Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB
[ocr errors]

double pleasure, and enjoy its comforts more from having felt the want of them abroad.

About a month after this conversation, a favourable opportunity occurred of entering Persia, and it was not neglected; a ship be. longing to a Persian merchant, resident in Bombay, was chartered by the English government who had promised to send a strong des tachment of English soldiers and serjeants to discipline the Persian infantry after the Euro. pean manner, and Captain Blisset was invited by the Governor to accompany the officer who commanded it; he was also the bearer of a letter from the Governor General to the Persian monarch, and what was no trifling addi, tion, the officer was entrusted with a present of English muskets and accoutrements for 200

On the 30th January, after taking leave of all his friends, Captain Blisset embarked at Bombay in the ship Surat, and proceeded on his voyage for Persia. Their course traversed. that part of the Indian ocean which sepa. rates Hindostan from Arabia, and for eight days they continued nearly in a due Western direction. The vessel then entered the Gulf of Persia, off Cape Mussledoon, where it was not broader than 55 Miles. This inlet of the Indian ocean runs thence in a N, W. direction for nearly 600 miles, dividing the opposite shores of Persia and Arabia, and sometimes

men.

extending to the breadth of 220 miles, Bee fore our traveller left Bombay, opinions were very various upon the length of the passage up the Gulf at that season of the year; 20 days appeared to be the shortest time, but they now found they would be fourteen days if they got to Bushire, the principal sea-port of Per. sia, lying on the North Eastern side of the Gulf. In less than five weeks they found, however, that another difficulty was likely to oppose them, more serious tban delay; the Gulf had been long infested by numerous bands, of pirates who had fixed themselves along the various creeks of the Arabian shore, for the pur. pose of intercepting the vessels sailing up or down. A short time. previous the English government had sent an expedition out from Hindostan and totally destroyed their fastnes. ges; they had begun, however, to recruit their forces again; and very soon had our country. men reason to know that they were becoming formidable. On the 17th, the Surat descried two boats that had all the appearance of being pirates, for they first approached to make obser.

rations, and then stood off agaiù as if to inform · their companions. No doubt they thought the

English vessel too strong for an attack; but Captain Blisset and William were not men to let them get off without examination; they soon, therefore, fired a gun to bring them to and finding that they disregarded the signals threw themselves into a couple of boats, fola lowed by a few of the English troops aboard, and after a hard tog with their oars, overtook and brought them back. They were found full of arms and ammunition, and the only circumstance in their favour, was that when summoned to surrender they made no resist. ance; however, they made out so plausible a story, saying that they belonged to the Inaum of Muscat, that thry were set at liberty.

Thie Persian or eastern coast of this gulf is safe, having regular soundings; the Arabic side is almost wholly unknown, being by the patives stiled the Coast of Danger; the course of the Surat lay therefore along the former, On the 25th February however, it blew go fresh from the N. W. that they were obliged to close reef the topsails, and at length, after many fruitless efforts to make way, they can store anchor under the lee of an island called Keun, A party here went ashore to buy fresh pro, visions, and found that there were above 100 male inhabitants, and the same number of fe. males, living in a strong fort close to the town: the latter were veiled, just shewing their eyes and a part of the pose. . Their governor was called Emir; and it appeared from the cau. tious manner in which they admitted the English, that they were liable to piratical attacks. On the 1st of March, the Surat got a fine breeze from the southward, and on the following day

cast' anchor in sir fathoms water, at Bushirr, situate on the north eastern shore of the gulf, in lat, 28 north, and long. 50 east,

Persia is bounded on the north by the Cas. pian sea and the mountains of Caucasus, on the south by the Persian Gulf, on the west by two rivers, the Euphrates and the Tigris; and an extensive barren tract called the salt desert, forms, at once, the eastern boundary of Persia, and the western of Afghaunistan, the country which lies past of Persia. The desert, is so cal. led, from the soil being so strongly impregnat. ed with salt, as, not only to make the land barren, but to taint all the neighbouring lakes and rivers.

But before we pursue our narrative farther, it will be necessary to enter into a geographical description of this country, on which our travellers were about to land.

The western boundary of Persia, as has been before stated, is formed by the rivers Euphrates and Tigris. These take their rise in the moun, tains of Armenia, a country lying to the north. westward of that kingdom; their sources are not distant more than fifteen miles from each other; from thence, they branch off to a wider distance, and flow on, in nearly parallel lines, for about fourteen hundred miles, the Euphrates being the more westerly of the two rivers; here the space between them gradually lessens, uutil, at leogth, they meet at the town of

[ocr errors]

Koran, and flowing on, in

one united stream, under the name of the Euphrates, for one hundred and thirty miles, fall into the Persian Gulf. The country that lies between these two rivers is Mesa potamia, where, it is generally supposed, was ihe situation of Paradise; that which lies to the south-westward of the Euphrates, is the country that we read of in Scripture by the name of Chaldea, of which Babylon was the capital; and to visit the ruins of this celebrated city was now the great object of our travellers.

Of the two rivers, before mentioned, the Euphrates is the most considerable, both by its Jength of course, and its body of water, but the Tigris has the strongest and swiftest cur. rent, and from thence it was called in the ori. ginal Persian language, the 'Teer, which signi. fies an arrow.

The southern part of this river is navigable for merchant vessels of about thirty tons hur

it is nearly 600 feet wide, and its banks are steep, overgrown with brushwood, and are the haunts of wild beasts. Towards the north, the current is too rapid and too shallow to be navigable, except for light rafts, by which the natives carry on their trade from town to town. The Euphrates is likewise partially navigable, and the boats which ply on this river, are flat. bottomed, and built of a semi-circular form ; the ribs and planks roughly nailed togother,

den;

« AnteriorContinuar »