John Baptist Belzoni
On the 2d of December, his illness increased to such an alarming degree, that he expressed a conviction of his approaching death, and begged Mr. Houtson to send him back to Gato, in the faint hope that the sea breeze might revive him. On his arrival there, though much fatigued, he appeared better for the voyage; resumed his usual cheerfulness, ate and drank, slightly, of bread and tea, and fell into a sound sleep, from which, however, he awoke with a dizziness in the head, and coldness in the extremities; shortly after he lost the power of speech, and, in the afternoon of the 3d of December, tranquilly expired.
Previously to his death, he had given directions respecting his papers, and had attempted to write to his wife; but, his strength failing him, he requested Mr. Houtson to bear witness that he died in the fullest and most affectionate remembrance of her • and begged that gentleman would write to her, and send her the amethyst ring which he then wore.' He was buried on the day following his death, the funeral service being delivered by Mr. Houtson, who placed over his grave the following inscription: - ' Here lie the remains of G. Belzoni, Esq., who was attacked with a dysentery at Benim, on the 26th of November, on his way to Houssa and Timbuctoo, and died at Gato, on the 3d of December, 1823. The gentleman who placed this inscription over the grave of this intrepid and enterprising traveler, hopes that every European, visiting this spot, will cause the ground to be cleared, and the fence around it put in repair, if necessary.'
The character of Belzoni was of an intrepid and enterprising nature; and he possessed a spirit of perseverance, in the midst of the many difficulties and dangers which surrounded him, that would have turned most men from their object. His person was as well-favored as it was tall and powerful; and his countenance was handsome and intelligent. He was accompanied by his wife in all his expeditions, except the last: she was, for a woman, as prodigious in size and strength as Belzoni was for a man; and proved of much assistance to him in the course of his researches in Egypt. The travels of Belzoni are the most interesting ever recorded; the account of them is written by himself, choosing, as he says in his preface, to tell in his own way his events and discoveries; being more solicitour about the accuracy of the facts than the manner of relating them. His narrative, however, although occasionally confused, from an over-earnestness to convey to the reader's mind an adequate idea of the difficulties encountered by the author, is written in a pure and unostentatious style, and in a tone which occasionally approaches to the poetic and sublime. Nor is his diction inelegant and, notwithstanding his want of a classical education, he displays, in his work, a very extensive knowledge of ancient history, and particularly of the classical traditions respecting Thebes and other celebrated places of Egypt.