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Ali, schemes may be approaching maturity undertakings of both descriptions. In all which, if executed, will leave their traces not three countries capital and enterprise have only on Ordnance maps of six inches to the been attracted by preference to the railroad. mile, but on Mercator's projection, and the In Mr. Tanner's summary of the canals and school atlases of rudimental geography. Ca- railroads of the United States, published in dets now studying at Addiscombe may live 1840, we find a list of proposed railroads for to lock down into the Red Sea on their way the State of New York alone to the number to Calcutta, and the steamer from Hong of eighty-four, with an authorized capital of Kong may bring our despatches through Pan- 26,000,000 dollars. We find no mention of ama; but with our present degree of informa- any new canal company, as bread to this intion the discussion of such projects would be tolerable quantity of sack. In 1837, Mr. premature. Chevalier estimated the number of miles of railroad and canal in the United States at 7350. In 1840, by Mr. Tanner's summary, they would approach 9000, of which water claims for its share about 4300. If, however, North America claim the superiority natural to youth in respect of activity of enter prise, the luxuriance of her virgin soil has in many instances been rank and deceptive, and many of her schemes have doubtless lacked the solidity which in the main has characterized the proceedings of England and the Con
The mention of the name of Mehemet Ali makes it impossible to pass without notice the achievements in hydraulics of that remarkable man, who has summoned European science to co-operate with the physical force of numbers, marshalled under a more than Oriental despotism. The Canal of Mahmoudieh, connecting Alexandria with the Nile, is but one of forty-five works in pari materiâ constructed under his auspices. According to Clot Bey's description, it is twenty-five leagues in length, and was completed in ten months tinent. Mr. Tanner writes:by the labor of 313,000 men. If the reputation of sovereigns could be measured by the number of cubic feet of earth removed in their respective reigns, Mehemet Ali's name will be tolerably conspicuous on the record. In the article of canals alone, exclusive of bridg ́es, dams, and other enormous works of construction and excavation, the account in 1840 stood at nearly 105,000,000 of cubic metres. Taking one of these as the average day's work of an Egyptian laborer, and considering that, except in special cases, these works only proceed during four months of the year, Clot Bey calculates that, for some years past, the number of individuals annually employed on hydraulic works in Egypt has been 355,
'With regard to the abstract question of revenue, it is obvious that a large portion of the immense sums invested in canals and railroads in the United States will fail in producing the anticipated results. Visionary enterprises of all sorts are the distinguishing characteristics of the times, and the almost infinite variety of schemes which of late have been pressed upon public attention, and adopted without due caution, have in some instances resulted in the diversion of funds from objects of undoubted utility and advantage to schemes of an opposite character. The mode of improvement, and its fitness for the purposes to which it is designed, are considerations to which little regard has been paid in deciding upon the location of some of
the public works in the United States. Hence the numerous failures, and the consequent withdrawal of public confidence in such investments generally.—p. 23.
In an article of our April Number for 1837, on Mr. Michel Chevalier's Letters on North America,' will be found some no- It is sufficiently notorious that certain tice of the then comparative state of inter- other considerations, besides the choice of nal intercourse in France, England, and the location,' have been overlooked in the pubUnited States. The condition of these three lic works of North America, the neglect of countries, both relative and positive, with re- which would considerably impede the further spect to railroads, has doubtless been much march of improvement in any other commualtered in the years which have since elaps-nity. We leave, however, this topic in the ed, while inland navigation has probably abler hands to which of right it belongs. We more nearly preserved its proportions. Ad- of the Quarterly have no money to invest in ditions to the latter have been perhaps little foreign stocks. Our indignation would be called for in England. In France, as Mr. Chevalier then observed, the want of works to make her existing canals available by improving the access to them from her rivers, as in the signal case of the Canal de Languedoc and the Garonne, was more pressing than that of new lines of navigation, though to say to usthere is doubtless room for remunerative
tame, and our satire pointless, in comparison with that of others. We content ourselves with saying to our insolvent relations on the other side of the Atlantic what, in virtue of the length and discursiveness of this article, our readers will ere now have been tempted
Claudite jam rivos, pueri, sat prata biberunt.'
