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life. For," says Abbé Fleury, in his admirable Work, Of the manners of the Israelites, where the subječt I am upon is thoroughly examined, " it is the peasant “ who feeds the citizen, the magistrate, the gencle" man, che ecclesiastick: And, whatever artifice

and craft may be used to convert money into com“ modities, and these back again into money ; yet « all must ultimately be owned to be received from " the products of the earth, and the animals which is “ sustains and nourishes. Nevertheless, when we com" pare men's different stations in life together, we give " the lowest place to the husbandman: And with ma« ny people a wealthy citizen, enervated with noth, « useless to the publick, and void of all merit, « has the preference, merely because he has more “ money, and lives a more easy and delightful life.

“ But let us image to ourselves a country where 56 so great a difference is not made between the seve. ķs ral conditions ; where the life of a Nobleman is 16 not made to consist in idleness and doing nothing, “ but in a careful preservation of his liberty ; that “ is, in a due subjection to the laws and the constişi tution ; by a man's subsisting upon his estate with¢ out any dependance, and being contented to enjoy $ a little with liberty, rather than a great deal at the

price of mean and base compliances: A country, “ where noch, effeminacy, and the ignorance of " things necessary for life, are had in their juft conos tempt; and where pleasure is less valued than

health and bodily strength : In such a country, it

will be much more reputable for a man to plough, ** and attend aflock, than to waste all his hours in “ fauntering from place to place, in gaming, and in " expensive diversions.” But we need not have recourse to Plato's common-wealth for instances of men who have led these useful lives. It was thus chac the greatest part of mankind lived during near four chousand years; and that not only the Israelites, but the Egyptians, the Greeks, and the Rolior

mans,

necessary for ou

vith not only a plendides its fupply

mans, that is to say, nations the most civilized,
and most renowned for arms and wisdom. They
all inculcate the regard which ought to be paid
to agriculture, and the breeding of cattle: One of
which (without faying any thing of hemp and flax fo
necessary for our cloathing) supplies us, by corn,
fruits, and pulfe, with not only a plentiful but deli.
cious nourishment; and the other, besides its supply
of exquisite meats to cover our tables, almoft gives
life singly to manufactures and trade, by the skins
and stuffs it furnishes.

Princes are commonly desirous, and their interest
certainly requires it, that the peasant who, in a literal
fenfe, sustains the heat and burden of the day, and
brings so great a proportion of the taxes of the nation,
should meet with favour and incouragement. Buc
the kind and good intencions of Princes are too often
defeated by the insatiable and merciless avarice of those
who are appointed to collect their revenues. History

has tranfmitted to us a fine faying of Tiberius on this Diod. l. head. A prefect of Egypt having augmented the 57.p.608. annual tribute of the province, and, doubtless with

the view of making his court to the Emperor, remitted
to him a sum much larger than was customary, that
Prince, who, in the beginning of his reign thought,
or at least spoke justly, answered, That it was bis de
Sign, not to flea but to fhear his feep. *

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| C H A P. VI.
Of the FERTILITY of EGYPT.

TINDER this head, I shall treat only of fome

U piants. peculiar to Egyt, and of the abundance
of corn which it produced.

PAPYS

PAPYRUS. This is a plant from whose root shoot out a great many triangular ftalks, to the height of Plin.l.13. six or seven cubits. The ancients writ at first upon c. 11. palm leaves ; next on the inside of the bark of trees, from whence the word Liber, or book is derived ; after that, upon tables cover'd over with wax, on which the characters were impress'd with an instrument calld Stylus, sharp pointed at one end to write with, and flat at the other, to efface what had been written ; which gave occasion to the following expression of Horace *.

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The meaning of which is, that a good performance is not to be expected without many corrections, At last the use of paper + was introduc'd, and this was made of the bark of Papyrus, divided into thin Aakes or leaves, which were very proper for writing, and this Papyrus was likewise callid Byblus 1l.

Memphis as yet knew not to form in leaves.
The watry Biblos.-

PLINY calls it a wonderful invention *, so useful to life, that it preserves the memory of mighty actions, and immortalizes those who accchiev'd them. Varro ascribes this invention to Alexander the Great,

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Lucan.

