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REVIEW OF NEW PUBLICATIONS.
1. Narrative of the Operations and recent Discoveries within the Pyramids, Temples, Tombs, and Excavations, in Egypt and Nubia, and of a Journey to the Coast of the Red Sea, in search of the Antient Berenice; and another to the Vasis of Jupiter Ammon. By G. Belzoni. 4to. pp. 483. Murray.
N our former Numbers we have
prising Discoveries of this indefatigable Traveller; and we now undertake, with considerable pleasure, to introduce this valuable and most interesting Publication to the notice of our Readers. The name of Belzoni is well known to the whole world; Europe was perhaps never more in debted to any one individual, for skill and persevering research in Egyptian Antiquities, than to the celebrated Author of the present Work, and we sincerely hope that his labours will not pass unrewarded.
Previous to entering upon the merits of the Volume before us, it may be gratifying briefly to notice the principal incidents of Belzoni's early life, which are not so generally known. Signor Belzoni is a native of the Roman States, but he is not a stranger to this country, or its language. Having early imbibed a wandering spirit, he visited England, Ireland, and Scotland, about nine or ten years ago.He was then about 28 years of age, of very handsome and colossal appearance, his stature being upwards of 6 feet in height, remarkably straight and well formed; his head and upper part of his body not exceeding the ordinary size, but from his hips downwards his figure was truly colossal. He had early imbibed some of the elementary parts of science, but he more particularly devoted himself to the study of Hydraulics. Shortly after he came to this kingdom, at the period we have mentioned, his circumstances became straitened, and with the independence and ardour which have ever characterised him, instead of resorting to his friends abroad, or to foreigners at home for assistance, he determined to draw upon his own re
GENT. MAG. January, 1821.
sources, and become a candidate for public favour. With this view he went to Edinburgh, and commenced an exhibition of Hydraulics, in which he was a perfect adept. He shewed the various fantastic forms into which water might be drawn by the power of machinery.
From Scotland he repaired to Ireland, and recommenced his hydraulic exhibitions at the theatres of some of the populous cities of that country. Finding the resources of the mind not sufficient to feed the curiosity of his visitors, he determined to call to their aid the prodigious strength of his body, and between the acts of the hydraulic experiments, Mr. Belzoni was doomed, like some of the noble animals of lower nature, to bear upon his colossal frame not fewer, if we mistake not, than 20 or 22 persons. Thus he has been seen at the Cork and Cove theatres lifting up this human weight of individuals strapped around his hips, shoulders, and neck, and moving across the stage as stately as the elephant with the Persian warriors.
After being for some months in Ireland exposed to the vicissitudes of this wayward life, Mr. Belzoni set sail for Lisbon, where he again exhibited hydraulics; but after a short stay, not meeting, we presume, with suitable encouragement, he bent his way to the place of his nativity, and a year or two after the period to which we have referred, he again commenced traveller, and went to Egypt upon the speculation of some employment from the Pacha at Alexandria, in preparing hydraulic engines for the gardens of the Seraglio. Disappointed in this speculation, he embarked in those researches stupendous ruins of antient Egypt, among the which will immortalize his fame. These researches took place between the years 1815 and 1819. The works which by his means, and mostly by the persevering efforts of his own herculean strength, were dug from the sands, and which are now on their way to the British Museum, are
REVIEW.-Belzoni's Travels in Egypt, &c.
unique and invaluable. A remarkable instance of his strength is recorded in his book just published, which contains a fund of valuable information, simply but expressively told. He had been employed for several days with a party of Arabs in uplifting out of its sandy bed the statue of "Young Memnon," (as the antiquaries termn it,) and having laid open in the work several massive fragments of pillars, he handled them about with such ease in the presence of the astonished and comparatively feeble Arabs, that they fled from him in dismay, and said, "the Devil" had got among them.
We will now introduce a few extracts from the work itself.
