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THE

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GENERAL

Saturday

Magazine.

No. 5. SUPPLEMENT FOR

JULY 28, 1832.

UNDER THE DIREC ION OF THE COMMITTEE OF GENERAL LITERATURE AND EDUCATION, APPOINTED BY THE SOCIETY FOR PROMOTING CHRISTIAN KNOWLEDGE.

THE DEPARTURE OF THE ISRAELITES OUT OF EGYPT.

LITER

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It is with great pleasure and some pride that we submit to our readers this week a woodcut, which, although it appears in our own pages, we may with good right call a miracle in that particular line of the art. It is a copy of Mr. Roberts's magnificent picture of the departure of the Israelites out of Egypt, under the guidance of Moses and Aaron; and is reduced, from the original size of six feet by four feet eight inches, to the little gem which our readers now see. It is worth while to reflect for a moment how greatly the power of painting, in giving pleasure and instruction to mankind, has been extended by the marvellous advances which we have of late years made in the kindred, although subordinate, art of engraving. In general, a picture can be seen but by few, and possessed as private property but by one; a large steel engraving, although expensive, is yet to be found in the shop-window of almost every principal stationer or printseller in every town in England; and lastly, our readers may here for one penny get to them and their heirs for ever an engraving on wood, which, although of course it cannot convey a complete conception of the details and splendour of the original work, will, nevertheless, give a very competent impression of its general design, and of its total effect.

The subject of this picture is one of the most memorable events recorded in the history of the Israelites. In the space of 430 years, the single family of Jacob had increased to about six hundred thousand men, besides the correspondent women and children. If, in round numbers, we allow an equal number of women, and assume, as was generally the case with VOL. I.

TURE AND EDUCATIO

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the Jews, marriage at the earliest manhood, and give four children to a marriage, we shall find that the total number of the Israelites at the time of their departure from the land of Egypt, must have amounted to not less than three millions and a half;-that it must have exceeded two millions is quite certain, even upon a very low calculation; that is supposing the population not actually at that time on the decrease. For a considerable period after the first settlement of Jacob's family in Egypt, it is clear that they were a favoured race; but we are told, that in the course of time, their numbers, and wealth, and power became so remarkable, that the jealousy of the reigning princes was excited;-"the children of Israel," says Moses, in the book of Exodus, "were fruitful, and increased abundantly, and multiplied, and waxed exceeding mighty; and the land was filled with them. Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph, (that is, who neither bore in mind the benefits conferred on Egypt by the wise administration of Joseph, nor regarded the members of his kindred with that distinguished protection and favour which we read of as being lavished upon them on their first settlement in the land of Goshen.) "And he said unto his people, Behold, the children of Israel are more and mightier than we : come on, let us deal wisely with them, lest they multiply, and it come to pass, that, when there falleth ut any war, they join also, unto our enemies, and fight against us, and so get them up out of the land." Therefore they did set over them taskmasters to afflict them with their burdens, but the more they afflicted them, the more they multiplied and grew. Making

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bricks and building are the works specified by Moses as those in which the Israelites were principally employed; and hence it is, in default of any certain knowledge upon the subject, that many persons have conjectured, that some of the great Pyramids which still existthe wonders of Egypt-were erected by their labour. This, however, must apply to their labour in erection alone; for, if we remember rightly, the pyramids are all, or for the most part, built of stone.

Now when the measure of the appointed time was full, it pleased God to raise up Moses, an Israelite of high birth and of surpassing wisdom, to be the leader of his oppressed brethren out of the bondage of Egypt into the borders of that district of Syriacalled Palestine,-which God had long before promised to Abraham as an inheritance for his descendants. For a long time Pharaoh-which was the common name of the Egyptian kings-refused to let the Israelites go; his unwillingness was indeed natural, as the loss of so considerable a part of the population and wealth of the kingdom must necessarily have threatened to shake his temporal power to the bottom; and hence it was that although he could not but recognize the hand of God against him in the fearful wonders of loathsome reptiles and insects, diseases, blood, lightning, and darkness which visited the land in rapid succession, as he still, after the removal of each particular plague, hardened his heart anew, and recalled the permission to depart, which in his terror had been wrung from him. But the will of God must ever have its due course, and Pharaoh's abuse of the long-suffering and merciful patience of the Almighty, served only to draw down upon himself and his people a more destructive punishment in the end. For it came to pass, as it is written in the book of Exodus, "that at midnight the Lord smote all the first-born in the land of Egypt, from the first-born of Pharaoh that sat on his throne, unto the first-born of the captive that was in the dungeon; and all the firstborn of cattle. And Pharaoh rose up in the night, he, and all his servants, and all the Egyptians; and there was a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house where there was not one dead. Then the king called for Moses and Aaron by night, and bade them and the children of Israel depart, with their flocks and their herds, and all their possessions."

