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To us ambition's star so cheerless shines,
Epistle from MARY to her Uncles,-February 1567.
Blame not my silence! Woe on woe has prest
Each night, lov'd kinsman, to my startled
ANALYSIS OF M. GIRARD'S WORK ON AGRICULTURAL
INDUSTRY AND COMMERCE OF EGYPT.
In this work the agriculture of in the time of Columella. Engraftthis interesting country is treated of ing and pruning are unknown, yet more at large, and the industry oc the species do not appear to degecupies a much smaller space than it nerate, and consequently are those would in the description of a Euro which are propagated by seed, and pean country.
which fructify abunduntly and reIndeed, the prosperity of Egypt gularly, though left entirely to depends upon the productions of the nature. soil, the arts being almost annihi There are no forest trees, properly lated when the French were there. so called; the fig and sycamore supThus, as men are as eager in Egypt ply planks, and are used in building after the enjoyments of luxury as vessels ; the black thorn and the any where else, it is necessary that Egyptian acacia are employed in the soil should furnish objects for the construction of hydraulic maexchange; exportation was reduced chines. The grain of this last exto a small number of articles, while cels the oak and gall-nut in the the list of importations was very ex bark, for tanning leather. Oxen, tensive. It appears that this state and not horses, are employed in agriof things is changed; thanks to the cultural operations. active and clever man, who, under The spirit of chivalry shews itself the name of governor, is really in Egypt in all its native harshness, Sovereign of Egypt. Arts have and not, as it was in Europe, under been introduced, buildings erected, the influence of women. Asiatic importation diminished, and expor and African manners have not this tations till more augmented. The ba- happy corrective. lance of commerce daily approach Our author enters into details es nearer to its equilibrium. upon the culture of every thing; he
Egyptian agriculture is not re mentions the time of sowing and markable for the perfection of its planting, describes the produce, the method, nor for the variety of its harvest and the means of preservaproductions. Our kitchen gardens, tion. Then, passing to more general our orchards, and our fields supply considerations, he treats of the maluxuries for our tables, and the
nagement of land in Egypt, and the necessaries of life, in a much greater best way of cultivating it; of assessvariety of enjoyment and comfort. ments and taxes, if the extortions of
The nomenclature of the trees, the Beys and their overseers may be cultivated in the fields and orchards, called by that name. is still more limited than that of the M. Girard calls his work a meplants. In this respect, says our
inorial, but he gives us a complete author, Egypt is now what it was treatise on Egyptian agriculture.
The second part of the work explains Amongst the facts collected in the state of industry in Egypt Egypt by M. Girard, those relative at the time that the French occupied to the soil may be consulted with that country:
confidence by posterity. In this The art of pottery is the first. The country the soil neither gains por Egyptians make clumsy vases of more acquires any thing : it participates than an inch thick; their earthen- in the stability of nature. But man ware, ill-baked and very porous, suf- and his works, the social state, fers part of the water it contains to public economy, and the statistics escape, which wets the outside ; and of the state, experience the influence the evaporation of this dampness of time. Contemporaries ought to lowers the heat of the temperament know them, such as they are, and very agreeably in hot climates.
history supplies valuable materials: The art of making bricks, simpler observations concerning them rethan that of earthenware, and burn quire to be constantly renewed, acing lime, have been described else- cording to the place, people, and where, and the author refers us for course of events. Ever since the occuinformation on the subject to the pation of Egypt by the French the large work published by the Savans
commerce of this country has inwho visited' Egypt. He then pro creased, and industry has made reeds to the manufacture of stuffs :
some progress ; but the productions the country furnishes those of im of the soil have not yet had sufficient mediate necessity; but very
little time to undergo a perceptible vafor the purposes of luxury.
