The Library of History

Page 39

Page 39 and Assistances. Besides, that Children descended from Soldiers, would be apt to imitate the valour of their Ancestors, and minding Arms from their very Childhood, would at length (through their natural Courage and Skill in their Arms) become unconquerable.

The Nation likewise is distinguish'd into Three other Classes and Orders of Men, Shepherds, Husbandmen and Artificers. The Husbandmen take the Land (fit for Tillage and bearing of other Fruits) of the King, the Priests and the Swordmen, upon an easie Rent, and take up all their Time in this Business; and because they are bred up from their very Infancy in Country Affairs, they are the most Skilful Husbandmen of any other Nation in the World. For they know exactly the Nature of the Land, the Inundation of the Waters, Seed-time and Harvest, and the gathering in of the other Fruits of the Earth, partly from the knowledge gain'd from their Ancestors, and partly from their own particular Experience.

The way and manner of the Shepherds is the same, who being us'd to look after the Flocks and Herds from Father to Son, make it their whole Imployment to feed and pasture them. They have indeed learnt many things from their Ancestors concerning the best way of governing and feeding their Flocks, but not a few by their own Study and Invention. And that which is chiefly to be admir'd, is that their Industry is such in these matters, that they that keep Poultry and Geese, not content with the ordinary way of breeding these Creatures (as amongst other People) but by their Wit and Ingenuity cause them to increase to an infinite number, for they do not suffer them to hatch, but to admiration force out the Young with their Hands with so much Art and Skill, that it's done as effectually as by Nature it self.

Arts and Trades likewise among the Egyptians are greatly improv'd and brought to their highest perfection. For it's a Rule only among the Egyptians, that no Mechanick or other Artificer is to be of any other Trade or Imployment, or to be reckon'd up among any other Orders or Classes of the Commonwealth, than such as by the Law is allow'd, and taught them by their Parents; to the end that neither Envy attending Magistracy, nor publick Business of the State, or any thing else might interrupt them in the diligent improvement of their Trades. In other Places we see Artificers and Tradesmen busy'd about many other things, and (to gratify their Covetousness) not to stick to any one Imployment. For some apply themselves to Husbandry, others to Merchandize, and some follow Two or Three Trades at once. And many who run to the publick Assemblies in Cities, under a Democratical Government, by Bribes and Rewards inrich themselves, to the damage and prejudice of the Commonwealth. But in Egypt if any Tradesman meddle in Civil Affairs, or exercise any more than one Trade at once, he is grievously punish'd. And in this manner the antient Egyptians divided their Commonwealth, and every Order took care to preserve themselves intire, as that which they had learnt, and had been handed down to them from their Ancestors. They were likewise extraordinary careful concerning their Courts of Justice, for they lookt upon just Sentences and Decrees pronounc'd from the Seats of Justice on both sides, to be of great weight and moment to the advancement of the publick good. For they knew very well, that Mens miscarriages would be best reform'd, if Offenders were duly punish'd, and the Injur'd and Oppress'd reliev'd: And on the contrary they foresaw, that if the Punishment due by the Law to Malefactors could be bought off for Mony, Favour or Affection, then nothing but Disorder and Confusion would enter into all Orders and Societies of Men among them: And therefore to prevent this (with good effect) they chose Men of the greatest Reputation out of the Chiefest Cities to be their Judges: As out of Heliopolis, Thebes and Memphis; which Assembly of the Judges was nothing inferior to the Arcopagites in Athens, or the Senate at Sparta. Out of these (being Thirty in number) they chose one the most eminent among them to be President, and in his Room the City sent another. The Judges receiv'd their Salaries from the King, but the President had the greatest Allowance; about his Neck he wore a golden Chain, at which hung a Picture representing Truth, set with precious Stones. When the President put on his Chain, it was a Sign then he was about to hear Causes. And when the Eight Books wherein the Laws were written were laid before the Judges, it was the Custom that the Plaintiff exhibited his Complaint in writing distinctly and particularly; setting forth wherein he was injur'd, and

Bibliotheca Historica

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