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and speedily attained a great degree of civilization. But their religion was at variance with their improvement in the arts, and hostile to all liberal policy ; the Arabs must have renounced it altogether, if they wished to avoid relapsing into the ignorance and rudeness of their ancestors.

Egypt* suffered all the evils arising from Moslem sway. The first approach of the Arabs had swept away the accumulated literary treasures of ages ; the speedy division of their empire involved it in constant wars.

The Fatimite caliphs made Egypt their residence,t until their rule was overthrown by the celebrated Salladin. This revolution was not effected in quiet, but gave rise to seditions and disturbances, quelled by the usual cruelties of an oriental despotism.

To the family of Salladin succeeded a rule of a character anomalous and dissimilar to any that ever existed in any other country. The caliphs, and the princes who succeeded them, had confided the defence of their dominions, and the guard of their persons, to a body of mercenaries, recruited principally by means of a traffic in slaves. The nations in the vicinity of the Caucasus have for many ages furnished to all Mahometan countries a large supply of young persons, remarkable for the physical perfection of their persons. These are sometimes captives in war, but are as frequently disposed of by their own parents. Elevated to the highest offices of trust, the chiefs of these troops usurped the authority of their masters, and finally extinguished their lineage. Thus arose the Mameluke dynasty, that long subjected Egypt to an absolute government, yet neither hereditary nor elective. S Birth indeed sometimes gave a right to the highest rank, but more frequently the murderer of the last prince became his successor. There were as many revolutions as there were separate reigns. At times, several different pretenders contended for the supremacy, and held separate dominions in Syria, in the Delta, and in upper Egypt. Some of the Mameluke princes governed with ability and success ; conquerors of Syria, they humbled the pride of the Moguls, repulsed the Crusaders, and carried their arms into the Isle of Cyprus, into Yemen, and into Armenia. But the very nature of their institutions limited all their enterprises to objects of personal interest and ephemeral character, and thus the condition of the people and countries under their sway, became daily more debased.

In addition to the scourge of a bad government, and perpetual domestic dissentions, Egypt and the neighbouring countries became the object of formidable foreign invasions. For two centu

Preface Historique, p. xxvüi.
| Ibid. p. xxix.
Ibid. p. xxviii.
$ Ibid. p. XXX.

ries the chivalry of Europe exhausted itself in a contest to obtain and keep possession of the Holy Land. These famous expeditions,* although they agitated for this long period every nation of the West, produced none of the results for which they were intended, and generated, by their immediate action, incalculable disorder. But they in return excited a spirit of commerce ; extended the views of the persons engaged in it; and multiplied the processes of the useful arts. They caused the downfal of the feudal system, and laid the foundation of those liberal principles of government, which are still gradually extending and developing themselves in all civilized nations.

During the crusades,t an hundred thousand Christian warriors reduced Damietta, and attempted to penetrate into the country. But, overcome by the climate, and shut up between the canals, they were compelled to capitulate. Thirty years afterwards, a similar attempt was made by St. Louis of France, and terminated even more disastrously.

At this period, the nations of Europeț were in almost every respect inferior to those of the East; for they had not attained the marked superiority they now possess, in consequence of the vast progress they have since made in all the arts. In none, perhaps, has this superiority of Europeans become more decided, than in the military art ; and hence countries which now remain in the possession of the Moslems, merely in consequence of the mutual jealousy of Christian nations, were then able to defend themselves against the united forces of Europe, although urged on by religious zeal.

At the commencement of the 16th century, Egypt ceased to be an independent government, and was conquered by the Ottomans, about sixty-four years after the capture of Constantinople.

When Egypt thus received new masters, immense and unexpected changes were made in the commerce and in the political state of nations. No epoch of history is so fertile in great events. While the Ottoman power threatened Europe, various Christian nations had emancipated themselves from the sway of the Roman Church. Europe was engaged in strengthening its kingdoms by civil institutions, and the establishment of standing armies, The art of printing opposed a final barrier to the inroads of the barbarism which had at various former epochs swept away the greater part of the learning and the arts of civilized life ; it at the same time extended the means of improvement to all classes of society. At the same moment, Columbus and Vasco de Gama

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made their great discoveries, and in following them up, Spaniards and Portuguese, departing in opposite directions from the same peninsula, were astonished at meeting each other in the extreme parts of Asia. By these discoveries, the channels of trade were changed for ever; and Egypt lost the advantages she had derived from the enlightened founder of Alexandria. The ambitious spirit of the Europeans, rapidly proceeded to establish new relations between the most distant parts of the world, in the place of the ancient bonds which had united so many cities and states, and which were now broken. Impatient to employ their new means of acquiring power, they made use of the magnet to direct their course to undiscovered lands, and gunpowder to subdue the inhabitants. They found in the mines of America the precious metals that served to extend the trade of the East, and in the inhabitants of Africa, the tools for introducing new cultures into the Western continent.