riation. Some fine linens, and some silk According to M. Girard, the po. stuffs, are all that the Egyptian pulation of this country is extremely weavers furnish the opulent with. reduced; several of its arts have
The manufacture of oils does not disappeared, industry and agricul. possess the means of strong pressure, ture have declined, but the earth so that a great quantity of oil can has preserved its fertility. not be extracted. The art of making. Every two acres produce in Egypt the celebrated Nôme Mareotique nearly twenty-two hectolitres of corn, wine is entirely lost; the excellent deducting the seed ; whilst the best Faynoum grapes produce now but soil in France only produces eigha very indifferent wine, which only teen hectolitres. If we add to this keeps a few months.
the superiority of the harvest, the Speaking of the professions fol. advantages resulting from the clilowed in the towns, M. Girard re mate, the inundations of the Nile, marks upon those that have acquired and the mud used instead of maa certain degree of perfection, such nure, we shall see the reason that as saddlery and embroidering ; but Egypt always was, and always will he adds that the workmen are all be, the granary of all the countries foreigners, and the work goes on watered by the Mediterranean. The slowly.
extent of cultivated ground might To prove this last assertion, it is be increased, for the inundations, sufficient to say that the blacksmiths, well conducted by machines, might carpenters, and joiners, work sit- bring the barren land into fertility. ting, and only stand up when they The careless and barbarous manageput the work they are upon in its ment of the Turks neglected to preproper place. Almost all the Egyp- serve the canals, and all the land tian arts having been already de- not watered by the Nile, without the scribed elsewhere, that part of the assistance of art, would have been memoir on industry is necessarily lost. In the present state of Egypt short.
there is much to repair and more to The author dwells longer on the create. For the prosperity of agricommerce of the Egyptians; and as culture reservoirs and canals must he has given at the end a summary be made, and, what is still more difof his facts and the general con ficult, a nation should be formed. siderations arising from them, we The fellah of Egypt has not even pass to it immediately, because all the advantage of being attached to that concerns commerce is treated the land. When he is not proprietor of in one general point of view. the fields are badly cultivated. And
how can we get over the immense at this extremity of Africa, together space that separates what is, from with the Asiatic regions, whose anwhat ought to be?. Agriculture has cient splendour history has described lost, not only canals, but all the land to us, and the countries which neifertilized by them, as well as ma ther the ancients nor moderns have chines, and the way to make use of ever known, might raise Asia, and them." To restore it, industry must entirely expel African barbarity. be animated, and these long and dif. Egypt, considered under this point ficult enterprizes be brought to matu of view, takes a new form. This rity in a country where every thing privileged land is provided with all depends on life, where no law se the best gifts of nature; a soil admicures and protects existence, and rably fertile, a pure sky that never where life itself is enjoyed in doubt interrupts the observations of the and fear: time is required, but time astronomer, abundant rains, high is wanted, and also a slow, con mountains covered with forests that tinued and regular industry, a firm refresh the air, and create near the government, institutions and know- equator a perpetual spring; easy ledge; but all is barbarity, igno- commercial relations with Europe rance and anarchy. It is much to and the East Indies,, an interior be doubted whether Egypt will ever commerce founded upon mutual regain her ancient splendour if it wants, and which preserves union remains under the dominion of the and the common interest between Turks.
the most remote provinces. May M. Girard does not, however, give such a country fulfil its great deup all hope. "This country,” says stiny, and contribute as much as hé,“ will undoubtedly rise from the possible to the happiness of the state of degradation into which it is human species ! fallen; new species of industry are The author of this memoir follows every day introduced: but the circle the progress of commerce in Egypt to which they are confined is at pre- through all its vicissitudes from sent very narrow. There are no the most remote times up to the rivulets of water, no combustibles, present era. He thinks that the nor hydraulic machines, nor steam first connections were established engines, the inanimate causes to with the interior of Africa, whose which modern industry owes its as inhabitants have indeed more contonishing progress. The force and formity with the Egyptians, than regularity of wind might, indeed, be these have with the Asiatic nations; used instead of men and animals in that commerce with India did not the supplying of water, the thrashing begin
till the reign of Sesostris, the of corn, the manufacturing of oil, first Egyptian king, who equipped and the bleaching of rice. But be a fleet ; that the riches gained by fore wind-mills could be built, clock this new commerce gave rise to the wheels, buckets, and all machines grandeur of Thebes, up to the penecessary for dispersing water upon riod of the foundation of Memphis, land must be brought to perfection; which displaced the first market. for the cultivation of the earth will After which the commercial relaalways be in Egypt the most pro tions of Egypt were extended to the ductive object of labour.”
