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of its people were intended also to serve as an expedient against the evil so much dreaded by the society of Shinar, that of being "scattered abroad upon the face of the earth," and being unknown by their posterity.
The chapter in the work before us which treats of the agriculture and economical science of the ancient Egyptians is highly curious, and it is astonishing to find how many resources Sir G. Wilkinson has discovered for facts illustrative of this subject. The monuments, indeed, afford examples of all the various field labours, and of some pursuits in re rusticâ, which seem peculiar to the Egyptians. Even the mode of treating sick animals is exemplified in a sculpture at Beni Hassan. The subject of Egyptian measures he has investigated with great success; the various products of the land are enumerated, and the systems of ploughing, sowing, manuring, irrigating, reaping, &c. are shown, with the various instruments employed.
The chapters which treat of the deities of the Egyptians commence with an examination of their religious opinions, which are compared with those of the Jews and the Greeks. The classical reader remembers the contempt which is poured upon the superstitions of the Egyptians by Juvenal, himself the votary of a creed scarcely less absurd. But it is well known that the priesthood had a clear and accurate conception of the unity of the Deity, and of the creative power; and Sir G. Wilkinson makes the best defence he can for the "allegorical religion of the Egyptians" when he says that "it contained many important truths, founded upon early revelations made to mankind, and treasured up in secret, to prevent their perversion ;" and that it was considered worthy of the divine legislator of the Jews to be "learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians." But it seems a rather questionable policy to propagate and encourage irrational and childish superstitions, lest important truths should be perverted. The true solution is to be found in the desire of the priesthood to restrict every species of knowledge to themselves, from the conviction of a truth contained in the well-known aphorism of Bacon, that "knowledge is power." Sir G. Wilkinson's theory of the Egyptian pantheon is no doubt correct:
That the images of the Egyptian Deities were not supposed to indicate real beings, who had actually existed on earth, is abundantly evident from the forms under which they were represented; and the very fact of a god being figured with a human body and the head of an ibis, might sufficiently prove the allegorical character of Thoth, or Mercury, the emblem of the communicating medium of the divine intellect, and suggested the impossibility of any other than an imaginary or emblematic existence; in the same manner as the sphinx, with a lion's body and human head, indicative of physical and intellectual power, under which the kings of Egypt were figured, could only be looked upon as an emblematic representation of the qualities of the monarch. But even this evident and well-known symbol did not escape perversion; and the credulous bestowed upon the sphinx the character of a real animal.
It signified little, in the choice of a mere emblem, whether it was authorized by good and plausible reasons; and if, in process of time, the symbol was looked upon with the same veneration as the deity of whom it was the representative, the cause of this corruption is to be ascribed to the same kind of
superstition which, in all times and many religions, has invested a relic with a multiplicity of supposed virtues, and obtained for it as high a veneration as the person to whom it belonged, or of whom it was the type.
This substitution of an emblem, as an animal, or any other object, for the Deity, was not the only corruption which took place in the religion of the Egyptians: many of the deities themselves were mere emblematic representations of attributes of the one and sole God: for the priests, who were initiated into, and who understood the mysteries of, their religion, believed in one Deity alone; and, in performing their adorations to any particular member of their Pantheon, addressed themselves directly to the sole ruler of the universe, through that particular form.
Each form (whether called Pthah, Amun, or any other of the figures representing various characters of the Deity) was one of his attributes; in the same manner as our expressions "the Creator," "the Omniscient," "the Almighty," or any other title, indicate one and the same Being; and hence arose the distinction between the great gods, and those of an inferior grade, which were physical objects, as the sun and moon; or abstract notions of various kinds, as “valour,” “strength," "intellectual gifts," and the like, personified under different forms; and it is evident that no one, who understood the principles on which the groundwork of the Egyptian Pantheon was based, could suppose that the god of valour, of strength, or of intellect, had ever lived on earth; and we may readily conceive how the Egyptian priests derided the absurd notions of the Greeks, who gave a real existence to abstract ideas, and claimed a lineal descent from "strength," or any deified attribute of the Divinity.
Upon this principle it is probable, that gods were made of the virtues, the senses, and, in short, every abstract idea which had reference to the Deity or man; and we may therefore expect to find, in this catalogue, intellect, might, wisdom, creative power, the generative and productive principles, thought, will, goodness, mercy, compassion,* divine vengeance, prudence, temperance, fortitude, fate, love, odos, hope, charity, joy, time, space, infinity, as well as sleep, harmony,t and even divisions of time, as the year, month, day, and hours, and an innumerable host of abstract notions.
