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INCIDENTS OF TRAVEL IN EGYPT, Arabia PETREA, AND THE HOLY LAND. BY AN AME
RICAN. Second Edition, with Additions. New-York: HARPER AND BROTHERS.
We have already noticed this work at large in these pages, accompanying our remarks with copious extracts. We have nothing to add to the praise which we bestowed upon the first edition of the book, save in regard to the additions which are here presented, and which are characterized by similar interest of topic, and freshness and originality of style, which the public have already so much admired. We are struck, in the added portions, with the many additional corroborations of the truth of Scripture history which they contain. The writer follows in the very footsteps of the Saviour. At Jacob's well, where Jesus talked with the Samaritan woman, our traveller would fain sit down. 'I could feel,' says he,' and realize the whole scene. I could see our Saviour coming out from Judea, and travelling along this valley; I could see him, wearied with his journey, sitting down on this well to rest, and the Samaritan women, as I saw them at every town in the Holy Land, coming out for water. I could imagine his looking up to Mount Gerizim, and predicting the ruin of the temple, and telling her that the hour was coming when neither on that mountain nor yet in Jerusalem would she worship the God of her fathers. A large column lay across the top of the well, and the mouth was filled up with huge stones. I could see the water through the crevices; but, even with the assistance of Paul and the Arabs, found it impossible to remove them. I plucked a wild-flower growing in the mouth of the well, and passed on.' As he approached Sychar, the ancient Shechem, he saw a shepherd sitting on the bank of a beautiful stream, playing a reed pipe, with his flock feeding quietly around him; and outside the gate of the town, he beheld niore than a dozen lepers, 'their faces shining, pimpled, and bloated, covered with sores and pustules, their nostrils open and filled with ulcers, and their red eyes fixed and staring. With swollen feet they dragged their disgusting bodies toward me, and with hoarse voices extended their deformed and hideous hands for charity.' He 'must needs go through Samaria,' also, where he learns, from an old Samaritan, that as cordial a hatred exists now as of old, between the Jews and Samaritans, they having no intercourse, save in the dealings of the market-place. “I asked him,' says our author, ' about Jacob's well; he said he knew the place, and that he knew our Saviour, or Jesus Christ, as he familiarly called him, very well; he was Joseph the carpenter's son, of Nazare:h; but that the story which the Christians had about the woman at the well was all a fiction; that Christ did not convert her; but that, on the contrary, she laughed at him, and even refused to give him water to drink.'
At the ancient Samaria, whose destruction was foretold by the prophet Amos, and amid the ruins of the palace of Herod, our traveller thus ruminates: 'And Herod has gone, and Herodias, Herod's brother's wife, has gone, and 'the lords, and the high captains, and the chief estates of Galilee' are gone; but the ruins of the palace in which they feasted are still here; the mountains and valleys which beheld their revels are here; and -oh, what a comment upon the vanity of worldly greatness ! - a fellah was turning his plough around one of the columns. I was sitting on a broken capital under a fig-tree by its side, and I asked him what were the ruins that we saw; and while his oxen were quietly cropping the grass that grew among the fragments of the marble floor, he told me that they were the ruins of the palace of a king - he believed, of the Christians; and while pilgrims from every quarter of the world turn aside from their path to do homage in the prison of his beheaded victim, the Arab who was driving his plough among the columns of his palace, knew not the name of the haughty Herod.' At the Lake of Genesareth, he exclaims: Christ walked upon that sea, and stilled the raging of its waters, and preached the tidings of salvation to the cities on its banks. But where are those cities now? Chorazin and Bethsaida, and thou too, Capernaum, that wast exalted unto heaven! The whole lake is spread out before me, almost from where the Jordan enters, unto where that hallowed stream passes on to discharge its waters in the bituminous lake which covers the guilty cities; but there is no city, no habitation of man; all is still and quiet as the grave;' save the miserable relic of the ancient Tiberias, standing on the very shore of the sea, a mere speck in the distance. Tyre, also, is thus described :
“On the extreme end of a long, low, sandy isthmus, which seems to have crawled out as far as it could, stands the fallen city of Tyre, seeming, at a distance, to rest on the bosom of the sea. A Turkish soldier was stationed at the gate. I entered under an arch, so low that it was necessary to stoop on the back of my horse, and passed through' dark and narrow streets, sheltered by mats stretched over ihe bazaars from the scorching heat of a Syrian sun. A single fishing-boat was lying in the harbor of the crowning city, whose merchants were princes, whose traffickers were the honorable of the earth.
“I left the gate of Tyre between as honest a man and as great a rogue as the sun ever shone upon. The honest man was my old Arab, whom I kept with me in spite of his bad donkey; and the rogue was a limping, sure-eyed Arab, in an old and ragged suit of regimentals, whom I hired for two days to relieve the old man in whipping the donkeys. He was a dismissed soldier, turned out of Ibrahim Pacha's army as of no use whatever, than which there could not be a stronger certificate of worthlessness. He told me, however, that he had once been a man of property, and, like honest Dog. berry, had had his losses; he had been worth sixty piastres, (nearly three dollars) with which he had come to live in the city, and been induced to embark in enterprises that had turned out unfortunately, and he had lost his all."
