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SJrhQiirer on M. Savary's Litters on Egypt.
These enormities take place at G'iWicavelica, Potosi, and the other considerable mines, to a greater degree than any other place. The cuitoiu there is to pay all the workmen, except those called Mitagoi, their week's earnings every Sunday's afternoon at four or live o'clock. At Guancavehca, these payments amount to about the sera of tin thousand pesos: Of this sum, sour thousand pesos art commonly expended before the next mornIts, in brandy and other spiritous liquors; of consequence, little work is done the subseqnent day. It is seldom, indeed, that they reserve any moBey for the expences of the remaining part of the week.
It is certainly desirable that seme neasure* could be taken to cheek the progress of this destructive habit. The decrease of population, which it mult inevitably produce,will soon be an clsen
tial loss to the kingdom. The unhappy persons addicted to it, are those by whom all the work ot the mines mutt be pei formed, all the business of pasturage, in a word, all the subordinate employments of life.
It is shocking to see the manner in which the Sunday is prophaned, ia Consequence of this propensity t« drunkenness. Instead of being a day devoted to peace and religious observances, it is the day, in which all the disorders that human passions can produce are seen in their utmost enor-. mity. But though we cannot forbear to lament, it is not easy to devise a remedy for this abuse. The love of spiritous liquors has become the ruling passion of all the Indian Nations, lit all treaties with them, rum or brandy arc the principal objects, without which no negotiation can succeed. They cull them the Milk of their ffiends.
A Letter t* the Authors of the Journal des Savans, concerning M. Savary't Letters on Egypt. By M. de S. ,
MR MICHAELIS, equally distinguished for extent os knowledge, and the genuine spirit of criticism, began, several years ago, to publiih in Germany, a Journal of Oriental
of M. Savary derive their importance chiefly from the use which the author appears to have made of the description of Egypt by Abulfeda; for he quotes that work frequently, and, in general,
learning, under the title of Qrientalifcke confirms the testimony of the Arabian
vr-dcxcgetifchc Biblicthek; in which he save an account of those works which were connected with the study of the •Old and NewTestamcnt in their original languages, and of those which serve 10 throw light on the history, the manners, the .writings, the languages, and, in a word, on the whole learning of •the East. The first volume of M. Salary's Letters on Egypt is announced «n the last Volume of this work published in the year 1786. The opinion of this .learned critic deserves to be generally known, as it is widely different from that of many writers Loth at home and abroad.
traveller. This is a circumstance, however, which makes the work of M. Savary particular!) interesting, to M. Michaelis; for it plainly appears, that the edition of Aboulfeda's description which M. Savary uses, is the i .me which M. Michaelis published at Gottingen in the year 1776, with* Latin version and notes J and altho*, for obvious reasons, M. Savary is silent on this article, yet he bas unawares, in one place, quoted the page in which his authority is to be found; this circumstance, therefore, joined to the comparison of the edition of MMichaelis with the passages quoted by
M. Michaelis observes, that the letters M. Savary, fully demonstrate that h ". VIL No 37. II 'confuted
Consulted this edition, and not the manuscripts, which he endeavours to make his readers believe he did.
M. Savary's first letter is dated from Alexandria the 14th of July 1777: M. Michaelisdeclarcs he cannot believe that M. Savary, being In Egypt at that time, could poflibly have procured a copy of his Aboulfeda, which Was published only ill the year 1776. He likewise adds, that if M. Savary had been in possession of this book at that time, he would have turned his'attention chiefly towafds the Delta, since he would have discovered in that cx« Cellent workj that preceding travellers had thrown least light on this part of Egypt, and, of consequence, the novelty of his observations would have added greatly to his reputation, of which at all times'heseems to be sufficiently careful.
