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1753 ; not that his way of living differed from that of other Beys, it should seem, but merely as a curiosity he could present his readers with. After describing some soups taken by him in the morning, he tells us, that he was wont to dine at eleven ; that the grandees sat near him ; that when they had eaten, others sat down, and the poor took away what was left. His provisions were twelve sheep every day, dressed in three different manners with a rice-pillawwith oranges and eggs--and, thirdly, with onions and butter. Besides the mutton, there was wont to be cuscoosoo, which they eat with the broth; and also boiled fish or fowls, with lemon or orange-sauce. An hour before sunset they eat as before.
But, besides the curiosity of this account, it . may serve to illustrate what is said in the Scriptures of some eminent personages, and the comparing the one with the other gives a very sensible pleasure. The Bey of Tunis is not a great prince ; he is, however, at the head of a very considerable people ; yet Nehemiah seems to have equalled him in his way of living, his daily provision being, besides fowls, six choice sheep and an ox. Beef is not now much relished by the Eastern people : they are ready to think it a coarse kind of food ; and Mons. Maillet observes, that the great people of Egypt would think they dishonoured themselves, if they should have it served up on
+ Lett. 11. p. 109, and Lett. 12. p. 154.
their tables; and that they were always surprised to see it at his, who was the representative of so great a prince as the king of France. According to Dr. Russell, indeed, there hegins to be a change at Aleppo, as to this point, among the Christian inhabitants ; but the rest are still a verse from beef. That mutton is, in the East, the favourite meat, all agree; but it appears, from many passages of Scripture, that beef, was, anciently, in high esteem in Judea ; and, consequently, the having an ox every day was no meanness at the table of Nehemiah. And as to abundance, his table must be at least equal to that of the Bey of Tunis.
I am aware that Shaw observes, that the neat 'cattle of Barbary are very small, and that the
fattest, when brought from the stall, weighs no more than five or six hundred pounds;" however, we may reckon an ox to be equivalent to six sheep at least; and therefore, that Nehemiah lived, in the ruined country of Judea, with a splendor equal to that of a Bey of Tunis.
The friend of Dr. Pococke, from whom he had his account, did not inform him what number of persons lived from the Bey's table ; but
Notwithstanding the degrading view in which the mo. dern Eastern people look upon the flesh of this animal, Maillet assures us, that its flesh is admirable, especially in that season when the meadows are covered with verdure, That it is not surpassed by that of the oxen of Hungary, or of any other country. It has this excellence also, that it is extremely nourishing. Lett. 9, p. 9.
* P. 1-68.
Maillet tells us,' that a sheep, with a proper proportion of rice, and consequently of bread, will suffice threescore people : at the same rate twelve sheep then will serve seven hundred and twenty. But as the Bey had two meals a day, of much the same kind, his table, according to this computation, maintained, allowing for the fish and fowl, near four hundred people. This calculation agrees very well with the history of Nehemiah, which informs us, that he entertained those that came to him continually from the heathen; besides an hundred and fifty Jews ind Rulers; some of these had attendants, doubtless, and his own servants must have been numerous; could they in the whole have been much fewer than four hundred persons ? !
But it is to be thought that Eastern magnifi. cence has risen much higher than this. Nehemiah and a Bey of Tunis were much beneath many of the princes of those countries; and, indeed, we find that private nobles, in happier times, or in more flourishing kingdoms, have
• Lett. 11. p. 110.
· This part of the history of Nehemiah, concerning the expence of his table, which was defrayed out of his own private fortunes, Neh. v. 18, clearly explains what the ex. cuse means, mentioned Is. iii. 7, so far as relates to bread; but it is not so clear why the man declined being a Ruler, because he had no quantity of clothing by him, in which the Eastern treasures anciently very much consisted. It may signify, he had not wherewithal to equip his attendants, in the manner they ought to be in such a case, the servants of the great in the East being wont to be magnificently dressed; or it may mean, that he had not what might be used for making such a present as such a station would require him to make, on several occasions.
greatly exceeded them : so Maillet, in a passage I shall presently cite from him, affirms, that the great lords of Egypt, who are only private persons, generally keep in attendance a thousand or twelve hundred persons. · Solomon was, indisputably, the most magpificent of the Jewish kings, and accordingly his retinue was very numerous, and greatly exceeded that of these Egyptian nobles of Maillet : What is said, 1 Kings xi. 3, puts it out of all manner of doubt; but the data are hardly sufficient to determine how many were fed from his table. His provisions for a day were, thirty measures of fine flour, and threcscore of meal, ten fat oxen, twenty out of the pastures, and an hundred sheep, besides venison and fatted fowl: if we compare the abundance of his table with that of Nehemiah, and estiinate the difference by the sheep, it was about seventeen times as much ; if by the beef, thirty times: only it is to be remembered, that ten only of Solomon's oxen were fatted, the rest being out of the pastures ; perhaps therefore the proportion upon the whole might be twenty to one, and consequently, that Solomon's table fed about eight thousand persons of all sorts," · lions, Voltaire's account differs very much from this. In his Raison par Alphabet, under the article Salomon, he tells us, " they daily served up for the dinner and supper of his household fifty oxen and an hundred sheep, and fowl and game in proportion : which might amount to sirty thousand pounds weight of meat a day. A very plentiful table this !” The Jewish Scriptures speak only of thirty oxen a day, and describe ten of them only as highly fatted, 1 Kings iy. 23; the authentic documents from whence Voltaire was enabled to correct this account, making them
wires, ministers of state, foreigners, servants; and (like the table of Nehemiah, the Bey of Tunis, and the Arab princes,) the poor.
This abundance, however, appears to have been afterwards exceeded in Egypt, The royal feasts of Mohammed Ebn Toulon,* or Mohammed the son of Toulon, Maillet tells us, from the Arabian writers, were so abundant as to feed fourteen thousand persons, who belonged to the different offices of his household. The quintals of meat, butter, sugar, which they daily employed for the pastry-work alone, of which these historians, he says, gives an exact list, were so numerous as to appear incredible. bo also does the quantity of sheep, pullets, pigeons, and spices, which were daily consumed in cookery. As to oxen, no mention was made of them, because, as he had elsewhere observed, the flesh of that animal never appears in Egypt, on the tables of people of figure. He goes on to inform us, that the tables of the Turks are not delicate, abuudance serving with them instead of delicacy; it being common with them to have the remains of what was served up for the use of a great lord, and eight or ten per
fifty, as well as the proofs we are to suppose he had, of the gigantic size of the animals of Solomon's age, are secrets he has not thought proper to divulge. It is certain from Dr. Russell, as well as from Shaw and Maillet, that fifty oxen, allowing him right in that point, many of thein not very fat, would not weigh the half of sixty thousand pounds in our times, whatever they might do in the East in Solomon's days.
* He lived about nine hundred years ago. * Lett. 12. p. 154, 155.