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Modern Geographical Researches in Africa.







To India rather than to Africa the attention of the civilized world in general, and of England especially, is directed at the present momentous juncture of our Eastern affairs, and it may, therefore, be imagined by some persons that to British India in preference to the land of Ham a lecturer would conduct your thoughts, if he hoped to awaken the interest and repay the attention of his auditors. But exciting and instructive as that theme would prove in the hands of any one adequately prepared to treat all the great questions it involves, it is, in my opinion, less adapted to the purposes of your Association than the subject I have undertaken to bring before you. The condition of India has of late been dwelt upon in every family and domestic circle. It has been the topic of discussion in public meetings, in the daily and weekly organs of opinion, in monthlies and quarterlies, in pamphlets and sermons of every variety of pretension and worth. The eye-witnesses of tragic scenes enacted in that land have given us authenticated reports of events as they have transpired, which have filled our hearts. with mingled emotions of regret and indignation too deep for utterance. It would be obviously impossible to con

dense into a lecture all that has been written by others, and it would be impracticable to add anything new to this subject, or to attempt any solution of the difficulties in which the country, and the Government, and the Christian Church are involved as the result of the Sepoy treachery and rebellion. Moreover, there are complications of things arising out of the perfidious and cruel conduct of the revolted native army, which could not be dwelt upon without yielding to a military or political bias, and it would be highly improper in an assembly like the present to utter deliberate opinions on some of the controverted topics which would inevitably be mooted in a discussion of Indian affairs.

When, however, we turn to Africa, our subject is divested of most, if not of all, these disadvantages, while it presents some points of observation which can scarcely fail to be instructive. The country itself is confessedly one of considerable importance, whether considered commercially or morally. Comparatively, little attention has been bestowed upon it at any time, and not much has been written, or said, respecting it of late years. Yet even the woes of Africa appeal to the heart of every philanthropic and Christian man, and the field it presents to the missionary enterprises of the church is at once large and inviting. Geographical explorations in Africa are just now challenging the attention of the scientific and religious world. The noble, persevering, and self-denying efforts of that great and good man, Dr. Livingstone, have been crowned with an amount of success which calls loudly for the expression of gratitude, and he has given the results of his explorations to the public in a volume of singular interest and value. I should have been thankful if he had been able to present to you a condensed narrative of his travels, but, though urged to do so, he felt compelled to decline. You will, I believe, receive with kindness and with candour the endeavour I shall make to

do, to the best of my ability, that which he could do with advantages possessed by no other living man.

Let me, then, bring an outline view of this subject before your minds. Imagine yourselves conveyed to some aëria1 height from which you could look clearly down on this globe of ours, like the angel of the Apocalypse, charged with the everlasting Gospel to preach to all the nations of the earth. and there would lie expanded before you, the continent of Africa, with its plains and mountains, its villages and towns, its differing tribes and multitudinous people. Forming one of the great divisions of the globe, it is the third in magnitude and population. Its extreme length from north to south is about 4,300 geographical miles, and its extreme breadth about 4,100, presenting an area of more than thirteen millions of square miles. Or, if you descend again to earth, and spread out before you a map of the globe, you will find it covering a considerable part in the form of an imperfect triangle, of which the north is the base, separated from Europe by the Mediterranean Sea; the eastern side from Asia by the Isthmus of Suez, the Arabian Gulf, and Indian Ocean; while the west and south are washed by the waves of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. The name it bears was anciently given, and that exclusively, to a province of the northern part frequently called the territory of Carthage; and down to the twelfth century it was applied to the fertile country comprised in the modern kingdoms of Tunis and Tripoli, but it now describes the extended regions we have mentioned lying between the 37th degree of north, and the 35th of south latitude; the 18th degree of west, and the 51st of east longitude.

This vast territory abounds in mighty rivers, which pour their abundant streams through barren deserts, ungladdened by the smiles of commerce. Immense mountain ranges rear their lofty summits, not as the boundaries of nations,

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