« PreviousContinue »
ter we take to be the inventor of the quadrant. The credit of this discovery was taken from him by an Englishman, named Hadley; and, if this be the same person, we are surprised that Mr. West, who sat at the elbow of the author, did not avail himself of this occasion to assert the claims of his friend and countryman. The exalted respect which we feel for his character, would induce us to admit a plea of ignorance, without hesitation; the more especially as several anecdotes are extant, which show that, in all the adulation by which he has been courted, he has not forgotten his natal soil. We shall select a single instance. During our revolution, intelligence arrived in London of some signal disaster which had befallen our troops. A courtier, who envied the prosperity of West, seized an opportunity of communicating the tidings to him, in the presence of the British sovereign. The artist replied, without the slightest hesitation, that he was very sorry to hear it; and the malignant meddler was still more mortified to learn, afterwards, that the answer had raised, instead of injuring, the character of the painter in the estimation of his royal patron.
Letters to the Bank Directors on the pernicious consequences of
the prevailing system of banking operations, and on the facility of reducing discounts 10 any extent, as soon as the bank of the United States commences business. By M. Carey. 8vo. Pp. 44.
It is a point of honour among the rabble not to strike a man when he is down, and in matters of business it is sound policy to assist rather than oppress a debtor. These are the dictates of generosity and judgment, which one would think scarcely necessary to be repeated in the present day. But the pamphlet before us is a lamentable proof that the light of day is still excluded from the discount table. Scarcely had we emerged from the gloom of war, when we were plunged into deeper distress by the folly, the madness and the cupidity of the persons who manage our money concerns, under the name of bank directors. For some months past it has been next to impossible to collect any debts, and the few payments that were made were at discounts of from 6 to 15 per cent; to which may be added the loss of interest. Sales were so dull that goods were sacrificed at auction, often for less than first cost: and it was scarcely possible to raise money on real security. In this state of things, the author of this and other publications, has repeatedly and earnestly exhorted the directors of the banks to abandon their absurd and vicious system of curtailing discounts: a system, ha says, which has “ prostrated arts and manufactures-paralized industrysunk the value of almost every species of property," and drawn upon the almost exhausted stores of the poor to swell the coffers of the opulent.
Mr. Carey states one fact which throws considerable light upon this subject and serves to explain very satisfactorily to our mind, the reason why this course was pursued. Money,” he informs us cannot be had of the brokers, but at the rate of from 18 to 30 per cent per annum.” A man who would be sadly affronted, if he were asked to dispose of a riding horse, will go before an inquisitorial bank tribunal, and exhibit a full inventory of all his goods and chattels: disclose his embarrassments, confess his disculties, and pray for an accommodation but for a few months. No matter how much the account of “ bills receivable” may preponderate over that of “ bills payable”-his note is rejected. But he very soon has an offer for some of his houses or lands, or he is driven to a broker, where he is decently shaved. It is immaterial which alternative be adopts; the money often comes from the very chamber, where his intreaties had no avail. We shall not undertake to affirm that this is precisely the course of business, but the reader will see that such a scheme may be effected. We are far from wishing, in the language of sir Thomas Brown, that men should “swallow falsities for truths, dubiosities for certainties, possibilities for feasibilities, and things impossible for possibilities themselves.” But our conjectures will derive no small weight from the consideration that, during all the distraction and distress which has pervaded the trading part of the community, for some time past; those who were connected with banks sat unmoved, and apparently unconcerned. They bought and they sold. They seemed to have at command the treasures of “ Ormus or the Ind.” They wore the cap of Fortunatus; they burnished the lamp, and emulated the profusion of Aladdin. Even the runners ran the rapid road to riches and rank.
In such a state of things it is in vain that pamphlets are written, and their reasonings supported by the experience and authority of such men as Percival, Baring, Huskisson, or even the governor of the bank of England. Mr. Carey may be respected as a sensible writer, on fiscal matters, and we shall admire his zeal and independence; but he may remember that Cassandra raved until Troy was burned.
The French academy have ordered a medal to be struck in honour of Duois, their celebrated tragic poet. All nations ought to feel an interest in the homage paid to genius; but England especially may view with pleasure the distinction shown to a man devoted to English literature, and who, by his six translations from SHAKSPEARE, (King John, Romeo and Juliet, Macbeth, Othello, Hamlet, Lear,) manifested at least his fond admiration for the great bard, whom the mass of Frenchmen, not having capacity to comprehend, presume in their ignorant vanity to despise.