THE COMIC BLACKSTONE.
From the Charivari.
A GUARDIAN is a sort of temporary parent to a minor, a kind of tarpaulin thrown over the orphan to shield him from the storms of life during his infancy-or, if we may use an humbler illustration, a guardian is a kind of umbrella, put up by the law over the ward, to keep off the pelting of the pitiless storm till the years of discretion are arrived at. There are various kinds of guardians, such as guardians by nature, and guardians for nurture, who are of course the parents of the child; for if an estate be left to an infant, the father is guardian, and must account for the profits; but as the father can control the child's arithmetical studies, it is
have him; and at twenty-one he may dispose of his property, so that he may throw himself away seven years sooner than he can throw away his money. By the law of England a girl may be given in marriage at seven, but surely this must mean the hour of the day at which she may be married, and not the age at which the ceremony may be performed. Formerly, children might make their wills at fourteen, but as they could not be expected to have a will of their own, it has been enacted that no will made by a person under twenty-one shall be valid. Among the Greeks and Romans, women were never of age, and if they had their way in this This law must have been the civil law, for its concountry, a good many of them never would be. sideration towards the fair sex on a matter of so much delicacy as a question of age betokens extreme civility. When this wore away, the Roman law was so civil as to regard them as infants till the ladies half-way by treating them as little innothey were five-and-twenty-which was meeting cents for the first quarter of a century of their precious existences.
easy for the latter to be brought up in blessed ignorance of accounts, and thus the parent may easily mystify the child when the profits of the estate are to be accounted for. The mother is the guardian Infants have various privileges, such as the comfor nurture; that is to say, she is expected to nurse the infant, and the law being very fond of children, corners of the streets, and playing at hop-scotch or mon law privilege of jumping over the posts at the requires the mother to look to the infantine ward-rounders in retired neighborhoods. Another infanrobe. It also invests her with absolute power over tine privilege is the juvenile amusement of going the milk and water, and the bread and butter, to law, which a child may do by his guardian or making her a competent authority-from which his prochein amy, or next friend-though, by the there is no appeal-on all points of nursery prac-bye, he must be a pretty friend who would help an
Next comes the guardian in socage-so called, perhaps, from the quaint notion that guardianship generally extends to those who wear socs or socks-which is further borne out by the fact that guardianship in socage ceases when the child is fourteen years old-which is about the age when socks are relinquished in favor of stockings. These guardians in socage are such as cannot inherit an estate to which a child is entitled, for Coke says that to commit the custody of an infant to him who is next in succession, is "quasi agnum committere lupo," to hand over the lamb to the wolf, and thus says Fortescue, in one of those rascally puns for which the old jurists were infamous, "the law, wishing the child to escape from the lupo has left a loop-hole to enable him to do so." Selden has cleared this pun of a good deal of its ambiguity by changing the word lupo into loop-ho, but Chitty and all the later writers are utterly silent regarding it.
By the 12th of Charles II. confirmed by 1st Victoria, any father may appoint, by will, a guardian to his child till the latter is twenty-one; but it is twenty to one whether such a guardian-called a testamentary guardian-will be able to exercise proper control over the infant.
other into a law-suit. A child may certainly be hanged at fourteen, and certainly may not be hanged at seven, but the intermediate period is one of doubt whether the infant culprit is hangable. Hale gives two instances of juvenile executions in which two infant prodigies were the principal characters. One was a girl of thirteen, who was burned for killing her mistress; and the other a boy still younger, who, after murdering one of his companions by a severe hiding, proceeded to hide himself, and was declared in legal language, doli capax-up to snuff-or, to follow the Norman jurists, en haut du tabac, and hanged accordingly. It is a fine maxim of the English law, that an infant shall not lose by laches, or, in other words, that the stern old doctrine of no askee no havee does not
apply to a child who is entitled to something which he neglects asking for.
