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revealed to his countrymen several of the secrets of masons, viz. the seven different tints of the colorific principle ; the seven tones in music; and the true system of astronomy, which placed the sun in the centre, the eight revolving planets, with their attendants; the advent of comets from one system to another, of which each star is a central sun. Not being furnished with instruments capable of discovering the two most distant planets beyond the orbit of Saturn, his astronomy was turned into ridicule by a people whose natural frivolity gave them a disgust to strong thinking, and whose vanity precluded close and severe examination of imported eru. dition. His school fell into disrepute, and he himself into neglect, though one of the best informed, and perhaps the wisest, of all their philosophers.
"Aristotle studied grammar, logic, rhetoric, natural philosophy, metaphysics, and some other sciences, among the
Egyptian masons. He conveyed a fund of knowledge to mankind wbich he had no right to communicate. Much indeed of what he learned he has misplaced and disfigured in his writings. He has misrepresented some of their finest sentiments, not so much for want of judgment, as tasie ; pardy perhaps to amuse his reader and partly from vanity.
“ Of all the Grecian philosophers who visited Egypt, and had the honour of being admitted among the masons, (which, by the way, they carefully concealed,) the most disingenuous was Plato. The sciences of theology, ethics, and metaphysics, were bis peculiar favourites. Whether from some regard to the sacredness of his obligation, or whether it was to adapt his doctrines to the taste of a volatile people, he has so hashed and frittered those things which be learned, so disguised, mangled, and involved them, tbat it would almost puzzle a mason to separate the grain from the chaff in the confused mass of his various treatises. A few masonic jewels sparkle among that heap of rubbish.
“ The masons did not suffer only from treacherous brethren ; they felt the cruelest strokes from the iron band of power, which ought to bave been exerted for their protection and security. Cambyses, the Persian monarch, made a complete con quest of Egypt. He sternly demanded an account of their esoteric doctrines : on refusal without his submission to the usual ceremonies, this haughty prince, with his wonted temerity, resolved on the total extermination of the masons. Fierce and implacable, be destroyed all those that were assembled, burned their lodges, and sacrificed every individual of them that could be met with. A considerable number of our brethren had sufficient courage and conduct (what might not such men perform!) to emigrate to an oasis about three hundred leagues distant from hence. An oasis, of which there are several in Africa, is a sort of island in the midst of burning sands. This is about fourscore leagues in length and sixty in breadth, abounding with every necessary and convenience of life : the rivers lose themselves in the sands, while every vegetable and animal is to be met with, that can be found on the rest of the globe. It was inhabited by a few innocent and simple people who received them with open arms.
The arts and sciences are there still cultivated to the highest perfection. There and there only remains all the knowledge and learning of the ancient world. Cambyses sent an army of seventy thousand men to pursue and destroy them. They were all buried in a whirlwind of sand. He sent a second more numerous, which shared the same fate. It is said that some masons disguised were employed as guides, who knew when and where these violent gusts arise, and voluntarily sacrificed themselves for the preservation of their brethren. Cambyses raised a third army for the same purpose, determined to lead it himself: his death defeated the project. These facts are well known and attested by Asiatic historians. From that day to this no one bas ever visited this oasis except Alexander the Macedonian and a few of his followers. He lost the greatest part of his people and suffered incredible hardships himself before he reached it. What was an Alexander vot equal to ? He was highly pleased with his entertainment there, and they taught their royal visitor to return in safety. Though it is next to impossible to arrive there, it is seldom more than thirty or forty years that a few do not venture to visit Egypt, yet no one ever attempts (though be longs in vain) to return. Among the last who came from thence my grandfather was one of seven. “ Of the scattered remains of the masons, some emigrated to the East and settled
Some wandered into Europe, particularly the northern parts, who assumed the name of Druids. These still retained their unalterable attachment to secrecy, and never committed any of their knowledge to writing. They have indeed left many astonishing instances of it behind them in the erection of their Stone
Stone-benge, Staunton Drew," &c.
calendars. The æra of their fabrication may be easily ascertained by calculating the precession of the equinoxes ; their skill in perspective is displayed in them. These are as falsely as foolishly termed by Europeans druidical temples. You well know, my brethren, that nothing was more repugnant to their religious principles than to worship the Deity in any cheiropoietic structure.
