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Significant Scots
James Bruce

This article was published in the Daily Mail, Saturday, January 29th, 2000 and written by Trevor Grove.

James BruceHad Scotsman James Bruce not been such a remarkable man he might be better known today. As the discoverer of the source of the Blue Nile in 1770, his name would be up there with those heroes of the following century, Livingstone, Speke and Burton.

But Bruce was remarkable, provokingly so. He was big, boastful, cocksure and larger than life in every way. His adventures as an explorer, fighter, courtier and womaniser were astounding. He comes across as a sort of 18th century Indiana Jones, crossed with Casanova.

So amazing were his exploits that many contemporaries dismissed his accounts as fantasy. Only after his death were the magnitude of Bruce's achievements acknowledged.

Now a new biography by Miles Bredin has retraced his hair-raising journeys. Based on Bruce's own journals, they make extraordinary reading.

Bruce was born in Stirlingshire in 1730, but brought up in England and educated at Harrow, before joining the wine trade. Restless after the death of his wife, he took to exploration.

Whether in European dress or the native robes he loved to affect, Bruce was striking to look at: 6ft 4in, broad chested and red haired. He was a skilled horseman, a deadly shot and an indefatigable fighter.

The list of his accomplishments is astonishing. By the time he set off for Abyssinia in search of the source of the Nile, he could speak 11 languages and was a good geographer, astronomer, historian, linguist, botanist, ornityhologist and cartographer. He had learned medicine and, though he took a young Italian artist, he could also draw and paint himself - which was just as well, since the Italian died before their return, murdered, rumour had it, by the hot-tempered Bruce himself.

Ethiopia, or Abyssinia as it then was, had almost no contact with the outside world for more than 130 years when James Bruce and his small party arrived at the Red Sea port of Massawa in 1769. The last white people to be allowed a foothold in the region had been Portiguese Jesuits, who had been thrown out in 1632.

Since then the country had remained in medieval barbarousness.

Just what this meant Bruce was to discover, when the ruler of Massawa held them hostage for two months in the abominable African heat, demanding gold in exchange for their lives. It was behaviour to which Bruce would soon become accustomed.

Again and again over the coming months, it was only his medical skills, backed up by pistols, blunderbusses, diplomacy and his winning ways with womenfolk that saved him and his followers from being hacked to death.

In November, they got away from Massawa and headed towards Gondar, the imperial capital, lugging Bruce's hefty scientific instruments across the mountains until they entered Tigre, where the bloodthirsty dictator Ras Michael ruled in the name of the 15-year-old king, Tecia Haimanout II.

One of Michael's underlings met them en route and introduced Bruce to more genial aspects of Ethiopian life. They got drunk together on the local mead, and enjoyed the favours of some local village girls.

Bruce had asked the girls how many kisses they would give him in exchange for the beads he had brought for barter. 'We will give you as many as you wish for nothing' they answered, and proceeded to prove to the large, friendly Scot that they were 'very fair and liberal dealers'.

Throughout his travels, Bruce seemed to make the most of such opportunities and to be rather proud of his promiscuousness. Later in his journey he relates being instructed on the traditions of Abyssinian hospitality by a local chieften: 'It is a custom that a stranger of distinction, like you when he is their guest, sleeps with the sister, daughter, or near relation of the principal men among them.'

In February 1770, after five months of toil an ddanger, Bruce's party reached the capital, only to find themselves in a civil war, with Ras Michael fighting a rebel governor and the royal family ravaged by smallpox.

This was a spendid opportunity for Bruce, a dab hand at inoculation, fumigation and other contemporary means of treating the disease. As a result of his successful ministrations, he not only became firm friends with the Iteghe or Queen Mother, but also her daughter Ozoro Esther, whose favourite child he saved from death. Although Princess Esther was the wife of the tyrannical Ras Michael, she and Bruce became fast friends.

Some days later Esther's husband, the 'lean, old and apparently much-fatigued' Ras Michael rode his mule into town at the head of a victorious army of 30,000 men and a great array of captives. Bruce recorded what happened next: 'The first horrid scene Michael exhibited there, was causing the eyes of 12 of the chiefs of the Galla, whom he had taken prisoners, to be pulled out, and the unfortunate sufferers to be turned out to the fields, to be devoured at night by the hyenas.'

Feted for his healing powers and now famous as a sharpshooter and horseman, Bruce met the young king, who made him a lord of the bedchamber and commander of his own cavalry, the Black Horse.

Thoroughly at home by now, it was only to be expected that Bruce should be invited to a royal wedding feast. The chief delicacy on such occasions was raw beef, cut in strips from a living beast so that the muscle fibres were still twitching. The women hand-fed choice morsels to the men before gorging themselves while the poor creature slowly bled to death as slice after slice of its body was hacked off.

Meantime the mead was passed round in great quantities until, typically on such feast days, 'love lights all its fires, and everything is permitted with absolute freedom. There is no coyness, no delays, no need of appointments or retirement to gratify their wishes; there are no rooms but one.'

When a pair of diners decided to become more intimately acquainted, the two nearest them would hold up their cloaks like a screen to conceal their activities. But Bruce observed: 'If we may judge by the sound, they seem to think it as great a shame to make love in silence as to eat'.

It is quite possible that it was at one of these Bacchanalian parties that Bruce and Ras Michael's wife Esther consumated their relationship. That they became lovers, with or without Ras Michael's knowledge, seem clear. 'It was impossible to see Ozoro Esther and hear her speak, without being attached to her for ever after,' wrote Bruce feelingly.

To this day the guardian of Koscam, the palace in Gondar which Esther shared with the Queen Mother, says that this is where James Bruce and the princess lived together and even had a daughter, though she died before she could be christened.

After months of idleness punctured by warfare, Bruce made a determined attempt to reach the source of the Nile, which as every Abyssinian knew lay at Gishe Abbay but about which most of the world remained ignorant.

Two 17th century Jesuit priests, Paez and Lobo, had seen the source nearly 150 years before. But Bruce was undiscouraged. Evidently his view was that thanks to advances in measuring longitude, he could pinpoint on the map what the Jesuits merely saw. That would make him, not them - never mind Abyssinians - the real discoverer. After a dangerous journey through the rebel strongholds, Bruce's party reached their goal on November 4, 1770.

They came to the top of some thickly wooded hills: 'We saw immediately below us the Nile itself, strangely diminished in size, and now only a brook that had scarcely water to turn a mill. I could not satiate myself with the sight, revolving in my mind all those classical prophecies that had given the Nile up to perpetual obscurity and concealment.

