Page:1902 Encyclopædia Britannica - Volume 26 - AUS-CHI.pdf/532

This page needs to be proofread.



paralleled familiarity with Eastern life and customs, espean office which gave him entire pecuniary independence, cially among the lower classes. Besides Government and the duties of which he discharged most assiduously, reports and contributions to the Asiatic Society, his notwithstanding his literary pursuits and the pressure of Indian period produced four books, published after his another important task assigned to him after the comple- return home: Scinde, or the Unhappy Valley (18 ), tion of his history, the editorship of the National Scottish Sindh and the Races that Inhibit the Valley of the Indus Begisters. Two volumes were published under his super- (1851) Goa and the Blue Mountains (1851), and Falconry vision. His last work, The History of the Beign of Queen in the Valley of the Indus (1852). _ None of these achieved Anne (1880), is very inferior to his History of Scotland. popularity, but the account of Sind is remarkably vivid He died on 10th August 1881. Burton was pre-eminent y and faithful. . t a iurist and economist, and may be said to have been The pilgrimage to Mecca in 1853 made Burton famous. guided by accident into the path which led him to He had planned it whilst mixing disguised among the celebrity. It was his great good fortune to find abundan Muslims of Sind, and had laboriously prepared for the unused material for his Life of Hume, and to be the fir ordeal by study and practice. No. doubt the primary to introduce the principles of historical research into the motive was the love of adventure, which was his strongest history of Scotland. All previous attempts had been tar passion; but along with the wanderer’s restlessness below the modern standard in these particulars, an inarched the zest of exploration, and whilst wandering Burton’s history will always be memorable as marking an was in any case a necessity of his existence, he preferred epoch even if it should one day be superseded by a more to roam in untrodden ways where mere adventure might picturesque and more animated narrative. His chief defects be dignified by geographical service. There was a huge as a historian are want of imagination, involving feebleness white blot” on the maps of Central Arabia where no of historical portraiture, and an undignified familiar y European had ever been, and Burton’s scheme, approved style which, however, at least preserves his history from by the Royal Geographical Society, was to extend his the dulness by which lack of imagination is usually accom- pilgrimage to this “empty abode,” and remove a dispanied His dryness is associated with a fund of dry creditable blank from the map. War among the tribes humour exceedingly effective in its proper place as m curtailed the design, and his journey went no farther than The Boole Hunter. As a man he was loyal, affectionate, Medina and Mecca. The exploit of accompanying the philanthropic, and entirely estimable. f*. G-) Muslim Hajj to the holy cities was not unique, nor so dangerous as has been imagined. Several Europeans Burton. Sir Richard Francis (18-1- have accomplished it before and since Burtons visit 1890), British consul, explorer, and orientalirt, b°m without serious mishap. Passing himself off as an at Barham House, Herts, England, on 19th March 1821 Indian Pathan covered any peculiarities or defects of He came of the Westmoreland Burtons of bhap, but speech. The pilgrimage, however, demands an intimate hi grandfather, the Kev. Edward Burton, sett ed m proficiency in a complicated ritual, and a familiarity wi i Ireland as rector of Tuanh and his father, L^itenant- the minutise of Eastern manners and etiquette; and m the Colonel Joseph Netterville Burton, of the 36* f case of a stumble, presence of mind and cool courage may was an Irishman by birth and character. His mother be called into request. There are legends that Burton was descended from the MacGregors, and he was proud had to defend his life by taking others’; but he carried no of a remote drop of Bourbon blood P^, arms, and confessed, rather shamefastly, that he had to be derived from a morganatic union of the Grand never killed anybody at any time. The actual journey Monarque. There were even those, including some of the was less remarkable than the book m which it was Romany themselves, who saw gipsy written m his peculiar recorded, The Pilgrimage to Al-Medmah and Meccati eyes as in his character, wild and resentful essentially (1855) Its vivid descriptions, pungent style, and invagabond, intolerant of convention and restraint. His tensely personal “note” distinguish it from books of i s irregular education strengthened the inherited bias. A class - its insight into Semitic modes of thought and its childhood spent in France and Italy, under scarcely any picture of Arab manners give it the value of an Jistonca control, fostered the love of untrammelled wandering and document; its grim humour, keen observation, and i^ke a marvellous fluency in Continental vernaculars. Such an insobriety of opinion, expressed m peculiar, uncouth, bu education so little prepared him for academic proprieties vigorous language, make it a curiosity of literature. that when he entered Trinity College, Oxford m October Burton’s next journey was more hazardous fFan 1840, a criticism of his military moustache by a fellow- pilgrimage, but created no parallel sensation. in underaraduate was resented by a challenge to a duel, and th8 Indian Government accepted his proposal to exp ore Burton in various ways distinguished himself by such eccen- the interior of the Somali country, which formed a subject tric behaviour that rustication inevitably ensued. Nor was of official anxiety in its relation to the Red Sea trade he much more in his element as a subaltern in the 18th He was assisted by Lieutenant Speke and two other you g Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry, which he joined at officers, but accomplished the most difficult part Bafoda in October 1842. Discipline of any sort he abhorred, enterprise alone. This was the journey to the and the one recommendation of the East India Company s Somali capital, which no whtte man h«l entered Burton service in his eyes was that it offered opportunities for vanished into the desert, and was not heard of for fou studying8 Oriental life and languages. He had begun Arabic months. When he reappeared he had not only ten without a master at Oxford, and worked m London at Harar, hut had talked with the king, atayed ^n toys Hindustani under Forbes before he went out; in India he there in deadly peril, and ridden hack across th > laboured indefatigably at the vernaculars, and his reward almost without food and water, running the gn™t et was an astonishingly rapid proficiency in Gujarati, Marathi, the Somali spears all the way. Undeterred by this ex Hindustani as well as Persian and Arabic. His appoint- perience he set out again, but was checked by a hirn mentas an a distant in the Sind survey enabled him to with the tribes, in which one of his young officers was Sk witt the people, and he frequently passed as a natrve killed, Captain Speke was wounded in ele™n Plates, in the bazaars and deceived his own mv,ns)a to say nothing Burton himself had a javelin thrust through J his colonel and messmates. His wanderings in Sind His First Footsteps in East Africa (1856), deKt b g were the apprenticeship for the pilgrimage to Mecca, and these adventures, is one of his most exciting Ws seven yLs in India laid the foundations of his un-