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festival of the Greek Easter, (the old style,) when the Armenians, Greeks, and Copts perform the miracle of the Holy Fire, the grossest delusion ever practised by the priesthood on a superstitious laity. All Saturday evening and night, the church was full of Greek and Armenian pilgrims, running about the Holy Sepulchre in the most indecent manner. shouting, carrying each other on their shoulders, and every species of sky-larking. Two or three processions and some other mummery occurred at intervals during the night ; and on Sunday forenoon, the Greek Patriarch and Armenian Bishop entered the Sepulchre, and very coolly poked a lighted candle through a little hole, declaring it to be the Holy Fire, just sent down from Heaven. All the pilgrims rushed to light their candles at it, the Armenians succeeding in doing so first. The crush was tremendous, and was followed by a melancholy catastrophe ; for either the Greeks, jealous at the Armenians’ getting away first, or from some other cause not known. a rush took place to the door, which had been locked since the preceding evening, and in the struggle numbers were trodden down and suffocated. We were trying to get out, unconscious of what was going on, and were nearly involved in the press. I cannot express the horror I felt when I found myself hurried on to a heap of dead and dying, from which I rushed back into the church. They reported to the Pasha 133 bodies carried out for burial; but there were many more not reported : the number must have exceeded 200. The number of pilgrims was greater this year than had ever been known; the Greek war and the conquest of Syria by the Egyptians having prevented the concourse of devotees for several years. Their number was estimated at 16,000. What made the circumstance more singular was, that on the Friday the Armenian Bishop, through the exertions, and indeed express stipulations of the principal people of the Armenian race, who are rapidly rising in intelligence, had intimated to the pilgrims, that the whole was a. trick, and that it was to be discontinued after the present occasion.
There are however many interesting localities about Jerusalem, of which no one can doubt. Mount Sion and Moriah, the Temple Olivet, Valley of Hinnom, Bethany, all of which are very striking, particular-_ ly the very road by which our Saviour came triumphantly from Bethany to Jerusalem, where he wept over the city, and which can never be mistaken. I was deeply interested with this. The Mount of Olives is beautiful : you have a grand view of the city and of the Dead Sea from the summit.
We saw the Jewish Passover, and visited manyof the principal Jewish families. They are an interesting race ; many of them, fine venerable; looking men. They present the appearance of every nation of Europe. The German Jewish are fair and blue-eyed; the Spaniards, olive and dark; the Moriscoes from Barbary, swarthy and burnt; the Polish different from all. Allspeak the languages of the countries to which they belong; they have no national feature or appearance like the English Jews. Many of the women were beautiful, and they alone. of all the women I have seen in the East, enjoyed the same consideration with the women of Europe, coming out to receive strangers, and joining in conversation with their husbands.
From Jerusalem, we went to Naploos, the ancient Samaria, through a very mountainous tract, full of terraced vineyards, and stood by the well where our Saviour talked with the woman of Samaria, between Mount Ebal and Gerizim; thence through the most lovely green valleys, each one with its little clear rivulet, to Sebaste, the capital of Herod, where John the Baptist was beheaded ; and in two days more, across the plain of Esdraelon, watered by the brook Kishon, "that ancient river,” where Deborah defeated Sisera, to Nazareth. There is nothing remarkable there, except the associations connected with a place where ‘our Saviour resided for 30 years of his life, and over every part of which he must have trod. It is a pretty town among green hills. Here my companion fell sick, and we found, that though vaccinated, he had got the small-pox, probably from the pilgrims in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. His attack being slight, I left him in the convent, and proceeded a 12-days’ trip into the Haouran with two other travellers, the Honorable Mr. Ctmzou and Sir GGORGE PALMER. We passed Mount Tabor, Endor, Nain, and crossed the Jordan at Bethsan, from which we had a most beautiful march to Adjel\'1n, and thence to Jorash, through a finely wooded hilly country that put me much in mind of some of the finest country about Kithi'1r, or a little more to the west of the Belgaum road, where the true forest begins: the trees were fine oaks and ilices, and game abounded. All this is comprehended under the general name of Gilead, more particularly it was the land of Og king of Bashan, still as famous for fine cattle as formerly. The castle of Adjeloon (see JosuuA’s miracle of the sun and moon standing still), is a grand object on the top of one of the highest hills, towering over all the wooded eminences around. The ruins of Jorash are very extensive and magnificent; a street of ruined Corinthian and Doric columns, nearly two miles long, two theatres, two temples, one with a grand portico in good preservation, and many other large ruins, attest its former magnificence. They were stately fellows, these Roman Governors. Here we found at their different towns of Bethsan (Scythopolis), Gerash, Ammon, Oomkais
(Gadara), all within two or three days’ march of each other, forming the district called by the Romans the Decapolis, in each place one or two fine theatres, temples and great ruins, which proved how liberally
the Roman Praetors were allowed to disburse the public money with
out sanction. Between Jorash and Ammon, we crossed the Zirkah.