When our traveller was conducted to the place where the sarcophagus was to be found, the account is very curious and romantic. He entered with two Arabs and an Interpreter, whilst a Janissary remained without. He thus relates his subterranean adventure:
"Previous to our entering the cave, we took off the greater part of our clothes, and, each having a candle, advanced through a cavity in the rock, which extended a considerable length in the mountain, sometimes pretty high, sometimes very narrow, and without any regularity. In some passages we were obliged to creep on the ground, like crocodiles. I perceived, that we were at a great distance from the entrance, and the way was so intricate, that I depended entirely on the two Arabs, to conduct us out again. length we arrived at a large space, into which many other holes or cavities opened; and after some consideration and examination by the two Arabs, we entered one of these, which was very narrow, and continued downward for a long way, through a craggy passage, till we came where two other apertures led to the interior in a horizontal direction. One of the Arabs then said, 'this is the place." I could not conceive how so large a sarcophagus, as had been described to me, could have been taken through the aperture which the Arab now pointed out. I had no doubt but these recesses were burial places, as we continually walked over skulls and other bones; but the sarcophagus could never have entered this recess; for it was so narrow, that, on my attempt to penetrate it, I could not pass. One of the Arabs, however, succeeded, as did my interpreter; and it was agreed, that I and the other Arab should wait till they returned. They proceeded evidently to a great distance, for the light disap
peared, and only a murmuring sound from their voices could be distinguished as they went on. After a few moments I heard a
loud noise, and the interpreter distinctly crying, O mon Dieu! mon Dieu! je suis perdu After which a profound silence ensued. I asked my Arab, whether he had ever been in that place? He replied, Never.' I could not conceive what could have happened, and thought the best plan was to return, to procure help from the other Arabs. Accordingly, I told my man to show me the way out again; but, staring at me like an ideot, he said he did not know the road. I called repeatedly to the interpreter, but received no answer; I watched a long time, but no one returned : and my situation was no very pleasant I naturally returned through the passages, by which we had come; and, after some time, I succeeded in reaching the place, where, as I mentioned, were many other cavities. It was a complete labyrinth, as all these places bore a great resemblance to the one which we first entered.
At last, seeing one which appeared to be the right, we proceeded through it a long way; but by this time our candles had diminished considerably, and I feared that if we did not get out soon, we should have to remain in the dark; meantime it would have been dangerous to put one out to save the other, lest that which was left should, by some accident, be extinguished. At this time we were considerably advanced towards the outside, as we thought; but to our sorrow we found the end of that cavity without any outlet. Convinced that we were mistaken in our conjecture, we quickly returned towards the place of the various entries, which we strove to regain. But we were then as perplexed as ever, and were both exhausted from the ascents and descents, which we had been obliged to go over. The Arab seated himself; but every moment of delay was dangerous. The only expe dient was, to put a mark at the place out of which we had just come, and then examine the cavities in succession, by putting also a mark at their entrance, so as to know where we had been. Unfortunately, our candles would not last through the whole; however, we began our operations.
"On the second attempt, when passing before a small aperture, I thought I heard the sound of something like the roaring of the sea at a distance. In consequence I entered this cavity; and, as we advanced, the noise increased, till I could distinctly hear a number of voices all at one time. At last, thank God, we walked out; and, to my no small surprize, the first person I saw was my interpreter. How he came to be there I could not conjecture. He told me, that in proceeding with the Arab along the passage below, they came to a pit, which they did not see; that the Arab
REVIEW. Belzoni's Travels in Egypt, &c.
fell into it, and, in falling, put out both candles. It was then that he cried out Mon Dieu! je suis perdu! as he thought he also should have fallen into the pit; but, on raising his head, he saw at a great distance a glimpse of day-light, towards which he advanced, and thus arrived at a small aperture. He then scraped away some loose sand and stones, to widen the place where he came out, and went to give the alarm to the Arabs, who were at the other entrance. Being all concerned for the man who fell to the bottom of the pit, it was their noise that I heard in the cave. The place by which my interpreter got out was instantly widened, and in the confusion the Arabs did not regard letting me see that they were acquainted with that entrance, and that it had lately been shut up. I was not long in detecting their scheme. The Arabs had intended to show me the sarcophagus, without letting me see the way by which it might be taken out, and then to stipulate a price for the secret. It was with this view they took me such a way round about."
Such are the difficulties our adventurous traveller encountered in his various researches. He describes, in the most forcible manner, the deplorable miseries to which the traveller is exposed, in passing over the arid sands of the Arabian wilds. As this is a subject which has ever excited the most intense interest in our minds, even from our earliest years, the account which Belzoni gives will be perused with the most sympathetic emotions. The miseries of the Desert are thus forcibly described:
Many perish victims of the most horrible thirst. It is then that the value of a cup of water is really felt. He that has a zenzabia of it is the richest of all. In such a case there is no distinction; if the master has none, the servant will not give it to him; for very few are the instances where a man will voluntarily lose his life to save that of another, particularly in a caravan in the desert, where people are strangers to each other. What a situation for a man, though a rich one, perhaps the owner of all the caravans! He is dying for a cup of water--no one gives it to him -he offers all he possesses-no one hears him-they are all dying though by walking a few hours farther they might be saved; the camels are lying down, and cannot be made to rise-no one has strength to walk-only he that has a glass of that precious liquor lives to walk a mile farther, and perhaps dies too. If the voyages on seas are dangerous, so are those in the deserts: at sea, the provi. sions very often fail; in the desert it is
worse; at sea, storms are met with; in the desert, there cannot be a greater storm than to find a dry well; at sea, one meets with pirates-we escape-we surrenderwe die; in the desert they rob the traveller of all his property and water; they let him live, perhaps, but what a life! to die the most barbarous and agonizing death. In short, to be thirsty in a desert, without water, exposed to the burning sun, without shelter, and no hopes of finding either, is the most terrible situation that a man can be placed in; and, I believe, one of the greatest sufferings that a human being can sustain; the eyes grow inflamed, the tongue and lips swell; a hollow sound is heard in the ears, which brings on deafness, and the brains appear to grow thick and inflamed; all these feelings arise from the want of a little water. In the midst of all this misery, the deceitful morasses appear before the traveller at no great distance, something like a lake or river of clear fresh water. The deception of this phenomenon is well known, as I mentioned before; but it does not fail to invite the longing traveller towards that element, and to put him in remembrance of the happines of being on such a spot. If, perchance, a traveller is not undeceived, he hastens his pace to reach it sooner; the more he advances towards it, the more it goes from him, till at last it vanishes entirely, and the deluded passenger often asks where is the water he saw at no great distance; he can scarcely believe that he was so deceived; he protests that he saw the waves running before the wind, and the reflection of the high rocks in the water.
