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colonization during the few last years of the period to which these volumes are restricted. Having the admirable burlesque chronicle of Knickerbocker fresh in our recollection, we cannot but sympathise in the embarrassment expressed in a note, half seriously, half in jest, by Mr. Grahame, at the anticipation of his theme, by the humour of Washington Irving.

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Founders of ancient colonies have sometimes been deified by their sucNew York is, perhaps, the only commonwealth whose founders have been covered with ridicule, from the same quarter. It is impossible to read the ingenious and diverting romance, entitled, Knickerbocker's History of New York,' without wishing that the author had put, either a little more, or a little less, truth in it; and that his talent for humour and sarcasm had found another subject than the dangers, hardships, and virtues, of the ancestors of his national family. It must be unfavourable to patriotism to connect historical recollections with ludicrous associations; but the genius of Mr. Irving has done this so effectually, that it is difficult to read the names of Wouter Van Twiller, of Corlear, and of Peter Stuyvesant, without a smile; or to see the free and happy colonists of New York enslaved by the forces of a despot, without a sense of ridicule, that abates the resentment which injustice should excite, and the sympathy which is due to misfortune. Yet Stuyvesant was a gallant and generous man; and Corlear softened the miseries of war, and mitigated the wrath of man by his benevolence. If this writer had confined his ridicule to the wars, or rather bloodless buffetings and squabbles of the Dutch and the Swedes, his readers would have derived more unreproved enjoyment from his performance. Probably my discernment of the unsuitableness of Mr. Irving's mirth, is quickened by a sense of personal wrong; as I cannot help feeling that he has by anticipation ridiculed my topic, and parodied my narrative. If Sancho Panza had been a real governor, misrepresented by the wit of Cervantes, his future historian would have found it no easy matter to bespeak a grave attention to the annals of his administration.' vol. ii., p. 510.

The reader will find much valuable matter in the remaining books of Mr. Grahame's series, and particularly in the last, which is devoted to the colonization of Pennsylvania, and admirably illustrates the mingled virtues and imperfections which characterised the benevolent founder of that colony.

ART. X. Travels in Mesopotamia; including a Journey from Aleppo, across the Euphrates to Orfah (the Ur of the Chaldees), through the Plains of the Turcomans, to Diarbekr, in Asia Minor; from thence to Mardin, on the borders of the Great Desert, and by the Tigris to Mousul and Bagdad: with researches on the ruins of Babylon, Nineveh, Arbela, Ctesiphon, and Selencia. By J. Š. Buckingham. 4to. pp. 571. London: Colburn. 1827.

THE name of Mesopotamia was chiefly applied by the Greeks, to that tract of Asia which occupies what may be called the Delta, formed by the Euphrates and the Tigris. It is a country peculiarly

interesting, as it contains the ruins of several cities mentioned in the sacred writings, and as some of its inhabitants still retain the manners and customs which prevailed there in the earliest ages of the world; thus affording an uninterrupted mass of evidence to attest the accuracy and authenticity of those inspired productions. It is a country, too, which our modern Asiatic travellers have unaccountably neglected, though most have, either on the one side or the other, traversed its outskirts. No doubt, the difficulties and dangers attendant on a journey through the most interesting parts of Mesopotamia, must have had their share in deterring our enterprising countrymen from undertaking this Herculean labour. The whole of its territory is overrun with armed and well-mounted tribes; who, under the pretext of levying imposts upon the caravans which pass through their different districts, plunder them in the most audacious manner, and apparently to such an extent, that the merchant who sets out with a considerable venture, finds himself nearly stripped of all his property before he arrives at his destination.

The real amount of the depredations committed by these roaming banditti, is in itself, sufficiently great: of course it is not a little exaggerated in the complaints of those who suffer; and in consequence, the whole country has obtained so infamous a name, that a stranger, who attempts to travel through it, must make up his mind to expose his life to more than the common perils of a desert.

We cannot, therefore, too highly applaud the spirit which induced Mr. Buckingham to undertake, and enabled him, under circumstances sometimes of the most adverse nature, to complete a journey through this dangerous, yet most inviting district of Asia. If he has not given so perfect, and so minute an account of its actual condition, at the time he visited it, as we might have wished to receive, yet, he has gone farther towards the attainment of that object, than many travellers could have done in his situation. This present work is by far better written, in point of style, and in reference to those little picturesque details of manners and of scenery, than any of his former volumes. It abounds also with personal adventures, some of them highly romantic and amusing, which impart great variety and animation to his narrative.

