« ZurückWeiter »
conclude its labours by^exploring the country between the gulf and the settlements on the eastern coast. It is indeed but recently that Her Majesty's Government, after giving ear to our recommendations, decided upon taking exclusively into its own hands the undertaking in question; and a vote of 5000?. has been obtained from Parliament for the purpose. I for one think that the Government decided wisely in adopting this resolve, which I apprehend by no means will be found to preclude us, should we see reason, from addressing to Her Majesty's Government any further suggestions which may occur to us. I am not, however, now that we are discharged from responsibility in the matter, able to state the exact present condition of the scheme. I can only state that it has been by no means abandoned, and that at the worst it has only suffered scarcely avoidable postponement in consequence of the absorption of official time and attention by the war. In the mean time, we are informed by Mr. G. M. "Waterhouse, that at his suggestion the legislature of South Australia have voted 5000J. a year for two years towards the exploration of the interior to the N.W. of Gawler range, at the head of Spencer Gulf, and to the westward of Sturt's farthest. In the south and east another triumph has been achieved in the successful accomplishment of some 1500 miles of steam navigation up and down the river Murray, performed by Captain Cadell and Lieut.-Governor Young. It will be in your recollection that our own Sturt had already (1829) paved the way for this exploit, and I trust that this is an omen of the successes to be achieved in the north—that an expedition carefully matured and confided to able hands will achieve all that Leichhardt's lamentable loss has left unperformed—and that we may live to see Mr. Arrowsmith point out on the map the exact northern limits of that Central Desert which Captain Sturt discovered and partly penetrated from the south.
I have now gone through briefly and superficially such topics of present geographical interest as I am able to specify. It remains for me to congratulate you on the circumstance mentioned in the Council Report,—the assistance which we are about to derive from the liberality of Her Majesty's Government. Looking as I do for the best consequences to the public and ourselves from this measure, I consider myself fortunate in its having been adopted during my tenure of office. Fortune however is one thing, and merit is another; and I am bound, while I accept the one, -to disclaim the other, It was during the first presidency of my predecessor Sir Roderick Mur
Vol. xxiv, h
chison that he originated the application to Government, on the success of which we have now to congratulate him and ourselves. This was followed up by a memorial addressed by our Council under his second presidency to our Vice-Patron, Prince Albert; I find him in 1852 at our anniversary meeting still expressing hopes for the success of these efforts; and as his successor in 1854 I am here to share the advantage, but not the honour of the result. I cannot omit to mention that a voice justly potential in these matters, that of our associate, Mr. Joseph Hume, has been strongly raised in our favour. Such has been the advocacy; but even such advocacy would have failed, if it had not rested on substantial evidence of the activity of your proceedings, the value of your publications, and the evideuces of the devotion of talent and valuable time on the part of our acting associates to the concerns of our Society. Having been hitherto a sleeping partner, I could address Her Majesty's Government with no authority of my own. What I could say, and did say, was to this effect:—" The objects of our Society are of a nature which attracts to its operations men not only of first-rate, but of very varied eminence in all departments of science and of the public service. We can command for our council and management the services not only of men devoted to some special scientific pursuit, but of others also who are familiar with the conduct of business in every shape. We can thus offer a guarantee for redeeming our obligation to the public. Trust us, and you will have no reason to repent of your confidence." This I considered was a business-like way of addressing a Chancellor of the Exchequer, and it had the advantage of being the truth, and one which I am confident from my own experience of the assiduous attendance on our Council meetings you will substantiate for the future. I am able to announce that our House Committee has all but concluded arrangements for a lease of fit premises, and that the situation seems to me everything we could desire; and I have reason to believe that in other respects the arrangement will well answer our purposes, as affording convenient space for our meetings, and accommodation for our increasing collections of maps and charts.
ROYAL GEOGRAPHICAL SOCIETY.
I.— Outlines of a Journey in Palestine in 1852. By the Rev. Dr.
Communicated by the Duke of Northumberland.
Ever since the publication of my work on Palestine I had cherished the desire of once more visiting that interesting country, partly for the purpose of examining some points anew, but still more in the hope of extending my researches into those portions which had not yet been explored.
In March of the present year (1852) I arrived at Beirut, on my way to carry these plans into execution. Here I was detained for some time—at first by the unsettled state of the weather, . which continued variable much later than usual, some of the most violent storms of the season having occurred after my arrival; aud then in order to be present at the annual meeting of the American Mission in Syria, which was held this year at Beirut. 1 desire here to express my deep feeling of obligation to the Mission for the interest manifested by them in my undertaking, and for the arrangements adopted to secure to me the aid and company of some one of the missionaries during the whole journey.
It had already been arranged that, before the meeting, I should accompany Mr. Thomson to Hasbeiya, and from thence visit the region of Banias and Phiala. But just at that time the movements of the Druses, to evade the threatened conscription, made those districts insecure. I was therefore obliged to content myself with short excursions to the mouth of the Nahr el-Kelb, with its Egyptian and Assyrian tablets; to the remarkable temple at Deir el-Kul'ah; and to 'Abeih, the seat of the Boys' Seminary belonging to the Mission. To the latter place, under the guidance of Dr. De Forest, we took a less usual road, and visited a spot on a rocky ledge between two valleys, where there are many ancient sarcophagi cut in the scattered rocks. Their huge lids have been
VOL. xxiv. B