Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

PRO Poskr, Too Br PUBLISHED or stors-
scki Po Io N.
A monthly magazine, to embrace ec-
clesiastical history, morality, religion, and
a variety of other useful and interesting-
matter. Each number to consist of 32.
pages 8vo. stitched in blue. Price 1,50
per annum issued fingly; or 1,25 in
packages of not less than ten each. Dan-
bury, Conn. John C. Gray & Co.
Carr's northern summer. 1 vol. 8vo,
fine paper. Portland. Thomas Clark.
Brooke's general gazetteer ; or a new
and compendious geographical diction-
ary : Containing
A description of the empires, kingdoms, states,
provinces, citics, towns, forts, seas, harbours, riv-
ers, lakes, mountains, capes, &c. in the known
world : with the government, customs, manners,
and religion of the inhabitants; the extent.boun-
daries, and natural productions of each country;
the trade, manufactures, and curiosities of the
cities and towns; their longitude, latitude, bear-
ings, and distances in English miles, from remark-
able places; and the various events, by which
they have been distinguished : including a detail
of the countries, cities, boroughs, market towns,
and principal villages in G. britain and frcland ;
together with a succinct account of, at least, 7 oo
cities, towns, and villages, in the United States,
more than has appeared in any preceding edition
of the same work ; in which the numerous mis-
takes and deficiencies of Europcan Gazettcers, re-
specting this country, are corrected and supplied.
ho by eight maps, neatly executed. Ori-
ginally written by R. Brooke, M. D. The first
Amerscan from the latest Furopean adition, with
treat additions and improvements in every part.
n one 8vo. vol. to contain about 8 or yod pages
of close printing and well bound. Price to sub-
scribers 3,50. Philadelphia. Jacob Johnson.
Milton's Paradise Lost, in miniature.
1 vol. Price in morocco I dol. ; sheep
75 cts. Philadelphia. Kelley.
Goldsmith's poems. Same style and

price. Philadelphia. Kelley.

[merged small][ocr errors]

hundred pages, duodecimo. To add any thing to the merit of a poem, which for original wit and genuine satire the literaworld considers unrivalled and inimitable, would be as unnecessary as it would be difficult. WRIGHT, GooD ENow, & Stockwell. Troy, N. Y. Jan. 14, 1806. Dr. Cowdery has it in contemplation to publish a pamphlet, or small volume, to be entitled, The American captives in Tripoli, containing the particulars of the capture of the Philadelphia frigate—a general description of Tripoli, with the adjacent country, its curiosities, &c. and a sketch of the customs and manners of its inhabitants. To which will be added, the journal at length, kept during his captivity, and an appendix containing the treaties and general relations between the United States and the Barbary powers. Some accurate views and drawings will be attached to the work. Mr. Cushing, of Amherst, Newhampfhire, has issued proposals for continuing the publication of The Piscataqua Evangelical Magazine. This work, which was published the last year at Portsmouth, has for its object the promotion of religious knowledge and evangelical piety, particularly among the common people, who, it is believed, usually feel the greatest interest in works of this nature. This magazine will contain es

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



THE weather, during the first part of this month was cold and clear. This was succeeded by milder weather, with rain and frequent snows. Afterwards, extreme cold, continued and heavy snow, rain with violent winds followed by a perfect calm, which has continued through the latter part of the month, attended with a thaw, and a very moist and foggy atmosphere. The last circumstances will very probably influence the character of disorders in the month of February. . .

Inflammatory diseases have been most prevalent; but even of these the number has been small. Among children under three years, there has appeared a severe catarrh ; in those above this period, peripneumony ; in adults, pleurisy and peripneumony. All these diseases have yielded readily to the power of medicine. Very few instances of fever have occurred, and scarcely any of severe rheumatism. Apoplexy has been unusually comIII.OIl.

Editors’ Motes.