The king had honoured Bruce by granting him the lordship of Gishe, so he celebrated his moment of glory by throwing a feast for the local villagers. There was drinking and debauchery and the village shum, or headman, offered Bruce a choice of his daughters. He chose Irepone as his 'nympth of the Nile'.

'She was about 16 years of age, remarkably genteel, and, colour apart, her features would have her a beauty in any country in Europe: she was, besides, very sprightly.'

Back at Gondar the constant warring between Ras Michael and his rivals embroiled Bruce in horrifying, routine bloodshed. The country's young king never travelled without an executioner in his train, who would be called upon to hang men for the smallest misdemeanour - allowing a thorn-bush to snag the royal cape, for example.

Bruce was invited to condemn to death a priest who had been his ememy - and did. The carnage in the city was so great that his hunting dogs would bring home the heads and arms of slaughtered men and gnaw them in his courtyard.

In May 1771, the general unrest came to a head at the great battle of Serbraxos, in which Bruce, wearing a chain mail coat and a plummed helmet that made him 7ft tall, comanded the royal cavalry.

The battle lasted for days. Chivalry in the form of attendant musicians and pauses for parlying co-existed with vile savagery: at the end of a successful skirmish the king and his officers would be pelted with the severed testicles of the enemy slain. At night one could hear the trophy hunters with their castrating knives competing with the hyenas among the dead or dying.

Ras Michael, lost the battle. His rivals now began to gather around the king, jostling for position. Sickened by the brutality, Bruce, or Hakin Yagoube as he had become known, was desperate to leave. Despite the grave dangers involved, he was determined not to go by the Red Sea this time, but to return through Sennaar (now Sudan), crossing the dreaded Nubian Desert to Aswan.

He set off only to be stopped by a mysterious messenger. It was the beautiful Ozoro Esther, summoning him to a secret rendezvous.

For a fortnight the lovers drank mead, made love and hunted elephants. The, in the middle of January 1772, Bruce bade goodbye to his beloved princess. He turned his back on the medieval court of Abyssinia and commenced his long march back to 18th century Europe.

It was to be a hellish journey, lasting almost a year. There were robbers and whirlwinds, blistering heat, terrible thirst and hunger. Men died or went mad. Even camels perished, at which point they were hacked up and the moisture drained from their bodies. Bruce himself, burnt, feverish and under attack from a guinea-worm that was eating away his leg, nearly died.

As he sailed downstream to Cairo, borne by the great wide river whose mysterious beginnings had first drawn him there, he could at least reassure himself that it was the end of a glorious if terrible adventure.

He had used the latest navigational technology to locate and map the source of the Nile. He had lived and loved and made war in one of the most savage yet thrilling countries in the world.

He had catalogued Abyssinia's flors and fauna. He had discovered a previously unknown kind of pigeon and a shrub with anti-dysentry properties, tested on himself. Both would duly be named after him by his great contemporary, the naturalist Sir Joseph Banks.

It is a macabre, blood-drenched tale which even now makes one doubt its authenticity. Yet there is little question that James Bruce was there, came to be revered as well as mocked for his adventures, and richly deserves to be remembered as 'the pale Abyssinian'.

The Pale Abyssinian by Miles Bredin.

Here is a fuller account of his life

BRUCE, JAMES, a celebrated traveller, born on the 14th of December, 1730, at Kinnaird, in the county of Stirling. Bruce was by birth a gentleman, and might even be considered as nobly descended. He was the eldest son of David Bruce, Esq. of Kinnaird, who was in turn the son of David Hay of Woodcockdale, in Linlithgowshire, (descended from an old and respectable branch of the Hays of Errol,) and of Helen Bruce, the heiress of Kinnaird, who traced her pedigree to that noble Norman family, which, in the fourteenth century, gave a king to Scotland. It will thus be observed that the traveller's paternal name had been changed from Hay to Bruce, for the sake of succession to Kinnaird. The traveller was extremely vain regarding his alliance to the hero of Bannockburn, insomuch as to tell his engraver, on one occasion, that he conceived himself entitled to use royal livery! He took it very ill to be reminded, as he frequently was, that, in reality, he was not a Bruce, but a Hay, and, though the heir of line, not the heir male of even that branch of the family which he represented. In truth, the real Bruces of Kinnaird, his grandmother's ancestors, were but descended from a cadet of the royal family of Bruce, and, as it will be observed, sprung off before the family became royal, though not before it had intermarried with royalty. His mother was the daughter of James Graham, Esq. of Airth, dean of the Faculty of Advocates, and judge of the High Court of Admiralty in Scotland - a man distinguished by his abilities and respected for his public and private virtues. Unfortunately, the traveller lost his mother at the early age of three years - almost the only worldly loss which cannot be fully compensated. His father marrying a second time, had an additional family of six sons and two daughters.

In his earliest years, instead of the robust frame and bold disposition which he possessed in manhood, Bruce was of weakly health and gentle temperament. At the age of eight years, a desire of giving his heir-apparent the best possible education, and perhaps also the pain of seeing one motherless child amidst the more fortunate offspring of a second union, induced his father to send him to London, to be placed under the friendly care of his uncle, counsellor Hamilton. In that agreeable situation he spent the years between eight and twelve, when he was transferred to the public school at Harrow, then conducted by Dr Cox. Here he won the esteem of his instructors, as well as of many other individuals, by the extraordinary aptitude with which he acquired a knowledge of classic literature, and the singularly sweet and amiable dispositions which he always manifested. To this reputation, his weakly health, and the fear that he was destined, like his mother, to an early grave, seems to have given a hue of tenderness, which is seldom manifested for merely clever scholars. The gentleness of his character, the result solely of bad health, led him at this early period of his life to contemplate the profession of a clergyman; a choice in which he might, moreover, be further satisfied, from a recollection of his ancestor, Robert Bruce of Kinnaird, who was the leading divine in Scotland little more than a century before. So completely, however, do the minds of men take colour from their physical constitution, that on his health becoming confirmed with advancing manhood, this tame choice was abandoned for something of a bolder character; which, in its turn, appears to have given way, in still further increased strength, for something bolder still.

He left Harrow, with the character of a first-rate scholar, in May 1746, and, after spending another year at an academy, in the study of French, arithmetic, and geometry, returned, May 1747, to Kinnaird, where he spent some months in the sports of the field, for which he suddenly contracted a deep and lasting attachment. It was now determined that he should prepare himself for the profession of an advocate; a road to distinction, which, as it was almost the only one left to Scotland by the Union, was then, and at a much later period, assumed by an immense proportion of the young Scottish gentry. He entered, in the winter of 1747, as a student in the college of Edinburgh, and attended the lectures on civil law, Scottish law, and universal history. But the study was not congenial to his mind. "In vain he pored over distinctions, which he did not remember, and puzzled himself with points of which he could not comprehend the importance. An ardent admirer of truth and simplicity, he very rashly conceived that, in the studies which his father had proposed for him, he could worship neither the one nor the other; moreover, while, in filial obedience, he hung his bewildered head over his law books, his youthful heart was apparently devoted to lovelier and more congenial objects, for on the leaves of ‘Elementa Juris Civilis Heineccii,' on which stands the name of "James Bruce, 1749," we find written in the middle of some very grave maxims, ‘Bella ingrata, io moriro!’ with other equally love-sick sentiments from Metastasio and Ariosto.’ - Head's Life of Bruce.

A return of bad health relieved him from this bondage. He was remanded to Kinnaird for exercise and air; and for several years he remained undetermined as to his future course of life. Be it remarked, there might have been no necessity for his leaving the paternal home in search of fortune, had not the number of his father's second family diminished his prospects of wealth from that source.

Having at length resolved upon going to India, at that time a more adventurous field than it has since become, he left Scotland, July 1753, in the twenty-third year of his age, and arriving in London, was received in the kindest manner by those friends with whom he had formerly resided. While waiting for the permission of the East India directors to settle there as a free trader, he was introduced to Adriana Allan, the beautiful and most amiable daughter of a wealthy wine-merchant deceased. An attachment to this young lady, which soon proved mutual, once more changed his destination in life. On making known his feelings to the surviving parent of his mistress, it was suggested that, in marrying her, he might also wed himself to the excellent business left by her father. Love easily overcame every scruple he might entertain regarding this scheme; and accordingly, on the 3rd February, 1754, he was married to Miss Allan. For some months, Bruce enjoyed the society of this excellent creature, and during that time he applied himself to business with an enthusiasm borrowed from love. But, unfortunately, the health of his partner began to decline. It was found necessary that she should visit the south of France for a milder climate. Bruce accompanied her on this melancholy journey. Consumption outstripped the speed with which they travelled. She was unable to move beyond Paris. There, after a week's suffering; she died in his arms.

By this event, the destiny of Bruce was once more altered. The tie which bound him to trade - almost to existence, was broken. He seems to have now thought it necessary that he should spend a life of travel abandoning the cares of business to his partner, and resolving to take an early opportunity of giving up his share altogether, he applied himself to the study of the Spanish and Portuguese languages, and also improved his skill in drawing, under a master of the name of Bonneau, recommended to him by Mr (afterwards Sir Robert) Strange. Before this time he had chiefly cultivated that part of drawing which relates to the science of fortification, in hopes that he might, on some emergency, find it of use in military service. But views of a more extensive kind now induced him to study drawing in general, and to obtain a correct taste in painting. This notice of his application to the study of drawing we have given in the words of his biographer (Dr Murray), because it was long and confidently reported by those who wished to lessen his reputation, that he was totally and incorrigibly ignorant of the art.

In July 1757, he sailed for Portugal, landed at Corunna, and soon reached Lisbon. He was much struck by the ways of the Portuguese, many of which are directly opposite to those of all other nations. A Portuguese gentleman, showing out a friend, walks before him to the door; a Portuguese boatman rows with his face to the front of the vessel, and lands stern foremost; when a man and woman ride on horseback, the woman is foremost, and sits with her face to the right side of the animal. And what, in Bruce's opinion, accounted for all this contrariety, the children are rocked in cradles which move from head to foot.

From Portugal, after four month's stay, Bruce travelled into Spain, where he also spent a considerable time. The sight of the remains of Moorish grandeur here inspired him with the wish of writing an account of the domination of that people in Spain; but he found the materials inaccessible through the jealousy of the government. Leaving Spain, he traversed France, visited Brussels, and, passing through Holland into Germany, there witnessed the battle of Crevelt. Returning by Rotterdam, he received intelligence of the death of his father, by which event he became laird of Kinnaird. The property he thus acquired was soon after considerably increased by the establishment of the Carron company, which was supplied with coal from his mines.

He now employed himself in studying the Arabic language, a branch of knowledge then little regarded in Britain. In 1761, he withdrew entirely from the wine trade. About this time, Bruce formed an acquaintance with Mr Pitt, (the elder,) then at the head of affairs, to whom he proposed a scheme for making a descent upon Spain, against which country Britain was expected to declare war. Though this project came to nothing, Lord Halifax had marked the enterprising genius of this Scottish gentleman, and proposed to him to signalise the commencement of the new reign by making discoveries in Africa. It was not part of this proposal that he should attempt to reach the source of the Nile; that prodigious exploit, which had baffled the genius of the civilised world for thousands of years, seemed to Lord Halifax to be reserved for some more experienced person; his lordship now only spoke of discoveries on the coast of Barbary, which had then been surveyed, and that imperfectly, by only one British traveller, Dr Shaw. For this end, Bruce was appointed to be consul at Algiers. In an interview with George III., with which he was honoured before setting out, his Majesty requested him to take drawings of the ruins of ancient architecture which he should discover in the course of his travels. It having been provided that he should spend some time by the way in Italy, he set out for that country in June 1762.

He visited Rome, Naples, and Florence, and fitted himself by surveying the work of ancient art, for the observations he was to make upon kindred objects in Africa. Here he formed an acquaintance with a native of Bologna, name Luigi Balugani, whom he engaged to attend him in his travels, in the capacity of an artist. He at length sailed from Leghorn to Algiers, which he reached in March 1763. Ali Pacha, who then acted as Dey in this barbarous state, was a savage character, not unlike the celebrated personage of the same name, whom Lord Byron introduced to European notice. An injudicious yielding to his will, on the part of the English government, who changed a consul at his request, had just given an additional shade of insolence and temerity to his character; and he expected to tyrannise over Bruce as over one of his own officers. The intrepidity of the new consul, it may be imagined, was, under such circumstances, called into frequent action. He several times bearded this lion in his very den, always apparently indebted for his safety to the very audacity which might have been expected to provoke his ruin. A good idea of the true British fortitude which he exerted under such circumstances, may be gained from a letter to Lord Halifax, in which, after recommending forcible measures, which would have been highly dangerous to his own personal security, he says, - "I myself have received from a friend some private intimations to consult my own safety and escape. The advice is impracticable, nor would I take it were it not so. Your lordship may depend upon it, that till I have the king's orders, or find that I can be of no further service here, nothing will make me leave Algiers but force. One brother has already, this war, had the honour to lose his life in the service of his country. Two others, besides myself, are still in it, and if any accident should happen to me, as is most probable from these lawless butchers, all I beg of his Majesty is that he will graciously please to extend his favour to the survivors, if deserving, and that he will make this city an example to others, how they violate public faith and the law of nations."