[From the Eclectic Review.] Travels into various countries of Europe, Asia, and Africa, by
Edward Daniel Clarke, LL. D. Part II. Grecce, Egypt, and
the Holy Land. Section second, 4to, pp. about 850. Price 41. 14s. 6d. Cadell and Da
vies, 1814. Section third. To which is added a supplement, respecting the author's
journey from Constantinople to Vienna; containing his account of the gold mines of Transylvania and Hungary, 4to, pp. 750. Price
41. 14s. 6d. 1816. (The two volumes contain (including maps and charts) 56 engravings, of the
full size, and 48 vignettes.] THESE are the third and fourth massive volumes of Dr. Clarke's splendid performance. The latter of them constitutes the last section of the second part. It brings the author back, after so long a sojourn, to the shores of his native country. No conjecture is given as to the probable extent of the portion yet in reserve, and of which the subjects are to be Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Lapland, and Finland. Its preparation, we may presume, will be carried on without intermission.
The first volume traced him across the Russian empire, from north to south, and left him at the metropolis of the Mahomedans. Thence the narration in the second volume carried him to the Troad, to Rhodes, to Egypt, to Cyprus, and to the Holy Land, and left him at Acre, on his return towards Egypt; in which region of wonders we find him occupied through nearly half the third volume, which is the largest of the series. It commences with a prefatory miscellany of notices and observations, respecting the rules of selection which he has observed, and the improvements that have been made during the progress of the work, respecting the disputed site of Heliopolis, and also the reluctance, in certain quarters, to admit the evidence, still regarded by him as quite decisive, that the splendid and interesting antiquity brought from Alexandria, and now in the British museum, is actually what Egyptian tradition has represented it to be, the tomb which once contained the body of Alexander the Great.
The preface is followed by “Remarks,' by Mr. Walpole, on the Libraries of Greece,' and a catalogue of the books in the monastery of Patmos.
The traveller and his companion quitted Acre for the last time, under the renewed and final benediction of the famous old Djezzar Pasha, who did not long, it seems, survive their visit. He was evidently fast declining at the time, and was sensible of it himself, but, with good reason, was very careful to conceal it from his subjects, well knowing the advantage that would be taken. In his last moments he felt an amiable concern to secure tranquillity to his successor in the government; and, not content with a mere idle avowal of his benevolence, he gave it practical effect, by an energetic' act, which very characteristically consummated the glory of his whole life.
“ The person whom he fixed upon for his successor, was among the num. ber of his prisoners. Having sent for this man, he made known his intentions to him; telling him at the same time that he would nerer enjoy peaceful domi VOL. III.
nlun while certain of the princes of the country existed. These men were then living as hostages, in Djezzar's power. • You will not like to begin your reign,' said he, 'by slaughtering them: I will do that business for you.' Accordingly, ordering them to be brought before him, he had them all put to death in his presence. Soon afterwards he died, leaving, as he had predicted, the ondisturb. ed possession of a very extensive territory to his successor, Ismael Pasha, de. scribed by English travellers, who have since visited Acre, as a very amiable man, and in every thing the very reverse of this Herod of his time.”
The notice of the ruins of an ecclesiastical building with pointed arches, at Acre, leads the author into a refutation of the notion, that this mode of architecture had its origin in England. He abounds with proofs to the contrary.
He reached Aboukir about the time of the surrender of Cairo by the French; and, passing several days on board one of the ships appointed to convey the prisoners to France, witnessed, and has vividly described, the wretched, squalid, motley appearance, and the mirthful, farcical and profligate character of the wrecks of the French army.
The author and his associates entered Egypt by the Rosetta mouth of the Nile, in one of the boats called djerms, with imminent hazard of life, from the dreadful surf upon the bar. He says there is hardly a more formidable surf any where known than that at the entrance of the Nile into the Mediterranean, and that it was even asserted, that the loss of men at the mouth of the Nile, including those both of the army and navy, who were here sacrificed, was greater than the total of our loss in all the engagements that took place with the French troops in Egypt.' The Arab boalmen defied the peril, and desperately drove through the furious turbulence, in which they saw, at the very moment, another djerm swamped and wrecked just at their side.
