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which passes insensibly in the upper part into a cellular rock, full of tubular sinuosities, very much similar to the laterite. In some places this ore lies immediately over the sandstone, without the intermediate lithomarge.
Before I finish speaking of the laterite in these low lands. I must mention an interesting fact I observed in the thick beds of laterite, which caps the hill on the foot of which Bimlipatam stands. In this place it overlies the garnetic gneiss so common all over this part of the country ; and I was surprised to see a large piece of the subjacent gneiss imbedded in the thick bed of laterite, more than a foot above the point of contact of both rocks. This fact seems to countenance the inference of the detrital origin of the laterite of these plains and eminences. I am not aware that any pieces of extraneous rocks have been noticed as imbedded in the original laterite.
[We have been favored with the following extract from the private letter of a. junior revenue oflicer in the Madras Civil Service, by the friend to whom it was addressed without any view to publication. This will be the excuse, if any such be required, for the cursive style in which it is written, to ourselves a strong recommendation in its favor.—En.]
Egypt is the most delightful country in the world to travel through; the boats (if previously ordered from Cairo) are the most comfortable conveyances imaginable. In all the great towns you get excellent leavened bread, and in every village, delicious milk, butter,, eggs, fowls, and vegetables. I never lived so well in my life ; and the weather was so cool and bracing, that I had a voracious appetite, and enjoyed all the good things. Barring the voyage up the Red Sea, (Which except in the steamer is dreadful,) and the journey across the desert from Cosseir, (which is decidedly disagreeable.) I know no place so well calculated to re-establish the health of an Indian as the voyage down the Nile, between the months of October and April; but perhaps January and December are too cold for enjoyment.
My friend and myself left Cairoin the beginning of April, and travelled by land through El Arish, reaching Jerusalem in 14 days. This desert, though tedious, is not near so much so as that from Cosseir. Part of the way at first lies along the edge of the Delta through the cultivations, with plenty of water, andfrom El Arish, the road is delightful, through the finest pastoral country imaginable. From that place I have been pleased, more than I can tell you, with every thing I have seen in Syria, and have been agreeably disappointed in almost all my pre
viously formed anticipations. I had always understood Palestine to be at present exactly the reverse of what it was in the time of the Jews——barren, waste, rocky, inhospitable. Most travellers describe it so; but this proceeds partly from the time of year at which it is visited, and partly from the difiiculties of travelling compelling people to follow the same route. Travellers from India are generally too early. The seasons here are similar to those of Europe—the spring beginning in March, previous to which all is cold and uncomfortable. You know what a striking difference there is between the black plains of Nowlgoond, when covered with grain, and when bare, parched, and cracked after the harvest. So here, where the heats of summer are excessive, and burn up every thing, and the cold of winter is very severe, the country both looks and feels wretched previous to the approach of spring. We arrived in the middle of April, when every thing was green and smiling; perhaps a month earlier, certainly a. fortnight, would have been better, to enable us to have avoided the present heats, which since the beginning of the month have not been exceeded by any I experienced in India, except perhaps when I was shooting lions at mid-day in Guzerat in the month of May. Then the usual route from Egypt is to land at Jatfa, and come through the rocky mountains of Ramlah, to Jerusalem ; and thence, having seen the Dead Sea, to proceed by Nazareth to Burnt, and sail thence ; most of which is the worst part of Palestine. By coming by land, we saw first the beautiful plains of Philistia; and the greater security afforded by the Egyptian Government enabled us to visit with perfect ease the country beyond Jordan, and indeed to see every thing we could "have desired.
To an up-country revenue man, the Holy Land must appear one of the most beautiful and productive countries in the world, presenting every capability for raising an enormous taxation, as compared with its size and extent; and this, as well as the numerous evidences of its former great population, presented every where in ruined towns, deserted cultivation, &c. perfectly explains the important part it played when the seat of the Jewish kingdom. The centre of the province presents a mass of limestone hills, running N. and S., bounded by plains backing to the sea-shore on the one hand, and by the valley of the Jordan on the other. These hills are horizontally stratified, and this natural formation, appearing like a succession of steps from the bases to the tops of the mountains, seems to have suggested to the inhabitants the mode of cultivation they have adopted, by improving and extending these natural terraces, and covering them with corn, but more generally with vineyards, fig-trees, and olive plantations. The
grey, broken stones, used in forming these ledges, contrast strangely with the rich products above them ; and when the crops are off the ground, and the trees not in leaf, look exceedingly cold and barren. The hills are the richest portion of the land, and by far the best cultivated. The plains are equally capable; but the people are less independent, less able to protect themselves, and are therefore more indolent, careless, and miserable. These low lands are generally left as pasture : where cultivation is tried, it is of the most slovenly and
_dirty description; weeds and thistles choke the corn, and the fatness
of the land vents itself in the production of the most beautiful and varied wild flowers. I saw many wheat-fields so full of scarlet anemones, wild tulips, poppies, blue corn-flowers, daisies, buttercups, and a hundred others, many of which I had never seen before, that they presented exactly the appearance of the richest Persian carpet, but a thousand times more beautiful. Both plains and hills are most abundantly supplied with water. Copious fountains gush out from every rising ground, with which our industrious Reddy and Lingayet ryots would convert the whole plain into one luxurious garden. No tanks, no wells, no boring machines are required here, but merely common intelligence and industry to guide and distribute the streams which God has so bounteously poured forth. Besides the plains of the coast, consisting of Philistia, that of Jatfa or Sharon, and those of Acre and Tripoli, there are inland, the plains of Esdrarlon and Galilee, between Samaria and Nazareth, and the Bekaa, the ancient Coelosyria, between Libanus and Anti-Libanus, both of great extent, excellently watered, and of surprising fertility; but now grey with huge crops of enormous thistles, only occupied by tribes of wandering'Bedowins, with their flocks and herds and black tents.
