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the colours remain to this day, in spite of the rude hand of time, which commonly deadens or destroys them: all this, I say, shews the perfection to which architec. ture, painting, sculpture, and all other arts, had arrived in Egypt.
"The Egyptians entertained but a mean opinion of that sort of exercise, which did not contribute to invigorate the body, or improve health ; nor of music," which they considered as an useless or dangerous diversion, and only fit to enervate the'mind.
OF HUSBANDMEN, SHEPHERDS, AND ARTIFICERS." HUSBANDMEN," shepherds, and artificers, formed the three classes of lower life in Egypt, but were nevertheless had in very great esteem, particularly husbandmen and shepherds. The body politic requires a superiority and subordination of its several members; for as in the natural body, the eye may be said to hold the first rank, yet its lustre does not dart contempt upon the feet, the hands, or even on those parts which are less honourable; in like manner, among the Egyptians, the priests, soldiers, and scholars, were distinguished by particular honours; but all professions, to the meanest, had their share in the public esteem, because the despising any man, whose labours, however mean, were useful to the state, was thought a crime.
Diod. l. i p. 73. * Την δε μεσικην νομιζκσιν και μονον «χριςον υπαρχειν, αλλα και βλαξεραν γ εκθηλύνεσαν τας των ανδρων ψυχας.
* Diod. l. i. p. 67, 68.
A better reason than the foregoing, might have inspired them at the first with these sentiments of equity and moderation, which they so long preserved. As they all descended from Cham,' their common father, the memory of their origin occurring fresh to the minds of all in those first ages, established among them a kind of equality, and stamped, in their opinion, a nobility on every person derived from the common stock. Indeed, the difference of conditions, and the contempt with which persons of the lowest rank are treated, are owing merely to the distance from the common root; which makes us forget that the meanest plebeian, when his descent is traced back to the source, is equally noble with those of the most elevated rank and titles.
Be that as it will, no profession in Egypt was con. sidered as grovelling, or sordid. By this mean, arts were raised to their highest perfection. The honour which cherished them, mixed with every thought and care for their improvement. Every man had his way of life assigned him by the laws, and it was perpetuated from father to son. Two professions at one time, or a change of that which a man was born to, were never allowed. By this mean, men became more able and expert in employments which they had always exercised from their infancy; and every man, adding his own experience to that of his ancestors, was more capable of attaining perfection in his particular art. Besides this wholesome institution, which had been established anciently throughout Egypt, extinguished all irregular ambition; and taught every man to sit down contented with his condition, without aspiring to one more elevated, from interest, vain glory, or levity.
y Or Ham.
From this source flowed humberless inventions for the improvement of all the arts, and for rendering life more commodious, and trade more easy. could not believe that Diodorus was in earnest, in what he relates concerning the Egyptian industry, viz. that this people had found out a way, by an artificial fe. cundity, to hatch eggs without the sitting of the hen; but all modern travellers declare it to be a fact, which certainly is worthy of our curiosity, and is said to be practised in Europe. Their relations inform us, that the Egyptians stow eggs in ovens, which are heated so temperately, and with such just proportion to the natural warmth of the hen, that the chickens produced from these ovens are as strong as those which are hatched the natural way. The season of the year proper for this operation is, from the end of December to the end of April, the heat in Egypt being too violent in the other months. During these four months, upwards of three hundred thousand eggs are laid in these ovens, which, though they are not all successful, they nevertheless produce vast numbers of fowls at an easy rate. The art lies in giving the ovens a just degree of heat, which must not exceed a fixed proportion. About ten days are bestowed in heating these ovens, and very near as much time in hatching the eggs. It is very entertaining, say these travellers, to observe the hatching of these chickens, some of which show at first nothing but their heads, others but half their bod. ies, and others again come quite out of the egg; these
* Diod. 1. i. p. 67.
last, the moment they are hatched, make their way over the unhatched eggs, and form a diverting spectacle.X Corneille le Bruyn, in his travels, has collected the observations of other travellers on this subject. • Pliny likewise mentions it ; but it appears from him, that the Egyptians anciently employed warm dung, not ovens, to hatch eggs.
I have said, that husbandmen particularly, and those who took care of flocks, were in great esteem in Egypt, some parts of it excepted, where the latter were not suffered. It was, indeed, to these two professions that Egypt owed its riches and plenty. It is astonishing to reflect what advantages the Egyptians, by their art and labour, drew from a country of no great extent, but whose soil was made wonderfully fruitful by the inundations of the Nile, and the laborious industry of the inhabitants.
It will be always so with every kingdom, whose governors direct all their actions to the public welfare. The culture of lands, and the breeding of cattle, will be an inexhaustible fund of wealth in all countries, *. Inner. tms jotains i • Tom. II. p. 64.
b Lib. I. e. 54. * The words of Pliny referred to by Mr. Rollin are these : “ Nuper inde fortasse inventum, ut ova in calido loco imposita paleis igne modico foverentur homine versante, pariterque et stato die illinc erumperes fætus." He speaks of this invention as modern, and seems to refer it to the curiosity of Livia, the mother of Tiberius Cesar, who, desirous of having a male child, put an egg into her bosom, and when she parted with it delivered it to one of her women to preserve the heat. This she made an augury to guess at the sex of the child she had then in het womb; and we are told, says Pliny, that she was not deceived. It is probable Mr. Rollin may have met with some other place in Pliny favourable to his sentiment, though after some search I cannot find any.
d Hogherds, in particular, had a general ill name throughout Egypt, as they had the care of so impure an animal. Herodotus, l. ii. c. 47, tells us, that they were not permitted to enter the Egyptian temples, por would any man give them bis daughter in marriage.
where, as in Egypt, these profitable callings are supported and encouraged by maxims of state and policy: and we may consider it as a misfortune that they are at present fallen into so general a disesteem ; though it is from them that the most elevated ranks, as we esteem them, are furnished, not only with the necessaries, but even the delights of life: “ For,” Abbe Fleury, in his admirable work, “Of the manners of the Israelites,” where the subject I am upon is thoroughly examined, “ it is the peasant who feeds the citizen, the magistrate, the gentleman, the ecclesiastic; and, whatever artifice and craft may be used to convert money into commodities, 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 it sustains and nourishes. Nevertheless, when we compare men's different stations of life together, we give the lowest place to the husbandman: and with many people a wealthy citizen, enervated with sloth, useless - to the public, 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 so great a difference is not made between the several conditions; where the life of a nobleman is not made to consist in idleness and doing nothing, but in a carcful preservation of his liberty; that is, in a due subjection to the laws and constitution; by a man's subsisting upon his estate without any dependence, 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 sloth, effeminacy, and the