"If, unfortunately, any one falls sick on the road, there is no alternative; he must endure the fatigue of travelling on a camel, which is troublesome even healthy people, or he must be left behind on the sand, without any assistance, and remain so till a slow death come to relieve him. What horror! What a brutal proceeding to an unfortunate sick man! one remains with him, not even his old and faithful servant: no one will stay and die with him; all pity his fate, but no one will be his companion. Why not stop the whole caravan till he is better, or do what they can for the best, till he dies? No, this delay cannot be; it will put all in danger of perishing of thirst, if they do not reach the next well in such a time; besides, they are all different parties, generally of merchants or travellers, who will not only refuse to put themselves in danger, but will not even wait a few hours to save the life of an individual, whether they know him or not.
"In contrast to the evil, there is the luxury of the Desert and also its sport, which is generally at the well; there one enjoys all the delight of drinking as much
REVIEW.-Bell's Huntingdon Peerage.
water as one likes, which tastes not unlike cordials or other precious liquors, with the others in that situation."
In passing up the river Nile, our traveller witnessed one of those terrible calamities to which the natives of particular districts of Egypt are Occasionally liable. The river, in 1818, rose three feet and a half above the highest mark left by the preced ing inundation, and with such rapidity that many villages, with their inhabitants, were entirely swept away.
"I never saw," says M. Belzoni, "any picture that could give a more correct idea of a deluge than the valley of the Nile in this season. The cottages, being built of earth, could not stand one instant against the current, and no sooner did the water reach them, than it levelled them with the ground. The rapid stream carried off all that was before it; men, women, children, cattle, coru; every thing was washed away in an instant, and left the place where the village stood without any thing to indicate that there had ever been a house on the spot."
It was one vast Ocean, out of which arose numerous Islands and many magnificent ruins.
"On our right," says Belzoni, "we had the high rocks and the temples of Gournon, the Memnonium, the extensive buildings of Medmet Aboo, and the two Colossal statues which arose out of the water like the light-houses on some of the coasts of Europe. On our left, we had
the vast ruins of Carnak and Luxor; to the East of which, at a distance of eight miles, ran the Mokattum chain of mountains, forming the boundaries of this vast lake as it appeared from our boat."
Such, however, is the bounty of Nature, that the damage in this country is speedily repaired.
"On our way down," he observes, "it was pleasing to see the difference of the country; all the lands that were under water before, were now not only dried up, but were already sown; the muddy villages carried off by the rapid current were all rebuilt; the fences opened: the fellahs at work in the fields, and all wore a different aspect: yet, it was then only fifteen days since the waters had sub
As our limits will not permit many more extracts from this valuable work, we will close with Belzoni's account of the Locusts.
"These animals I have seen in such clouds, that twice the number in the same space would form an opaque mass, which
would wholly intercept the rays of the sun, and cause complete darkness. They alight on fields of corn, or other vegetables, and in a few minutes devour their whole produce. The natives make a great noise to frighten them away in vain; and, by way of retaliation, they catch and eat them when fried, considering them as a dainty repast. They are something like the grass-hopper in form, about two inches in length. They are generally of a yellow or gold colour, but there are some red and some green."
2. The Huntingdon Peerage, by Mr. Bell. (Continued from Vol. XC. p. 522.)
HAVING nearly thirty years ago travelled over a considerable portion of the important investigation which Mr. Bell has so successfully terminated; having explored the monumental records, the family pedigrees, and such other documents as were within our own reach; we are more competent than most of our Critical Brethren to appreciate the value and the extent of his laborious researches. Our objects, however, were of a different nature from those of a Claimant to Nobility. Our primary motive was, to render as perfect as possible the "History and Antiquities of Leicestershire;" and in that work will accordingly be found the groundwork of the Biography of the Earls of Huntingdon, from the remolest ancestry of William Lord Hastings, grandfather of George the first Earl, to the death of Francis the tenth Earl in 1789; interspersed with monuments, epitaphs (and occasionally portraits) of the collateral branches.
