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him; it was said to be broader, deeper, and stronger than either the Kitangule or the Kitonga, and to flow from the lake through stony, hilly ground in a north-westerly direction. This is doubtless the great river which Captain Speke has now seen, which the natives call the Kivira, and which he confidently denominates the Nile; and the hilly ground is the sandstone range which he describes as a characteristic feature of the scenery to the north-west of the lake. The conviction flashed upon his mind very soon after he had quitted the vicinity that this river must be the Nile. The height of the Nyanza having been ascertained to be upwards of 3500 feet above the level of the sea, and the bed of the Nile at Gondokoro, in latitude nearly 5° N., being greatly lower, Captain Speke arrived at the conclusion that the lake must be the reservoir of the Nile, and he conjectured that the cause why the ancient and modern exploring expeditions had failed to discover the Nyanza, was the existence of impassable rapids occasioned by the difference of elevation between the lake and Gondokoro. The intermediate country, Captain Speke inferred, was terraced like a hanging garden. He has since found its conformation to correspond precisely with that impression; and it is worthy of remark that the independent observations of travellers in Southern and Western Africa similarly reveal to us the existence of great rivers descending by steps from some central plateau.
The public will look forward with eager curiosity for the full details of Captain Spcke's last great exploit and adventures, with a few of which he has already gratified his numerous audiences, who have listened at the cost of much bodily discomfort. It appears that returning to Unyanyembi, about 3° south of the Victoria Nyanza, and his former starting point, he and his companion took a new direction, which they were informed would conduct them to a creek on the western shore of the lake, whereas Captain Speke's first acquaintance with it was made nearly at its southern extremity. The track, however, did not lead direct to the Nyanza, but to a long valley called Orege, sloping down to the Nyanza, and presenting some of the appearances of the bed of a lake fast drying up. Captain Speke conceives the great Nyanza itself to have been formerly twice its present size, the surrounding country being covered with a network of rush-drains with boggy bottoms. But it seems to be the characteristic of several of the great African lakes to be subject to enormous periodical expansion and contraction, according to the amount of rain and evaporation to which they are subjected. Thus the great lake Tchad was found by Dr. Barth to be an immense lagoon, and at the time of his visit to be only sixty miles in extent from east to west, although Clap
Serton had found it by rough measurement a few years before iarth's visit to be 120 miles long in the same direction. It may be therefore reasonably concluded that most of the lakes in the equatorial region of Africa are the expansions of large rivers swollen by the tropical rains. That is undoubtedly the case with the Tchad, and it may to a great extent be that of the Victoria Nyanza.
The size of the lake, however, must necessarily be much greater in the rainy season than in the dry, and the apparent traces of a great permanent diminution of its area may be only those of its periodical subsidences. It is scarcely conceivable that a lake so situated as the Nyanza, with the sources of its supply, by tropical rains and mountain streams, perennial, can have permanently decreased, to the extent supposed, from the effects of mere evaporation. Captain Speke recorded his first impression of this great sheet of water as being only the temporary deposit of a vast flood overspreading a flat surface. He believed it to be very shallow, as it was far from presenting the usual characteristics of a deep lake or inland sea, like the Tanganyika, but was studded with a multitude of wooded islands standing out of its surface like low hill tops, similar in their configuration to those of the country through which he had passed, and which would have presented exactly the same appearance as the Nyanza if subjected to a temporary inundation.* The recently discovered smaller lake, called by the travellers ' Little Windermere,' is, it appears, drained by the Kitangule River into the Nyanza. This river, after receiving the contributions of many smaller streams, and draining some minor lakes, is described'as a noble stream, almost equal in volume to the Nile itself when it first issues from the Victoria Nyanza.
Mashonde, in the upper region of the Uganda country, was the spot from which, in his second expedition, Captain Speke first obtained a view of the great lake. There is apparently reason to believe that the Nyanza is connected with some other lakes, for Captain Speke heard from the natives that they were in the practice of going to one in quest of salt by means of a strait, and he conjectures it may be the Baringo of
* Captain Speke's former exploration of the country of the Nyanza is recorded in three highly interesting papers contributed by him to ' Blackwood's Magazine,' in 1859.
Dr. Krapf, and which he denominates the Salt Lake, from its islands possessing deposits of salt. In passing along the western shore of the Nyanza, two rivers flowing northwards were met with before he found the great stream which he unhesitatingly proclaims to be the Nile. It is, therefore, from the northern extremity that this great river rushes swiftly from its reservoir, rejoicing as a giant to run its course. The river, soon after it has left the falls, flows through the sandstone hills, to which reference has been before made, and becomes a mountain torrent of great beauty. It then winds sluggishly along a succession of low flats, having less the appearance of a river than of a lake. It is soon increased by two considerable tributaries, and continues its placid course until, in consequence of a rapid fall in the land, it again becomes a foaming torrent. Here Captain Speke quitted the banks for a time. Traversing the chord of a bend which the river describes, he next met with it in the Madi district to the north of the Karuma Falls, where it again presented the aspect of a sluggish stream, alternating with rapids. Before reaching the Madi district, it passes through the Little Luta Nzige, a considerable lake. This lake, which is thought to be another feeder of the Nile, Mr. Baker, at Captain Speke's suggestion, undertook to explore; and he left Captain Speke for the purpose of pursuing his travels to the south-west, by which he hoped to throw much light upon several collateral questions connected with the supply of the Nile. Here the Asua River, which was represented by the people, with whom Captain Speke conversed, as flowing from the northern end of the Nyanza, joins the Nile, and is during the rains an important feeder of the main stream. Below this point the course of the river is well known, and the Bahrel Ghazal joins it, looking like a lake without any apparent stream of its own. This remarkable sheet of water, which is fed by streams from the east and south, was entered by Mr. Petherick in the course of one of his trading enterprises; but he was prevented from landing on its banks by the hostile attitude of the population. In 1854, however, he succeeded in landing, and in making his way into the interior. The Nile flows past the Bahr el Ghazal with an imposing sweep and velocity.
