Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

That's French for "the ancient system," as in the ancient system of feudal privileges and the exercise of autocratic power over the peasants. The ancien regime never goes away, like vampires and dinosaur bones they are always hidden in the earth, exercising a mysterious influence. It is not paranoia to believe that the elites scheme against the common man. Inform yourself about their schemes here.

Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 12:59 am

Travel to Egypt and Syria
by Constantin Francois Chasseboeuf Boisgirais Volney







• CHAPTER I. Of Egypt in general, and of the city of Alexandria.
• CHAPTER II. From the Nile, and the extension of the Delta.
• CHAPTER III. From the height of the Delta.
• CHAPTER IV. Winds and their phenomena.
• CHAPTER V. On climate and air.


• CHAPTER I. Of the various races of the inhabitants of Egypt.
• CHAPTER II. Precise of the history of the Mamlouks.
• CHAPTER III. Accurate of Ali-Bek's story
• CHAPTER IV. Details of the events that have occurred since Ali-bek's death until 1785.
• CHAPTER V. Present State of Egypt.
• CHAPTER VI. Constitution of the Militia of the Mamlouks.
o § I. Clothing of the Mamlouks.
o § II. Crew of the Mamlouks.
o § III. Weapons of the Mamlouks.
o § IV. Education and exercises of the Mamlouks.
o § V. Military Art of the Mamlouks.
o § VI. Discipline of the Mamlouks.
o § VII. Mores of the Mamlouks.
o § VIII. Government of the Mamlouks.
o § I. State of the people in Egypt.
o § II. Misery and famine of recent years.
o § III. States of the arts and minds.
• CHAPTER VIII. State of commerce.
• CHAPTER IX. From the Isthmus of Suez, and from the junction of the Red Sea to the Mediterranean.
• CHAPTER X. Customs and taxes.
• CHAPTER XI. From the city of Kaire.
• CHAPTER XII. Diseases of Egypt.
o § I. Loss of sight.
o § II. Smallpox.
o § III. Plague.
• CHAPTER XIII. Summary table of Egypt.
• CHAPTER XIV. Ruins and pyramids
o Note


• CHAPTER I. Geography and Natural History of Syria.
o § I. Aspect of Syria.
o § II. Mountains.
o § III. Structure of mountains.
o § IV. Volcanoes and tremors.
o § V. Grasshoppers.
o § VI. Soil qualities.
o § VII. Rivers and lakes.
o § VIII. Of the climate.
o § IX. Air qualities.
o § X. Qualities of water.
o § XI. Winds.
• CHAPTER II. Considerations on the phenomena of winds, clouds, rains, fogs and thunder.


• CHAPTER I. Residents of Syria.
• CHAPTER II. Pastoral or wandering peoples of Syria.
o § I. Of the Turkmans.
o § II. Kurds.
o § III. Arabs-Bedouins.
• CHAPTER III. From the agricultural peoples of Syria.
o § I. Des Ansârié.
o § II. Maronites.
o § III. Druze.
o § IV. From the government of the Druze.
o § V. Des Motouâlis.
• Notes

Sphyinx View

View of the Djize Pyramids

Map of Egypt
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:01 am

FIRST CHAPTER. Of Egypt in general, and of the city of Alexandria.

It is in vain that one prepares oneself, by reading books, for the spectacle of the customs and customs of nations; there will always be a long way from the effect of stories on the mind to that of objects on the senses. The images traced by sounds do not have enough correction in the drawing, nor liveliness in the coloring; their paintings retain something nebulous, which leaves only a fleeting imprint that is quick to disappear. We experience it above all, if the objects that they want to paint us are foreign to us; for the imagination not finding then ready-made terms of comparison, it is obliged to bring together scattered members to compose new bodies; and in this vaguely prescribed and hastily done work, it is difficult for her not to confuse features and alter forms. Should we be surprised if, after coming to see the models, she does not recognize the copies she made of them, and if she receives impressions from them which have all the character of novelty?

This is the case of a European who arrives, transported by sea, in Turkey. Vainly has he read the stories and the reports; in vain, on their descriptions, has he tried to paint himself the aspect of the grounds, the order of the towns, the clothes, the manners of the inhabitants; he is new to all these objects, their variety dazzles him; what he had thought of it dissolves and escapes, he remains given over to feelings of surprise and admiration.

Among the places suitable for producing this double effect, there are few which unite as many resources as Alexandria in Egypt. The name of this city, which recalls the genius of such an astonishing man; the name of the country, which stems from so many facts and ideas; the appearance of the place, which presents such a picturesque picture; those palm trees which rise like parasols; these terraced houses, which seem to have no roof; these slender spiers of the minarets, which carry a balustrade in the air, everything warns the traveler that he is in another world. He goes down to earth, a crowd of unknown objects assails him with all his senses; it is a language whose barbaric sounds and acrid, guttural accent frighten his ear; these are clothes of a strange shape, figures of a strange character. Instead of our naked faces, our heads swollen with hair, our triangular hairstyles, and our short, tight clothes, he gazes in surprise at those burnt faces, armed with beards and mustaches; that heap of stuff rolled up in folds over a shaved head; this long garment which, falling from the neck to the heels, veils the body rather than dressing it; and those six-foot pipes; and those long rosaries with which all hands are adorned; and those hideous camels that carry water in leather bags; and those saddled and bridled donkeys, who lightly carry their rider in slippers; and this market poorly supplied with dates and round and flat rolls; and that filthy crowd of stray dogs in the streets; and those kinds of walking ghosts who, under a one-piece drapery, human only show two female eyes. In this tumult, entirely to his senses, his mind is null for reflection; It is only after arriving at the lodge so desired when one comes from the sea, that, having become calmer, he considers with reflection these narrow streets without paving stones, these low houses whose rare days are masked with trellises, this thin and black people, who walk barefoot, and their only garment is a blue shirt, encircled by a leather or a red handkerchief. Already the general air of misery that he sees on men, and the mystery which envelops the houses, make him suspect become calmer, he considers with reflection these narrow streets without paving stones, these low houses whose rare days are masked with trellises, this thin and dark people, who walk barefoot, and have no clothing but one blue shirt, wrapped in leather or a red handkerchief. Already the general air of misery that he sees on men, and the mystery which envelops the houses, make him suspect become calmer, he considers with reflection these narrow streets without paving stones, these low houses whose rare days are masked with trellises, this thin and dark people, who walk barefoot, and have no clothing but one blue shirt, wrapped in leather or a red handkerchief. Already the general air of misery that he sees on men, and the mystery which envelops the houses, make him suspect the rapacity of tyranny, and the mistrust of slavery. But a sight that soon catches his full attention are the vast ruins he sees on the land side. In our regions, the ruins are an object of curiosity: hardly do we find, in remote places, some old castle whose dilapidation announces rather the desertion of the master, than the misery of the place. In Alexandria, on the contrary, hardly one leaves the new city on the continent, than one is struck by the aspect of a vast ground all covered with ruins. For two hours of walking, we follow a double line of walls and towers, which formed the enclosure of ancient Alexandria. The earth is covered with the debris of their summits; entire sections have collapsed; the sunken vaults, the degraded battlements, and stones eaten away and disfigured by saltpetre. We walk through a vast interior crisscrossed with excavations, pierced by wells, distributed by half-buried walls, strewn with a few ancient columns, modern tombs, palm trees, nopals[1], and where there is no living thing except jackals, hawks, and owls. The inhabitants, accustomed to this spectacle, do not receive any impression of it; but the stranger, in whom the memories he recalls are exalted by the effect of novelty, experiences an emotion which often passes to tears, and which gives rise to reflections whose sadness attaches as much to the heart as their majesty uplifts the soul.

I will not repeat the descriptions made by all travelers of the remarkable antiquities of Alexandria. We find in Norden, Pocoke, Niebhur, and in the letters just published by Savary, all the details on the baths of Cleopatra, on her two obelisks, on the catacombs, the cisterns, and on the ill-named column of Pompey.[2]. These names have majesty; but the objects seen in the original lose the illusion of the engravings. The single column, by the boldness of its elevation, by the volume of its circumference, and by the loneliness which surrounds it, imprints a real feeling of respect and admiration.

In its modern state, Alexandria is the warehouse of a fairly considerable trade. It is the gateway to all the food that leaves Egypt to the Mediterranean, except Damiât rice. The Europeans have counters there, where letter carriers trade our goods. There are still ships from Marseille, Livorno, Venice, Ragusa and the states of the great lord; but wintering is dangerous there. The new port, the only one where Europeans are received, has become so full of sand that in storms the vessels hit the bottom with the keel; moreover, this bottom being of rock, the cables of the anchors are soon cut by friction; and then a first vessel chased on a second pushes it on a third, and from one to the other they all get lost. We had a fatal example 16 to 18 years ago; 42 vessels were smashed against the pier in a north-westerly gale; and since that time we have occasionally suffered losses of 14, 8, 6, etc. The old port, whose entrance is opened by the strip of land called Cap des Figues[3], is not subject to this disaster; but the Turks only receive Muslim buildings there. Why, we will say in Europe, do they not repair the new port? This is because in Turkey one destroys without ever repairing. We will also destroy the old port, where the ballast of buildings has been thrown for 200 years. The Turkish spirit is to ruin the works of the past and the hope of the future; because in the barbarism of an ignorant despotism, there is no tomorrow.

Considered a city of war, Alexandria is nothing. We do not see any fortification work; the lighthouse itself, with its tall towers, is not one. He does not have four cannons in order, and not a gunner who knows how to point. The 500 janissaries who must form his garrison, reduced to half, are workers who only know how to smoke pipes. The Turks are happy that the Franks are interested in sparing this city. A frigate from Malta or Russia would suffice to burn it to ashes: but this conquest would be useless. A stranger could not stay there, because the land is without water. It must be drawn from the Nile by a kalidj[4], or a 12-league canal, which brings it every year during the flood. It fills the underground passages or cisterns dug under the old city, and this provision must last until the following year. One feels that if a foreigner wanted to settle there, the canal would be closed to him.

It is only by this channel that Alexandria clings to Egypt; because, by its position outside the Delta, and by the nature of its soil, it really belongs to the African desert: its surroundings are a countryside of sand, flat, sterile, without trees, without houses, where one does not find that the plant[5] which gives soda, and a line of palm trees which follows the trace of the waters of the Nile through the kalidj.

It is only in Rosetta, called in the country Rachid, that one really enters Egypt: there, one leaves the whitish sands which are the attribute of the beach, to enter on a black, fatty soil. and light, which is the distinctive character of Egypt; then, also for the first time, we see the waters of this so famous Nile: its bed, enclosed in two steep banks, looks quite like the Seine between Auteuil and Passy. The palm woods that border it, the orchards that its waters irrigate, the limes, orange trees, bananas, peaches and other trees, give by their perpetual greenery, an approval to Rosette, which draws especially its illusion of the contrast of Alexandria and the sea that we leave. What we meet from there in Kaire is still suitable for strengthening it.

In this trip, which is made up the river, we begin to gain a general idea of ​​the soil, the climate and the productions of this famous country. Nothing imitates its aspect better than the marshes of the lower Loire, or the plains of Flanders; but we must suppress the crowd of country houses and trees, and substitute for it a few light woods of palm trees and sycamore trees, and a few earthen villages on artificial elevations. All this land is of such an even and low level that when you arrive by sea, you are not three leagues from the coast, when you discover the palm trees and the sand on the horizon. who supports them; from there, going up the river, you rise by a slope so gentle that the water does not travel more than a league an hour. As for the picture of the campaign, it varies little; they are always isolated or united palm trees, rarer the further you go; villages built in earth and with a ruined appearance; a boundless plain, which, according to the seasons, is a sea of ​​fresh water, a muddy marsh, a carpet of greenery or a field of dust; on all sides a distant and hazy horizon, where the eyes are tired and bored; finally, towards the junction of the two arms of the river, one begins to discover in the east the mountains of Kaire, and in the south pulling towards the west, three isolated masses which one recognizes by their angular shape for the pyramids. From this moment, we enter a valley which goes back to the south, between two chains of parallel heights. That of the east, which extends to the Red Sea, deserves the name of mountain by its abrupt rise, and that of desert by its naked and wild aspect; but that of the setting sun is only a crest of rock covered with sand, which one has well defined by calling it dike or natural causeway. To picture Egypt in two words, imagine a narrow sea and rocks on one side; on the other, immense plains of sand, and in the middle, a river flowing in a valley 150 leagues long, and that of the desert by its naked and savage aspect; but that of the setting sun is only a crest of rock covered with sand, which one has well defined by calling it dike or natural causeway. To picture Egypt in two words, imagine a narrow sea and rocks on one side; on the other, immense plains of sand, and in the middle, a river flowing in a valley 150 leagues long, and that of the desert by its naked and savage aspect; but that of the setting sun is only a crest of rock covered with sand, which one has well defined by calling it dike or natural causeway. To picture Egypt in two words, imagine a narrow sea and rocks on one side; on the other, immense plains of sand, and in the middle, a river flowing in a valley 150 leagues long, 3 to 7 wide, which, having reached 30 leagues from the sea, divides into two branches, the branches of which stray on a ground free of obstacles, and almost without slope.

The taste for natural history, that taste so widespread in the honor of the century, will doubtless require details on the nature of the soil and the minerals of this great land; but unfortunately the way in which one travels there is not very suitable for this part. It is not with Turkey as with Europe; with us, trips are pleasant walks; there they are heavy and dangerous work. They are such, above all, for Europeans, that a superstitious people persists in looking at sorcerers, who come to remove by magic treasures kept under the ruins by geniuses. This ridiculous but ingrained opinion, combined with the usual state of war and turmoil, takes away all security and opposes all discovery. One cannot go alone in the land; we can't even to accompany there. We are therefore limited to the banks of the river, and to a route known to everyone; and this walk teaches nothing new. Only by bringing together what one has seen for oneself and what others have observed, can one acquire some general ideas. From such work, we are inclined to establish that the framework of the whole of Egypt, since Asouan (old Syene) to the Mediterranean, is a bed of limestone, whitish and not very hard, holding shells whose analogues are found in the two neighboring seas[6]. It has this quality in the pyramids and in the Libyan rock which supports them. We find the same in the cisterns, in the catacombs of Alexandria, and in the reefs of the coast where it extends. We find it, still in the mountain of the East, at the height of Kaire and the materials of this city are composed of it. Finally, it is this same limestone, which forms the immense quarries which extend from Saouâdi to Manfalout, in a space of more than 25 leagues, according to the testimony of Siccard. This missionary also tells us that we find marbles in the Valley of the Chariots, at the foot of the mountains bordering the Red Sea, and in the mountains northeast of Asouan.. Between this city and the cataract, are the main quarries of red granite; but there must be others lower, since on the opposite shore of the Red Sea, the mountains of Oreb, Sinai, and their dependencies, two days north, are formed[7]. Not far from Asouan, to the northeast, is a serpentine stone quarry, roughly used by the inhabitants to make vases that go into the fire. In the same line, on the Red Sea, was once a mine of emeralds whose trace has been lost. Copper is the only metal mentioned by the ancients for these regions. The Suez road is the place where we find the most so-called Egyptian pebbles, although the fund is a limestone, hard and ringing: it is also there that stones were collected which their shape made. take for petrified wood. Indeed, they resemble logs bevelled by the ends, and are pierced with small holes that one would readily take for tracheae; but chance, by offering me a considerable luck of this kind, in the route of the Arabs Haouatât[8], proved to me that it was a real mineral[9].

