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XIX. The Senate. A Poem.
Literary and Miscellaneous Intelligence
Monthly List of Recent Publications
Art. I.-l. Travels in the Morea. By William Martin Leake, Esq.,
F.R.S. 3 vols. 8vo. plates. London: J. Murray. 1830. 2. Narrative of a Tour through some parts of the Turkish Empire. By John Fuller, Esq. 1 vol. 8vo. pp. 560. With map.
London : J. Murray. 1830. The title of the first of these works is a misnomer, which the modesty of Colonel Leake has supplied, out of that amiable spirit of injustice with which merit is ever prone to estimate itself. These
Travels, in the Morea, instead of answering the too generally light and unsubstantial character of that description of writing, will be found to be in effect a most elaborate and important topography, ancient and modern, of the once renowned, and now doubly interesting peninsula, the Peleponnessus. Those who have had the satisfaction of perusing this gentleman's work on Athens, and have had the still greater good fortune of reading his Dissertation on the Demi of Attica, published in the Transactions of the Royal Society of Literature, will be prepared to expect, in any subsequent production of his, the display of vast erudition, of great industry well and aptly applied, immense perseverance in enquiry, as well as ingenuity in speculation where opportunity is given for doubt, and above all a degree of precision in his geographical computations, such as must establish a confidence in the mind of every reader, in behalf of this author. These expectations the most fastidious will find realised in the volumes before us. In a Journal such as ours, devoted to branches of literature of a more popular character than those connected with antiquarian topography, it would be, perhaps, out of place, to descend into the details of the 'Travels in the Morea, particularly as they extend to almost innuinerable places within that peninsula. There is, besides, in this work, very little indeed of any of that sort of matter which illustrates characters and manners,
and which, at the present juncture, when the fate of the inhabitants of the Morea demands such a large share of public attention, would naturally be a principal subject of curiosity. Again, the date of those travels is so far back as twenty-five years ago, since which the condition of Greece, even independently of the various vicissitudes which she has actually experienced, would undergo a very considerable alteration. Far then from regretting that Colonel Leake has not aimed at making his book more decidedly popular, by such national and personal notices as we have alluded to, we thinkite proof:of his uncommon good sense, that he has abstained, after a silence of a quarter of a century, from giving them. With obvious propriety he has adhered to those subjects that are of en:duting interest, and which; though they are liable to change, still are less so than any vihers.which he could have chosen. The votaries of ancient geography then, and particularly that enlarged number of our countrymen, who, from the remembrance of their academic days, have never ceased to look upon Greece with a sort of filial delight, we congratulate on the production of a work, which, in our deliberate opinion, leaves nothing whatever to be supplied, for the complete topographical illustration of the Morea. What a magnificent treasure would it prove to the common literature of the civilized world, if the remainder of the classical countries were elucidated in the same way. Asia, and even Italy, to say nothing of northern Greece itself, open an immense field for the ambition of such rarely gifted men as Colonel Leake.
Of a totally different character is the volume which stands second at the bead of this paper, and which may be said to comprise the merry history of a merry ramble through some parts of Turkey, undertaken by a gentleman having no more important object (if such an object be not important,) than the gratification of his own curiosity. But Mr. Fuller is not only a gentleman, as is evidenced by every page of his book, that character being as little susceptible of disguise as we know its opposite to be ; but he is one that has raised himself far above that class, to whom in common parlance we cede this distinction, by a variety of very remarkable qualifications. Amongst the chief of these, as more germain to the present subject, we are happy to bear testimony to a spirit of universal indulgence, respecting men and manners, which, after all, if good feeling does not create it in the mind of a tourist, common sense will tell him is one of the best travelling companions he can have. And here, let us not forget to do justice to the general body of our more recent travellers on the continent. When the peace of 1814 gave emancipation to the very considerable sect of locomotives, that theretofore had pined so long in captivity, in their native Britain, nothing could equal the exhibition of national arrogance, with which every thing foreign was treated by these representatives of our country. The Englishman abroad acted as if nature had adopted the principle of primogeniture, and as if his community was the heir tail to every
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thing, real or personal, that she possessed. Every tome of travels that issued from the press, was a diatribe against some part of the continent: and we firmly believe, that it was only in consequence of the lack of terms of abuse, and for the purpose of getting up some sort of variety, that English travellers began at last to discover something worthy of their attention and respect, amongst the nations of Europe. The wine of France then was acknowledged to be pulling up a little beyond the rival pretensions of sour beer, the Parisians left off devouring frogs, at least before strangers, and we were brought fairly to the conclusion, that the people of France, and even of Italy which was farther off, were a tolerable set of beings, for foreigners. Our condescension increased with our experience of continental nations, and now we may be said, in our intercourse with them, to observe a most exemplary degree of politeness and good nature. In a word, with respect to travelling, as well as to every thing else, in the long run, British good sense has prevailed over and put down those errors of prejudice and weakness, which too often attend upon this people, in any new path upon which it enters. As a very eligible specimen then of this new and improved school of travellers, we have great pleasure in introducing Mr. Fuller to the acquaintance of the public. The Morea, some of the neighbouring isles, and Constantinople, which were the first places that this gentleman visited, have been so recently and so amply described by various tourists, as to leave little chance to a mere cursory observer, of his being able to discover any great novelty in them. We shall therefore pass over this part of the book, and proceed at once with our traveller to the interesting coast of Egypt, where he arrived in January, 1819. In walking through the streets of Alexandria, he was struck with the unfavourable contrast which it exhibited with what he had witnessed in Greece, Asia Minor, and Constantinople, and which was such, he observes, as to fill his mind with melancholy anticipations as to his journey in the rest of Egypt. Our author having quitted Alexandria with no very sanguine hopes of a pleasant excursion, made a voyage up the Nile to Cairo. This celebrated river is navigated by three sorts of vessels : the Germs are used for traffic alone, the Cangia is used exclusively as a passage boat, and an intermediate description, taking goods and passengers, is called the Mahash. The passage up the Nile furnished some interesting peculiarities :
. The groups of women going to fetch water form a striking feature in the scenery of the Nile. Thirty or forty of them are frequently seen walking in single file, and at regular distances to and from the river, each with a jar on her head and another on the palm of her hand. From the necessity of preserving their balance in this mode of carrying burdens, to which they are from their childhood habituated, these Egyptian peasants acquire a firmness and grace of step which we scarcely see excelled in the saloons of polished cities. Their erect attitude, simple drapery, and slim figures increased in apparent height by the pitchers on their heads,
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