From tills observation M. Michae* lis concludes that he made no use of Aboulfeda till his return to France, and that he collected the passages of this author to compare them with his own observations; that he did the fame with the Greek and Latin authors, whose writings seem to have directed the stejis of this traveller, and to have thrown light on his researches. He agrees with M. Savary that it is of great advantage to a traveller, to have an aciura-e and compleat knowledge of history, and geography: but he is of opinion, that these two lights ought to go before him to direct him in his inquiries; and that when he returns, he ought by no means to hold them up between himself and his reader, in such a manner that, dazzled by their splendor, no person can see the truth of the facts which he relates. M. Michaelis thinks that M. Savary has not been at sufficient pains to avoid this error. The first letter, fays he, is crouded with ancient history and geography. This is a cumbersome weight to the learned, who perhaps know a great deal more or at least more exactly, than the author hinÆlf.
It is equally disagreeable to the readef of less learning, who, in the relation! of voyages and travels, searches after what the author hath seen with his eyes, not the events of former times', mixed withidledeclamation, and trivial remarks.
Our critic fartherobserves.that when M. Savary speaks of an event posterior to the Christian xra, he differs a whole century from other writers on the fame subject. Thus, according to him, the city of Alexandria was taken by the Saracens in the year 651, Rosetta was built in 870; and the Turks conquered Egypt in the 15th century. M. Michaelis thinks the author ought to have given some' explanation of this singularity in a note, as the Germans are accustomed to treat those with very little respect who express themselves in this manner.
M. Michaelis contents himself with examining the use which this traveller makes of the Arabian writers, and especially of Aboulfeda. He is surprized at the facility with which be acquired the Arabian language, in so much, that he was taken for a native by the natives themselves. At tile fame time, the manner in which he expresses his quotations in French characters is altogether unlike the vulgar pronunciation of Arabic, and seems rather to havebeen acquired by a grammatical attention to the first principles of the language. At any rate, faysjhe, this method of giving the Arabic in French character serves no useful purpose; for in order to understand his quotations, I have been obliged to have recourse to the original. It gives the whole book an air of pedantry \ and is like the artifice of a quack, who would cure his patients by the learned and insignificant terms of his profession. * • "-*
But in what manner, continues he, has M. Savary made use of Aboulfeda? It is evidently my translation and my notes which he hath used, without informing.the reader that he took advantage ttntage Either of the one or the other, la this respect he is not much to blame; for books published in Geometry are so little known in France, that he might with great safety borrow from ao Aboulfeda printed at Gotting-n, and be in little danger of detection.
Stricluret on M. Savary's Letters on Egypt.
The famous pillar at Alexandria, which is generally known by the name ef" Porapey's pillar, is called, by Aboulfeda, Amoudalfaivari; which words M. Michaclis tran dated the Pillar of'Several. In his notes he supported this conjecture by several proofs ;and (hewed chiefly,by a passage in Sparticn, that Alexander Severus had granted many privileges to the city of Alexandria; which made it probable, as he thought, ■that the city had erected this pillar to the memory of that Emperor. Tlie conjecture, however, has been disputed by many learned men ; and, at this ■moment, it is problematical with M. Michaelis himself. He is a good deal surprised therefore to find, that M. Salary has expressed the fame conjecture with more boldness than he had •ventured to do, and that he has supported it by the same passage from Spartjen., This conformity would ap. pear to him extremely singular, if he had any reason to believe that M. SaTary had never seen his work, Men of abilities and learning, and even travellers, fays the latter, have made many ineffectual efforts to discover to whose memory this monument was ertcted. The wisest have been of opinion, that it could not be in honour of Pompey, since Strabo and Diodorus Siculus arc silent on this subject. It appears to me, that Aboulfeda would have extricated them from this difficulty. He calls it expressly the pillar if Srvertu; and history informs us, that this Emperor, &c. Here follows a pretty long extract from M. Michaelis's translation. M. Savary seems not only to have been ignorant of the objections made to this part of the translation aud the notes, but there is ano■« , H
ther circumstance of a singular kind. In translating the description of Fortat from Aboulfeda, M. Michaelis left a passage untranslated, and informed his readers, that he was notable sufficiently to comprehend it. M. Savary hath copied die same description, hath left out the same passage, but hath artfully omitted to inform his readers, that it was above his comprehension, by giving no hint that there was such a pal« sage in the original.
