صور الصفحة
النشر الإلكتروني

sent for its invasion. This it was that gave to an old man pent up in a small tower by the sea side the extraordinary empire he possessed. Djezzar had with him, in a state of constant im prisonment, many of the most powerful chieftains of the country. The sons of the princes of Libanus remained with him always as hostages; for the Druses,* inhabiting all the moun tainous district to the north and east of Seide, were constantly liable to revolt. Sir Sidney Smith, by cultivating an alliance with this people, when the French were endeavouring to march through Syria, prevented their affording assistance to our ene mies. He undertook to guaranty their safety from all attacks, whether of the French or of Djezzar: and when the latter most unjustifiably violated his treaties with them, he enabled them to protect their territory. It was this circumstance which, ever honourable on the part of Sir Sidney Smith, gave rise to a misunderstanding between him and Djezzar. Matters had not been adjusted between them at the time of our arrival. With due intimation therefore of his prejudice against the hero of Acre, as well as the knowledge we had obtained of his pri vate character and disposition, we were ushered to his presence.

We found him seated on a mat in a little chamber, destitute even of the meanest article of furniture, excepting a coarse, porous, earthenware vessel, for cooling the water he occasionally drank. He was surrounded by persons maimed and disfigured in the manner before described. He scarcely looked up to notice our entrance, but continued his employment of drawing upon the floor, for one of his engineers, a plan of some works he was then constructing. His form was athletic, and his long white beard entirely covered his breast. His habit was that of a commou Arab, plain but clean, cousisting of a white camlet over a cotton cassock. His turban was also white. Neither cushion nor carpet decorated the naked boards of his divan. In his girdle he wore a poignard set

A sect of Arabs inhabiting the environs of Mount Libanus; so called from their founder, surnamed El Durzi, who came from Persia into Egypt in the year 1020. (See Egmont and Heyman's Trav. vol. i. p. 293.) Niebuhr and Volney have given a full account of their history. It has been ignorantly supposed that they are the off spring of a colony of French crusaders; but their name occurs in the itinerary of Benjamin of Tudela, written anterior to the crusades; their language, moreover, is purely Arabic. Pococke fell into the error of their Christian origin. "If any ac count," says he, " can be given of the original of the Druses, it is, that they are the remains of the Christian armies in the Holy War" Descript. of the East, p. 94. Lond.


Djezzar built the mosque, the bazar, and a most elegant public fountain, in Acre. In all these works he was himself both the engineer and the architect, "He formed the plans," says Volney, "drew the designs, and superintended the execution." Trav. in Egypt and Syria, vol. ii. p. 226,


with diamonds; but this he apologized for exhibiting, saying it was his badge of office, as governor of Acre, and therefore could not be laid aside. Having ended his orders to the engineer, we were directed to sit upon the end of the divan; and Signor Bertocino, his dragoman, kneeling by his side, he prepared to hear the cause of our visit.

The conversation began by a request from the Pacha, that English captains, in future, entering the bay of Acre, would fire only one gun, rather as a signal, than as a salute, upon their arrival. "There can be no good reason," said he, "for such a waste of gunpowder, in ceremony between friends. Besides," he added, "I am too old to be pleased with ceremony: among forty-three pachas of three tails, now living in Turkey, I am the senior. My occupations are consequently, as you see, very important," taking out a pair of scissars, and beginning to cut figures in paper, which was his constant employment when strangers were present: these he afterward stuck upon the wainscoat. "I shall send each of you away," said he, "with good proof of old Djezzar's ingenuity. There," addressing himself to Captain Culverhouse, and offering a paper cannon, "there is a symbol of your profession;" and while I was explaining to the captain the meaning of this singular address, he offered me a paper flower, denoting, as he said," a florid interpretation of blunt speech." As often as we endeavoured to introduce the business of our visit, he affected to be absorbed in these trifling conceits, or turned the conversation by allegorical sayings, to whose moral we could find no possible clue. His whole discourse was in parables, proverbs, truisms, and oriental apologues. One of his tales lasted nearly an hour, about a man who wished to enjoy the peaceful cultivation of a small garden, without consulting the lord of the manor, whenever he removed a tulip; alluding, perhaps, to his situation with reference to the grand siguior. There was evidently much cunning and deep policy in his pretended frivolity. Apparently occupied in regulating the shape of a watch paper with his scissars, he was all the while deeply attentive to our words, and even to our looks, anxious to discover whether there was any urgency in the nature of our visit; and certainly betraying as much ostentation in the seeming privations to which he exposed himself, as he might have done by the most stately magnificence. He was desirous of directing the attention of his visiters to the homeliness of his mode of living: "If I find," said he, only bread