AMONG the few booksellers, who have transmitted to us for our notice or review the books which they have published, we mention with ratitude messrs. Riley & Co. of New-York. we iope they will not accuse us of neglect in not having yet noticed any of the numerous volumes which we have lately received from their liberality, for in truth the pages destined to reviews, in several of our late, numbers, have been entirely filled with materials, which we have had a long time on hand.

we have been much surprised at hearing, that several of our readers believed, that the remarks upon Rev. Dr. Holmes and Mrs. Warren, in the review of the Historical Collections in our last number, were sarcastick, illiberal, and disrespectful. . we certainly never intended to convey such opinions, and we know that a critical analysis of the sentences in the review would not justify such a construction. Perhaps however we were obscure in the composition, and perhaps some of our friends were careless in the perusal. Writers are not always perspicuous, and readers are act always intellectual,





ACCOUNT OF THE ANCIENT LIBRARY OF ALEXANDRIA: [Concluded.] 3. A critical examination of the recital of Abulfharagius and Abdollatif.

WE may reasonably suspect that, since Abdollatif was the first historian, Abulpharagius had seen t is passage, and has only commented upcn and embellished it after his own manner. Abdollatif does not relate any of the circumstances which attended the destruction of the library ; but what confidence can be placed in a writer who relates, that he saw what we know no longer existed at that time : “I have seen, says he, the portico and the college which Alexander the Great built, and in which was contained the superb library.” Now these buildings were placed in the Bruchion, and since the reign of -Aurelian, who had caused them to be destroyed, that is to say, at least nine hundred years before Abdollatif, the Bruchion was no better than a barren wilderness covered with ruins. Abulpharagius, on his part, places the library in the royal falace. The anachronism is equally apparent. The royal buildings, being all in the Bruchion, could not have remained at that time. Besides, what signified the royal falace in a country which, for a long time before, had had no kings,and which had submitted to the emperours of

, the east :

Vol. III. No. 2. H

As a story is not absolutely incontestible; because it is related by one or two witnesses, some have doubted this. Renaudot, in his history of the patriarchs of Alexandria, has shaken its authenticity by saying, “this recital has something susficious; as is very common among the Arabians.” At length Querci, the two Assemani, Villoisin, Gibbon, and, in the last place, the author of the German dissertation, have all declared their disbelief of the fact.

Gibbon remarks, that two an=

nalists, both of Egypt, have not

said one word of a circumstance so remarkable. The first is Eutychius, a patriarch of Alexandria, who lived there three hundred years after the capture of the city by the Saracens, and who, in his annals, has given a very long history of the siege and of the events which succeeded. The second is El-Macin, a very veracious writer, author of the history of the Saracens, and who particularly relates in minute detail the life of Omar and the taking of Alexandria. Is it to be conceived, is it credible, that these two historians were ignorant of a circumstance so important ; that two learned men, whom such a loss would have greatly interested, should not have made any mention of it ; men, who lived, who wrote at Alexandria, and one of whom (Eutychius) at an epoch very near the event ; and that we should have the first information from a foreigner, who wrote six centuries afterwards on the frontiers of Media : Besides,Gibbon further observes, how could the caliph Omar,who was himself by no means an enemy of the sciences, have acted on this occasion against his own particular character, while he had only, to excuse himself from such an act of barbarism,the sentiment of the casuists of the Mussulman law These declare (see the third volume of the Dissertations of Reland on the military law of the Mahometans) “ that it was unlawful to burn the religious books of the Jews or Christians, on account of the name of God which they contained, and that the works of profane science, of historians or poets, physicians or philosophers, may be lawfully applied to the use of the faithful.” This decision discovers no spirit of Vandalism. To these reasons Mr. K. Reinhard adds his own. He reimarks, that Eutychius in his annals (vol. ii. page 316) records the words of a letter, in which Amrou gives an account to the caliph Omar of the taking of Alexandria, after a long and obstinate siege. I have taken the city, says he, sword in hand, and without previous capitulation. I cannot describe to you the treastures it contains. Let it suffice to inform you, that I have found four thousand falaces, four thousand baths, forty thousand taxable Jews, four hundred theatres, twelve hundred gardeners selling vegetables. Thy Mussulmen demand the fillage of the city and a division of the .*/oils. Omar, in his answer, dis


