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servants are twelve brethren, the sons of one man in the land of Canaan.” (Gen. xlii. 13). And Joseph's proof of their integrity, “ send one of you, and let him fetch your brother,” manifestly shows that it was a means of determining whether they were wanderers, like the Hycsos, or settled, and, therefore, peaceful agriculturists. Now the monuments abound with proofs that such suspicions were not unfounded, for they exhibit the Egyptians as engaged in constant war with the predatory tribes on their eastern frontier, and the cruelty with which the captives were treated, proves that the hostility engendered by these wars was more deep : and deadly than was usual, even in the most savage feuds of other nations. We find indeed that the Egyptians extended their hatred of the wandering races even to the innocent; when the honesty and amicable disposition of the children of Israel were so fully recognised, that they were invited to dine with the prime minister, we find it recorded that “the Egyptians would not eat bread with the Hebrews, for that is an abomination to the Egyptians.” This passage serves to explain a circumstance which has been the cause of much controversy among the commentators, the reason why the descendants of Abraham were named Hebrews. Some assert that they were thus called from Heber, one of their ancestors, an untenable hypothesis, as there is no circumstance recorded respecting Heber, which would entitle him to give his name to a tribe; others, with more probability, derive the name from a Hebrew verb, which signifies “to pass over;” but they restrict the allusion to Abraham's having “passed over” the Euphrates, when he came from the land of his fathers to dwell in Canaan. But since the word Hebrew signifies “a passenger,” it is evident that it may be received as a designation of the wandering and pastoral life of the early patriarch. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were “dwellers in tents,” not inhabitants of cities; the Egyptians had no cause for hating the descendants of Heber, or the offspring of any one who had come from beyond the Euphrates, but they had every reason to detest nomades, or wanderers, and the very name of Hebrew intimated that those so called led a wandering life. The circumstances of the entertainment given by Joseph to his brethren, can only be understood by a reference to the oriental customs at feasts, which have varied very little since the days of the Pharaohs. The guests did not, as with us, sit down to the same table, but a separate tray or table was provided for every two, or at most every three guests, from
mark of honour to give some eminent guest a tray or table to himself. There are even now no removes or changes of courses at these entertainments; all the viands are piled together on the tray or table, and the number, variety, and delicacy of the dishes are usually proportioned to the rank of the guest. Hereafter we shall have occasion to notice, that a similar plan was followed in making offerings to the gods; indeed, it is exceedingly probable, that the Egyptians derived their first notion of an altar from the banquetting tables of their kings and princes. This custom of ranging separate trays or tables for groups of guests, greatly facilitated the arrangement of the company according to rank, a circumstance to which the orientals have ever attributed considerable importance. In the narrative of the entertainment given by Joseph to his brethren, we are told “ they sat before him, the first-born according to his birth-right, and the youngest according to his youth ; and the men marvelled one at another." (Gen. xliii. 33). Their surprise was occasioned not by the circumstance of seeing a distinction made, but by the accuracy with which they were arranged in their proper order, as they supposed there were no means of determining their relative seniority. A similar circumstance occurs in an ancient Chinese tale, where the order in which an apparent stranger salutes the members of his family, leads to the discovery of his identity. Benjamin's portion was probably served on a separate tray or table; we are told that “ his mess was five times so much as that of any of his brethren;” whence some persons have very absurdly inferred, that he ate five times so much as they did, which, of course, would be impossible, unless they were very niggardly supplied; but from what we have already said, the meaning is clear, the expression simply indicates that a greater variety of delicacies were offered for his selection. The monuments show us that, in the very earliest ages, Egyptian luxury had led to the invention of countless forms of pastry and confectionary, as we had occasion to remark in noticing the history of Pharaoh's baker. When his brethren were about to depart, Joseph directed his steward to conceal his silver-cup in the sack of Benjamin. We have more than once noticed the early use of ornaments formed from the precious metals among the Egyptians; extraordinary attention was paid to the form and decorations of their drinking cups, and we find that some of the richest tributes which the Pharaohs received from the southern provinces, especially Meroe and Nubia, were gold and siver vases. Joseph's steward declares that this cup was not only used for drinking, but also for divination. “Is not this it in which my lord drinketh, and whereby indeed he divineth 2" (Genesis xLiv. 5.) Divination by the cup is only one form of the divination by a fluid mirror, which, from the earliest ages, has prevailed in the East, and which, after the Crusades, became a popular form of witchcraft in modern Europe. Indeed, the credulous and ignorant in some of the remoter districts of England, still believe that fortune-tellers can predict future events by inspecting
the accidental arrangement of the grounds in a tea
cup or a coffee-cup. We cannot identify this form of divination on the monuments, but the most ancient traditions bear testimony to its prevalence; one of these intimates that those who conjure indiscreetly with the magic cup expose themselves to great danger, and it is possible that the circumstance was mentioned in order to terrify the sons of Jacob. It must be recollected, too, that it is Joseph's steward, not Joseph himself, who speaks of conjuring with the cup.
