« PreviousContinue »
the representation will not fall very much short of the globe for exacinels; because such maps might be joined together so as to form a convex furface, nearly as spherical as the globe itself.
CARDINAL POINTS.] The north is considered as the upper part of the map: the fouth is at the bottom, opposite to the north; the eait is on the right hand, the face being turned to the north; and the west on the left hand, opposite to the east. From the top to the bottom are drawn meridians, or lines of longitude; and from fide to fide, parallels of latitude. The outermost of the meridians and parallels are marked with degrees of latitude and longitude, by means of which, and the scale of miles commonly placed in the corner of the map, the situation, distance, &c. of places, may be found, as on the artificial globe. Thus, to find the diItance of two places, suppose London and Paris, by the map, we have only to measure the space between them with the compalles, or a bit of thread, and to apply this distance to the scale of miles, which shows that London is 210 miles difiant from Paris. If the places lie directly north or south, eat or weft, from each other, we have only to observe the degrees on the meridians and parallels ; and by turning these into miles, we obtain the diftance without measuring. Rivers are described in maps by black lines, and are wider towards the mouth than towards the head or spring. Mountains are sketched on maps as on a picture. Forests and woods are represented by a kind of thrub; bogs and moraises, by shades ; sands and fallows are described by small dots; and roads usually by double lines. Near harbours, the depth of the water is exprefled by figures, representing fathoms.
LENGTH OF MILES IN DIFFERENT COUNTRIES.] There is scarcely a greater variety in any thing than in this sort of measure: not only thote of separate countries differ, as the French from the Englify, but those of the fame country vary in the different provinces, from each other, and from the standard. Thus the common English mile differs from the ftatute mile: and the French have three sorts of leagues. We shall here give the miles of several countries, compared with the English, by Dr. Halley.
The Englifh ftatute mile congifts of 5280 feet, 1760 yards, or s furJongs.
The Ruffian vorft is little more than of a mile English.
OF THE ORIGIN OF NATIONS, LAWS, GOVERNMENT,
AND COMMERCE. HAVING, in the following work, mentioned the ancient names of countries, and even sometimes, in speaking of those countries, carried our researches beyond modern times, - it was thought neceflary, ir
order to prepare the reader for entering upon the particular history of esch country we describe, to present him with a general view of the history of mankind, from the first ages of the world to the reformation in religion during the 16th century. By a history of the world, we do not mean a mere lift of dates (which, when taken by itself, is a thing extremely infignificant), but an account of the moft interesting and important events which have happened among mankind ; with the causes that have produced, and the effects which have followed from, them. This we judge to be a matter of high importance in itself, and indispenfably requifite to the understanding of the present state of commerce, government, arts, and manners, in any particular country: it may be called commercial and political geography, and, undoubtedly, constitutes the moft useful branch of that science.
The great event of the creation of the world, before which there was neither matter nor form of any thing, is placed, according to the best chronologers, in the year before Chriit 4004 ; and in the 710th year of what is called the Julian period, which has been adopted by some chronologers and hiftorians, but is of little real service. The sacred records have fully determined the question, that the world was not eternal, and also ascertained the time of its creation with great precision*.
It appears in general, from the first chapters in Genesis, that the world, before the flood, was extremely populous ; that mankind had made confiderable improvement in the arts, and were become extremely vicious, both in their sentiments and manners. Their wickednets gave occafion to a memorable catastrophe, by which the whole hu
B. C. man race, except Noah and his family, were swept from the face
2348. of the earth. The deluge took place in the 1650th year
of the world, and produced a very considerable change in the foil and atmosphere of this globe, rendering them lets friendly to the frame and
texture of the human body. Hence the abridgement of the life of man, - and that formidable train of diseases which has ever since made such havock in the world. A curious part of history follows that of the dea luge,—the repeopling of the world, and the rising of a new generation from the ruins of the former. The memory of the three sons of Noah, the first founders of nations, was long preserved among their several descendants. Japhet continued famous among the westerf nations, under the celebrated name of Japetus ; the Hebrews paid an equal veneration to Shem, who was the founder of their race; and, among the Egyptians, Ham was long revered as a divinity, under the name of Jupiter Hammon. It appears that hunting was the principal occupation fome centuries after the deluge. The world teemed with wild beasts ; and the great heroism of thofe times confilted in destroying them. Hence Nimrod obtained immortal renown, and by the admiration which his courage and dexterity universally excited was enabled to ac
B. C. quire an authority over his fellow-creatures, and to found at Ba
2247. bylon the first monarchy whole origin is particularly mentioned in history. Not long after, the foundation of Nineveh was laid by Afsur ; in Egypt the four governments of Thebes, Theri, Memphis, and Tanis, began to allume fome appearance of form and regularity. That these events should have happened so foon after the deluge, whatever furprise
* The Samaritan copy of the Pentateuch, or five books of Moses, makes the antedilurian period only 1307 years, 349 short of the Hebrew Bible computation ; and the Septuagint copy ftretches it to 2262 years, which is 606 years exceeding it; but the Hebrew
it may have occafioned to the learned some centuries ago, need not in the smallest degree excite the wonder of the present age. We have seen, from many instances, the powerful effects of the principles of population, and how speedily mankind increase, when the generative faculty lies under no restraint. The kingdoms of Mexico and Peru were incomparably more extensive than those of Babylon, Nineveh, and Egypt, during that early age; and yet thele kingdoms are not supposed to have existed four centuries before the discovery of America by Columbus. As mankind continued to multiply on the earth, and to separate from P. C.
