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In the two side rooms were the native guests, and in the area groups of Hindoo dancing women, finely dressed, singing i»nd dancing with sleepy steps, surrounded with Europeans who were sitting on chairs and couches. One or two groups <ff Musulman men-singers entertained the company at intervals with Hindoosfhanee songs and ludirrous tricks. Before two' O'clock the place was cleared of the dancing girls, and of all the Europeans except ourselves; and almost all the lights were extinguished, except in front of the goddess;—when the doors of the area were thrown open, and a vast crowd of natives rushed in, almost treading one upon another; among whom'were the vocal singers, having on long caps like sugar loaves. The area niightbe. about fifty cubits long and thirty wide. When the crowd had sat down, they were so wedged together as to present the appearance of a solid pavement of heads; a small space ouly being left immediately before the image for the motion's of the singers, who all stood up. Four sets of singers were present on this occasion; the first consisting of bramhuns, the next of bankers, the next of-voishnuvus, and the last of weavers; who entertained their guests with filthy songs, and danced in indecent attitudes before the goddess, holding up their bands, turning round, putting forward -thejr heads towards the image, every now and tnen bending their bodies, and almost tearing their throats With their vociferation*. The whole scene 'produced on my mind sensations of the greatest horror. The dress of the singers—their indecent gestures—the abominable nature of the songs—the horrid din of their miserable drum—the lateness of the hour—the darkircss of the place—with the reflection that I was standing in an idol temple, and that this immense multitude of rational and immortal creatures, capable of superior joys, were in the very act of wership, perpetrating a crime of high treason against the God of heaven, while they themselves believed they were performing an act of merit—excited ideas and feelings in my mind which time can never'obliterate.
Having taken this ample review of the contents of the Dissertation, and the portion of the work contained in the jirst volume, we shall leave the consideration of the curious subjects discussed in the second for a future article. The interest ant1 importance of the publication, added to the novelty of the greatest part of the information which it conveys, entitle it to this
extended notice. In writing the Hindu names of places and deities, so often occurring in these pages, it is rather to be lamented, that the author did not conform to the mode of orthography usually adopted by Sir William Jones and Dr. Wilkins, now in such general use. Brahma, for instance, is always written by him Brumhu; Agni, Ugnee; Yama, Yumu; Sanscrit, Sungskritu; and although the Indian pronunciation may thus be more correctly expressed, the eye of an European reader, accustomed to another mode of orthography, is somewhat offended by the alteration. This and other peculiarities, however, are of trivial weight when compared with the vast mass of instruction to be obtained from its perusal. Deeply acquainted as the missionaries appear to be with enormities practised in India, under the abused name of religion, let them undauntedly but discreetly persevere in the. glorious task ot reforming them. It will not be the work of a day; but patient perseverance will finally conquer every difficulty. The clouds are dispersing: the dawn has broke. Another century, perhaps, may see the spell of idolatry dissolved, and the knowledge of the true God spread over that now polluted land, "as the tvaters cover the sea."
A Narrative of a Journey in' Egypt, and the Country beyond the Cataracts, by Thomas Legh, Esq.M.P. 4to. pp. 157. Price 1/. U. — London. Murray, 1816.
In perusing these pages, we have been led to admire the cool and steady perseverance manifested by the author throughout the whole of his hazardous and difficult enterprize; and are no less pleased with the air of vivacity and unaffected style in which the work is composed. We are informed in the preface, that having made the tour of Greece and Albania, Mr. Legh was induced, from the unhealthy state of the countries of the Levant, to direct his steps to the shores of Egypt, and that he was very unexpectedly permitted to pursue his researches beyond the cataracts, an advantage never before acquired by any European.
Whenever a traveller, let his literary acquirements be ever so moderate, has succeeded in penetrating into an unknown country, it, undoubtedly, becomes his duty not only to remark every circumstance relative to climate, manners, and natural productions, but, if possible, to note those remarks on the spot, and at a convenient opportunity communicate them to the public. Knowledge, in however plain a garb, is always acceptable; but when instruction is conveyed in scientific language it becomes doubly agreeable, and we can venture to assert that the work before us is possessed of this advantage.
The narrative commences in the month of July 1812, when the author having visited the northern islands of the Egean sea landed on the coast of Asia, to examine the Troad. Here, receiving intelligence of the mortality which prevailed at Smyrna, he determined to leave the Levant as speedily as possible. Having arrived at Malta in company with his fellow traveller, the Rev. Charles Smelt, they were obliged to perform a quarantine of twenty days, and the reports of the increasing mortality of the plague determined them on their release to return to England.
