Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

All, indeed, that the ancients really did know concern ing the Nilewas merely, that it flowed from a vast lake or lakes far south, and to the eastward of Egypt. They could not, of course, have the least idea of the Bahar el Abiad or White River being that river, seeing its source is far to the westward of Egypt, and it does not appear that it flows from any lake or marsh whatever. The White River, therefore, if really known to the ancients, never was considered to be their Nile.

Indeed, the Greek writers seem to have known three rivers, the names of them at least, which contribute to form the Nile. These were the main stream itself, the Astaberas and Astapus; and, even these, they only appear to have heard of, from their connection with the celebrated Meroe. It is upon the supposition that the river Mr. Bruce ascended was the “ Astapusof Ptolemy, that are founded all those impertinencies against his character, and those bold averments, now become current, of his having mistaken an insignificant stream for the main branch of the Nile. It is of importance, therefore, in this branch of the discussion, to ascertain what and where is the Astapus of Ptolemy and his followers.

The Astaberas, (now the Tacazze) from its proximity to Egypt, seems to have been tolerably well known to the ancient geographers. It seens to have been intimately connected with another river, though subordinate in importance, called the Astosabas, which was, we have the authority of Eratosthenes, as quoted by Strabo, occasionally, indeed indiscriminately, called by that name and Astapus. In fact, this Astosabas, or Astapus, is neither more nor less than the present Mareb, which though trifling of itself, yet, as running near to Meum, the ancient capital of a great kingdom, thence acquired an accessary consequence, and came to be considered as of almost equal consequence with the Astaberas itself, into which it falls,

To establish this point, by reference to authorities, is superfluous, since Ptolemy himself, the very author on whose authority the whole theory of Pinkerton and Co. depends, positively determines the question. His Astapus rises out of the Coloen Lake, or marsh of Coloe. Now this very lake, or marsh of Coloe was situated betwixt the Red Sea and the river Astaberas, now Tacazze. The mountains of that name, the inhabitants of that

[ocr errors]

district, a thousand circumstances, establish this most decided point. Ptolemy also most positively declares, that the Astaberas and Astapus join above Meroe; we all know that the Mareb joins the Tacazze, before the latter falls into the Nile. How the Astapus of Ptolemy, (clearly the Mareb,) has become the great river of Abyssinia, three times greater than both the Astaberas and Astapus, is left to the ingenuity of Pinkerton and his followers to determine.

Indeed, the authority of Ptolemy, were it not for the idle theories reared upon it, is of very little weight. It is pretty clear, from his own statement, that he knew himself nothing of the matter. The sources of the Nile, in the Mountains of the Moon (he might as well have said the neck of the ram,) he places in 14 S. L:: the Niger he makes to issue from the same lake &c. Now we are taught to believe that his information was received from certain Indians, who had read accounts, probably derived from the fables of Egyptian priests who had emigrated to India perhaps so far back as the irruption of the shepherds, or, perhaps, during the massacres of Cambyses, Were these traditions worth reasoning upon, (as stated by Captain Wilford) they would be found rather to strengthen my hypothesis. It might easily be shewn, even from his own quotations from the Puranas, that in his Essay upon Egypt and the Nile, Mr. Wilford has mistaken the rivers, and that his Nanda is merely the Tacazze, and his Little Chrishna and SancaNaga the Mareb; the latter, which he will have the Tacazze, issues from a lake, which that river does not do: But it is needless to multiply proofs that his Little Chrishna, Sanca-Naga, and Nanda, can only be the Mareb and Tacazze, or, perhaps, another small stream in that quarter. The Lingam and city, erected at the confluence of the Nanda and Cali, (or Nile,) he is obliged to place at the confluence of the Tacazze and Nile, (Little Chrishna and Cali,) at some hundred miles distant from the spot where, were Bruce's river the Nanda, it ought to have been.

But to what extent Ptolemy availed himself of the information derived from those learned Indians he had conversed with at Alexandria, it is of little importance now to enquire. The Puranas and Ptolemy agree that the Astaberas and Astapus are united (the Nanda and Little Chrishna of the former) before they join the Nile.