An infant cannot bind himself, but he may be "stitched in a neat wrapper"-that is to say, a Tweedish wrapper-at his own cost, if he thinks Proper to go and pay ready money for it. An infant cannot convey away his own estate, but he may run through his own property as fast as he likes, for if he has a field he may run across it-in at one end and out at the other-whenever he feels disposed for it. Guardians in chivalry have been abolished, and An infant trustee may convey an estate that he so have the guardians of the night, who on the holds in trust for another person, though he may lucus a non lucendo principle, were called watch-not be a party in a conveyance on his own account, men, from the fact of their never watching.
The Lord Chancellor is the general guardian of all infants, and especially of idiots aud lunatics, for as Chancery drives people mad, it is only right that Chancery should take care of those who are afflicted with insanity, and who may be called the natural offspring of equity.
Having disposed of the guardians, let us come to the wards, or, as Coke would say, "having got rid of the wolf, let us discuss the lamb in an amicable spirit." A male at twelve years of age may take the oath of allegiance; but this does not apply to all males, for the Hounslow mail can take nothing but two insides and the letters. At fourteen a boy may marry, if he can find any one fool enough to
yet he may, nevertheless, join a party in a public conveyance, such as an omnibus. An infant may present a clerk to the bishop, but if the bishop don't like the clerk, he may turn upon his heel; but still the presentation does not fall by lapse into the laps of the bishop. An infant may bind himself for necessaries, such as food and physic; thus, if he gives a draft to pay for a pill, or contracts with a butcher to supply what is requisite and meet, he will be clearly liable.
In weighing the disabilities and privileges of infants, we come to the conclusion, that, to every six of one, there will be about half-a-dozen of the other.
HISTORICAL RESEARCHES ON THE PRETENDED | emigrant, Demetrius of Phaleros, this prince BURNING OF THE LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA BY
THE SARACENS, UNDER THE CALIPH Omar.
From Fraser's Magazine.
ALEXANDRIA, once a Pagan city, then the seat of philosophy and mysticism, soon after semi-Jewish, and the cradle of Christianity, then the receptacle of Mussulmans of various sects, at length became the abode of theophilanthropy. by favor of the freedom of worship, and still greater freedom of opinions, introduced by 30,000 preachers,* that out-tongued her Mamelucks in eloquence. But the Alexandria of Buonaparte was no longer the Alexandria of the Ptolemies, nor even of Omar. The new conqueror found no traces left of the library; which, even to this day, is still an object of regret.
At the moment we are tracing these lines, instead of the numerous population closely packed within the walls of ancient Alexandria, a small number of Arabs, together with some Europeans, are encamped upon its ruins. Five hundred thousand souls are reduced to forty thousand, and even this is a great improvement since 1820, when the town only numbered ten thousand inhabitants. For the distance of a league around its ramparts, the soil is covered with gigantic ruins. Huge blocks of granite, that are so many silent monuments of the glory of Sesostris's descendants, and marble columns of a more recent date, recalling the reign of the Ptolemies, shapeless and truncated fragments of pillars, and enormous masses of stone, that the more degenerate race of these days would be unable to raise,-such are the remains of the mighty city, once the queen of the commercia! cities of the earth; but we seek in vain for the ashes or the site of its far-famed library. These giant archives of the genius of antiquity are vulgarly supposed to have been reduced to ashes, at the taking of Alexandria by the Arab Mahometans.
Several authors have denied the authenticity of the fact, and endeavored to clear the Islamites of so heavy a reproach. We shall present an abstract of their reasons, to which we shall add
our own comments.