More interesting objects are the two lakes of Natron, described by the same Siccard; they are located in the Chaïat or Saint-Macaire desert, west of the Delta. Their bed is a kind of natural pit, 3 to 4 leagues long, and a quarter wide; the bottom is solid and stony. It is dry for 9 months of the year; but in winter he a violet-red water transudes from the earth, which fills the lake at a height of 5 or 6 feet; the return of heat causing it to evaporate, there remains a layer of salt 2 feet thick, and very hard, which is detached with an iron bar. We withdraw up to 36,000 quintals per year. This phenomenon, which indicates a soil impregnated with salt, is repeated throughout Egypt. Everywhere you dig, you find brackish water, containing natron, sea salt and a little nitre. Even when we flood the gardens to water them, we see, after the evaporation and absorption of the water, the salt brushing against the surface of the earth; and this soil, like all the continent of Africa and Arabia, seems to be of salt, or to form it.

In the midst of these minerals of various qualities, in the midst of this fine and reddish sand, peculiar to Africa, the soil of the Nile valley presents itself with attributes which make it a distinct class. Its blackish color, its clayey and binding quality, everything announces its foreign origin; and indeed, it is the river which brings it from the bosom of Abissinia: one would say that nature took pleasure in forming by art a habitable island in a country to which she had refused everything. Without this fat and light silt, Egypt would never have produced anything: it alone seems to contain the germs of vegetation and fertility; still it owes them only to the river which deposits it.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:03 am

CHAPTER II. From the Nile, and the extension of the Delta.

ALL the physical and political existence of Egypt depends on the Nile: it alone provides for this first need of organized beings, the need for water, so frequently felt in hot climates, so keenly irritated by the deprivation of this element. The Nile alone, without the help of a sky stingy with rain, carries everywhere the nourishment of vegetation; by a stay of three months on the earth, it soaks it with a sum of water capable of being sufficient for the rest of the year. Without its overflow, one could only cultivate a very limited ground, and with very expensive care; and we are right to say that it is the measure of abundance, of prosperity, of life. If the Portuguese Albukerque had been able to carry out his project of diverting him from Ethiopia into the Red Sea, this land so rich would be nothing but a desert as wild as the solitudes that surround it. Seeing the use that man makes of his forces, should we blame nature for not having granted him more?

It is therefore with good reason that the Egyptians had in all times, and even today retain, a religious respect for the Nile[10]; but a European must be forgiven if, when he hears them praising the beauty of his waters, he smiles at their ignorance. These murky and muddy waters will never have for him the charm of clear fountains and limpid streams; never, unless a feeling exalted by privation, the body of an Egyptian woman, tanned and streaming with yellowish water, will remind her of the Naiads coming out of the bath. Six months of the year the river water is so muddy that you have to drop it off to drink it[11]: during the three months which precede the flood, reduced to a small depth, it warms up in its bed, becomes greenish, fetid and filled with worms; and it is necessary to resort to that which one has received and kept in the cisterns. In all seasons, delicate people take care to perfume it. Besides, in no country is so much water used. In the houses, in the streets, everywhere, the first object that presents itself is a vessel of water, and the first impulse of an Egyptian is to seize it and drink a large draft of it, which does not inconvenience, thanks to the extreme sweating. These vases, which are of unglazed terracotta, let the water filter to the point that they empty in a few hours. The object which we propose to ourselves by this mechanism is to keep the water very cool, and this is achieved all the better when exposed to a brighter current of air. In some places in Syria people drink the water that has leaked out; but in Egypt they drink that which remains in the vessel.

In recent years, the action of the Nile on the ground of Egypt has become a problem shared by scientists and naturalists. Considering the amount of silt that the river deposits, and comparing the testimonies of the ancients with the observations of the moderns, many believe that the Delta has grown considerably in both elevation and extent. Savary has just given more weight to this opinion, in the Letters he published on Egypt; but as the facts and the authorities he alleges give me different results from his, I believe I should bring our contradictions to the court of the public. The discussion becomes all the more necessary as this traveler having remained two years on the spot, his testimony would soon pass. in law: let us establish the questions, and deal first with the enlargement of the Delta.

A Greek historian, who has said about ancient Egypt almost everything we know about it, and what we see every day, Herodotus of Halicarnassus, wrote 22 centuries ago:

"Egypt, where the Greeks (the Delta) land, is an acquired land, a gift from the river, as well as the whole marshy country which stretches back up to three days of navigation"[12].

The reasons he alleges for this assertion prove that he was not basing it on prejudice. "Indeed," he adds, "the soil of Egypt, which is a black and fat silt, differs absolutely, and from the soil of Africa, which is of red sand, and from that of Arabia, which is clay and rocky... This silt is brought from Ethiopia by the Nile... and the shells which one finds in the desert prove enough that formerly the sea extended further inland. "

In recognizing this encroachment of the river so conformable to nature, Herodotus did not determine its proportions. Savary believed he could replace him: let us examine his reasoning.

Growing in height, "Egypt[13] also increased in length; between several facts that history presents, I will choose only one. Under the reign of Psammetica, the Milesians landed with thirty vessels at the Bolbitine mouth, today that of Rosetta, and fortified themselves there. They built a city which they named Metelis ( Strabo, lib. XVII ): it is the same as Faoué, who, in Coptic vocabularies, kept the name of Messil. This city, formerly a seaport, is now 9 leagues away: it is the space from which the Delta has extended from Psammetica to us. ”

Nothing so precise at first sight as this reasoning; but by having recourse to the original, which Savary authorizes himself, we find that the main fact is lacking. Here is Strabo's text, translated to the letter[14].

“After the Bolbitine mouth, is a low sandy cape, called the Horn of the Lamb, which extends quite far (out to sea); then comes the Sentry Box of Perseus and the Milesian Wall: for the Milesians, in the time of Kyaxares, king of the Medes, who was also in the time of Psammeticus, king of Egypt, having landed with thirty vessels at the Bolbitine mouth, they went down to earth, and built the work that bears their name. Some time later, having advanced towards the name of Sais, and having defeated the troops of Inares in a battle on the river, they founded the city of Naucratis, a little below Schedia. After the Milesian Wall, going towards the Sebennytic mouth, are lakes, such as that of Rutos, etc. ”

Such is the passage of Strabo concerning the Milesians; we do not see the slightest mention of Metelis, whose very name does not exist in his work. It was Ptolomée who provided it to d'Anville[15], without relating it to the Milesians: and unless Savary proves the identity of Metelis and the Milesian wall by research carried out on the spot, one should not admit his conclusions.

He thought that Homer offered him a similar testimony in the passages where he speaks of the distance from the island of Lighthouse to Egypt: the reader will judge whether he is more founded. I quote the translation of Madame Dacier[16], less brilliant, but more literal than any other; and here the literal matters most to us.

“In the sea of ​​Egypt, opposite the Nile,” says Menelaus, “there is a certain island called Lighthouse; it is far from one of the mouths of this river, by as much distance as can be taken in a day by a vessel on the rise. " And further down, Proteus said to Menelaus: "Unyielding fate does not allow you to see your homeland again.... until you have returned to the river Egyptus again, and you have not offered perfect slaughter to the immortals.

"He said," Menelaus continues, "and my heart was seized with pain and sorrow, because this god commanded me to reenter the river Egyptus, whose path is difficult and dangerous."

From these passages, and especially from the first, Savary wants to induce that the Lighthouse, now joined to the shore, was formerly very far from it: but when Homer speaks of the distance from this island, he does not apply it to this shore. opposite, as the traveler translated it; he applies it to the land of Egypt, to the river Nile. In the second place, by day of navigation, it would be wrong to understand the indefinite space that the vessels or, to put it better, the boats of the ancients could cover. By using this term, the Greeks attributed to it a fixed value of 540 stages. Herodotus[17], who expressly teaches us this fact, gives some an example when he says that the Nile has encroached on the sea the ground which goes back up to three days of navigation; and the 1,620 stadia which result from it, come back to the more precise calculation of 1,500 stadia, which he counts elsewhere from Heliopolis to the sea. Now, taking with d'Anville the 540 stadia for 27,000 fathoms, or nearly a half -degree[18], we find, by the compass, that this measure is the distance from the Lighthouse to the Nile itself; it applies especially to two-thirds of a league above Rosetta, in a room where one has some right to place the town which gave its name to the Bolbitine mouth; and it is remarkable that it was that which the Greeks frequented, and where the Milesians landed, a century and a half after Homer. Nothing therefore proves the encroachment of the Delta or the continent as rapid as one supposes; and if we wanted to support it, it would remain to explain how this shore, which has not gained half a league since Alexander, gained 11 in the infinitely less time which elapsed from Menelaus to this conqueror.[19]. "

There was a more authentic way to assess this encroachment; it is the positive measure of Egypt, given by Herodotus. Here is his text: “The breadth of Egypt over the sea, from the Plintinite Gulf to the Serbonid Marsh, near Casius, is 3,600 stadia; and its length from the sea to Heliopolis is 1,500 stadia. "

Let's only talk about this last article, the only one that interests us. By comparisons made with his own sagacity, d'Anville proved that the stage of Herodotus must be evaluated between 50 and 51 toises de France. Taking this last term, the 1,500 stadia is equivalent to 76,000 toises, which, at a rate of 57,000 per degree below this parallel, gives one degree and nearly 20 minutes and a half. However, according to the astronomical observations of Niebuhr, traveler of the king of Denmark in 1761[20], the difference in latitude between Heliopolis (today Matarea) and the sea, being one degree 29 minutes under Damiât, and one degree 24 minutes under Rosetta, the result is on one side three and a half minutes, or a league and a half of encroachment; and eight and a half minutes, or three and a half leagues from the other: that is to say, the old shore corresponds to 11,800 toises below Rosette; which differs little from the meaning that I find in the passage of Homer, while, on the branch of Damiât, the application falls 950 toises below this city. It is true that by measuring immediately by the compass, the line of the shore goes up about 3 leagues higher on the Rosette side, and falls on Damiat itself; which comes from the triangle operated by the difference in longitude. But then Bolbitine, mentioned by Herodotus, is out of bounds; and it is no longer true that Busiris (Abusir) is, as Herodotus says[21], in the middle of the Delta. We must not hide it; what the ancients report, and what we know from the local area, is not precise enough to rigorously determine the successive encroachments. To reason surely, we would need research similar to that of Choiseul-Gouffier on the Meander[22], it would require field excavations; and such works require a combination of means which is given only to a few travelers. There is especially here this difficulty that the sandy ground which forms the bottom Delta, undergoes great changes from day to day. The Nile and the sea are not the only agents; the wind itself is a powerful one: sometimes it fills the canals and pushes back the river, as it did for the old Canopic arm; sometimes he piles up the sand and buries the ruins, to the point of losing the memory. Niebuhr cites a remarkable example. While he was in Rosetta (in 1762), chance revealed in the sandy hills to the south of the city, various ancient ruins, and among other things twenty beautiful marble columns of Greek work, without the tradition could say what had been the name of the place[23]. All the adjacent desert seemed to me to be the same. This part, formerly cut off by large canals and filled with towns, now offers only hills of very fine yellowish sand, which the wind piles up at the foot of any obstacle, and which often submerges the palm trees. Also, despite d'Anville's work, we cannot be sure of the application he made of several old places to the current premises.

Savary was much more exact in what he reports from one of these Nile revolutions[24], through which it seems that once this river flowed all whole in Libya, south of Memphis. But the story of Herodotus itself, from which he draws this fact, suffers from difficulties. Thus, when this historian says, according to the priests of Heliopolis, that Menes, first king of Egypt, barred the bend that the river made, two leagues and a quarter (one hundred stadia) above Memphis[25], and that he dug a new bed in the east of that city, does it not follow that Memphis had been hitherto in an arid desert, far from all water; can this hypothesis be accepted? Can we literally believe in these immense works of Menès, who would have founded a city cited as existing before him; who would have dug canals and lakes, built bridges, built palaces, temples, docks, etc.: and all this in the first origin of a nation, and in the infancy of all the arts? Is this Menès himself a historical being, and are not the accounts of the priests on this antiquity all mythological? I am therefore led to believe that the course blocked by Menès was only a detrimental diversion to the watering of the Delta; and this conjecture seems all the more probable, since, in spite of the testimony of Herodotus, this part of the valley, seen from the pyramids, does not offer any constriction which makes one believe in an ancient obstacle. Besides, it seems to me that Savary took too much on him to terminate at the dyke mentioned above Memphis, the great ravine called bahr bela ma, or river without water, as indicating the ancient bed of the Nile. All the travelers cited by d'Anville lead him to the Faïoume, of which it seems a more natural result.[26]. To establish this new fact, it would be necessary to have seen the place; and I never heard Kaire say that Savary advanced further south than the pyramids of Djizé. The formation of the Delta, which he deduces from this change, is also reluctant to conceive of himself; because, in this sudden revolution, how to imagine that the enormous weight of the waters, which came to be thrown at the entrance of the gulf[27] caused those of the sea to flow back ? The shock of two liquid masses produces only a mixture, from which a common level results soon; by making more water abound, we had to cover more. It is true that the traveler adds: The sands and the silt that the Nile carries away piled up there; the island of the Delta, not very considerable at first, emerged from the waters of the sea, whose limits it pushed back. But how does an island come out of the sea? Running waters flatten out much more than they heap up: this leads us to the question of raising.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:04 am

CHAPTER III. From the height of the Delta.

HERODOTE, who knew it as well as the preceding one, did not explain more about its proportions; but he reported a fact which Savary relies on to draw positive conclusions. Here is the precise point of his reasoning:

"In the time of Moeris, who lived 500 years before the Trojan War[28], 8 cubits were enough to flood the Delta ( Herod., Lib. II ) in all its extent. When Herodotus came to Egypt, it took 15; under the empire of the Romans, 16; under the Arabs, 17: today the favorable term is 18, and the Nile grows up to 22. Here then, in the space of 3.284 years, the Delta raised by fourteen cubits. "

Yes, if we admit the facts as they are presented; but by taking them back from their sources, we find accessories that distort and principles and consequences. Let us first quote the text of Herodotus.

"The Egyptian priests," said this author[29], report that in the time of King Moeris, the Nile flooded the Delta, rising only 8 cubits. Nowadays, if it does not reach 16 or at least 15, it does not spread over the country. However, from the death of Moeris until this moment, 900 years have not yet elapsed. "

Let us calculate: from Moeris to Herodotus, 900 years old.
of Herodotus in the year 1777, 2,237, or, if you like, 2,240
Total 3.140

Why this difference of 144 years in excess in Savary's calculation? why does it follow other accounts than those of its author? But let's move on to the timeline.

In Herodotus' time, it took 16 cubits, or at least 15, to flood the Delta. In Roman times, nothing more was needed: 15 and 16 are still the designated term:

Before Pétrone, says Strabo[30], abundance reigned in Egypt when the Nile rose to fourteen cubits. But this governor getting by art what nature refused, we have seen under its prefecture abundance reign at 12. The Arabs do not express themselves otherwise. There is a book in their language that contains the table of all the flooding of the Nile, from the 27 th year of the Hegira (622) to 875 e (1470); and this work finds that, in the most recent epochs, whenever the Nile is 14 cubits deep in its bed, there is a harvest and a provision for a year; that if he has 16, there is provision for two years; but below 14 and arriving at 18, there is a famine; which comes back exactly to Herodotus' story. The book I am quoting is Arabic, but its results are in everyone's hands; just look at the word Nilin d'Herbelot's Oriental Library, or extracts from Kâlkâchenda, in Doctor Shaw's Voyage.

The nature of cubits cannot be equivocal. Fréret, d'Anville and Bailly proved that the Egyptian cubit, always defined as 24 fingers, equaled 20 and a half of our inches[31]; and the current cubit, called drâa masri, is precisely divided into 24 fingers, and amounts to 20 and a half of our thumbs. But the columns used to measure the height of the river have undergone an alteration which should not be overlooked.