Mr. Roberts's picture represents the act of departure. He supposes the dawn breaking, and first lighting up the summits of the gigantic pyramids in the distance, and then falling in slant lines across the stately obelisks and pinnacles which adorn the prodigious exhibition of palaces and temples which he has very richly imagined and very exquisitely drawn. Of course the Painter has here used his licence largely; in strictness such a heaping up of colonnades piled story above story to the skies, is so improbable, perhaps impossible, that a severe criticism might condemn the design altogether; but for our parts, we are rather disposed to consider this picture, and some of Mr. Martin's, which are liable to the same judgment, as belonging to a particular class of design, in which the striking effects of light and shade and of an endless profusion of faery architecture, are principally studied, to the partial neglect of the higher and more truly imaginative objects of the art. We should be sorry to see this style of painting more generally pursued than it is at present, because we much fear its ultimate tendency to lower the character of the art as an exponent of Beauty and Moral Power; nevertheless we willingly acknowledge the pleasure we have received, and the admiration we have felt in musing upon this wondrous scene, and letting the eye swim, as it were, over sculptured temple and tower,

such as sometimes appear in surpassing splendour in the dreams of the night.

In the left corner of the picture is the royal party, witnessing the departure which no heart any longer dared to oppose. Opposite, in front of a huge Egyptian statue, are the two leaders, Moses and Aaron, in shade; and the space between the buildings is entirely filled with the continuous mass of Israelites marching out in order with their banners and ensigns, their camels, and flocks, and elephants. How these last animals got there, we confess we cannot explain. The outward passage must be supposed to lie between the platform on which Pharaoh stands, and that on which Moses is seen extending his rod. Perhaps it is to be regretted that Mr. Roberts did not work the figure of Pharaoh more powerfully, and dispose the royal attendants in a way more clearly shewing their interest in the astonishing event which is taking place before their eyes. We cannot help thinking that the harpers and the ladies are a good deal out of place upon such an occasion as this.

But as we have intimated before, this picture must be looked upon as a whole; its total effect is the standard by which its merit must be tried,—and so regarded, its merit must be acknowledged by every one. The lights and shades are particularly beautiful, and managed with accuracy and taste, and we need not add that the drawing and perspective are faultless. We wonder Mr. Roberts did not let in a view of the river, which we must presume was very near the palace of Pharaoh; it might with care have been made eminently conducive to a variety of effect.

The splendid engraving from which our woodcut was taken is by Mr. Quilley; the picture itself was painted for, and is now in the possession of, Lord Northwick.

RELIGION NOT SELFISH.

THE first act God requires of a convert is "Be fruitful." The good man's goodness lies not hid in himself alone: he is still strengthening his weaker brother. I am persuaded to be a means of bringing more to Heaven is an inseparable desire of a soul when in a right state. Good men wish all they converse with in goodness to be like themselves. How ungrateful he slinks away who dies and does nothing to reflect a glory to Heaven! How barren a tree he is that lives, and spreads, and cumbers the ground, yet leaves not one seed, not one good work to generate after him! I know all cannot leave alike; yet all may leave something answering their proportion, and kind. Withered and dead are those grains of corn out of which there will not spring one ear. The physician who has a sovereign receipt, and dieth unrevealing it, robs the world of many blessings which might multiply after his death; leaving this conclusion to all survivors, that he did good to others only to do himself greater. Which how contrary it is to the Gospel, and the nature of Christian love, I appeal to those minds where grace hath sown more charity. I doubt whether he will ever find the way to Heaven that desires to go thither alone. They are envious favourites who wish their king to have no loyal subjects but themselves. All heavenly hearts are charitable. Enlightened souls cannot but disperse their rays. I will, if I can, do something for others and for heaven-not to deserve by it; but to express myself and my thanks. Though I cannot do what I would: I will labour to do what I can.-OWEN FELTHAM's Resolves, 1636.

