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in 1820, presented the obelisks, called Cleopatra's Needles, to the Prince Regent, “as a mark of gratitude and esteem for favours received.” The offer was made at the suggestion of Mr. Briggs, then our consul-general at Cairo. The Prince Regent, who had in the mean time ascended the throne, was pleased to accept the offered gift, and Major Wright, of the Royal Engineers, was sent from Malta, to form a plan, and estimate the expense of removing it. Major W. thus writes to a friend :
“ The only hitch against our project was the expense—the feasibility never was doubted. I think the cost in round numbers would have been about £5000. The means were simply a copy of those adopted by Carburi for the removal of the granite rock on which was afterwards placed the statue of Peter the Great."
The reasons generally assigned for the non-removal of this piece of antiquity were, the expense, and the spoliation of the ancient land of its most interesting relics. As to the latter, it might, perhaps, be an insuperable objection in any other country; but in Egypt it is not so—for there, what, by a happy constitution of atmosphere, time has spared, the gross ignorance and religious prejudices of the people make them delight to destroy; and where, says Mr. St. John, " the most extraordinary monuments of antiquity are daily liable to be converted into materials for building cotton-mills and other factories, as we see in the case of the Temple of Dendera, the false pyramid, and the superb portico of Ashmouneim, it seems excusable to endeavour, by conveying them to some more civilized land, to rescue such relics from destruction.” And I myself can vouch for the fact of these very obelisks being daily subjected to the most wanton attempts at mutilation by every donkey-boy who guides a traveller to their site. Some years afterwards, the Básha, seeing that his present was not removed, although presented as a mark of “gratitude and esteem," stated, that as his intention of making a present of some fine pieces of antiquity to his majesty, had been known to the world, and had appeared in many of the public papers—“ he wished the gift should be one of the greatest possible value in general estimationthat he regretted the mutilated state of the Alexandrian obelisk, and offered in its stead one of the finest of Upper Egypt, or any other piece of antiquity in his territories which could be deemed a present more worthy of his majesty's acceptance;" adding, in conclusion, that, nevertheless, should the Alexandrian be the one ultimately selected, he begged it to be fully understood that it was his wish to defray every expense attending its removal, until it was placed close to the very stern of the vessel appointed to convey it to England.
Captain T. C. Head, who, in 1833, brought this matter strongly before the public, adds, " that twelve years had elapsed since the notification was made, and the Needle of Cleopatra remains in its neglected state.” There seems to be a disregard of courtesy, as well as of policy, in not accepting the offer of a grateful prince.
The subject has been frequently discussed; and some years ago the master-builder at Chatham was directed to fit out the mast-hulk of that place for the purpose, and £12,000 were mentioned as the amount of expense. Afterwards the subject was discussed in the House of Commons, and the sum of £15,000 proposed to be granted; but it was again abandoned on the objection of its robbing the country of its relics.
We have thus seen, that although three obelisks are now in possession of Great Britain, (that at Luxor having been presented some years ago,) a sys. tem of over-stretched economy has prevented us from placing one of them in any of our capitals--although the French, asking theirs from the Básha as a boon, no sooner had permission granted them, than a vessel was fitted out, the obelisk removed from its site at Luxor, conducted 500 miles down the Nile, carried into the heart of the French capital, and now decorates the Place de la Concorde.“ Trente ans se sont écoulés depuis la prise de possession de cette terre célébre; et rien de grand ne serait resté de cette expedition, si l'idée n'etait venue enfin de transporter en France une des obelisques." And another author, when speaking of this obelisk, says—“ The column of the French to be conveyed to France, and become a characteristic trophy of conquest.” And, long before, Denon, speaking of our obelisks at Alexandria, says, “ They might be conveyed to France without difficulty, and would there become a trophy of conquest, and a characteristic one, as they are in themselves a monument; and as the hieroglyphics with which they are covered render them preferable to Pompey's Pillar, which is merely a column, somewhat larger, indeed, than is any where to be found." What this possession, and what this conquest was, thus vaunted by Parisian savans, and emblazoned in the French capital, let those brave men who fought and bled in Egypt tell.