The origin of this illustrious and antient family, their successions, their chivalrous deeds, their pedigrees, &c. &c. may be found under the parochial histories of Ashby de la Zouch and Castle Donington. A Pedigree of Hastings of Humberstone and Lutterworth is given, from George the fourth Earl, second son of Francis the second Earl, to Richard Hastings, great-grandfather of the present Earl. Under Kirby Muxloe, also, is given a Pedigree of Hastings of Braunston, the lineal representative of Walter sixth son of the second Earl. With the descendants of Richard, we were then wholly unacquainted; though, as we now find, we had actually described them, in a few months after the death of the last Earl, in the following brief article, the most authen
REVIEW.Bell's Huntingdon Peerage.
tic we could at that time obtain. After noticing that the Earldom had fallen into abeyance, it was added:
"The late Earl was certainly not with out collateral relations of his name. lonel Hastings [the present Earl's father] who lived some time in The Old Place, a building adjoining to Ashby Castle [and then supposed to be dead, without issue], left an elder brother [Theophilus-Henry], living at Bolton, a very respectable Clergyman. Also Mr. Robert Hastings, Rector of Packington, one of the family livings [1783-1792]. A branch also went over to Ireland at the end of the seventeenth century. And there is now living  at Folkestone, Mr. William Hastings, who is generally considered as the presumptive heir to the title, being lineally descended from Francis the second Earl of Huntingdon."
The descent of William Hastings was unquestionable; as was his right to the title, had the failure really occurred of the issue of the above Colonel George Hastings; whose claim was derived from the SECOND son of the second Earl; whilst that of William Hastings was from the SIXTH Son of the same nobleman.
Having said this, the extinction of the Braunston Line shall here be briefly given. William Hastings, Esq. of Folkestone, who had been bred in the army, obtained late in life the honourable retreat of a Veteran Offi. cer in the humble but not lucrative appointment of Governor of Folkestone castle in Kent; where we saw him not long before the death of Earl Francis, with his aged wife, happy in their station, with an only son, George, then about sixteen, when the mother strongly recommended him to our notice as an honest steady youth, with a solicitation that we would either take him into our service, or help him to some use ful employment in London. This was the identical young man, whom Selina the celebrated Countess Dow. ager of Huntingdon, almost immediately after the death of her son. the late Earl, took entirely under her patronage, as the undoubted heir to the title, and placed him at the Methodist Academy, which she had founded, at Hackney. The unfortu nate youth soon sickened of the smallpox; and died March 13, 1790 (see vol. LX. p. 372.) The aged father, content with his title of Governor Hastings," and not ambitious of an
Earldom shorn of its substantial acres, did not long survive; and thus ended the claim of the Braunston branch.
This long but not irrelevant digres sion shall be closed by an extract from one of the most important documents exhibited by Mr. Bell,-a Letter from Elizabeth Countess Dowager of Moira, sister to the late Earl of Huntingdon, and his successor in dated April 18, 1808, and addressed the Baronies of Hungerford, &c. to her kinsman Archdeacon Hastings, of Newton Butler, Ireland; in which that Lady gives a succinct history of the family; thus noticing the branch which has just been mentioned:
"The descendants of Walter I was well acquainted with. The grandfather of the line of that race was first Captain in my grandfather's regiment, and was one of those who threw up their commissions
sooner than serve under the man who had behaved to his relation and benefactor as the Lieutenant Colonel had done. lived with my grandfather till the time of his death. His wife (a woman of very good family, who was related to my grandmother, and was her companion,) had married him for love, and being a woman of an independent spirit, after my grandfather's death, wanted her husband to go into business. As he would not consent to this, she undertook that task herself, and thereby brought up and edu cated a large family. Her eldest son she put into the army: another in the law; and others into trade; all behaving respectably, and succeeding in their different pursuits, except one dying at an early period. The son of her eldest son pretended to the heirship, and, getting among the Methodists, and supposing that my mother, the late Lady Huntingdon, would support him on that account, he attempted to set up a claim to the title. I have seen a small Methodist Work, entitled, The Godly End, and Dying Words, of George Lord Hastings.' Some of his family applied to me to support this claim by my evidence.
I informed them I wished well to that branch, more so than to that of the true claimants; but my information would go to show, that they could not have any manner of right, till it was first proved, that all the descendants of Edward Hastings, and Francis Hastings, fourth and fifth sons of Francis, second Earl of Huntingdon, were extinct; the eldest son, named William, supposed to have died young."