John Baptist Belzoni
Having sent some account of his proceedings to England, Belzoni made a third journey to Thebes, whence, after taking models in wax of the principal tombs, he set out on a voyage to the Red Sea, principally with the intention of visiting Sarkiet Minor, said to be the site of ancient Berenice. Accordingly, on the 16th of September, 1818, accompanied by Mr. Beechey, he embarked at Gornou, and sailing down the Nile, was witness to one of the most calamitous inundations ever known; the river having risen three feet and a half higher than usual, and swept away several villages and some hundred of their inhabitants. On leaving the Nile, he proceeded across the desert to the Red Sea, the coast of which he found to have been accurately described by Bruce; and, at Cape el Golahen, he discovered the ruins of a town, which, from his own observations, and those of the geographer, D'Anville, he concluded to be the site of ancient Berenice, of which city he had found no traces at Sarkiet Minor. Returning to Gornou, he was met by Mr. Salt and Mr. Banks, the latter of whom, having been authorized to take possession of the obelisk found by Belzoni in the island of Philoe, engaged him to remove it down the Nile to Alexandria, preparatory to its embarkation for England. On reaching the spot where it lay, he, after some opposition on the part of Mr. Drouetti, who claimed the obelisk as his own, commenced his operations for putting it on board, which he effected after a delay of three days, caused by its slipping from the machine into the water. Having arrived at Luxor, he landed for a few days to visit the excavations he had commenced at Carnak, when, on his returning to the boat, he was suddenlly attacked by a large party of Arabs, headed by two Europeans and Mr Drouetti, who endeavored to force Belzoni to deliver up the obelisk. He was, however, firm in his refusal; but, on reaching the Nile, hastened on to Alexandria, determined to quit Egypt for ever, as he observes, could not live any longer in a country where I had become the object of revenge, to a set of people who could take the basest means to accomplish their purpose.'
Previously, however, to sailing for Europe, he made an excursion to Faiume, the ruins of ancient Arsinoe, Lake Moeris, and the Oasis of Am mon, near Zaboo, where he received a severe injury on his side, in consequence of his camel falling with him down a hard rock of twenty feet in depth. In this journey he tried to discover some remains of the famous Temple of the Labyrinth; visited the fountain at Ell Cassar, mentioned by Herodotus; and, after passing some time at various places, in search of antiquities, returned to Alexandria, whence, in the middle of September, 1819, he says, 'Thank God, we embarked for Europe; not that I disliked the country I was in, for, on the contrary, I have reason to be grateful; nor do I complain of the Turks or Arabs in general, but of some Europeans who are in that country, whose conduct and mode of thinking are a disgrace to human nature.' On his arrival in Italy, he visited his friends and family at Padua; to which city he presented two lion-headed statues of granite, which were placed, by his townsmen, in the Palazza della Justitia, who also struck a medal in honor of him. In 1820, he reached Eng land; and, in the same year, published an Account of his Travels and Discoveries, a work which excited the interest and attention of the whole literary and scientific world. In 1821, he exhibited, at the Egyptian Hall, in Piccadilly, a representation of two of the principal chambers of a tomb he had discovered in Behan el Malook, besides a model of the entire excavation; with several specimens of Egyptian sculpture, cases containing idols, mummies, etc., and a superb manuscript of papyrus.
In the latter end of 1822, Belzoni left England for Gibraltar, with the intention of traveling through Africa to Senaar, by way of Timbuctoo, city which, up to that time, had never been visited by an European. On reaching Fez, he was introduced to the emperor of Morocco, who, at first, gave him permission to join a caravan about to set out for Timbuctoo; but, subsequently, remanded him back to Tangiers, whence our traveler proceded to Gibraltar, determined not to relinquish his project, although he had already fruitlessly expended L1,000 in his attempt to accomplish it. Having arrived at Madeira, he continued his course to Teneriffe and Cape Coast Castle, where he resolved to take a northerly direction, from the kingdom of Benim direct to Houssa, towards the east of which country he had some hope of falling in with the Niger. On the 30th of October, he reached the Bar of Benim river; and, after making an excursion to the capital of Warra, about one hundred and twenty miles distant from Bobee, returned to the latter place, and set out, in company with Mr. Houtson, an English merchant, on his expedition to Timbuctoo. Whilst stepping into the canoe in which he departed, he evinced much agitation; and when the crew of the vessel he had just left, gave him three cheers, it was with trepidation, though with earnestness, that he exclaimed - ' God bless you, my fine fellows! and send you a happy sight of your country and friends I' He reached Gato on the 20th of November, 1823; and, on the 26th, departed for Benim, where he arrived in the evening of the same day, suffering slightly from an attack of diarrhoea, of which he had complained in the course of his journey. After some negotiation with the king of Benim, to whom Mr. Belzoni was represented as an Indian, or Malay, on his return home, it was arranged that he should be escorted as far as Houssa, whither, however, his diarrhoea, now changed to a dysentery, prevented him from preparing to proceed.