M. Michaelis is also os opinion that he hath taken the fame liberty with the works of other travellers ; which ought to lessen his credit, and make him be considered more as a compiler than an eye-witness of the facts. He even believes that he did not examine several of these productions till his return, which- ought farther to diminish the authority of his relation.
M. Michaelis quotes several observations of this author, which would appear to him worthy of attention, were not their force much weakened by the foregoing remarks. He also exposes several errors, which we shall pass over in silence.
He afterwards proceeds to an explanation of a passage in Aboulfeda, the whole merit of which belongs to M. Savary. I mention it the more willingly, fays he, because there is nothing in the translation of this passage which I wish to claim, and because I have an opportunity of pointing out M. Savary's manner when he thinks for himself. Aboulfeda relates, that in the place where Fortat was built, in the seventh century, there formerly stood an ancient castle, named Hafmlfckama. I used the word as a proper name, fays M. Michaelis ; and I observed in a note, that I could with no propriety seek for its signification in the Arabian language, as M. Reiske had done, because it was given to this castle before the Arabians had entered Egypt. , M- Savary must have read this reflection, but he either has not been convinced that die name, on this 2 account,
account, tJruft be derived from the Greek or Coptic languages, or he was not able to resist rfis inclination for e'stabb'filing facts on mere etymology. He explains the word Scbamn by the Arabian language, and translates this proper name the Caflle as Lights. It Vas there, fays he, that Cambyses, when he conquered Egypt, Luilt Babylon, the situation of whkh has been the subject of so much controversy among geographers. This then, Sir, \these are his own words) is the fortress Babylon, which has been an object of inquiry, and of error, to a great number of learned men. The Persians, worshippers of the Sun, kept a perpetual sire in this place, and therefore die Aiabians named this fortress the Cattie of Ligrts. M. Michaelis does not deny that Eabylon stood here, but to admit this application of the word Schama, it is necessary, first, to suppose, that it signified, at that time, •wax topers ; and again, that these were used by the Persians in preserving this -perpetual sire: both of which suppositions are improbable and extravagant. Cambyses entered Egypt 523 years before (he Christian aera ; and the Arabia ns, Vccoroing to M. Savary, penetrated into the fame country 640 years after it. Tims the temple built by ■Cambyses continued 1160 years, although no ancient writer, not even Strabo, takes the least notice of it; and thus there existed, at that period, a temple of the worshippers of fire, -called, on that account, trie Temple of Lights, which had subsisted under the 'Grecian King;, and continued to subsist under the Christian. M. Savary, it is true, mentions a passage of Stra-bo; but this author sj>eaks not of a temple, but of a fortress, called Babyion. He does not fay that it was built by the Persians and Cambyses, but by some fugitive Babylonians, to whom •the Kings of Egypt had granted an asylum. M. Savary does not content himself with this discovery. He blames M. Niebuhr far mistaking this for an
Arabian citadel, which he ttmselflm discovered to be a temple os sire, built 2300 years ago by Cambyses. M. Mi"chaclis concludes this part of bis observations, by asking, Whether a book that contains such mistakes deserves' to b: read or criticised?
He proceeds to expose another error of the author of the Letters oh Egypt, to (hew the confidence whith ought to be placed in him, when he quotes Arabian writers, or pretends to give something new to the learned world. Elmacin, says M. Michaelis, has the honour very frequently to be quoted by M. Savary, but it is because the Arabian is accompanied with a Latin translation. He endeavours, from the testimony of this author, to prove that Rosetta was built in the eighth century. Sicard, Pocock, Niebuhr, and other writers, fays he, have not been able to inform us when this city was begun to be built; although Elmacin, (p. 153.) hath expressly said, that it was built under the direction of the Caliph. Mutawakkil, from the time of the patriarch Coimas, to the year -870. M. Michaelis observes, on the centrary, that Elmacin informs us, that at this time Rosetta, and many othcr towns, were surrounded with walls, but leaves us altogether in the dark whether it was built then, or many ages before. It is difficult indeed to conceive how Mutawakkil, who died in the year 861, could build or fortify a city in the year 870. M. Savary was not able to solve this difficulty, because he could not calculate the years of the_hegira, and was unacquainted with the books which would have furnished him with the calculation. The only method he takes is to add the years of the hegirato 622 without reducing the lunar into solar years.