“ The present European lodges of masons, I am informed by our brother Pbtharras, are dwindled into mere convivial assemblies. So far from eagerly pursuing science, and by the force of their united abilities pushing their researches to perfection, they indolently content themselves with the possession of the shell, without the least regard to the kernel. Sic transit gloria mundi.
“ I am, my Lord, your's sincerely,
“ T. M.”
The physician has here most certainly allowed the reins of his judgment to be a little too loose in the hands of his imagination, yet his ideas tally exactly with every recent discovery that we have made, as well as every old record of the policy of the Egyptians. The unexampled duration of the integrity of the Egyptian nation shows that this masonic scheme worked well. At present it would be worse than worthless. We work out our social perfection, not by concentrating power and knowledge in the dark recesses where a tavoured few only would have access to them, but by the most unlimited diffusion of light. Freemasonry, in the highest acceptation of the word, is no longer among the wants of mankind, and therefore it has ceased to exist.
But what are we doing? We have as yet got through only the first quarter of this fascinating work: we have not yet arrived at Luxor, or Luqsor, or Aboo L'Haggàg, called by the ancient Egyptians, Southern Papé, a place quite as much deserving of notice as Thebes. We must also pass over the descriptions of battles and conquests displayed upon the walls of the lofty halls in the ruins of Karnac, all of which prove indubitably the great power of the Egyptians under the reigns of the Remeses.
Had we room we should certainly insert the whole of the fifth chapter, that treats of the manners and customs of this people. As regards their gardens, their vineyards, their fishing lakes, and the other appliances to luxury, there seems nothing on their part to be wished for. They also hunted much, and in that point exceeded the Nimrods of the present day in the variety of their game, its dangerous character, and the high physical endowments necessary successfully to follow such an invigorating pursuit. They had the gazelle, wild goat, and sheep, stag, eriel, wild ox, hare, ostrich, with the hyena, wolf, jackal, and leopard. If their inclinations led them to aquatic amusements, there was the hippopotamus and the crocodile ready to afford them excellent sport, a sport at which they appear to have been singularly skilful. We must not omit to state, that they trained lions both to assist them in war against man, and to capture the more dangerous of the animals that they were pleased to hunt. Their municipal laws were severe, and personal chastisement in evident operation, the ladies coming in for more than a due proportion. They had also a very considerable standing army, that eyesore to patriots. We must indulge in one more extract, the account of their entertainments.
“At all their entertainments music and the dance were indispensable, and sometimes buffoons were hired to add to the festivity of the party, and to divert them with drollery and gesticulation.
“ The grandees were either borne in a palanquin or drove up in their chariot, drawn as usual by two horses, preceded by running footmen, and followed by others, who carried a stool to enable them to alight, an inkstand, and whatever they might want either on the road, or while at the house of their friend.
“ On entering the festive chamber, a servant took their sandals, which he held on his arm, while others brought water, and anointed * the guests, in token of welcome.
“ The men were seated on low stools or chairs, apart from the women, who were attended by female slaves or servants; and after the ceremony of anointing, a lotus. blossom (and frequently a necklace of the same) was presented to each of them; and they were sometimes crowned with a chaplet of flowers.
“ The triclinium was unknown; and the enervating custom of reclining on diwáns was not introduced among this people. Their furniture $ rather resembled that of our European drawing-room ; and stools, chairs, fauteuils, ottomans, and simple couches, (the three last precisely similar to many that we now use,) were the only seats met with in the mansions of the most opulent of the Egyptians.