1.—SHORT HISTORY OF THE LIBRARY BEFORE THE
Alexandria became a rich and flourishing city shortly after her foundation by the conqueror of India. Her importance increased under the successors of Alexander. Like other great cities, Alexandria was divided into districts, which were like so many distinct towns (see a tolerably extensive description given by Strabo, book xvii.) One of these districts, the Bruchion situated on the sea-shore, near the great port, contained all the edifices belonging to the Basilicon, or king's palace, the grand college, and several other buildings.
established a society of learned and scientific men, the prototype of our academies and modern institutions. He caused that celebrated museum to be raised, that became an ornament to the Bruchion; and here was deposited the noble library, "a collection," says Titus Livius, "at once a proof of the magnificence of those kings, and of their love of science."
that the library of the Bruchion already numPhiladelphos, the successor of Lagus, finding bered 400,000 volumes, and either thinking that the edifice could not well make room for any more, or being desirous, from motives of jealconstruction of a similar monument, founded a ousy, to render his name equally famous by the second library in the temple of Serapis, called the Serapeum, situated at some distance from These two libraries were denominated, for a the Bruchion, in another part of the town. length of time, the Mother and the Daughter.
During the war with Egypt, Cæsar, having set fire to the king's fleet, which happened to be anchored in the great port, it communicated with the Bruchion; the parent library was consumed, and, if any remains were rescued from the flames, they were, in all probability, conveyed to the Serapeum. Consequently, ever after, there can be no question but of the latter.
Euergetes and the other Ptolemies enlarged it successively; and Cleopatra added 200 000 manuscripts at once from the library of King Pergamos, given her by Mark Antony-a noble present, which proves that women of gallantry have, now and then, benefited the world.
Let us follow the traces indicative of the existence of this library.
Aulus Gellius and Ammianus Marcellus seem to insinuate that the whole of the Alexandrian library had been destroyed by fire in the time of Cæsar. The former observes, in his Attic Nights, (book vi. chap. 17.) "The number of books collected together in Egypt by the Ptoleumes; but they were all burnt during the first mies was enormous, amounting to 700,000 volwar in Alexandria, not through any premeditated design, but through the carelessness of the soldiers and the allied troops." And the latter (book xxii. chap. 16 of his History) makes the following remark;—" The Serapeum contained an inestimable library of 700 000 volumes, collected by the zeal of the Ptolemies, and burnt during the war with Alexandria, at the destruction of that town by the dictator Cæsar."
But both are mistaken on this point. Ammianus, in the rest of his narrative, evidently confounds Serapeum and Bruchion. It has been proved that Cæsar only destroyed some edifices in the latter portion of the town, and not the entire city.
Suetonius (in his Life of Domitian) mentions that this emperor sent some amanuenses to Alexandria, for the purpose of copying a quantity of books that were wanting in his library; consequently a library existed in Alexandria a like-long while after Cæsar. Besides, we know that the Serapeum was only destroyed A. D. 391, by
The first of the Ptolemies, Lagus, not only endeavored to render Alexandria one of the most beautiful and most commercial of cities he wise wished her to become the cradle of science and philosophy. By the advice of an Athenian
*The French army.
the order of Theodosius.
Doubtless the library suffered considerably on this last-mentioned occasion; but that it still
partly existed is beyond a doubt, according to the testimony of Oroses, who, twenty-four years later, made a voyage to Alexandria, and assures us that he "saw, in several temples, presses full of books," the remains of ancient libraries. It is worthy of remark, that this author, as well as Seneca, (De Tranquillitate Animi, cap. ix.), estimates the number of volumes burnt by Cæsar at 400,000; and, as it appears that the total number of books of the two libraries amounted to 700,000, there remains, together with the portion saved from the conflagration of the former library, a residue of from 3 to 400,000 volumes, which composed the second library. The trustworthy Oroses, in 415, is the last witness we have of the existence of a library at Alexandria. The numerous Christian writers of the fifth and sixth centuries, who have handed down to us so many trifling facts, have not said a word upon this important subject.
