quiet submission to various impositions and exactions, permission to advance was conceded, and unules, camels, and camel-drivers obtained for conveying the baggage of the Embassy. Of the kafilah or caravan, Izhak, brother of the Sultan, was named Ras, or commander, and it was accompanied by various persons of consideration among the tribes. The journey to Farri, the frontier town of the province of Efat, in Abyssinia, occupied several weeks. The progress was slow, at least according to European notions; the Mahommedan camel-drivers not caring to quicken their motions, to suit the impatient and imperious humor of the infidels. Frequent pauses, too, were occasioned by the anxiety of the Ras to protect the caravan from wandering robbers, and to conciliate the chiefs of the tribes which they successively met, each of whom expected from the caravan the usual testimony to his power and dignity, and price of its safety, in some substantial gift. Shortly after setting out, they came to the Bahr Assál, or Great Salt Lake. Its distance from Tadjura by the route, is 42 miles, and is reached through a yawning defile, called Rah Eesah, or, “Road of the Eesahs,” a hostile tribe. Lake Assal is situated in latitude 11° 37' 30° N., longitude 42° 33' 6" E., and is 570 feet below the level of the sea. The approach to it is through mountains rugged and very high,
the immediately preceding station being 1700 feet above the sea level. No fresh water was to be found within a space of sixteen miles on either side, and from this cause, joined to the intolerable heat of the close valleys of a tropical country, the party, in their advance through Rah Eesah, and in the day and night passed beside the lake, suffered terribly, and barely escaped with life. The first sight of the lake from the heights above it, disclosed “an elliptical basin, seven miles in its transverse axis, half filled with smooth water of the deepest cerulean hue, and half with a solid sheet of glittering snow-white salt, the offspring of evaporation—girded on three sides by huge hot-looking mountains, which dip their bases into the very bowl, and on the fourth by crude half-formed rocks of lava, broken and divided by the most unintelligible chasms.” As they descended under a fiery sun, through glaring rocks, a close “mephitic stench, impeding respiration, arose from the saline exhalations of the stagnant lake.” The water was so salt as to smart the lips when tasted. Only one solitary bush grew in “this unventilated and diabolical hollow,” for the shade of which the camels and mules disputed with the men, and many were obliged to take refuge in “noisome caves,” formed by fallen masses of the volcanic rock, and hot as a furnace. Under the shade of cloaks and unbrellas, the mercury stood at 126° during the entire day—a paralyzing heat, which prevented minute examination of the phenomenon beside them. But Major Harris is of opinion, that it formed at some remote period a continuation of the gulf of Tadjura, and was separated from Goobut el Kherāb, (a curious cove on the sea-shcre, with which Bahr Assál is supposed to have a subterranean connexion,) by a stream of Java six miles broad. This now forms the high barrier between them, having on its summits many traces of craters. The lake is evidently undergoing a process of evaporation, and it will probably be in time converted into a dry deposit of salt. After broiling all day in this “suffocating Pandemonium,” the party, whose misery was now augmented by a total want of water, set off by moonlight for the next station, sixteen miles distant. The sufferings of the march were dreadful ; there was an incessant cry for water; dogs expired on the road; mules and horses lay down and were abandoned to their fate, and the courage and almost the reason of the men were