TRUST him little who praises all, him less who censures all, and him least who is indifferent about all,-Lavater.

VAN DIEMEN'S LAND.

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MUCH valuable information respecting this important colony, is to be found in the "Van Diemen's Land Almanack for the Year 1832,"—a publication which does great credit to the infant literature of that remote region. Besides the annual and local matter which belongs to an Almanack, it contains a very able account of the history and present state of the colony, from which we shall extract, in an abridged form, a few of the most interesting particulars.

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Van Diemen's Land, formerly considered a part of New Holland, is now known to be an island, separated from New Holland by a narrow strait, called, from its discoverer, Bass's Strait. The island is about 210 miles in length, and 150 in breadth, comprising about fifteen millions of acres, and having a population of about 24,000 whites, and probably from 1000 to 1500 aborigines. It is not subject to any extremes of heat or of cold, but possesses one of the finest and most healthy climates in the world. The face of the country is much diversified; but, on the whole, it may be called mountainous. Towards the southern coast, nothing can be more rude or bold than the general appearance of the landscape; hills rising upon hills, all thickly covered with trees, save here and there a majestic and towering rocky eminence. seems like one impenetrable forest, crowned by the heavens. Proceeding, however, more inward, the country loses much of its stern and forbidding aspect. Beautiful plains come in view, divided by streams, and bounded only by the horizon; and, in proceeding towards the northern coast, every variety of hill and dale, woodland and plain, forest and tillage, that can contribute to the beauty of rural scenery, enlivens the scene. The western parts of the island have as yet been imperfectly explored; but they are represented as bold and mountainous, with many well-watered and fertile spots. The soil, in general, is fertile, and of a nature amply to reward the industry of the cultivator. It yields excellent herbage for sheep and cattle, and has been found to answer well for nearly all the productions of the mother country. Around the coast are numerous bays and harbours that afford secure anchorage. Sullivan's cove, where Hobart Town stands, is one of the noblest harbours in the world. There are many fine rivers: the most important are the Derwent, the Huon, and the Tamar, all of which are navigable. Several of the mountains are of great elevation: Mount Wellington rises 4000 feet above the level of the sea, immediately to the westward of Hobart Town. During eight of the twelve months, its summit is covered with snow; but so clear is the atmosphere of Van Diemen's Land, that the clouds very seldom obscure even its highest points. The mountains to the southward are even bigher than Mount Wellington; they form a chain, which reaches inwards for several miles, and, in some places, rise 5000 feet above the level of the sea.

In the summer months, (December, January, and February) the average height of the thermometer is about 70. In spring it is from 50 to 60, when the weather is generally bright and clear, with occasional rain and high winds. March, April, and May are the autumn, which is by far the pleasantest season. The air is then clear and bright, the sky free from clouds or vapours, the heat moderate,-and the nights cool and refreshing. June, July, and August, are the winter months; but this season is rather looked for as a period of moderate and kindly rain, sufficient to replenish the storehouses of the earth against the ensuing spring, than as the cold and dismal time with which we associate the idea of winter.

The country is rich in minerals. Iron ore abounds every where; and specimens of copper, lead, and even silver and gold, (it is said) have been discovered. There are also coal and limestone. The animals of this region have been often described.