But (says Mr. L.) Egypt was still open to us : and though the communication between Constantinople and Alexandria had been uninterrupted, that country had hitherto continued in a state of perfect exemption from the contagion. There is something inexplicable, and that one might be disposed to call capricious, in the way in which this dreadful disease spreads from one country to another, and we had been particularly struck with the observation of the Greek who acted as English consul at Scio. Though within
Asiatic Journ.—No. 13.
a few hours sail of Smyrna, where numhers were dying daily of the plague, he bad no fear of its approaching the island; and, during our stay of some days, we saw many Turks who had come directly from that place, leap on shore without any interruption. "But," added the Consul, "should the plague declare itself at Alexandria, distant some hundred miles, we shall certainly have it at Scio." He spoke confidently, and quoted many instances within his own memory of the like coincidence.
This is certainly a very curious fact, and in our opinion well worthy the serious consideration of the medical world.
On the 21st November they embarked on board a vessel bound to Alexandria, and Mr. L. gives the following reasons for not entering more particularly into the history of this city.
To repeat what has been so often written of the present and former condition of this celebrate-i city, would be both tedious and superfluous, as the expedition to Egypt has rendered this part of the world familiar to many of my countrymen; and by those who have not had an opportunity of visiting the country, the full descriptions to be found in the various books, of travels will he deemed sufficient to satisfy the curiosity of the most inquisitive. If in the course of the following narrative I may be accused by some of passing too hastily over places famous in antiquity, and stilj offering objects of the most lively interest, while others, on the contrary, should think I have run into the opposite error, and indulged, in useless repetition, I have only tc answer, that the recollectiod of the sensations excited by the sight of those wonderful monuments of former times will never be obliterated from my memory; but I shall mention them rather with an intention to complete the narrative, than with any design of increasing the number of detailed descriptions already in the hands of the public. The traveller who sees for the first time the pyramids of Gizeh, or the ruined temples of the Thebald, feels as if he had never heard or read of them before; but an author must have very considerable confidence in his own powers of writing, who would venture to add to the descriptions of Denon, Hamilton, and, above all, of the costly and elaborate work lately published by the French government.
Having quitted Alexandria they took the road to Rosetta, at which place Mr. L. takes the opportunity of giving us the following short Vol.. HI. G
but comprehensive account of the unfortunate disasters suffered by our army in 1805.
When our troops liad gained possession of the town of Rosetta, and were dispersed in various parts of it regaling themselves at tl eir different quarters, after the exertions they had made, a single Turk, armed with no other weapon than a pistol, began an attack on the straggling soldiers, of whom he killed more than a dozen, before the house where he was concealed and from which he directed his fire could be broken open and the assailant dislodged.
The Turkish governor, encouraged by this unexpected success, as well as by the. arrival of 800 troops from Cairo, and the certain information that the Pacha was descending the Nile with an additional force of 8000 men, resolved to make a desperate effort, and second the spirited attack of an individual. Before the English troops had time to form, they were driven from the town, aud being obliged to retreat through the desert without cavalry to support them, their losses in killed and prisoners were very considerable. The conduct of the Governor, after this unfortunate affair, offers an example of refinement of cruelty in a conqueror, seldom seen in these modern tiuws—for each of the prisoners was compelled to carry the head of one of his comrades who had perished in battle, as a present to the Pacha of Cairo.
Notwithstanding the abundance and cheapness of provisions in Upper Egypt, Mr. L. describes the inhabitants as a dirty miserable set of wretches. It will scarcely be believed by an English reader, but we are by no means inclined to question the veracity of our author, when he describes the cheapness and plenty of provisions in the following manner:—
Provisions are so extremely abundant and cheap in this part of the countrv, and in Upper Egypt they are still more so, that we frequently bought 1000 eggs for a dollar, and for the same sum could purchase 14 fowls and innumerable pigeons; but the fertility of the soil, which produces three crops in the year, clover, com, and rice, offers a striking contrast to the miserable appearance of the inhabitants, who are excessively dirty, and in a state of almost perfect nuditv. They are, however, at the same time' remarkable for their great patience, the power of bearing fatigue, and the faculty they po»Mss of living almost upon nothing.
Speaking of Cairo, our author observes the height of the houses and the extreme narrowness of the streets, which will scarcely allow two loaded camels to pass; he then proceeds to speak of the bazaars and the slave market.
Among the chief curiosities which attracted our attention, may be ranked the bazaars, of an appearance far superior in splendour to any we had witnessed in our travels in Turkey. Each trade has its. allotted quarter, and the display of superb Turkish dresses, costly Damascus swords, ataghans, and every species of eastern luxury aud magnificence, formed a most brilliant and interesting spectacle.
