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excite, some unbelievers have attempted to account for it by Causes of an ordinary kind, such as are to be found in the passions and propenfities of the human heart, and in the general circumstances of mankind. The attempts, however, of this sort that were made before the publication of Mr. Gibbon's two famous chapiers, were feeble and contemptible beyond expression: but those of this learned and ingenious writer were carried on with peculiar advantages, as they were furrounded with the luftre, anu feconded by the reputation of a learned, eloquent, and voluminous history, that does honour to English literature. So that all the artillery fired by this afrailant against the citadel of Chriftianity, was planted on the temple of fame, and made confequently a loud report, while all the trumpets of the goddess were employed to celebrate the execution it did.--Accordingly, our Author proposes to enter particularly into the lists with Mr. Gibbon, and when we are made acquainted with his method of defence, we shall lay it before our Readers.
But why attack Mr. Gibbon, whole five causes of the propagation of the Gospe!, whether admillible or not, he only gives as fecondary ones? if you ask him, by what means the Christian faitn obtained so remarkable a victory over the established religions of the world ? hear his reply, “ To this enquiry an obvious but
fatisfactory answer may be given ; that it was owing to the « convincing evidence of the doctrine itself, and to the ruling pro“ vidence of its great Author.” If these words convey the lentiments of Mr. Gibbon, he must be placed among the friends of Christianity; if they do not, it is to be hoped that the rest of his history has not been compored with the same spirit,
A RT. VIII. Voyage Pittoresque de la Sicile, &c. i. e. Travels through Sicily,
Mulia, and Lipari, containing an Account of the Antiquities of there Iards, the principal Natural Phænomena they exhibit, and the particular Customs and Manners of the Inhabitants. Illustrated with Engravings: Nos. III. IV. V. and VI. Large Folio. Containing each Six Plates, and eight pages of Description. Price 12 Livres each Number. THE two preceding Chapters or Numbers of this elegant
work, were noticed in our FOREIGN LITERATURE for February last : No. III. begins with an account of Mazzara. The inhabitants of this place pretend, that it is the ancient Selinus, though the ruins of this latter city ftill subsist at the distance of 24 miles from Mazzara. Nothing is more common in Sicily than to see modern towns decorated with the names of ancient and famous cities, which either exist no more, or whose ruins exift elsewhere. The only vestiges of the arts visible at Mazzara, are three ancient tombs, or sarcophagi. The first, which is the subject of the ift Figure of the 13th Plate, repre. fents, in baso-relievo, a hunter attacking a wild boar, probably the story of Meleager. The composition is very indifferent, and it is also but feebly executed. The 2d figure contains a funeral urn of much nobler workmanthip; and in looking upon the figure, we are not a litile surprized, that M. Houel is so sparing in his description of it. Two beautiful sphynxes, two very elegant human figures, with other ornaments in a pure taste, and a Latin inscription in the middle, deserved, we think, more attention from our Traveller, than he has thout proper to beftow upon them. There is a circumstance in the engraving of these piates, which we think well contrived, and that is the reddish brown colour employed by the ariift, which peculiarly affimulates the representation of antiquities to the original objects, when ruins and sepulchral monuments are delineated.
The 14th plate represents the second sarcopbagus, adorned with a fine baflo relievo, whose subject is, the rape of Proserpino. Here Ceres is seen pursuing her daughter, in a chariot drawn by two winged serpents, with a confiderable number of attendants. But the third sarcophagus, which is the subject of the 15th plate, is undoubtedly the most beautiful of the three. It represents a battle of the Amazons, and announces, by the defign, composition, and expression, a period in which the arts flourih.
The whole of this piece is admirable, and some of the fie gures are equal to the best remains of Grecian art.