Van Diemen's Land was discovered by Tasman, a Dutch navigator, in 1642; but no settlement took place upon it till 1803, when it was formed into a station for convicts transported from Botany Bay. For some years the colony suffered great hardships; such being sometimes the scarcity, that eighteen-pence per pound was given for kangaroo flesh; and even seaweed, or any other vegetable substance that could possibly be eaten, was eagerly sought after. Soon afterwards sheep and cattle began to be imported, and the colony continued gradually to increase, though still preserving its original character of a place of punishment for the convicted felons of New South Wales. During this period, all communication be. tween Van Dieman's Land and other places, excepting England and New South Wales, was interdicted; but in 1813, the prohibitory penalties on such communication were remo moved, and the colony was placed on precisely the same commercial footing as New South Wales. From that time the increase of the colony became more rapid; though it was not till 1818, that Van Diemen's Land began to be spoken of in England as a place to which emigrants might advantageously direct their attention. In the course of the next two years, the tide of emigration from England decidedly set in; and the natural consequence of the capital thus introduced, was an enlargement of the colony in every shape. Trade began to assume regularity; distilleries and breweries were erected; the Van Diemen's Land Bank was established; and the growing importance of Hobart Town was heightened by the finishing and opening of St. David's church. In 1821, when a general census was taken, the inhabitants proved to be 7,185; acres in cultivation, 14,940; sheep, 170,000; cattle, 35,000; horses, 350.

In December, 1825, Van Diemen's Land, which had hitherto been a dependency of New South Wales, was formally declared an independent colony, with a Legislature and Executive Council of its own; the members of both these Councils being named by the Crown. At that time, during the commercial excitement that prevailed in England, the Van Diemen's Company was formed, under the sanction of government, with a capital of £250,000 to be embarked in agricultural operations. This company has not shared the fate of many of the speculations of that disastrous period. It carries on its operations, and has succeeded in becoming possessed of upwards of 300,000 acres of land. It appears, however, that this company is far from being popular in the colony. It is admitted that the colony may have derived some advantages from the importation of men, money, stock, &c. caused by the company; but it is said that the terms on whi this establishment has received its grants are unfavourable to the competition of private settlers. If such is really the case, (as it is strongly asserted) it is an evil which ought to attract the notice of government; for nothing can be more hurtful than such exclusive privileges as check and hinder the enterprise of private individuals.

The progress of the colony was for some time kept under by the terror of the Bush Rangers-bodies of robbers, consisting of runaway convicts, wno harboured in the woods, plundering, and sometimes murdering the settlers. By the energy of the government, however, these wretches have been exterminated; and it is not likely that they will have successors. But a more recent alarm has been caused

by the original savage inhabitants; who, though small | their bodies, especially by its fu.nes; and produces in number, have within the last few years, rendered diseases of a dreadful nature, which are often fatal. themselves formidable to the whites. During 1829 they set fire to the houses and corn of the settlers wherever an opportunity offered. In September 1830 matters had reached such a pitch, that some decisive step became necessary. A plan was accordingly formed, the object of which was to force the whole of the black population into one corner of the island, which is joined to the rest by a very narrow neck, and which, it was thought, might be rendered impassable by the natives when once enclosed within it. This plan, however, failed; and, down to the time of this account, the aggressions of the natives still continued, though the system of defence which had been adopted rendered them less dangerous than before. We greatly fear that, in every case of settlements made by Europeans in savage countries, they have themselves to blame for the fierce hostility of the native inhabitants. The original trespass upon their soil is aggravated by oppression and cruelty; and the natural resentment of the persecuted race is made a pretext for waging against them an exterminating warfare.

QUICKSILVER MINES.

QUICKSILVER, or as the chemists call it, Mercury, is a substance of very great importance in the arts. By it our mirrors are silvered; it is the basis of several colours for painting; it is used in various shapes for medicine; and its importance in the working of metals is very great.