We, therefore, have no certain documents upon the fate of our library from 415 to 636, or, according to others, 640, when the Arabs took possession of Alexandria, - a period of ignorance and barbarism, of war and revolutions, and vain disputes between a hundred different sects,
II. THE LIBRARY BURNT BY THE SARACENS.-
Now, towards A. d. 636, or 640, the troops of
At length, in the year 1660, a learned Oxford scholar. Edward Pococke, who had been twice to the East, and had brought back a number of Arabian manuscripts, first introduced the Oriental history of the physician Abulfarage to the learned world, in a Latin translation. In it we read the following passage:
God's holy book, and then God's book is all-sufficient without them; or they disagree with God's book, in which case they ought not to be preserved.' And, in consequence, Amrou Ebno 'l-As caused them to be distributed amongst the different baths of the city, to serve as fuel. In this manner they were consumed in half-a-year."
When this account of Abulfarage's was made known in Europe, it was at once admitted as a fact, without the least question: it soon gained ground, and with the multitude it had the honor of passing for incontestable truth.
Since Pococke, another Arab historian, likewise a physician, was discovered, who gave pretty nearly the same account. This was Abdollatif, who wrote towards 1200, and consequently prior to Abulfarage. The publication of his work is owing to M. Paulus, a professor, who translated it from an Arabian manuscript in the library at Boldei. The passage in question runs as follows:
"I also saw the portico which, after Aristotle and his pupils, became the academical college; and likewise the college, which Alexander the Great caused to be built at the same time as the town, and which contained the splendid library that Amrou Ebno 'l-As committed to the flames, with the consent of the great Omar, to whom God be merciful."
As this anecdote agreed perfectly with the ferocious and barbarous character ascribed to the Saracens, nobody thought of questioning its authenticity for a considerable length of time. We will endeavor, however, to clear the caliph and his lieutenant, Amrou, of this imputation,not for love of the Saracens, but for the love of truth.
III. A CRITICAL EXAMINATION OF THE AC-
GIVEN BY ABULFARAGE AND ABDOL
We may reasonably suppose, as Abdollatif is the most ancient writer of the two, that Abulfarage was acquainted with the above-mentioned passage in his history, and commented upon it, and embellished it according to his own taste. Abdollatif does not relate any of the circumstances accessory to the destruction of the library. But what faith can we put in a writer who tells us that he has actually seen what could no longer have been in existence in his time? "I have seen," says he, "the portico and the college that Alexander the Great caused to be built, and which contained the splendid library," &c. Now, these buildings were situated within the Bruchion; and since the reign of Aurelian, who had destroyed it.-that is to say, at least nine hundred years before Abdollatifthe Bruchion was a deserted spot, covered with ruins and rubbish.
"In those days flourished John of Alexandria,
sides, what meaning could be implied by the words Royal Treasury, in a country that had long ago ceased to be governed by kings, and was subject to the emperors of the East?
Moreover, as a fact is not necessarily incon
testable because advanced as such by one or then could he have forgotten the library, he even two historians, several persons of learning who, according to Abulfarage, was a friend to and research have doubted the truth of this as- the fine arts and philosophy? Did he think that sertion. Renaudot (Hist. des Patriarches d'Alex-so celebrated and ancient a monument was not undrie) had already questioned its authenticity, worthy to be mentioned?
by observing: "This account is rather suspi- Elmacin in turn gives us Amrou's letter nearcious, as is frequently the case with the Arabi-ly in the same terms, and not one word of the ans. "And, lastly, Querci, the two Assemani, library. Villoison, and Gibbon, completely declared themselves against it.
It may be objected that the letter was, perhaps, never written by Amrou, and that the two historians have falsely attributed it to him. So much the more reason for the library to have been mentioned in the supposed letter. Could they both have overlooked a feature so important in the estimation of two learned inhabitants of Alexandria? Would they have taken a pride in seeming better informed on the subject of baths and kitchen-gardens than about the library?
