Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

of this island may serve as a supplement to what we have read in Mr. Ives's voyage to India.

The Author is exceedingly prolix in his account of a little trifling war which was carried on between two Arabian Shechs, in the gulph, whilst he was at Charedfh. One of these Shechs made himself afterwards master of this island, and the Dutch did not think it worth their while to be at the expence of recovering it. Our East India Company, a few years ago, made an attempt to fubdue it, but in vain. , The Arabian Shech, Mir Mahenna, who took it from the Dutch, was an old cruel tyrant, and was afterwards flain by the Persians, who are at prefent masters of Charedh.

Some travellers have told us that the Beduins, or Indian Heathens, on their travels through the defart, make use of the compass; but Mr. Niebuhr found that this instrument was entirely unknown to them. They are, indeed, so well acquainted with the desarts that they are not in want of this help, and at night they are probably directed by the stars. The Arabs, who. have not been at sea, are, likewise, ftrangers to the compass, except fome of their learned men, who want it for pointing out the place where the Kebla * in their mosks is to be built. At Cairo Mr. Niebuhr saw a compafs at the house of a learned Mohammedan, who called it El Magnatis, from which he thinks it might be inferred that the compass came from Europe into this part of the globe.

The observations on Bafra, and all the country up to Baga dad, on the sides of the Euphrates and Tiger, show at once the wretchedness of the Turkish government, and the happy climate, and the fertility of the soil in these countries. pulousness and flourishing condition of these extensive provinces, in ancient times, though now abounding in desarts, appears from Mr. Niebuhr's account, and from a passage quoted from Arrian, relating to these countries,

That polygamy is not altogether consistent with human hap. piness, may be seen from the following conversation which Mr. Niebuhr had with a Molla, or Turkish priest, at Rumahie, 4 town in the road to Bagdad. This Molla had four wives, Every one of them had a house and a garden of her own, though he himself had none, being always, as he said, either one or other of them. Mr. Niebubr was sitting, in the evening, before the door of the house, and among other things

* The Kebla is an opening built with great exactness in the wall of a mosk, to which the Mohammedans direct their faces when they pray, that they may look in a straight line towards the Kaba, or tomb of Mohammed, at Mecca. Thus'the Jews turned their faces to the temple of Jerufalem, which was their Kebla, Kings viii. 44• Dan, vi. 10.


[merged small][ocr errors]

The po


[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

he told the Molla, that in Europe a father, who gives his daughter in marriage, instead of receiving money of his sonin-law, as is the custom of the East, gives, if he is a man of property, a sum along with her; to enable the new-married couple to live decently. The Molla, pleased with this custom, asked his mother-in-law, who was sitting by him, whether the had heard what the stranger faid ? telling her, at the fame time, that she had not used him so well, for he had been obliged to pay handsomely for her daughter. The mother-in-law asked in her türn, How she should maintain herself and her daughter if The had given him her land, and her date and palm-tree gardens? Mr. Niebuhr then told the Molla, that it was death in Europe to have more than one wife, and that the property of husband and wife were common, and devolved, after their de cease, 'to their children ; upon which the old woman briskly asked her fon-in-law, Whether he had heard what the stranger faid ? and praised the equity of the European laws : adding, if you had no other wife than my daughter, and I was sure you would not divorce her, I should willingly give you all I have. The young wife, who was within door preparing a pilau, (a kind of rice pudding) for supper, and who had been all the while filent, came now forth, and said : Oh! my good hulband, how could you desire that my mother shouid give you her house and gardens? If she had, you soon would have given them to your other wives, for you love them more than me, and I see you but seldom. In short, both mother and daughter continued upbraiding him for a good while ; and Mr. Niebuhr asking him afterwards, Whether he had not been happier when he had but one wife? he declined answering; as other Mohammedans had done, to whom he had proposed the fame question.