"In the early days that the Arabs occupied Egypt," said Kâlkâchenda, "they saw that when the Nile did not reach the end of its abundance, everyone hastened to make their provision for it. year; which immediately disturbed public order. A complaint was brought to the Kalif Omar, who ordered Amrou to examine the matter; and this is what Amrou told him: Having done the research which you have prescribed for us, we have found that when the Nile rises to 14 cubits, it provides a sufficient harvest for the year; that if it reaches 16 cubits, it is abundant; but at 12 and 18 it is bad. Now, this fact being known to the people through the customary proclamations, measures ensue which cause trouble in trade. "

Omar, to remedy this abuse, would perhaps have wanted to abolish the proclamations; but the thing not being practicable, he imagined, on the advice of Abu-taaleb, an expedient which came to the same end. Until then the measuring column, known as the nilometer[32], had been divided by cubits of 24 fingers; Omar had it destroyed, and, by substituting for it another established in the island of Rouda, he prescribed that the lower 12 cubits should be composed of 28 fingers instead of 24, while the upper cubits would remain as before at 24. Hence it happened that henceforth, when the Nile marked 12 cubits on the column, he really had 14; for these 12 cubits each having 4 fingers in excess, the result was an overabundance of 48 fingers or two cubits. So, when 14 cubits were proclaimed, the end of a sufficient harvest, the inundation was really at the degree of abundance: the multitude, everywhere deceived by the words, allowed themselves to be imposed. But this alteration could not have escaped the notice of Arab historians; and they added that the columns of Said or upper Egypt continued to be divided by 24 fingers; that the term 18 (old style) was always harmful; that 19 was very rare, and 20 almost a prodigy[33].

Nothing is therefore less constant than the alleged progression, and we can establish against it a first fact: that in a known period of 18 centuries, the state of the Nile has not changed. How? 'Or' What does it happen today that he is so different? How, since the year 1473, has it passed so suddenly from 15 to 22? This problem seems easy to me to solve. I will not seek the explanation of it in the physical facts, but in the accessories of the thing. It is not the Nile that has changed; it is the column, it is its dimensions. The mystery with which the Turks envelop it prevents most travelers from being sure; but Pocoke, who did manage to see her in 1739, reports that everything was confused and uneven in the cubit scale. He even observes that it seemed to him new, and this circumstance suggests that the Turks, in imitation of Omar, have allowed themselves a new alteration. Finally, there is one fact that removes all doubt in this regard: Niebuhr[34], we will suspect does not have imagined an observation that measured in 1762 the remains of flooding on a Djizé wall, found that on 1 st June, the Nile had dropped twenty-four feet from France. Now, twenty-four feet reduced to cubits, at the rate of twenty and a half inches each, is precisely fourteen cubits an inch. It is true that there are still eighteen days of decline; but by bringing them to half a cubit by an estimate of which Pocoke provides the terms of comparison,[35] we only have fourteen and a half cubits, which return exactly to the old calculation.

There is one last fact alleged by Savary, to which I cannot subscribe without restrictions either. " Since my stay in Egypt," he said, letter 1 st, p. 14, I circled the Delta twice, I even crossed it by the Menoufe canal. The river flowed at full bank in the great branches of Rosetta, Damietta, and in those which cross the interior of the country; but it did not overflow on the earth, except in low places, where the dikes were bled to water the rice-covered countryside. "

From there he concludes "that the Delta is presently in the most favorable situation for agriculture, because by losing the flood, this island has gained, each year, the three months that the Thebaid remains under water." Admittedly, nothing is stranger than this gain. If the Delta has gained by no longer being inundated, why have we always wanted flooding? - The bleeding makes up for it. “But we are wrong to compare the Delta to the marshes of the Seine. The water is flush with the ground only towards the sea; everywhere else it is lower than ground level, and the shore rises as much more than one goes up more. Finally, if I must cite my testimony, I certify that descending from Kaire to Rosette by the Menoufe canal, I observed, on September 26, 27 and 28, 1783, that, although the waters receded for more than fifteen days, the campaigns were still partially submerged, and they carried to the places discovered the traces of the flood. The fact alleged by Savary can therefore only be attributed to a bad flooding; and we must not believe that the raising has changed the state of the Delta[36], nor that the Egyptians were reduced to having no more water except by mechanical means, as expensive as they were limited.[37]

We have yet to resolve the difficulty of the eight cubits of Moeris, and I do not think it has any other causes. It seems that after this prince there came a revolution in measurements, and that of a cubit they made two. This conjecture is all the more probable, since in the time of Moeris, Egypt did not form a single kingdom; there were at least three from Aswan to the sea. Sesostris, who was posterior to Moeris, unites them by conquest. But after this prince, they returned to their division, which lasted until Psammetik. This revolution in measures would suit Sesostris very well, who brought about a general one in the government. It is he who establishes new laws and administration; who erected dikes and causeways to establish towns and villages, and to dig such a quantity of canals, says Herodotus,[38] that Egypt abandoned the wagons which it had hitherto used.

Besides, it is good to observe that the degrees of the inundation are not the same throughout Egypt. On the contrary, they follow a rule of gradual decrease as the river descends. In Asouan, the overflow is a sixth greater than in Kaire; and when in the latter city there are twenty-seven feet, scarcely are four in Rosetta and Damiat. The reason is that in addition to the mass of water absorbed by the land, the river, constricted in a single bed and in a narrow valley, rises more: when at On the contrary, it has passed the Kaire, no longer being contained by the mountains, and dividing itself into a thousand branches, it necessarily happens that its sheet loses in depth what it gains in surface.

It will doubtless be judged, from what I have said, that people too soon flattered themselves that they knew the precise terms of the enlargement and the raising of the Delta. But in rejecting illusory circumstances, I do not claim to deny the very substance of the facts; their existence is too well attested by reasoning and by inspection of the ground. For example, the raising of the ground seems to me to be proved by a fact on which little has been emphasized. When we go from Rosette to Kaire, in low water, as in March, we notice, as we go up, that the shore gradually rises above the water; so that if at Rosette it exceeds two feet in level, it exceeds it by three and four from Faoué, and more than twelve at Kaire[39]: however, by reasoning about this fact, we can draw the proof of an enhancement by deposit; because the layer of silt being in proportion to the thickness of the water tables which deposit it, it must be stronger or weaker, depending on whether these sheets are more or less deep, and we have seen that they observe a similar gradation from Aswan to the sea.

On the other hand, the expansion of the Delta is strikingly announced by the shape of Egypt on the Mediterranean. When we consider the projection on a map, we see that the land which is in the line of the river, this land formed of a foreign matter, has taken a semicircular projection, and that the lines of the Arabian shore and Africa that it overflows, have an inward direction towards the bottom of the Delta, which reveals that formerly this ground was a gulf which the time filled.

This filling, common to all rivers, was carried out by a mechanism which is also common to them: the waters of the rains and the snow rolling from the mountains into the valleys, do not cease to carry away the lands which they tear by their fall.. The heavy part of this debris, like pebbles and sands, soon stops, if a rapid current does not drive it away. But if the waters find only a fine and light soil, they take care of it in abundance, and roll the banks with ease. The Nile, which found such materials in Abissinia and interior Africa, used it to hasten its work; its waters are loaded with it, its bed is filled with it; often he even becomes embarrassed to the point of being embarrassed in his course. But when the flood gives him back his strength, he chases these banks towards the sea, at the same time as he brings others for the following season: arrived at its mouth, the mud piles up and forms strikes, because the slope does not give enough action aware, and because the sea forms an equilibrium of resistance. The ensuing stagnation forces the thin part, which until then had floated, to settle, and it is mainly deposited in places where there is less movement, such as the shores. Thus the coast is gradually enriched by the remains of the upper country of the Delta itself; for if the Nile takes away from Abissinia to give to the Thebaid, it takes away from the Thebaid to carry to the Delta, and from the Delta to carry to the sea. Wherever its waters have a current, it strips the same soil as it does enriches. When we go back to Kaire in low water, you can see the sharp edges everywhere, collapsing in sections. The Nile which undermines them by the foot, depriving their light ground of support, she falls into her bed. In large waters, it soaks up, dissolves; and when the sun and the drought return, it crumbles and crumbles again in large sections that the Nile carries along. This is how several canals were filled, and others widened, constantly raising the bed of the river. The busiest nowadays, the one that comes from This is how several canals have been filled in, and others have widened, constantly raising the bed of the river. The busiest nowadays, the one that comes from It is in this way that several canals have been filled in, and others have widened, constantly raising the bed of the river. The busiest nowadays, the one that comes from Nadir at the branch of Damiat, is in this case. This canal, first dug by human hands, has become similar to the Seine in several places. It even supplies the mother branch which goes from Batn el Baqara to Nadir, and which is filled to the point that if it is not disgorged, it will end up becoming solid ground: the reason is that the river constantly tends to straight line in which he has more strength; It is for this same reason that he preferred the Bolbitine branch, which was at first only a dummy channel, to the Canopic branch.[40].

From this mechanism of the river, it also results that the principal fillings must be made on the line of the greatest mouths and the strongest current; the appearance of the land conforms to this theory. Looking at the map, we see that the protrusion of the land is mainly in the direction of the branches of Rosette and Damiât. The lateral ground and the intermediary remained lake and marsh undivided between the continent and the sea, because the small canals which go there could only operate an imperfect filling. It is only with the greatest slowness that deposits and silts rise; doubtless even this means would never succeed in raising them above water, if it were not joined to them another more active agent, which is the sea. is she who works tirelessly to raise the level of the low shores above her own waters. Indeed, the waves coming to expire on the shore, grow the sand and the silt which they meet on arrival; their beating then accumulates this light dike, and gives it an uplift that it would never have taken in still waters. This fact is obvious to anyone who walks by the sea, on a low and shifting shore: but the sea must have no current on the beach; because if it loses in the places where it is in turmoil, it wins in those where it is in motion. When the strikes are finally on the water, the hands of men seize them. But instead of saying that it raises the level above the water, we should say that it lowers the level of the water below, since the canals that we dig, collect in small spaces the tablecloths that were spread over larger[41]. This is how the Delta must have formed with a slowness that took more centuries than we know of; but time is not lacking in nature[42].

There are certainly many things to do or to start over in this country; But, as I have already said, they have great difficulties. To overcome them, it would take time, skill and expense; in many respects even the incidental obstacles are more serious than those at the bottom. M. le Baron de Tott has made a recent test for the nilometer. In vain has he tried to seduce the guardians; in vain has he given and promised sequins to the criers, to obtain the true heights of the Nile; their contradictory reports have proved their bad faith or their common ignorance. It might be said that columns should be established in private houses; but these operations, simple in theory, are impossible in practice: we would expose ourselves to too serious risks. This very curiosity that the Franks carry with them, increasingly saddens the Turks. They think we blame their country; and what is happening on the part of the Russians, together with widespread prejudices, strengthens their suspicions. It is a general rumor in the empire at this time, that the predicted times have arrived; that the power and religion of the Muslims will be destroyed; that the Yellow King is coming to establish a new empire, etc. But it is time to take our ideas back.

I spend lightly on the season[43] of overflow, fairly well known; on its insensible and not sudden gradation like that of our rivers; on its diversities which show it sometimes weak and sometimes strong, sometimes even nil: a very rare case, but of which two or three examples are cited. All these objects are too well known to repeat them; we also know that the causes of these phenomena which were an enigma for the ancients[44], are no longer one for Europeans. Since their travelers have informed them that Abissinia and the adjacent part of Africa are inundated with rain in May, June and July, they have concluded, with reason, that it is these rains which, by the disposition of the land, flowing from a thousand rivers, gather in one valley, to come on distant shores offer the imposing spectacle of a body of water that takes three months to pass. We leave to the Greek physicists this action of the north or Etesian winds, which, by an alleged pressure, stopped the course of the river; it is even astonishing that they never admitted this explanation; for the wind acting only on the surface of the water, it does not prevent the bottom from obeying the slope. In vain have moderns put forward the example of the Mediterranean, which, by the duration of the easterly winds, discovers the coast of Syria a foot or a foot and a half, to cover the same quantity those of Spain and of Provence, and which, by westerly winds, operates the opposite: there is no comparison between a sea without slope and a river, between the tablecloth of the Mediterranean and that of the Nile.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:05 am

CHAPTER IV. Winds and their phenomena.

THESE northerly winds, which return every year at the same times, have a truer use, that of carrying a prodigious quantity of clouds to Abissinia. From April until July, we keep seeing them going up towards the south, and we would sometimes be tempted to expect rain; but this scorched earth asks them in vain for a benefit which must return to it in another form. It never rains in the Delta in summer; throughout the year itself it rains rarely, and in small quantities. The year 1761, observed by Niebuhr, was an extraordinary case that is still cited. The accidents which the rains caused in Lower Egypt, of which a multitude of villages, built of earth, collapsed, sufficiently prove that this abundance of water is regarded there as rare. It should also be noted that it rains all the less the more you go up towards the Saïd. Thus, it rains more often in Alexandria and Rosette than in Kaire, and in Kaire than in Minié. The rain is almost a miracle in Djirdjé. We inhabitants of humid countries do not understand how a country can survive without rain [45]; but in Egypt, besides the amount of water which the earth provides during the inundation, the dews which fall on summer nights are sufficient for vegetation. Watermelons, known in Marseilles under the name of watermelons, from the Arabic word battik, are a significant proof of this; for often they have nothing but dry dust on their feet; and yet their leaves are not lacking in freshness. These dews have in common with the rains that they are more abundant towards the sea, and weaker as they go away; and they differ from it in that they are less in winter, and stronger in summer. In Alexandria, as soon as the sun goes down in April, the clothes and the terraces are soaked as if it had rained. Like the rains again, these dews are strong or weak, due to the kind of wind that blows. The south and the south-east do not give any; the north brings a lot, and the west even more. These differences are easily explained when we observe that the first two come from the deserts of Africa and Arabia, where they do not find a drop of water; that the north, on the contrary, and the west drive over Egypt the evaporation of the Mediterranean, which they cross, one in its width, and the other in its entire length. I even find, by comparing my observations on this subject in Provence, Syria and Egypt, with those of Niebuhr in Arabia and Bombai, that this respective position of the seas and the continents is the cause of the various qualities of the same wind. which is rainy in one country, while it is always dry in the other; which greatly disturbs the systems of ancient and modern astrologers, on the influences of the planets.

Another equally remarkable phenomenon is the periodic return of each wind, and its appropriation, so to speak, in certain seasons of the year. Egypt and Syria offer in this genre a regularity worthy of attention.

In Egypt, when the sun approaches our areas, the winds which were held in the eastern parts, pass to the northern rumbs, and settle there. During June, they constantly blow north and northwest; this is also the real season of passage to the Levant, and a vessel may hope to drop anchor in Cypre or Alexandria on the fourteenth and sometimes the eleventh day of its departure from Marseilles. Winds continue to blow northerly in July, varying right and left from northwest to northeast. At the end of July, throughout the course of August and the middle of September, they settle down pure north, and they are moderate, more lively during the day, calmer at night; then even there reigns over the Mediterranean a general goodwill, which prolongs the returns to France until seventy and eighty days.

At the end of September, when the sun crosses the line, the winds return to the east, and without being fixed there, they blow more than any other rumb, except the north alone. The vessels take advantage of this season, which lasts all October and part of November, to return to Europe, and the crossings for Marseille are thirty to thirty-five days. As the sun moves to the other tropic, the winds become more variable, more tumultuous; their most constant regions are the north, northwest and west. They remain so in December, January and February, which, for Egypt as for us, is the winter season. Then the vapors of the Mediterranean, piled up and weighed down by the cold of the air, approach the land, and form mists and rains. At the end of February and in March, when the sun returns to the equator, the winds hold more midday rumbs than at any other time. It is in this last month, and during that of April, that we see the south-east, the pure south and the south-west reigning. They are mixed with west, north and east; this becomes the most usual at the end of April; and during May, it shares with the north the empire of the sea, and makes the returns to France even shorter than in the other equinox.


