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year 1780, communicated to Jews carried on with vigor and the Academy of Inscriptions, sometimes with success, against and belles letters at Paris, two powerful princes, and nations; Memoirs concerning the fertil. thé tribute and taxes they paid ity of Palestine, in order to to the kings of Egypt and Syrshow that such objections had ia, to the Romans, and to their no solid foundation.
own princes; the magnificence In the first of them the au- of their sovereigns, and among thor proves, that from the cap. others of Herod; the troops he tivity of Babylon to the war of raised, and kept on foot; the Adrian, Judea was always temples, fortresses, palaces, considered a rich and fertile and cities which he erected, country. The positive, and and embellished, not only in multiplied authorities of the his own country but in Syria, writers of that period, Jews, Asia Minor, and even in Greeks, and Romans, not only Greece; the immense sums attest in general the fertility of he lavished among the Romthat country, but many of these ans, the donations he made to writers enteringinto a particular his own people, and the vast detail of circumstances, prove treasures, which he left behind it from the nature of the climate, him: all these circumstances the qualities of the soil, and concur in proving the fertility the excellencies and variety of and riches of Palestine during its productions. These are that period. confirmed by proofs of another In the second Memoir the kind, but which are of a very the Abbe Guenee considers the convincing nature, even those state of Palestine, as it was from resulting from a great number the emperor Adrian to the Calof medals struck, under the iphate of Omar, which compre. reigns of the kings of Syria, hends a period of four centu. anu Judea, and under the Ro- ries. From sundry facts, he mans, both by Jewsand Pagans, shows that it could not have which all bear the symbols of been the barren country, which a rich fertility. To these proofs it has been represented by some are added a multitude of facts, skeptical writers. He particurecorded in the history of the larly mentioned the project Jews during this period; the formed by Adrian of building efforts of the neighboring kings and embellishing Jerusalem, of to conquer their country; the forming it into a Roman cololong and bloody wars that the ny; and giving it his own name,
2 project of which he could nev- plantations of fruit trees, and er have entertained a thought, through the whole country a if Judea, which he had seen, considerable number of hospiand examined with his own tals, monasteries, and beautiful eyes, had appeared io him such edifices. a barren and wretched country, It ought to be considered as it is said to be by some, who that this country was then in. have neither seen that country, babited by an industrious peonor examined the matter with ple, who knew how to improve care and attention. Our author every inch of their land, and also produces a variety of oth- had made even the most barer facts to show that Judea, ren places to yield some kind after all that it had suffered of productions, by proper care from the desolations of war and manure, so that the very both in ancient and modern rocks, which now appear quite times, still remained at the pe. bare and naked, were made to riod in question, fertile, rich, produce corn, and pulse or and populous. This is the pasturage. We may add, that idea, which the writers of the the kings themselves were not time, Pagan and Christian, as above encouraging all kind of well as Jewish, have given of agriculture, both by precept Palestine. Antoninus Martyn), and example, and that above a citizen of Placentia, who in all, they had a Divine blessing the sixth century travelled to promised to their honest enPalestine, and composed an deavors and industry; but now account of his voyage, which it is and hath been long inhahis still extant, says that the ited by a poor, lazy, indolent canton of Nazareth was not in people, groaning under an in. ferior to Egypt in corn and tolerable servitude, and all fruits, and that though the ter manner of discouragements; by ritory of that city is not very which their aversion to labor extensive, it abounded in wine, and agriculture, further than to and oil, and excellent honey. supply their present wants, is The country about Jericho ap- become in a manner natural peared to him still more fer. and invincible. The judicious tile. He saw mount Tabor, Mr. Maundrel observes that which he represents as sur. there is no forming an idea of mounted with cities; and he ob- its ancient flourishing state served in the neighborhood of when under the blessing of Jerusalem, vineyards, great heaven, from what it is now
under a visible curse. And if “The Holy Land (says Dr, we had not several concurring Shaw,) were it as well peopled, testimonies, from profane au and cultivated, as in former thors, who have extolled the times, would still be more fecundity of Palestine, that fruitful, than the best part of the single one of Julian, the apos- coast of Syria, and Phænice; tate, a sworn enemy to the for the soil in general is much Jews and Christians, would be richer, and all things consider. more than sufficient to prove ed, yields better crops. Thus it, who frequently makes men the cotton, which is gathered tion in his epistles, of the per- in the plains of Ramah, Esdrepetuity, as well as excellence elon, and Zebulon, is in greater and great abundance of its esteem, than what is cultivated fruits and productions. The near Sidon, and Tripoli. Nei. visible effects of God's anger, ther is it possible for pulse, which this country has felt, not wheat, or any sort of grain, to only under Titus Vespasian, be more excellent, than what but much more since that em. is sold at Jerusalem. The barperor's time, in the inundations renness, or scarcity
or scarcity rather, of the northern barbarians, of which some authors may, either the Saracens, and of the more ignorantly or maliciously, comcruel and destructive Chris- plain of, doth not proceed from tians, during the Holy War; the incapacity, or natural unand in the oppression it now fruitfulness of the country, but feels under the Turkish yoke; from the want of inhabitants, may be easily owned to be and their great aversion to lamore than sufficient to have bor and industry. wrought the dismal change, besides, such perpetual diswe are speaking of, and to cords, and depredations, among have reduced the far greater the petty princes, who share part into a miere desert. this fine country, that allowing
Nevertheless, if we may it was betier peopled, yet there credit those, who have viewed would be small encouragement it in this doleful condition, they to sow, when it was uncertain will tell us, there are still such who should gather in the hurvisible signs of its natural vest. Otherwise, the land is richness, and fertility, as plain- “a good land,” and still capaly show, that the bare want of ble of affording its neighbors, culture is the main, if not the the same supplies of corn, and only cause of its present pov- oil, which it is known to have erty and barrenness.