We have to complain, however, of one great and pervading blemish in this volume; it is, to speak within a fair compass, literally burthened with a quantity of matter, from which a moiety might be abstracted, without the slightest injury to the work. On the contrary, we think, that the volume would have been much more popular, had Mr. Buckingham limited his pages to the observations and incidents strictly appertaining to his own journey. Instead of doing this, he has thought fit to make his quarto a history of Mesopotamia, almost from the period of the flood, to his own time. Not content with describing towns and villages, ruins and mountains, as they appeared to his own eye, he presents to the

reader, either in the body of his composition, or in foot notes, that often reach near the confines of a whole page, under the protection of two or thee lines of text, elaborate digests of the researches made by former travellers; and very frequently long extracts from the volumes in which they have recorded them. The Rabbi Benjamin, of Tudela, who travelled through Mesopotamia, in 1170, and whose accuracy Mr. Buckingham, everywhere, thinks it necessary to attest; Dr. Rauwolff, a German, who visited the country in 1530, and Niebuhr, also a German, who traversed it in 1760, are his great authorities. From these he borrows copiously; nor does he disdain to take a leaf, now and then, from the Bibliothèque Orientale, from Rousseau, and even from Gibbon; as if these, and the other numerous sources from which he replenishes his stores, were inaccessible to any reader who has any disposition to go deeply into the history of Mesopotamia.

What we want from a modern traveller, and what, on opening his book, we expect to find in it, is a modern account of the countries which have been the scene of his labours. Unquestionably, such details concerning celebrated ruins, or sections of territory, as may connect their history with the observations of former travellers, are essentially necessary; but that necessity forms no excuse for giving, also, great portions of the works of those writers into the bargain. So extensive have been Mr. Buckingham's obligations in this way, that we assert, without fear of contradiction, that one half of his present volume might have been written by him, if he had never been farther from his residence than the British Museum.

From some motive or other, which we do not pretend to divine, it seems to have been an object with this author, to produce a thick quarto of nearly six hundred pages. But his own personal acquisitions of knowledge during his journey through Mesopotamia, not having been susceptible of extension beyond two, or at most, three hundred pages, how does he proceed to work? When he arrives at a town, or at any place celebrated in antiquity, he takes the earliest opportunity of explaining it, for which we yield him due praise: he next sits down and makes his notes, and connects with them all that he can find recorded by others concerning the objects of his inquiry. But he goes farther than this. In some instances, he presents us with copious details of places which he never visited at all, and never even saw at a distance. As for instance, how does he treat Sinjar, or Singara, which was a celebrated military post during the contest for universal empire? Mr. Buckingham, on his journey to Mousul, obtained a transient view of the mountain which took its name from that town, or rather, perhaps, gave the town its own name; and without being able to visit it, or even to verify a single assertion made by any former writer about it, strait goes he (p. 260), to Cellarius, to the Memoires of the French Academy, des Inscriptions, et Belles Lettres,

to Gibbon, to Ammianus Marcellinus, to his friend Benjamin, and others, for a most erudite account of the said Singara.

Neither does it seem to concern him much, whether the town or village which the labours of others have enabled him to describe, be worthy of his attention, or the reverse. For instance, he candidly acknowledges, that Monsul appeared to him as being, 'on the whole, the worst built, and, altogether, the least interesting city, especially considering its large size, that he had seen in the East.' p. 281. Does he, therefore, dismiss it with laudable brevity? No such thing. Mousul must be taxed, at least, for twelve pages, and forthwith he applies again to the Jew,-the inexhaustible Benjamin of Tudela; to the Sieur Boullaye-le-Gouz, whose name, we protest, we never heard before; to Otter and others; and the requisite quantity of matter appears spread out before him, as if at the call of a magician.

