Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

Nile, Jerusalem, Damascus, Balbec, &c. By Robert Richard

son, M.D. 2 vols. 8vo. London. 1822. 5. Notice sur le Voyage de M. Lelorrain en Egypte; et Observa

tions sur le Zodiaque Circulaire de Denderah. Par M.

Saulnier, fils. Paris. 1822. 6. Notice sur le Zodiaque de Denderah. Par M. J. Saint

Martin, Membre de l'Institut, &c. Paris. 1822. 7. Nouvelles Considérations sur le Planisphère de Dendera, &c.

&c. Paris. 1822. 8. A Narrative of the Expedition to Dongola and Sennaar,

under the Command of His Excellence Ismael Pasha, undertaken by Order of His Highness Mehemmed Ali Pasha, Viceroy of Egypt. 8vo. By an American in the Service of

the Viceroy. London. 1822. IF. F the old Land of Egypt' be not thoroughly known, it is not from any want of travellers and travel-writers.

Here we have a batch composed of various nations—English, Scotch, Irish, French and American—all of them in quest of something new, and all eager to add to the stock of inforination already before the public. The first on the list is M. Cailliaud, a jeweller and silversmith of Nantz, who, desirous of seeing the world, and trying his fortune abroad, trusses up his little pack, sets sail for Cairo, and is engaged by the Pasha to find out all the gold and silver and precious stones hidden beneath the surface of his dominions. Judging from that portion of the work which appears to be his own, we should set him down as a plain, matter-of-fact man, from whom we may hereafter expect a simple, unadorned narrative of occurrences, and a description of those regions of Africa on the confines of Abyssinia, from which he has not yet returned.

The second is a Scotch Baronet, whom curiosity and a desire of knowledge led to visit Egypt and the two Thebaic Oases, to the latter of which he has contined his observations; illustrating his text with a few lithographic sketches. The interior or more remote of these Oases had never before been visited by any European.

The third is an English Baronet, whose chief object seems to have been amusement; who accordingly shoots wild-ducks in the lake of Menzaleh; intrigues with a native woman ; escapes by breaking a hole through the mud wall; clambers up the Second Pyramid at the hazard of his neck; is pitifully annoyed by dogs, and hard-trotting camels, and Jews, and Arabs; and finds fault with every thing, like a true Englishman, with an exception in favour of the stone giants of Ebsambul and the sable nymphs of Elephantine, whose fringe of leather strings girded round the lower waist had more charms, he says, in his eyes than the

ostrich

ostrich feathers and hoop-petticoats of St. James's. Though the work of Sir Frederick Henniker scarcely falls within the scope of our present Article, we have read it with pleasure, and freely confess that the perusal frequently relaxed our gravity; it is, in fact, an amusing little volume, and will find a place by the side of the Diary of an Invalid,' though here and there seasoned with a spice of the good natured growling of Mathew Bramble.

The next in succession is Doctor Richardson; who, as the title-page informs us, travelled in company with the Earl of Belmore along the Mediterranean, as family physician. As a writer of travels, he is neither so entertaining nor so instructive as might be wished, mistaking frequently cant and vulgar phrases for wit, and uncouth words for learning. That he has told the truth, we cannot for a moment doubt; but that he has told it, as he says,

• in as few words, and in as agreeable a manner as possible,' we can by no means concede to him. The long series of ruins and rubbish which strew the banks of the Nile from Alexandria to the Second Cataract-broken coluinns and broken pottery—temples, tombs and obelisks-sarcophagi and mummycases—hieroglyphics and mysteries which nobody understands, described in all the minutiæ of dull detail (through nearly fivé hundred desperate pages)—these are the agreeable' truths which the doctor professes to tell “in as few words as possible,' and which half-a-dozen good sketches would have told more agreeably and much better!

I'he little volume of M. Saulnier, fils, is a sort of lö Pæan to celebrate the successful sacrilege, committed under his auspices, on the zodiacal planisphere which formed a part of the ceiling of one of the chambers of the Temple of Denderah; and which was furtively broken down and carried away by a person in his employ of the name of Lelorrain. The other two volumes contain the speculation's of the French philosophers on the antiquity of this and other zodiacs found in the temples of Egypt.