Among a variety of curious notices of Rosetta, we have a description of
“A most singular exhibition of the serpent eaters, or psylli, as mentioned by Herodotus, and by many ancient authors. A tumultuous throng, passing beneath the windows of our house, attracted our attention towards the quay. Here we saw a concourse of people, following men apparently frantic, who, with every appearance of convulsive agony, were brandishing live serpents, and then tearing them with their teeth; snatching them from each other's mouths, with loud cries and distorted features, and afterwards falling into the arms of the spectators, as if swooning: the women all the while rending the air with their lamentations. Pliny often mentions these jugglers; and as their tricks have been noticed by other travellers, it is only now necessary to attest the existence of this extraordinary remnant of a very ancient custom.
With some difficulty a djerm was hired, and provisions were purchased, for a voyage up the Nile to Cairo. It was in August, and therefore at the time of the inundation, a season which affords a singular advantage for the navigation of the river; for at that time there regularly prevails a powerful wind from the north and north-west; so that by means of the immense sail peculiar to the large boats of the Nile, the voyager can advance with great rapidity, against the utmost force of the current, to Cairo, or any part of Upper Egypt; and then, "for returning, with even greater rapidity, it is only necessary to take down mast and sails, and leave the vessel to be carried against the wind by the powerful current of the river. It is thus possible to perform the whole voyage from Rosetta to Bulac, the quay of Cairo, and back again, with certainty, in about se. venty hours-a distance equal to four hundred miles,'
In this passage towards Cairo the author was struck with the populous appearance of the banks of the river, the villages being in almost uninterrupted succession. He also dwells with admiration on the prodigious fertility of the soil of the Delta, of which the best watered portions produce three crops a year--the first of clover, the second of corn, the third of rice; and then there are never-ending plantations of melons, and of all kinds of garden vegetables; so that, from the abundance of its produce, Egypt may be deemed the richest country in the world. But never was superlative applause more completely neutralized by an account of the other parts of the character than in this instance.
" But to strangers, and particularly to inhabitants of northern countries, where wholesome air and cleanliness are among the necessaries of life, Egypt is the most detestable region upon earth. Upon the retiring of the Nile, the country is one vast swamp. An atmosphere, impregnated with every putrid and offensive exhalation, stagnates, like the filthy pools over which it broods. Then the plague regularly begins, nor ceases until the waters return again. Ge. neral Le Grange assured us that the ravages in the French army, caused by the plague, during the month of April, at one time amounted to a hundred men in a single day. Throughout the spring, intermittent fevers universally prevail. About the begioning of May certain winds cover even the sands of the desert with the most disgusting vermin. Lice and scorpions abound in all the sandy desert near Alexandria. The latest descendants of Pharaoh are not yet delivered from the evils which fell upon the land, when it was smitten by the hand of Moses and Aaron; the plague of frogs,' the 'plague of lice,' the plague of flies,' the 'murrain, boils and blains' prevail, so that the whole country is * corrupted,' and 'TIE DUST OF THE EARTH BECOMES LICE, UPON MAN AND Uroy BEAST, THROUGHOUT ALL THE LAND OF EGYPT. This application of the words of scripture affords a literal exposition of existing facts, such a one as the statistics of the country do now warrant. Sir Sydney Smith informed the author that, one night, preferring a bed upon the sand of the desert to a night's lodging in the village of Etkn, as thinking to be secure from vermin, he found kimself entirely covered with them.”
Drinking the water of the Nile, during the period of its overflow, is apt to produce a disorder, called “ prickly heat,” which often · terminates in those dreadful wounds, alluded to in scripture by the words “boils and blains.". Such an effect will not be wondered at, after hearing what are the ingredients of the potion. The torrent is every where dark with mud;' a ladle or bucket, dipped into it, will bring up a quantity of animalculæ; “tadpoles and young frogs are so numerous that, rapid as the current flows, there is no part of the Nile where the water does not contain them.' Putting, however, the drinking out of the question, and regarding the river as an element to float and journey upon, Dr. C. says it affords a most delightful contrast to the heat, the sand, the dirt, and the vermin, which co-operate to plague, almost out of his life, the traveller by land.
At the time the djerm reached Bulac, the travellers were roused early in the morning from their cabin, with the intelligence that the pyramids were in sight,
and never will the impression made by their appearance be obliterated. By reflecting the sun's rays, they appeared as white as snow, and of such surprising magnitude, that nothing we had previously conceived in our imagination bad prepared us for the spectacle we beheld. The sight instantly convinced us that no power of description, no delineation, can convey ideas adequate to the effect produced in viewing these stupendous monuments. The formality of their structure is lost in their prodigious magnitude: the mind, ele.