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their eyes open, to all the inconveniencies and hardships of painful and perilous journies, to the effects of bad climates and pestilential diseases, not merely out of idle curiosity, but for the sake of seeing with their own eyes, hearing with their own ears, and of obtaining that information and receiving those impressions which books alone can never give, we ought to be proud of this national trait, peculiarly characteristic, we believe, of British youth ; and so far from visiting their literary omissions with critical severity, we should consider their cominunications as entitled to every indulgence. On the present occasion we have nothing to find fault with but the omissions. We could have wished to know something more of the ancient country of the Ethiopians, in which Mr. Legh has gone beyond any former traveller, (that is to say, along the banks of the Nile,) except two, whom we shall have occasion to mention hereafter, and whose labours are not yet before the public.
The plague, which, in 1812, raged at Constantinople and throughout Asia Minor, compelled our author, and his fellow traveller the Rev. Mr. Smelt, to abandon their original plan of travelling by Smyrna to the capital of the Eastern empire, and to turn their faces towards Egypt. For though the communication between Constantinople and Alexandria had been uninterrupted, the latter remained perfectly free from the contagion; and so inexplicable and capricious is the way in which this most dreadful of all diseases spreads from country to country, that a Greek, who acted as British consul at Scio, observed to our travellers he had no fear of its infection being communicated from Smyrna, where nunbers were daily dying, and from whence persons were daily arriving at the island, though within a few hours sail; but he added, "should the plague declare itself at Alexandria, distant some hundred miles, we shall certainly have it at Scio.' It did reach Alexandria while they were in Upper Egypt and carried off one half of its inhabitants, who, before this dreadful visitation, had dwindled down to about 12,000 souls. New Alexandria,' says Norden, may justly be looked on as a poor orphan who has no other inheritance but the respectable name of its father.' Most travellers agree in the melancholy feelings excited by the present forlorn and neglected state of this once magnificent city; which abounded in temples, palaces, baths and theatres; and which reckoned 300,000 freemen among its population at the time when it fell under the dominion of the Romans. The inhabited part is confined to the narrow neck of land which joins the Pharos to the continent; the circuit of nearly five miles, inclosed by the wall of a hundred towers built by the Saracens in the thirteenth century, ' is now, for the most part, a deserted space,
covered with heaps of rubbish and strewed over with the fragments of ancient buildings. Even its venerable ruins are fast disappearing,—the Turks having so little feeling for ancient works of art, that they dig up the most beautiful columns to saw into mill-stones, and build their bases and capitals into the walls of their ill-constructed houses. Pompey's Pillar and the Obelisk of Cleopatra owe their preservation solely to their bulk.
By Colonel Missett, the British resident at Alexandria, our travellers were furnished with letters to Cairo, and among others, with one to an intelligent traveller, to whom they were afterwards indebted for great assistance and much valuable information. This person, who was known in Egypt by the name of Shekh Ibrahim, but whose real name is Burchardt, is still on his travels under the auspices of the African Association;—not Society, as Mr. Legh has it, nor yet Institution ;-he has transmitted home, we understand, some very curious and important information respecting the Nubians and various tribes of Arabs. At that time he had just effected his escape from the Bedouins, in Syria, by whom he had been robbed of all his effects and detained for six months in close captivity,
The population of Egypt is a mixture of Copts, Jews, Arabs and Turks—the first supposed to be the descendants of the ancient Egyptians; the second the same here as they are found to be over the whole world; the third, who form the great mass of the population, consist of the Pastoral—the Bedouin, the independent restless, warlike freebooter of the desert-and the Fellah, or cultivator of the soil, the most civilized and patient, but at the same time the most corrupt and degraded of his countrymen--and the Turks and Albanians who lord it over all the others, being distributed through the country to garrison the different towns, and to levy the miri or contributions, which they do with every circumstance of cruelty and oppression.',
The condition of the peasantry, which is as miserable as can well be imagined, seems to have undergone no change for the better since the days of Sesostris, Psammeticus or Cheops. Whether under the yoke of the Persians, the Greeks, Romans, Arabians, Turks or French, this unfortunate country, as Niebuhr justly observes, has enjoyed no interval of tranquillity and freedom, but has constantly been oppressed and pillaged by the lieutenants of a distant lord; the sole object of both being that of extorting as large a revenue as possible from the hard hands of the peasants.
• Even now,' says this judicious writer,' the population is decreasing; and the peasant, although in a fertile country, miserably poor; for the exactions of government and its officers leave him nothing to lay out in the improvement and culture of his lands, while the cities are falling A 2
into ruin, because the same unhappy restraints render it impossible for the citizens to engage in any lucrative industry.'
Of this mixed population it is hard to say whether the Arabs, the Copts or the Turks are the most simple, the most ignorant and the most superstitious. Mr. Legh seems to think the Copts, (who are Christians of the sect of Eutyches,) 'a clever and intriguing race;' they are employed, he says, by the government in keeping the registers of land and tribute ;' he admits, however, that, in acquiring these posts, they have to dispute them with the Jews. Ancient Coptic books are said to be found still in Upper Egypt, but no Copt understands them; and the Rosetta stone, we suspect, is still little less mysterious than it was on the day of its arrival in England. The simplicity of the peasants, whether Copts or Arabs, is not the worst trait in their character. Niebuhr says, that, while he was surveying in the Delta, he let a peasant look through the levelling telescope, which inverted the object; the man, on observing the village turned upside down, stared at the traveller with great astonishment; but on being told that, by the order of the Pashaw,* he was about to destroy it, the poor fellow entreated he would give him time to remove his wife and his cow, and set off on full speed for that purpose—and this poor man, we doubt not, was quite as well skilled as his neighbours in all the learning of the Egyptians.