Mediterranean by the Phenicians. The author is right, if Egypt does The town of Naucratis, and afternot extend beyond its present limits; wards Alexandria, were founded. but if any powerful and civilized Ptolemy Philadelphus built Berenation establishes itself upon the nice upon the Red Sea; the deland of the Pharoahs, it would pre struction of Palmyra turned into scribe to itself its own limits, con Egypt the commerce of that celesulting only nature, its own wants, brated city; an old town, now called and those of its neighbours. The Nile Qoceyn, succeeded Coptos, which would be no longer divided; this was ruined under Diocletian. The river would water only one state, and Roman Empire fell; and in Egypt would carry as far as the sea the and Syria the Mahommetan faith wood, the metal, and the combusti- changed the laws, manners, and bles that are wanted in the interior re customs of the people. However, gions. The formation of a large state commerce was still maintained in
the same places until the wars be- is at present. It may be true that tween the Christians and the Turks all the conquerors of Egypt might forced it to take another direction, conceive the design of executing and to penetrate into Europe by the this celebrated undertaking, and Caspian sea. The Venetians turned might have abandoned it, as the it again into its old channel; but French did, after an attentive exVasco de Gama succeeded in dou amination. All these reasons are bling the Cape of Good Hope, in excellent for the past, but their consequence of which the Portu- authority will perhaps weaken in gnese were enabled to form esta- futurity. A people who wished to blishments in India; the Venetian's secure to themselves the possession perceived the extent of the danger of Egypt will find, in a canal be. that menaced thein, and the ties of tween the two seas, a means of religion were broken for the inter- defence, a system of lines capable ests of commerce. Venice made an of great resistance, and easy to proalliance with Cairo; Mussulmen tect. The military importance of were opposed to the Portuguese this work is not less worthy of atestablishments in India; and they, tention than its commercial consein return, ruined the commercial towns in the Arabian Gulf. The The author of this memoir has efforts of the Venetians were useless; seen the places he speaks of; he has ships from all the commercial na observed them at leisure in the most tions in Europe which traded to convenient position for judging of India touched at the Cape of Good them, and with knowledge to direct Hope; the commerce of Egypt de- his judgment; all that he says of clined from day to day, and the lazy the present limits of Egypt is very Turks made no effort to prevent it. exact; but Egypt aggrandized, exIn this state of things, says M. tending to its natural frontiers, and Girard, a canal between the Red possessing the whole course of its Sea and the Mediterranean could rivers, would establish different connot have maintained the commer nections with the rest of the world, cial relations, and still · less have and become capable of greater interecalled them after they had ceased. rior development. This new order But did this communication ever of things is so conformable to the exist? Though this doubt is against present state of our knowledge and general opinion, our author founds the organization of societies, and is it upon reasons well worth .consi. so desirable for the many peculiar deration, and which will stagger the advantages arising from it, that we most incredulous if it does not suc cannot help indulging in the pleasceed in convincing them. We know ing anticipation. Already a man the time when the great monuments of very superior intellect has began of Egypt were constructed, and a the reformations, creations, and canal of such importance would aggrandizements, which will work have been mentioned also; the ho- these happy changes and prepare a nour of it has been attributed to new destiny for Egypt. We conclude Sesostris, tben to Nechao, who lived our observations on this interesting 900 years later, to Darius, son of publication with a hope that this Hystapes, 200 years after Nechao, will prove the commencement of a to Ptolemy Philadelphus, to the series of memoirs, that may justly Emperor Adrian, to the Arab Am- develop the statistics of this highly rou, Governor of Egypt, who, ac interesting country, which has in all cording to some historians, only re ages attracted the attention of polipaired it, which did not prevent its ticians, philosophers, and learned being stopped up in the manner it