Page images
[ocr errors]

where he bade a long farewell to the wife of his aga. Soldiers were stationed in all directions, affection and the son of his pride, and expects who appeared to keep the people in great subsoon to be received by them again with a kind mission, a lesson they much needed, from their warm welcome. We passed within sight of Mo- extreme rudeness and constant disposition to quarcha, so celebrated for its excellent coffee. The rel. The houses are some of them highly ornacoffee imported immediately from this place is less mented, especially the entrances and windows. valuable than that which is procured from other There are dwellings made entirely of the fibre of ports of Arabia, as it is mixed with berries of an the date, interwoven upon a wooden frame. The inferior description brought over from Abyssinia. Turks had some fear that the East India governThe sun shone full upon the white buildings of ment might assist the pacha to reduce them, and the town, and had we not already been deceived it was perhaps to conciliate us as much as possiwith a similar appearance, we should have gazed ble in their favor, that they paid us greater atwith admiration upon the apparent splendor of its tention than in general they are willing to pay to minarets and towers. We could distinguish the strangers. tomb of a Mussulman saint who opposed the cru- In the night of Feb. 2d, we were off Djuddah; saders most stoutly at the siege of Acre. A date- but as it is surrounded by a number of reefs, it grove extends some miles on the southern shore. was not possible to approach it in the dark. In The British factory which formerly existed at this the morning it was still difficult to distinguish the place has been abandoned some years.

reefs, as there was a perfect calm, and the sea The strong north-wester, that soon afterwards reflected the rays of the sun like a mirror. The set in, obliged the captain to put into the port of man at the mast-head suddenly called out, “HardHodeida, as we could make no head against it, a-port!" and from the poop, where I was standand were burning our coals to no purpose. The ing, I saw through the gang-way the point of a town is smaller than Mocha, and is protected by rock that we had escaped by only a few feet.a range of castles. We found the place in pos- There was not much danger of our being lost; session of a party of Turks, who had rebelled but the steamer might have been so much injured against Mahomet Ali, pacha of Egypt, under pre- as to have been unable to proceed. We waited tence that they were unable to procure their ar- upon the governor, and found him to be a stout rears of pay. They were headed by Toorkee man, with a countenance indicative of much good Bilmass. They first siezed upon Mecca and nature. He conducted himself with more ease, Djuddah, from both of which places they were but less dignity, than the aga. The room in which driven by the regular troops. On evacuating the he received us looked towards the sea, and we sat latter place, they took with them the whole of the in a recess lined with crimson cushions. The pacha's fleet in this sea, consisting of several large effendi excused himself from partaking with us of ships. They had taken possession of several the coffee and pipes, as it was the fast of the hundred miles of coast, including the towns of Ramzan; but he chatted with us a considerable Mocha, Hodeida, and Zeebed. These places time, principally relative to the rebellion at Mocha have been nominally under the government of and the successes of Ibrahim Pacha against the the imaum of Senaar, an idle and effeminate chief- sultan. Upon taking leave, a servant was in attain. The rebels had hitherto conducted them- tendance with sherbet. We next proceeded to selves with caution, but some of their party having the house of Malam Yuseff

, an Armenian, the had a previous quarrel with Seyd Addullah, go- English agent. At all the principal ports, pervernor of Mocha, required that he should be put sons are appointed as agents by the nearest conto death. Three shots were fired through him, sul or resident, to assist travellers and protect the his body was carried a little way out of the town, interests of the nations they represent. They reand when his friends, the Wahabees, came to ceive no salary, and deem the honor and collateral treat for his ransom, his body was shown to them, advantages a sufficient recompense. During the and they were told he had been shot in an at- late wars, when Christian blood was flowing in tempt to make his escape. We paid a visit to copious streams around, the flag of an European the governor of the town, Hussein Aga, who ap- power flying over a native dwelling often propeared to be in ill health, as did nearly the whole tected the female from violation, and the man of his followers. It struck the mind with a feel- from death. ing of melancholy to look at these men, and then The importance of Djuddah arises entirely from at the peril of their situation : they were rebels its vicinity to Mecca, from whence it is distant against a more successful usurper, and the angel about 40 miles. It is the port at which all the of death seemed already to be rejoicing over their pilgrims arrive who come by sea. The bazaar is blood, either from the hand of the private assassin, well supplied. In one shop I saw spectacles, steel or the sword of the Egyptian on the battle plain. pens, knives, scissors, and many other article of The aga conducted himself with great dignity. European manufacture. The houses are built of He was seated on a raised couch, attended by his coral from the sea-shore, in the style we attribute soldiers, who stood without order around him, to the times of the crusaders. The passages are proud and powerful men, and added to the wild narrow and steep, and would be more agreeable interest of the scene. When pipes had been if more frequently cleansed. The coffee-houses passed round, we were presented with coffee, in are lighted up at night; and this is the time of small vessels, about the size and shape of egg enjoyment after the languor of the day, when cups, with gilt stands. We walked through the striking groups of soldiers and citizens are seen bazaar, and our appearance attracted a great sitting together in circles, listening first to the number of gazers, who were prevented from an- news of the day, then to some tale of blood, and noying us by the attendants sent with us by the afterwards to a recitation from some ancient poet