Of the other principal tributaries to the Nile, the Giraffe River—although its course is at present entirely unknown— is believed to be navigable to a great distance south. The Southern and the Northern Sobat enter from the right bank; and Captain Speke suggests that these three great streams may
possibly possibly be branches of one river further south; and if such should prove on further exploration to be the case, he candidly admits that in its upper course it must be compared with the river which flows from the Nyanza.*
Independently of the high importance which is justly attributed to the discovery of the great river which issues from the Victoria Nyanza, Captain Speke and his companion have opened up to the civilised world a region of Africa equally interesting to the ethnologist, the geographer, and the philanthropist. The chiefs of several of the black tribes, through whose territories they passed, present a striking contrast to the coarse and brutab populations of the districts which lay in Captain Speke's route on his first visit to the Nyanza. The existence of any people in the equatorial region of Africa, in so comparatively advanced a stage of civilisation as that of Karagwe, on the western side of the Nyanza, ought to modify materially the common opinion of the mental and moral attributes of the African race. A people which, without any intercourse with the civilised world except with a few ivory merchants, could attain, unaided by example and instruction, so much proficiency in some of the simpler arts of life, and display so many of its proprieties and humanities, raises the character of the black men to the level of the white, proving them to be capable of the same refinement of feeling and manners. The character of one native chief and of the princes of his family elicited from Captain Speke the highest eulogy which man can bestow on man. He has characterised them as essentially gentlemen. But it would appear that these chiefs were of a superior race, who wandered probably from Abyssinia and became the rulers over tribes which differ little from the ordinary inhabitants of Africa.
Whether the remote regions to which attention is now directed can be brought within the range of mercantile enterprise, remains to be ascertained. We already hear of the formation of a wealthy and influential public company, which will receive the support of the Viceroy of Egypt, and of which the object will be to
* We give the passage referring to these rivers, in the Address delivered by Captain Speke before the Royal Geographical Society :—' The Northern Sobat was passed without our knowledge, which also being navigable would make the Upper Sobat, that is to say, the Sobat above the Delta, of far greater magnitude than the Giraffe, unless indeed these three streams may be one river still further south, when on its combination the comparison would have to be drawn with the Nile above it, and would very nearly equal it, for the Nile with these additions has scarcely doubled its importance, considered as it was seen from above, entering the Bahr el GhazaL'
open open the navigation and extend trade throughout the whole course of the Nile. It is proposed to establish a line of telegraphs and a chain of trading posts as far as Khartum, and to form a line of caravans for penetrating the regions to the south. The impression made on Captain Speke on his first visit to these regions, of their boundless fertility and capabilities, has been fully confirmed. The country is everywhere in a high state of cultivation, and the scenery in many parts strikingly grand. The prevalent principle of government appears to be the despotism of a chief; but the people are described as good-natured, intelligent, honest, and easily ruled. Cannibalism was not found to exist in any of the districts, although the travellers were themselves suspected and accused of it It was imputed to them that they ate voraciously the flesh of women. The difficulties of travel in these countries are very great; and the frequent wars between the different tribes must for some time make exploration and traffic a work of peril. The navigation of the Nile seems beset with difficulties, which it may require centuries of civilisation to overcome. No direct access by water to the district of the Nyanza can be hoped for, at least by the great river which rushes over the Ripon Falls.
It is remarkable that in scarcely any of the great African rivers is the navigation unobstructed. The Zambezi is not navigable in its upper course, and has some serious obstructions in its lower. The great Orange River, after a course of 1000 miles, enters the sea an insignificant stream. The Couanza is navigable but for a short distance, and that only for small vessels. The Congo possesses a wide and deep embouchure, but at the distance of 100 miles from the sea it leaps over tremendous precipices, and is beset with dangerous rapids and terrible cascades. The Niger in its lower course is open, but its upper course presents many obstructions and difficulties. The Senegal is only navigable for 250 miles from its mouth; and now the Nile, in addition to the well-known difficulties of its lower stream, has been ascertained to have a series of rapids and falls in its highest course which must present insuperable obstacles to its navigation.
The farther researches in this most interesting portion of the globe will probably not be confined to the route just explored by the two energetic and successful travellers who have so much excited our sympathy and our interest. The great tributaries of the Nile now deserve attention. They may flow from regions quite as important and probably as interesting as those with which we