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“ pours.” But although the beauties of the country failed of making an impression, its various produce, both of art and nature, was viewed with eager and avaricious eyes; and the pillar of Alexandria was not omitted in the catalogue of premeditated plunder. This is the key to open the secret meaning of many of their obfervations. They not unfrequently enumerate all the articles of commerce, by which Egypt might become profitable to France. Its civil and military state is exposed: the expiring authority of the Porte ; the small number of Mamelukes ; their continual dissentions and feuds; the miserable state of their discipline; and their ridiculous ignorance of the art of war. On the other hand are represented, in the strongest colours, the oppressed condition of the people ; their strength in labour, and fortitude in fuffering ; and, above all, the probability of their taking arms against their oppressors, whenever a favourable opportunity shall offer. Now, if it should be asked, with what view has all this been done, one of the most acute and mischievous of French travellers will supply us with an answer; not directly to the point indeed, but too plain to be mistaken. —“ I have for fome time entertain“ cd an opinion,” fays Volney, “ that nothing_is eafier than to ef“fečt in Afia a great revolution, “both political and civil.” Let us however do justice to these unprincipled spoilers, and acknowledge, that they are not the first of their countrymen, who have entertained ideas of aggrandizing France at the expence of this devoted kingdom. In the beginning of this century, Maillet, the French consul at Cairo, suggested a plan for removing the pillar to Paris. The scheme indeed was not perfeótly honourable; for he was to obtain it under false Pretences ; and he had so far arran
ged the particulars in his own mind, as to give the details, and even state the expences of the undertaking. But his projećt was cheap and easy, compared with another, which amused the vanity of his nation fome years before. What this was, we may learn from a dedication to Louis XIV. prefixed by the French translator to Murtadi’s “Wonders of Egypt.” The conquest of thofe unknown regions, which conceal the source of the Nile, he slightly mentions as the preliminary step to his defign. “Your Majetty then,” continues he, “ will cause our admira“tion of the pyramids to cease, by “ a work of importance and gram“ deur, and of a chara&ter entirely “ different. That will be (if our “ prayers are heard, and our hopes “ fulfilled,) to turn the course of the * Nile, and withhold its fertilizing “waters from Egypt, till the pre** fent infidel inhabitants have aban“ doned it ; and to restore the “ streams to their former channel, “ when more lawful and worthy pos“ sessors shall arrive to cultivate the “ country.” How little do the banishment of the Hugonots and the burning of the Palatinate appear, when compared with this grand and comprehensive project of famine and
extirpation ! In the commencement of my inquiry concerning that stupenduous column of Alexandria, with which the general voice of modern times has connected the name of Pompey, it is necessary to remark, that this connexion, unheard of in the ages immediately succeeding his own, rests only upon a dark and doubtful tradition, and receives no colour of probability from any authority of ancient history. Other remains of antiquity have been in like manner ascribed to the celebrated rival of Caesar. At the eastern mouth of the Bosphorus a fragment of uncertain age and character is called by his 112 on ox.
name, though standing on a spot
* Ptolemy Auletes.