Now, were the river of Abyssinia the Astapus, how could such a circumstance ever be asserted, so grossly wide of truth, as its running into the Tacazze, rivers between which there is as much space, and as many other rivers, as between the Thames and the Forth. The Puranas, indeed, make their rivers afterwards separate, and, it may be, Ptolerny, from thence, took the absurd idea of making his Astaberas and Astapus, after running a long time together, afterwards to separate, the one running east, and the other west, to join the Nile. The idea of two large rivers uniting, running together in a pameless channel, then separating, and each retaining its own name, and all its own waters, is too absurd to comment upon. It might be occasioned from an opinion that Meroe was an island, in the modern sense of the word; that as it was a well-known fact that the Astapus did join the Astaberas near or at Meroe, and as a river, like the Astapus, did there, or nearly so, run to the Nile in a western course, and, thus, almost insulate that tract of country we now suppose to have been Meroe, which river night from ignorance, topographical errors, the confused accounts of unenlightened travellers, or the narratives of ignorant natives, sometiines have been mistaken for the true Astapus: in a word, the river Dender, whịch actually does join the Nile to the westward, and is one of the boundaries of Meroe, might have received the name of Astaheras or Astapus by those ignorant of the true river of that name, and thus have given rise to the monstrous supposition of the Astapusjoining, afterwards separating from, and again joining the Nile far to the westward of the Astaberas. It is only upon this or some such grounds, that any thing like truth can be extracted from the accounts of Ptolemy respecting Meroe, or of the rivers Astaberas and Astapus that bound it. it is perfectly evident that the Mareb, which joins the Tacazze, was the original Astapus: if there be any truth in the accounts of Ptolemy, we are obliged to suppose that the Dender might at first, from ignorance, siinilrity of size and appearance, have that napie also bestowed upon it, and, at last, be supposed to be the very individual river which had already joined the Asteras. Thus only could Meroe be, what it really is, amost entirely surrounded þy rivers, and thence be considered as an islaud.

[To be resumed net Month.]

[ocr errors]

THE PARLIAMENT.

ON THE DIGNITY, POWER, AND AUTHORITY OF THE PAR

LIAMENT, AND OF THE ORDERS OBSERVED TIER EIN.

The parliament is the highest, chiefest, and greatest court, that is or can be within the realm ; for it consisteth of the whole realm ; which is divided into three estates; that is, to wit, the king, the nobles, and the commons; every of which estates are subject to all such orders as are concluded and established in parliament.

These three estates may jointly, and with one consent or agreement, establish and enact any laws, orders, and statutes for the commonwealth ; but being divided, and one swerving from the other, they can do nothing, for the king, though he be the head, yet alone cannot make any law, nor yet the king and his lords only ; nor yet the king and his commons alone; neither yet can the lords and the cominons without the king, do any thing of avail. And, yet nevertheless, if the king in due order have summoned all his lords and barons, and they will not come, or if they come they will not appear, or if they come and appear yet will not do or yield to any thing, then the king, with the consent of his commons, (who are represented by his knights, citizens, and burgesses,) may ordain and establish any act or law, which are as good, sufficient, and effectual, as if the lords had given their consent.

But on the contrary, if the commons be summoned, and will not come, or coming will not appear, or appearing will not consent to do any thing, alledging some just weighty, and great cause, the king (in these cases) cannot with his lords devise, make, or establish any law; the reasons are these: When parliaments were first , begun, and ordained, there were no prelates or barons of the parliament, and the temporal lords were very few or none, and then the king ind his commons did make a full parliament, which authority hitherto was never abridged. Again, every baron in parliament doth represent but his own person, and speaketh on behalf of himself alone.

But in the knights, ciizens, and burgesses, are represented the commons of the whole realm; and every of these giveth, not consent only for himself, but for all those also for whom he is sent. And the

king, with the consent of his commons, had ever a sufficient and full authority to make, ordain, and establish good and wholesome laws for the commonwealth of this realm. Where. fore the lords, being lawfully summoned, and yet refusing to come, sit or consent in parliament, cannot by their folly abridge the king and the commons of their lawful proceedings in parliament.

The lords and coinmons, in time past, did sit all in one house; but, for the avoiding of confusion, they be now divided into two several houses; and yet, nevertheless, they are of like and equal authority, every pero son of either of the said houses being namned and counted a peer of the realm, (for the time of the parliament) that is to say, equal; for par is equal. And therefore the opinion, censure, and judgment of a mean burgess, is of as great avail, as is the best lord's, uo regard being had to the party who speaketh, but the matter that is spoken.

They be also called peers, as it were fathers; for pére is a father ; by which is meant, that all such as be of the parliament should be ancient, grave, wise, learned, and expert inen of the land; for such were the senators of Rome, and called patres conscripti; for the wisdom and care that was in them in governing the commonwealth. They are also called counsellors, because they are assembled and called to the parliament for their ada vice and good counsel in making and devising all such good orders and laws as may be for the commonwealth.

They, therefore, which make choice of knights, citizens, and burgesses, ought to be well advised, that they do elect and choose such as, being to be of that assembly, and thereby equal with the great estates, should be grave, ancient, wise, learned, expert and careful men for their commonwealth, and who (as faithe ful and trusty counsellors) should do that which should turn and be for the best commodity of the commonwealth ; otherwise they do great injury to their prince and the cominouwealth.

Also, every person of the parliament, during the times of the parliament; and at his coming and going from the saine, is free from all troubles, arrests and molestations ; no action or suit taking effect, which, during that time, is begun, entered, or commenced against him, in what court soever the same be, except in cases

VOL. II.

« AnteriorContinuar »