After Joseph made himself known to his brethren, he sent “wagons" to bring his father and family down into Egypt; it appears that such vehicles were unknown, or, at least, uncommon, for the moment that Jacob saw them, he recognised the land from which they came. On the monuments, the only wheelcarriages usually seen, are the war-chariots; but it is manifest that the use of these conveyances must have led to the employment of wagons and similar vehicles for the transport not only of goods, but of women, children, and sick persons. Indeed, Joseph expressly intimates that such was the use for which these vehicles were intended. “Take you wagons out of the land of Egypt, for your little ones and for your wives.” (Gen. xlv. 19.) Within a very recent period the representation of a four-wheel vehicle, extremely like a farming wagon, or wain, has been discovered among the paintings in a tomb, at Thebes, wherein the mummy of a person of high rank was found. The policy which induced the reigning Pharaoh to give the land of Goshen to the colony of the Israelites, may readily be understood by a reference to the map of Egypt, and to what we have already said respecting the inveterate hostility between the Egyptians and the wandering tribes of Arabia and Syria. Goshen was the name of the rich pasturage districts between the eastern bank of the Nile, and the upper shores of the Red Sea. It was a frontier province exposed to the ravages of the Arabians and Syrians, and was almost useless to the Egyptians, whose habits and customs were utterly at variance with the usages of a nomade life. When we read that “every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians,” (Gen. x Lvi. 34,) we must not imagine with many commentators that they had any religious objection to the mere occupation of tending flocks and herds; indeed, so far was this from being the case, that we find an entire caste of herdsmen among the Egyptians, and 'flocks of sheep and goats, droves of black cattle, and herds of other tamed animals are frequently depicted on the monuments. The prejudice was against those restless tribes, from whose incursions they suffered so severely, and they probably feared that, if any native Egyptians settled in Goshen, they might gradually acquire a taste for a wandering life, and, perhaps, in the end, favour an invasion. This enmity between agricultural and pastoral populations brought into close contact, is still exemplified on the north-eastern frontiers of Persia. Nothing can exceed the mutual contempt and rancorous hatred between the Turcomans and Tartars, who lead a nomadic life in the steppes and deserts north of the Oxus, and the settled agriculturists of Persia. They
speak of each other with a virulence and affected contempt which could only have been engendered by centuries of mutual hatred and mutual injury. But with the Egyptians this natural enmity was systematized by the exertions of the priestly caste, who sanctified policy by religion, and forbade their followers even to partake of a social meal with the objects of their jealousy and their animosity. The defenceless land of Goshen was, therefore, worse than useless to the Egyptians; it was the high road for the invasion of the pastoral tribes with whom, then, as now, a foray was esteemed an honourable enterprize, and it could not well be used as pasture, for the Egyptians employed to tend cattle in that region must have, in some degree, adopted the usages of their enemies. This sufficiently appears from the words which Pharaoh addressed to Joseph, “if thou knowest any men of activity among them, then make them rulers over my cattle.” (Gen. xlvii. 6.) The Hebrew words translated “men of activity,” more properly signify “men of military habits,” such as the Israelites were likely to acquire by a nomade life, and of which they were certain to need the exercise in guarding the royal herds of a frontier province. The policy of Pharaoh is now intelligible; as Dr. Hales very properly remarks, “Goshen formed the eastern barrier of Egypt towards Syria and Palestine —the quarters from which they most dreaded invasion—whose nakedness was now covered in a short time, by a numerous, a brave, and an industrious people: amply repaying, -by the additional security and resources which they gave to Egypt, their hospitable reception and maturalization.” And thus Joseph, while he provided for the comfort of his family, conferred an inestimable advantage on the monarch whom he served. Two years of the famine alone had expired when Jacob and his posterity came down to colonize the land of Goshen. Five years yet remained during which the Egyptians had no resources but the royal granaries, which had been amply stored by the provident care of Joseph during the seven years of plenty. Nor