The reader will admire with us the quiet, oblique humor with which Mr. Stephens records many of the minor incidents of his journeyings. He learns, on rising in the morning, at Tiberias, that an European has arrived during the night. He hunts him up, and finds him to be a sporting English traveller, as 'indifferent' as SANDS' 'Mr. Green,' equipped with shooting-jacket, gun, dog, etc., - a regular old stager, 'who did not travel for scenery, associations, and all that, but who could tell every place where he had bagged a bird, from Damascus to the Sea of Galilee !' Again, and cordially, do we commend these volumes to our readers.
THE WORKS OF CHARLES LAMB. To which are prefixed his Letters, and a Sketch of
his Life. By Thomas Noon TALFOURD, one of his Executors. In two volumes. pp. 935. New-York : HARPER AND BROTHERS.
Right pleased are we, in common, we doubt not, with the reading public at large in this country, to find the presses of the above-named eminent publishers groaning again under the burthen of 'good works.' Long may they live to print, and — so that their judgment and taste be as well exercised in the future as in the past — long may we live to read! The BROTHERS HARPER have been national benefactors; and, having sustained 'the pressure' with unfaltering credit, they may look forward into time, and see their names graven upon a thousand monuments of human intellect. Next to present success, we trust they regard this posthumous renown with becoming reverence and affection.
On looking over these volumes, we find them far more complete than we had anticipated. The Memoirs and Correspondence,' reviewed in our last number, do not fill even the first volume; and to these are added all the productions of 'Elia,' with many other essays, published letters, under assumed signatures, poems, sonnets, blank verse, album verses, dramatic efforts, etc., the whole forming a complete collection of the author's works, in a convenient form, and beautiful dress. Having already gone largely into the merits of the work, and presented copious extracts, we shall content ourselves with a few brief and desultory selections from the poetical department of the first volume.
From 'Lines Composed at Midnight,' we take the subjoined thrilling and graphic picture of one dying with consumption:
• Those are the moanings of the dying man,
On his tedious bed
We are sorely tempted to transcribe' Angel-Help,' stanzas suggested by a drawing, in which is represented the legend of a poor female saint, who, having spun until past midnight, to maintain a bed-ridden mother, has fallen asleep from fatigue, and angels are finishing her work. But we pass to the annexed fragment, descriptive of a curse visited by a witch-beldame upon the child of a venerable baronet, who has repulsed her from his gate, while she is asking alms :
Some two months after,
And sure I think
'The Housekeeper,' one of those choice embellishments of common objects, for which Lamb was so remarkable, must close our extracts for the present :
• The frugal snail, with forecaste of repose,
A fine and spirited engraving of 'Elia,' delving (by candle-light, as was ever his wont,) at the mines of the 'elder spirits of English literature, from the burin of Dick, gives additional attractions to these very handsome volumes.
MR. Buckingham's LECTURES. Most of our readers are aware of the recent arrival in this country of the Hon. Mr. Buckingham, late member of the British Parliament, and well known throughout Christendom as a distinguished oriental traveller, not less than for his untiring and successful efforts in relation to the East India monopoly. But for the general circulation of Mr. BUCKINGHAM's ' Address to the People of the United States,' we should avail ourselves of the very interesting narrative therein recorded, together with an ‘ Explanatory Report of the plan and object of his Lectures,' with which we have been favored, to present a sketch of his life, travels, and writings. Leaving this object, however, for future consideration, we pass to a brief and inadequate notice of the matter and manner of Mr. BUCKINGHAM's public efforts. His lectures on Egypt embrace detailed descriptions of its geography, climate, and productions; ancient cities of Lower Egypt; splendid monuments of Upper Egypt; its chief towns and population ; its religion, manners, government, and trade. In the lectures on Palestine, the same objects were treated of, including a description of the ancient cities beyond and on this side Jordan, with all the chief towns of Modern Syria and Palestine. As may be inferred, this wide range of illustration, in the hands of Mr. BuckINGHAM, was made interesting in no ordinary degree. Books of travel, in these countries, after all, appeal more to the imagination, in their sketches, than to immediate comprehension and understanding. It is not so with oral discourse. The speaker narrates what he saw, and part of which he was;' he expatiates with spirit and energy, his mind playing out its variations, or relevant episodes, unfettered, and inducing a delightful sensation of freshness and reality. Both as a writer and speaker, Mr. BUCKINGHAM evinces the possession of good natural and acquired parts. The important facts which he presents, are reflected by lucid images, and expressed with clearness and propriety of diction ; while the copionsness of his varied information serves to expound the events or narratives of Scripture history, so as to leave no room for doubt or cavil, in the mind even of an infidel or skeptic. The audiences of the lecturer are overflowing; indeed, he seems to have taken that 'many-headed beast the town' completely by the horns; and we cannot doubt that a room as large as Masonic Hall would as soon overflow with hearers, as the hall of the 'Stuyvesant Institute,' or the chapel of the University. We are glad to perceive that he enters immediately upon his courses on Egypt and Palestine, at the Chatham-street Chapel, where there will be 'ample room and verge enough.' It is proper to add, that after traversing the length and breadth of America, it is Mr. BUCKINGHAM's intention to visit the Isthmus of Darien, for the purpose of investigating this barrier between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans; to make an excursion through Mexico; and from thence pass onward by the South Sea Islands to China; visit the Phillippines and the Moluccas; go onward to Australia and Van Dieman's Land; continue fro thence through the Indian Archipelago, by Borneo, Java, Sumatra, and Malacca, to India ; traverse the Peninsula of Hindostan, from the Ganges to the Indus, and return to Europe by the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.' Judging from the indefatigable energy and enterprise of our traveller hitherto, there is little reason to doubt that these designs will all ultimately be accomplished.