The rapid increase of this colony within the last ten years may be perceived from the facts, that, in that period, the white population has increased from 7000 to 24,000; and that Hobart Town alone contains more inhabitants than the whole colony in 1821. In 1830 the revenue exhibited an excess of income over expenditure of £20,000; and the exportatation of the staple commodities of the island, wool, oil, bark, &c. has become steady and profitable. Society is making rapid advances. Literature may be said to flourish in a remarkable manner, considering the youth of the colony. There are five weekly newspapers, very respectably conducted; and the publication which has given occasion to this article would have been creditable to any country. There are some schools of great respectability; and, on the all-important subject of religion, the information is We will conclude this account with an interesting most satisfactory. Places of worship are erected description by a traveller, of a descent into this mine throughout the colony, conveniently situated for the of Idria :-"I thought I would visit those dreadful population; and the officiating ministers, who are subterraneous caverns where thousands are condemned paid by government, are zealous and exemplary in to reside, shut out from all hopes of ever seeing the their conduct. In short it is evident that the colony light of the sun, and obliged to toil out a miserable of Van Diemen's Land is rapidly becoming a great life under the whips of imperious taskmasters. Imaand prosperous community; and that, notwithstand-gine a hole in the side of a mountain, about five ing its remoteness, it will soon be one of the most yards over: down this you are lowered in a kind of valuable dependencies of the British Crown. bucket, to more than a hundred fathoms, the prospect growing more gloomy, yet still widening as you descend. At length after swinging in terrible suspense for some time in this precarious situation, you reach the bottom and tread on the ground, which Ly its hollow sound under your feet, and the reverberations of the echo, seeins thundering at every step you take.

The principal mines of quicksilver are in Hungary, Friuli, in the Venetian part of Italy, and in Spain. But it happens conveniently for the gold mines of South America, that there is a considerable store of it in Peru.

Some of the people employed in these mines, are condemned to work there for their crimes, and others are hired by the lure of high wages. When the mercury first gains power over their constitution, they are affected with nervous tremblings; then their teeth drop out, for mercury loosens every thing it touches; violent pains, especially in the bones, succeed, for the quicksilver penetrates their very substance, and then they soon die. As it is chiefly from the vapours and fumes of the quicksilver that these effects proceed, the workmen take the precaution of holding in their mouths a piece of gold, which attracts the metal and prevents the poisonous matter from passing into the stomach; yet cases have occurred, in which the metal had so completely soaked the body, that a piece of brass rubbed with the finger only, would become white from the quicksilver oozing out of the man's flesh.

The entrance to the quicksilver mines of Friuli, is on a level with the streets of the town, from which the descent is by ladders into pits ninety fathoms (or 180 yards) deep. Being so low, they are often liable to be flooded by water and powerful engines are constantly at work to keep them fit for the miners. But the chief evil endured by the wretched people employed in them, arises from the mercury itself, which insinuates itself into the very substance of

One considerable mine of quicksilver is at Idria, a town of Carniola, a province of Austria, not far from the upper part of the Adriatic, or gulf of Venice. This mine was not known till 1497, when the mode of its discovery was rather curious. A few coopers inhabited that part of the country, for the convenience of being near the woods. One day having made a new tub, and being desirous to prove its soundness, one of them placed it where the water dripping from the rock might fall into it. In the morning it seemed to stick to the ground, and at first, he in his superstition thought it was bewitched; however, examining it more closely, he found something fluid, but shining and very heavy, at the bottom of the water in his tub. Not knowing what it was, he took some of it to a neighbouring apothecary, who shrewdly gave the man a trifle, and bade him bring all he could find of “that odd stuff." The story, however, soon became public; and a company was formed for searching the mountain, and working the mine.

"In this gloomy and frightful solitude you are enlightened by the feeble gleam of lamps, here and there dispersed, so that the wretched inhabitants can go from one place to another without a guide; yet I could scarcely discern for some time any thing, not even the person who came to shew me these scenes of horror. Nothing can be more deplorable than the state of the wretched miners. The blackness of their visages, only serves to cover a horrid paleness, caused by the poisonous qualities of the mineral they are employed in procuring. As they consist in general of malefactors, condemned for life to this task, they are fed at the public expense; but they seldom consume much provision, as they lose their appetite in a short time, and commonly in about two years expire, through a total contraction of the joints.

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"I walked after my guide for some time, pondering on the miserable end these unhappy creatures had brought themselves to by their crimes, when, had they lived virtuous lives they might have been still enjoying the blessings of light, health, and freedom. At this moment I was accosted by a voice behind me, calling me by my name. I turned, and saw a creature black and hideous, who approached, and with a piteous accent said, 'do you not know me?' What was my surprise to discover the features of a dear friend!He had fought a duel with an officer against the Emperor's command, and left him for dead; and he had been punished by banishment for life, to labour in these mines. His wife was the daughter of a high family in Germany. Being unable to procure her husband's pardon, she affectionately shared his bondage with him. It is proper to add, that the officer did not die when he recovered from his wounds, he generously solicited pardon for his antagonist, and obtained it. So that in a few months the duellist was restored to the happiness he had justly forfeited by wilfully transgressing the commands of God and his sovereign."-THE REV. ISAAC TAYLOR.