The American in the service of the Viceroy'accompanied the expedition of Ismael Pasha in the character, as he tells us, of Top Bashi, or Chief of Artillery;' but, being attacked with ophthalınia at the Second Cataract, was left behind, and did not join the army till after the only battle that was fought, near Merawé; he proceeded with it, however, as far as Sennaar; where a second attack of his disease put a final stop to his progress, and obliged him to return with all speed to Cairo.*

Every

• This • American,' whose name, we understand, is English, is the person whoni Messrs. Waddington and Hanbury, in the account their recent travels, were led to stigmatize as a renegado, an infidel, a Jew, and we know not what. Finding his charac

ter

Every one knows, that with the army of Egypt, the French dispatched a little army of savans to celebrate and to settle that ancient and fertile country of the Ptolemies'; of the entire conquest of which they hade no doubt. These, it must be confessed, were active enough, each in his vocation; and when driven out of their promised Canaan by the British arms, displayed no less diligence in getting up a national trophy, in the shape of an enormous book, to perpetuate their own and their patron's renown, and which, for the number of square feet in the surface of one of its pages, has no parallel in the annals of book-making. To this common reservoir they not only contributed their own labours, but have since turned into the same channel those of every French traveller who may have collected information, however slight, in or about the land of the Pharaohs. It is a sort of monopoly, to which a Frenchman, so far from resisting, appears most willingly to submit; and consignis, without hesitation, whatever remarks he may have collected, to the managers of the

Grand Livre,' of whom M. Jomard ranks in the first class : by him the manuscripts are rédigés, and the charts and sketches dressés to correspond with the anterior labours of the savans; so that it is not always easy to separate the observations of the original writer from those of M. Jomard.

The travels of MM. Cailliaud and Drovetti, now before us, have undergone this operation, and, scanty as they are, have been

ter thus traduced, he took prompt measures, on 'coming to this country, to rescue it from the injustice with which, as it now appears, it had been assailed.

• On my arrival (he says) in London, I wrote to Mr. Waddington what he was pleased to call a "manly and temperate letter," informing bim of his error, representing to him the serious injury it might do me, and calling upon him for a justification or an apology. Mr. Waddington, in the manner best becoming an English gentleman, frankly gave me both, concluding with the following expressions." I feel the most sincere and profound sorrow for the unintentional injustice into which I have been betrayed by too lasty a belief of false information. For this I am as auxious to make you reparation, as I am incapable of doing any person a wilful injury. I will therefore cause the note in question to be erased in the following editions of my book; and in the remaining copies of the present, I will instantly insert a new page or sheet, if necessary; or should that be impossible, I will immediately destroy the whole impression.” It was impossible for me, after this, to retain any of the angry feelings excited by this affair, excepting towards the false tongue” that occasioned it, on which I cordially imprecate a plentiful portion of the "sharp arrows of the mighty and coals of juniper.". -pp. 60, 61.

Mr. Waddington is offended, we perceive, at the manner in which we noticed some part of his conduct to the natives, and the subsequent refusal of the young pasha to allow of bis further progress with the army. It is not our practice to speak hastily on those occasions; and we can'assure this gentleman that we had that in our hands at the time we wrote, which would have borne us out in the use of more decisive language. The fact, however, is that we liked Mr. Waddington, and were desirous of parting with hini on kindly terms: his frankness and invariable good humour amused us, and we took a real interest in his inquiries and researches. As to his mistakes, we said what truth and justice demanded, and no more.

so

so rédigés et dressés as to render them in their new shape fit companions to that elephantine work, the Description de l’Egypte;' a work which M. Jomard modestly assures us, 'has accustomed its readers to that scrupulous fidelity, to that precision and that delicacy of execution, without which, at the present day, no work of the kind could obtain their support! We have had occasion to notice the scrupulous fidelity' which charac+ terizes it; and. we shall presently exhibit a few more instances of its pretensions to extraordinary precision. In the mean time; we would just hint to M. Jomard that magnitude is not accuracy, and that in proportion as he increases the size of mere sketches, whether geographical or pictorial, he aggravates their defects.

