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torrents of liquid fite, are situated nuch lower down the mountain : such, however, is the quantity of matter discharged from those mouths, that Catania, a town situated on the sea shore, at a distance of 30 miles, in following the tract of travellers, from the summit, has been frequently overwhelmed by the streams of lava.
Sicily presents no rivers or lakes of importance, but the natural productions of the surface, as well as of the bowels of the island, are highly important. The sugar-cane is of great antiquity in the country, and the fountain of the nymph Cyane, near the harbour of Syracuse, renowned in ancient fable for her earnest, but fruitless efforts, to rescue Proserpine from the arms of Pluto, who, througli that fountain, carried his prize to the infernal domains,-ihis fountain produces in abundance the papyrus, supposed to be peculiar to Egypt, a reed once furnishing both the materials and the name to paper.
The established religion of this and all the isles, as well as of the continent of Italy, is the Roman catholic. The French forces having obtained possession of Naples, the king escaped to Sicily, which is now all that remains to him of the kingdom of the Two Sicilies.
MALTA, &c.- Malta, anciently Melita, and celebrated for the shipwreck of St. Paul, the scene being to this day pointed out by the natives, lies about 50 miles south from Sicily. It is in length about 20 milco, iu breadth 12, and in circuit 50 : the whole is one mass of very while stone, covered with a thin coating of soil: but from the copious dews anů a certain moisture retained by the rock, the crops of grain, cotton, oranges, and other fruits, which are highly esteemed, are very productive; such, however, is the populousness of the island, that the corn is barely sufficient for the consumption of laif the year. The cotton plant is sown in May and June, and reaped in October and Novenber. The Maltese oranges are preferred to those of any
other part of Europc; and the sugarcane is successfully cultivated. The island is in many parts, particularly along the south side, bounded by inaccessible precipices, furnishing presumptive evidences that it has in former times been much more extensive than it is at present; and wherever access is at all practicable, deep entrenchments have been cut in the solid rock, which, together with the prodigious works constructed for the defence of the capital and its admirable harbours, render Malta next to impregnable, This capital called Valetta, to preserve the name and memory of the reigning grand-master by whose heroic exertions the island was triumphantly defended, in 1565, against the mighty force of the Turkish empire, is a very bandsome town occupying a peninsula, separating the two harbours, and powerfully protecting the entrance of both. Malta is said to contain 60,000 inhabitants, independently of those of Goza and Cumino, two much smaller islands, adjoining it on the west.
The most ancient possessors of Malta, of whom we have any account, were the Carthaginians, or Punic colonists of Africa; and from them the ancient Punic language has been preserved, although with considerable intermixture of the Saracen, Norman, and Italian tongues, down to the present day.
The order of warriors, instituted in the beginning of the twelfth century for the defence of Jerusalem against the Saracens, were, in the progress of time, compelled to quit the Holyland, and retire to the island of Rhodes: but, in 1522, the Turks, after a most memorable siege, making themselves masters of that island, the knights were again forced to withdraw, and they remained in an unsettled state until 1530, when the emperor, Charles the Fifth, bestowed on them Malta, for the purpose of defending his Italian dominions against the assaults of the Turks, and other Mahometan powers. In this situation the knights continued to the year 1799, when the French under Bonaparte gained possession of the island, which was, however, soon retaken by the English, who stipulated in the treaty of Amiens of 1802, that it should be restored to the knights: and the delays occasioned in the fulfilment of this part of the treaty furnished one reason for the renewal of hostilities between France and Britain, in 1803.
The other islands of importance belonging to Italy, are those of Lipari, a singular volcanic groupe, on the north of Sicily; and Elba, on the Tuscan coast, noted for its inex. haustible treasures of excellent iron.
TURKEY IN EUROPE.