These southerly winds of which I have just spoken, have in Egypt the generic name of winds of fifty (days)[46], not that they last fifty consecutive days, but because they appear more frequently within 50 days of the equinox. Travelers made them known in Europe as the poisonous winds[47], or, more correctly, hot desert winds. Such is indeed their property; it is carried to such an excessive point that it is difficult to form an idea of ​​it without having experienced it; but one can compare the impression of it to that which one receives from the mouth of an ordinary oven, when one takes out the bread. When these winds start to blow, the air takes on a disturbing appearance. The sky, always so pure in these climates, becomes cloudy; the sun loses its brilliancy, and offers nothing more than a purplish disc. The air is not nebulous, but gray and powdery, and really it is full of a very loose dust which does not settle and which penetrates everywhere. This wind, always light and rapid, is not at first very hot; but as it lasts, it increases in intensity. Animated bodies recognize it promptly by the change they experience. The lung, which a too rarefied air no longer fills, contracts and torments. Breathing becomes short, labored; the skin is dry, and one is devoured by internal heat. No matter how much water we gorge ourselves, nothing restores the sweat. We seek in vain for freshness; the bodies which used to give it deceive the hand which touches them. Marble, iron, water, although the sun is veiled, are hot. So we desert the streets, and silence reigns as during the night. The inhabitants of towns and villages shut themselves up in their houses, and those of the desert in their tents or in wells dug in the earth, where they await the end of this kind of storm. Usually it lasts three days: if it passes, it becomes unbearable. Woe to travelers that such a wind surprises on the way far from any asylum! they undergo all the effect, which is sometimes carried to death. The danger is especially at the time of the gusts; then the speed increases the heat to the point of killing suddenly with singular circumstances; mofette, a name which indeed seems to suit this tune: it is moreover constant that it is more dangerous from Mossul to Baghdad than in any other place; which is attributed to the sulphurous and mineralogical quality of the country it traverses from the Euphrates. It is remarkable that it does not inconvenience the caravans which are then on the road from Damascus to Aleppo; in Baghdad, he is fatal on the minarets, on the terraces, on the bridge, and not in low places. If we add that immediately after death there is hemorrhage through the nose and mouth, that the corpse remains hot, swells, becomes blue, and tears easily, it will appear more and more probable that this murderous air is flammable air, in some cases charged with sulfurous acid.

Another quality of this wind is its extreme drought; it is such that the water with which we sprinkle an apartment evaporates in a few minutes. By this extreme aridity, it withers and strips the plants; and by pumping too suddenly the emanation of animate bodies, it tenses the skin, closes the pores, and causes that feverish heat which accompanies all suppressed perspiration.

These hot winds are not peculiar to Egypt; they take place in Syria, however more on the coast and in the desert than on the mountains. Niebuhr found them in Arabia, in Bombai, in the Diarbekr; it is also experienced in Persia, Africa, and even Spain: everywhere their effects are similar, but their direction differs from place to place. In Egypt, the most violent comes from the south-southwest; at the Mekke it comes from the east; to Surate, from the north; in Barsa, from the north-west; in Baghdad, from the west; and in Syria, from the south-east. This contrast, which is embarrassing at first glance, becomes at the thinking how to solve the riddle. By examining the geographical sites, we find that it is always from the deserted continents that the hot wind comes; and indeed, it is natural that the air which covers the immense plains of Libya and Arabia, finding there no streams, neither lakes, nor forests, is heated there by the action of a sun fiery, by the reflection of the sand, and assumes the degree of heat and drought of which it is capable. If any cause arises which determines a current to this mass, it rushes into it, and carries with it the astonishing qualities which it has acquired. It is so true that these qualities are due to the action of the sun on the sands, that these same winds do not have the same intensity in all seasons. In Egypt, for example, it is assured that the southerly winds, in December and January, are as cold as the north; and the reason is that the sun, passed to the other tropic, no longer sets northern Africa ablaze, and that Abissinia, so mountainous, is covered with snow: the sun must have approached the equator to produce these phenomena. For a similar reason, the south has a much less effect in Cyprus, where it arrives cooled by the vapors of the Mediterranean. In this island, it is the north that replaces it; they complain that in summer it is unbearably hot, while it is freezing in winter: which obviously results from Asia Minor, which, in summer, is North Africa more ablaze, and Abissinia, so mountainous, is covered with snow: the sun must have approached the equator to produce these phenomena. For a similar reason, the south has a much less effect in Cyprus, where it arrives cooled by the vapors of the Mediterranean. In this island, it is the north that replaces it; they complain that in summer it is unbearably hot, while it is freezing in winter: which obviously results from Asia Minor, which, in summer, is North Africa more ablaze, and Abissinia, so mountainous, is covered with snow: the sun must have approached the equator to produce these phenomena. For a similar reason, the south has a much less effect in Cyprus, where it arrives cooled by the vapors of the Mediterranean. In this island, it is the north that replaces it; they complain that in summer it is unbearably hot, while it is freezing in winter: which obviously results from Asia Minor, which, in summer, is In this island, it is the north that replaces it; they complain that in summer it is unbearably hot, while it is freezing in winter: which obviously results from Asia Minor, which, in summer, is In this island, it is the north that replaces it; they complain that in summer it is unbearably hot, while it is freezing in winter: which obviously results from Asia Minor, which, in summer, is ablaze, while in winter it is covered with ice. Besides, this subject offers a host of problems calculated to pique the curiosity of a physicist. Wouldn't it be interesting to know:

1. Where does this relation of the seasons and the course of the sun come from to the species of winds and to the regions from which they blow?

2. Why, throughout the Mediterranean, the northern rumbs are the most usual, to the point that over 12 months we can say that they reign 9?

3. Why do easterly winds return so regularly after the equinoxes, and why at this time there is usually a stronger gale?

4. Why the dews are more abundant in summer than in winter; and why the clouds being an effect of the evaporation of the sea, and the evaporation being stronger in summer than in winter, there are however more clouds in winter than in summer?

5. Finally, why is rain so rare in Egypt, and why the clouds prefer to go to Abissinia?

But it's time to complete the physical painting that I started.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:06 am

CHAPTER V. On climate and air.

The climate of Egypt rightly passes for very hot, since in July and August the thermometer of Réaumur is maintained, in the most temperate apartments, at 24 and 25 degrees above the ice [48]. At Said, it rises even higher, although I cannot say anything specific in this regard. The proximity of the sun, which in summer is almost perpendicular, is undoubtedly a primary cause of this heat; but when we consider that other countries, at the same latitude, are cooler, we consider that there is a second cause as powerful as the first, which is the low level of the ground above the sea. Because of this temperature, we can only distinguish two seasons in Egypt, spring and summer, that is to say, coolness and heat. This second state lasts from March until November, and even from the end of February the sun, at nine in the morning, is not bearable for a European. Throughout this season, the air is ablaze, the sky sparkling, and the heat oppressive for bodies that are not used to it. Under the lightest clothes, and in the state of the greatest rest, one melts in sweat. It becomes even if necessary, that the slightest suppression is a disease; so that instead of ordinary salvation, how are you? one should say: How do you sweat? The distance from the sun tempers the heat a little. The vapors of the earth, watered by the Nile, and those brought by the westerly and northerly winds, absorbing the fire spread in the air, provide a pleasant coolness, and even stinging cold, if one wanted to believe the natives and some European traders; but the Egyptians, almost naked and accustomed to sweating, shiver at the slightest coolness. The thermometer, which stands at its lowest in February at 9 and 8 degrees Reaumur above the ice, fixes our ideas in this regard, and we can say that snow and hail are phenomena that such an Egyptian fifty years has never seen. As for our merchants, they owe their sensitivity to the abuse of furs; it is carried to the point that in winter they often have two or three fox envelopes, and that in the heat of June they keep ermine or squirrel; they claim that the coolness one experiences in the shade is an indispensable reason; and indeed the currents of the north and the west, which almost always reign, establish a rather great freshness wherever the sun does not give: but the secret and truer knot is that the pelisse is the braid of the Turkie and the favorite luxury item; it is the sign of opulence, the label of dignity, because the investiture of important places is always confirmed by the present of a pelisse, as if one wanted to say to the man that one clothes, that he is now great enough lord to only worry about sweating.

With these heat and the marshy state which lasts three months, one could believe that Egypt is an unhealthy country: that was my first thought when arriving there; and when I saw the houses of our merchants in Kaire seated along the Kalidi, where the water stagnated until April, I thought that the exhalations must have caused them many illnesses; but their experience deceives this theory: the emanations of stagnant waters, so deadly in Cyprus and Alexandretta, do not have this effect in Egypt. The reason seems to me due to the habitual dryness of the air, established, and by the vicinity of Africa and Arabia, which constantly suck moisture, and by the perpetual currents of the winds which pass barrier-free. This dryness is such that the meats exposed, even in summer, to the north wind, do not putrefy, but dry out and harden like wood. The deserts offer corpses thus dried up, which have become so light that a man can easily lift the entire frame of a camel with one hand.[49].

To this drought, the air joins a saline state, the proof of which is everywhere. The stones are eaten away with natron, and in damp places we find long crystallized needles which one would take for saltpetre. The wall of the Jesuit garden at Kaire, built with bricks and earth, is covered everywhere with a crust of this natron, as thick as a 6-pound shield; and when we flooded the squares of this garden with the water of the Kalidj, we see, in retreat, the earth shining on all sides with white crystals that the water certainly did not bring, since it does not give no hint of salt to taste and distillation.

It is undoubtedly this property of air and earth, joined to heat, which gives vegetation an almost incredible activity in our cold climates. Wherever plants have water, their developments take place with prodigious rapidity. Anyone who goes to Kaire or Rosetta will find that the species of squash called qara, grows veins almost 4 inches long in 24 hours. But an important observation, with which I end, is that this soil appears exclusive and intolerant. Foreign plants degenerate there quickly: this fact is noted by daily observations. Our traders are obliged to renew the seeds every year, and to bring cauliflowers, beets, carrots and salsify from Malta. These sown seeds succeed very well at first; but if we then sow the seeds which they produce, only etiolated plants result. The same thing happened with the apricots, pears and peaches that were transported to Rosette. The vegetation of this land seems too abrupt to nourish the spongy and fleshy tissues well; nature would have to get used to it by gradation.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:10 am


FIRST CHAPTER. Of the various races of the inhabitants of Egypt.

In the midst of the revolutions which have not ceased to agitate the fortunes of the peoples, there are few countries which have preserved their natural and primitive inhabitants pure and unadulterated. Everywhere this same cupidity which leads individuals to encroach on their respective properties, has aroused nations against each other: the outcome of this clash of interests and forces has been to introduce into the states a victorious foreigner, who, sometimes an insolent usurper, has stripped the vanquished nation of the domain which nature had granted it; and sometimes a more timid or more civilized conqueror, contented himself with participating in advantages that his native soil had refused him. In this way, various races of inhabitants have established themselves in the states, who sometimes, approaching manners and interests, have mingled their blood; but who, more often than not, divided by political or religious prejudices, have lived together on the same soil without ever being confused. In the first case, the races, losing by their mixture the characters which distinguished them, formed a homogeneous people in which we no longer saw the traces of the revolution. In the second, remaining distinct, their perpetuated differences have become a monument which has survived the centuries, and which can, in some cases, make up for the silence of history.

This is the case with Egypt: taken 23 centuries from its natural owners, it has seen Persians, Macedonians, Romans, Greeks, Arabs, Georgians, and finally this race settle successively in its midst. of Tartars known as the Ottoman Turks. Among so many peoples, several have left vestiges of their passage there; but as in their succession they have mingled, a confusion has resulted which makes it less easy to know the character of each. However, we can still distinguish among the population of Egypt four main races of inhabitants.

The 1st and most widespread is that of the Arabs, which must be divided into 3 classes: 1 ° The posterity of those who, during the invasion of this country by Amrou, the year 640, rushed from the Hedjâz and from all parts of Arabia to settle in this country justly praised by its abundance. Everyone hastened to own land there, and soon the Delta was filled with these foreigners, to the detriment of the vanquished Greeks. This first race, which has been perpetuated in the current class of fellahs or laborers and craftsmen, has retained its original physiognomy; but it has taken on a larger and larger size: a natural effect of a food more abundant than that of the deserts. In general the peasants of Egypt reach 5 feet 4 inches; several go to 5 feet 6 and 7; their bodies are muscular without being fat, and robust as befits men hardened by fatigue. Their sun-tanned skin is almost black; but their faces are nothing shocking. Most of them have a beautiful oval head, a broad and advanced forehead, and under a black eyebrow a black eye, sunken and shining; the nose large enough, without being aquiline; the well-cut mouth and still beautiful teeth. The inhabitants of the cities, more mixed, have a less uniform, less pronounced physiognomy. Those of the villages, on the contrary, do not

2. A second class of Arabs is that of Africans or Westerners[50], who came on various occasions and under various leaders to meet at the first; like her, they are descended from the Muslim conquerors who drove the Greeks from Mauritania; like her, they practice agriculture and trades; but they are more especially widespread in Said, where they have villages and even particular princes.

3. The 3th class is the Bedouins or men deserts[51], known to the ancients under the name of Scenites, that is to say, living in tents. Among these, some, dispersed by families, inhabit rocks, caves, ruins and remote places where there is water; the others, gathered by tribes, camp in low, smoky tents, and spend their lives in a perpetual journey. Sometimes in the desert, sometimes on the banks of the river, they are attached to the land only as much as the interests of their safety or the subsistence of their herds attach them to it. There are tribes which, each year, after the inundation, arrive from the bosom of Africa to take advantage of the new grasses, and which in spring retreat into the desert; others are stable in Egypt, and rent land there which they sow and change annually. All of them observe agreed limits which they do not cross, under penalty of war. All of them have roughly the same kind of life, the same customs, the same customs. Ignorant and poor, the Bedouins retain an original character, distinct from the nations that surround them. Peaceful in their camp, they are everywhere else in a habitual state of war. The ploughmen, whom they plunder, hate them; the travelers, whom they rob, slander them; the Turks, who fear them, divide and corrupt them. It is estimated that their tribes in Egypt could train thirty thousand horsemen; but these forces are so dispersed and disunited that they are treated there like thieves and vagabonds.

A second race of inhabitants is that of the Copts, called in Arabic el Qoubt. We find several families in the Delta; but the great number live in Said, where they sometimes occupy entire villages. History and tradition attest that they descend from the people despoiled by the Arabs, that is to say from this mixture of Egyptians, Persians, and especially Greeks who, under the Ptolemies and the Constantines, have so long possessed the Egyte. They differ from the Arabs by their religion, which is Christianity; but they are still distinct from Christians by their sect, which is that of Eutyches. Their adherence to the theological views of this man drew persecutions on their part from the other Greeks which made them irreconcilable. When the Arabs conquered the country, they took the opportunity to weaken each other. The Copts ended up expelling their rivals; and as they have always known the internal administration of Egypt, they have become the custodians of the land and tribal registers. Under the name of writers, they are in Kaire the stewards, the secretaries and the contractors of the government and the beks. These writers, despised by the Turksthat they serve, and hated by the peasants whom they vex, form a sort of body of which the writer of the principal commander is head. It is he who has all the jobs in this party, which, in the spirit of this government, he grants only at a price of money.