In the land of the Philistiues, we visited Gaza, a fine old town, where they point out the grave of Samson; the Muhammedans calling him Nabbi Abd-ul Azfz. We were inquiring from a Christian about Samson, of whom he had evidently never heard; demanding whether he was a Frank or what? when a green turbaned Musalman, passing by, gave us the desired information. We made out, to our perfect satisfaction, the place to which he carried the city gates, “ on the hill over against Hebron.” Thence we went to Ascalon, now completely in ruins, and deserted, but singularly well situated, being contained within a low abrupt range of hills, of about two miles in length, forming an are round a portion of the sea coast, and terminating in the sea at either end. This ridge was crowned with enormous fortifications, the massive fragments of which, still remaining, attest the former strength of the place. Ashdod is also completely de
stroyed, and the modern village of Slzadzid is built under the mountain formed by the remains of the old city. At this place, (having first gone to the site of Ekron, and thus seen four of the five great lordships of the Philistines,) we turned out of the common and regular route, avoiding the barren and inhospitable journey from Ramlah to Jerusalem, and proceeded straight through the hills to Bethlehem, the country like the hills behind Dharwér. I do not think any traveller ever took this road before ; it is more direct, quite practicable, even for camels, which we rode, and is very beautiful. The hills are covered with flowers, with the green cistus and arbutus, the ilex, the little white flower called the Star of Bethlehem, and a great variety of others. Round Bethlehem are numerous fine vineyards, each with its “ tower” and “ wine press” in it; the round tower, like acavalier bastion, being probably to guard the produce, and keep the tools, 8:0. Hence to Jerusalem is only five miles.
We remained in the Holy City, called here Ul Kzids ul Sheriff, nearly three weeks. Part of the time we devoted to an excursion to Hebron, the Dead Sea, and Jericho. Hebron is one mass of terraced vineyards: the Muhammedan mosque, once a Christian church, covering the cave of Macpelah, may not be entered by Christian feet; but we went to Mamre, still recognizable in the name used by the Arabs Ramre, and pointed out by Jewish tradition as the spot where their father Abraham pitched his tent. It is not a plain : there are none in the centre of the hills ; but four valleys meet here, and there is a fine supply of water, and it appears the Hebrew word rendered “ Plain" may also be translated some kind of trees. The Dead Sea is the most dismal scene I ever beheld, and looks like a present, existing miracle ; so extraordinary and different from every thing else in nature does it appear. There is no sign whatever of volcanic action in the hills around, by which its original formation has been explained. The air is always extremely hot and heavy, and indeed, we felt it most oppressive throughout the valley of the Jordan. At Jerusalem, and at midday, in the open air, going to Hebron, the thermometer was only from 58° to 65°, in the valley it was 96°. I bathed, as all travellers do, in the salt and pungent waters of the Dead Sea, in which it is impossible to sink; butl infinitely more enjoyed a swim of half a mile down Jordan, a small but deep and rapid stream : so much so, that the Israelites could never have crossed it without the miracle that divided its waters. The plain of Jericho is a fertile jungle, full of wild hog. It is watered by a fine stream flowing from the fountain of Elisha, now called Ein-us-Sulttin, and might easily be rendered what it once was, the most fertile spot in Palestine, where only the balsam and palm trees grew. Ein-us-Sultrin is a beautiful spot, abounding with game, and flowing out of the ruins of Jericho, which are here, and not at the village of Rihhah, as generally said. It put me exactly in mind of the Diamond fountain described in the Crusaders, and must indeed have been the identical spot where Saladin and the Knight of the Leopard met; for it is directly in the way from Ascalon and Jerusalem to the wilderness of Engeddi, on the shores of the Dead Sea, whither, if I mistake not, the gallant knight was wending! It may be so with as much probability as the spot pointed out to us by the monks on our way back_to Jerusalem, which they asserted to be the identical place where the traveller fell among thieves, and was relieved by the Good Samaritan in the parable—a mishap which actually occurred to your friend Sir Fnsnsmcx HENNIKER, who was severely wounded and robbed here in 1818.
I was quite disgusted with the monkish legends at Jerusalem, assigning a locality to every act, however trivial, that is mentioned in Scripture; and also to many that are not mentioned at all. Here Puma heard the cock crow; here our Saviour fell when bearing the cross; here he rested his hand on the wall, and made a large hole in it; here the holy maid Saint somebody gave him a pocket handkerchief to wipe his brow. Then the whole locale of the Holy Sepulchre, Mount Calvary, &c. crowded within the space of one church, is a. manifest and absurd fiction, and completely paralyzes all one’s sensibility and enthusiasm. The gross superstition of the Christians here exceeds belief, and is only equalled by the hatred and animosity which the difierent sects, Greeks, Armenians, Latins, Copts, Maronites, entertain towards each other. This both explains and justifies the contempt with which the Turks treat them, and all other Franks, in consequence. As for the English, they say they have no religion at all, and both Catholics and Musalmans concur in calling them Deists and Atheists. Yet there are some excellent Protestant missionaries in the country, (particularly Mr. NICOLAYSEN at Jerusalem,) whose lives testify to the contrary. The Latin, that is the Roman Catholic, monks, of the Franciscan convent at Jerusalem, were guilty of a most abominable act about two years ago. An English traveller, Mr. Bnanronn, arrived at the convent very sick, and asked for the medicine, and the medical attendant of the convent. They refused, unless he would conform to the Roman Catholic faith: this he declined; but as he got worse, he said he would do any thing, only give him medicine. He died, and was buried in the Catholic burying-ground, with a fine Latin inscription, abounding in false concords, recording his conversion from the Protestant to the Roman creed! We were present at the