is there any difficulty in supposing that the granaries could contain a sufficient supply for the entire population of Egypt during the space of seven years. The monuments contain ample proofs of the care that the Egyptians bestowed on the storing and preservation of corn, and the great extent of their granaries. Some persons, indeed, have insinuated rather than expressed a doubt, of the possibility of preserving corn for so long a time; but in a climate so remarkably dry as that of Egypt, there is no limit to the period durin" which grain may be kept sound We have seen some grains and seeds taken out of the sepulchres, which were so far from being injured by being kept for three thousand years, that they still retained their germinating power, and we have actually seen a plant grown from one of them. It was Joseph's policy to make the sovereign lord of the soil of Egypt, with the single exception of the land belonging to the priests. Hence the rental of Egypt was identical with its taxation; the sum paid for the support of the government being twenty per cent, or one-fifth of the entire produce. The existence of this singular system is confirmed by the monuments, for we find a superintending secretary present at the winnowing and measuring of the corn, as was shown in an earlier part of this series. Both Jacob and Joseph were embalmed after their death, the body of the former was immediately removed to the land of Canaan, but Joseph's remains were not borne to the sepulchre of his fathers, until the Israelites entered the land of Canaan, after their departure from Egypt and wanderings in the desert. It is unnecessary to dwell upon the care with which the Egyptians preserved their dead; the mummies are too well known to require description. There are, however, one or two circumstances mentioned in the Scripture narrative which require a few brief observations. When the Israelites had brought Jacob's body over the river Jordan, they made a halt for seven days to indulge their sorrow, “ and when the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites, saw the mourning in the floor of Atad, they said, This is a grievous mourning to the Egyptians; wherefore the name of it was called Abel-mizraim, (sorrow of the Egyptians,) which is beyond Jordan.” (Gen. L. 11.) In confirmation of this narrative, we find that no nation, ancient or modern, carried their lamentations for the dead to such an extravagant length as the Egyptians. We see the mourners at funerals depicted on the monuments rending their garments, casting dust upon their heads, beating their breasts, and using gestures that seem to belong to almost hopeless despair. Historians assure us, that during the period of mourning, which varied with the rank of the deceased, the relatives and dependents abstained from the use of meat and wine, neglected their persons, and went about singing plaintive songs in honour of the departed. The Israelites adopted this custom, and it was retained by the Jews for many centuries after it had been disused in Egypt. But such a practice was looked upon as unmanly by warlike and nomade races, and hence arose the surprise of the Canaanites, who regarded such grief as so great a novelty, that they perpetuated its memory by giving a new name to the place in which it occurred. It is particularly mentioned that Joseph “was put in a coffin;" among the Egyptians, coffins were used only in the burial of people of distinction ; but when they were used, great care was taken in ornamenting and decorating them. The wood from which they were formed is of so lasting a nature, that some of those Egyptian coffins now to be seen in the British Museum, and other collections of antiquities, seem as fresh as if they had just come from the hand of the maker. Hence we see, that there was no very great difficulty in the children of Israel bearing with them the body of Joseph at the time of the Exodus, and carrying it about with them during their wanderings in the desert. It was not until the conquest of Canaan was completed, indeed, that the body of the patriarch was committed to its final resting place; for we read in the book of Joshua, “And the bones of Joseph, which the children of Israel brought up out of Egypt, buried they in Shechem, in a parcel of
ground which Jacob bought of the sons of Hamor, the father of Shechem, for an hundred pieces of silver ; and it became the inheritance of the sons of Joseph.” (Josh. xxiv. 32.) We have now gone minutely through the entire history of Joseph and his family, and have shown how fully every particular is confirmed by existing testimony, brought to light within our own day. We have next to investigate the history of the Israelites under altered circumstances, when “ another king arose who knew not Joseph.”
