Page images


The most ingenious subjects of his realm

He drove to where, beneath our own good Anne, They dwelt secure, and prosper'd in that calm

Which suits and saves the peaceful artisan.

And late, did not the Hero of the van,

The very guardian angel of this land!

For ever mindful of his patriot plan,

Prove that, when generous souls we've to command,

'Tis wiser to be yielding 1, than withstand?

Catholic Emancipation.


Blow after blow, Cologne-thy fate was hard !

Yet other ills were still ordain'd for thee;
One has been sung by that most heavenly bard 2,
Who told how Gama brav'd the stormy sea,

1 There is no doubt but that it was owing to the then commanding influence of the Duke of Wellington, that the Catholic Emancipation was carried; and which, but for peculiar circumstances, would long ere this have shewn its happy effects, and proved that, with a generous people, a liberal policy is always the best by conciliating affection.

2 Camoens Lewis, the celebrated author of the poem called Luciadas, or Conquest of India by the Portuguese.


During the reign of the excellent John II. of Portugal, much had

A new road.


And gain'd bright India by his chivalry.

Another, earlier, but not less severe,

When cheer'd by Isabella's courtesy,

A new world. Columbus 1, thou didst many a danger dare,
And gave to man a second hemisphere !


Commerce lost.

Yet archives of this Rhenish city shew
A further reason why, as poets say,

She fell into the sear;-which, you well know,

In good plain prose, means that old dame, Decay.
And how ?-Why, when beneath a tyrant's sway

been done for maritime discovery, especially by the enterprising Diaz; but it was, in the succeeding reign of Emanuel I., that Vasca de Gama, a noble Portuguese, gained the coast of India, having reached Calicut in May 1498; so but six years intervened betwixt the discovery of America, and the first passage to India by the Cape of Good Hope.

1 It was under the patronage of Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain, that Columbus, a celebrated Genoese navigator, discovered America. He set sail from the Port of Palos, in Andalusia, in August 1492, and reached San Salvador, one of the Bahama Islands, in October of the same year; and these two discoveries are given as the chief causes of the downfall of the Hanseatic League, by diverting commerce into other channels.—Voyage de Mayence à Cologne.

A noble people, struggling to be free,

Burst from their bonds, and, in meridian day,

Thanks be to Heaven! brave Maurice, and to thee!

In spite of Philip, snatch'd their liberty 1.

Liberty gained.


It was, in truth, a most eventful age,

Big with the fate of nations, great and small; Less stain'd, perhaps, by war or hostile rage,

Than teeming with those shifting scenes, which fall Like dews of heaven on some-bring others gall ; The channels 2 all run dry, which erst had bore

The wealth of Asia to thy stately hall,

1 Amongst other causes which have been assigned for the decline of Cologne, may be noticed the acquisition of liberty by the Seven United Provinces, in 1579, when the infatuated Philip II. of Spain, and the worse than madness of Cardinal Granville and the Duke of Alva, drove them to assert, what they soon obtained, their perfect liberty, through the manly exertion of the Prince of Orange, and which made them no mean rivals of the Hanseatic League in commercial enterprise.

2 Great were the changes produced in the commerce of the world, by the discovery of a way to India by the Cape of Good Hope. The first amongst the ancient monarchs, who appears particularly to have interested himself with regard to commercial intercourse with India, was Ptolemy Philadelphus, the son of Lagus, and one of Alexander's generals. In

Eventful age.

Cologne. Then Genoa would deplore

The loss of what so long had grac'd her shore,

order to make the trade of India centre in Alexandria, he set about forming a canal betwixt Arsinoe, on the Red Sea, and the eastern branch of the Nile; but it does not seem ever to have been of much use, if indeed ever completed. So, with a view of more certainly facilitating the communication with India, he built a city on the west coast of the Red Sea, which he named Berenice (Strabo, lib. xvii. p. 1140), and which soon became the staple of the trade with India. From Berenice the articles were transported by land to Captos, a city three miles distant from the Nile, but which had a communication with that river by a navigable canal, and thence they were conveyed down the canal and stream to Alexandria. It was in this way that the commerce betwixt Egypt and India was carried on for 250 years. In fact, as long as Egypt continued to be an independent country, the ships destined to India took their departure from Berenice, and, sailing along the Arabian Gulf to Cape Syagrus, now Rasalgate, held on their course to the coast of Persia, either direct to Pattala, now Talla, at the head of the Lower Delta of the Indus, or to some emporium on the west coast of India.—Robertson's Ancient India, p. 37. Pliny makes no mention of the Romans having traded to Bengal, or the Malay Peninsula; but Strabo, who wrote after him, does; and Ptolemy's Geography, compiled sixty years after Pliny lived, contains proofs that both peninsulas had been explored by the Romans.-Rennel's Memoir of a Map of India, Introduction, p. xxxix.

Commerce appears to have been altogether extinguished for a time in the western part of the Roman empire, by the dreadful irruption of the barbarous nations; and the communication of the Eastern Empire with the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf was cut off by the conquests of the Arabs; yet was the trade with India still continued by that people themselves, with all that enthusiasm which characterised the followers of Mahomet; and we know that the Caliph Omar, A. D. 640, founded the city


Her royal navies, richly deck'd, and freighted
With the rare fabrics of the Nether Inde;

That treasur'd traffic gone, or sorely blighted,

Which brought her shawls from Cashmere, balms from Scinde.

of Bassora, on the western bank of the great stream, formed by the junc tion of the Tigris and the Euphrates, and which soon became a vast mart.

The Greeks comforted themselves, that the war with the Saracens had diverted the stream of commerce from Alexandria to Constantinople, by two well known channels. One was by the Euxine, or Black Sea, whence merchants usually went up the Phasis, as far as Serapana, from which place they conveyed their commodities in four or five days to the River Cyrus, which falls into the Caspian. This having crossed, they arrived at the mouth of the Oxas (Gihon), which extends not a very great way from the source of the Indus (Strabo, cap. xi. p. 509), and thence they returned, laden with the treasures of Asia.-Raynal's Philosophical and Political History of India, vol. i. p. 53. The other route was perhaps the more easy. Indian vessels sailing from different ports passed the Persian Gulf, and arrived at the bank of the Euphrates, where, having unloaded their cargoes, they could be in one day sent by land to Palmyra. After the destruction of this city, the caravans took the route of Aleppo, which, by means of the port of Alexandretta, turned the current of the wealth to Constantinople. So this city at length became the general market for the productions of . India.

Robertson, in his Historical Disquisition on Ancient India, observes, that, according to an account given of the trade of India by a Venetian nobleman, Marino Sanudo (as carried on about the beginning of the fourteenth

« PreviousContinue »