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Home from paying him a Vifit.
Permit your brother's tender heart
And never, never give the smallest caufc to moura,
And on your steps attend;
What you for him endure;
Your wants and griefs to lessen, and your joy t'ensure.
Till life itself thall end;
J. F. March 18th, 1799.
Travels in Upper and Lower Egypt, undertaken by
Order of the old Government of France, by C. S. Sonnini, Engineer in the French Navy, and Member of several Scientific and Literary Societies-ll!urated with Forty Engravings, consisting of Portraitsy Views, Plans, a Geographical Chart, Antiquities, Plants, Animals, &c. drawn on the Spot, uniler the Author's Inspection. Translated from the French by Henry Hunter, D. D. In Three Volumes. 11. 75.
Stockdale. TN all ages of the world EGYPT has been a country
1 distinguilhed for its celebrity; and the recent Expedition of Buonaparte has awakened our curiosity afresh respecting it. We long to become acquainted with a region of the earth where the greatest of French generals has unfurled his standard, and opposite to the shores of which the greatest of British admirals has obtained a most unparalleled victory.
This work, though tinctured with no small portion of Gallic vanity, yet conveys some very interesting information. It leads us into a particular knowledge of the customs and manners of the Egyptians, who are, certainly, a very singular people. Works of this kind are best estimated by extracts--sentiments and style Speak for theinfelves.
The famous city of ALEXANDRIA is thus described : it has been the scene of many a revolution both in ancient and modern times. Vol. VIII.
« The R .
“ The new city, or rather the town of Alexandria, is built, the greatest part of it at least, on the brink of the sea. Its houses, like all those of the Levant, have flat terrace roofs : they have no windows, and the apertures which supply their place are almost entirely obstructed by a wooden lattice proje&ting, of various form, and so close, that the light can hardly force a passage. In those countries, more than any where else, such, inventions, which transform a mansion into a prison, are real jalouses (jealousies, window-blinds). It is through this grate of iron or wood, sometimes of elegant construction, that beauty is permitted to see what is passing without, but eternally deprived of the privilege of being seen; it is in this state of hopeless seclusion thal, far from receiving the homage which nature demands to be paid to it by every being possessed of sensibility, it meets only contempt and outrage; it is there, in a word, that one part of the human race, abusing the odious right of the more powerful, retains in degrading servitude the other part, whose charms alone ought to have had the power to soften both the ruggedness of the soil and the ferocity of their tyrants.
“ Narrow and aukwardly disposed streets, are without pavement as without police ; no public edifice, no private build. ing arrest the eye of the traveller, and, on the supposition that the fragment of the old city had not attracted his attention, he would find no object in the present one that could supply matter for a moment's thought. Turks, Arabians, Barbaresques, Cophts, Christians of Syria, Jews, constituted a population which may be estimated at five thousand, as far as an eftimation can be made in a country where there is no register kept of any thing. Commerce attracts thither besides, from all the countries of the east, itrangers whose refidence is extremely transient. This motley assemblage of the men of different na. tions, jealous of, and almost always hostile to each other, would present to the eye of the observer a fingular mixture of customs, inanners and dress, if a resort of thieves and robbers could repay the trouble of observation.
“ You see them crowd on each other in the streets, running rather than walking; they likewise bawl rather than speak. 'I have frequently Atopped to consider some persons who had all the appearance of being agitated by violent rage: they gave to their voice all the intensity which a broad and brawny chest
could supply; their phyfiognomy wore all the traits of parfion; their eyes sparkled; violent gestures accompanied modes of expression which seemed more violent. I approached them under the apprehension that they were going instantly to cut each others throats, and was astonished to learn that they were only driving some petry bargain, that not a word was of a threatening complexion : that their exterior alone was in motion; that, in a word, all this vehemence was only their usual mode of buying and selling.
“ This custom of giving to the voice the most powerful infection of which it is capable, in speaking, is common to al-' must all the eastern nations, the Turks excepted, whose habits and deportment are more grave and composed. There is no perfon amongst us but who must have remarked that the Jews, that nation which has contrived to preserve its own character and usages, in the midst of other nations among whom they have been dispersed, likewise speak extremely loud, particularly to one another. If you except a few individuals of them, whose constraint, in an affected imitation of our manners, sufficiently evinces that they are not natural to them, you see them likewise, when they march through our ftreets, with the body stooping forward, and without bending the knee, taking short but brisk and hurried steps, which come nearer to running than the usual process of walking. They are found in Egypt, where they live in a state of abjection till greater than elsewhere, such as we know them to be, avari. cious, dexterous, infinuating, and low cheaters. Their depredations are not like those of the Bedouins and the other thieves of Egypt, neither committed with manly intrepidity, nor with open violence : they are, as in Europe, ingenious sharping tricks, officious over-reachings which fill their own purse, and, without making a noise, empty that of their neighbour. Such are the Jews wherever I have met with them; in all places their indelible vices of character appear, so long as they perlift in keeping within the line which they have drawn between themselves and other nations; it is likewise observable, that in all places they practise the fame methods, the same craft, the same knavery, the real plagues of social order; in a word, that fame insensibility, that fame ingratitude, with which they have recently repaid the generosity and magnanimity of the French nation.
6 Some Jewelles of Alexandria had, during my residence there, opened their houses for the reception of Europeans; they werc deticient neither in beauty nor wit; their society was by no means without its allurements, and if there was ground to accuse them of rather an immoderate appetite for filthy lucre, the distinctive characteristic of the male part of their nation, their imposition was at least more palatable, their decen tions let's provoking, and it was no difficult matter to forgive them.
" It is abundantly obvious of what excesses men are capable, who, in the mott ordinary transactions, display the symptoms of fury. When their soul is elevated, when it partakes of the impetuous movements of the body, they disdain all reftraint. Like an uverbearing torrent, which strikes terror at once by its noise, and by the ravages which it commits, they abandon themselves to all the vehemence of passion; then it is they really approximate to the savage animals which come to dií. pute with them the possession of the sands which they are equally eager and intelligent to stain with blood. Hence the insurrections, the tumultuous riors by which Europeans have often suffered fo severely. It is worthy of being remarked, that this irritable character, this proneness to fedition, likewise was, though with less rage, that of the ancient inhabitants of Alexandria.
“ If there be altars dedicated to the demon of revenge, in Egypt undoubtedly are the temples which contain them : there she is the goddess, or rather the tyrant of the human heart. Not only the generality of the men, whose combination constituted the mass of the inhabitants, never forgive, but, however signal the reparation made, they never rest satisfied till they have themselves dipped their hands in the blood of the person whom they have declared to be their enemy. Though they smother resentment long, and dissemble till they find a favourable opportunity to glut it, the effects are not the less terrible: they are not for that more conformable to the priaciples of reason. If a European, or, to use their term, a Franc, has provoked their animosity, they let it fall without discrimination on the head of a European, without troubling themfelves to enquire whether the party were the relation, the friend, or even the compatriot of the person from whom they received the offence : thus they purge their resentment of the