At Mehed Ali, to which place our Author went after he had left Rumahie, the Shiites have a famous mosk, which, together with the remains of Kufa, he describes. He made an excursion to the tomb of the prophet Ezekie), and to MeshedHoeffein, where there is likewise a famous moík, and the tomb of Hoeffein, a faint and hero in great reputation among the Shiites. On this occasion Mr. Niebuhr gives a kind of differtation on the distinction between the Shiites and Sonnites, and relates an attempt of Nadir Shah to alter the religion of the Shiites, which is predominant in Persia. These two Mohammedan fects bear to each other more malice and rancour than they, respectively, bear toward Jews, Christians, Banians or Heathens;-the natural consequence of religious disputes.

The account of Bagdad, its situation, trade, government, and modern history; with the description of the ruins of the hanging gardens of Babylon, the temple of Belus, and other antiquities, do honour to the Author as an inquisitive and observing traveller ;


[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

and being well skilled in drawing and mathematics, he has given
us proper plans and views of these remarkable places

. Among
the plates, which appear to be executed with much exactness,
we have noted, beside many others, the plans of Bagdad and
Mosul, which are of great service in ascertaining the number
of inbabitants; a point very difficult to determine in these
çountries, partly, because the Turks never count them, and
partly, because they always greatly exaggerate the numbers.-
In speaking of Mr. Niebuhr's plates, we shall not forget to
mention that the maps of his travels, made from astronomical
obfervations, have particular merit.

Near Mosul Mr. Niebuhr saw the remains of Nineveh, now a
wretched village, called Nunia, where the tomb of the prophet
: Jonas is thewn. That of the prophet Nahum is supposed to be at

Elkah, not far from Arbil or Arbela, where Alexander fought the
battle against Darius. The Jews perform pilgrimages to Elkolh,
and the chief Nestorian patriarch, whose name is always Elijah,
refides there. About nive hours from Arbil, the caravan,

which Mr. Niebuhr travelled, passed the great Zab*, or Zarb,
as the Turks pronounce it. The crolling

of this river is sometimes dangerous, when, at certain seasons, it rises and is very rapid. This was the cafe now. The people who procure the traject, across the river, are called Jesidier or Duasin, and are believed to worship the Devil. Mr. Niebuhr gives a very good account of the religious tenets of this people, which seem, as far as he could learn on the spot, to be much tainted with superftition ; but it does not appear to us that they worship the Devil. From their utter averfion to mention the name of his infernal highness, or to hear it mentioned by others, one might be inclined to think that they are in fear of him ; but this fear they have in common with many that think themselves good Chriftians, and who, for that reason, cannot properly be called worshippers of the Devil. They are a set of good-natured latitudinarians, who carry their complaisance so far as to call themfelves Mohammedans, Jews, Christians, &c. as circumstances and the people they converse or deal with, require. They have adopted circumcifion, and drink wine. After paffing the great Záb, Mr. Niebuhr came into a country where the common language was the Syriac, but different from the old Syriac or SyroChaldaic, in which ancient books are written.

From Moful Mr. Niebuhr travelled with a caravan through the defart, by way of Mardin to Aleppo. When we read the preparations to be made, and the account of the baggage, which is required for a journey through the defarts, we thought it threw light upon feveral passages of scripture, and particularly

[ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

In distinction of the little Züb, which is the ancient Lycus.


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

ure t

Ezek. xii. 3, 4. The caravan pafled Diarbekr, which is the ancient Amida (as this place still is called in Turkish records)

and Orfa, called by the Greeks Edeffa, famous in ecclefiaftical Begini history. Of both places Mr. Niebuhr gives an account. He

faw, not far from Orfa, several wells, to which the girls from the neighbouring villages came, to water their flocks and cattle. Their faces were uncovered, and they were, as Mr. Niebuhr expresses himself, well-shaped beauties, burnt by the fun. As foon as our Author and others had faluted them, and alighted from their horses, they came and offered them water, and like

wise watered their horses. Mr. Niebuhr. was particularly ftruck be , ma

with this civility, because Rebecca, who, in his opinion, was

certainly born and educated in this country, thewed herself - prom

equally civil towards strangers, Gen. xxiv. 18. Our Author

is so much pleased with this idea, that he thinks he has drank ughes

out of the same well from which the fetched the water ; for Harqn is still a place, about two days journey from Orfa, which is frequented by the Jews, and probably the very place which

Abraham quitted for Canaan. Gen. xii. 9. is for

This volume concludes with an Appendix of particular merit.