or historian, who unfolds the glory of their country war; and they are seen at times even in the most in brighter days. The fortifications of the town distant ports of India. After proceeding about 30 are perhaps the most extensive in Arabia. Upon miles from the shore, this district is found to be the plain towards the north is a building that pur-well cultivated, and its coffee is the finest in the ports to be the tomb of our mother Eve. It has world. From its extreme richness, it was long become ruinous; but the pacha has given orders thought that the spices, silks, and other treasures that it shall be repaired, at the expense of 15,000 exported by its mariners from India, were its own piasters. There are several Italians resident here, native produce. in the employ of the pacha. One of them is mar- The ancient inhabitants of Arabia were idola. ried; and his wife, when she walks out, is obliged ters, and adored the sun and moon, and the stars to muffle herself up in the close dress of the coun- of the firmament. “If I beheld the sun when it try, out of respect to the prejudices of the people. shined,” says an Arab of old, in clearing his chaShe is young and interesting, and I could not but racter from the sins of his country, " or the moon pity her, not having a single female companion of walking in brightness; and my heart hath been her own rank or religion with whom to converse. secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my We had an opportunity of hearing the band of hand; this also were an iniquity to be punished one of the pacha’s regiments. It consisted of by the judge; for I should have denied the God twenty performers, all natives of Egypt. They that is above.”—Job xxxi. 26–28. The worship played several European tunes, all from notes; of the black stone of the Kaaba is of far earlier and though the execution was a little violent, it date than the origin of Islamism. In the first cendid them great credit. The troops are dressed in turies of the church, the spread of Christianity in coarse red calico,-a close jacket and loose trow- Arabia was rapid, but it sunk too soon into heresy, sers; but have not the soldier-like appearance of and was entirely swept away by the sword of Mathe native regiments of India. The officers are homet. It is an affecting thought, that with the more respectable : they are dressed in the same exception of the monks near Mount Sinai, I know form, but in good woollen cloth, with an additional not that there is at the present time a single Chrisjacket, something resembling that of our hussars. tian minister of any description whatever, throughThey, as well as the men, have a red cap, but no out the whole of proper Arabia. turban; and mustachios, but no beard. They The language of Arabia is one of the most coare well paid, but are usually several months in pious in the world, and its ancient poets and his

torians yield to none in the strength and beauty No Christian until lately was allowed to go out of their style. of the gates of Djuddah, but they may now ap- I was not able to penetrate far into the desert, proach even to the entrance of the holy city with but a single glance into its wastes may almost tell out molestation. The pilgrims to Mecca are every the tale of a thousand miles as to distance, and year becoming less numerous. The desecration three thousand years as to time. It is here alone of the Wahabees, and the late siege it has under that the Arab is seen in his primitive simplicity, gone, will tend to bring it into greater disrepute; free as the gazelle, and both as swift in his speed, and we may hope that the Kaaba will soon be and unsettled in his dwelling-place as this beautibroken in pieces, and its fragments mingled in ful wanderer upon the same plains. We are carundistinguishable confusion with the sands of the ried back at once to the age of the earliest patriforsaken desert. I could perceive the hills in the archs. The forms we see present unto us the picneighborhood of Mecca from the deck of the ture of these ancient fathers, with scarcely a sinsteamer, but the time allowed for taking in coals gle alteration. We may listen to their language, did not permit us to proceed far from the shore. number their possessions, partake of their food, exIt was the birth-place of Mahomet, who was born amine their dress, enter their tents, attend the in 569, of the tribe of the Koreish, and was bu- ceremonies of their marriage festivals, and present ried at Medinah in 632. Both places are con ourselves before the prince, still all is the same. sidered sacred, but Mecca is the most considera- At the well they water their flocks; they sit at ble town, and is resorted to by a far greater num- the door of the tent in the cool of the day; they ber of pilgrims : they come from very distant take " butter, and milk, and the calf which they parts, from China in the east, and from the pillars have dressed," and set it before the stranger; they of Hercules in the west.