There, fays the Get man critic, in finishing his remarks, theie is the man who has been so much extolled in our news-papers, which indeed arc but e* chocs to those of France, and whose project of a journey into Asia has been represented represented as full of great hopes, and worthy of the attention of the learned. Before I conclude, I (hall mention one ofM.Savary's errors which has escaped M. Michatlis. The French traveller, wilhing to give an idea of the inhabitants in Alexandria, when the Arabians entered Egypt, makes Elmacin fay, that there were 12,000 fellers of frelh oil in that «ity. The singularity of this expression made me have recourse to Elmacin, and I found, that in this place he neither speaks of fresh oil, nor of those who sold it, but of those who sold pot-herbs and roots, the word bakkal having this signification. I was naturally led to inquire into the reason of this singular mistake, and in consult
The Vicar's Tale.
ing the Latin version of Erpinius, I found the words OiUores veudeiith olus viride, which have the fame signification with the Arabic. From this circumstance I discovered, first, that M. Savary had not consulted the Arabian text; and it is difficult to assign a reason for his not doing so. Secondly, that he had not even taken the trouble of looking into a Latin dictionaryHe would there have found, that the word olitor does not signify an oil-merchant; and that oil is called, in Latin, oleum, and not o/us.
Several other instances might be given of similar mistakes in his work, but I shall content myself with those already noticed..
The Jl;ort andJiwple Annals of the Poor.
A Tale. From the Olia Podrida.
BEING on a tour to the North, I was one evening arrested in my progress st the entrance of a small hamfct, by breaking the fore-wheel of my phxton. This accident rendering it impracticable for me to proceed to the next town, from which I was now sixteen miles distant, 1 directed my steps to a small cottage, at the door of which, in a woodbine arbor, set a man ot about sixty, who was solacing himself with a pipe. In the front of his house was affixed a small board, which I conceived to contain an intimation, that travellers might there be accommodated. Addressing myself therefore to the old man, I requested hit assistance, which he readily granted; but on my mentioning an intention of remaining at his house all night, he regretted that it was not in his power to receive me, and the more so, as there was no inn in the village.—It was not till now Jikat I discovered my error concerning I he board over the dnor, which contained a 'notification, thatj there was taught that useful art, of which, if we credit Mrs Baddclcy's Memoirs, a certain noble Lord was so grossly ignorant. In short, my friend proved to be the schoolmaster, and probably the secretary to the hamlet. Affairs were in this situation when the Vicar made his appearance. He was one of the most venerable figures I had ever "-fttu i his time-silvered locks shaded his
temples, whilst the lines of misfortune were, alas! but too visible in his counter nance. Time had softened, but could not efface them.—On feeing my broken equipage, he addressed me; and when he began to speak, his countenance was illumined by a smile.—' I presume, Sir,
• said he, that the accident you have just 'experienced, will render it impossible
• for you to proceed. Should that be the
• rase, you will be much distressed for
• lodgings, the place affording no accom
• modations for travellers, as my parish 'ioners are neither twilling nor able to 'support an alehouse j and as we have 'few travellers, we have little need of 'one; but if you will accept the best ac
• commodafcion my cottage affords, it is 'much at your service.'—After expressing the sense I entertained of his goodnest, I joyfully accepted so desirable an offer. As we entered the hamlet, the sun was gilding with his departing beams the village spire, whilst a gentle breeze refreshed the weary hinds, who, seated beneath the venerable oaks that overshadowed their cottages, were reposing themselves after the labours of the day, and listening attentively to the tale of an old soldier, who, like myself, had wandered thus far, and was now distressed for a lodging. He had been in several actions, in one of which he had lost a leg: and was now, like many other brave fellows,