This superfluous congregation of details is so much the vice of authorship, at the present day, that we trust we may be excused for having thus far dwelt upon, what we conceive to be, so serious a blemish in the volume before us. It is the less pardonable in Mr. Buckingham, as he is no tyro in the art of writing, and has, we believe, even occasionally wielded, with no mean success, the sceptre of criticism. Besides, he informs us, that he had, generally, better opportunities for making his observations, and greater facilities for preserving them, during his journey in Mesopotamia, than on any former occasion. It was performed,' he says, 'without the pleasure and advantage of a European friend, companion, interpreter, or attendant of any sort; the dress, manners, and language of the country were adopted, and continued throughout the whole of the way; and the utmost care was taken to ensure as much accuracy as was attainable, by recording all the observations that suggested themselves, while fresh on the memory, and amid the scenes and events which gave them birth.'

It was towards the latter end of May, 1816, that Mr. B. commenced his journey from Aleppo; his object being to proceed from that city by Orfah, Mardin, and Mousul, to Bagdad, on his way to India. This was, it must be owned, rather a circuitous course for a gentleman employed, as Mr. Buckingham then was, upon a mercantile mission, of great importance to his principals. But, we must presume that no other route was, at that time, practicable for him, and we, at least, have no right to complain, if he preferred the gratification of his curiosity to the immediate execution of his duties. For this purpose, he joined the party of Hadjee Abd-el-Rakhman, a wealthy merchant of Mousul, who was returning to his native city, with merchandise, from the pilgrimage at Mecca. He had thus the advantage of accompanying a small caravan, which was destined for the route already mentioned.

Nothing worthy of notice presented itself in the early part of the

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journey, unless our matronly readers think that a singular operation for making butter, which was witnessed at a village called Oktereen, has a claim upon their attention.

In an hour from Oktereen, we came to another village of the same. name, each of these being called by that of the district in which they stand. The pointed dome-tops to the dwellings were now no longer seen, all the houses being flat-roofed, with terraces. As we stopped at this place to drink milk, we had au opportunity of seeing the method followed by its inhabitants in making butter. The milk is first put into a goat's skin, without being scalded, and a small space is left in this for air and motion; the skin is then hung by cords to a peg in the side of the wall, or suspended to a sort of sheers, formed by three poles, in the open court;

it is then pushed to and fro, until its motion in the skin shall have been sufficient to churn it; when the watery part is thrown off, and the thick part stirred by the hand until it becomes of the oiliness and consistency required. Such of the women as we saw here were really handsome; all of them were unveiled, and displayed blooming complexions and agreeable features, not disfigured by stains of any kind. As an additional charm, they were remarkably clean and well dressed, with white or red trowsers, white upper garments, wreaths of gold coin across their foreheads, and their long black hair hanging in tresses over their shoulders.'-pp. 9.

On the third day after its departure, the caravan was attacked by a predatory troop of horsemen, and was thus compelled to form a slight anticipation of the dangers which it was subsequently fated to encounter. Mr. Buckingham's description of the scene that followed is striking and picturesque, and it will afford the reader a pretty good general idea of rencontres of this kind.

'We had scarcely left Shahaboor an hour behind us, before we were alarmed by a troop of horsemen making towards the caravan, in full speed, from the southward. The camels were widely scattered, so much so, that there seemed to be a distance of nearly two miles between their extremes. The design of the enemy being to attack and cut off the rear, all who were mounted rushed towards that quarter, leaving only the men on foot, who were armed, to protect the other parts. The enemy checked their horses, advanced, retreated, wheeled, and manoeuvred on the plain, with great skill; and, as they were all mounted on very beautiful animals, it formed as fine a display of horsemanship as I had ever witnessed.

On the other hand, nothing could exceed the confusion and disorder which prevailed in our train. As there was no acknowledged leader, a hundred voices were heard at once, all angry at not being attended to: the women and children shrieked, the asses brayed at the noise of other animals, and the men set up the wildest shouts of defiance. Wheh our enemies, however, betrayed fear, it was the moment chosen by those attacked to affect courage; and, accordingly, all who were dismounted, young and old, came out from among the camels, behind which they had before taken shelter: and those who had muskets without powder, of which there were several, borrowed a charge or two of their neighbours, and idly wasted it in the air. There were at least 200 balls discharged in this way in the course of the hour that the Turcomans harassed us, by changing

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