[ocr errors]

and water in another world, I shall have no cause of com plaint, because I have been accustomed to such fare all my days; but those who have fared sumptuously in this life, will, I suspect, be much disappointed in the next." We spoke of the camp of his cavalry, then stationed near the town; and of the great preparations he seemed to be making against the Druses, and other rebel Arabs, with whom he was at war. "It is not," said he, "the part of a wise man to despise his enemy, whatsoever shape he may assume. If he be but a pismire, there is no reason why he should be permitted to creep upon your cheek while you are sleeping.' We found we had touched a tender string: he believed these dissentions had been excited in his dominions by Sir Sidney Smith, to divert him from the possibility of assisting the French, by attacking the Vizier's army in its march through Syria; and was much incensed while he complained to us of this breach of confidence. "I ate," said he, “bread and salt with that man; we were together, as sworn friends. He did what he pleased here. I lent him my staff;* he released all my prisoners,† many of whom were in my debt, and never paid me a para. What engagements with him have I violated? What promises have I not fulfilled? What requests have I denied? I wished to combat the French by his side; but he has taken care that I shall be confined at home, to fight against my own people. Have I merited such treatment ?" When he was a little pacified, we ventured to assure him that he had listened to his own and to Sir Sidney's enemies; that there did not exist a man more sincerely allied to him; and that the last commission we received, previously to our leaving the fleet, were Sir Sidney's memorials of his regard for Djezzar Pacha. In proof of this, I presumed to lay before him the present Sir Sidney had entrusted to my care. It was a small but very elegant telescope, with silver slides. He regarded it however with dis dain, saying, it had too splendid an exterior for him; and taking down an old ship glass, that hung above his head, covered with greasy leather, added, "Humbler instruments serve my purposes; besides, you may tell Sir Sidney that Djezzar, old as he is, seldom requires the aid of a glass to view what

* A short crutch, frequently inlaid with mother of pearl, of which I cannot recollect the oriental name, serves men of rank in the east to support their bodies while sitting erect. Djezzar always had one of these; and the possession of it enabled the bearer to exercise the authority of the pacha himself.

† Djezzar's prisoners were confined in a dungeon beneath the apartment wherein he lived: so that all persons ascending or descending the staircase leading to his chambers passed the grated window of their jail.

passes around him." Finding it impossible to pacify him upon this subject,* we turned the conversation, by stating the cause

of our visit to Acre, and requested a supply of cattle for the use of the British fleet. He agreed to furnish au hundred bullocks, but upon the sole condition of not being offered payment for them in money. He said it would require some time to collect cattle for that purpose: we therefore persuaded Captain Culverhouse to employ the interval in making, with us, a complete tour of the Holy Land. Djezzar, having heard of our intention, promised to supply us with horses from his own stables, and an escort, formed of his body guard, for the undertaking; ordering also his dragoman, Signor Bertociuo, to accompany us during the expedition, and to render us every assistance in his power.

The air of Acre is much better than that of Cyprus, and the same may be said generally of all the coast of Syria and of Palestine. The maritime districts of these two countries cousist of the finest territories in the Levant. As a proof of the salubrity of their climate, may be mentioned the absence of noxious reptiles, and of those venomous insects which, by their swarms, peculiarly characterize unwholesome air. We observ ed neither toads nor mosquitoes, nor even locusts; although it is probable that the last of these have not altogether forsaken a region where their visits have been occasionally calamitous. There are few exceptions to an observation which has, in a certain degree, been confirmed by my own actual experience; namely, that unwholesome air prevails, during certain seasons, over all the shores of the inland seas, from the Straits of Gibraltar to the marshes of the Don. We are told, indeed, of the salubrity of the south of France; and certain situations may be pointed out along the coast of Syria, uninfected by any summer malaria. But, generally speaking, all the shores of the Mediterranean, of the Archipelago, of the sea of Marmora, the

The Rev. J. Palmer. Arabic professor in the University of Cambridge, has visited Acre since the death of Djezzar. Being at the place of his successor, Djezzar's secretary confessed to him, that his master had" long made up his mind to put Sir Sidney to death, whenever the means were in his power." "Considering the open unsuspecting frankness of Sir Sidney, in all his dealings with the Arabs, it is wonderful this was not effected.

The only remuneration required by Djezzar, for the supplies he twice sent to our fleet, was a few pieces of artillery taken by our army from the French in Egypt, or a little ammunition. It is said, however, that no payment of any kind was ever -made to him.

According to Volney, even that of Acre is unwholesome in summer. He speaks of infectious vapours from lakes in the low grounds: (vol. ji, p. 227.) thereby contradicting the statement made by the author, who is not, however, disposed to alter the account given above; owing to the proofs whereby the opinion is maintained.



Black sea, and the sea of Azof, have their periodical vapours of pestilence and death. Many of them are never free from bad air; and numberless are the victims who, unconscious of the danger, have been exposed to its effects. Some attention should be paid to proper caution in visiting countries so cir cumstanced; especially as it was affirmed by our great moralist, that "the grand object of travelling is to see the shores of the Mediterranean. On those shores," said he, were the four great empires of the world; the Assyrian, the Persian, Greek, and Roman. All our religion, almost all our laws, almost all our arts, almost all that sets us above savages, has come to us from the shores of the Mediterranean.” Yet, in exploring countries so situated, among the ruins of ancient cities, and in the very midst of objects to which a literary traveller would most eagerly direct his attention, the danger to be apprehended from bad air is particularly imminent. Stagnant water, resulting from ruined aqueducts, from neglected wells, and many other causes, proves fatal by its exhalation. This I have found to be so true, with regard to ancient ruins in the south of Europe, that I rarely recollect an instance where the inhabitants of the neighbouring district do not caution strangers against the consequences of resorting thither during the summer months; consequences far more dangerous than any other accident to which travellers may fancy themselves exposed in foreign countries. By the introduction of these remarks, I am sensible of repeating observations already introduced; but the importance of the caution they convey cannot be too much enforced. Places infected by such dangerous vapour may be distinguished, at the setting or rising of the sun, by thick and heavy mists of a milky hue; these may at that time be ob served, hovering, and seldom rising high above the soil The mildest diseases inflicted by this kind of air, are quartan and tertian fevers: sometimes instant death is occasioned by them. The inhabitants of the gulph of Salernum and the coast of Baia, as well as those resident in the Pontine Marshes, suffer

*See Boswell's Life of Johnson, vol. ii. p. 61. Lond. 1791. See page 141. e. viii. of this volume.

The air of any place is seldom salutary where flies are found in great abundance. Another criterion of the sources of mephitic exhalation is, the appearance of the arundo phragmites. This plant, in warm countries, may generally be regarded by travellers as a warning buoy."

A mal-aria prevails at Rome during summer; particularly in the Translibertine suburbs of the city. This seems alluded to by Pliny, in a letter to Clemens, wherein he describes the residence of Regulus. "Tenet se trans Tyberim in hortis, in quibus latissimum solum porticibus immensis, ripam statuis suis occupavit, ut est in summa avaritiâ sumptuosus, in summâ infamiâ gloriosus. Vexat ergo civitatem in saluberrimo tempore, et quod vexat solatium putat." Plin. Epist. lib. iv. Ep. 2. Bipont. 1789.

« السابقةمتابعة »