It is claimed that the name Copts comes from the city of Coptos, where they withdrew, it is said, during the persecutions of the Greeks; but I believe it has a more natural and older origin. The Arabic term Qoubti, a Copt, seems to me an obvious alteration of the Greek Ai-goupti-os, an Egyptian; because we must notice that it was pronounced there or among the ancient Greeks, and that the Arabs having neither g before aou, nor the letter p, always replace these letters by q and b: the Copts are therefore properly the representatives of the Egyptians[52]; and there is a singular fact which makes this meaning even more probable. Looking at the faces of many of this breed, I found a particular character there that caught my attention: all of them have a yellowish, smoky skin tone, which is neither Greek nor Arab; all have a puffy face, a swollen eye, a crushed nose, a thick lip; in short, a true mulatto figure. I was tempted to attribute it to the climate[53], when, having visited the Sphinx, his appearance gave me the word of the enigma. Seeing this face characterized as negro in all its features, I remembered this remarkable passage of Herodotus, where he says[54]: For me, I consider the Colches to be a colony of the Egyptians, because, like them, they have black skin and frizzy hair; that is, that the ancient Egyptians were true negroes of the species of all natives of Africa[55]; and therefore we explain how their blood, allied for several centuries to that of the Romans and Greeks, must have lost the intensity of its first color, while retaining the imprint of its original mold. We can even give this observation a very general scope, and postulate in principle that the physiognomy is a sort of monument proper in many cases to establish or clarify the testimonies of history, on the origins of peoples. Among us, a lapse of nine hundred years has not been able to erase the nuance that distinguished the inhabitants of Gaul, from these men of the North, who, under Charles-le-Gros, came to occupy the richest of our provinces. Travelers who go by sea from Normandy to Denmark speak with surprise of the brotherly resemblance of the inhabitants of these two regions, preserved despite the distance of places and times. The same observation occurs when we go from Franconia to Burgundy; and if one traversed France, England or any other country with attention, one would find there the traces of emigrations written on the faces of the inhabitants. Do the Jews not wear indelible ones wherever they are? In states where the nobility represents a foreign people introduced by conquest, if this nobility has not allied itself with the natives, its individuals have a particular imprint. Kalmucan blood still stands out in India; someone had studied the various nations of Europe and northern Asia, he might find analogies that have been forgotten.

But returning to Egypt, the fact that it returns to history offers many reflections for philosophy. What a subject for meditation, to see the current barbarism and ignorance of the Copts, resulting from the alliance of the deep genius of the Egyptians and the brilliant mind of the Greeks; to think that this race of black men, today our slave and the object of our contempt, is the very one to which we owe our arts, our sciences, and even the use of speech; finally imagine that it is in the midst of the peoples who claim to be the most friends of freedom and humanity, that the most barbarous of slavery has been sanctioned, and put in question whether black men have an intelligence of the white species !

Language is another monument whose indications are neither less correct nor less instructive. The one that the Copts used before, agrees to note the facts that I establish. On the one hand, the shape of their letters and most of their words show that the Greek nation, in a stay of a thousand years, strongly imprinted its imprint on Egypt.[56]; but on the other hand, the Coptic alphabet has five letters, and the dictionary a lot of words which are like the debris and remains of ancient Egyptian. These words, critically examined, have a sensitive analogy to the idioms of ancient adjacent peoples, such as Arabs, Ethiopians, Syrians and even those bordering on the Euphrates; and we can establish as a certain fact that all these languages ​​were only dialects derived from a common fund. For more than three centuries, that of the Copts fell into disuse; the conquering Arabs, disdaining the idiom of the conquered peoples, imposed on them with their yoke, the obligation to learn their language. This same requirement became law when, at the end of the first century of the hedjire the caliph Ouâled I st prohibited the Greek language in all its empire: from this moment the Arabic took a universal ascendancy; and the other languages, relegated to books, survived only for scholars who neglected them. Such was the fate of the Copt in devotional and church books, the only ones known where he exists: priests and monks no longer hear him; and in Egypt as in Syria, Muslim or Christian, everything speaks Arabic and hears only this language.

Observations arise on this subject which, in geography and history, are not without importance. Travelers, dealing with the countries they have seen, are in use and often in the obligation to quote words of the language spoken there. It is an obligation, for example, if it concerns the proper names of peoples, men, towns, rivers and other objects peculiar to the country; but from there arose the abuse, which transporting the words from one language to another, they were disfigured to make them unrecognizable. This has happened above all to the countries I am dealing with; and this resulted in incredible chaos in the history and geography books. An Arab who knows French would not recognize ten words of his language in our cards, and we ourselves, when we have learned it, experience the same drawback. It has several causes.

1. The ignorance in which most travelers are of the Arabic language, and especially of its pronunciation; and this ignorance has caused their ear, new to foreign sounds, to make a vicious comparison of the sounds of their own language.

2. The nature of several pronunciations which have no analogies in the language in which they are transported. We experience it every day in the theatrics of the English and in the jota of the Spaniards: anyone who has not heard them cannot form an idea of ​​it; but it is much worse with the Arabs, whose language has three vowels and seven to eight consonants foreign to Europeans. How to paint them to preserve their nature, and not not to be confused with others who make different meanings[57] ?

3. Finally, a third cause of disorder is the conduct of writers in the drafting of card books. Borrowing their knowledge from all the Europeans who traveled to the East, they adopted the spelling of proper names, as they found it in each; but they did not take care that the various nations of Europe, also using Roman letters, gave them different values. For example, the u of the Italians is not our u, but or; their gh, is not ge, but ford; their c, is not cé, but tché: hence an apparent diversity of words which are however the same. This is how the one to be written in French, chaik or chêk, is written in turn schek[58], shekh, schech, sciek, depending on whether it is taken from English, German or Italian, for whom these combinations of sh, sch, sc, are only our che. The Poles would write szech, and the Spaniards, chej; this final difference, j, ch, and kh, comes from the fact that the Arabic letter is the Spanish jota, German ch[59], which does not exist among the English, the French and the Italians. It is again for similar reasons that the English write Rooda, the island that the Italians write Ruda, and that we must pronounce like the Arabs, Rouda; that Pocoke writes haramme, for harami, a thief; that Niebuhr writes dsjebel, for djebel, a mountain; that d'Anville, who used much English memories, wrote Shâm for Châm, Syria, wadi for ouâdi, a valley, and a thousand other examples.

By this, as I said, a spelling disorder has entered which confuses everything; and if this is not remedied, it will result for the modern, the inconvenience of which one complains for the old. It is with their ignorance of barbarian languages, and with their mania to bend the sounds to their liking, that the Greeks and Romans made us lose track of the original names, and deprived us of a precious means of recognize the old state in the one that remains. Our language, like theirs, has this delicacy; it distorts everything, and our ear rejects as barbarian all that is unusual to it. Doubtless it is useless to introduce new sounds; but it would be about to get closer to those we translate, and to assign to them, as representatives, those closest to our own, adding to them agreed signs. If each people did the same, the nomenclature would become one, like its models[60]; and it would be a first step towards an operation which is becoming day by day more pressing and easier, a general alphabet which can be suitable for all languages, or at least for those of Europe. In the course of this work, I will quote as few Arabic words as possible; but when I have to, don't be surprised if I often stray from the spelling of most travelers. Judging from what they wrote, it does not appear that any have grasped the true elements of the Arabic alphabet, nor known the principles to be followed in the translation of words to our writing.[61]. I come back to my subject.

A third race of inhabitants in Egypt is that of the Turks, who are the rulers of the country, or which at least have the title. Originally, this name Turk was not peculiar to the nation to which we apply it; it generally designated peoples spread to the east and even to the north of the Caspian Sea, to beyond Lake Aral, in the vast regions which took from them their name of Tourk-estan[62]. These are the same peoples of whom the ancient Greeks spoke under the name of Parthians, Massagetes, and even Scythians, to which we have substituted that of Tartars. Pastors and vagabonds like the Bedouin Arabs, they have shown themselves, in all times, fierce and formidable warriors. Neither Kyrus nor Alexander could subjugate them; but the Arabs were happier. About eighty years after Mahomet, they entered, by order of Caliph Ouâled I, in the countries of the Turks, and made them know their religion and their weapons. They even imposed tributes on them; but anarchy having crept into the empire, the rebel governors used them to resist the kaliphs, and they were mixed up in all matters. They were not long in gaining an ascendancy there which derived from their way of life. In fact, always in tents, always with weapons in hand, they formed a warrior people, and a broken militia. to all combat maneuvers. They were divided, like the Bedouins, into tribes or camps, called in their Ordu language, of which we have made a horde, to designate their peoples. These tribes, allied or divided among themselves for their interests, constantly had more or less general wars; and it is because of this state that we see in their history several peoples also called Turks, attacking, destroying and expelling each other in turn. To avoid confusion, I will reserve the name of Turks proper to those of Constantinople, and I will call Turkmans those who preceded them.

A few hordes of Turkmans having therefore been introduced into the Arab Empire, they soon succeeded in making the law to those who had called them as allies or as stipendiaries. The kaliphs themselves made a remarkable experience. Motazzam[63], Almamoun's brother and successor, having taken a body of Turkmans for his guard, was forced to leave Baghdad because of their disorders. After him, their power and their insolence increased to the point where they became the arbiters of the throne and the life of the princes; they massacred three in less than three years. The kaliphs, delivered from this first tutelage, did not become wiser. Around 935, Radi-b'ellah[64] having again placed his authority in the hands of a Turkman, his successors fell back into the first chains; and under the care of the emirs-el-omara, they were no more than ghosts of power. It was in the disorders of this anarchy that a crowd of Turkman hordes entered the empire, and that they founded various independent states, more or less temporary, in Kerman, Korasan, Iconium, Aleppo, Damascus and in Egypt.

Until then the current Turks, distinguished by the name of Ogouzians, had remained to the east of the Caspian and towards the Djihoun; but in the early years of the 13 th century, Djenkiz Khan who brought all the tribes of Upper Tartary against the princes of Balk and Samarkand, the Ogouzians not thought proper to wait for the Moguls: they went under the command of their chief Suleiman, and driving their flocks before them, they came (in 1214) to encamp in Aderbedjân, to the number of fifty thousand horsemen. The Mughals followed them there, and pushed them further west into Armenia. Soliman having drowned (in 1220) while wanting to cross the Euphrates on horseback, Ertogrul his son took the command of the hordes, and advanced in the plains of Asia Minor, where abundant pastures attracted his flocks. The good conduct of this chief procured for him in these countries a strength and a consideration which made seek his alliance by other princes. Of this number was the Turkman Ala-el-din, sultan at Iconium. This Ala-el-din seeing himself old and worried by the Tartars of Djenkiz-Kan, granted lands to the Turks of Ertogrul, and even made him general of all his troops. Ertogrul responded to the confidence of the Sultan, defeated the Mughals, acquired more and more credit and power, and transmitted them to his son Osman, who received from an Ala-el-din, successor of the first, the Qofetân, the drum and the ponytails, symbols of command among all the Tartars. It was this Osman who, to distinguish his Turks from others, wanted them to bear his name henceforth, and that they be called Osmanles, whom we have made Ottomans[65]. This new name soon became formidable to the Greeks of Constantinople, on whom Osman invaded lands considerable enough to make it a powerful kingdom. Soon he gave him the title, taking himself, in 1300, the quality of soltân, which means absolute sovereign. We know how his successors, heirs to his ambition and his activity, continued to grow at the expense of the Greeks; how day day by day, taking from them provinces in Europe and Asia, they tightened them even within the walls of Constantinople; and how finally Mahomet II, son of Amurat, having carried this city in 1453, annihilated this offspring of the empire of Rome. So the Turks, finding themselves free from European affairs, transferred their ambition to the southern provinces. Bagdâd, subjugated by the Tartars, had no more kaliphs for two hundred years[66]; but a new power formed in Persia had succeeded part of their domains. Another, formed in Egypt as early as the tenth century, and then subsisting under the name of Mamlouks, had detached Syria and the Diarbekr from it. The Turks set out to strip these rivals. Bayazid, son of Mahomet, carried out part of this design against the sofi of Persia, by seizing Armenia; and Selim his son completed him against the Mamlouks. This sultan having attracted them near Aleppo in 1517, under the pretext of helping him in the Persian war, suddenly turned his arms against them, and immediately took away Syria and Egypt, where he pursued them. From that moment the blood of the Turks was introduced into this country; but it did not spread much in the villages. Almost only in Kaire are individuals of this nation: they exercise the arts there, and occupy the posts of religion and war. Before they joined all the places of government; but for about thirty years, there has been a tacit revolution which, without depriving them of the title, has robbed them of the reality of power.

This revolution was the work of a fourth and last race, of which it remains for us to speak. Its individuals, all born at the foot of the Caucasus, are distinguished from other inhabitants by the blond color of their hair, foreign to the natives of Egypt. It is this species of men that our crusaders found there in the thirteenth century, and that they called Mamelus, or more correctly Mamlouks. After remaining almost wiped out for two hundred and thirty years under the rule of the Ottomans, they found a way to regain their dominance. The history of this militia, the facts which brought it for the first time to Egypt, the way in which it was perpetuated and reestablished there, finally its kind of government, are political phenomena so bizarre, that it is necessary to give a few pages to their development.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:11 am

CHAPTER II. Precise of the history of the Mamlouks.

THE Greeks of Constantinople, degraded by a despotic and bigoted government, had seen, in the course of the seventh century, the most beautiful provinces of their empire become the prey of a new people. The Arabs, exalted by the fanaticism of Mahomet, and even more by the delirium of pleasures hitherto unknown, had conquered, in eighty years, all of northern Africa as far as the Canaries, and all of southern Africa. 'Asia to the Indus and the Tartar deserts. But the book of the prophet, which taught the method of ablution, fasting and prayers, had not learned the science of legislation, nor those principles of natural morality, which are the basis of empires and societies. The Arabs knew how to conquer and in no way to govern: so the shapeless edifice of their power was not long in collapsing. The vast empire of the Kaliphs, passed from despotism to anarchy, was dismembered on all sides. The temporal governors, disillusioned with the holiness of their spiritual leader, set themselves up everywhere as sovereigns, and formed independent states. Egypt was not the last to follow this example; but it was not until 969 [67] that a regular power was established there, whose princes, under the name of kalifes fâtmîtes, contested with those of Bagdad for the title of their dignity. The latter, at that time, deprived of their authority by the Turkmen militia, were no longer able to repress these claims. Thus the Kaliphs of Egypt remained peaceful masters of this rich country, and they could have formed a powerful state. But the whole history of the Arabs agrees that this nation has never known the science of government. The rulers of Egypt, despots like those of Bagdad, walked by the same roads to the same destiny. They got involved in sectarian quarrels, they even made new ones, and persecuted in order to have proselytes. One of them, named Hâkem-b'amr-ellâh [68], had the extravagance of being recognized as an incarnate god, and the barbarity of setting fire to Kaire to get rid of boredom. Others dissipated public funds with bizarre luxury. The trampled people disliked them; and their courtiers, emboldened by their weakness, aspired to despoil them. Such was the case of Adhad-el-dîn, the last offspring of this race. After an invasion of the Crusaders, who had imposed a tribute on him, one of his generals, deposed, threatened to take away a power of which he showed himself little worthy. Feeling unable to resist on his own, and without hope in his nation he had alienated, he resorted to foreigners. In vain the reasoning and the experience of all times dictated to him that these foreigners, custodians of his person, would also be its masters; a first imprudence necessitated a second: he summoned a race of Turkmans and Kurds who had made a state in northern Syria, and he implored Nour-el-dîn, ruler of Aleppo, who was already devouring the Egypt, hastened to send an army there. It effectively delivered Adhad from the tribute of the Franks and from the claims of its general; but the caliph only changed his enemies: he was left only the shadow of power; and Selâh-el-dîn, who took command of the troops in 1171, ended up having him strangled. Thus the Arabs of Egypt were subjected to foreigners, whose princes began a new dynasty in the person of Selâh-el-dîn.