“ Wine and other refreshments were then brought, and they indulged so freely in the former, that the ladies now and then gave those proofs of its potent effects which they could no longer conceal.||
“ In the mean time, dinner was prepared, and joints of beef, geese, fish, and game, with a profusion of vegetables and fruit, were laid, at mid-day, s upon several small tables ; two or more of the guests being seated at each. Knives and forks were of course unknown, and the mode of carving and eating with the fingers was similar to that adopted at present in Egypt and throughout the East; water or wine being brought in earthen bardaks, or in gold, silver, or porcelain cups. For though Herodotus affirms that these last were all of brass, the authority of the Scriptures and the Theban sculptures prove that the higher orders bad them of porcelain and of precious metals.tt
“ They sometimes amused themselves within doors with a game similar to chess, or rather draughts ;++ and the tedium of their leisure hours was often dispelled by the wit of a buffoon, çó or the company of the dwarfs and deformed persons, (|| who constituted part of their suite.
“ Bull-fights were among the sports of the lower orders; but it does not appear that they either had the barbarity to bait them with dogs, or the imbecility to aspire to a vain display of courage, in matching themselves in single combat against wild
• “ Washing the feet and anointing the head was the custom of the East. Conf. St. Luke vii. 46. But I have not yet met with the former represented in the sculp
+ “Many of the chairs shut up like our camp-stools ; and they sometimes sat on a low square seat, neatly painted, wbich was laid upon the ground. It appears to have been of wood ; and perhaps folded in the centre when removed.
# “ They probably intended by this that ' man required a moist rather than a dry aliment.'-Diod. i. 43.
$ " The skill of their cabinet-makers is particularly remarkable ; and besides the display of elegant taste they were not ignorant of veneering, or of the mode of staining wood to resemble that of a rare and valuable kind.
|| “ It shows a great want of gallantry, on the part of the Egyptians, thus to direct their talent for caricature against the fair sex.
q “Genesis xliii. 16. But with a foreigner they would not eat ; this was an . abomination.' v. 34.
** “ Except in China. The ancient Greeks also ate in this manner, and the pieces of bread-crumb, (atomaydarlau,) on which they wiped their fingers after eating, were given to the dogs that they admitted into the room.
tt Joseph had one of silver. Gen. xliv. 2. Gold, silver, and porcelain vases are represented in the tombs of Thebes. I doubt a Greek being admitted into very good society in Egypt. Glass was also used by them, as well for cups as beads and other ornamental objects, and for the imitation of precious stones.
#1“ I have found this in sculptures of the time of Osirtesen I., Remeses III., and Psamaticas II. 06 “ Still common in the East, as once in the West.
“ Beni Hassan grottoes. V. c. vi.”
beasts. But the peasants did not fail to pursue the hyena,t as often as it was in their power; and it was either caught by a trap or 'chased with the bow. They also amused themselves with several games still well known to European children; among which may be noticed the ball, odd and even, moru,t and feats of agility and strength."
Now we are in this domestic strain, we will mention that the butcher wore his steel hanging before him in the time of Moses, precisely as he does now. That's antiquity, and something to be proud of :-the fashions of crowns have changed much oftener.
What Egypt is now we too well know. Mr. Wilkinson has given us a vivid description of its misery; the oppression it undergoes, and its consequent depopulation. It is the same land that once not only took the lead, but went far beyond all the nations of the earth. The sands have not, as has been asserted, increased upon it; the bed of the Nile has risen a few feet in nearly its whole length, but the profitable soil has every where along its valley risen and extended itself in proportion. No site on the face of the earth more calls for, or could be more improved by machinery and the aids of science. Irrigation and adequate engines for the propulsion of water would make the fertility of this kingdom almost illimitable. The mistake of the present energetic old pacha who rules it, is, endeavouring to make it a manufacturing instead of an agricultural nation. He should turn the industry of his subjects to production and not fabrication. What might not that land do, that even now, with its wretched tillage, gives the ignorant and oppressed peasant three harvests a year.