It is this constancy and firmness, in postponing the consideration of danger to the consideration of duty, which has mainly tended to exalt the British character above those of other nations. Bruce weathered every danger, till August 1765, when, being relieved by the arrival of another consul, he left this piratical stronghold, and began to prosecute his researches along the coast of Africa. Landing at Bona, he paid a visit to Utica, "out of respect to the memory of Cato," and then, with a proper retinue for his protection, penetrated into the interior of the kingdoms of Algiers and Tunis. On the borders of these states, he found a tribe named the Welled Sidi Boogannim, who are exempted from taxes on condition of their living exclusively upon lions; a means of keeping down those enemies of the public. Dr Shaw, the only British predecessor of Bruce in this line of research, had been much laughed at, and even openly scouted, for having hinted at the existence of such a custom. His friends at Oxford thought it a subversion of the established order of things, that a man should eat a lion, when it had long passed as almost the peculiar province of the lion to eat the man. Bruce was exactly the man to go the more boldly forward when such a lion was in the way.

He thus alludes, in his own travels, to the foolish scepticism with which Dr Shaw's statement had been received: "With all submission to the learned University, I will not dispute the lion's title to eating men; but since it is not founded upon patent, no consideration will make me stifle the merit of the Willid Sidi Boogannim, who have turned the chase upon the enemy. It is a historical fact, and I will not permit the public to be misled by a misrepresentation of it. On the contrary, I do aver, in the face of these fantastic prejudices, that I have ate the flesh of lions, that is, part of three lions, in the tents of the Willid Sidi Boogannimo." This is certainly a notable enough specimen of the contra audientior ito. After having traversed the whole of these states, and taken drawings of every antiquity which he esteemed worthy of notice, he moved further west to Tripoli, where he was received with great kindness by Mr Fraser of Lovat, British consul at that place.

From Tripoli he dispatched the greater part of his drawings to Smyrna, by which precaution they were saved from the destruction which must have otherwise been their fate. Crossing the Gulf of Sidra, which makes a considerable sweep into the northern coast of Africa, Bruce now reached Bengazio, the ancient Berenice built by Ptolemy Philadelphus. From this place he travelled to Ptolemata, where, finding the plague raging, he was obliged to embark hastily in a Greek vessel which he hired to carry him to Crete. This was perhaps the most unlucky step he took during the whole of his career. The vessel was not properly provided with ballast; the sails defied the management of the ignorant man who professed to steer it; it had not therefore got far from shore when a storm drove it to leeward, and it struck upon a rock near the harbour of Bengazi. Bruce took to the boat, along with a great number of the other passengers; but finding that it could not survive, and fearing lest he should be overwhelmed by a multitude of drowning wretches, he saw it necessary to commit himself at once to the sea, and endeavour to swim ashore. In this attempt, after suffering much from the violence of the surf, he was at last successful. He had only, however, become exposed to greater dangers. A plundering party of Arabs came to make prey of the wrecked vessel, and his Turkish clothing excited their worst feelings. After much suffering he got back to Bengazi, but with the loss of all his baggage, including many valuable instruments and drawings. Fortunately, the master of a French sloop, to whom he had rendered a kindness at Algiers, happened to be lying in that port. Through the grateful service of this person, he was carried to Crete. An ague, however, had fixed itself upon his constitution, in consequence of his exertions in the sea of Ptolemata; it attacked him violently in Crete, and he lay for some days dangerously ill.

On recovering a little, he proceeded to Rhodes, and from thence to Asia Minor, where he inspected the ruins of Baalbec and Palmyra. By the time he got back to Sidon, he found that his letters to Europe announcing the loss of his instruments, were answered by the transmission of a new set, including a quadrant from Louis XV., who had been told by Count Button of the unhappy affair of Bengazi. In June 1768, he sailed from Sidon to Alexandria, resolved no longer to delay that perilous expedition which had taken possession of his fancy.

"Previous to his first introduction to the waters of the Nile," says Captain Head, "it may not be improper, for a moment, calmly and dispassionately to consider how far he was qualified for the attempt which he was about to undertake. Being thirty-eight years of age, he was at that period of life in which both the mind and body of man are capable of their greatest possible exertions. During his travels and residence in Europe, Africa, and Asia, he had become practically acquainted with the religion, manners, and prejudices of many countries different from his own; and he had learned to speak the French, Italian, Spanish, Modern Greek, Moorish and Arabic languages. Full of enterprise, enthusiastically devoted to the object he had in view, accustomed to hardship, inured to climate as well as to fatigue, he was a man of undoubted courage, in stature six feet four, and with this imposing appearance, possessing great personal strength; and lastly, in every proper sense of the word, he was a gentleman; and no man about to travel can give to his country a better pledge for veracity than when, like Bruce, his mind is ever retrospectively viewing the noble conduct of his ancestors - thus showing that he considers he has a stake in society, which, by the meanness of falsehood or exaggeration, he would be unable to transmit unsullied to posterity."

From Alexandria he proceeded to Cairo, where he was received with distinction by the Bey, under the character of a dervish, or soothsayer, which his acquaintance with eastern manners enabled him to assume with great success. It happened, fortunately for his design, that in the neighbourhood of Cairo resided a Greek patriarch, who had lived sometime under his roof at Algiers, and taught him the Modern Greek language. This person gave him letters to many Greeks who held high situations in Abyssinia, besides a bull, or general recommendation, claiming protection for him from the numerous persons of that nation residing in the country. Bruce had previously acquired considerable knowledge of the medical art, as part of that preparatory education with which he had fitted himself for his great task. The Bey fortunately took ill: Bruce cured him. His highness, in gratitude, furnished him with recommendatory letters to a great number of ruling personages throughout Egypt, and along both shores of the Red Sea. Bruce, thus well provided, commenced his voyage up the Nile, December 12, 1768, in a large canja or boat, which was to carry him to Furshoot, the residence of Amner, the Sheikh of Upper Egypt.

