Page:Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London, Volume 1 (2nd edition).djvu/285

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253
Water between Cairo and Suez.

a bed of calcareous sandstone, five feet thick, through which the water filters; and in the stratum of clay three lateral galleries have been ingeniously struck to the extent of twelve or fourteen feet, which not only serve to collect the water, but, together with a further continuation of the well, to the total depth of twenty-one feet, form a reservoir of one thousand two hundred cubic feet of water. The whole is to be lined with stone and mortar, which will render it a work of perfect art; and what is most important is, that the water being found so near the surface, neither the labour of camels nor of machinery will be required to draw it.

'Two other wells have been commenced in the same valley, with the same prospect of success. It is believed that, as the spot is only an hour or an hour and a half's journey from the great chain of mountains which stretches across the Desert from the Nile to the Red Sea, the waters have there their source.

'This enterprise has been pro'ected by, and carried into execution at the sole expense of, Mr. Bnggs. He has in his employ an able mineralogist, Mr. Albert Gensberg (a Swiss, we believe), who is still continuing his researches, and is confident of finding water, and establishing wells, at other parts of the route. The practical artificers are two Englishmen, named Hancock and Wood. The place of their labour will probably soon become stations, or villages, where men and animals will not only be supplied with water, but with all other necessaries in their painful journeyings; and the names of the projector and executors of this work will be remembered with gratitude by all future travellers in this hitherto sterile desert.

'Above all, it is hoped that the enlightened ruler of Egypt will appreciate the merits of Mr. Briggs, whose success will facilitate the commerce and promote the prosperity of that country.'

To the above may be also subjoined the following extract of a letter from Mr. Briggs himself to the Earl of Munster, who has communicated it to the Royal Geographical Society:—

'Alexandria, June 13, 1831.

'My attempts to discover water in the Desert between Cairo and Suez have been crowned with success; and I hope all future travellers to and from India will feel the benefit of it, as well as the pilgrims to Mecca.

'I have had two English borers at work during a year and a half at my expense; and I mean to persevere till I have found water also on the other line of communication, known to you between Cosseir and Thebes, or Kenné.

'Ibrahim Pasha gives me every assistance in guards, tools, masons, &c., wherever sweet water is found; but the Hadgi know it is to the English they are indebted for this boon.'