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of unhewn stone was considered as a circumstance conferring dignity on the erection. Thus the pillar near the oak at Shechem, in the vicinity of which the Israelites were assembled by Joshua, is noticed as being a "great stone" (Joshua xxiv. 26); and the altar erected by the tribe of Reuben and of Gad and the half tribe of Manasseh on the banks of the Jordan, is said to be a great altar to see to" (Joshua xxii. 10).
The pillar, or stone of memorial, had various applications in patriarchal times, being raised in commemoration of some Darine interposition, as Jacob's Bethel, and Samuel's Ebenezer; of some solemn covenant entered into with the Almighty, as the pillar at Shechem, and of a civil compact between man and man, as the Galeed of Jacob and Laban; it was also used as a sepulchral memorial, as the pillar at Rachel's grave; and lastly, these stones set up in remembrance of individuals, as the stones of Abel, and the pillar which Absalom erected in the King's dale. The circumstance is thus related: "Now Absalom had in his life time reared up for himself a pillar, which is in the King's dale, for he said, 'I have no son to keep my name in remem
brance; and he called the pillar after his own name, and it is called to this day Absalom's Place" (2 Samuel xviii. 18). Thus of these stones of memorial set up in Patriarchal times, we have very satisfactory and circumstantial accounts from about 1000 to 1600 years B.C. The groups of stones set up by the Israelites were twelve in number, according to the number of the tribes; and this circumstance distinguished them from the similar work of their neighbours, the Canaanites.
Of the pillars and other remains of rude unhewn stones in India, on the shores of the Red Sea, and of the Mediterranean, as well as those in Gaul, the Northern parts of Europe, and in almost every part of Britain, it has long been a quastio vexata on what occasions they were set up, and in every country they are accounted for by some absurd tradition. Their similarity in places so remote from each other, would almost induce the belief of an intercourse existing between these countries, and indeed there is but one way of accounting for them, and that is by ascribing to the Canaanites of Tyre and Sidon the introduction of these primeval works, so strongly resembling each
other, into countries so far separated. The Tyrians inhabited a narrow slip of sterile land incapable of being profitably cultivated, but affording convenient harbours for shipping, and Hermon and the adjacent hills abounded in cedar and timber of various kinds, suitable for the building of vessels of every dimension. Thus situated, the Tyrians of necessity became a commercial people, and the population of Tyre and its coasts were in the commencement of their establishment, chiefly mariners and fishermen. Their commerce at first consisted in the article of corn, which they conveyed from Egypt to the various neighbouring countries, accessible by sea. By this they gradually became the most expert and adventurous navigators of antiquity, and in the days of King Solomon, in conjunction with a fleet sent out by that King, circumnavigated the peninsula of Africa. Before this they had made a settlement at Utica, on the Southern coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and another at Gades (now Cadiz), on the Northern coast; they had also ventured to explore the British Channel, and settle a colony at the Western extremity of Britain, on account of the tin and other
metals which they found there.
That the main support of the Tyrian commerce was the corn of Egypt is asserted by the prophet Isaiah, in these words, "and by great waters the seed of Sihor the harvest of the river [Nile] is her revenue, and she is a mart of nations" (Isaiah xxiii. 3). The settlement at Cadiz constituted the depôt of the Phoenician merchants for the tin of Britain, together with its lead and the silver obtained from it by the separating process of testing, and the iron of Sweden. This station was also called Tartessus, and is allowed by the most approved writers to be the Tarshish of the Scriptures. Ezekiel thus notices this branch of the Phoenician commerce : "Tarshish was thy merchant by reason of the multitude of all kinds of riches; with silver, iron, tin, and lead, they traded in thy fairs" (chap. xxvii. 12). These are the very articles which Britain and the Northern countries bordering on the German Sea would supply, between which places and Tyre, Tarshish would be a most convenient intermediate station.
Tin, a metal peculiar to the Western extremity of Britain, is mentioned by Moses,
'only the gold and the silver, the brass, the iron, the tin, and the lead" (Numbers xxxi. 22.) B.C. 1452. From the metals thus enumerated, tin must necessarily be one, for the word brass either means copper or an alloy of copper. If the latter, it was an alloy of tin, for such was the ancient brass; therefore, tin is not only noticed singly, but is also implied in the word brass. Homer also frequently mentions it in his Iliad (see Book xi. 1. 471. B.C. 1000), and the Grecians distinguished the Scilly Isles by the title of Cassiterides, or the Tin Islands.
Having thus noticed the earliest mention of monoliths and megaliths, and spoken of them in connexion with the earliest sacred and profane histories, we may here remark that, the pillars and altars established by the Patriarchs were dedicated to the service of Jehovah, the only true God; but those by the Canaanites, were descrated to the purposes of an idolatrous worship, of which Baal or the sun was the chief object. Now in following out this subject I would beg of my readers to remember, that whenever the Phoenicians established a settlement there they erected the pillar, the altars, &c., and