While these things were happening in Egypt, while the crusaders of Europe were being driven out of Syria for their disorders, extraordinary movements were preparing other revolutions in upper Asia. Djenkiz-Kan, who became the sole leader of almost all the Tartar hordes, was only waiting for the moment to invade the neighboring states: an insult to merchants under his protection determined his march against the Sultan of Balk and the east of Persia. So, that is to say around 1218, these regions became the scene of one of the bloodiest calamities mentioned in the history of the conquerors. The Mughals, iron and flame in hand, plundering, slaughtering, burning, without distinction of age or sex, reduced the whole country from Sihoun to the Tigris in a desert of ashes and bones. Having crossed north of the Caspian, they pushed their devastation into Russia and Cuban. It was this expedition, which arrived in 1227, whose consequences introduced the Mamlouks into Egypt. The Tartars, weary of slaughtering their throats, had brought back a crowd of young slaves of both sexes; their camps and the markets of Asia were full of them. The successors ofSelâh-el-dîn, who, as Turkmans, kept connections to the Caspian, saw in this meeting an opportunity to form inexpensively a militia whose beauty and courage they knew. Around the year 1230, one of them bought up to 12,000 young people who found themselves Cherkâsses, Mingreliens and Abazans. He had them brought up in military exercises, and in a short time he had a legion of the finest and the best soldiers in Asia, but also of the most mutinous, as he was not long in testing. Soon this militia, similar to the Praetorian Guards, made him the law. She was even more daring under her successor, whom she deposed. Finally, in 1250, shortly after the disaster of Saint Louis, these soldiers killed the last Turkman prince, and replaced him with one of their leaders, with the title of sultan.[69], keeping for them that of Mamlouks, which means a military slave[70].

Such is the militia of slaves turned despots, which for several centuries has governed the destinies of Egypt. From the outset, the effects corresponded to the means: without a social contract between them other than the interest of the moment, without public right with the nation other than that of conquest, the Mamlouks had as a rule of conduct and government only violence. of a frantic and rude soldiery. The first leader they elected, having occupied this turbulent spirit in the conquest of Syria, he obtained a reign of 17 years; but since him not a single one has reached this term. Iron, cordon, poison, public murder or private assassination, have been the fate of a series of tyrants, of which there are 47 in a space of 257 years. Finally, in 1517, Selim, sultan of the Ottomans, having taken and hanged Toumâm-bek, their last leader, put an end to this dynasty[71].

According to the principles of Turkish policy, Selim was to exterminate the entire body of the Mamlouks; but a more refined view this time made it deviate from use. He felt, by establishing a pasha in Egypt, that the removal from the capital would become a great temptation to revolt, if he confided to him the same authority as in the other provinces. To overcome this inconvenience, he combined a form of administration such that the powers, shared between several bodies, kept a balance which kept them all in their dependence: the portion of the Mamlouks who escaped from his first massacre appeared to him to be suitable for this purpose.. He therefore established a diouan, or council of regency, which was made up of the pasha and the heads of the 7 bodies. military. The Pasha's office was to notify this council of the Porte's orders, to pass the tribute, to watch over the security of the country against external enemies, to oppose the enlargement of the various parties; for their part, the members of the council had the right to reject the pasha's orders, giving reasons for the refusals; to even deposit it, and to ratify all civil or political ordinances. As for the Mamlouks, it was decided that the 24 governors or beks of the provinces would be taken from among them: they were entrusted with the task of containing the Arabs, watching over the collection of tributes and all the internal police; but their authority was purely passive, and they were only to be the instruments of the will of the council. One of them, residing in Kaire,chaik-el-beled[72], which should be translated as governor of the city, in a purely civilian sense, that is to say, without any military power.

The sultan also established tributes, part of which was intended to bribe 20,000 footmen and a body of 12,000 horsemen, residing in the country: the other, to provide Mekke and Medina with provisions of wheat which they lacked; and the third, to increase the kazne or treasury of Constantinople, and to support the luxury of the seraglio. Of However, the people, who were to meet these expenses, were counted, as Savary very well observed, as a passive agent, and remained subject as before to all the rigor of a military despotism.

This form of government did not respond badly to Selim's intentions, since it lasted more than two centuries; but for 50 years, the Porte having slackened in its vigilance, novelties have been introduced whose effect has been to multiply the Mamlouks; to transfer wealth and credit into their hands, and finally, to give them an ascendancy over the Ottomans which reduced their power to little. To conceive of this revolution, it is necessary to know by what means the Mamlouks were perpetuated and multiplied in Egypt.

Seeing them subsist in this country for several centuries, one would think that they were reproduced there by the ordinary route of generation; but if their first establishment was a singular fact, their perpetuation is another which is no less bizarre. In the 550 years that there have been Mamlouks in Egypt, not a single one has given any surviving lineage; there is no family in the second generation: all their children perish in the first or second age. The Ottomans are almost in the same case, and it is observed that they only guarantee this by marrying native women, this that the Mamlouks have always despised[73]. Let us explain why well constituted men, married to healthy women, cannot naturalize on the banks of the Nile a blood formed at the feet of the Caucasus, and let us remember that the plants of Europe also refuse to maintain there their species; we may hesitate to believe this double phenomenon; but it is nonetheless constant, and it does not appear new; the ancients have observations which are analogous to it: thus, when Hippocrates[74] says that among the Scythians and the Egyptians, all individuals are alike, and that these two nations are unlike any other; when he adds that in the country of these two peoples, the climate, the seasons, the elements and the terrain have a uniformity which they do not have elsewhere, is this not recognizing this kind of intolerance of which I speak? When such countries imprint such a special character on what belongs to them, is this not a reason to reject all that is foreign to them? It seems then that the only means of naturalization for animals and for plants is to establish an affinity with the climate, by allying with native species; and the Mamlouks, as I said, refused. The means which perpetuated and multiplied them is therefore the same which established them there; that is, they were regenerated by slaves transported from their original country. Since the Moguls, this trade has not stopped on the banks of the Kuban and the Phase[75]; as in Africa, he talks there, and by the wars that the many tribes of these countries are waging, and by the misery of the inhabitants who sell their own children for live. These slaves of both sexes, first transported to Constantinople, are then spread throughout the empire, where they are bought by the rich people. The Turks, by seizing Egypt, should undoubtedly have prohibited this dangerous commodity there: not having done so, they attracted the reverse which today dispossesses them; this setback was long prepared by several abuses. For a long time the Porte had neglected the affairs of this province. To contain the pashas, ​​she had allowed the divan to extend its power, and the heads of the janissaries and the azâbshad become all-powerful. The soldiers themselves, who had become citizens through the marriages they had contracted, were no longer the creatures of Constantinople. A change in the discipline had aggravated the disorder. Originally, the seven military bodies had common funds; and although society was rich, individuals, having nothing, could do nothing. The chiefs, who were hampered by this arrangement, had the credit of having it abolished, and they obtained permission to own land, land and villages. Now, as these lands and these villages depended on the Mamluk governors, they had to be spared so that they did not encumber them. From this moment, the beksacquired an influence over the warriors, who until then had disdained them; and this influence became all the greater, as their management procured them considerable wealth: they employed them to make friends and creatures; they multiplied their slaves, and after having freed them, they pushed them with all their credit to the ranks of the militia and the government. These upstarts retaining a respect for their bosses which Eastern custom devotes to them, they formed factions devoted to all their wishes. Such was the walk by which Ybrahim, one of the kiâyas[76] or veteran colonels of the janissaries, managed around 1746 to seize all the powers: he had multiplied and advanced his freedmen so much that out of the 24 beks that were to be counted, there were 8 from his house. He drew from it a preponderance all the more certain, as the Pasha always left vacancies in order to collect the emoluments. On the other hand, his largesse had tied the officers and soldiers of his corps to him. Finally the association of Rodoan, the most accredited of the Azab colonels, put the seal on his power. The Pasha, overpowered by this faction, was no more than a phantom, and the orders of the Sultan vanished before those of Ybrahim. On his death, which arrived in 1757, hishouse, that is to say its freedmen, divided among themselves, but united against the others, continued to make the law. Rodoan, who had succeeded his colleague, having been hunted and killed by a cabal of young beks, we saw various commanders succeed one another in a rather short space. Finally, around 1766, one of the main actors of the troubles, Ali-bek, who for several years fixed the attention of Europe, took a decided ascendancy over his rivals, and under the title of emir-hadj and chaik -el-beled, managed to arrogate to himself all the power. The history of the Mamlouks being linked to his, we will continue one by exposing the other.
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:11 am

CHAPTER III. Accurate of Ali-Bek's story[77]

The birth of Ali-bek is subject to the same uncertainties as that of most Mamlouks. Sold at a young age by their parents, or kidnapped by enemies, these children retain little memory of their origin and their homeland, often they even hide them. The more accredited opinion about Ali is that he was born among the Abazans, one of the peoples who inhabit the Caucasus, and whose slaves are the most sought after. [78] The merchants who carry out this trade transported it, in one of their annual cargoes, to Kaire: it was bought there by the brothers Isaac and Yousef, Jewish customs officers, who presented it to Ybrahim Kiâya. It is estimated that he could have been 12 to 14 years old then; but Orientals, both Muslims and Christians, do not keep birth registers, we never know their precise age. Ali, with his new boss, fulfills the functions of the Mamlouks, which are almost in all those of the pages of the princes. He received the customary education, which consists in handling a horse well, in drawing the rifle and the pistol, in throwing the djerid, in striking the saber, and even a little, in reading and writing. In all these exercises, he showed a petulance which earned him the Turkish nickname of djendâli, that is to say, crazy. But the worries of ambition succeeded in calming him. Around the age of 18 to 20, his boss let him grow a beard, that is to say, he freed him; for among the Turks a face without mustache and without beard belongs only to slaves and women, and hence the unfavorable impression which they receive from the first appearance of every European. By emancipating him, Ybrahim gave him a wife, income, and promoted him to the rank of kachef or district governor; finally he put it among the 24 beks. These various ranks, the credit and the wealth he acquired there, aroused Ali-bek's ambition. The death of his boss, which happened in 1757, opened up a free career for his projects. He got involved in all the intrigues which were carried out to raise or supplant the commanders. Rodoan Kiâya owed him his ruin. After Rodoan, various factions took turns carrying their leaders in his place. The one who occupied it in 1762 was Abd-el-Rahmân, not very powerful in himself, but supported by several confederate houses. Ali was then chaik-el-beled; he seized the moment that Abd-el-Rahmân was leading the caravan of the Mekke, to make him exile; but he himself soon had his turn, and was condemned to go to Gaze. Gaze, dependent on a Turkish pasha, was neither a pleasant enough nor a safe enough place for him to accept this exile; so he only took the road by feint, and on the third day he turned towards Said, where he was joined by his supporters. It was in Djirdjé that a stay of 2 years matured his mind, and that he prepared the means to obtain and ensure the power he aspired to. The friends his money made him in Kaire having finally recalled him in 1766, he suddenly appeared in this city, and in a single night he killed 4 beks of his enemies, exiled 4 others, and henceforth found himself leader of the party. more numerous. Having become the depositary of all authority, he resolved to use it to expand still further. His ambition was no longer limited to the simple title of commander or quaiem-maquam. The suzerainty of Constantinople offended his pride, and he aspired no less than the title of Sultan of Egypt. All his steps were relative to this goal: he drove out the Pasha, who was no more than a representative being; he refused the customary tribute; finally, in 1768, he minted money at his own corner [79]. The Porte did not see these attacks on its authority without indignation; but to suppress them would have required open war, and the circumstances were not favorable. The Arab Dâher, established in Acre, held Syria in check; and the divan of Constantinople, occupied with the affairs of Poland and the pretensions of the Russians, paid attention only to the North. They tried the customary way of the capidjis; but the poison or the dagger always knew how to prevent the cord which they wore. Ali-bek, taking advantage of the circumstances, pushed his enterprises and successes more and more. For several years, part of the Said had been occupied by little submissive Arab chaiks. One of them, named Hammâm, formed there a power capable of disturbing. Ali began by getting rid of this concern, and under the pretext that this chaik concealed a deposit entrusted by Ybrahim Kiâya, and that he received rebels, he sent against him, in 1769, a body of Mamlouks commanded by his favorite Mohammad- bek which destroyed in a single day Hammâm and its power.

The end of that same year saw another expedition, the consequences of which were to spill over into Europe. Ali-bek armed ships at Suez, and charging them with Mamlouks, he ordered the bek Hasan to go and occupy Djedda, port of the Mekke, while a body of cavalry, under the leadership of Mohammad-bek, marched on the ground. to Mekke itself, which was taken without firing a shot and given over to plunder. His design was to make Jeddah the warehouse of Indian commerce; and this project suggested by a young Venetian merchant[80] admitted to his confidence, had to abandon the route by the Cape of Good Hope, and replace it with the old route of the Mediterranean and the Red Sea. But, not to mention the setback that ended this business[81], the sequence of events has shown that we were in too much of a hurry, and that before introducing gold into a country, laws must be established there.

However Ali-bek, winner of a chaik of Saïd, and of the sherif of Mekke, believed himself henceforth made to command the whole world. His courtiers told him that he was as powerful as the Sultan of Constantinople, and he believed him as his courtiers. A little reasoning would have shown him that the proportion of Egypt to the rest of the empire made it only a very small state, and that 7 or 8,000 cavalrymen he commanded were little compared to 100,000 janissaries. which the sultan could dispose of; but the Mamlouks know no geography; and Ali, who saw Egypt up close, found it larger than the Turkia he saw from afar. He therefore resolved to begin the course of his conquests. Syria, which was at his doorstep, was naturally the first that he proposed to himself: everything favored his views. The Russian War, which began in 1769, occupied all the forces of the Turks in the north. The chaik Dâher, revolted, was a strong and staunch ally; finally, the concussions of the Pasha of Damascus, by disposing of minds to revolt, offered the finest occasion to invade his government, and to merit the title of liberator of the people. Ali grasped this set very well, and he did not delay setting in motion, except as long as the necessary preparations required. All measures being taken, he published, in December 1770, a manifesto against Osman, Pasha of Damascus, and he sent 500 Mamlouks to occupy Gaze, to ensure the entry of Palestine. Osman did not hear of the invasion sooner than he came running. The Mamlouks, afraid of his diligence and of the number of his troops, stood, bridle in hand, ready to flee at the first signal; but Dâher, the most diligent man whom Syria had seen for a long time, Dâher ran up from Acre, and got them out of their embarrassment. Osman, encamped near Yâfa, fled without giving up a fight. Dâher occupied Yâfa, Ramlé and all of Palestine, and the road remained open to the expected great army.

It arrived at the end of February 1771: the gazettes du temps, which numbered 60,000 men, led Europe to believe that it was an army similar to those of Russia or Germany; but the Turks, and especially those of Asia, differ even more from Europeans by military status than by customs and manners. It is far from 60,000 men, at home, to be 60,000 soldiers like ours. The army in question is an example: it could really amount to 40,000 heads, which must be classified as follows; namely, 5,000 Mamlouks, all on horseback, and that was the real army; about 1,500 barbarians on foot, and no other infantry. The Turks do not know of any; with them, the man on horseback is everything. In addition, each Mamlouk having in his suite two footmen armed with a stick, the result is 10,000 footmen; more, a surplus of jacks andserrâdjs or valets on horseback for beks and kasks, valued at 2,000, and all the rest vivandiers and goujats: here is this army, as portrayed in Palestine by people who saw and followed her. It was commanded by the favorite of Ali-bek, Mohammad-bek, nicknamed Aboudâhâb, or father of gold, because of the luxury of his tent and his harnesses. As for order and discipline, they should not be mentioned. The armies of the Mamlouks and Turks are but a confused mass of horsemen without uniforms, horses of all sizes and colors, marching without observing either ranks or distributions. This crowd moved towards Acre, leaving traces of its indiscipline and rapacity in its path: there was the meeting of the troops of the chaik Dâher, which consisted of 1,500 Safadians.[82] on horseback, commanded by his son Ali; into 1,200 Mottouâlis cavalrymen, headed by the chaik Nâsif, and about 1,000 Barbaresques on foot. Once this meeting had taken place, and the plan had been agreed, we marched towards Damascus in the course of April. Osman, who had had time to prepare himself, had for his part assembled a large and equally ill-ordered army. The pashas of Saïd[83], Tripoli and Aleppo joined him, and they awaited the enemy within the very walls of Damascus. We must not imagine here combined movements, such as those which, for 100 years, have made war among us a science of calculation and reflection. Asians do not have the first elements of this behavior. Their armies are mobs, their marches pillage, their campaigns incursions, their battles batteries; the stronger or the more daring will seek the other, who often flees without a fight; if he waits firmly, we approach each other, we mingle; they fire rifles, break spears, cut each other with sabers; one hardly ever has a cannon, and when there is, it is of little use. Terror often spreads for no reason: a party flees; the other presses him, and shouts victory. The vanquished is subject to the victorious law, and often the campaign ends with the battle.

