Egypt. provided for, or opening it before the proper time, of the air makes it absorb vapours of all kinds with the Egypi.
which would hinder the increase of the river. In like utmost avidity; and these riling to a great height,
manner, that which conveys the water to Favoom is are carried off by the winds either to the southward
watched, and cannot be opened before that of Cairo, or northward, without having time to communicate
which is called the Canal of Trajan. A number of any of their pernicious effects. This dryness is so
other canals, only taken care of by those who derive remarkable in the internal parts of the country,
advantage from them, proceed from that arm of the that flesh meat exposed to the open air does not
Nile which runs to Damietta, and fertilize the pro. putrefy even in summer, but soon becomes hard and
vince of Sharkia; which, making part of the isthmus dry like wood. In the deferts there are frequently
of Suez, is the most considerable of Egypt, and the dead carcases thus dried in such a manner, and become
mott capable of a great increase of cultivation. The fo light, that one may easily lift that of a camel with
plains of Gaza which lie beyond, and are poflessed by one hand. In the maritime parts, however, this dry-
the Arabs, would be no less fertile, were it not for the ness of the air is not to be expected. They discover the
excessive inclination these people have to destroy, so that same degree of moisture which usually attends such
they make war even with the spontaneous productions situations. At Rosetta and Alexandria, iron cannot
of the earth. A number of other canals run through be exposed to the air for 24 hours without rusting.
the Delta ; and the vestiges of those which watered the According to M. Volney, the air of Egypt is also
provinces to the eastward and westward, show that in strongly impregnated with salts; for which opinion he
former times these were the best cultivated parts of gives the following reason. “ The stones are corrod-
Egypt. “ We may also presume (says the Baron de ed by natrum (mineral alkali), and in moist places
Tott), from the extent of the ruins of Alexandria, the long crystallizations of it are to be found, which might
construction of the canal, and the natural level of the be taken for falt-petre. The wall of the Jesuits gar-
lands which encompass the lake Mareotis, and extend den at Cairo, built with earth and bricks, is every where
themselves westward to the kingdom of Barca, that this covered with a crust of this natrum as thick as a crown-
country, at present given up to the Arabs, and almost piece : and when this garden has been overflowed by
desert, was once sufficiently rich in productions of the waters of the kalidj (canal), the ground, after they
every kind to furnith the city of Alexandria with its have drained off, appears sparkling on every side with
crystals, which certainly were not brought thither by the Air and The air and climate of Egypt are extremely hot, water, as it shows no sign of salt either to the taste or by climate of not only from the height of the sun, which in summer distillation.”— But whatever may be the quantity of Egypt.
approaches to the zenith, but from the wantof rain and salt contained in the earth, it is certain that M. Vol.
from the vicinity of those burning and sandy deserts ney's opinion of its coming thither from the air cannot
which lie to the southward. In the months of July and be just. The falt in question is excessively fixed, and
August, according to M. Volney, Reamur's thermo. cannot be diffipated into the air without the violent
meter stands, even in the most temperate apartments, heat of a glass-house furnace; and even after this has
at the height of 24 or 25 degrees above the freezing been done, it will not remain diffused through the at-
point; and in the southern parts it is said to rise mosphere, but quickly falls back again. No experi.
still higher. Hence, he says, only two seasons should ments have ever shown that any salt was or could be
be distinguished in Egpyt, the cool and the hot, or diffused in the air, except volatile alkali, and this is
spring and summer. The latter continues for the now known to be formed by the union of two perma.
greatest part of the year, viz. from March to Novem- nently elastic Auids; and it is certain that a faline
ber or even longer ; for by the end of February the air would quickly prove fatal to the animals who
fun is intolerable to an European at nine o'clock in breathed it. The abundance of this kind of salt in
the morning. During the whole of this season, the air Egypt therefore only shows, that by some unknown
seems to be inflamed, the sky sparkles, and every one operation the heat of the fun forms it from the two
sweats profusely, even without the least exercise, and ingredients of earth and water, though we do not yet
when covered with the lightest dress. This heat is underttand the manner, nor are able to imitate this na-
tempered by the inundation of the Nile, the fall of tural operation.
the night-dews, and the subsequent cvaporation ; fo To this faline property of the earth M. Volney a-
that some of the European merchants, as well as the scribes the excellive quickness of vegetation in Egypt, plan's will
natives, complain of the cold in winter. The dew we which is so great, that a species of gourd called kara nor thrive
speak of does not fall regularly throughout the fum- will, in 24 hours, send forth fhoots of four inches in in Egypt.
mer, as with us; the parched fate of the country not length; but for the same reason, in all probability, it is
affording a sufficient quantity of vapour for this pur- that no exotic plant will thrive in Egypt. The mer-
pose. It is firit observed about St John's day (June chants are obliged annually to send to Malta for their
24th), when the river has begun to swell, and confe- garden seeds ; for though the plants thrive very well
quently a great quantity of water is raised from it at firit, yet if the seed of them is preserved, and sown
by the heat of the fun, which being soon condensed a second year, they always come up too tall and
by the cold of the night air, falls down in copious fender.
By reason of the great dryness of the air, Egypt is It might naturally be imagined, that as for three cxempted from the phenomena of rain, hail, snow, months in the year Egypt is in a wet and marihy thunder and lightning. Earthquakes are also seldom situation, the excessive evaporation and putrefaction of heard of in this country, though sometimes they the stagnating waters would render it very unhealthy. have been very fatal and destructive, particularly one But this is by no means the case. The great dryness in the year 1112. In the Delta, it never rains in