move onward to some distant place, and pitch their tent near richer pasturage; and all the treasures they possess are in camels, kine, sheep, and goats;

men servants and women servants; and changes It will be seen from these notices, that the places of raiment. We may stand near one of their enupon the coasts of Arabia partake of the character campments, and as the aged men sit in dignity, or generally exhibited by towns under the dominion the young men and maidens drive past us their of Mussulmen rulers. The inhabitants are occu- flocks, we are almost ready to ask if such an one pied in trade, and among them are turks, Egyp- be not Abraham, or Lot, or Jacob, or Job, or Bil. tians, Hindoos, slaves from Africa, and a few Ar- dad the Shuhite, or Rebekah, or Rachel, or the menian and other Christians. The Arabs of the daughter of Jethro the Midianite: we seem to towns have lost many of the distinctive features of know them all. The mountains, and valleys, and their race. In the division of Arabia Felix, a num- streams partake of the same unchangeableness : ber of independent sheikhs rule over districts dif- not a stone has been removed, not a barrier has fering much in their extent and resources. The been raised, not a tree has been planted, not a vilimaum of Muscat is at present the most powerful lage has been collected together. The founder prince of Arabia. In his navy are several men-of-l of the race might come to the earth, and he would recognize without effort his own people and his nor to have vineyard, nor field, nor seed, but to own land.

dwell in tents. These commands they have strictIt is doubted whether any tribes are yet left of ly obeyed, and the promise of God has been rethe aborigines of the country, though there be membered. The Rechabites still exist, a separate many that claim this distinction. The families of people, glorying in their independence, and are the desert are the descendants of Ishmael, the son called by the same name. They are excellent of Abraham. It was said unto Hagar, concerning horsemen, and seem to fly through the desert with her son, by the angel of the Lord, “I will make the speed of the winds. They acknowledge the }um a great nation," Gen. xxi. 18; and again, law of Moses, but maintain that they are not Is"He will be a wild man; his hand will be against raelites. About 300 years ago a great number of every man, and every man's hand against him; them were driven from Yemen. Some of them and he shall dwell in the presence of all his bre are now found near the Gulf of Acaba. They frethren." Gen. xvi. 12.

These prophecies have quently rob the caravans of pilgrims, and are much been literally fulfilled. No nation has ever been hated by the other Arabs and by all Mussulmans. so great that could trace its origin to one single It appears as if there was written upon every head. The Roman empire was more extensive, page of Arabia's extended history, and graven but it was one empire composed of many nations. upon every rock in her deserts, with a pen more There are kingdoms in our own day whose ma- powerful than iron, “ All Scripture is given by injesty is brighter, but it is produced by the concen- spiration of God." Let him who readeth, undertrated glory of many distinct families and tribes, stand. and cannot be claimed by any single people. Ti Arabs are wild men: their hand is against every man, and of necessity every man's hand is against them. It is na protection to speak the same lan