done, ju the time of Solomon.”
And Volney in his Travels in wheat, and barley,' of vines, Egypt and Syria, says that and figs, of milk and honey.” though the whole of Palestine, Yet all this, learned and judia is almost an entire level plain, cious travellers confirm. Mír. without either river or rivulet, Maundrel asserts, "That there in summer, more doura, sesa- is no place upon the earth more mum, water -melons, and beans, fruitful, even at present, than are sown here, than in any the plain country, and valleys, other part of the country. either for the production of They also raise cotton, barley, corn, or pasturage of cattle." and wheat; but though the lat. The hills also bear corn, melter be most esteemed, it is lessons, gourds, cucumbers, and cultivated, for fear of inviting other vegetables, which for sevthe avarice of the Turkish gov- eral months in the year, are ernors, and the rapacity of the the chief food of these counArabs.
tries. The most rocky parts In the days of the Jewish might bear vines and olive prosperity, this country sup- trees; and even the salt plains ported more than 8,000,000 of of the Dead sea produce honey. inhabitants.
Dr. Shaw asserts that were the The militia in the reign of holy land as well cultivated as David amounted to 1,300,000. in former times, it would be But this glory of all lands, as more fruitful than the best part foretold in the prophecy, has in of Syria, or Phænicia; for the a great degree long been deso- soil is generally much richer, late and waste; and as Dr. Ad- and all things considered yields am supposes, now has not more much better crops. than 400,000 inhabitants. The possible for pulse, wheat or words of their legislator are lit- grain to exceed what is genererally fulfilled, “Thou shalt ally sold in Jerusalem. Thereplant a vineyard, and shalt not fore the barrenness of which gather the grapes; thou shalt some authors complain does be oppressed, and crushed.” nol proceed from the natural Instead of being convinced by unfruitfulness of the country, ibis, infidels have made it an but from a want of inhabitants, argument to confirm their in- the aversion to labor which prefidelity. Deists have doubted vails among the few who poswhether this country was ever sess it, and the perpetual disso fruitful, as He, who made it, cords, and depredations among declares it was; "A land of the petty princes, who share
this fine country; so that who travellers. The following facts ever sows is uncertain who demonstrate its fertility. shall gather the harvest. He The plain of Acra for want says, “I travelled in Syria, in of culture is overrun with December and January; the weeds, as high as the horses whole country looked verdant, backs; a tree on Lebanon is 12 and cheerful.' Mr. Wood, yards 6 inches in circumferanother observing travelier, tells ence, 37 yards in the spread of us, "The valley of Bochat, in its boughs, which divides at which Baalbec is situated, the height of 5 yards into 5 might be rendered one of the branches, each equal to a large most beautiful places in Syria, tree.” That man has not befor it is more fertile than the gun bis observations on differcelebrated vale of Damascus, ent soils, who imagines that whose clusters of grapes, ac- such weeds, or such trees rise cording to Lucas, weighed 30 from any, but the richest lands. or 40 pounds, and better water- In Maine, New Hampshire, and ed than the rich plains of Es. Vermont their most lofty trees drelon, and Rama.
are found only in their richest gion round Joppa, Lusignan vales and plains. Accordingcalls “This fertile country.” ly Bowen, and others, say that The Baron De Tott, speaking "without manuring, and plowof the country between Joppa, ing only with a wooden couland Rama, says, “six leagues ter, one horse, or a yoke of in breadth it is extremely fer- oxen, Palestine produces a tile."
Thevenot says he was great variety of the richest “stricken with the corn land, Aowers, plants, herbs, and the meadows, and fair cattle, in fruits." "The abundance of the neighborhood of Gaza.” its produce not only supplied A native of the country says, its own millions, but furnished "In both the Galilees there are neighboring kingdoms with fat, and fruitful pastures, and great quantities of oil and oththey are planted with all kinds er commodities.” Pulse of of trees, so as to entice those, all sorts, fruits of all kinds, who are no lovers of husband- which might be called perpet ry. The country of Samaria ual, new buds appearing beis wonderfully fruitful. Judea fore the old fruit was ripe, ci. like Samaria is mountainous trons, apples of Paradise, vines, and rich, fit for husbandry. which yielded grapes three But we need not inquire of times in a year, dates, melons,