Imágenes de páginas

than one thousand only are Europeans. The town itself, says Dr. Wilson, * is ensconced in an amphitheatre of rocky mountains, literally in th crater of a volcano, and with its only opening in the direction of th lofty and fortified islet of Sirah, which, when we first observed it, ap peared merely part of the circle of hills, on the margin of which it i situated. The town, if found in another locality, would appear mean to extremity; but the oddness of its site disarms criticism. The attention is irresistibly arrested by the lofty and unscalable walls, and impregnable towers and bulwarks which Nature hath reared around it. The houses, or rather huts, are in rows, traversing a small valley, and very slight in their construction, and limited in their accommodation. Many of them are entirely of wicker-work, with waggon roofs, with interwoven leaves of the date-palm for a covering. Not a few of them have flat roofs. They are generally of undressed stone, compacted with lay and pillars of wood instead of mortar. Not a glass window is to be seen ; and the apertures for admitting the light are so small, that they defy the entrance of the thief. Those in the Jews' quarter are the most respectable; but even of them little favourable can be said. The palace of the Sultán is a forsaken tenement; but in the days of yore it must, as an Asiatic domicile, have been worthy of its occupant. One of the most conspicuous objects in the town is the tomb of the Muhammadan saint Idris ibn 'Abdallah. Few towers or minarets are visible. Numerous wells and tanks excavated with care, many of which have become useless, may also be observed. The residence of Captain Haines of the I.N., formerly engaged in the survey of this part of the coast, and from the first the political agent or governor of our Arabian possessions, is in the form of a neat Indian bungalow. We got the kindest and most hospitable welcome from its inmates. At the Post Office, in a neighbouring cottage, I had the pleasure of receiving communications from Britain, which had arrived by the last mail.-Vol. i. pp. 14–16.

Even here, where the lichen often finds it difficult to subsist, religions--the hoary religions of the East-retain their hold, and along with them the no less ancient spirit of traffic. Even here, too, that invaluable institution, the Bible Society, has its good deeds to speak for it. A Jew, a man of some authority among his brethren, had on hand thirty-six copies of the Hebrew Scriptures for distribution at half the cost price. Leaving the abode of this man, says Dr. Wilson, "we went to that of Moshe Menahem, the 'ruler of the Jews,' who politely walked with us to the synagogue. He is the only Israelite at Aden who reads and writes Arabic in its proper character; and I had pleasure in making him a little gift similar to that which I had put into the han of the Nási. At the synagogue we found about twenty persons engaged in repeating the 775157 xp, or night prayers, some


of whom were standing at the door and lobby, as if unworthy to enter the interior. The synagogue, which is the only public building which the Jews of 'Aden possess, is of the plainest description, being merely a square room of considerable height, but with scarcely a hole to admit the light. Its furniture is very limited, consisting of a small desk and three or four stools, a coarse mat spread over the floor, three or four tumblers used as lamps, and several ostrich eggs as ornaments, suspended from the roof.

At the synagogue we were introduced to a Jew from India, who saluted us very cordially, and joined himself to our company. In the course of our wanderings and meanderings in the town, we came upon one of the three or four Jewish “ schools,” at which the young idea, as in most aboriginal seminaries in the East, is taught rather how to shout than to shoot. Ahout a dozen boys, without either book or paper before them, were following their pedagogue in the recitation of some passages of the Hebrew Scriptures, bawling at the utmost pitch of their voices. Most of the adult Jews with whom we afterwards came into contact seemed timid and retiring, and destitute of that ease and confidence which, under the British Government, they will not long fail to obtain. In the bázárs we observed a considerable number of shopkeepers from India, attracted to this rising place, doubtless, by the auri sacra fames which has so widely dispersed the high-turbaned and long-headed Baniás and Bhátiás, along the shores both of Arabia and Africa. An enterprising Pársí was here and there observed, as their rival, pushing his way through the throng, or sitting over his baskets and making love to the Indian camp-followers, that they might serve themselves at his store.'—Vol. i. pp. 17, 18.