Gibbon at once expresses his astonishment that two historians, both of Egypt, should not have said a word about so remarkable an event. The first of these is Eutychius, patriarch of Alexandria, who lived in that city 500 years after it was taken by the Saracens, and who gives a long and detailed account, in his Annals, both of the siege and the succeeding events; the second is Elmacin, a most veracious writer, the author of a History of the Saracens, and who especially relates the life of Omar, and the taking of Alexandria, with its minutest circum-pay stances. Is it conceivable or to be believed that these two historians should have been ignorant of so important a circumstance? That two learned men who would have been deeply interested in such a loss should have made no mention of it, though living and writing in Alexandria-Eutychius, too, at no distant period from the event? and that we should learn it for the first time from a stranger, who wrote, six centuries after, on the frontiers of Media?
If, however, the letter be authentic, as its existence tends to make us believe, then let us attention to the caliph's answer, who commands his troops to respect every thing the city contains.
We, therefore, run no great risk in drawing the conclusion, from all these premises, that the library of the Ptolemies no longer existed in 640 at the taking of Alexandria by the Saracens.
We may add fresh proofs on the authority of two writers, nearly contemporary with Omar. One of these, John Philoponos, (who has been erroneously confounded by Gibbon and others Besides, as Gibbon observes, why should the with John the Grammarian mentioned by AbulCaliph Omar, who was no enemy to science, farage) says, in his commentaries on Aristotle's have acted, in this one instance, in direct oppo- Analytica, that the ancient libraries contained sition to his character, when he might have dis- forty different books of this Analytica. He does pensed with such an act of barbarism, by shield- not, it is true, expressly mention the library of ing himself behind the opinion of the casuists of Alexandria, but he lived and wrote in that city the Mahometan law? These, namely, declare where, doubtless, they were always designated (see Dissertations de Réland sur le Droit Mili- as the libraries, and he, therefore, could refer to taire des Mahometans, tom. iii.) "that it is not no other in this passage. Besides, we know that right to burn the books of Christians, out of re- Aristotle's writings had been carefully collected spect for the name of God that is to be met within the library of the Ptolemies. (See Athenæus, in them, and that every true believer is allowed to make a proper use of profane books of history, poetry, natural history, and philosophy." This decision does not savor much of destroying libraries.
Strabo, and Plutarch's Life of Sylla.)
in the great library."
But were any doubts remaining we may consult Philoponos's master, Ammonius Hermeas, in his observations on Aristotle's Categories. He lived in Alexandria prior to the inTo these reasons may be added the remark of vasion of the Saracens. "It is reported of a German writer, M. Reinhard. who observes Ptolemy Philadelphos," says he, "that he took that Eutychius (Annals of Eutychius, vol. ii. p. great pains to collect together the writings of Aris316) transcribes the very words of the letter totle, liberally rewarding those who brought in which Amrou gives the Caliph Omar an ac-him such; which was the cause that many percount of the taking of Alexandria after a long sons presented him manuscripts falsely attributed and obstinate siege. "I have carried the town to Aristotle; consequently, no less than forty dif by storm" says he, "and without any preced-ferent books of the Analytica were to be met with ing offer of capitulation. I cannot describe all the treasures it contains; suffice it to say, that It is clear that Ammonius here adverts to the it numbers 4000 palaces, 4000 baths, 40 000 library of Alexandria; therefore Philoponos altaxable Jews, 400 theatres, 12 000 gardeners ludes to it likewise. What he designates as the who sell vegetables. Your Mussulmans demand ancient libraries is the same as Ammonius calls the privilege of pillaging the city, and sharing the great library. They both speak of it as of the booty." Omar, in his reply, disapproves of a thing past and gone, and no longer in existthe request, and expressly forbids all pillage or ence, and do doubt can be entertained on this dilapidation head. We may even imagine that he alludes It is plain that, in his official report, Amrou to the library of the Serapeum; for Philadelseeks to exaggerate the value of his conquest phos, who took so much pains to gather toand to magnify its importance, like the diplo-gether the writings of Aristotle, would doubtmatists of our times. He does not overlook alessly have placed them in a collection that was single hovel, nor a Jew, nor a gardener. How his own work, and which he valued especially.