THE RED SEA. guage, or to profess the same religion. The caravan on its pilgrimage to Mecca is considered to This sea is supposed to have taken its name from offer as lawful a booty as the bales of the rich mer. the country of Edom, which borders upon it, and chant, or the stores of the infidel stranger. Of signifies “red.” Others derive the name from the only one among all the streams of population by red sea-weed that is discovered in large quantities which this earth has been covered, was this pro- upon some parts of its surface. We passed sevephecy uttered; and of only one would it have been ral extensive portions of this weed between Djudtrue. The surrounding countries of Egypt, Syria, dah and Kossier. It is called “ Yam Suph," or and Persia, have once and again changed their “the weedy sea,” both by Moses and David. It rulers and their race. Arabia has ever continued was thought by a recent German traveller that the same. The march of conquest has been around the color of the sea is caused by a species of oscilher, but has never penetrated into her wilds : still latorie, one of the small plants that are intermeshe has retained her identity, an oasis of freemen diate between animals and vegetables. We enamidst a desert of slaves. That which was true tered the sea through the straits of Bab-el-Manconcerning her in the time of Moses, has been deb. There are two passages of unequal width, equally so in every subsequent period of time; and divided from each other by the island of Perim, will still continue, until another prophecy be ful- which was taken possession of by the English durfilled, and even “ Arabia's desert ranger” shall ing our war in Egypt, but is entirely destitute of bow before the power that is supreme: then the water. The Red Sea is about 1500 miles from horse shall no longer stand ready caparisoned to one extremity to the other. We could never dispursue and plunder the passing traveller; “Holi- tinguish the land on both bows at the same time. ness unto the Lord," shall be inscribed upon its It is visited by a few European vessels, that trade bells: then shall Isaac and Ishmael again meet principally to Mocha; the pacha of Egypt maintogether in peace, to worship at one altar the God tains a small fleet upon it for the passage and proof their fathers, and Jesus Christ whom he has tection of his troops; and the vessels of the borsent: their hand shall be with every man, and dering countries are seen skimming along in all every man's hand with them.

directions, laden deep with passengers, with high There is one tribe that deserves a more ex- painted prows, and the ropes and sails made of tended notice from the Christian recorder. I was the fibres of the palm. The coasts are lined with not so favored as to obtain an interview with any coral, sometimes of most beautiful construction; of its people; but my information is derived from and when the day is calm, or the night is dark and a gentleman who was many years the English re- still, the mariner might think himself transported sident for the East India Company at Mocha.- to some enchanted land, the water is so clear, the There was this promise given to the descendants coruscations of light are so radiant, and the coral of Jonadab, the son of Rechab, of the family of beneath so extensively ramified; but the coasting Jethro, in the days of Jehoiakim, son of Josiah, vessels are often from the same cause in extreme king of Judah: “Thus saith the Lord of Host, the danger, and though they are furnished with a false God of Israel; Because ye have obeyed the com- keel, this is not always proof against the violent mandment of Jonadab, your father, and kept all its strokes they have to bear. We were visited durprecepts, and done according to all he hath com- ing our progress by a few locusts and quails. manded you: therefore thus saith the Lord of I landed from the steamer at Kossier, in Egypt, Hosts, the God of Israel; Jonadab, the son of Re- Feb. 9, and consequently did not proceed so far chab, shall not want a man to stand before me for north as the place where the passage of the Israelever." Jer. xxxv. 18, 19. Jonadab had commandites was effected. It was more properly through ed his sons not to drink wine, nor to build houses, ! an arm of the sea than the main ocean, as must be


evident from its having occupied only one single In the evening of the day before we passed the night. At the spot where it is supposed to have straits of Bab-el-Mandeb, the hills of Arabia were taken place, the gulf of Suez is about 12 milés visible on one bow of our vessel, and the hills of

Abyssinia on the other. The principal port is We found at Kossier, the Palinurus, Capt. Massowah, and is supported by a trade in slaves, Moresby. She has been employed some years by cattle, and ivory. It was offered to the British the Bombay government in surveying the northem government some years ago, on certain conditions, coasts of the Red Sea. The officers are attentive with an expressed desire that the slave trade and intelligent, and have made some interesting should cease, but the offer was declined, probably discoveries upon the shores. They were kind from the known unsettled state of the people. enough to show us several of their drawings. The civil wars, which have been waged for so They have visited Sinai, and reject the opinion of great a number of years, still continue, and there Burckhardt, who would place the sacred mount in is at present no acknowledged ras. The coasts another direction. The Benares has been employ- of Arabia are supplied with cattle from this couned upon a similar survey towards the south, and try. The sheep are small, with large tails, but it was expected that the whole would be finished the mutton is extremely delicious. in a few months. The wind most frequently blows When we approached the port of Djuddah, from the north-west, and at times with great vio- there came from the shore in the same boat with lence. The waves are short and troubled, and the pilot, a tall man, with a flowing beard, in the the vessel that has to brave them seems to trem costume of the country, and of an appearance 80 ble like a frightened steed. The great number interesting, that we all crowded to the gangway of reefs adds to the danger of the navigation, and of the ship to gaze upon the stranger. He stepsome of them are almost in the centre of the sea; ped upon deck, and after making a salaam, we but many of these difficulties will now be removed were surprised to hear him address us in English, by the great care and accuracy with which it is though with a foreign accent. He informed us intended that the new charts shall be completed. that he had come from Abyssinia, and as I soon