each other, the tradition concerning the true God was obliterated
or obscured. This occafioned the calling of Abraham to be the 1921*
father of a chosen people. From this period the history of ancient nations begins to dawn; and we learn several particulars of importance.
Mankind had not long been united into societies before they began to oppress and destroy each other. Chedorlaomer, king of the Elamites, or Perfians, was already become a robber an a conqueror. His force, however, could not have been very great, since, in one of his expeditions, Abraham, ailified only by his household, set upon him in his retreat, and, after a fierce engagement, recovered all the spoil that had been taken. Abraham was foon after obliged by a famine to leave Canaan, the country where God had commanded him to settle, and to go into Egypt. This journey gives occasion to Mofes to mention some particulars respecting the Egyptians, which evidently discover the characteristics of an improved and powerful nation. The court of the Egyptian monarch is described in the most brilliant colours. He was surrounded by a crowd of courtiers, solely occupied in gratifying his para fions. The particular governments into which that country was divided, were now united under one powerful prince ; and Ham, who led the colony into Egypt, became the founder of a mighty empire. We are not, however, to imagine, that all the laws which took place in Egypt, and which have been lo jufily admired for their wisdom, were the work of that early age. Diodorus Siculus, a Greek writer, mentions many fuccellive princes, who laboured for their eftablishment and perfection. But in the time of Jacob, two centuries after, the first principles of civil order and regular government seem to have been tolerably understood . among the Egyptians. The country was divided into several districts
or separate departments; councils, composed of experienced and select perfons, were eftablished for the management of public affairs; granaries for preserving corn were erected; and, in fine, the Egyptians in that age, enjoyed a commerce far from inconsiderable. These facts, though of an ancient date, deterre our particular attention. It is from the Egyptians that many of the arts, both of elegance and utility, have been handed down in an uninterrupted chain to the modern nations of Europe. The Egyptians communicated their arts to the Greeks; the Greeks taught the Romans many improvements both in the arts of peace and war; and to the Romans, the present inhabitants of Europe are indebted for their civilisation and refinement. The kingdoms of Babylon and Nineveh remained separate for several conturies: but we scarcely know even the names of the kings who governed hem, except that of Ninus, the fucceffor of Allur, who, fired with the spirit of conquest, extended the
According to Dr. Playfair’s Chronologicai Tables, the birth of Abraham is fixed at before Chrid 2060, and his being called out of Urr, at 1980.
bounds of his kingdom, added Babylon to his dominions, and laid the foundation of that monarchy, which raised to its meridian fplendor by his enterprising fucceffor Semirarnis, and diftinguithed by the name of the Affyrian empire, ruled Asia for many ages.
Javan, son of Japhet, and grand-son of Noah, was the ftock from whom all the people known by the name of Greeks are descended. Javan esta: blished himself in the islands on the western coast of Asia Minor, from whence it was impossible that some wanderers should not pass over into Europe. The kingdom of Sicyon near Corinth, founded by the Pelafgi, is generally supposed to have commenced in the year before Christ 2090. To these first inhabitants succeeded a colony from Egypt, who, about 2000 years before the Christian æra, penetrated into Greece, and, under the name of Titans, endeavoured to establish monarchy in that country, and to introduce into it the laws and civil polity of the Egyptians. But the empire of the Titans was soon dissolved; and the Greeks, who seem to have been at this time as rude and barbarous as any people in the world, again fell back into their lawless and favage manner of life. Several colonies, however, foon after passed over from Afia into Greece, and, by remaining in that country, produced a more confider. able alteration in the manners of its inhabitants. The most an
B. C. cient of these were the colonies of Inachus and Ogyges ; of whom the former fettled in Argos and the latter in Attica. We know
1850. very little of Ogyges or his successors. Those of Inachus endeavoured to unite the dispersed and wandering Greeks; and their endeavours for this purpose were not altogether unsuccessful.
