hers, hasthose on ther, then, which he relea

sometimes experience, the working and domestic slaves at Tunis are not, upon the whole, particularly ill-treated. More than usual, it is said, have lately renegaded, especially among the subjects of the Sicilian king. "The French, much to their credit, have procured the release of every slave, subject to the countries which have fallen under their power. No wonder, then, if the Sicilians be ready to welcome those on their island, by whom their parents brothers, husbands, wives, and children, may once more be restored to their native land !

The regular revenues of the Bey, besides extortion from: the rich while living, the almost universal seizure of their property when they die, and the profits upon his mercantile pursuits, are not supposed to exceed six millions of piastérs; they arise from tithes of oil, grain, &c. the sale of licences for the exportation of those articles, and the importation of wine and spirits; the customs annually let by auction; the sale of monopolies, and places ; a tax on the Jews; and the sale of slaves. ' A considerable treasure is supposed to be accumulated, but the expenditure is thought, of late, to have exceeded the revenue.

In describing the customs and prejudices of the Moors, Mr. M. mentions that extensively prevailing sentiment, the dread of the envious or "evil eye,” of which a particular account will be found in our review of Mr. Thornton's Travels. * He also mentions the apprehension of fatal consequences from sitting thirteen at table. They have a traditionary prophecy, that their country will be conquered on a Friday at the noon-time of prayer, by a people dressed in red, which they sometimes apprehend, and Mr. Macgill cordially hopes, will be the English: at that hour, therefore, the gates of their cities are constantly kept locked. Their Arabian faith is a good deal tinctured with heathenism.

• Previously to the marching of their armies, the astrologers of the country are employed to watch the rising of a particular star. Should it rise clear, they augur good, discharge their artillery, and plant the standard round which their camp is to be formed ; but should the star rise obscured by clouds, or by a fog, they reckon the omen to be evil, and defer the planting of the standard until another day. When the camp breaks up, which is formed near the Bey's palace, where every thing is prepared for the march; a pair of black bulls are sacrificed as the commander passes. After this, victory is expected to crown his endeavours ; and the loo-boo-loo,of the, spectators proves that their good wishes accompany their friends.' pp. 87 88.

It is extraordinary that Mr. Macgill should not know that this cry, is the name of “ Alla,” repeated with great rapidity.

* Vol. III. p.770, VOL, VIE

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

• The Moors (he says appear to be lese jealous of their wives thax, the Turks are. In Turkey, the fair sex are guarded by eunuchs; in Tunis, they have done, nor cao the women be said to be guarded at all. They are served by Christian slaves, and, woich is curious, they fearless to be seen by Christians than by Mussulmans. It is quite ancommon for a Moorish lady to cover herself, either before a Christiap slave or a Jew. Does this arise from the contempt with which Christian slaves and Jews are considered?' . 89.

• A plurality of wives is allowed in Barbary, as well as in all Mahometan countries. A man here may possess four wives, and as many concubines aa he can maintain. It seldom happens however, that a Moor has more than two wives at the same time; but the ceremony of divorcing them is so simple, that he may change as often as he finds it convenient.' p. 91.

«The Moors show great respect to their dead relations. On holi. days, they are to be seen praying at their tombs, which are kept clean and white-washed ; and any infidel who should dare to pass over them, would certainly suffer a severe punishment from the enraged enthusiasts. Their tombs are not adorned with the solemo cypress, like those of the Mahometans in Turkey; but small temples for prayer are often built over them. *-• In Barbary, the fine arts are totally abandoned ; and like all other ignorapt Mahometans, the Moors seek to destroy every vestige of ancient grandeur which remains in their country. Every piece of fine marble which they find in any way wrought, is broken to pieces by them; as they judge from its great weight, that it may contain money. Statues or relief, seldom escape mutilation from the same idea, and also from their abhorrence of idolatry ; to which purpose they imagine the statues may have originally been appropriated. They have no paintings io their houses ; and the extreme jealousy of the government, rendere it upsafe for any one to paint openly in the country.