The steamer was much longer than usual in discovered that he was a missionary, our mutual deperforming the voyage, the stipulated period being light in meeting a Christian brother at such a time, 22 days, including the necessary stoppages. From and in such a place, may be more easily conceivBombay we steamed 2,727 miles, and were 22 ed than described. I gained from this excellent days, 7 hours, in actual progress, being an average inan, the Rev. J. Gobat, some information conof little more than five miles per hour. The tim- cerning the present state of religion in Abyssinia. bers of the Hugh Lindsay are of teak, which has He is a native of Switzerland, and was sent out become heavy from constant saturation. This by the Church Missionary society about five years prevents her from making much way; nor are ago. He speaks Arabic like a native, as well as her build or engines at all adapted to the purpose Tigre and Amharic, and several European lanfor which she is used. It seems desirable that guages. He visited the country at first to see the Red Sea should again become the usual route what prospects there might be for the establishto India, the saving of distance being so great ; ment of a permanent mission, and not having and though I fear that the schemes at present on heard from his committee for two years, in consefoot will prove abortive, I look foward with confi- quence of the difficulty of communication, he prodence to the period when British skill and capital ceeded by the steamer to Suez, from thence inshall be allowed to exercise themselves in a free tending to make the best of his way to England. trade with the eastern portions of our empire. Mr. Kugler, his only fellow laborer, died from a

mortification in the arm, produced by the bursting of a gun, and departed happy in Christ. Mr.

Gobat reported favorably of the people, and lived ABYSSINIA.

among them in perfect security, though Gondar,

the place at which he principally resided, was the This country is in the Scriptures denominated seat of war. There are some in whose hearts he Cush and Ethiopia, though the same names trusts a work of grace is begun. The principal appear to be used with great latitude of meaning access to the people is by means of familiar conand refer sometimes to places far distant from versation, as they know nothing of regular preacheach other. It was from hence that the eunuch ing. The priests administer the sacrament daily, baptized by Philip, treasurer of Candace, queen of and in this consists nearly the whole of their reliEthiopia, went up to Jerusalem. There is a gion. They refuse it to the people for the most strange mixture of Jewish rites observed among frivolous reasons, and as the poor creatures imagine the customs of this people, and some of them pre- themselves to be under excommunication when tend to derive their origin from Solomon and the this rite is refused, they suppose it is little matter queen of Sheba. The church of Abyssinia is of what additional sin they commit, and thus give high antiquity. In the 15th century attempts themselves up to the commission of many crimes were made by the Jesuits to establish themselves they might otherwise avoid. It is not given to in the country, but after various successes and soldiers when they have killed an enemy. The reverses, and after the sword of persecution had Abyssinian church has hitherto acknowledged the been reddened with blood, they were finally ba- supremacy of the patriarch of Egypt, from whom nished by command of the king. The Scriptures they have always received their abuna, or head, have been published by the British and Foreign and it is an established law that he shall be a Bible Society in the vernacular languages of the foreigner. It is a natural consequence, that as he country.

has to govern a people whose language and cus

tons he does not understand, he is little more than major, a doctor, and myself. The town of Kosseir 2 mere cypher, and can exercise no proper author- is destitute of good water, and would soon be ity. Since the death of the last abuna they have abandoned were it not for its advantages as a seanot applied to Egypt for a successor, and it is not port. The pilgrims for Mecca embark from hence, improbable that they will choose one from among and it is from this place the grain is shipped, by themselves. Bruce is correct in his general state- which the coast of Arabia is principally supplied. ments, but not even the oldest inhabitant can be It is said that the summit of Mount Sinai may brought to say, that he ever heard of the cruel sometimes be distinguished from the shore: it is practice of cutting steaks from the living animal. often covered with snow. The English agent, a They eat raw flesh at their brind feasts, and in stout Arab, is an excellent representative of his the way they prepare it, with a large quantity of nation. To every thing he replied, “ It is good;" pepper and spices, it is said not to be very unpa- but threw constant obstacles in our way, that he lateable even to an European.