The Past — THE PRESENT — AND THE FUTURE. — We marvel what the ancient editor of the Boston CENTINEL, (who erewhile chuckled so fcrvently over the fresh news, brought in seven days from Philadelpbia,) would say, could he come back among the 'young folk' of the present era, and peruse a Report, now lying before us, of the Utica and Oswego Rail-road Company. What would he think, of arriving at New Orleans within eight days after leaving New-York; taking in the mean time his accustomed sleep, and by pleasantly-alternating modes of travel, journeying through every variety of scenery! Yet this is to be accomplished, when that important link in the great chain of rail-way and steam-boat communication from the Atlantic to the lakes, and to the states and territories west- - the Oswego and Utica Rail-road — shall have been completed, in connexion with the rail-way across the Canada peninsula, from the head of Lake Ontario, and the two lines of road across Michigan, the one from Detroit by the valley of the St. Josephs, and the other from Huron by Grand River, toward Milwaukie; all of which are now in progress, or under survey. And when the Oswego and Utica road is finished – and Nature seems to have anticipated its construction, and graded its path to the hands of its projectors -- how will our citizens converse, through the 'air-pipes of this mighty whispering-gallery,' with the good people of New-Orleans, and the vast intervening inland, 'stretched beyond the sight! How will the lakes and prairies of the west be brought a-nigh, and the roar of the Great Cataract become a familiar sound in our ears! The far-reaching west will pour its rich stores into the lap of the Empire City, as well as the wide, fertile, and populous region of the Upper Canadian country, bordering upon the western part of the St. Lawrence, and the great lakes. Again we cast our eyes onward to the future, with new longings to stand upon an exceeding high mountain, and to be gifted with uninterrupted vision, to look around and afar off, and see the distant brought near, and our magnificent domain on every hand threaded and seamed, under the 'iron-rule' of rail-road enterprise! Oh for the respectable longevity of Methusaleh, were it only to behold the future glory of our own, our native land!
'SLAVERY IN THE UNITED STATES.' – 'HOWARD,' (whose hand-writing is a deplorable scratch,) is informed that his communication is enclosed to his address, and left at the desk of the publication-office. In the mean time, we take the liberty of assuring him, that so far as we are able to form an opinion, from incidental comment, in an extensive private correspondence, and from the free converse of social intercourse, the article whose title heads this notice, published in the October number, has been received with decided approbation by all candid, reflecting minds; and if 'Howard' will peruse the late work of Mrs. GILMAN, of South Carolina, he will find the sentiments and statements which he condemns and disbelieves, fully sustained by one wbo has drawn, as did our contributor, from scenes of real life at the South, with a faithful pencil. Our demurring philanthropist is as hot as an old radish, and seems to burn with
• Thoughts too deep to be expressed,
And too strong to be suppressed.' He intimates, that not to be warm in such a cause as he has espoused, is to be frozen. Now we are quite unable to see an adequate cause for all this pudder. Has he ever resided at the South? We dare say, nay. Does he know that to be true, which he would insinuate as truth to our readers ? Questionless, no — or his proofs would be forthcoming. This Magazine is not intended to be the medium of political, religious, or social wrangling; nor would it be fulfilling the purposes to which it is devoted, should the Editors permit 'Howard' to irritate a 'gangrene and running sore in the public mind,' by his intemperate crudity. We are not disposed to allow any amateur philanthropist to emulate, in our pages, the example of an experimental philosopher, of whom we have somewhere read, who was anxious to wager three-pence with any one of a large circle of by-standers, that he could perforate a keg of gunpowder, standing near him, with a red-hot iron, without endangering the contents, or the lives of the lookers-on! VOL. XI.