M. Cailliaud's first attempt was to discover those emerald mines which tradition had uniformly placed at no great distance from the shores of the Red Sea--and from which the ancient possessors of Egypt are said to have drawn these precious gems. Furnished with soldiers, labourers, dromedaries, &c. he set out on his enterprize, passed the ruins of several Egyptian temples, at the stations, as he supposes them, of the caravans which pursued this route in the days of the Ptolemies, and at length reached the foot of Mount Zabarah, from which the most valuable stones are supposed to have been extracted. The distance of this mountain is about seven leagues from the nearest part of the coast of the Red Sea, and about forty-five to the southward of Coseir. Having passed the ruins of habitations, he came to certain open, ings in the rock, which he immediately recognized to be the passages into the mines. There is something marvellous in what follows—but we are in the country of marvels.

I was yet ignorant of what sort of mine this could be; I had only a glimpse of some veins of mica, talc and schist, that ran between masses of the granite which formed the body of this mountain. I immediately employed three Abâbdeh to dig into the entrance of one of these excavations. As I had just sat down upon some heaps, to repose myself from the fatigues that I had borne all this and the preceding days, I observed a piece of emerald of a dark green colour. What was my joy and my surprize! Forgetting all my fatigue, and impatient to enter this gallery, I encouraged the A bâbdeh, and set myself to work with them; we were soon able to enter the mine. I caused flambeaus to be lighted without delay, and, accompanied by my interpreter and an Abâbdeh, I descended, after a hundred steps, to a very oblique passage; the inclination, rendered too steep by the veins, made ihe way dangerous. The Abâbdeh, affrighted, returned by the way we had advanced; my interpreter, finding the passage too steep, hesitated and stopped; I descended, entirely alone, for three quarters of an hour, after which I found the way blocked up by enormous masses of mica, which were detached from the ceiling; I was alone to clear them

away

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

away
and
open

the passage; I had arrived at four hundred feet under the earth by many difficult and dangerous passages. This labour was more than I could bear; I was obliged to renounce it. As I was about to remount, dissatisfied at having made no discovery except the masses of mica, I perceived a hexaedral prism of emerald. I uncovered it with care, preserving it in its matrix. I continued to walk about for two hours in these narrow galleries, which alarmed my interpreter; the great distance that I was from him 'under the earth, hindered me from hearing his reiterated cries; he sent to seek for a rope, which he let down the mine, thinking it would drop near 'me' and assist me in climbing up; but none of my people dared to descend. My light was on the point of going out. After having rested myself for a moment, I recommenced my road to the top, which I clambered

up

with unavoidable pain. In the midst of the profound silence which reigned, the voice of my interpreter at last came to my ears; guided by his voice, I arrived at the spot where he was. His first question was, Have you many emeralds? I told him no, but in a manner to persuade him ihat I had filled my pockets with them, which was a greater punishment to him than any reproaches that I could have made.'--Cailliaud, p. 60.

After this, he says, he discovered above forty similar excavations, in one of which he descended through a narrow passage to eighty feet below the surface, where his further progress was arrested by 'a horrible precipice, down which he had nearly fallen. It commenced at the edge of an extensive platform, large enough to allow three hundred men to work together; bụt as none of his people would follow or assist him, he was under the necessity of abandoning his further researches in this quarter,

M. Cailliaud's account of the country, and particularly of mount Zabarah, agrees pretty exactly with the description given of the Jebbel Zumrud by Bruce, who tells us that he saw, in four days, more granite, porphyry, marble and jasper, than would build Rome, Athens, Corinth, Syracuse, Memphis, Alexandria, and half a dozen such cities. He also says that at the foot of the mountain he saw five pits or shafts, none of them four feet in diameter, out of which the ancients were supposed to draw their emeralds, but he did not venture to enter them, for fear of the bad air which they might be supposed to contain, Mr. Belzoni's account of these mines, and the supposed city inhabited by the miners, is slight and vague, and has few particulars in common with that of M. Cailliaud; he conceives' they were nothing more than stone quarries. Be this as it may, the pasha was so much satisfied with the report of the latter, that he sent him a second time, with his Laghum-dji-bachi, or master of the mint, sixty labourers, one hundred and twenty camels, and fifty Ababdeh Arabs to take care of them :--but the party having arrived at the spot, discovered, to their great alarm, that the

usual

[ocr errors]
« AnteriorContinuar »