Different people have devised various modes of representing the personages connected with their religion. The Egyptians adopted a distinguishing mark for their gods, by giving them the heads of animals, or a peculiar dress and form, which generally, even without the hieroglyphic legends, sufficed to particularize them; but they had not arrived at that refinement in sculpture which enabled the Greeks to assign a peculiar face and character to each deity. This was an effort of art to which none but the most consummate masters could attain and even the Greeks sometimes deviated from these conventional forms; the Apollo, or the Bacchus, of one age, differing from those of another; and the lion skin, the dolphin, the crescent, or the eagle, were generally required to identify the figures of a Hercules, a Venus, a Diana, or a Jové. Indeed, in so extensive a Pantheon as that of Egypt, it would be impossible to maintain the peculiarities of features, even if adopted for the principal gods; and the Christians have found it necessary to distinguish the Apostles and saints by various accompanying devices, as the eagle, the lion, a wheel, or other symbols.
The rahman, and rahim of the Arabs.
+ Plutarch says Harmony was the offspring of Mars and Venus: de Is. s. 48. This, as the idea of Mi. nerva springing from the head of Jove, and other similar fables, shows that many of the Greek gods were, in like manner, personifications of ideas, and attributes of the Deity.
Though the priests were aware of the nature of their gods, and all those who understood the mysteries of the religion looked upon the Divinity as a sole and undivided Being, the people, as I have already observed, not admitted to a participation of those important secrets, were left in perfect ignorance respecting the objects they were taught to adore; and every one was not only permitted, but encouraged, to believe the real sanctity of the idol, and the actual existence of the god whose figure he beheld. The bull Apis was by them deemed as sacred and as worthy of actual worship as the divinity of which it was the type; and in like manner were other emblems substituted for the deities they represented. But, however the ignorance of the uninstructed may have misinterpreted the nature of the gods, they did not commit the same gross error as the Greeks, who brought down the character of the creative power, the demiurge who made the world, to the level of a blacksmith; this abstract idea of the Egyptians being to the Greeks the working Vulcan, with the hammer, anvil, and other implements of an ordinary forge.
The "form and attributes of the different gods" are the subject of a chapter which will supply much useful information to the student of Egyptian antiquities. The next chapter treats of the "Sacred Animals," and Sir G. Wilkinson has examined the various theories that have been assigned by different authors for the worship of animals, none of which can be considered as satisfactory or of general application. He seems to refer it to the doctrine of emanation, the parent of that of transmigration, wellknown to the Egyptians, which, by supposing certain animals to be the abodes of the divine essence in a state of purity, might exalt them into objects of worship. It is natural to conclude that there must be some connection between the worship of animals and of gods or demi-gods with animals' heads. But upon this point the counsel of Aristotle is valuable. "Egregiè Aristoteles ait," observes Seneca, " numquam nos verecundiores esse debere quàm cum de Diis agitur."
The remaining chapters are devoted to festivals, sacrifices, and funeral rites; upon all these topics much additional information is afforded, and errors of even the Greek and Roman writers, who repeated tales at second and third hand, are satisfactorily detected. Thus the charge of offering human victims to the gods, which is preferred against the Egyptians by Diodorus-who, however, limits the victims to red-haired men, namely, foreigners and repeated by Athenæus and Plutarch, though expressly denied by Herodotus, is refuted by the fact that no reference to such sacrifice appears on any existing monument; unless it be in a symbolic group, on the seal of the priests, signifying that the victim might be slaughtered, which, according to Plutarch, bore the figure of a man on his knees, with his hands tied behind him, and a sword pointed at his throat. Sir G. Wilkinson has given (vol. ii. p. 352) an example of this group, which, he says, he has met with more than once in the hieroglyphics of sculptures relating to the sacrifice of victims, and it certainly does look very like the representation of a bearded foreigner about to be slain.
The funeral rites include all the processes of preserving the dead, and the appearances presented by the mummies upon dissection, which are com
pared with the accounts given by the Greek historians. The object of the Egyptians in embalming their dead is matter of doubt.
The Egyptian notion that the soul, after its series of migrations, returned to the same human body in which it had formerly lived on earth, is in perfect accordance with the passage of the Roman poet above alluded to, and this is confirmed by Theophrastus, who says, The Egyptians think that the same soul enters the body of a man, an ox, a dog, a bird, and a fish, until, having passed through all of them, it returns to that from which it set out." There is even reason to believe that the Egyptians preserved the body in order to keep it in a fit state to receive the soul which once inhabited it, after the lapse of a certain number of years; and the various occupations followed by the Egyptians during the lifetime of the deceased, which were represented in the sculptures; as well as his arms, the implements he used, or whatever was most precious to him, which were deposited in the tomb with his coffin, might be intended for his benefit at the time of this reunion, which at the least possible period was fixed at 3,000 years. On the other hand, from the fact of animals being also embalmed (the preservation of whose bodies was not ascribable to any idea connected with the soul), the custom might appear rather owing to a sanitary regulation for the benefit of the living, or be attributable to a feeling of respect for the dead—an affectionate family being anxious to preserve that body, or outward form, by which one they loved had been long known to them.