Situation and extent.—The European portion of the Turkish empire, is a vast peninsula, enclosed between the rivers Save and Danube, the Euxine, the Archipelago, the Mediterranean, and the Adriatic. It is true that on the north side of the Danube, between it and the Neister, are situated the valuable provinces of Wallach ia, Bessarabia, and Moldavia ; but from the recent inroads of the Russians, it seems little probable that these countries shall long form a part of the Turkish dominions. On the shores of the Adriatic, and along the coasts of Greece, are also certain small districts and islands, formerly independent, or subject to the Venetians and Austrians, which will be afterwards pointed out.
Population. The number of inhabitants, on the south of the Danube, has been computed to be 6,500,000, which, distributed over a tract of 150,000 square miles, will give only about 45 persons for each mile; a deficiency in some measure attributable to the extensive ranges of mountains, covering the northern and western provinces; but chiefly
to the indolence, ignorance, and prejudices, civil and religious, of the inhabitants, and the wretched administration of public affairs ; a system which, for many years back, has been conducted as if devastation and depopulation had been the main objects of its institution. Very recent attempts, however, to introduce European tactics, and other importo ant approximations to the usages of their western neighbours, seem to evince a rising spirit of energy and improvement, which, if properly followed up, may one day restore the Turkish dominions to that station in the political scale of the world, which countries, once so celebrated, and naturally so important, ought to possess.
Constantinople, the capital of the Turkish empire, is delightfully and most advantageously situated at the point of union, between Europe and Asia, between the Euxine and the Mediterranean; thus pointed out by nature as the seat of commercial intercourse and dominion for half the globe. The city, including the suburbs on the opposite shores of the harbour, covers a vast extent of ground, and the population, even cleared of all idle exaggeration, is reckoned to exceed half a million. The streets are generally narrow, irregular and dirty, with wooden houses of no exterior magnificence. Many of the public buildings however deserve observation, particularly certain Mahometan temples, or moskees, the most remarkable, commonly called Santa Sophia, having been a Christian cathedral, erected by
emperor Justinian in the sixth century. The Turkish court is usually suild the Ottoman or the Sublime Port, not as has been erroneously supposed from an allusion to the excellence of the barbour of Constantinople, tu to the gate of the Seraglio or imperial palace, where, agreeably to a nuient oriental custom, public business was transacted, and all orders
, edicts, and laws, were promulgated. Adrianople, formerly the capital of European Turkey, is a spacious town, said to contain 100,000 people. Saloniki'or Thessalonica,
a much-frequented port on the Archipelago, possesses 50,000. Larissa, now as of old the chief town of Thessaly, stands on the banks of the Peneus, a few miles above the romantic and delicious vale of Tempe, and on the northern borders of the wide plains of Pharsalus, where Cæsar evinced his consummate skill in the military art; having with an exhausted and dispirited army engaged defeated and utterly dispersed his foes, nearly twice his number, elated with recent success, most advantageously posted, commanded and encouraged, by Pompey and the chief nobles of Rome.
Athens, Corinth, Sparta, and the other cities of Greece, once so powerful and so splendid, are now chiefly known by the vestiges of their ancient magnificence; and of many even the position are no longer to be traced, the capital of the modern Morea or Peloponnesus, being Tripolizza, an inland town of no great antiquity.
The face of the country may in general be considered as mountainous; but in many districts are plains and vallies of great natural fertility: and the climate has always been esteemed healthy and agreeable.
Besides the Danube, which before its discharge into the Euxine, is in many places a mile in breadth, the northern parts of Turkey are watered by the Maritza, formerly the Hebrus, the Vardari or Axius, the Salambria or Peneus, falling into the Archipelago, by the Morava, the Drin, which unite with the Danube, and by another Drin, as wellas some rapid streams pouring into the Adriatic : the rivers of Greece are more noted for their classical fame than their volume of water : nor are the lakes of Turkey either numerous or of great extent.
Mountains of very considerable elevation are frequent : the celebrated chains of Hæmus and Rhodope in the north; Pindus, Olympus, Ossa, Athos in the centre ; and the rugged ridges of the Morea, are the most remarkable.