From Niazzara our Author proceeded to Castel Vetrane, a small town about eight miles from the sea, where the first thing he was entertained with was a nocturnal procession on the festival of the Holy Sacrament, in which the darkness of the night was illuminated with 400 torches, made of a kind of reeds, which emit a most glaring splendour, and which was accompanied with other marks of a pompous devotion, that formed a curious spectacle. Here he saw the ruins of the real Selinus, and lodged in the watch-tower, which is now called TORRE DEL Pulci, i.e. the tower of Ficas. A strange name indeed! but it appears, that in this place there was formerly a temple, dedicated to Caftor and Pollux, which, in Italian, is Polluce. When the temple was demolithed, and the latter of these gods was forgotten, the people not knowing what was meant by Polluce, took it for the name of a little infect (Pulici or Pulci, a Alca), with which they were very well acquainted, and thus prepared matter of invefti. gation for the etymologifts. --When this tower is illuminated in the night, this is a sign that watchmen have perceived no pirates approaching the coast.
But when the lights are not hung up, a cannon is fired from the tower, and three from Caftel-Vetrano, to alarm the inhabitants, and put them upon their guard.
Selinus, of which the 18th plate contains a chart, that marks diftinctly its circumference, had several temples, which have been entirely demolished. We find the ruins and scattered frage ments of two of these in the 17th and 18th plates.
No. IV. In the beginning of the 4th Number or Chapter, we find the description of another temple of Selinus, delineated in the 19th plate, and a general view of the largest temple of that city, whole remains astonish us, as they are represented in the plate following; the Author exhibits in the 21st plate the plan of this enormous edifice, and the geometrical details that are necessary to convey an idea of its particular beauties. It is palpable, that this temple was demolished by hostile violence; but it is inconceivable, lays our Traveller, that hostile rage should go so far, as to overturn the very bases of the columns, and that of columns fo prodigiously bulky. This temple, which after that of Jupiter Olympius at Girgenti, is the greatest fabric of antiquity Itill preserved, is 51 fathoms (toises) in length, and 25 in breadth * li has 16 lateral columns, and 8 in front. The columns are 4 : feet 6 inches high, and their bases have to feet in height, and 10 in diameter. The temple, which was one of the wonders of Sicily, and fill maintains its superiority, by the quantity and stately aspect of its ruins, was dipteral, having two rows of columns all around it. Its columns are perceived at such a distance, that they direct pilors at sea in their course.
M. Houel visited the Rocca di Cusa, or famous quarry, which furnished the stones for the construction of these temples, and which is represented in the 22d plate. It is 300 fathoms ia Jength, and the stones it yields have this peculiarity, that when they are ftruck they found like metals. It is situated about seven miles from Selinus, in the midst of a beautiful and fertile plain, called Campo bello, and does not rise in any part of it more than 50 feet above the level of the plain. The architecis went wisely to work : they rough-hewed in the quarry the ftones which they employed in thele mafly buildings, and gave them there, though rudely, the form they were to have, that they might dia minish, as far as was pollible, their weight, before they were transported. When they had fixed upon the size of a column, they cut round, in the rock, a mass of so many feet diameter, as the thickness of the column required. When this mass was cut round by two men, who had formed a passage on each side, and completed each bis semi-circle, it formed a cylinder. To disengage its extremities from the rock, they made, at the base
Baron Reidelel says it is about 100 yards long and 80 broad. But his account is much inferior in detail and accuracy to that of Mr. Houel : Mr. Brydone has nos minded ihese things.
of the column, an incision of about four inches deep, which they filled with as many wedges of the driest wood as could be forced into it. These wedges were continually moistened, and by their swelling, they made the cylinder break off from the rock. But the most marvellous part of this business still remains to torture conjecture: for with what machines did these architects transport capitals 12 feet 6 inches square, and 4 feet 5 inches thick, and architraves 20 feet long and 7 feet large? and yet these enormous stones, drawn from a place at the diftance of above 7 miles, across an uneven road, must fuprise us still less than the transportation, from the fame distance, of three columns, each formed of a single stone, 45 feet 6 inches in height, and 10 feet in diameter. Our Author exhibits in one of the figures of this plate, the ingenious method employed by Vitruvius for the transportation of large masses of this kind; but this method seems only adapted to succeed on level ground, and not in a hilly district.