approves of this demand, and se” verely prohibits all pllage and dilapidation. We observe, that Amrou, in his official relation of his conquest, seeks, as is the custom in our days, to exaggerate its value and importance. He does not omit a barrack, nor a Jew, nor a gardener. How could he have forgotten the library 2 He whom Abulpharagius describes as a friend of the arts and philosophy : Could he have thought, that this celebrated and ancient monument was not of sufficient value for him to have taken the trouble to rendersome account of it? El-Macin also records the letter of Amrou, nearly in the same words ; he says not one word of the library. It may be ebjected, that this letter was perhaps never written by Amrou, and that the two historians have forged it : but this would be an additional reason, why the library should have been mentioned, had it remained at that time. Would they both have omitted an article, which must have appeared of such vast importance in the eyes of learned men, inhabitants of Alexandria & Would they have prided themselves of appearing better informed on baths, and of kitchen gardens, than of the library 2 But if the letter be authentipk, as its contents give us reason to believe, we must also pay some attention to the answer of the calif, who orders them to spare everything found in the city. We may then without much hazard draw the conclusion, that the library of the Ptolemies no longer existed in 640, the time of the taking of Alexandria by the Saracens. We will adduce still further proof, founded on two writers, nearly cotemporaries of Omar. One of them, John Philoponus (whom Gibbon and others have confounded with John the grammarian, of whom Abulpharagius speaks), says, in his commentary on the Analyticks of Aristotle, “ that in the ancient libraries there were found forty different books of the Analyticks.” He does not expressly mention the libraries of Alexandria; but he lived, he wrote in that city, where they doubtless called the libraries by distinction, and he could not here speak of any others. We know beside,from Athenaeus, Strabo, and Plutarch in his life of Sylla, that the writings of Aristotle had been very carefully collected for the library of the Ptolemies. But if there still remains a doubt, let us consult the master of Philoponus, Ammonius Hermias, in his observations on the Categories of Aristotle. He lived at Alexandria,before the invasion of the Saracens. “Ptolemy Philadelphus (says he) has the reputation of having made great exertions to collect the writings of Aristotle, and to have liberally recompensed those who collected his productions, in consequence of which many fictitious copies were brought to him, and in the great library there were found forty different books of the Analyticks.” It is very certain, that Ammonius and Philoponus both here refer to the Alexandrian library ; that, which the former calls the great, being the same, which the latter denominates the ancient library. They both mention it as a thing which had been, and which remained no longer. We may even believe, that they allude to the library of the Serapion ; for Philadelphus, who collected with so much care the writings of Aristotle, would doubtless have placed them among a collection which he originated,

and for which he had a great partiality. If we consult natural probabilities, we shall find them against the recital of Abulpharagius and the existence of a library in the time of Omar and Amrou. The books of the ancicnts were written on parchment, or on leaves of the apyrus. Those of the library of Alexandria must have been particularly of this last kind, as the papyrus was an Egyptian plant. Now the leaves of the papyrus were very subject to dissolution and to insects, particularly in the warm and humid climate of Alexandria, so that it was necessary frequently to renew the copies. Can we believe, that all the necessary care could have been given to the preservation of such a library after the reign of the Ptolemies, in the midst of wars, of insurrections that prevailed, and during which the taste for sciences and letters, as we well know, declined 2 The manuscripts in parchment, which probably were not numerous, might have lasted a longer time; but all the others must have become, after two or three centuries, food for Worms. Abulpharagius does not determine the number of the books, which, according to him, were burnt ; but, says he, they served for six months to heat the baths of the city, and we know that these amounted to four thousand. “Hear and wonder l’’ adds he. It is indeed an object of admiration; books, which heat four thousand baths, during six months. A wit might

observe, that Amrou, having taken

the city precisely in the month of May, there could not have been a great necessity of hot water in the baths of Alexandria. The vol. umes or rolls of the ancients were not comparable to ours in folio,

« PreviousContinue »