The mud villages and the pigeon houses interspersed with palms, the gardens of orange and banana trees which abound in the Delta and along each bank of the Nile, added to the richness of the soil, which produces the finest crops of grain almost without the labour of culture, afford a pleasing prospect to the eye, while the miserable appearance of the peasantry strongly evinces how completely the bounty of nature may be counteracted by a bad government.
The citadel of Cairo, which stands under the Mokattam heights or termination of the chain of mountains which accompanies the Nile through Upper Egypt, and which the French fortified, is the residence of the Pashaw, who received our travellers in the most friendly manner, with many flattering expressions of esteem for their country, and what was of more use to them, with a promise of protection and assistance in the prosecution of their travels to the southward. This he was enabled to do, as Egypt was now, by his vigorous administration, in a state of greater tranquillity than it had known for many years, while the Turks and Mamelukes held a sort of divided empire. It cannot be denied that the latter expe
* We heartily wish that Mr. Legh and other English travellers would not sanction us in the improper mode of spelling this word; Pacha in French orthography is right, in Euglish it would be Paka, which cannot be right.
rieuced rienced a severe and unmerited fate, to which England was an unwilling and unconscious accessary; but it was necessary for the peace of the country that one of the parties should abandon it—that lot, after a perfidious massacre on the part of the Turks, fell to the Mamelukes, who retired into Upper Egypt. Shortly, however, after the English had evacuated the country, the Albanian troops mutinied, and calling the exiles to their assistance, succeeded in deposing Mahomed Pashaw; but the Mamelukes soon threw aside the mask of friendship and became the masters of the Albanians, who, on their part, used every effort to get rid of their treacherous allies, and, after a severe struggle, drove them back, a second time, into Upper Egypt: they then elected Mahomed Ali, the present pashaw, their chief, who has proved himself a man of extraordinary talents and enterprize, though taken from the humble station of captain of a pirate boat in the Archipelago. He has since not only secured the tranquillity of his own dominions from the formidable incursions of the Wahabees, but dispossessed them of Mecca and restored it with Medina to the Ottoman Porte.
Ali had also succeeded in driving the Mamelukes from Ibrîm where they made their last stand; and compelled them to retreat to Dongola. This part of Nubia is particularly famous for its breed of horses, one of which is said to be valued, on the spot, at eight, ten, and even a dozen slaves ; and at Cairo, in the time of the Mamelukes, a good Dongolese horse would fetch the value of a thousand pounds sterling. Here the remaining Mamelukes, to the number of about five hundred, have taken their station; and, laying aside their old habits of external magnificence, addicted themselves to agriculture, and to the breeding of cattle; it is also reported, that they have a few trading vessels on the Nile. They have found it necessary, however, to arm about four or five thousand negro-slaves, and to surround their city with a wall, against the incursions of the Arabs from the west, and a nation of blacks from the east. The city or town of Dongola is said to be larger than any in Upper Egypt, and to be built on both sides of the Nile. At their head is Osman Bey Bardissi; and our travellers learned at Dehr, that he had made a vow never to shave his head or his beard, till he should re-enter Cairo in triumph.
The police of Cairo is stated to be highly creditable to the vigour of Mahomed Ali's government, and the disorders usual among Turkish troops are so far repressed, as nearly to verify a promise which he made on his appointment to the pashalic, that in a few years' you should be able to walk about the streets with both hands full of gold. Every street in Cairo has a gate at each end, which is shut at eight o'clock, and every person is required to carry a light after it is dark,—a regulation very common in eastern cities,
and one which might be adopted with advantage in some cities of Europe.
The extent, the population, and the magnificence of Cairo, have been described by many travellers in the most pompous and exaggerated terms. It is still called, in the figurative language of the east, Misr, without an equal; Misr, the mother of the world! The chalige, or canal, Mr. Legh says, which pierces the city in a direction nearly from north to south, is the general receptacle of filth; but when opened on the overflow of the Nile, it is changed at once into a canal covered with boats, ' offering an imperfect resemblance to the gondolas and gaiety of Venice. The descriptions of it, he says, have been ridiculously magnified; it is not more than twenty feet broad; and the term ditch would not convey an incorrect idea of its appearance: in this Mr. Legh is supported by Niebuhr and Norden. The bazaars were more entitled to attention, being superior in splendour to any that our travellers had met with in Turkey. Of the Slave-market we shall allow Mr. Legh to speak for himself.
• We visited also the Slave-market, where, to say nothing of the moral reflections 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 Smithfield-market, and the abominable stench and uncleanliness, which were the consequence of such confinement, may be more readily imagined than described.'-(p. 21.)
Cairo is the chief mart of the slaves who are brought from Abyssinia, Sennaar, Darfur, and other parts of Soudan. This horrid traffic is carried on by a set of fellows called Jelabs, or slave-merchants, who, in the course of the long journey, seize upon those periods of distress arising from a scarcity of water or provisions, to perform the operation of emasculation on the male slaves; who, immediately after the process, are buried in the sand to a certain depth to stop the hemorrhage; -for the rest we must quote Mr. Legh. • The calculation
that one out of three only survive 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. Their method of travelling was to sling a dozen of the negroes across the back of a camel.
* With respect to the value of these slaves in Egypt, it is various, according to their age, sex, and other qualities. • An eunuch was estimated at 1500 piastres.
Girls, whose virginity was secured by means more powerful than moral restraint, were valued at 500 piastres : but such is the state of