•Their music is of the most barbarous kind. The braying of an 268 is sweeter than their softest note, whether vocal or instrumental," pp. 91, 92.

The following custom is one of the most whimsical instances of buwan caprice that we ever met with.

• The Tunisines have a curious custom of fattening up their young ladies for marriage. A girl after she is betrothed, is cooped op in a small room. Shackles of silver and gold are put upon her ankles and wrists, as a piece of dress. If she is to be married to a man who has discharged, dispatched, or lost a former wife, the shackles which the former wife wore, are put upon the new bride's limbs ; and she is fed until they are filled up to the proper thickness. This is sometimes no easy matter; particularly if the former wife was fat, and the present should be of a slender form. The food used for this custom, worthy of barbarians, is a seed called drough; which is of an extraordinary fattening quality, and also famous for rendering the milk of ourses rich and abundant. With this seed and their national dish “ cuscusu,' the bride is literally crammed, and many actually die under the spoon.'

The politics of Tunis, as of most other places, are affected by two' predominant and rival interests, the English and French : the latter, ever since the revolution, is said to be on the decline. No art is omitted, on the part of the French government, to sustain and strengthen it; and among these, a splendid account of the achievements of Bonaparte, has been printed in the Turkish language, and circulated with great industry; but according to Mr. M. it has not obtained much credit. The maritiine superiority of the English, their good faith, the necessity of resorting to Malta for the sale of Tunisine produce and the purchase of all sorts of supplies, and the steady, discreet conduct of the present consul, are stated to have rendered the English interest more powerful than at any preceding period, and decidedly superior to that of any other power. Mr. Macgill's recommendation, to adopt a bolder and more manly policy, in negociating with these petty barbarians, and to establish the consulate on a more extended and respectable footing, has the concurrence of several other writers, and appears highly worthy of attention. The transactions of Great Britain, in this respect, have proved how difficult it is for a commercial nation not to be mean. Since the trade of Tunis has been chiefly carried on with Malta, our people find great benefit from the terms of their treaty, which allows them to import goods from any country under any flag, at a trifling duty of 3 per cent. on the nominal or tariff value, while the French pay 8 per cent. on what they import under any flag or from any country but their own. A copy of the British tariff is inserted in the volume. The trade of the Barbary states has greatly declined'; but that of Tunis is the most flourishing. The causes Mr. M. discovers for this decline, are the insecurity of property under a tyrannical and unprincipled government, the granting monopolies, and the interference of the prince himself, and his creatures, in the mercantile pursuits. These circumstances must certainly have checked the increase of the trade; but, as they have been long in operation, they can hardly be said to have occasioned its decline, which may more naturally be attributed to the destruction of French commerce by the war. The Bey has had the wisdom, after the example of more enlightened countries, to prohibit the exportation of corn for the purpose of preventing famine; in other words to discourage its growth.

Mr. Macgill has put together some useful information respecting the currency, weights, and measures of Tunis, as compared with those of other countries. The Spanish dollar is worth at par 34 Tunisine piasters. The principal exports are corn, oil, wool, hides, wax, dates, senna, mad

der, coral, a small quantity of excellent oil of roses, some ostrich feathers, and the manufactures of woollen stuffs, morocco leather, soap, and the noted crimson caps-which are made on a peculiar plan which Mr.'M. describes-are composed chiefly of Spanish wool--and ornamented with a tassil of blue silk. The shepherds, in some parts, drive about their flocks for some days previous to the shearing, so as to load the fleece with sand, and almost double its apparent weight! The export of woollens is chiefly to Turkey and the Levant. Some valuable instructions are given to traders, relative to the articles of import most in request at Tunis, and the mode of supplying them to advautage. In spite of Mahamed, 1000 pipes of wine are anvually drank in that capital ; the Bey grants his tescare or licence for the introduction of it, under the pretence of its being vinegar.