the ancient river Jabbok, entering the country of the Amorites, still hilly but destitute of wood; and then getting into the plain of Haourani we skirted it to Oomkais, and lake Tiberias. This plain extends as far as the eye can reach, I believe even to Bagdad, and is tenanted by the Bedoweens only, of whom the Annesy tribe are found reaching nearly to the Gulph of Persia. There are a few villages near the JebelHaouran, to one of which, named Bosra or Bostra, where there are also fine Roman ruins, we wanted to go, but could not, from want of water, and the excessive heat; and I was not sorry, for the plain of Haouran is not inviting. The fine part of Syria ends with the Decapolis. Tiberias is more interesting than beautiful——a fine clear, blue lake, about 16 miles long by eight broad, surrounded by bare rocky mountains, but it is interesting from being the scene of most of our Saviour’s early miracles. It is always very hot here, as it is in the valley of the Jordan. The most remarkable feature about it is Mount Hermon, covered with eternal snow, rising over its (the lake's) northern side. It is the most remarkable mountain in Palestine, visible from almost every part, even from near Jatfa. Returning to Nazareth by Cana, I found my fellow-traveller quite recovered; but alarming reports being now prevalent of an insurrection having broken out against the Egyptian government, we deferred our plan of proceeding straight to Damascus, and turning westward to the sea coast we made the best of our way by Mount Carmel, Acre, Tyre, Sidon, to Bieroot. Here ascertaining that the commotion had not yet extended to Damascus, we crossed Lebanon and got there, visiting the Ameer Basheer in our way. The latter part of the road to Damascus was extremely dry and barren, the weather too was extremely hot. We therefore felt the full beauty of the situation of this city, for which it is chiefly remarkable, in the plain of the Haouran, watered by the river Banady, which irrigates innumerable gardens and orchards, and imparts an appearance of the richest verdure and fertility to the whole. The Damascenes have been obliged to relinquish their bigotted hostility towards the Franks since the rule of Munnmmm Au, and Christians may now ride into the gate, wear the white turban, and enjoy all the other privileges of Muhammadan subjects ; nay, several of the chief persons showed us the interior of their houses, and one ABDULLAH Bne,
son of Assnn Pusan, who has the most magnificent establishment in the place, even showed us his haram or the female apartments; but we are the first Franks who had been admitted to them. They are truly magnificent ; realizing the descriptions of what one reads in the Arabian Nights. Spacious courts, with fountains and reservoirs and orange trees growing in the rooms all around, ornamented with arabesque painting and gilding, windows of painted glass, and luxurious divans. There is not a house that has not a fountain playing the whole day; but to this is attributed the unhealthiness of the city, which is extremely subject to fevers and agues ; the density of the gardens, however, not a little contributing. The inhabitants give themselves up to continual enjoyment; they think of nothing but how to get most " keqf,” a word they continually use to express their indolent gratifications under the shade of their fruit trees, by the side of the numerous streams that flow through and round the town. All have a voluptuous and dissipated look, so that a Damascene can be recognized any where. I own I should not like to live there, nor to give myself to such an indolent Epicurean mode of existence, cou
pled as it is with continual fevers and visceral complaints. The bazars are very fine, and well but not grandly supplied. Ices abound, and iced water is hawked about the streets for even the poorest. We re
turned by way of Balbeck, the finest remnant of antiquity I have yet
seen; add to which, the air is cool and salubrious, and the landscape
around remarkably rich and beautiful. Mr. P and our other two
friends findingit too hot, went straight back to Bieroot, and I alone took
a detour by the cedars of Lebanon, crossing the highest summit of the
mountain among the snow, to see the small and remarkable clump of
trees, the only ones now remaining, and returned by way of Eden and
Tripoli, to this place.