Of course the great majority of the people of 'Aden are Mohammedans, but their religious forms do not seem to be in very scrupulous observance. The voyage of Dr. Wilson from ’Aden to Suez presents nothing memorable, but we cannot quit this extended line of the Arabian peninsula without reminding our readers of the ground on which even these regions should be regarded as among the Lands of the Bible. The merchandise of the ancient Phænicians consisted partly in produce of their own, but chiefly in wares which they obtained from other countries. Even in respect to their own manufactures, the raw material must have come to them almost entirely from a distance. These facts demonstrate the existence of an extensive land trade. Of this trade, an instructive description is given in the twentyseventh chapter of the book of Ezekiel. The ode of the prophet, setting forth, as it does, the commercial grandeur of Tyre, presents a map of the countries to which this commerce extended, describing, with special minuteness, the places frequented by the merchants of Tyre on the coast of Arabia, and which connected the trade of that people with India. The following is

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the language of the prophet, as rendered by Michaelis :• Waden and Javan brought thee from Sanaa sword-blades, • cassia, and cinnamon, in exchange for thy wares.

The merchants of Saba and of Raema traded with thee: the best spices,

precious stones, and gold, brought they to thee for thy wares. • Haran, Canna, Aden, Saba, traded with thee.' Now, some of these places--as Aden, Canna, and Haran, all famous seaports on the Indian sea; as well as Sanaa and Saba, or Mariaba, still the capital of Yemen, have the same names to this hour; and if the exact site of Waden is uncertain, it is beyond doubt that it was situated in the straits of Babelınandel. These references clearly show how familiar to the people of Palestine were the great trade marts of Arabia Felix, and of the regions still more remote. The portion of Arabia stretching along the shore, from the Arabian to the Persian Gulf, might well have received the name of Arabia the Happy, if contrasted with the internal desert; for though not uniformly fertile, it has its spots of richness and beauty among the coast mountains, which are nowhere else to be paralleled in that vast peninsula. The value of the Arabian marts arose, in part, from the produce of their own neighbourhood, but still more from their becoming the emporium of Ethiopian and Indian merchandize, including--besides their own frankincense, myrrh, cinnamon, cassia, gold, precious stones—other products almost without number. The result was, that Arabia Felix included cities scarcely inferior to those of Phoenicia, or of Attica itself, in wealth and splendour. Of all this, at present a few traces only remain, some of which came under the notice of Dr. Wilson at Aden. It is not now improbable that the old traffic, with its consequent opulence and civilization, may in a great part return to those long-deserted regions.

În Suez, the greatest sea-port of the Red Sea, the following proofs of the tolerant spirit of Mohammad Ali came under the notice of our traveller:

Before we left the governor, an Arab, arrayed according to the Turkish fashion, addressed us in excellent English. He proved to be one of the young Felláhin, who had been sent to Europe for his education by Muhammad ’Alí. He had been seven and a balf years in Britain, and principally educated at Glasgow, where he had embraced Christianity, and been baptized. He remembered with affection his Christian friends in that city, mentioning particularly the names of Drs. Brown and Smyth, two of its most distinguished and respected ministers. He still held fast, he said, the profession of his faith, though he had been induced to unite himself in marriage to a young woman, a member of a Muhammadan family. He was engaged for the present as an assistant to Mr. Levick, the English vice-consul



at Suez; but he expected to be soon called to Cairo by the Páshá, who retained a claim to his services, as to those of all persons whom he educates, both at home and abroad. Muhammad 'Ali he represented as tolerant to the young men who embraced Christianity when in Europe, and as determined to keep in abeyance the laws of the Musalmáns, which requires converts to Christianity to be put to death. Complaints against them by the bigoted devotees of the Kurán, he said, he had more than once dismissed. Similar favourable testimonies respecting his Highness I elsewhere received. I was told that on one occasion, when a woman was taken before him to be condemned to death for apostasy from Islám he dismissed her by merely saying that she had merely acted a foolish part; and that after her departure he severely reprimanded her accusers, adding that he hoped that no similar case would again be brought to his attention, as it was enough for him to see that his subjects did their duty to him as their ruler, and refrained from injuring their neighbours.'-Vol. i. pp. 41, 42.



In the journey from Suez, our author saw the mirage of the desert in much greater distinctness than in India. This was a ' phenomenon,' says Dr. Wilson, which we afterwards frequently 'witnessed in our journey through Arabia Petræa, and in such a state of perfection, that nothing but a knowledge of our locality, and an experience of its deceitfulness, could induce us, at a little distance from it, to believe that it was anything else than an extensive sheet or copious lake of water, of crystal purity, "reflecting the forms of the mountains and other surrounding objects, and even the clouds of heaven, sometimes in their proper position, and sometimes inversely.' The Arabic word saráb, given to this appearance, is the same with the Hebrew word, the word used by Isaiah with great propriety and beauty

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For in the wilderness shall waters break out, and streams in the desert, And the mirage shall become a lake, and the thirsty land springs of water.' The cruel deception shall become a merciful reality. hommed makes a similar use of this term


"The works of the unbelievers are like the seráb in the plain, Which the thirsty imagines to be water, till he goes and finds it to be nought.” Dr. Wilson has favoured us with an account of his impressions on entering Cairo

To the visitor from India there is nothing at first sight very striking in the interior of Cairo, except in so far as the large and dense town itself contrasts with the absolute desolation and solitude of the desert through which he has just passed. His eye is accustomed to narrow, irregular, and dirty streets, crowded bázárs, lofty minarets, and swelling domes, and to a people of varied hue and romantic cos

tume. Yet he does soon perceive that in Cairo he is not in an Indian city. Its houses he finds higher, larger, of more durable material, more crowded together, more sombre and shaded, with their overjutting upper stories, than those of Hindustán. Its bázárs and shops are constructed and fitted up with far more order and taste, and better adaptation to their object, than those in which the Wánís and Borahs dispense their wares. Its men are more substantially and gracefully clothed, but less cleanly in their persons, than those with whom he has been familiar in the further east. Its women he cannot at all compare with the daughters of India, for by their impenetrable and frightful veils, and shapeless mantles and robes, inflated with and floating on the breeze, their face and form are alike rendered invisible. The distressing grunt and heavy tread of the pálkhí-bearer have given way to the yelling, and poking, and lashing of the donkey-boy. The gádís, buggies, and hurly-gigs of all shapes and sizes, such as are seen in Bombay, are so completely wanting, that whole days may pass without his seeing a single wheeled vehicle. The streets, in fact, are so narrow, that most of them do not permit a carriage, even of the smallest dimensions, to pass along. The courtesy and sycophancy of the multitude have entirely disappeared. Though he is not now insulted on the highways, as before the days of Muhammad ’Alí he would not have failed to be, he sees none of that deference shown to him in public which he experiences in India, where the submissive and peaceable Hindú hails him as at once his lord and benefactor.'—Vol. i. pp. 54, 55.

Mohammed Ali, whose capital is thus described, is one of the most extraordinary men of our time. He was born at Cavalla, in Roumelia, in 1769. His father was a chief of police. He came into Egypt in 1800, as second in command with 300 men, to resist the French. Amidst the confusion and perils of that juncture, his sagacity, courage, and promptitude gave him such paramount influence, that in the rebellion of 1805, when the Mameluke sheikhs refused to receive the new representative of the Sultan, Kourchid Pacha, they called Mohammed Ali to the supreme command, an appointment which the Sultan himself deemed it expedient to confirm. But six years later, the Mameluke beys were detected in conspiracies against him; he did not conceal from them his knowledge of their plottings, and had urged them, it is said, to withdraw, and to find better employment in Upper Egypt, previous to the memorable day when they were treacherously surrendered to the bullets of his guards in Cairo. Not content with the subsequent confirmation of his authority by the Porte, Mohammed Ali extended his conquests over Syria, and had made inroads in Asia Minor, when he was checked by the intervention of the cabinets of Europe. cesses threw the usual prestige about him. He was believed to be

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