Page:Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile - In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773 volume 1.djvu/18

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this object, but all attempts had met with the fame difficulties as before, till, in the beginning of his Majesty's reign, the unconquerable spirit raised in this nation by a long and glorious war, did very naturally resolve itself into a spirit of adventure and inquiry at the return of peace, one of the. first-fruits of which was the discovery of these coy fountains *, till now concealed from the world in general.

The great danger and difficulties of this journey were well known, but it was likewise known that it had been completely performed without disappointment or misfortune, that it had been attended with an apparatus of books and instruments, which seldom accompanies the travels of an individual; yet sixteen years had elapsed without any account appearing, which seemed to mark an unusual self-denial, or an absolute indifference towards the wishes of the public.

Men, according to their different genius and dispositions, attempted by different ways to penetrate the cause of this silence. The candid, the learned, that species of men, in

  • This epithet given to the springs from which the Nile rises, was borrowed from a very elegant English poem that appeared in Dr Mary's Review for May 1786. It was sent to me by my friend Mr Barrington, to whom it was attributed, although from modesty he disclaims it. From whatever hand it comes, the poet is desired to accept of my humble thanks. It was received with universal applause wherever it was circulated, and a considerable number of copies was printed at the desire of the public. Accident seemed to have placed it in Dr Mary's book with peculiar propriety, by having joined it to a fragment of Ariosto, then first published, in the same Review. It has since been attributed to Mr Mason.