Bat the history of the Ifraelites is the only one with which we are much acquainted during those ages. The train of curious events which occafioned the settling of Jacob and his family in that part of Egypt of which Tanis was, the capital, are universally known. That patriarch died, according to the Septuagint version of the Bible, 1794 years before
B. CA Christ, but, according to the Hebrew chronology, only 1689 years,
1689. and in the year of the world 2315. This is a remarkable æra with respect to the nations of heathen antiquity, and concludes that period of time which the Greeks considered as altogether unknown, and which they have greatly disfigured by their fabulous narrations. Let us regard this period then in another point of view, and consider what we can learn from the sacred writings, with respect to the arts, manness, and laws of ancient nations.
It is a common error among writers on this subject, to consider all the nations of antiquity as being then alike in these respects. They find fome nations extremely rude and barbarous, and hence they conclude that all were in the same situation. They discover others acquainted with many arts, and hence they infer the wisdom of the first ages. There appears, however, to have been as much difference between the inhabitants of the ancient world, with regard to arts and refinement, as between the civilised kingdoms of modern Europe, and the Indians of America, or the negroes on the coast of Africa. Noah was undoubtedly acquainted with all the science and arts of the antediluvian world'; these he would communicate to his children, and they again would hand them down to their posierity. Those nations, therefore, who settled nearest the original feat of mankind, and who had the best opportunities to avail themselves of the knowledge which their great ancestor was possessed of, early formed themselves into regular societies, and made considerable improvements in the arts which are most subservient to hu. man life. Agriculture appears to have been known in the first ages of
the world. Noah cultivated the vine; in the time of Jacob, the fig-tree and the almond were well known in the land of Canaan; and the instruments of busbandry, long before the discovery of them in Greece, are often mentioned in the facred writings. . It is scarcely to be supposed that the ancient cities, both in Asia and Egypt, (whose foundation, as we have already mentioned, ascends to the remotett antiquity) could have been built, unless the culture of the ground had been practised at that time. Nations who live by hunting or pasturage only lead a wandering life, and feldom fix their residence in cities. Commerce naturally follows agriculture : and though we cannot trace the steps by which it was introduced among the ancient nations, we may, from detached passages in lacred writ, ascertain the progress which had been made in it during the patriarchal times. We know from the history of civil society, that the commercial intercourse between men must be pretty considerable, before the metals come to be considered as the medium of trade ; and yet this was the case even in the days of Abraham. It appears, however. from the relations which establish this fact, that the use of money had not been of ancient date; it had no mark to ascertain its weight or finenels; and in a contract for a burying-place, in exchange for which Abraham gave silver, the metal was weighed in the presence of all the people. As commerce improved, and bargains of this sort became more common, this practice was laid aside, and the quantity of silver was ascertained by a particular mark, which saved the trouble of weighing it. But this does not appear to have taken place till the time of Jacob, the second from Abraham. The refilah, of which we read in his time, was a piece of money, stamped with the figure of a lamb, and of a precise and stated value. It appears from the history of Joseph, that the commerce between different nations was by this time regularly carried on. The lthmaelites and Medianites, who bought him of his brethren, were travelling merchants, resembling the modern caravans, who carried fpices, perfumes, and other rich commodities, from their own country into Egypt. The same observation may be made from the book, of Job, wlio, according to the best writers, was a native of Arabia Felix, and also a contemporary with Jacob. He speaks of the roads of Thema and Saba, i. e. of the caravans which let out from those cities of Arabia. If we reflect that the commodities of that country were rather the luxuries than the necessaries of life, we shall have reason to conclude that the countries into which they were sent for sale, and particularly Egypt, were considerably improved in arts and refinement.
In speaking of commerce, we ought carefully to diftinguish between the species of it which is carried on by land, or inland commerce, and that which is carried on by sea ; veich last kind of traffic is both later in its origin, and flower in its progress. Had the descendants of Noah been left to their own ingenuity, and received no tincture of the antediluvian knowledge from their wise ancestors, it is improbable that they should have ventured on navigating the open seas to foon as we find they did. That branch of his posterity who lettled on the coasts of Palestine, were the first people of the world among whom navigation was made fubfervient to commerce : they were distinguished by a word which in the Hebrew tongue fignifies merchants, and are the same nation afterwards known to the Greeks by the name of Phænicians. Inbabiting a barren and ungrateful foil, they applied themselves to better their situation by cultivating the arts. Commerce was their principal purtuit; and with all the writers of pagan antiquity they pass for the inventors of whattiei tended to its iniprovement. At the time of Abraham they were re