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GREENSTED CHURCH.

PERHAPS the country in the immediate neighbourhood of London, and even London itself, is less known to the inhabitants of the metropolis, strange as the assertion may appear, than towns and districts much more remote. We can (and we will, in the course of our weekly visitations) point out spots which must be esteemed parts of a "land unknown" to many, and objects well worthy of attention which are equally unknown. Probably these gems both of nature and of art, like objects brought very near the eye, are only unseen because of their proximity.

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Greensted Church.

Our first example shall be the very curious old oaken church at Greensted, near Ongar, the ancient Aungre, in Essex. This church, as the above engraving represents it, was figured by the Society of Antiquaries, in their work called Vetusta Monumenta, nearly one hundred years ago; and such as it then was, it continues to the present day. So long a time having passed since the sketch was made, we had much feared that, during the last century of improvements, some modern uninteresting thing might have supplanted this venerable structure; and not meeting with any one who knew aught about it, we made a pilgrimage thither in 1829, and found it apparently uninjured by the last lapse of time.

Fortunately for this old relic; Greensted, although

within five-and-twenty miles of London, is little affected by its nearness. The village, if a few straggling houses scattered over this secluded spot, can be so called, is one of primitive simplicity: as, in the whole parish there is not an inn, nor even a public house. The inhabitants of Greensted have a tradition that the body of a dead king once rested in this church; and it is believed to have been built as a temporary resting place for the body of St. Edmund, the king, (who was slain A.D. 946,) and afterwards converted into a parish church.

In a manuscript entitled "The Life and Passion of St. Edmund," preserved in the library at Lambeth Palace, it is recorded, that in the year 1010, and the thirtieth year of the reign of Etheldred, the body of St. Edmund was removed from Ailwin to London, on account of an invasion of the Danes; but that at the end of three years it was returned to Bedriceworth; and that it was received, on its return from London, in a hospital near Stapleford. And in another manuscript, cited by Dugdale in the Monasticon, and entitled "The Register of St. Edmund's Abbey," it is further added, "he was also sheltered near Aungre, where a wooden chapel remains as a memorial unto this day." Now the parish of Aungre or Ongar adjoins to that of Greensted, where this church is situated, and that the ancient road from London into Suffolk, lay through Oldford, Abridge, Stapleford, Greensted, Dunmow, and Clare, we learn not only from tradition, but likewise from several remains of it, which are still visible. It seems therefore not improbable that this rough and unpolished fabric was first erected as a sort of shrine for the reception of the corpse of St. Edmund, which, in its return from London to Bedriceworth or Bury St. Edmund's, as Lydgate says, was carried in a chest." Indeed, that the old oaken structure now called Greensted Church, is this "wooden chapel near Aungre," no doubt has been ever entertained; and the very style and character of the building would claim for it a high antiquity.

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The nave or body of the church, which renders it so remarkable, is composed of the half trunks of oaks, about a foot and half in diameter, split through the centre and roughly hewn at each end, to let them into a sill at the bottom and into a plank at the top, where they are fastened by means of wooden pegs. The north wall is formed of these half oaks set side by side as closely as their irregular edges will permit : in the south wall there is an interval left for the entrance the ends were formerly similar, but the one has been removed, and the church enlarged by the addition of a brick chancel; and although the other remains, it is hidden by having a wooden belfry attached. The original building is twenty-nine feet nine inches long, by fourteen feet wide, and five feet and a half high at the sides which supported the primitive roof. The oaks to the northern, have suffered more from the action of the weather, than those to

the southern aspect; but both are still so strong, and internally so hard and sound, that although somewhat "corroded and worn by time," having been beaten by the storms of nearly a thousand winters, they promise to endure a thousand more.

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Ground Plan of Greensted Church.

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