We visited also the slave-market,where, to say nothing of the moral reflection* suggested by this traffic in human beings, the senses were offended in the most disagreeable manner, by the excessive state of filthiness in which these miserable Wretches were compelled to exist. They were crowded together in inclosures like the sheep-pens of Smithrield market, and the abominable stench and uncleauliuess which were the consequence of such confinement, may be more readily imagined than described.
After a very short account of the principal pyramid, Mr. It. proceeds to say, that the government of Egypt had enjoyed a greater degree of tranquillity under the administration of the present Pacha than for many years previous, and this change he considers is entirely owing to the vigorous measures adopted by that officer, who from the humble station of captain of a pirate boat has raised himself to his present rank; he then quotes the following passage from the travels of the pretended AH Bey, descriptive of the state of the country at the time Mahomed Ali was elevated to the pachalik.
D'un autre cote, Mahomed Ali, qui doit sou elevation au courage de ses troupes, tolere leurs exces, et ne scait pas s'en rendiv iudependant; les Grands Sheiks d'ailleurs, jouissaut, sous cette espece de gouvernement, de plus d'influcuce et de liberte appuient de tout leur pouvoir le systeme existant. Le soldat tyrannise; le has peuple souffre; maia les grands ne s'en resseuteut mil lenient, et la machine marehe comme.elle peat. Le gouvernement de Constantinople, sans i nergie pour tenir tc pays flans une compute somnissiou, n'y a qit'uue sorte <lc suzerainete, qui lui rapporte lie lexers subsides, qn'il clicrche tous les ans a augnienter, par de nonvelles ruses. Le tres-petit nombre de Mamlouchsqui restent sont n Ifeues dans la Haute Egypte, ou Mebemed Ali ne pent etendre sa domination, &c." Vol. ii.p. 237, Coyagra (T Ali bey*
We are now favoured with a concise but clear account of those singular people the Wahabees, and the vigorous measures adopted by the Pacha for their suppression, the expences of which warfare, Mr. L. affirms, were supported by the enormous profits derived from the commerce in corn, which the Pacha carried on with the English government; the particulars of which transaction he thus details—
An a^cnt of the British government whom we met at Alexandria on our first landing, and who was then on the point of returning to Gibraltar, had made a contract with the Pacha of Egypt for forty thousand ardebs,-)- equal to about seventy thousand quarters of corn, to supply our troops in Spain.
The terms of the agreement were, that eighty piastres should be paid per ardeb, and that the corn should be delivered in the month of April at Alexandria. As soon as the Pacha had concluded this favourable bargain, he laid an embargo ou all the boats upon the Nile and sent them into Ppper Egypt for the corn, part of which was collected in lieu of contributions, and the rest was bought of the fellah, or labouring Arabs, at the rate of ten piastres per ardeb: so strict indeed was the embargo, that it was with great difficulty we could hire a boat to take us up to Cairo, and the moment we arrived at Boulac it was seized by the government. The Pacha used such exertion in fulfilling the conditions of his advantageous contract that the corn was delivered at Alexandria by the appointed time ;—but it was not until the mouth of May that any transports arrived, and they carried away only a fourth of the whole quantity.
In July following, a convoy took away ten thousand ardebs more, and it was by that opportunity that we left the country.
• TW pretended Ali Bey it a Spaniard of ihe name of Badia, who wai employed by Buonapalte ai a >py. Urn in Morocco, and after ward • in Egypt and the eait.
+ An «T*>b it eqoil *o*>«te*ii baabeb Engliib.
At what period the rest was removed, it is impossible to say; hut certainly no contract could have been made more disadvantageous to the British government.
Instead of fixing April for the delivery of the corn, had the following month of May been appointed, which, as it appeared, would have been quite early enough, the harvest would have been got in, and the wheat would not only have been much cheaper, but greatly better in quality.
At the time we left Egypt, the corn was sprouting iu the impurities with which it was mixed, aud we saw it actually smoking on board the transports which carried it away.
Having obtained permission from the Pacha to hire a cangia, our author sailed on the 13th January for Upper Egypt, and on the 2ist landing at the village of Bennihassan, he visited the grottoes of that place; from thence he proceeded to Sheikh Ababde, the site of ancient Antinoe, the ruins of which place he shortly describes and then hastens to the splendid portico of Hermopolis which he notices in a concise but satisfactory manner. On the 26th January our travellers arrived at Siout, which city has succeeded to Girgeh, as the capital of Upper Egypt, but although they did not witness the arrival of a caravan of .slaves from the interior of Africa, he has favoured us with some particulars of this horrid traffic, in which we find the following account, but are not informed in a satisfactory manner why so wanton and unprofitable cruelties are perpetrated.