HISTORY OF WRITING MATERIALS.
THERE are few subjects capable of affording more interesting details than the history of the origin, progress, manufacture, and use of those articles or substances with which we are most familiar; and yet it happens that these are precisely the very subjects about which least is known. Whether the old adage that “too much familiarity breeds contempt,” applies to a contempt for the knowledge of things familiar to us, we know not; but we certainly cannot understand the feeling which seeks for information respecting objects new and strange, and disdains to inquire into the many curious properties and useful facts concerning familiar things. The very circumstance of familiarity and utility ought, we think, to afford an additional reason for acquiring information concerning such articles. We propose, therefore, to lay before our readers the history of those familiar and useful articles—Writing Materials. Having already introduced cursory notices concerning some of them, more especially those of the ancients, our chief busimess will now be with those of the moderns.
I. THE HIStory of A QUILL PEN.
It has been said, quaintly enough, that he who first introduced the use of goose-quills for pens, borrowed from the emblem of folly the instruments of wisdom. Without discussing the justice or injustice of this satire upon a poor goose, we cannot deny that quill pens have been the messengers of vast benefit to mankind, insomuch that it has been sarcastically remarked, that “had the ancients been acquainted with the art of employing quills as a material for pens, they would, probably, have dedicated to Minerva, —not the owl, but the goose.” But some men have made the mistake of honouring the pen as the cause, instead of the mere instrument, of good. Thus, we have been told of one writer who had the pen with which he wrote one of his works, framed and glazed, and hung up over his mantel-piece; another pen was put into a golden casket by the over-zealous admirer of a celebrated writer; and no doubt it was with a feeling of much complacency and self-satisfaction that Holland, a physician of Coventry, who translated Pliny’s Natural History into English, wrote the following lines:— With one sole pen I wrote this book, Made of a gray goose quill. A pen it was when it I took— A pen I leave it still.
It appears from the best testimony, that the mode of writing in the earliest times was not by the use of a fluid like ink, but by marking with a blunt point on tablets covered with a surface of wax; but when the Egyptian papyrus was devised, and a coloured liquid found, which could be used as ink, a new mode of procedure was devised, more likely to leave permanent traces of the writing. The instrument employed was a reed, the nature of which is not precisely
ascertained. Massey, in his Treatise on the Origin of Letters, mentions the use of reeds for writing among the Turks, Moors, and the oriental nations generally. The same author remarks, that whenever the word pen occurs in our English translation of the Old and New Testament, we must not understand it to mean a quill pen, but as an iron style or a reed, both of which the early nations used: the former was sharp at one end, like a pointed needle, and at the other end broad and blunt, to rub or scratch out what the writer wished to be erased. Styles were much used among the Romans, they were made of different metals, also of ivory or bone. Wooden styles, or skewers, were found in the inkhorns at Herculaneum. The common material of styles was, however, iron; for we find that, as the Romans were not allowed to wear arms in the city, they often, in a fit of wrath, wounded each other with the writing-style, which they carried about them; hence the origin of the Italian stiletto. Respecting the reeds which were substituted for the blunt style and wax tablet, they are described as having been small, hard, round canes, about the size of a large swan's quill, and fashioned into shape much as we now do our quills. The supply of them used to be obtained chiefly from Egypt, Cairo, in Asia Minor, and Armenia. Chardin and Tournefort have described in their travels a sort of reed employed for this purpose, which grows in Persia, and which they considered as the best, at that time. These reeds are not originally hollow, but contain a pith, which, however, afterwards dries up in a manner similar to the membranous film in the barrels of our modern quills. These reeds are collected in some places bordering on the Persian Gulf, whence they are sent to every part of the East. They are said to be deposited for some months after they are cut, under a dunghill, when they assume a mixed black and yellow colour, acquire a fine polish and a considerable degree of hardness; this latter quality, however, is rendered df less value, by the circumstance that it is accompanied with a want of that elasticity which is so valuable a property in quill pens. This we can easily conceive, for although bamboo-reeds, and canes, are, in general, elastic in their complete form, yet when they are deprived of the internal parts by drying or any other process, the shell, or cylinder, is not likely to have much elastic property remaining. Thus much for reed-pens, our information on which is but limited. Concerning quills, much doubt exists as to when they were first applied to the purposes of pens. An anonymous historian of Constantius says that they were so employed in the fifth century; but the oldest certain account is said to be a passage in some writings of Isidore, who died in the year 636; and who, in an enumeration of the materials used in writing, mentions reeds and feathers. There exists, also, a poem “on a pen," written in the same century, and to be found in the works of Adhelinus, who died in 709, and who was the first Saxon who wrote in Latin. We supply the following translation.