For two or three weeks he enjoyed the pleasure of coasting at ease and in safety along the wonder-studded banks of this splendid river, only going on shore occasionally to give the more remarkable objects a narrower inspection. He was at Furshoot on the 7th of January, 1769. Advancing hence to Sheikh Amner, the encampment of a tribe of Arabs, whose dominion extended almost to the coast of the Red Sea, he was fortunate enough to acquire the friendship of the Sheikh, or head of the race, by curing him of a dangerous disorder. This secured him the means of prosecuting his journey in a peaceable manner. Under the protection of this tribe, he soon reached Cossier, a fort on the Red Sea, having previously, however, sent all his journals and drawings, hitherto completed, to the care of some friends at Cairo.

Bruce sailed from Cossier on the 5th of April, and for several months he employed himself in making geographical observations upon the coasts of this important sea. On the 19th of September, after having for the first time determined the latitude and longitude of many places, which have since been found wonderfully correct, he landed at Massuah, the port of Abyssinia. Here he encountered great danger and difficulty, from the savage character of the Naybe, or governor of Massuah, who, not regarding the letters carried by Bruce from the Bey of Cairo, had very nearly taken his life. By the kindness of Achmet, a nephew of the Naybe, whom Bruce rescued from a deadly sickness, he was enabled to surmount the obstacles presented against him in this place, and on the 15th November began to penetrate the country of Abyssinia.

In crossing the hill of Tarenta, a mountainous ridge, which skirts the shore, the traveller encountered hardships under which any ordinary spirit would have sunk. Advancing by Dixan, Adowa, and Axum, he found himself greatly indebted for safety and accommodation to the letters which he carried for the Greeks, who formed the civilized class amongst that rude people. It was in the neighbourhood of Axum that he saw the unfortunate sight (the slicing of steaks from the rump of a live cow), which was the chief cause of his being afterwards generally discredited in his own country. On the 14th of February, after a journey of ninety-five days from Massuah, he reached Gondar, the capital of Abyssinia, a town containing about ten thousand families. The king and his chief minister Ras Michael, to both of whom Bruce had letters of introduction, were now absent with the army, putting down a rebellion which had been raised by Fasil, a turbulent governor of a province. But Bruce was favourably received by one Ayto Aylo, a Greek, and chamberlain of the palace. It happened that the favourite child of Ras Michael was at this time ill with the small pox at the country palace of Koscam. Ozoro Esther, the beautiful young wife of Ras Michael, and the mother of this child, watched over the sick-bed with intense anxiety. Bruce, by the good offices of Ayto Aylo, was introduced to the distracted mother as a skilful physician; and after some preliminary civilities, he undertook to cure the child, in which task he very soon succeeded. Having thus at once made favour in a very high quarter, he waited patiently for two or three weeks, when the king and Ras Michael, having gained a victory, returned to Gondar, and Bruce was then presented to them. Ras Michael, at the first interview, acknowledged the powerful nature of Bruce's recommendations, but explained to him, that owing to the present convulsed state of the country, it would be difficult to afford him all the protection that might be wished. It appeared to Michael, that the best way of ensuring personal safety and respect for him throughout the country, would be to give him a high office in the king's household. Bruce consented, from the conviction that in becoming Baalomaal, and commander of the Koccob horse, he was doing his best towards facilitating his journey.

While acting in the capacity of Baalomaal, which seems to have been somewhat like the British office of Lord of the bed-chamber, he secured the king's favour and admiration, by the common school-boy trick of shooting a small candle through a dense substance. He was now appointed to be governor of a large Mahometan province, which lay on the way he designed to take in returning home: this duty, however, he could perform by deputy. In May, the army set out from Gondar to meet the rebel Fasil, and Bruce took that share in the fatigues and perils of the campaign which his office rendered necessary. He was of great service in improving the discipline of the army, and was looked upon as a finished warrior. After a good deal of marching and countermarching, the royal forces gained a complete victory over Fasil, who was consequently obliged to make his submission. This rebel now lived on amicable terms with the king and his officers, and Bruce, recollecting the interesting site of his government, busied himself in performing medical services to his principal officers. When the king came to ask Bruce what reward he would have for his share in the campaign, the enthusiastic traveller answered, that he only wished two favours, the property of the village of Geesh, with the spot in its neighbourhood where he understood the Nile to arise, and a royal mandate obliging Fasil to facilitate his journey to that place. The king, smiling at the humility of his desires, granted the request, only regretting that Zagoube (such was the name assumed by Bruce in his travels,) could not be induced to ask something ten times more precious.

The attention of the sovereign and his minister were now distracted by the news of another insurrection in the western parts of the kingdom; and it was necessary to move the army in that direction. Bruce made the excuse of his health (which was really bad) to avoid attendance in this campaign; and at length, with some difficulty, he obtained the king's permission to set out for Geesh, which he was now resolved on, notwithstanding that the breaking out of another rebellion omened ill for the continued submission of Fasil, and consequently for the safety of the traveller.

Bruce set out upon this last great stage of his journey on the 28th of October, 1770, and he was introduced to the presence of Fasil at a place called Bamba. Fasil, partly through the representations of those officers to whom Bruce had recommended himself; was in reality favourably disposed to him; but he at first thought proper to affect a contrary sentiment, and represented the design as impracticable. In the course of the wrangling which took place between the two on this subject, Bruce was so much incensed that his nose spontaneously gushed with blood, and his servant had to lead him from the tent. Fasil expressed sorrow at this incident, and immediately made amends by taking measures to facilitate Bruce's journey. He furnished him with a guide called Woldo, as also seven savage chieftains of the country for a guard, and furthermore added, what was of greater avail than all the rest, a horse of his own, richly caparisoned, which was to go before the travelling party, as a symbol of his protection, in order to insure the respect of the natives. By way of giving a feasible appearance to the journey, Bruce was invested by Fasil with the property and governorship of the district of Geesh, in which the Nile rises, so that this strangely disguised native of Stirlingshire, in the kingdom of Scotland, looked entirely like an Abyssinian chief going to take possession of an estate in the highlands of that remote and tropical country.

Bruce left Fasil's house on the 31st of October, and as he travelled onward for a few days through this rude territory, the people, instead of giving him any annoyance, everywhere fled at his approach, thinking, from the appearance of Fasil's horse, that the expedition was one of taxation and contribution. Those few whom Bruce came in contact with, he found to have a religious veneration for the Nile, the remains of that Pagan worship which was originally paid to it, and which was the sole religion of the country before the introduction of Christianity. Even the savages who formed his guard, would have been apt, as he found, to destroy him, if he had crossed the river on horseback, or employed its waters in washing any part of his dress. He also learned that there was still a kind of priest of this worship, who dwelt at the fountain of the Nile, and was called "the servant of the river." It thus appeared that, as in the ruder parts of Bruce’s native country, the aboriginal religion had partly survived the ordinances of a new and purer worship for many centuries.