In the course of this long and tedious journey, they suffer occasionally great hardships, and we were informed that the Jelabs seized upon these periods of distress, arising from a scarcity of water or provisions, to perform the operation of emasculation, which, according to our informant, was done completely by the entire removal of the genitals. _ Th« wretches were afterwards buried in the saud to a certain depth, and in this rude manner the hemorrhage was stopped. The calcalation was, that one out of three only survived the operation, which was performed at a moment of distress, that the risk of mortality might be incurred, at a time when the merchants could best spare their slaves. Tlieir method of traveiliflf
was to sling a dozen of the negroes-across the back of a camel.
In passing Diospolis Parva (the modern How) our travellers for the first time observed the crocodiles, the largest of which he says were about twenty-five feet in length, and at this place they also felt the kamsin, which is thus described :—
While opposite Diospolis Parva, we experienced a gale of the Kamsin, which, though we were on the water and consequently in a grettt measure protected from its violence, was still so formidable in its effects, as to dispose us to give full credit to the accounts of travellers, and, indeed, of entire caravans being overtaken and buried in the sand by this destructive wind of the desert. The air became thick and cloudy, as if a storm of snow or sleet were coming on, and we felt our eyes, ears and mouths filled with the fine particles of sand, which were raised and suspended in the atmosphere. We suffered also in our food, for the pilau, which formed the great article of our sustenance, was rendered so gritty as to be scarcely eatable; and on opening our trunks, which had been closed andlocked, we found considerable quantities of sand deposited between the folds of our linen.
Proceeding on their journey, our travellers just notice landing at Thebes, but refer us to the Travels of Denon and Mr. Hamilton's work for the details of this wonderful spot. On the eleventh of February they reached Essouan and paid a visit to the Arab governor of the town, for the purpose of inquiring into the possibility of proceeding beyond the Cataracts into the country of the Barabras, and the information they obtained gave them great encouragement; he then quotes the following accounts of the failures and discouragements, which former travellers have experienced who have attempted to penetrate into this country
At Essouan, (says Browne, in his Travels into Africa,) I remained three days, contriving, if possible, to pursue my route up the Nile; but a war having arisen between the Mamelukes of Upper Egypt and the Cacheff of Ibrim, no one was suffered to pass from Egypt to Nubia: the caravans bad all been stopped for
many months, and not even a camel could be procured. With deep regret for the disappointment in my earnest wish of proceeding to Abyssinia by this route, I was constrained to abandon all hope for that season and to think of returning." —p. 142.
Mr. Hamilton relates, that on his arrival at the Cataracts he was deterred from proceeding, by the accounts he there received of the difficulty of the roads, and the inhospitable disposition of the inhabitants ; he was told that they had not for a long time submitted to the Turks, and had never acknowledged the sovereignty of the Mamelukes; neither had they been visited by the French, and were resolutely determined to prevent the arrival of any foreigners. He adds, that the Cacheffs of the Berberi were formerly nominally dependent on the Porte, and remitted annually a tribute to Cairo, but that they threw oft" the yoke at the time the Beys became masters of Egypt.
Soleyman Cacheff, who died a few years ago, united the lesser chieftains under himself; the country was quiet, and Mr. Hamilton thought that a cautious traveller might then have penetrated into Nubia; but at the time of his visit to the Cataracts, Elfi Bey was encamped in the neighbourhood, and dissuaded him from going farther. Mr. Hamilton justly observes, that the Beys had an interest in increasing the difficulties of penetrating farther south than the Cataracts, as they look to a retreat in that country as their last resource in the event of a temporary expulsion from Egypt.
The boundary of the French expedition in Egypt was marked on a granite rock a little above the Cataracts ; and the obstinate resistance shewn by the inhabitants to the entry of their troops into the isle of Philas, and the jealous fear of strangers exhibited on that occasion, strengthened the idea of the difficulty of passing the Cataracts. No terms of accommodation would be listened to; but when the natives were no longer able to prevent the approach of the enemy, they quitted the island in despair, and men, women and children were seen to plunge themselves into the Nile, and swim to the opposite shore. Mothers drowned their infants whom they could not carry away with them, and mutilated their daughters, to preserve them from the violation of the conquerors.
"Lorsque j'entrai (says Denon) le lendemain dans Pile, je trouvai une petite fille de 7 a 8 ans, a laquelle une couture faite avec autant de brutalite" que de cruaut6 avoit ot6 tous les moyens de satisfaire au plus pressant besoin, et lul causoit des convulsions horribles: ce ne tut qu'avec une contre operation et un bain que je sauvai la vie a cette malheureuw