I have on the whole been delighted beyond my utmost expectations, and I think have seen every thing in the most satisfactory manner. The climate approaches so nearly to that of Europe, and so many of the natural productions are the same, that a thousand agreeable recollections are brought to the mind of a man who has been long from home, as we Indians have been, which aiforded a pleasure I never dreamt of. Such were the feelings with which I first heard the cuckoo—such those with which I first trod on a bed of snow, and saw a flight of noisy jackdaws among the ruins of Jorash. The dogroses, wild honeysuckles and brambles, the pine tree, and mountain ash, recalled many scenes of younger days in Scotland; while fields of wheat and barley, mixed with jowarree and chenna, the vine, the fig, the olive, the mulberry, gave to the whole a character peculiarly its own. Great quantities of silk are manufactured all along the north
part of the coast, the worms being fed on the large white mulberry, but they use the large wheel in winding it, and the fibre is much coarser and inferior to that of Dhfirwar.
The Egyptians came to Syria under the most favorable circumstances. The people received them with open arms, and more than by the exertions of the invading army, promoted their success. The Pasha. promised them a three years’ exemption from taxes, and held out many other fair prospects. But he forgot to keep his word ; nay more, he levied much heavier imposts than the otficers of the Sultan had been wont to take : which from his greater military establishments, and the superior energy of his government, he was enabled to enforce. The miri or land tax of the Porte, is ,'6of the gross produce. All the land is therefore saleable, and the nobility and great men get a good rent, besides the tax, from their private estates. Very large estates belong to the crown, from the law that makes the Sultan heir to all his great officers, and to all who die without direct heirs ; in which case the rent, in addition to the miri, goes to the exchequer. The Government dues are taken in three instalments or kists, and those due before harvest are realized through an intermediate agent, called the Soo-basha, generally one of the great landed proprietors or Turkish gentlemen, who is regularly recognised by the Government as the person through whom such payments are to be made. He then, exactly as happens in India, keeps a running account with the village, contriving that they shall always be considerably his debtors ; and in recovering his advances, what with interest (18 per cent. per annum), gratuities, fees, &c. he contrives to make from 30 to 40 per cent. The Egyptian government now says to the rayahs, “ we will release you from the Soo-bashas, we will take our 10 per cent. only, in one instalment at harvest, but, you must pay us also an additional sum, equal to the profits formerly made by the S00-basha. The poor rayahs are forced to agree, and go on borrowing from the Soo~basha as much as ever. They were not ill oil" under the Porte, and now see their error, and bitterly repent the aid they lent to their more imperious tax-masters. Again, the Pasha has introduced lately his absurd system of monopolies, beginning with the silk, which he takes ata price, a very low one, fixed by himself, selling it again at a very enhanced one. I ascertained the prices of grain in Egypt, where the same system is in force. He takes g. of the produce of all rice lands in kind, and buys the whole remaining-} crops at '25 piastres the ardib or measure, shuts it up in his shoons or store-houses, and retails it for 75, at which price the very fellah who raised it is obliged to re-purchase it. In Syria this gave rise to increased discontent, and an attempt to enforce a military