It was early in the afternoon of November 3d, that Bruce surmounted a ridge of hills which separated him from the fountain of the Nile, and for the first time cast his European eyes upon that object - the first, and, we believe, the only European eyes that have ever beheld it. It was pointed out to him by Woldo, his guide, as a hillock of green sod in the middle of a marshy spot at the bottom of the hill on which he was standing. To quote his own account of so remarkable a point in his life - "Half undressed, as I was, by the loss of my sash, and throwing off my shoes, [a necessary preliminary, to satisfy the Pagan feelings of the people], I ran down the hill, towards the hillock of green sod, which was about two hundred yards distant; the whole side of the hill was thick grown with flowers, the large bulbous roots of which appearing above the surface of the ground, and their skins coming off on my treading upon them, occasioned me two very severe falls before I reached the brink of the marsh. I after this came to the altar of green turf, which was apparently the work of art, and I stood in rapture above the principal fountain, which rises in the middle of it. It is easier to guess than to describe the situation of my mind at that moment - standing in that spot which had baffled the genius, industry, and enquiry of both ancients and moderns for the course of near three thousand years. Kings had attempted this discovery at the head of armies, and each expedition was distinguished from the last only by the difference of numbers which had perished, and agreed alone in the disappointment which had uniformly and without exception followed them all. Fame, riches, and honour had been held out for a series of ages to every individual of those myriads these princes commanded, without having produced one man capable of gratifying the curiosity of his sovereign, or wiping off this stain upon the enterprise and abilities of mankind, or adding this desideratum for the encouragement of geography. Though a mere private Briton, I triumphed here, in my own mind, over kings and their armies! and every comparison was leading nearer and nearer to presumption, when the place itself where I stood, the object of my vain glory, suggested what depressed my short-lived triumph. I was but a few minutes arrived at the sources of the Nile, through numberless dangers and sufferings, the least of which would have over-whelmed me, but for the continual goodness and protection of Providence: I was, however, but then half through my journey, and all those dangers through which I had already passed awaited me on my return; I found a despondency gaining ground fast, and blasting the crown of laurels which I had too rashly woven for myself." In this paragraph - one of the most deeply touching ever written - we find the Herculean mind of Bruce giving way, under the influence of success, to sensations, which had scarcely ever affected him during the whole course of his journey, while as yet the desire of going onward, and the necessity of providing the means of doing so with safety, possessed and amused his mind. Nothing could be more characteristic of a great mind - by danger and hardship only braced to more nervous exertion - by opposition only rendered the more eager and firm - by the menaces of inferior minds only roused to contemptuous defiance; and only to be softened by kindness, only to be subdued by success.

Many other emotions, however, must have entered the breast of the traveller in that remarkable hour of his life. All the inspiring causes of his journey must have rushed full upon him - the desire of overcoming a difficulty which had defied the civilized part of the earth since ever it was civilized - the hope of doing that which Alexander, and many of the greatest men of antiquity had wished, but failed to do - the curiosity of rendering that a matter of real and human exertion which an ancient poet could only suppose possible to a supernatural being on an extraordinary occasion: and, finally, the more rational glory of performing such a service to science, as must procure for him the approbation of his sovereign and fellow-countrymen, and even obtain a peculiar distinction for his country among the other civilized nations. Besides all these emotions, which had hitherto carried his enthusiastic mind through unheard of difficulties, he must have recalled at this moment softer sensations.

The idea that he was now at the extreme point of distance from home, would awaken the vision of that home which he had not seen for so many years; and from this spot, in a metaphysical mirage, he would see the far blue hills of his native land, the estuary, the river, the fields, and the mansion of his childhood - the hearts that beat for him there, including one whose pulsations were worth all the rest; and the old familiar faces, whose kindly expression had been too long exchanged for the unkindred countenances of barbarians and strangers. There might also mingle with the varied tide of his sensations a reluctantly acknowledged sense of the futility of all his exertions, and perils, and sufferings, since they had only obtained for him the sight of a Pagan altar from which proceeded one of the feeders, not certainly known to be the principal one, of the mighty Nile; to what good could this sight conduce, since, after all, it was only a sight? the object having been all along proved to exist by the mere laws of nature.

The majestic intellect of Bruce might turn from such a paltry object, and confess, with secret bitterness, that the discovery of the source of the Nile was only valuable so long as it seemed impossible, but that, now being achieved, it sunk into insignificance, like the glittering air-ball seized by the hand of a child. The traveller relates that his despondency continued for some time; and that, as he could not reason it away, he resolved to direct it till he might be able, on more solid reflection, to overcome its progress. Calling to Strates, a faithful Greek, who had accompanied him throughout all his Abyssinian travels, he said, 'Strates, faithful squire! come and triumph with your Don Quixote at that island of Barataria, to which we have most wisely and fortunately brought ourselves! Come and triumph with me over all the kings of the earth, all their armies, all their philosophers, and all their heroes! ‘Sir,' says Strates, ‘I do not understand a word of what you say, and as little of what you mean: you very well know I am no scholar.' ‘Come,’ said I, ‘take a draught of this excellent water, and drink with me a health to his Majesty George IlI. , and a long line of princes,' I had in my hand a large cup, made of a cocoa-nut shell, which I procured in Arabia, and which was brimful." [This cup was brought home by Bruce, and his representatives at Kinnaird still use it every day when they entertain company at dinner.] He drank to the king speedily and cheerfully, with the addition of 'confusion to his enemies,’ and tossed up his cap with a loud huzza. 'Now, friend,' said I, 'here is to a more humble, but still a sacred name - here is to Maria!" This was a Scottish lady, we believe, a Miss Murray of Polmaise, to whom Bruce had formed an attachment before leaving his native country. These ceremonies being completed, he entered the village of Geesh, and assumed for four days the sovereignty to which Fasil had given him a title.