I should prefer the prostrate one at Alexandria to that at Luxor, on account of its vicinity to the scenes of British conquest, and the feasibility of its removal, and on account of the hieroglyphics on it being in much better preservation than those upon the one still standing beside it, which many persons might think a pity to remove, as, owing to the increase of civilization in that country, a hope may be entertained of its preservation where it stands, and the associations so pleasing to the traveller thus be continued. Should it, however, be deemed advisable to do so, the plan adopted by the French for the removal of theirs, which, as well as that at Rome, is smaller than either of the Alexandrian ones, might be put in operation. See Description des Obelisques de Luxor, et précis des operations relatives au transport d'un de ces monumens dans la capital. Par M. Alexandre Delaborde."*
* It is worthy of being known to those who may engage in this work, that there are two sphinxes, which were taken by our troops from the French at the capture of Alexandria, still remaining there, and now built up in the wall of the custom-house, near the principal wharf or
As regards the removing of the prostrate obelisk at Alexandria, it would be a slur upon our many scientific engineers for me to propose a plan—but of its possibility no doubt can exist. In 1824, Admiral Donally, in a letter published in the Appendix to W. Rae Wilson's Travels, submitted a plan for its removal. This consisted in fitting out the frame of a flat-bottomed vessel in England, and sending her to Alexandria,“ and what in ship-building are called 'ways, laid on an inclined plane from the needle to the harbour; an excavation should then be made under one end of the obelisk, and a shore or prop placed under it. At a certain distance from that, (depending upon the stability of the substratum,) let another excavation be made, and a second shore placed, and so on according to circumstances-I think one at each end, and one in the centre would answer. Thus the obelisk would be suspended upon three points. The frame of the flat vessel might then be easily placed under it, and strongly fastened together, and then planked and caulked, taking care that the 'ways'or inclined plane be properly placed. The shores then cut away, one by one, and the hole they make in the bottom closed, and the vessel, which will draw very little water launched into the harbour; temporary masts placed in her, and attended or towed by another ship, she might, I think, arrive safely in the Thames." Objections have been made to launching it at all at the new harbour, on account of its rocky and unsafe character; and it has been suggested by a distinguished officer, Major-General Sir John Burgoyne, who, to a knowledge of the country, adds engineering talents of the highest order, now happily employed for the benefit of Ireland, that it would be better“ to roll and drag the monster across the isthmus, on which the present town is built, to the good harbour, and then embark it by means of a sufficient jetty." This jetty might, I think, be easily constructed near the Mahmoudie canal, where the water is sufficiently deep, and without rocks; perhaps, the construction of a mere raft of timber, or coating it in a case of timber with airtight boxes would be sufficient, and then towing it away, during calm weather, with a steamer to England. Although the proposal which I made in April, 1839, of having the obelisk erected as the “Nelson Testimonial," has not been attended to ; yet, I do not despair of seeing it one day ornamenting the capital of Great Britain. Several gallant officers have expressed a desire of seeing it standing in the square of Greenwich Hospital ; and, certainly, it would not only be an appropriate site, but one that affords many facilities for its erection. A penny subscription from all the inhabitants of London would place it in any part of England.
landing-place. I have no doubt that, if asked for by the French, Mohammad Alee would give permission for their removal, when they would be placed without loss of time in Paris, as another
characteristic of conquest." It is likewise interesting to notice the fact of this obelisk's construction in the reign of Thothmes III., the Pharaoh supposed to have been destroyed in the Red Sea.
ON THE MEMBRANE OF THE CAMEL'S MOUTH.