CoN cFRN ING THE PEN of THE WRITER.
The shining-white pelican (bittern)
throat, The waters of the pool once produced one white. I proceed direct to the whitening plains And leave blue marks on the shining-white ground", Shadowing the glistening grounds with darkened windingst. Nor is it enough to open a track over the plainst; But rather a path continues by numerous turns Which has carried to the heights of Heaven, those who wan
* Blue ink upon white paper. + Letters.
which sips with open.
Strutt gives the annexed representation of the Anglo-Saxon pen and inkstand. Another writer of the fifth century, quoted by Adrian de Valois, has been considered as affording proof of the use of quill pens at that time, by the following statement:—That Theodoric, King of the Ostrogoths, was so illiterate and stupid, that during the ten years of his reign he was not able to write five letters (THEOD) at the bottom of his edicts. For this reason the letters were cut for him, (we may suppose like our modern stencil plates,) in a plate of gold, and the plate being laid upon the paper, he then traced out the letters with a pen. The Emperor Justin, who flourished about the same period, is said to have shown a similar specimen of ignorance. Alquin, the friend and teacher of Charlemagne, mentions writing pens in the eighth century. After that time, proofs exist which put the question of their use beyond dispute. Mabillon saw a manuscript Gospel of the ninth century, in which the evangelists were represented with pens in their hands. Calami properly signify the reeds used by the ancients in writing; but modern authors have often used the term as a Latin word for pen, and it has been suggested that that was probably the proper term for quills, before their application to the purposes of pens. Reeds were used for a considerable time after the introduction of pens; and in monasteries and convents were frequently used for initial letters, as they made stronger marks than quills. By some letters of Erasmus to Reuchlin, we learn that the latter sent three writing reeds to Erasmus, who expressed a wish that Reuchlin, when he could procure more, would send some to a learned friend of his in England. Erasmus lived between 1467 and 1536, and it would from this appear that quills were scarce at that time. About the period of 1430, the familiar letters of the learned men of Italy, made mention of two inconveniences to which they were subject at that time, viz. ; the difficulty of making good ink, and the scarcity of good quills. The principal birds from which quills have been obtained for making pens, are the goose, the swan, and the crow. Pelicans, and other birds, have also at different times, helped to furnish a portion of quills; but of all these, the goose has furnished by far the larger portion. So immense has become the number of quills employed, that in 1832, (notwithstanding the large consumption of steel pens,) thirtythree million, six hundred and sixty-eight thousand goose quills, were entered for home consumption, the greater part of which came from the Netherlands and Germany. An immense quantity is also imported from Russia and Poland, where vast flocks of geese are fed for the sake of their quills alone. The quantity exported from St. Petersburg varies from six to twenty-seven millions. We may form some idea of the number of geese which must be required to afford the supply, when we consider that each wing produces about five good quills, and that by proper management, a goose may afford twenty quills during the year. Hence, it is obvious, that the geese of Great Britain and Ireland could afford but a small supply. The quills are the large feathers taken from the ends of the wing, and have different names according to the quality, which seem to depend principally on the part of the wing from which they are taken. The operation of preparing the quills is called quilldressing, sometimes quill-dutching. The quills as they are taken from the bird, are covered with a
membranous skin, and have a toughness and softmess which prevents their being easily split. They are also opaque, and the vascular membrane on the interior of the barrel adheres to it so strongly, that it is with difficulty detached. To remedy these defects, and to fit the quills for their destined purpose, is the business of the quill-dresser. He takes a large bundle of the quills, just as they are taken from the bird, and proceeds to separate them into three parcels, differing from each other in the size and quality of the quills. The value is estimated both by the length and the thickness of the barrel; those having the largest and longest barrels being called “primes,” which fetch the highest price in the market; the next best in quality are designated as “seconds,” and the third, or smallest size, are called “pinions.” The process of sorting being completed, the workmen proceed to “clarify” the quills, the principal object of which is to remove