During this brief space, he made forty observations as to the exact geographical site of the fountain, and found it to be in north latitude 10 degrees 59' 25", and 36 55’30" east longitude, while its position was supposed from the barometer to be two miles above the level of the sea. Bruce left Geesh upon his return on the l0th of November, and he arrived at Gondar, without any remarkable adventure, on the 17th. Here he found that Fasil had set a new insurrection on foot, and had been again unsuccessful. For some time great numbers of his adherents, or rather the adherents of a mock king whom he had set up, were daily sacrificed. Bruce was at first somewhat uneasy in this disagreeable scene, and the maxim of the Abyssinians, never to permit a stranger to quit the country, came full upon his mind. Early, however, in January, 1771, he obtained the king's permission, on the plea of his health, to return home, though not without a promise that he would come back, when his health was re- established, bringing with him as many of his family as possible, with horses, muskets, and bayonets. Ere he could take advantage of this permission, fresh civil wars broke out, large provinces became disturbed, and Bruce found that, as he had had to take part in the national military operations in order to pave the way for reaching the head of the Nile, so was it now necessary that he should do his best for the suppression of the disturbances, that he might clear his way towards home. During the whole of the year 1771, he was engaged with the army, and he distinguished himself so highly as a warrior, that the king presented him with a massive gold chain, consisting of one hundred and eighty-four links, each of them weighing 3 and 1-12th dwts. It was not till the 26th of December, thirteen months after his return from the source of the Nile, that he set out on his way towards Europe; nor even then was the country reduced to a peaceable condition. He was accompanied by three Greeks, an old Turkish Janissary, a captain, and some common muleteers; the Italian artist Balugani having died at Gondar. On account of the dangers which he had experienced at Massuah from the barbarous Naybe, he had resolved to return through the great deserts of Nubia into Egypt, a tract by which he could trace the Nile in the greater part of its course.

On the 23d of March, after a series of dreadful hardships, he reached Teawa, the capital of Abbara, and was introduced to the Sheikh, who, it seemed, was unwell, though not so much so as to have lost any part of his ferocious disposition. Bruce was met with an adventure, which, as it displays his matchless presence of mind in a very brilliant light, may be here related. He had undertaken to administer medicine to the Sheikh, who was in the alcove of a spacious room, sitting on a sofa surrounded by curtains. On the entrance of Bruce, he took two whiffs of his pipe, and when the slave had left the room said, "Are you prepared? Have you brought the money along with you?" Bruce replied, "My servants are at the other door, and have the vomit you wanted." "Curse you and the vomit too," cried the Sheikh in great passion, "I want money and not poison. Where are your piastres?" " I am a bad person," replied Bruce, "to furnish you with either; I have neither money nor poison; but I advise you to drink a little warm water to clear your stomach, cool your head, and then lie down and compose yourself; I will see you to-morrow morning." Bruce was retiring, when the Sheikh exclaimed, "Hakim, [physician] infidel, or devil, or whatever is your name, hearken to what I say. Consider where you are; this is the room where Mek Baady, a king, was slain by the hand of my father: look at his blood, where it has stained the floor, and can never be washed out. I am informed you have twenty thousand piastres in gold with you; either give me two thousand before you go out of this chamber, or you shall die; I shall put you to death with my own hand." Upon this he took up his sword, which was lying at the head of his sofa, and drawing it with a bravado, threw the scabbard into the middle of the room, and, tucking the sleeve of his shirt above the elbow, like a butcher, he said, "I wait your answer." Bruce stept one pace backwards, and laid his hand upon a little blunderbuss, without taking it off the belt. In a firm tone of voice, he replied, "This is my answer: I am not a man to die like a beast by the hand of a drunkard; on your life, I charge you, stir not from your sofa. I had no need," says Bruce, '" to give this injunction; he heard the noise which the closing of the joint in the stock of the blunderbuss made, and thought I had cocked it, and was instantly to fire. He let his sword drop, and threw himself on his back upon the sofa, crying, ‘For God's sake, Hakim, I was but jesting.'" Bruce turned from the cowed bully, and coolly wished him a good night.

After being detained three weeks at this place, he set out for Sennaar, the capital of Nubia, which he reached at the end of April. He was here received kindly by the king, but the barbarous maxims of the country caused his detention for upwards of four months, during which the exhaustion of his funds caused him to sell the whole of his gold chain except a few links. At length, on the 5th of September, he commenced his journey across the great desert of Nubia, and then only, it might be said, began the true hardships of his expedition. As he advanced upon the sandy and burning plain, his provisions became exhausted, his camels and even his men perished by fatigue, and he was in the greatest danger, almost every day, of being swallowed up by the moving sands which loaded the breath of the deadly simoom. For weeks and months the miserable party toiled through the desert, enduring hardships of which no denizen of a civilized state can form the least idea. At last, on the 29th of December, just as he had given his men the last meal which remained to them, and when all, of course, had given themselves up for lost, they came within hearing of the cataracts of the Nile, and reached the town of Syene or Assouan, where succour in its amplest forms awaited them. Twelve dreadful weeks Bruce had spent upon the desert: his journey from the capital of Abyssinia to this point had altogether occupied eleven months.

It was now exactly four years since he had left civilized society at Cairo; during all which time he had conversed only with barbarous tribes of people, from whose passions no man possessed of less varied accomplishment, less daring, and less address, could have possibly escaped. He sailed down the Nile to Cairo, which he reached on the 10th of January, 1773. He then sailed for Alexandria, whence he easily obtained a passage to Europe. Arriving at Marseilles in March, he was immediately visited and congratulated by a number of the French savans, at the head of whom was his former friend, Count de Buffon. For some time, however, he was not sufficiently recovered from the debilitating effects of his journey to enjoy the polished society to which he was restored. A mental distress, moreover, had awaited his arrival in Europe. His Maria, whose health he had only postponed to that of his sovereign in drinking from the fountain of the Nile, despairing of his return, had given her hand to an Italian Marchese. Bruce withered under this disappointment more than under the sun of Nubia. In a transport of indignation, he travelled to Rome, and in a style of rodomontade, only to be excused by a kind consideration of his impetuous and ingenuous character, called the Marchese to account for a transaction, in which it was evident that only the lady could be to blame. The Marchese, with Bruce's sword almost at his throat, disclaimed having married Maria with any knowledge of a previous engagement on her part: and with this Bruce had to rest satisfied. Mente alta reposcit; his only resource was to bury his regrets in his own proud bosom, and despise the love which could permit a question of time or space to affect it.

