Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
and Company, 1887-1889 and 1999. Virtualology.com warns that these 19th Century
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ENGLISH, George Bethune, adventurer, born in Cambridge, Massachusetts, 7 March 1787" died in Washingion, D. C., 20 Sept,., 1828. He was graduated at Harvard in 1807, and then studied law, but neglected his practice and turned his attention to theology. While studying Hebrew in Cambridge • he began to doubt the truth of the Christian religion, which he attacked in a book entitled "The Grounds of Christianity Examined " (Boston, 1813). Edward Everett answered this in 1814, and in reply English wrote "Five Smooth Stones out of the Brook." Subsequently he edited a western paper for a time, and then sailed to the Mediterranean as a lieutenant of U. S. marines. On his arrival in Egypt he resigned his commission and joined Ismail Pacha in an expedition against Sennaar in 1820, winning distinction as an officer of artillery.
As an experiment, he revived the ancient scythe armed war chariot, which was destroyed by being driven against a stone wall in Cairo, and he also employed camels for dragging cannon, he next became an agent of the U. S. government in the Levant, but in 1827 he returned to the United States and went to Washington, where he remained until his death. His friend, Samuel L. Knapp, has composed an ingenious epitaph recounting the incidents of his life. His genius was versatile, and he possessed remarkable facility for acquiring languages. Besides the works mentioned above, he published replies to William E. Channing's two sermons on infidelity (1813), and a "Narrative of the Expedition to Dongola and Sennaar" (London, 1822; Boston, 1823).
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