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thing was done by a person whose philosophical qualifications our adept would despise.
But next the stronger cases: the statement is, that, immediately on being called for, there were presented the images of persons, unknown to the Magus, far absent, or dead, in conspicuous portraiture, with various and very particular marks of correspondence to what was known of those persons by the challengers of his mysterious faculty. Now put it to any rational man, who has not attained the wisdom of an a priori rejection of the supernatural, whether he can believe that such an effect was within the competence of some curious art, or some resource of science, in the possession of the unschooled Mahomedan ; or within the competence of any art or science in the possession of any man in the world. If the professor of science shall think so, he will do well to go and seek the Egyptian, acknowledge his superiority to all the learned world, and solicit to be admitted into the inner recesses of the temple of knowledge.
We are well enough aware that we are exposing ourselves to ridicule by these observations. But what signifies the ridicule of men whose pride turns exactly on their ignorance; who deride the idea of any preternatural intervention when their utmost faculty cannot reach to apprehend the very possibility of effects which are placed before them as facts? It would be amusing to see the shifts to be resorted to in this total ignorance on the one hand, to authorize a confident affirmation of certainty on the other. Of course any thing rather than admit the occasional activity on earth of any other actors than man and what is called nature.
In a kind of summary estimate of the Egyptian character, the author observes that it is considered among the Moslems as the highest honour to be religious. Hence no small measure of Pharisaism and hypocrisy. Hence also the profane habit of ejaculating the name of the Supreme Being on all manner of occasions, even the most trifling or indecent. The only real reverence seems to be for the prophet, for whom the feeling is idolatrous. His name is held so sacred that the pasha
has been reproached for the impiety of having it, as being one of his own names, branded on his horses and camels. Their regard for the sanctity of the Koran is manifested in every imaginable way, except that of conformity to what there may be of most value in its precepts. There are but few, Mr. Lane thinks, who are really unbelievers. There is no disposition now to make converts; they say “the number of the faithful is decreed by God, and no act of man can increase or diminish it." The belief in predestination has the effect, in men, of producing a wonderful degree of resignation, or apathy, in all distresses and calamities, and in the approach to death. Not so, he says, with the women, who give vent to their grief in the most extravagant cries and shrieks ; whether because they are not taught the doctrine, or will not believe it, or cannot understand what consolation it is to be told that misfortune which must be, must be, is not said. There is much benevolence and charity to the poor; this, however, is on a calculation of being paid, and overpaid, for it elsewhere. Generosity and cupidity are oddly combined, a disposition to overreach and extort, with a readiness to afford relief in distress. A consequence of the latter is a superabundant swarm of beggars. In spite of the formidable penalties to female infidelity, there is a strong propensity to licentious intrigue. Several curious stories are related of illicit adventures, involving plenty of adroitness, ludicrous incident, hazard, and revenge. The women, while on the one hand kept under rigid restriction and guardianship, are on the other systematically, and Mr. Lane says, even intentionally, incited to a voluptuous disposition, by the spectacle of lascivious dances, and the hearing, screened from sight by lattices, of immoral songs and tales. The humanity of the people, toward both human beings and brutes, is asserted by him to have suffered a great deterioration since his former visit to the country ; acts and habits of cruelty, to animals especially, having now become obtrusively offensive, and robberies and murders being of much more common occurrence. “ The increased severity of the government seems, as might be expected, to have engendered tyranny, and an increase of every crime, in the people.'
The account of the popular amusements, many of them frivolous, and some worse, goes, however, into a very long description of the more mental one of listening to the recital of romances, by men who make it their profession, and qualify themselves by a lively and dramatic manner of narrating. The author has sketched out the course of surprising adventures through several of the eventful and fantastic stories, reminding us of the Arabian Nights. They will tend to retain something of the imaginative and poetic, among a people whom so many circumstances have operated to reduce to a depressed, coarse, and slavishly fixed condition, so much in contrast to the wild and boundless freedom of the Arabs. The monotony of life is relieved at intervals by the annual return of several great festivals, especially that which distinguishes the beginning of the Mahomedan year, and that which celebrates the birth of the prophet. But the most lively excitement seems to be that occasioned by the return of the caravan of pilgrims from Mecca. The author has described much at large, and in a very picturesque manner, the signs of eager expectation, the mingled joy and apprehension at the arrival of the intelligence and the precursors of its near approach ; the rush of the inhabitants out of the city to meet their friends, or to see whether they and their friends are ever to meet; the delight of some on receiving them back, and the passionate grief of others, chiefly the women, on finding that those they inquired for had been arrested by death, or (the year in which the description was written) the hardly less disaster of the seizure of a thousand of them for the army. There are passed in view the varied appearances of the masses and groups as they came on; the pompous procession of a kind of ark or chest, containing nothing, but considered as an emblem of royalty, always accompanying the caravan, by a custom perpetuated on the strength of a story of a Queen of Egypt, who, many centuries since,
had travelled in such a vehicle; and lastly, the excitement and bustle in the city, on such a new influx of holiness as these pilgrims had brought back from the birth-place and tomb of the prophet.
But here a consideration of the disproportionate space we have already occupied, compels us to make an abrupt conclusion, leaving a large portion of the work for the curiosity of indefatigable readers. We are so far from the end of the Hercynian forest, that we have nothing for it but to make a resolute bolt sideways to get clear. There remain the subjects of trades, games, music, festivals, funeral rites, measures, weights, and moneys, female ornaments, Jews, Copts, late innovations, and various others. We cannot enough admire the untiring and unlimited inquisitiveness, accurate observation, and patience of detail, which have wrought out so complete a panorama of the nation.
There is one observation which it would hardly be right to forego. It respects the price at which our author obtained a knowledge of some things not ordinarily accessible to the inspection or inquiries of the Christian djowrs. We shall not impute to him an indifference to the question of what is the true religion ; but we think the accommodation in which he seems to have habitually allowed himself, to the extent sometimes of a direct practical conformity to the prescribed formalities of Mahomedism, was not compatible with fidelity to the religion with which that hateful imposture is at mortal enmity.
The Life of Thomas Chatterton, including his Unpublished Poems and
Correspondence. By John Dix. 12mo.
If the eager press and crowded driving course of our literature, so fast reducing to comparative insignificance many names, and works, and questions, which were of great excitement in their day, in an age gone by, will allow a fair chance to a publication recalling attention to Chatterton, it must be to a book of the modest dimensions and price of this volume. It is probably the last time of repeating his history at any considerable length. It is the last, we should think, that so nearly extinct an interest concerning him can call for; and not unlikely, as being at once the latest and most commodious for satisfying a very limited curiosity, to be almost the only one in which the readers of a new generation will seek and find all they may wish to know of Chatterton. And those of them who shall be of so benevolent a disposition as to desire to find in a biographer a warm and partial apologist, vindicator, and eulogist, will be gratified by the spirit of this memoir.
In reverting to the period when he raised such a commotion among the literati, secular and consecrated, one is tempted to grow cynical, and to wonder a little how it happened that there should be such a deficiency of important matters for the employment and passionate zeal of scholars, critics, journalists, and grave ecclesiastical dignitaries. It seems somewhat ludicrous that a boy, of ingenious but perverted parts, should be able to kindle a mighty combustion in the literary world ; should summon forth to play his game, should set a-fighting, should cast into parties, under confronted colours and denominations, Rowleian and Chattertonian, so many persons figuring in learning, talent, and station. Had he lived a