Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile, in the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, & 1773: Volume 6

James Ballantyne



Additional Information

James Ballantyne
Read more
Published on
Dec 31, 1804
Read more
Read more
Read more
Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
Read more

Reading information

Smartphones and Tablets

Install the Google Play Books app for Android and iPad/iPhone. It syncs automatically with your account and allows you to read online or offline wherever you are.

Laptops and Computers

You can read books purchased on Google Play using your computer's web browser.

eReaders and other devices

To read on e-ink devices like the Sony eReader or Barnes & Noble Nook, you'll need to download a file and transfer it to your device. Please follow the detailed Help center instructions to transfer the files to supported eReaders.
HOWEVER little the reader may be conversant with ancient histories, in all probability he will know, or have heard this much in general, that the attempt to reach the Source of the Nile, the principal subject of this publication, from very early ages interested all scientific nations: Nor was this great object feebly prosecuted, as men, the first for wisdom, for learning, and spirit (a most necessary qualification in this undertaking) very earnestly interested themselves about the discovery of the sources of this famous river, till disappointment followed disappointment so fast, and consequences produced other consequences so fatal, that the design was entirely given over, as having, upon the fairest trials, appeared impracticable. Even conquerors at the head of immense armies, who had first discovered and then subdued great part of the world, were forced to lower their tone here, and dared scarcely to extend their advances toward this discovery, beyond the limits of bare wishes. At length, if it was not forgot, it was however totally abandoned from the causes above mentioned, and with it all further topographical inquiries in that quarter.

Upon the revival of learning and of the arts, the curiosity of mankind had returned with unabated vigour towards this object, but all attempts had met with the same difficulties as before, till, in the beginning of his Majesty’s reign, the unconquerable spirit raised in this nation by a long and glorious war, did very naturally resolve itself into a spirit of adventure and inquiry at the return of peace, one of the first-fruits of which was the discovery of these coy fountains1, till now concealed from the world in general.

The great danger and difficulties of this journey were well known, but it was likewise known that it had been completely performed without disappointment or misfortune, that it had been attended with an apparatus of books and instruments, which seldom accompanies the travels of an individual; yet sixteen years had elapsed without any account appearing, which seemed to mark an unusual self-denial, or an absolute indifference towards the wishes of the public.

Men, according to their different genius and dispositions, attempted by different ways to penetrate the cause of this silence. The candid, the learned, that species of men, in fine, for whom only it is worth while to travel or to write, supposing (perhaps with some degree of truth) that an undeserved and unexpected neglect and want of patronage had been at least part of the cause, adopted a manner, which, being the most liberal, they thought likely to succeed: They endeavoured to entice me by holding out a prospect of a more generous disposition in the minds of future ministers, when I should shew the claim I had upon them by having promoted the glory of the nation. Others, whom I mention only for the sake of comparison, below all notice on any other ground, attempted to succeed in this by anonymous letters and paragraphs in the newspapers; and thereby absurdly endeavoured to oblige me to publish an account of those travels, which they affected at the same time to believe I had never performed.

James, eighth Earl of Elgin and twelfth Earl of Kincardine, was born in London on July 20, 1811. His father, whose career as Ambassador at Constantinople is so well known in connection with the 'Elgin Marbles,' was the chief and representative of the ancient Norman house, whose hero was 'Robert the Bruce.' From him, it may be said that he inherited the genial and playful spirit which gave such a charm to his social and parental relations, and which helped him to elicit from others the knowledge of which he made so much use in the many diverse situations of his after-life. His mother, Lord Elgin's second wife, was a daughter of Mr. Oswald, of Dunnikier, in Fifeshire. Her deep piety, united with wide reach of mind and varied culture, made her admirably qualified to be the depositary of the ardent thoughts and aspirations of his boyhood; and, as he grew up, he found a second mother in his elder sister, Matilda, who became the wife of Sir John Maxwell, of Pollok. To the influence of such a mother and such a sister he probably owed the pliancy and power of sympathy with others for which he was remarkable, and which is not often found in characters of so tough a fibre. To them, from his earliest years, he confided the outpourings of his deeper religious feelings. One expression of such feeling, dated June 1821, may be worth recording as an example of that strong sense of duty and affection towards his brothers, which, beginning at that early age, marked his whole subsequent career. 'Be with me this week, in my studies, my amusements, in everything. When at my lessons, may I think only of them; playing when I play: when dressing, may I be quick, and never put off time, and never amuse myself but in playhours. Oh! may I set a good example to nay brothers. Let me not teach them anything that is bad, and may they not learn wickedness from seeing me. May I command my temper and passions, and give me a better heart for their good.'
©2018 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.