the membranous skin. The quills are plunged for a short time into heated sand : the heat of the sand makes the outer skin crack and peel off, which is further aided by scraping them with a sharp instrument; while, at the same time, the internal membrane becomes shrivelled up, and falls down to the point of the quill. The barrel of the quill is also hardened and rendered transparent by this process, in consequence of the heat consuming or drying up the oily matter resident in it. This latter effect is increased by repeated heatings; and when done for the purpose of hardening the quill, is called dutching, probably from the circumstance that the process was first adopted in Holland. (The term Dutch pens, is frequently applied to quills that have been passed through hot ashes, to remove the grosser fat and moisture, and to render them more transparent.) For the best pens, the process of dutching is repeated several times; but care is necessary, in order that the heating should not be carried so far as to injure the barrel. The quills after this process, are either of the colour of fine thin horn, or of an impure white; but before they are brought to market they undergo another process, with the two-fold object of giving them an uniform yellow colour, and to make them split more easily. They are dipped into diluted aquafortis or nitric acid, which has the effect desired. It is however thought by some, that this process, although it improves their beauty, injures their quality by making them too brittle, so that the slit is apt to run up on pressing with moderate firmness; for this reason, many persons who write much, such as clerks in mercantile houses, &c., frequently prefer a quill which has not undergone this process, as being more durable. The quills having been thus dressed and finished, a portion of the barb is stripped off, to occupy less room in packing, and the quills are tied up into bundles of twenty-five or fifty each, for the market. The process of preparing the quills is, however, subject to some variation. Some dressers adopt the following mode. The quills are first moistened, not by immersion, but by dipping their extremities into water, and allowing the remaining parts to absorb moisture by capillary attraction. They are then heated in the fire or in a charcoal chaffer, and are passed quickly under an instrument with a fine edge, which flattens them in such a manner as to render them apparently useless. They are then scraped and again exposed to heat, whereby they assume their original form. This is a remarkable fact, and may be illustrated by taking a feather and crushing it with the hand so as to destroy it to all appearance; if we now expose it to the action of steam or a similar temperature, it will speedily assume its former condition.
. Many of the quills after this preparation are cut into pens by means of the pen-cutter's knife, and are also trimmed. A pen-cutter will cut in a day two-thirds of a long thousand, consisting of 1200 according to the stationer's computation. A house in Shoe-Lane, London, cuts generally about 6,000,000 of pens yearly; and during the year 1834, notwithstanding the introduction of steel pens, it cut many more than it had done in any previous year. It is calculated by penmakers, not more than one pen in ten is ever mended. Swan-quills, which are very large in the barrel, are sometimes employed for pens, and though expensive at first, are, perhaps, not dearer ultimately than the smaller quills, their length and capacity of barrel compensating for the larger charge. Crowquills are generally employed in drawing and designing, on account of the fine point to which they can be brought. They are particularly useful in that kind of etching which is intended to imitate prints. Quills may be hardened by steeping them in alumwater, at a boiling temperature for a few minutes. There is a modern contrivance by which six or eight pens may be made out of one large quill. The narrow end, and also the stalk of the pen being cut off, leaving the barrel only remaining, the latter has a cylinder inserted through it, a little smaller than its own diameter. It is then placed in a machine in such a way that two cutting edges pass along the barrel, one on each side, by which the quill is cut longitudimally into two semi-cylindrical halves. These pieces are then placed in a groove with the convex side undermost, and the edges are made straight and smooth by having a plane run along them. These half-cylinders of quill are then cut into three or four pieces, according to their length, and each piece is operated on by the nibbing-machine, which is a sort of cutting press. A few strokes with a pen-knife then brings each little piece to the form of a pen, which, fixed in a handle, is fit for use.
THE VILLAGE CHURCH.
MINE be the rude and artless pile,
LONDON: JOHN WILLIAM PARKER, WEST STRAND. Publishen in WEEKLY NuMBERs, price ONE PENNY, and in Mosthly Paurs. PRick Sixpenca.