We are therefore still in uncertainty respecting the actual intentions of the Egyptians, in thus preserving the body, and ornamenting their sepulchres at so great an expense; nor is there any decided proof that the resurrection of the body was a tenet of their religion. It is, however, highly probable that such was their belief, since no other satisfactory reason can be given for the great care of the body after death. And if many a one, on returning to his tomb, might be expected to feel great disappointment in finding it occupied by another, and execrate in no very measured terms the proprietor who had re-sold it after his death, the offending party would feel secure against any injury from his displeasure, since his return to earth would occur at a different period. For sufficient time always elapsed between the death of two occupants of the same tomb, the 3,000 years dating from the demise of each, and not from any fixed epoch.
We here close our very imperfect notice of a work from which Sir J. G. Wilkinson is entitled to claim an equal measure of reputation with that awarded to the classical antiquaries Grævius and Gronovius.
• Alter erit tum Tiphys, et altera quæ vehat Argo
Delectos heroas; erunt etiam altera bella,
Atque iterum ad Trojam magnus mittetur Achilles.
† Vide Herodot, ii. p. 393 and 395.
SIAM AND QUEDAH.
TO THE EDITOR.
SIR: Lieut. Colonel Henry Burney, of the Bengal army, having published a long reply to the statements which have lately appeared respecting his treaty with Siam, I, as a party who happened to take some part in the discussions, and whose predictions have, I lament to say, been too fully verified, after the lapse of many years, consider it incumbent upon me, in justice to the Government under which I served, and to myself, whose opinions have been quoted rather fully in the Indian and other papers, to submit a statement of the exact nature of the case, in as brief a form as possible, with some observations on the policy pursued to the eastward.
I therefore propose to take a succinct view of Captain Burney's mission to Siam, its causes, objects, and results, which, I trust, will afford a satisfactory refutation of some of his statements, which might otherwise mislead parties unacquainted with the subject, and defeat the objects contemplated in an appeal to the liberal, just, and enlightened rulers of India, as suggested by a Queen's judge from the bench, and as urged by many influential parties deeply and sincerely attached to the East-India Company and its Government. Should it unfortunately happen, that matters have gone too far to enable the Government to remedy the evil to the wished-for extent, or to effect the restoration of the Malayan chief of Quedah (in which I anticipate little difficulty), still an exposition of the facts and circumstances I have adduced may, and I trust will, have the effect of directing the attention of the authorities to devising measures for the alleviation of the miseries of the Malayan refugees who have settled in our territories, as far as possible, and by holding out encouragement for their permanent and comfortable location, if they choose to remain under British rule.
London, 10th June, 1841.
During the whole of Governor Phillips's administration, from the date of the invasion of Quedah, in November, 1821, until he resigned the government of Penang in August, 1824, a firm, decided, and dignified line of policy was pursued towards the Siamese, and the restoration of the King of Quedah was always strongly urged. Governor Fullerton, on assuming charge in August, 1824, found that the supplies of grain from Quedah were withheld; that Government had been, and continued to be, paying a high bounty to encourage its exportation to Penang, and that a negotiation had been some time in progress, under the direction of his predecessor, for the restoration of the King of Quedah. Several communications had passed between the Rajah of Ligore and the late Governor, and envoys had been deputed on both sides. The Rajah of Ligore had even opened a correspondence with the King of Quedah, residing at Penang, inviting him to return and resume his government. The correspondence was regularly submitted to the Government, and the King of Quedah's replies were, in several instances, dictated by it.
I am, Sir, your obedient servant,
While these negotiations had been in progress, the war with the Burmese had commenced the Siamese had long been their enemies. The possible co-operation of that power against Ava was then contemplated. It became a matter of importance to ascertain the views and sentiments of that state, as well as to secure from the chiefs on their side the Malay peninsula such assistance, in the supply of provisions, boats, &c., as they might be disposed to afford; and the provision of such from the chief of Ligore formed, besides the negotiation respecting Quedah, a part of the objects of the mission of Captain Low to the Rajah of Ligore. That chief's