In the summer of 1774, he returned to England, from which he had now been absent twelve years. His fame having gone before him, he was received with the highest distinction. He was introduced at court, where he presented to George III. those drawings of Palmyra, Baalbec, and the African cities, which his Majesty had requested him to execute before his departure from the country. The triumphs of this enterprising traveller were, however, soon dashed and embittered by the mean conduct of a people and age altogether unworthy of him. Bruce, wherever he went, was required to speak of what be had seen and suffered in the course of his travels. He related anecdotes of the Abyssinian and Nubian tribes, and gave descriptions of localities and natural objects, which certainly appeared wonderful to a civilized people, though only because they were novel: he related nothing either morally or physically impossible. Unfortunately, however, the license of travellers was proverbial in Britain as elsewhere. It was also a prevailing custom at that time in private life, to exert the imagination in telling wonderful, but plausible, tales, as one of the amusements of the table. There was furthermore a race of travellers who had never been able to penetrate into any very strange country, and who, therefore, pined beneath the glories of a brother who had discovered the source of the Nile. For all these reasons, the stories of Bruce were at the very first set down for imaginary tales, furnished forth by his own fancy. This view of the case was warmly taken up by a clique of literary men, who, without science themselves, and unchecked by science in others, then swayed the public mind.

A mere race of garreteers, or little better, destroyed the laurels of this greatly accomplished man, who had done and endured more in the cause of knowledge during one day of his life, than the whole of them together throughout the entire term of their worthless and mercenary existence. This is a dreadful imputation upon the age of George III., but we fear that the cold and narrow poverty of its literature, and the almost non-existence of its science, would make any less indignant account of its treatment of Bruce unjust. Even the country gentlemen in Scotland, who, while he was carving out a glorious name for himself and providing additional honour for his country, by the most extraordinary and magnanimous exertions, were sunk in the low scottishness of the period, or at most performed respectably the humble duties of surveying the roads and convicting the poachers of their own little districts, could sneer at the "lies" of Bruce. His mind shrunk from the meanness of his fellows; and he retired, indignant and disappointed, to Kinnaird, where, for some time, he busied himself in rebuilding his house, and arranging the concerns of his estate, which had become confused during his long absence.

In March 1776, he provided additional means of happiness and repose, by marrying, for his second wife, Mary Dundas, daughter of Thomas Dundas, Esq. of Fingask, and of Lady Janet Maitland, daughter of the Earl of Lauderdale. This amiable and accomplished person was much younger than Bruce, and it is rather a singular coincidence, remarks Captain Head, that she was born in the same year in which his first wife had died. For nine years Bruce enjoyed too much domestic happiness to admit of his making a rapid progress in the preparation of his journals for the press. But, after the death of his wife in 1785, he applied to this task with more eagerness, as a means of diverting his melancholy. We have heard that in the composition of his book, he employed the assistance of a professional litterateur, who first transcribed his journals into a continuous narrative, and then wrote them over again, involving all the alterations, improvements, and additional remarks, which the traveller was pleased to suggest. The work appeared in 1790, seventeen years after his return to Europe. It consisted of five large quarto volumes, besides a volume of drawings, and was entitled, "Travels to Discover the Sources of the Nile, in the years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773, by James Bruce, of Kinnaird, Esq., F. R. S." It was dedicated to the king; and it is but justice to the memory of that sovereign to state, that, while society in general raised against it the cry of envy, jealousy, and ignorant incredulity, his Majesty stood boldly up in its favour, and contended that it was a very great work. The King used to say, that, had it not been for the indecorous nature of certain passages, he could have wished to find it in the hands of all his subjects, and he would himself have placed a copy of it in everyone of his palaces. The taste of this monarch did not perhaps lead him to expend great sums in patronizing the arts of the lighter branches of literature, but he certainly was qualified to appreciate, and also disposed to encourage, any exertion on the part of his subjects which had a direct utility, and was consistent with honour and virtue. The magnum opus of Bruce was bought up by the public at its very first appearance: it required the whole of the impression to satisfy the first burst of public curiosity. It was, in the same year, translated into German and French.

Bruce, in his latter years, lost much of his capabilities of enjoying life by his prodigious corpulence. We have been told that at this period of his life he was enlarged to such a degree as almost to appear monstrous. His appearance was rendered the more striking, when, as was his frequent custom, he assumed an Eastern habit and turban. His death was at length caused indirectly by his corpulence. On the evening of the 27th of April, 1794, after he had entertained a large party at dinner, he was hurrying to escort an old lady down stairs to her carriage, when his foot - that foot which had carried him through so many dangers, slipped upon the steps; he tumbled down the stair, pitched upon his head, and, was taken up speechless, with several of his fingers broken. Notwithstanding every effort to restore the machinery of existence, he expired that night. He was buried in the churchyard of his native parish of Larbert, where a monument indicates his last resting-place.

To quote the character which has been written for him by Captain Head, "Bruce belonged to that useful class of men who are ever ready ‘to set their life upon a cast, and stand the hazard of the die.' He was merely a traveler - a knight-errant in search of new regions of the world; yet the steady courage with which he encountered danger - his patience and fortitude in adversity - his good sense in prosperity - the tact and judgment with which he steered his lonely course through some of the most barren and barbarous countries in the world, bending even the ignorance, passions, and prejudices of the people he visited to his own advantage - the graphic truth with which he described the strange scenes which he had witnessed, and the inflexible fortitude with which he maintained his assertions against the barbarous incredulity of his age, place him at the top of his own class, while he at least stands second to no man." Bruce understood French, Italian, Spanish, and Portugese - the two former he could write and speak with facility. Besides Greek and Latin, which he read well, but not critically, he knew Hebrew, Chaldee, and Syriac; and in the latter part of his life, compared several portions of the Scripture in those related dialects. He read and spoke with ease, Arabic, Ethiopic, and Amharic, which had proved of the greatest service to him in his travels. It is said that the faults of his character were - inordinate family pride, and a want of that power to accommodate one’s self to the weaknesses of others, which is so important a qualification in a man of the world. But amidst the splendours of such a history, and such an intellect, a few trivial weaknesses - even allowing those to be so - are as motes in the meridian sun.

A second edition of Bruce’s Travels was published in 1805, by Dr Alexander Murray, from a copy which the traveller himself had prepared to put to press. The first volume of this elegant edition contains a biographical account of the author, by Dr Murray, who was perhaps the only man of his age whom learning had fitted for so peculiar a task as that of revising Bruce's Travels.

Download his books in pdf format below...

An Account of James Bruce and his Writings

Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, I772 and 1773 in 5 volumes by James Bruce of Kinnaird
Volume 1  |  Volume 2  |  Volume 3  |  Volume 4  |  Volume 5

Note that there is a later multi-volume set which has edited out the letter f for s but we have been unable to find a complete set.

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