might extort from us more money. I was obliged to apply to the governor to procure a servant, though hundreds were ready at call, who would

have been glad of the situation. We saw a EGYPT.

prince from near Bornou, in the interior of Africa,

who had come on a pilgrimage, and was attended The first mention of Egypt in the Old Testament, by a great number of slaves. He was an old man, except as a comparison, occurs Gen. xv. 18, where and was approached by his people on their knees, it is referred to as being one boundary of the land though his personal appearance was mean. promised unto Abraham; and it is more or less Feb. 12. The camels were brought, and we intimately connected with Scripture history from prepared to cross the desert, but the tumult that that passage to the book of Revelation. Its name ensued was such as to lead us to expect that the in Hebrew is Mizraim, supposed to have been consequences would be serious. The camels and received from Mizraim, the son of Ham, by whom men were all screaming at the full pitch of their it was originally peopled. It is still called Masr voices, the narrow street was crowded with aniby the Arabs. It is in vain to seek for the origin mals and Arabs, and cries and blows were reof the word Egypt among the conflicting opinions sounding in every direction: it seemed like

"conof the learned, nor will those at all wonder at the fusion worse confounded.” The Arabs can do circumstance who have had an opportunity of nothing without noise, and it is the wisest method marking the modern perversions of native names. to leave them to their own way, as in a little time It contains at present less than 3,000,000 inhabi- they work themselves into quietness, and have all tants. Its extent, from Assouan to the Mediter- things ready for departure." I had heard so much ranean sea, is about 500 miles. The whole of the of the difficulty of first mounting a camel, that I land now under cultivation is said to be less than almost dreaded to make the attempt, and tried to half of the whole area of Ireland.

procure a donkey in its place, but was not able to succeed. To increase the excitement, I was told that all the saddles in the place were in use, and

that only a common pack-saddle could be given THE DESERT.

On looking at it, it appeared almost impos

sible to ride upon it, as there were two pieces of We entered upon the desert immediately after wood, placed as if on purpose to goad me; but leaving Kosseir, the port at which we landed. there being no remedy, I threw my boat-cloak In Hebrew, the word desert, or wilderness, does over the saddle, mustered all my courage, and not always mean a waste of sand, but is equiva- placed myself in my seat: the camel gradually lent to our moor or common. The Psalmist rose, and I found myself actually mounted, withspeaks of “the pastures of the wilderness :” and out the slightest difficulty. The animal kneels it was in a desert that Moses fed the flocks of down to receive its burden, and the knee is tied, Jethro. In other places the same word means that it may not rise before the proper time : it first literally a sandy plain, dry and barren. The de- half raises its fore legs, then its hinder ones, then sert to which we now addressed ourselves is situat- the fore legs again, and it is necessary to know ed between the Red Sea and the Nile, and is the this that the rider may not be precipitated to a same as that which the Israelites entered upon distance. My companions had by this time startimmediately after their dismissal by Pharaoh ; ed, and as I knew nothing of the language of the and though the track to be described is upwards country, I made the people understand by signs of 200 miles from the one taken by Moses and his that I wanted some rope of which to make stirpeople, as the general character of one route may rups, as my legs were hanging down in a position be considered as equally applicable to the other, that I knew would soon be painful. Without my the reason will soon be discovered why the child perceiving it, they took for this purpose the rope ren of Israel murmured against their leader, when that fastened the saddle to the animal, and I had ise had brought them far away from the rich pro- not gone far before some Arabs in the street call, ducts of the cultivated valley, and there appeared ed out to me, but as I did not understand them, I to be no other prospect before them, but “to die went on. I soon found out what they intended, in the wilderness."

as I slipped from the camel behind, and came to The steamer proceeded forward to Suez, leav- the ground, but without sustaining any injury.— ing eight of her passengers at Kosseir, who di- My stirrups were returned to their original occuvided themselves into two parties. The party to pation, and I again mounted. When I had get which I was attached consisted of a colonel, a well into the desert my camel stopped, and would


« PreviousContinue »