Such was in part what happened in Syria in 1771. The army of Ali-bek and Dâher marched against Damascus. The pashas awaited him; they approached, and on June 6 they came to a decisive affair: the Mamlouks and the Safadians attacked the Turks with such fury that the latter, terrified by the carnage, fled; the pashas were not the last to escape; the allies, masters of the ground, seized effortlessly the city which had neither soldiers nor walls. The castle alone resisted. Its ruined walls did not have a cannon, let alone cannoneers; but there was a marshy ditch, and behind the ruins a few fusiliers; and that is enough to stop this army of horsemen: however, as the besieged were defeated by public opinion, they capitulated on the third day, and the place was to be delivered the next day, when the break of day brought the strangest of revolutions. While awaiting the signal of surrender, Mohammad suddenly calls for retreat, and all his horsemen turn towards Egypt. In vain Ali-Dâher and Nâsif surprised, run up and ask for the cause of such an incredible return: the Mamloukresponds to their requests only with a haughty threat, and everything decamps in confusion. It was not a retreat, but a flight; one would have said that the enemy was driving them away with sword in the back; the road from Damascus to Kaire was covered with pedestrians, scattered horsemen, ammunition and abandoned baggage. This bizarre adventure was attributed in time to an alleged rumor of Ali-bek's death; but the real crux of the enigma was a secret conference that took place overnight in Mohammad-bek's tent. Osman having seen that force was unsuccessful, employed seduction. He found a way to introduce into the Egyptian general a loose agent who, under the pretext of treating of pacification, tried to sow revolt and discord. He insinuated to Mohammad that the role he played was as unsuitable for his honor as to his safety; that he was mistaken if he believed that the Sultan should have left Ali-bek's protests unpunished; that it was a sacrilege to violate a holy city like Damascus, one of the two gates of the Kîabé[84]; that he was astonished that he Mohammad preferred to favor the sultan that of one of his slaves, and that he placed a second master between his sovereign and himself; that, moreover, we knew that this master, by exposing him every day to new dangers, sacrificed him, and to his personal ambition, and to the jealousy of his kiâya, the Coptic Rezq. These reasons, and especially these last two, which related to known facts, strongly struck Mohammad and his beks: immediately they deliberated, and bound themselves by oath on the sword and the Qoran.; they decided that we would leave without delay for Kaire. It was in consequence of this design that they decamped so abruptly, abandoning their conquest: they marched with such haste that the rumor of their arrival preceded them to Kaire by only six hours. Ali-bek was terrified, and he would have liked to punish his general on the spot; but Mohammad seemed so well accompanied that there was no way to try anything against his person: he had to conceal himself, and Ali-bek submitted to it all the more easily, as he owed his fortune much more. to this art than to his courage.

Suddenly deprived of the fruits of an expensive war, Ali-bek did not give up his plans. He continued to send aid to his ally Dâher, and he prepared a second army for the year 1772; but fortune, weary of doing more for him than prudence, ceased to favor him. A first setback was the loss of several cayasor boats that a Russian corsair took away from Damiat's sight, when they were carrying rice to Dâher; but another much more serious accident was the escape of Mohammad-bek. Ali-bek found it difficult to forget the Damascus affair; nevertheless, by a remnant of this love that one has for those to whom one has done good, he could not make up his mind at a violent blow, when a remark slipped by the Venetian merchant who enjoyed his confidence, came determine it there. "The sultans of the Franks," Ali-bek once said to this European, from whom I got it, "do the sultans of the Franks have children as rich as my son Mohammad? No, lord, replied the courtier, they are taking good care of it; because they claim that oversized children are often in a hurry to inherit from their fathers. This word penetrated like a line in Ali-bek's heart. From that moment he saw in Mohammad a dangerous rival, and he resolved his downfall. To carry out it without risk, he first sent an order to all the doors of Kaire not to let any Mamlouk go out in the evening or during the night; then he sent word to Mohammad to go immediately into exile in Said. He counted, by this contradiction, that Mohammad would be stopped at the gates, and that the guards would seize his person, it would be cheap; but chance deceived these vague and timid measures. Fortune would have it that by a misunderstanding, Mohammad was charged with particular orders from Ali. He was allowed to pass with his retinue, and from that moment all was lost. Ali-bek, informed of the mistake, had him prosecuted; but Mohammad held on such a threatening countenance that no one dared attack him. He retreated to Said, quivering with anger and longing for revenge. Another danger awaited him there. Ayoub-bek, Ali's lieutenant, pretending to enter into the resentments of the exile, welcomed him with transport, and swore on the sword and the Qôran to make common cause with him. Shortly after letters from this Ayoub to Ali were found, by which he incessantly promised him the head of his enemy. Mohammad, having discovered the weft, seized the traitor; and, having cut off his fists and his tongue, he sent him to Kaire to receive his patron's reward.

However, the Mamlouks, jealous of fortune and weary of Ali-bek's heights, deserted in crowds towards his rival. The Arabs of Hammâm, out of resentment and hope of booty, joined them. In forty days Mohammad saw himself strong enough to descend from Said and come and camp 4 leagues from Kaire. Ali-bek, disturbed by his approach, hesitated on the course he should take, and took the worse. Fearing that he would be betrayed if he marched in person, he made a body of troops advance under the leadership of Ishmael-bek, whom he had reason to be wary of, and he himself encamped with his house at the gates of Kaire. Ishmael, who had been involved in the Damascus affair, was no sooner in the presence of the enemy than he passed over to his side; his troops, disconcerted, retreated, fleeing towards Kaire: while they were joining the reserve corps, the Arabs and the Mamlouks who were pursuing them attacked them so suddenly that the rout became general. Ali-bek, losing courage, thought only of saving his treasures and his person. He rushed back into the city, and, hastily plundering his own house, fled to Gaze, followed by 800 Mamlouks who clung to his fortune. He wanted to go immediately to Acre, to his ally Dâher; but the inhabitants of Nâblous and Yâfa closed the road to him. Dâher himself had to come and remove the obstacles. The Arab received him with that simplicity and that frankness which has always been the character of his nation, and he took him to Acre. Saïde then besieged by the troops of Osman and the Druze, asked for help. He went to carry them, and Ali accompanied him there. Their united troops formed about 7,000 cavalry. At their approach the Turks raised the siege, and retired a league north of the city, on the river of Arabe received him with that simplicity and that frankness which has always been the character of his nation, and he took him to Acre. Saïde then besieged by the troops of Osman and the Druze, asked for help. He went to carry them, and Ali accompanied him there. Their united troops formed about 7,000 cavalry. At their approach the Turks raised the siege, and retired a league north of the city, on the river of Arabe received him with that simplicity and that frankness which has always been the character of his nation, and he took him to Acre. Saïde then besieged by the troops of Osman and the Druze, asked for help. He went to carry them, and Ali accompanied him there. Their united troops formed about 7,000 cavalry. At their approach the Turks raised the siege, and retired a league north of the city, on the river ofAoula. It was there that was delivered, in July 1772, the most important and most methodical battle of all this war. The Turkish army, three times stronger than that of the two allies, was completely defeated. The seven pashas who commanded it fled, and Saïde remained in Dâher, and his governor Degnizlé. Back in Acre, Ali-bek and Dâher went to chastise the inhabitants of Yâfa, who had revolted to keep for their benefit a deposit of ammunition and clothing that an Ali flotilla had left there before he was driven out. of Kaire. The city, occupied by a chaik of Nâblous, closed its doors, and it was necessary to besiege it. This expedition began in July, and lasted 8 months, although Yâfa only had for enclosure a real garden wall without a ditch; but in Syria and in Egypt people are even more novices in the siege war than in that of the countryside: finally the besieged capitulated in February 1773. Ali, now free, thought only of returning to Kaire. Dâheroffered him help; the Russians, with whom Ali had made an alliance in dealing with the privateer business, promised to assist him: only time was needed to collect these scattered means, and Ali was growing impatient. Rezq's promises, his oracle and his kiaya, further irritated his petulance. This Copt kept telling him that the hour of his return had come; that the stars presented the most favorable signs of it; that the loss of Mohammad was most predicted certain. Ali, who, like all Turks, firmly believed in astrology, and who trusted Rezq all the more because his predictions were often successful, could no longer endure delays. The news from Kaire made him lose patience. In the first days of April letters were handed to him, signed by his friends, in which they indicated to him that they were tired of his ungrateful slave, and that only his presence was expected to drive him away. He immediately stopped his departure, and without giving the Russians time to arrive, he left with his Mamlouks and 1,500 Safadians commanded by Osman, son of Dâher.; but he did not know that Kaire's letters were a ruse from Mohammad; that this bek had demanded them by violence to deceive him and lure him into a trap which he was setting for him. Indeed, Ali, having engaged in the desert which separates Gaze from Egypt, met near Salêhie a body of 1,000 elite Mamlouks who were waiting for him. This body was led by the young bek Mourâd, who, in love with Ali-bek's wife, had obtained it from Mohammad in case he gave up the head of this illustrious unfortunate man. Scarcely had Mourad seen the dust which announced the enemies in the distance, than, swooping down on them with his troop, he put them in disorder; to make matters worse he met Ali-bek in the fray, attacked him, wounded him in the forehead with a cut of a saber, took him and led him to Mohammad. This one, camped two leagues behind, received his former master with that exaggerated respect so familiar to the Turks and that sensibility that perfidy can feign. He gave her a magnificent tent, recommended that the greatest care be taken, said to himself a thousand times his slave, kissing the dust of his feet; but on the third day this spectacle ended with the death of Ali-bek, due, according to some, to the consequences of his injury, according to others, to poison: the two cases are so equally probable that one cannot can not decide anything.

Thus ended the career of this man, who for some time had fixed the attention of Europe, and given many politicians the hope of a great revolution. It cannot be denied that he was not an extraordinary man; but we get an exaggerated idea of ​​it, when we put him in the class of great men: what reliable witnesses tell about him proves that if he had the germ of great qualities, the lack of culture prevented them from taking this development which makes them great virtues. Let us pass on his credulity in astrology, which more often determined his actions than reflected motives. Let us also pass on his betrayals, his perjuries, the very assassination of his benefactors[85], by which he acquired or maintained his power. Without doubt, the moral of a anarchic society is less severe than that of a peaceful society; but judging the ambitious by their own principles, we will find that Ali-bek misunderstood or followed badly his plan of enlargement, and that he himself prepared his downfall. Above all, we have the right to reproach him for three faults: 1. This imprudent passion for conquests, which fruitlessly exhausted his income and his strength, and made him neglect the internal administration of his own country. 2 ° The precocious rest to which he gave himself up, doing nothing except through his lieutenants; which lessened among the Mamlouks the respect which they had for him, and emboldened spirits to revolt. 3 ° Finally, the excessive wealth which he piled up on the head of his favorite, and which gave him the credit which he abused. Assuming righteous Mohammad, Shouldn't Ali fear the seduction of worshipers, who in all countries gather around wealth? However, one must admire in Ali-bek a quality which distinguishes him from the crowd of tyrants who ruled Egypt: if the vices of a bad education prevented him from knowing true glory, it is at least constant that he had the desire; and this desire was never that of vulgar souls. It only missed being approached by men who knew its routes; and among those who rule, there are few that can be praised. prevented from knowing the true glory, it is at least constant that he wanted to; and this desire was never that of vulgar souls. It only missed being approached by men who knew its routes; and among those who rule, there are few that can be praised. prevented from knowing the true glory, it is at least constant that he wanted to; and this desire was never that of vulgar souls. It only missed being approached by men who knew its routes; and among those who rule, there are few that can be praised.

I cannot ignore an observation that I heard in Kaire. Those of the European negotiators who saw Ali-bek's reign and its ruin, after having praised the kindness of his administration, his zeal for justice and his benevolence for the Franks, add with surprise that the people did not regret him; they take the opportunity of repeating those reproaches of inconstancy and ingratitude which are customarily made to the people; but looking at all the accessories, this fact did not strike me as so bizarre as it looks. In Egypt, as in all countries, the judgments of the people are dictated by the interest of their subsistence; it is according to whether his governors make it easy or difficult for him, whether he loves them or hates them, blames them or approves them: and this way of judging can be neither blind nor unjust. In vain will they tell him that the the honor of the empire, the glory of the nation, the encouragement of commerce and the fine arts demand this or that operation. The need to live must come first; and when the multitude lacks bread, it at least has the right to refuse its recognition and admiration. What did the people of Egypt care if Ali-bek conquered Said, Makkah and Syria, if his conquests did not improve their lot? And it got worse; for these wars aggravated the contributions by their expense. The Mekke's expedition alone cost France twenty-six millions. The outflows of wheat caused by at least she has the right to refuse her recognition and admiration. What did the people of Egypt care if Ali-bek conquered Said, Makkah and Syria, if his conquests did not improve their lot? And it got worse; for these wars aggravated the contributions by their expense. The Mekke's expedition alone cost France twenty-six millions. The outflows of wheat caused by at least she has the right to refuse her recognition and admiration. What did the people of Egypt care if Ali-bek conquered Said, Makkah and Syria, if his conquests did not improve their lot? And it got worse; for these wars aggravated the contributions by their expense. The Mekke's expedition alone cost France twenty-six millions. The outflows of wheat caused by armies, joined to the monopoly of a few favored merchants, caused a famine which devastated the country throughout the course of 1770 and 1771. Now, when the inhabitants of Kaire and the peasants of the villages were starving, were they wrong to murmur against Ali-bek? were they wrong in condemning the commerce of India, if all its advantages were to be concentrated in a few hands? When Ali spent 225,000 pounds on a useless handful of a kandjar[86], if the jewelers praised its magnificence, didn't the people have the right to detest its luxury? This liberality, which his courtiers called virtue, was not the people, at whose expense it exercised, right in calling it vice? Was it a merit for this man to lavish gold which cost him nothing? Was it justice to satisfy, at the expense of the public, his affections or his particular obligations, as he did with his baker[87]? We can't To deny it, most of Ali-bek's actions offer far less the general principles of justice and humanity, than the motives of personal ambition and vanity. Egypt was in his eyes only a domain, and the people a flock which he could dispose of as he pleased. Should we be surprised after that, if the men whom he treated as imperious master, judged him as discontented mercenaries?
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Re: Travel to Egypt and Syria, by C.F. Volney

Postby admin » Thu Feb 04, 2021 1:12 am

CHAPTER IV. Details of the events that have occurred since Ali-bek's death until 1785.

SINCE Ali-bek's death, the fate of the Egyptians has not improved: his successors have not even imitated what was laudable in his conduct. Mohammad-bek, who took his place in April 1773, showed, during two years of reign, only the fury of a brigand and the blackness of a traitor. First, to color his ingratitude towards his boss, he pretended to be only the avenger of the sultan's rights, and the minister of his wishes; consequently, he had sent to Constantinople the tribute which had been interrupted for six years, and the oath of boundless obedience. He renewed his submission to Ali-bek's death; and, under pretext of proving his zeal for the sultan, he asked permission to wage war on the Arab Dâher. La Porte, who himself would have requested this step as a favor, was too happy to grant it as a grace: she added the title of Pasha of Kaire to it, and Mohammad thought only of this expedition. One could ask what political interest had a governor of Egypt in destroying the Arab Dâher, a rebel in Syria. But here politics was no more consulted than on other occasions. The motives were particular passions, and among others a personal resentment in Mohammad-bek. He could not forget a bloody letter that Dâher had written to him during the revolution of Damascus, nor all the hostile steps that the chaik had made against him in favor of Ali-bek. Besides, greed joined with hatred. The minister of Dâher, Ybrahim-Sabbâr [88], was considered to have piled up extraordinary treasures, and the Egyptian saw, in losing Dâher, the double advantage of enriching himself and taking revenge. He therefore did not hesitate to undertake this war, and he made the preparations for it with all the activity that hatred gives. He provided himself with an extraordinary artillery train; he brought in foreign gunners, and he entrusted the command to the English Robinson; he had a cannon 16 feet long, which had long been useless for a long time, transported from Suez. Finally, in February 1776, he appeared in Palestine with an army equal to that which he had led against Damascus. At his approach, the people of Dâher who were occupying Gaze, not being able to hope to support themselves there, withdrew; he seized it, and without stopping he marched against Yâfâ. This town, which had a garrison, and whose inhabitants were all used to war, proved less docile than Gaze, and it was necessary to besiege it. The history of this siege would be a curious monument to the ignorance of these countries in the art of warfare; a few main facts will give a sufficient idea.

