Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/263

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Burnes' Visit to the Court of Sinde. ?$1 ticulady in the Delta. The Indus, as a river, has few merits except its periodical swell; its stream is foul and muddy, and so full of shoals and shifting sands that flat-bottomed boats alone are safe, and scarcely any others are used. Its course is extremely crooked, and towards the sea is very inconstant, marks of its caprice abound- ing in the lower country. Tavernier, who wrote in 1690, says the commerce of Tattab was diminished by the mouth of the river always getting worse, the increasing sand and mud scarcely leaving a passage; and how unfortunate, Burnes truly remarks, it is that no one has left an exact account of the distance of Tattab from the Indus in olden time, or even when Nadir Shah visited Sinde, in 1748. The natives assured Colonel Porringer that there was no bar at the mouth of the river that would prevent even a line-of- battle ship from going up as high as Lahoree Bunder; but it is very evident that they are totally unacquainted with the quantity of water which such vessels draw. The inconstancy of the Indus itself appears to present an insurmountable obstacle to anything like accuracy iu the representation of that river; but of its general features the accounts appear to be as satisfactory as any thing of the kind can possibly be without actual survey. Digitized by Google