We hardly need add any commendation of this respectable · little book. If it bad been rather more extended, by illustrations of the domestic habits and pol:tical erudition of the Tunisines, it would have been still more valuable; and 1 possibly Mr. Macgill may possess materials to avail himself of this hint, in case a second edition should be required. Art. XIII. The Adoration of Our Lord Jesus Christ vindicated from the

Charge of Idolatry ; a Discourse delivered on Wednesday Evening, April 11, 1811, at the Gravel-Pit Meeting, Hackney. By John Pye Smith, D.D. Published at the Request of the Hearers. 8vo. pp. 30.

Price Is, 6d, Conder. 1811, IT appears that Dr. Smith was induced to deliver this sermon as part

of a course of theological lectures, in consequence of a respectful letter' calling upon him to vindicate himself and his fellow-worshippers from the charge of Christian Idolatry. This we think he has done, in a manner that reflects great honour on his learning, candour, And good sense ; and with that complete success, which may be expected from so able an advocate of so good a cause. The heads of his argument are as follows: I. Our Blessed Lord, in the days of his humiliation, accepted such homage as appears to have been designed and understood to be religious adoration, without any exception, caution, or limitation.II. There are declarations in the scriptures, attributing to our Lord Jesus Christ the possession and exercise of those qualities which have a near relation to religious worship, and imply a right to it.--111. The scriptures demand for the Name of Christ such high regard, as appears irrational and indefensible, except on the supposition of his being intitled to religious homage.-IV. Christians are described in the New Testament by the particular characteristic of invoking the Lord Jesus Christ.--V. The New Testament furnishes examples of religious worship paid to our Lord Jesus Christ.

We admire the fairness and modesty with which this argument is con

ducted, especially when we recollect the arrogance and sophistry which have so osten stood in place of reasoning on the other side of the Socinian controversy. But Dr. Smith's very unmerited courtesy has betrayed him into an impropriety, when he describes those who agree with him in attributing divinity to our blessed Saviour,—that is, almost the whole Christian world in all ages, as only ' a numerous body of Christians !'

Many of our readers will doubtles refer to the Sermon itself for proofs of the propositions we have transcribed : but we cannot resist the tempta. tion of quoting two or three paragraphs with which this valuable discourse concludes.

Our final example of religious homage paid to the Redeemer is taken from the concluding part of the Christian scriptures, the book of Revelation. Some of our opponents have objected to any arguments deduced from this book, on account of alleged deficiency in the evidence of its divine authority. To obviate this objection, I avail myself of the excellent observations of Dr. Priestley. “ This book of Revelation, I have no doubt, was written by the apostle John.—Sir Isaac Newton, with great truth, says, he does not find any other book of the New Testament 80 strongly attested, or commented upon so early as this. Indeed, I think it impossible for any intelligent and candid person to peruse it, without being struck, in the most forcible manner, with the peculiar dignity and sublimity of its composition, superior to that of any other writing whatever; so as to be convinced that, considering the age in which it appeared, none but a person divinely inspired could have written it. Also, the numerous marks of genuine piety, that occur through the whole of this work, will preclude the idea of imposition, in any person acquainted with human nature.-Notwithstanding the obscurity of many parts of this book, enough is sufficiently clear; and the correspondence of the prophecy with the events is so striking, as, of itself, to prove its divine origin.”*

Neither can I admit it to be a just objection to any reasoning from the passage which I am about to read, that it contains symbolical persons and scenery. Though we may not be able to remove the veil of these allegorical representations, the general design of the paragraph is not very obscure ; and the devotional sentiments, with which alone we are at present concerned, are expressed in language sufficiently plain.

666 The four living beings and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, having each of them harps and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book and to open the seals of it : for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every tribe and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made them kings and priests unto our God, and they shall reign upon the earth! And I looked and I heard a voice of many angels encircling the throne and the four living beings and the elders ; and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands ; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and

* Notes on Scripture, vol. iv. p. 573.

« ElőzőTovább »