It contains observations on Syria, and particularly on the inhais 107

bitants of Mount Lebanon--the Turkish government in Syria. and 2

--remarks on the languages that are fpoken in this province -the origin, character, manners, religion, and history of the

Druses, brought down to the present times, with a geographiem,

cal description of their country-an account of the Nai Jareans,

Ihmaelites, and of the Maronites and Maronite Princes (from zip the

Mount Lebanon) as they style themselves on their travels in Eu.. of bi

rope, who, however, are nothing but beggars and impostors-
a description of the province of Kerroan, the city of Beirut,
and other districts, together with an account of the latest
changes on Mount Lebanon. We shall only add, that Mr.

Niebuhr, when he arrived at Aleppo, found an order of the King Jatka

of Denmark to go to Cyprus, from whence he went by the way of Jerusalem, Seide, Damascus, Tripolis, back to Aleppo, and from thence through Natolia to Conftantinople; all which will, together with an index, form the contents of the last volume.

II. Geographische Untersuchung: ob das Mer, 36. i. e. Geogra. phical Researches concerning the following Question: Whether the Sea which the Ifraelites passed when they went out of Egypt, was the Arabic Gulph ? By M. G. N. RICHTER, illustrated by

. a Map. 8vo. Leipfic. 1779. This is a very curious publi. çation; the hypothesis it exhibits is new, and it is supported by

luminous proofs, which discover extensive erudition, employed I with found judgment and critical fagacity. After having given 6

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors]

from Mofes a relation of the departure of the children of Israel from Egypt, and mentioned the different opinions entertained by the learned on that head, he alleges various reasons repugnant to the notion of those who confound the Red Sea mentioned in Scripture with the Arabic Gulph, and undertakes to prove that we must understand by the Red Sea, the Mediterranean, and the Lake Sirbonis, which has a communication with it, and marks the boundary between Egypt and Palestine.

III. Compendium Theologiæ Dogmatice, &c. i. e. A Compendious System of Didactic Theology. By M. MURSINNA, Profeffor. of Divinity in the College of the Reformed at Halle. 8vo. Halle. 3778. By the reformed, in this title, are meant, those Protestants who are not of the Lutheran communion; and the word is applied to this mark of distinction in the Dutch and German languages. The Calvinist churches in Germany and Holland are, by a technical term, called reformed. There is

, indeed, nothing very. Calvinistical in point of doctrine, in the work now before us. The learned Author seems to have formed the design of reducing Theological Science to the primitive fimplicity in which it ftands in the gospel; and this design is surely laudable, when it is formed with impartiality and candour, and not by that narrow party-spirit, which is but too visible in many individuals of all fects and communions. M. MURSINNA has given us, here, a very judicious summary of Theology; fummary, disengaged from un-effential doctrines and explications of doctrines, which were not designed to be explained here below, and exempt from those finister representations of the Chriftian faith, whích, to many superficial minds, have rendered plausible the objections of Infidels and Sceptics. The Lutherans of Halle have, however, accused the Author of omiffions; and he may probably meet with accusations of the fame kind from divines in his own communion.

IV. Euripidis Orestes ex recensione F. Barnesii, varietate Lectionis et Animadvers. illustravit F. Facius. Præfatus eft G. G. Heyne, &C. 8vo. Coburg. 1778. Profeffor Factos, of Coburg, is an eminent adept in Grecian literature, and his new Latin version of the tragedy of Euripides, mentioned in the title, contains an elegant explication of the sense and beauty of the original, which is much more interesting than a strictly literal translation,

V. Les Adieux du Duc de Bourgogne, et de l'Abbé de Fenelon, fon Precepteur, &c. i. e. The last Conversations of the Duke of Burgundy, and the Abbé Fenelon, his Preceptor: or a Dialogue concerning the different kinds of Government. 12mo. Doway. 1778. Amidst the multitude of posthumous works daļly attributed to illustrious men, that which is now before us is neither the


the Par kon preg her




[ocr errors]
[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »