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BO O K acquisitions and enjoyments, by disposing of
what is fuperfluous in his own stores, in order to procure what is necessary or desirable in those of other men. Thus a commercial intercourse begins, and is carried on among the members of the same community. By degrees, they discover that neighbouring tribes poffefs what they themselves want, and enjoy comforts of which they wish to partake. In the same mode, and upon the same principles, that domestic traffic is carried on within the society, an external commerce is established with other tribes or nations. Their mutual interest and mutual wants render this intercourse desirable, and imperceptibly introduce the maxims and laws which facilitate its progress and render it secure. But no very extensive commerce can take place between contiguous provinces, whose foil and climate being nearly the same, yield fimilar productions. Remote countries cannot convey their commodities by land, to those places, where on account of their rarity they are desired, and become valuable. It is to navigation that men are indebted for the power of transporting the superfluous stock of one part of the earth, to supply the wants of another. The luxuries and blessings of a particular climate are no longer confined to itself alone, but
the enjoyment of them is communicated to the BOOK
I. most distant' regions.
In proportion as the knowledge of the advantages derived from navigation and commerce continued to spread, the intercourse among nations extended. The ambition of conquest, or the necessity of procuring new settlements, were no longer the sole motives of visiting distant lands. The desire of gain became, a new incentive to activity, roused ad. venturers, and sent them forth upon long voyages, in search of countries, whose products or wants might increase that circulation, which nourishes and gives vigour to commerce, Trade proved a great source of discovery, it opened unknown seas, it penetrated into new regions, and contributed more than any other cause, to bring men acquainted with the situation, the nature, and commodities of the different parts of the globe. But even after a regular commerce was established in the world, after nations were considerably çivilized, and the sciences and arts were cultivated with ardour and success, navigation continued to be so im. perfect, that it can hardly be said to have ad. vanced beyond the infancy of its improvement in the ancient world.
BOOK AMONG all the nations of antiquity, the
structure of their veffels was extremely rude, Imperfec- and their method of working them very detion of navigation
They were unacquainted with seancients. veral principles and operations in naviga
tion, which are now considered as the firft elements on which that science is founded. Though that property of the magnet, by which it attracts iron, was well known to the ancients, its more important and amazing virtue of pointing to the poles had entirely escaped their obfervation. Destitute of this faithful guide, which now conducts the pilot with so much certainty in the unbounded ocean, during the darkness of night, or when the heavens are covered with clouds, the ancients had no other method of regulating their courfe than by obferving the fun' and stars. Their navigation was of consequence uncertain and timid. They durft feldom quit fight of land, but crept along the coast, exposed to all the dangers, and retarded by all the obstructions, unavoidable in holding such an aukward course. An incredible length of time was requisite for performing voyages, which are now finished in a short space. Even in the mildest climates, and in feas the least tempestuous, it was only during the summer months that the ancients ventured out of their harbours. The remainder of the year was lost in inactivity. It would have been BOOK deemed most inconsiderate rashness to have braved the fury of the winds and waves during winter .
While both the science and practice of navigation continued to be so defective, it was an undertaking of no small difficulty and danger to visit any remote region of the earth. Under every disadvantage, however, the active spirit of commerce exerted itself. The Egyptians, Navigation soon after the establishment of their monarchy, merce
and comare said to have opened a trade between the the EgypArabian Gulph or Red Sea, and the western coast of the great Indian continent. The commodities which they imported from the east, were carried by land from the Arabian Gulph to the banks of the Nile, and conveyed down that river to the Mediterranean. But if the Egyptians in early times applied themselves to commerce, their attention to it was of short duration. The fertile soil and mild climate of Egypt produced the necessaries and comforts of life with such profufion, as rendered its inha- . bitants so independent of other countries, that it became an established maxim among that people, whose ideas and institutions differed in .
BOOK almost every point from those of other nations, as to renounce all intercourse with foreigners. In
consequence of this, they never went out of their own country; they held all fea-faring persons in detestation, as impious and profane; and fortifying their own harbours, they denied strangers admittance into them b. It was in the decline of their power, and when their veneration for ancient maxims had greatly abated, that they again opened their ports, and resumed any communication with foreigners.
The character and situation of the Phenici, Phenicians. ans were as favourable to the spirit of commerce
and discovery as those of the Egyptians were adverse to it. They had no distinguishing pe. culiarity in their manners and institụtions; they were not addicted to any singular and unsocial form of superstition; they could mingle with other nations without scruple or reluctance.
The territory which they possessed was neither large nor fertile, Commerce was the only source from which they could derive opulence or power. Accordingly, the trade carried on by the Phenicians of Sidon and Tyre, was more extensive and enterprising than that of any state in the ancient world. The genius of the Phe
” Diod. Sicul. lib. i. p.78, ed. Wesselingi. Amít. 1756. Strabo, lib. xvii. p. 1142. ed. Amít. 1707.