The 23 and 24th plates represent the baths and mountain of S. Calogero, and the grotto of the bathers, with its plan and dimensions, all which our Author describes at great length. His descriptions are interspersed with a multitude of little itories of his conversations and adventures, which might make some im. pression in the vacant moments of dinner, tea, or supper, but have no title to be admitted into a work of this kind : Mr. Brydoné's stories have much more salt and favour than those of M. Houel.
No. V. The salting of anchovies in the sea-port town of Sciacca, and a rustic waggon full of lads and lasses going to their harvest labours, employ our Author's pen and pencil in the 25th and 26th plates, and the descriptions are lively and poetical. Painting, as he goes along, rural scenes, and enchanting prospets, without omitting the dogs that barked at him, as he passed the buts of which they were the guardians, he arrives at the palace (or casin as it is called) of the Prince of Palagonia, whose whimsical, or rather monstruous taste for the contradictory, the absurd, and the shocking, in sculpture and architecture, has been related by almost every traveller. Centaur, sphynx, dragon, and chimæra, are objects of symmetry and order, compared with the productions which that impertinent fool (if he is not ftark mad) has multiplied, at a prodigious expence, in his contemptible mansion. But why employ three great folio pages in the description of these fruits of a dil ordered brain ?
The 27th plate represents the ancient Naumachia of Palermo, and the 28th the tonnaro, a kind of aquatic castle, for the taking the tunny-fish, formed, at a great expence, of strong nets, and 7
composed composed of different apartments. Mr. Brydone has given a good, though a concise description of this amusement; but our Author's account of it is much more ample and circumftantial, and, by the affiftance of the figures, more intelligible and interesting. The two following places, which conclude this Num. ber, exhibit the manner of catching and killing the fish, when they are collected in the tonnaro.
No. VI. In the beginning of this Number or Chapter, our Author returns, like the dog to his vomit, and gives us a view of the palace of the Prince of Palagonia at La Bagaria, in the 31st plate, where we see the avenue that is peopled by the monsters already mentioned, and the triumphal arch, which is the entrance of this avenue. The palace, indeed, deserved some little attention, as it is an old cattle, built originally by the Saracens, finely situated, and gives an idea of the kind of architecture that prevailed among that people, when Sicily was under their dominion. The view from the terras, that forms the summit of this castle, is extensive and delightful, and is deemed, by our Author, worthy of the particular attention of travellers.
The Calabrian alh-tree, which produces the manna, is the subject of the 32d plate, and the manner of collecting this medicinal sugar is accurately described; but with no particulars that are not well known. His descriptions of La Favoratta and Cinesi, and of the fimplicity and benevolence that reign in the manners of their inhabitants, are pleasing, and may be called very agreeable summer-reading. The 33d plate brings us back to ancient times, by presenting to our view fome very beautiful remains of the ancient arts, well preserved, which our Author noticed in the museum and monastery of St. Martin, about seven miles from Palermo. This museum, lately founded by D. Salvator Blafi, of the Benedictine order, contains a very good collection of ancient marbles, sarcophagi, medals, Grecian, Roman, Etrurian and Sicilian vales, &c.--The marble candelabrum here delineated by our Author, is an exquisite piece, whether we consider the beauty of its form, the elegance of its ornaments, or the excellence of the workmanship. It is accompanied with fix Etrurian vases, all beautiful, an Egyptian bust of ba.. faltes, and two curious human figures, one male and the other female, with Ionic capitals, supporting baskets of flowers on their heads.
The 34th plate represents a funeral urn, which our Author confiders as one of the moft beautiful remains of antiquity that has escaped the ruins of time. Its form, ornaments, and execution, are equally perfe&t. A square void fpace that seems to have been prepared for an inscription, and a medallion under it, supported by cupids, which exhibits a fine female head, give rea