The peculiarity that this beast possesses of protruding a large inflated bladder-like substance from its mouth, when irritated, or over-driven, as I mentioned in the text, is very remarkable, and has but very lately been satisfactorily accounted for. In the “Nuova Giornale de Litterati," No. xvi. Dr. Paolo Savi, Professor of Natural History in the University of Pisa, published a most interesting memoir on this subject. His observations were made upon some of the animals of the Camelus Dromedarius, belonging to the celebrated breed of San Rossore, in that neighbourhood. He has discovered that this "guttural bladder" is nothing else than an extraordinary development of the uvula, which is usually fourteen or fifteen inches in length, and attached, not to the free margin of the soft palate, as in other mammalia, but to its anterior or adhe rent edge, and also to the arches of the palate; so that, hanging like a curtain in front of the velum pendulum palati, it appears to shut up the opening into the fauces. It is united to the posterior or free margin of the soft palate by a kind of frænaculum, divided longitudinally into two portions. There is also a semilunar reduplication of mucous membrane, that can occasionally close the opening of the posterior nares; “this kind of partition is so placed as to cover the larynx by its inclination; and consequently, it forms with that part and the superior wall of the nasal canal, a cul de sac.” When the animal wishes to project the sac, it raises the soft palate, and with it, and the semilunar partition, closes the posterior nares, expiring at the same time with great force. The air not finding a ready egress by the mouth, owing to the isthmus faucium being closed by the enlarged and distended uvula, forces it forwards, and inflates it into the form of an elongated bladder, owing to its flaccid sides, &c. being attached to the palatine arches by means of the reduplication of membrane before mentioned. In this manner it is protruded from the side of the mouth, and retracted by the azygos muscle, and some of the fibres of the levatores palati mollis.—See Jamieson's Philos. Journal, Vol. xii. 1825.
My friend, Dr. Houston, informs me, that in the dissection of the mouth and fauces of the camel now in the collection of the College of Surgeons, he was struck with the very great flaccidity of the folds of membrane lining the arches of the palate, uvula, and all the adjacent parts ; and says, that the submucus cellular tissue beneath this was particularly lax, allowing the membrane to be drawn out to a great extent. From the appearance that the parts present, it seems to me to partake
more of the nature of erectile tissues; and, in all probability, the whole lining membrane of the jaws, palate, and pharynx, partakes of this flaccid and, under certain circumstances, and at particular seasons, erectile nature.
Since the above was first published, I have had an opportunity of carefully dissecting all these parts along with my venerable friend, Professor Seiler of Dresden, and have satisfied myself of the accuracy of Professor Savi's observations.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE TROCHILUS OF EGYPT.
That the ancient Egyptians paid particular attention to the habits of the lower animals, there can now be little doubt, and that this knowledge of natural history was turned to account in their mythology, there is every reason to believe. Among the many fabulous accounts related of the animals of Egypt, there is a curious story told by Herodotus and Pliny, about a little bird of the plover kind, the Charadrius Spinosus, of Latham, and called by those ancient writers, the Trochilus.
Speaking of the crocodile, the former says, “ Beasts and birds universally avoid it--the Trochilus alone excepted—which, from a sense of gratitude, it treats with kindness. When the crocodile leaves the water, it reclines itself on the sand, and generally towards the west, with its mouth open; the Trochilus, entering its throat, destroys the leeches; in acknowledgment for which service, it never does the Trochilus injury.”— Herod. Euterpe, Ixviii.
The recital of Pliny is still more extravagant. The following quaint translation of it may offer an apology for its insertion verbatim :-“When he (the crocodile) hath filled his belly with fishes, he lieth to sleep upon the sands in the shore ; and for that he is a great and greedy devourer, somewhat of the meat sticketh evermore between his teeth. In regard thereof, cometh the wren-a little bird, called there Trochilus, and the king of the birds in Italy, and shee, for her victual's sake, hoppeth first about his mouth; falleth to pecking or picking it with her little neb or bill, and so forward to the teeth, which she cleanseth ; and all to make him gape. Then getteth shee within his mouth, which he openeth the wider, by reason that he taketh so great delight in this her scraping and scouring of his teeth and chaws."— Pliny, B. viii. chap. 25.
Should the crocodile by chance close his mouth, it is again related by other authorities, how the little picktooth expands its wings, which, being provided with spurs, prick the monster, to remind him of the confinement of his benefactor. This little bird is still very common in Egypt, and called by the natives Sicsac. Foolish as this legend may appear, there is some