It may not here be irrelevant to state, that, by a late survey, the level of the Red Sea is fifteen feet higher than that of the low Nile about Qaherah, Cairo, (Mr. Wilkinson has a most provokingly correct method of spelling his proper names,) and about five lower than the river during its inundation. Therefore a great part of Egypt lies at the mercy of the Red Sea, which sea is also found to be thirty feet higher than the Mediterranean. Ali has shown much judgment in refusing the experiment to be tried of cutting through the isthmus of Suez. We are sure that skilful engineers, by means of proper locks, could restrain the higher water from rushing into the lower, though that water be a sea; yet treachery, or carelessness, or mere foolish curiosity, might be productive of the wildest devastation. Were an unchecked current once established, every thing would be carried before it; the low lands inundated, the bed of the Nile increased by the salt water, irreparable mischief done, and the face of whole regions changed.
It may be expected that we should say something of the pyramids. The subject has been over discussed. We think them to be less in
“ The feats of the Psylli are well known. Snake-players and conjurors existed at an early epoch among the Egyptians. They are not less common here at the present day.
+ “ Ibis animal is equally destructive to the flocks and some beasts of burthen ; and bunger prompts it even to live on the standing corn and doora, of which it frequently destroys a great quantity. But the ass is its favourite meal. It is not gregarious. The female often chooses the corn-fields to conceal ber litter.
" A common Italian game. Any number of fingers are held out simultaneously by the two players, and one guesses the sum of both.
“ As raising each other from the ground, leap-frog, throwing up three balls in various ways, mounted on the back of one who had failed in catching them, &c.”
tended as mounds wherein to hide royal sepulture, than astronomical erections made by the priestly free-masonry. Most of them have . been broken into, explored, and plundered, ages before either Salt or Belzoni effected entrances. As we have again recurred to the architecture of the Egyptians, we will here do them the justice to state, that, from time immemorial, they have understood the arch, and that it was from them that the pointed gothic style was first introduced into Europe. There is now standing a vaulted tomb near the pyramids, of hewn stone, being the oldest stone arch hitherto discovered, having been erected in the time of the second Psamaticus, more than two thousand four hundred years ago.
Long as we have made this article, we feel that we have done our work but imperfectly. Many most important subjects we have not even touched upon ; but our labour will not have been vain if we have excited in the bosom of the reader that ardent curiosity to peruse this work with the attention that it so highly merits. The author appears to have brought every requisite to his undertaking :great knowledge, not only of the learned but the modern languages, particularly those of the East, habits of patient investigation, assisted by great powers of reasoning, and a love for his subject that ensures an unabating ardour in its pursuit. He is no theorist, and is bigoted to no system. He has conquered much, and frankly confesses that that much is but very little in comparison with what remains to be
He is gathering materials that perhaps it may be the lot of other hands to arrange, though we fervently wish that nothing may prevent him reaping the laurels that he is now only sowing. It is our conviction that, in the Bible and in the hieroglyphics, the true history of the world will be read. Hitherto they corroborate each other won derfully. The records of the former are limited only to the adventures of a chosen, though a stiff-necked race; we may find in the latter much of which, from the very nature of the subject, the other has omitted.
Notwithstanding that the work before us is, strictly speaking, topographical, it will be found very pleasant reading, from the air of candour and sincerity that runs through the whole of it. The author not only makes us participate in his knowledge, but in his doubts also. He is evidently cautious, not only not to deceive his readers, but also to guard against self-delusion. We feel that we may depend upon him, since he sometimes mistrusts himself.
Criticism can only follow a writer similar to Mr. Wilkinson. He is the first on the march. Had she been more modest with the illtreated Mr. Bruce, she would have been spared many a blush of recantation. In a case like this, the author must know more of his subject than any other person existing. All that the critic can do, should he be desirous of being condemnatory, is to go and acquire more, or at least as much, information upon this particular subject than the author :-let him do this, and then, if he can, let him wreak his vengeance. The general, however illustrious he may be, cannot know so much of the country as the exploring party that he sends forward. Mr. Wilkinson is in the van of Egyptian learning. There may be higher grades on the literary muster roll than that which he has yet attained, but, in his own department, there is none before him.