tions, whatever was necessary to carry them out in the most complete manner, but with truly royal munificence told Mr. Murray that the whole expense of them should be defrayed by his Treasury.
When I submitted my proposal to the Council of the Royal Society, I did not contemplate the accomplishment of anything beyond the sinking of a few pits; but I had now the prospect of researches being made on a great scale; how widely they were afterwards extended, by the continued exertions of Mr. Murray and of his successor the Hon. Frederick Bruce, and by the unabated liberality of the Viceroy, will appear in the course of this memoir.
It may appear remarkable to many, as it had done to Cuvier, that researches of this nature had not been undertaken before. With the exception of the corps of scientific men appointed by the French Government to accompany the Egyptian expedition under General Buonaparte, very few of those who have visited Egypt have turned their attention to geological researches; most travellers have been attracted by the interesting objects of art and the history of the people. In the introduction to his memoir 'Sur la vallée d'Egypte,' M. Girard observes,—"Parmi les nombreux voyageurs qui ont donné des descriptions de l'Egypte, il n'en est aucun qui se soit proposé d'examiner la Vallée où coule le Nil, avec assez de détails pour conclure, de son état present, les changemens successifs qu'elle a subis et ceux qu'elle doit éprouver dans la suite" (p. 185); and at p. 251 he goes on to say, "La question de l'exhaussement du sol de l'Egypte, et de l'accroissement du Delta, avait été traitée, jusque dans ces derniers temps, ou par des voyageurs qui ne faisaient pas de cette question un objet particulier de recherche, ou par des érudits qui prétendaient l'éclaireir en essayant de concilier certains passages d'auteurs anciens contradictoires entre eux, ou du moins que leur. obscurité rend susceptibles d'interprétations différentes. On ne pouvait espérer d'obtenir une solution complète de cette question, que lorsque les géologues et ceux qui ont fait une étude particulière de la théorie des cours des fleuves s'en seraient emparés."
But the operations of which I am about to give an account are of a nature and extent that scarcely any individual traveller could undertake; for they have required a large body of men, and some of them practised in the art of surveying; and as they could only be carried on after the waters of the inundation have subsided for some time, and therefore 'at a season' of the year when the heat is excessive, those only inured to the climate could undertake such a work.
I explained my views as to the manner in, which I desired that the researches should be carried on in the following directions to Hekekyan Bey:—
"Mr. Harris has communicated to me your most obliging letter to him in which you so warmly enter into the subject of my correspondence with him, viz., the institution of experiments to measure the depth of the alluvial deposits of the Nile, with
- Mémoires de l'Académie Royale des Sciences de l'Institut de France, année 1817, p. 185.