Thus, then,* the commencement of the 16th century marks a fatal epoch in the history of Egypt, the term of the final extinction of all its former greatness. Conquered and pillaged, it was delivered to the avarice of Turkish pachas, and at last fell into the most deplorable anarchy. The rebellion of several pachas induced the Ottoman Porte to extend the power of the Mameluke beys, and these, rising from the condition of military slaves, made themselves masters of the government, and left to the pachas but the shadow of power. Struggles arose between ambitious rivals, and were attended with unbridled excesses, and the most unjust and extortionate imposts upon the agriculture, the commerce, and the industry of the inhabitants, until the cultivators of the ancient granary of the world were reduced to the miseries of famine, in the midst of their fertile and inexhaustible fields.

In this debased and deplorable condition of Egypt, it became an object of the ambition of the French republic. But the vast schemes to which the occupation of this country was calculated to give rise, were crushed in embryo by the power of England; a triumph, which in this, as in various other cases, however vaunted at first by those who fondly believed themselves the supporters of sound religion and morals, has been disastrous in its effects upon Egypt, as well as in other countries. To the anarchy of the beys has succeeded a rigid despotism, the more severe, because partially enlightened, and which, in the monopoly of the whole trade of the country, adds to the labours and hardships of the unfortunate inhabitants, without improving their condition for the present, or holding out any hopes for the future.

* Preface Historique, p. xliv.

Whatever opinion we may entertain of the justice of the oceupation of Egypt by the French, or of the political objects and military views it was intended directly to subserve, we must admit that the most extensive and liberal plans were entertained, and actually commenced, by which the happiness and prosperity of the country would have been in a measure restored.

In fact, the union of the arts of Europe, with a regular system of government, would speedily change the situation of Egypt. * If agricultural industry were to be rendered secure in the possession of its products, and thus encouraged in its attempts, and its labour at the same time directed to proper objects, the results would be incalculable. The fertility of the soil is supported by the annual inundations of the Nile ; and agricultural labour consists principally in the management of the irrigations, which this overflowing of the river renders practicable. At the present day, however, the distribution of the water is irregular and imperfect. The canals are traced without skill, and hence reach some districts in wasteful abundance, while others are wholly deprived of their benefits. In some places, want of knowledge leads to the weakening of the defences against the waters of the Mediterranean, which break in, and convert into sterile shores land capable of the richest productions. If the cultivated ground is inaccessible to the waters of the river, they are drawn from it by machines of the rudest description, and moved by the most expensive powers; while the want of a general system of police, permits the breaking of dykes and the diversion of the waters intended for the supply of distant districts. The inhabitants, in truth, from bad government and ignorance, cannot avail themselves of the liberality of nature, or employ their industry unless by ravishing the bounties of Providence from each other. All this might be remedied by a wise and firm government, and immense districts, now abandoned to the desert, might be restored to profitable cultivation.

Besides wheat, rice, and fruits of all descriptions, Egypt is capable of producing sugar, cotton, and coffee, and various other valuable products. It is true, that the native plants are few in number; but this fertile land, whose mild temperature varies by insensible degrees, from the sea to the confines of Nubia, may be considered as one vast garden, fitted to receive the richest vegetable productions of the universe.

Such are the natural advantages of Egypt; and, even the long prevalence of a vicious administration, has not been able to destroy them altogether. I It is still capable of supporting nearly three millions of inhabitants; and its capital, Cairo, is an opulent and populous city. Even the climate, so much dreaded by Europeans, was shown by the experience of the French army, to be by no means insalubrious.

* Preface Historique, p. li. + Ibid. p. lii. # Ibid. p. liij.

The results of this famous expedition of the French, are to be found only in the vast increase which our knowledge of the ancient and modern condition of that country has received. For this, we are indebted to the Institute of Cairo; and its labours have been given to the world, in the most imposing and impressive shape, in the “ Description de l’Egypte.” This work is composed of many volumes of text, and a vast collection of plates, representing every object of interest discovered in Egypt. It includes representations of the antiquities, of the modern objects of curiosity, of the botany, the zoology, and the mineralogy of the country; and comprises a suite of correct geographical delineations. These last amount to fisty in number, and form, when united, one great general map, of such perfect execution in all its parts, that it may be truly said, that no European country has been more correctly represented. * They comprise the whole extent of Egypt, from the cataracts to the sea, and extend from Alexandria on the west, to the position of ancient Tyre on the east.

In these plates, every ancient monument of the least importance is described and figured. Of these but few were known, even imperfectly, the greater part not at all, before the expedition of the French. The geographical position of every remarkable monument has been ascertained, and is carefully designated on the maps; and, in addition, minute and accurate topographical surveys have been made of their vicinity ; and not content with representing the present picturesque details of these magnificent ruins, in every point of view, great pains have been taken to ascertain their original state, and to represent them as they appeared in their pristine splendour. Every building has been carefully measured, as well as the dimensions of its principal and accessory parts, and exhibited by means of plans, elevations, and sections. This work does not contain the representation of a few isolated monuments, saved with difficulty from the ravages of time, but includes nearly all the principal structures of a nation, to which most others owe the origin of their institutions. That these are still extant, is owing to the climate, as well as to the nature of the buildings and materials themselves; and we find among them temples and palaces which can be at once recognised, as having been described by Hecatæus, Diodorus, and Strabo. The more ancient of these monuments were construct

Preface Historique, p. cxxx, † Ibid. p. cxxxiii.

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