* Sæpe ftylum vertas iterum sagether and dried in the fun. quæ digna legi fint

Nondum flumineas MemScripturus L. 1. Sat. 10. v.72. phis contexere Biblos i

+ The Papyrus was divided ixto thin Aakes (into which is * Poftea promiscuè patuit ufus naturally parted) which being rei, qua conftat immortalitas laid on a table, and moistned hominum. Chartæ usu maxiwith the glutinous waters of the ' me humanitas conftat in me Nile, were afterwards presid moria.

when

when he built Alexandria ; but he had only the me. rit of making paper more common, for the invention was of much greater antiquity. The same Pliny adds, that Eumenes, King of Pergamus, fubftituted parchment instead of paper; in emulation of Ptolemy King of Egyt, whose library he was ambitious to excel by this invention, which carried the advantage over paper. Parchment is the skin of a sheep dress’d and made fit to write upon. It was called Pergamenum from Pergamus, whofe Kings had the honour of the invention. All the ancient manuscripts are either upon parchment, or velluin which is calf-skin, and a great deal finer than the common parchment. It is very curious to see whice fine

paper, wrought out of filthy rags pick'd up in the Plin. l.19. îtreets. The plant Papyrus was useful likewise for C. 1.

fails, tackling, clothes, coverlets, &c.
· LINUM. Flax is a plant whose bark, full of
fibres or strings, is useful in making fine linnen.
The method of making this linnen in Egypt was won-
derful, and carried to such perfection, that the

threads which were drawn out of them, were almost : too small for the observation of the sharpeft eye.

Priests were always habited in linnen, and never in woollen ; and not only the priests, but all persons of distinction generally wore linnen cloaths. This flax form’d a considerable branch of the Egyptian traffick, and great quantities of it were exported into foreign countries. The making of it employ'd a great number of hands, especially of the women, as appears from that passage of Isaiah, in which the

prophet menaces Egypt with a drought of so terrible E : a kind that it should interrupt every kind of labour. - IT. 19. 9. Moreover, they that work in fine flax, and they that

weave network shall be confounded. We likewise find

in fcripture, that one effect of the plague of hail - Exod. 9. call'd down by Moses upon Egypt, was the destructi.

on of all the fax which was then bolled. This storm was in March.

Byssus

31.

3

Byssus. This was another kind of fax extreamly Plin. ibid. fine and small, which often receiv'd a purple dye. | It was very dear; and none but rich and wealthy.

persons could afford to wear it. Pliny, who gives the first place to the Asbeston or Albeftinum (i. e. the incombustible flax) places the Byssus in the next rank; and says, that it serv'd as an ornament to the ladies *. It appears from the holy scriptures, that it was chiefly from Egypt that cloth made of this fine flax was brought. Fine linnen with broidered Ezek. work from Egypt..

14 ... 27. 7. I TAKE no notice of the Lotus or Lore tree, a plant in great request with the Egyptians, and whose berries served them in former times for bread, There was another Lotus in Africa, which gave its name to the Lotofagi or Lotus-eaters; because they Odyfl. 9. livd upon the fruit of this tree, which had so delici- v.84.102. ous a tafte, if Homer may be credited, that it made the eaters of it forget all the sweets of their native country t, as Ulysses found to his coft in his return from Troy.

In general, it may be said, that the Egyptian pulse and fruits were excellent; and might, as Pliny | observes, have suffic'd singly for the nourishment

* Proximus Byssino mulierum flax is now found out which is maxime deliciis genito, inven- proof against the violence of Fire ; tum jam est etiam [fcilicet Li- it is called living flax, and que num] quod ignibus non abfumie- bave seen table napkins of, it glowa tur, vivum id vocant, ardentes- ing in the fires of our dining rooms ; que in focis conviviorum ex eo and receiving a luftre and a cleanvidimus mappas, fordibus exu- ness from flames, ruhich no waters Itis splendescentes igni magis, could have given. i quam poffent aquis. i. e. A

+ Tõudo ças Automo Odryou peaindéce rapzov,

O'xt' anayeirect te nov in Isnev, oude véso 9006.
Μή πώ τις λωτοιο φαγών, νοσοιο λαθηται.

I. v. 94, 95. ..

v. 102.

| Egyptus frugum quidem fertiliffima, fed ut prope fola üs carere poffit, tanta eft cibo

rum ex urbis abundancia. Plin.
L. 21. . 15.

of

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