Yâfâ, the ancient Ioppé, is situated on a shore whose general level is low above the sea. The only location in the town is a sugar loaf hill, about 130 feet perpendicular. The houses, distributed on the slope, offer a picturesque view from the steps of an amphitheater; on the point is a small citadel which dominates the whole; the bottom of the hill is surrounded by a wall without a rampart, 12 to 14 feet high, 2 or 3 thick. The battlements that reign on its summit are the only signs that distinguish it from a garden wall. This wall, which has no moat, is surrounded by gardens, where silts, oranges and poncires acquire a prodigious size in a light soil: this is the city which Mohammad attacked. It had for defenders 5 to 600 Safadians and as many inhabitants, who, in sight of the enemy, took their saber and their flintlock rifle. They had some bronze cannons of 24 pounds of bullets, without carriages; they raised them as best they could on some hastily made frames: and counting courage and hatred for force, they responded to the enemy's summons with threats and rifle shots.

Mohammad, seeing that they had to be carried away by force, came and set up his camp in front of the city; but the Mamlouk knew the rules of the art so little that he placed himself within half-range of the cannon; the balls which fell on his tents warned him of his fault: he stepped back: new experience, new lesson; finally he found the measure, and settled down: their tent was pitched, where the most unbridled luxury was displayed on all sides: they erected all around and without order, those of the Mamlouks; the Barbaresques made huts with the trunks and branches of orange trees and limoniers; and the rest of the army arranged themselves as best they could: some guards were distributed as best they could, and, without entrenchments, we considered ourselves encamped. Batteries had to be erected; we chose a slightly elevated terrain towards the south-east of the city, and there, behind some garden walls, we pointed 8 pieces of large cannons at 200 paces from the city, and we began to fire, in spite of the fusiliers of the enemy, who, from the top of the terraces, killed several gunners. All this order will appear so strange in Europe that one will be tempted to doubt it; but these facts are not 11 years old: I have seen the places, I have heard many eyewitnesses, and I consider it a duty not to alter, for good or ill, facts on which the spirit of 'a nation must be judged.

We feel that a wall 3 feet thick and without a rampart was soon opened with a large breach; it was not necessary, not to go up there, but to cross it. The Mamlouks wanted it to be done on horseback; but they were made to understand that this was impossible; and, for the first time, they consented to walk on foot. It must have been a curious sight to see them with their immense Venetian breeches, embarrassed by their upturned beniches, curved saber in hand and pistol at their side, stumbling forward among the rubble of a wall. They thought they had overcome everything, when they had overcome this obstacle; but the besieged, who judged better, waited until they had emerged on the empty ground which is between the city and the wall; there they assailed them, from the top of the terraces and the windows of the houses, with such a hail of bullets that the Mamlouks did not even have the desire to set fire; they withdrew, convinced that this place was an impenetrable cut-throat, since it was impossible to enter on horseback. Mourâd-bek brought them back several times, always in vain. Mohammad-bek was drying up in despair, anger and worries: 46 days passed thus. However, the besieged, whose number was diminishing by repeated attacks, and who did not see that aid was being prepared for them on the Acre side., were bored of supporting Dâher's cause alone. The Muslims especially complained that the Christians, occupied in prayer, were held more in the churches than in the field of battle. Some people opened negotiations: it was proposed to abandon the place if the Egyptians gave guarantees: conditions were adopted, and the treaty could be regarded as concluded, when in the security it afforded, some Mamlouks entered the city. The crowd followed them, they wanted to pillage, they wanted to defend themselves, and the attack recommenced; the army then rushed there in crowds, and the city experienced the horrors of the sack; women, children, old men, grown men, everything was passed over to the sword; and Mohammad, as cowardly as he was barbarian, had him erected before his eyes, as a monument to his victory, a pyramid of all the heads of these unfortunates: it is said that they passed 1200. This catastrophe, which happened on May 19, 1776, spread terror throughout the country. The chaik Dâher himself fled from Acre, where his son Ali replaced him. This Ali, whose active intrepidity Syria still celebrates, but who tarnished its glory by his perpetual revolts against his father; this Ali believed that Mohammad, with whom he had made a treaty, would respect him; but the Mamlouk, arriving at the gates of Acre, declared to him that, as the price of his friendship, he wanted the head of Dâher himself. Ali, deceived, rejected the parricide, and abandoned the city to the Egyptians; they pillaged it completely: the French merchants were hardly spared; soon they even saw themselves in terrible danger. Mohammad, instructed that they were custodians of Ybrahim's wealth, Kiâya de Dâher, declared to them that if they did not restore them, he would have them all slaughtered. The following Sunday was assigned for this terrible search, when chance came to deliver them and Syria from this scourge. Mohammad, seized with a malignant fever, perishes in 2 days at the prime of his life[89]. The Christians of Syria are convinced that this death was a punishment for the prophet Elijah, whose church he violated on Carmel. They even say that, in his agony, he saw it several times in the form of an old man, and that he ceaselessly exclaimed: Take away this old man who besieges me and terrifies me. But those who approached this general in his last moments, reported to Kaire, to people worthy of faith, that this vision, effect of delirium, had its origin in the memory of particular murders, and that Mohammad's death was due to the very natural causes of a climate known to be unhealthy, of excessive heat, of excessive fatigue and of the burning worries which the siege of Yâfa had caused him. It is not out of place to remark on this subject, that if one wrote the history of the Christians of Syria and Egypt, it would be as full of wonders and appearances as in the past.

This death was no sooner known, than all this army, by a rout similar to that of Damascus, took in tumult the road to Egypt. Mourâd-bek, to whom Mohammad's favor had acquired great credit, hastened to return to Kaire, to dispute the command with Ybrahim-bek. The latter, also freed and favorite of the deceased, had no sooner learned of the state of affairs than he took measures to secure an authority of which he had been depositary since the absence of his boss. Everything announced an open war; but the two rivals, each measuring their means, found an equality which made them fear the outcome of a fight. They sided with peace, and they made an agreement, by which the authority remained undivided, on condition, however, that Ybrahim would retain the title of chaik-el-beled, or commander: the interest of their common safety decided especially this arrangement. Since Ali-bek's death, the beks and kachefs, from his house[90]secretly shuddered to see the power passed into the hands of a new faction; the superiority of Mohammad, formerly their equal, had hurt their pretensions; that of his slaves appeared to them still more insupportable: they resolved to free themselves from it; and they began intrigues and cabals which resulted in forming a league against Ybrahim and Mourad. Its leader was this Ishmael-bek who had betrayed Ali-bek, and who remained the only bek of the creation of Ybrahim Kiâfa. He behaved with such artifice that Mourâd and Ybrahim were obliged to evacuate Kaire on their own accord; they took refuge under the protection of the castle; but Ishmael having besieged them there, they decided to go over to Said. A little after, the tyrannical conduct of this chief procured for them a crowd of defectors with whom they returned to attack him, and they drove him in their turn. Ishmael dispossessed fled to Gaze, from where he passed by sea to Derné in the west of Alexandria, and went by desert to Said. On the other hand, Hasan-bek, formerly governor of Jeddah, having been exiled from Kaire and having similarly taken refuge in Said, these two chiefs united in their interests, and formed a party which still exists. Mourâd and Ybrahim, worried about its duration, tried several times to destroy it, without being able to overcome it. They ended up giving the rebels a district above Djirdjé; but these Mamlouks, who do not sigh until after the delights of Kaire, having made some movements in 1783, Mourâd-bek thought it necessary to make an attempt to exterminate them: I arrived at the time he was making the preparations. His people, scattered on the Nile, stopped all the boats they encountered, and, stick in hand, forced the unfortunate owners to follow them to Kaire; everyone was fleeing to escape a chore which was to bring no pay. In the city, a contribution of 500,000 dahlers was imposed[91] on trade; bakers and the various merchants were forced to provide their food at below the price they cost them, and all these extortions, so abhorred in Europe, were customary. Everything was ready in the first days of April, and Mourâd left for the Said. The news from Constantinople and those from Europe which repeats them, over time painted this expedition as a considerable war, and Murad's army as a powerful army; she was so relative to her means and to the state of Egypt; but it is none the less true that it did not pass 2,000 cavaliers. To see the usual alteration of the news from Constantinople, it is necessary to believe, either that the Turks of the capital do not understand anything in the affairs of Egypt and Syria, or that they want to impose some on the Europeans. The little communication that there is between these distant parts of the empire, makes the first case more probable than the second. On the other hand, it would seem that the residence of our merchants in the various scales must have enlightened us;as in prisons, they bother little about anything foreign to their commerce, and they are content to laugh at the gazettes sent to them from Europe. Sometimes they wanted to straighten them; but their information has been so badly used that they have given up on expensive and unprofitable care.

Mourâd, who left Kaire, led his horsemen on long days along the river; the crews and ammunition followed in the boats, and the north wind, which prevails most often, favored their diligence. The exiles, numbering about 500, were placed above Djirdjé. When they learned of the arrival of the enemy, the division joined them: some wanted to fight, others wanted to capitulate; several took the latter course, and went to Mourâd-bek; but Hasan and Ishmael, still steadfast, returned to Asouan, followed by about 250 horsemen. Mourâd pursued them as far as the cataract, where they established themselves on steep places so advantageous that the Mamlouks, always ignorant in the post war, considered it impossible to force them. Moreover, fearing that a too long absence from Kaire would hatch new things against him, Mourâd hastened to return, and the exiles, out of their embarrassment, returned to take possession of their post in Saïde., as above.

In a society where the passions of individuals are not directed towards a general goal; where each one, thinking only of himself, sees in the uncertainty of the next day only the interest of the moment; where the leaders, showing no feeling of respect, cannot maintain subordination: in such a society, a fixed and constant state is an impossible thing; the tumultuous shock of the incoherent parts must give perpetual mobility to the entire machine: this is what never ceases to happen in the society of the Mamlouks in Kaire. No sooner had Mourâd returned than new combinations interests excited new troubles; In addition to his faction and those of Ybrahim and the house of Ali-bek, there were still in Kaire various beks issued from other houses foreign to these. These beks, which their particular weakness caused the dominant factions to neglect, took it into their heads, in July 1783, to unite their forces, hitherto isolated, and to form a party which also had its pretensions to command. Chance willed that this league was stale, and their leaders, 5 in number, were suddenly condemned to go into exile in the Delta. They pretended to submit; but scarcely had they left the city when they took the road to Saïde, an ordinary and convenient refuge for all the discontented: they were pursued in vain for a day in the desert of the pyramids; they escaped the Mamlouks and the Arabs, and they arrived without accident at Minié, where they settled. This village, situated 40 leagues above Kaire, and placed on the bank of the Nile which it dominates, was very suitable for their design. Masters of the river, they could stop everything that came down from the Saïde: they knew how to take advantage of it; the sending of wheat which this province makes every year in this season was a favorable circumstance; they seized it; and Kaire, frustrated with his supplies, found himself threatened with famine. On the other hand, beks and landowners whose lands were in the Masters of the river, they could stop everything that came down from the Saïde: they knew how to take advantage of it; the sending of wheat which this province makes every year in this season was a favorable circumstance; they seized it; and Kaire, frustrated with his supplies, found himself threatened with famine. On the other hand, beks and landowners whose lands were in the Masters of the river, they could stop everything that came down from the Saïde: they knew how to take advantage of it; the sending of wheat which this province makes every year in this season was a favorable circumstance; they seized it; and Kaire, frustrated with his supplies, found himself threatened with famine. On the other hand, beks and landowners whose lands were in theFaïoum and beyond lost their income, because the exiles put them to work. This twofold disorder required a new expedition. Mourâd-bek, tired of the previous one, refused to do another; Ybrahim-bek took care of it. From August, despite Ramadan, we made the preparations: as with the other, we seized all the boats and their owners; contributions were imposed; the suppliers were forced. Finally, in the first days of October, Ybrahim set out with an army which was considered formidable, because it numbered about 3,000 cavalry. The march was made by the Nile, since the waters of the flood had not yet evacuated all the country, and that the ground remained muddy. In a few days we were in presence. Ybrahim, who does not have such a warlike disposition as Mourâd, did not attack the Confederates; he entered into negotiations, and he concluded a verbal treaty, the conditions of which were the return of the beks and their re-establishment. Mourad, who suspected some plot against him in this agreement, was very dissatisfied with it: distrust grew. establishes more than ever between him and his rival. The arrogance which the exiles displayed in a general divan finished off alarming him: he believed himself betrayed; and, to prevent its effect, he left Kaire with his agents, and retired to Saïde. It was believed that there was open war; but Ybrahim temporized. After 4 months, Mourâd came to Djizé, as if to settle the quarrel by a battle: for 25 days, the two parties, separated by the river, remained in presence without doing anything. We talked; but Mourad, dissatisfied with the conditions, and not finding himself strong enough to dictate by force, returned to Saïde. He was followed by envoys who, after 4 months of negotiations, finally managed to bring him back to Kaire: the conditions were that he would continue to share authority with Ybrahim, and that the 5 beks would be stripped of their property. These beks, seeing themselves sacrificed by Ybrahim, fled; Murad pursued them, and, having had them taken by the Arabs of the desert, he brought them back to Kaire to keep them in sight. Then peace seemed to be restored; but what had happened between the two commanders had too revealed to each of them their true intentions, for they could henceforth live as friends. Each of them, well convinced that his rival was only watching the opportunity to lose him, watched to avoid a surprise, or to prepare it. This deaf war came to the point of forcing Mourâd-bek to leave Kaire in 1784; but, as he encamped himself at the gates, he held so good a countenance there that Ybrahim, frightened in his turn, fled with his people to Saïde. He remained there until March 1785, when, by a new agreement, he returned to Kaire. As before, he shares authority with his rival, while waiting for some new intrigue to provide him with the opportunity to take his revenge. forcing Mourâd-bek to leave Kaire in 1784; but, as he encamped himself at the gates, he held so good a countenance there that Ybrahim, frightened in his turn, fled with his people to Saïde. He remained there until March 1785, when, by a new agreement, he returned to Kaire. As before, he shares authority with his rival, while waiting for some new intrigue to provide him with the opportunity to take his revenge. forcing Mourâd-bek to leave Kaire in 1784; but, as he encamped himself at the gates, he held so good a countenance there that Ybrahim, frightened in his turn, fled with his people to Saïde. He remained there until March 1785, when, by a new agreement, he returned to Kaire. As before, he shares authority with his rival, while waiting for some new intrigue to provide him with the opportunity to take his revenge. Such is the summary of the revolutions which agitated Egypt in these last years. I have not detailed the multitude of incidents whose events have been complicated, because, apart from their uncertainty, they bear neither interest nor instruction: they are always cabals, intrigues, betrayals, murders, of which the repetition ends up boring; It is enough if the reader grasps the chain of main facts, and draws general ideas about the mores and political state of the country he is studying. It remains for us to add greater clarifications to these two subjects.
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