Puslapio vaizdai
PDF
„ePub“

or

66

haled the perfumed atmosphere which breathed | large the field of political intrigue, and multiply around, he said it was too delicious, and refused the points by which it hopes to obtain à footing to enter it. He felt that the rude man of the in the East. To unmask the iniquity of such wilderness, who aimed at affecting the moral a design would be highly praiseworthy, because, aspect of half the world, had nothing to do in so however cheaply we may hold the intellect of the interesting a place. His mind and body required Syrians, it is impossible we should regard them to be braced by the air of the desert, by toil, by without sympathy and compassion. They reckon fatigue, by resolute contention with man and among them a considerable number of that pernature. The bait which he so wisely shunned, secuted race, the Jews, who have there, perhaps, the caliphs, his successors, were caught with, to been subjected to more ignominy, insult, and contheir ruin. Their courage and their virtue melted tempt, than anywhere else in the world. Mr. away in the spicy valleys of Syria, where their D'Israeli

, in his recent work, represents the thing stern creed and martial manners have degene differently. But no traveller who has ever set rated into a stupid superstition and the habits of foot in the East, and witnessed there the practical thieves.

degradation of the Israelites, will corroborate his Everything throughout the Syrian land, from views. Among the terms of reproach which an north to south, bears upon it the indelible stamp angry Mussulman can apply to another, the most of decay and death. Populations, formerly nume- opprobious and offensive is that of “ Yahoodi,” rous and powerful, have dwindled almost to « Jew.” The scale of insult runs, as nearly nothing. Industry is at a stand-still, commerce as possible, as follows: When the annoyance is is fast forsaking the country, agriculture is ne- slight, the offended individual satisfies his bile glected, the government is oppressive, and the with calling his neighbour an “ Infidel;” but the subjects are, in consequence, discontented and term is often applied jocularly, as we denominate disloyal. No doubt fresh insurrection and revo- a child a little rogue.” When more anger is inlution will, in the course of time, be organised in tended to be expressed, the reviler selects the Syria; and it might even, if properly investigated, word “dog;" from which, as his rage increases, be found to be true that, at this moment, efforts he will descend to “pig;" and, lastly, to “ Jew,” are making to undermine the authority of the beyond which there is but one lower depth, into Ottoman Porte, and give a new master or mas- which a sinner against social usages can be thrust, ters to the Syrians. But this would affect Eu- but this is so peculiarly Oriental, that we abstain rope only in so far as the change might be secured from translating the term. by its own political intrigues or combinations ; Condemn, as earnestly and sincerely as we may, for of so little consequence, to the rest of the the prejudices of all Eastern nations against the world, are the internal struggles and vicissitudes Jews, it is impossible for us to deny the fact, nor of that country in themselves, that the overthrow are we, indeed, able to perceive any advantage and establishment of a new dynasty in Syria, if that could accrue from creating in Europe a false brought about by native means, would not dis- impression upon the subject. The Osmanlis selturb, for an hour, the calculations of any states- dom read our speculations, and when they do, can man in Christendom.

only respect us when they find our reasoning At present the East is awaiting, in a passive based on truth. Now they are conscious that, state, the impression that may be made upon it throughout the Turkish empire, the Hebrew race by the masculine powers of the West. This is under a ban, condemned to carry on the most must be quite evident to those who considered disreputable callings—overwhelmed with perpetual the late troubles in the Lebanon, which were ex- -excluded from all socialintercourse—thrust cited, continued, and terminated entirely by Eu- aside, in the common highways of life, by the Topean influence. Throughout the whole range meanest and most despised among the believers of country inhabited by the Maronites, French in the Koran-and condemned to console thememissaries laboured for years, sowing diligently selves, for all this weight of scorn and obloquy, by the seeds of dissension, undermining the authority the possession of money. It is quite true that of the Sultan, sharpening their prejudices against capital is power, and that pashas and grandees the Druses, and giving birth to indefinite hopes in the East, as well as in the West, are occasionof effectual succour from Christendom. With the ally constrained to mask their dislike, and ask result of all this active intriguing the world is too favours of the persecuted race. But this, only, well acquainted. The ambition of the Maronite is not a thing to be proud of. That the moneywas extinguished in blood. Having got up the power sometimes triumphs over birth and rank, storm, the French agents effected their escape, over prejudice and bigotry, is quite true ; but this and suffered it to burst pitilessly on the heads of does not prove the non-existence of fanaticism, or their victims. The Druses rose in insurrection- show that the objects of perpetual contempt are the Turks poured an army into the mountains, not despised. We are not excusing the ignorance all resistance was overpowered—and the wretched and folly of the Orientals, but simply stating an unMaronites learned, too late, that they had been deniable fact. By way of illustration, let any man induced to lean on a broken reed.

inquire for the Jewish quarter in any eastern city, At this moment European diplomacy is again and he will invariably be directed to the worst at work among the scattered tribes of the Leba- built, the most dingy, filthy, and infected with non; not, however, with a view to civilise them, malaria, where the devoted children of mammon and improve their condition, but in order to en-hoard their gold, in stench and obscurity. Scarely

scorn

will a Mohammedan deign to look into its unsa- | forefathers, experiences the most humiliating convoury streets, where his nose is assailed by any sciousness of inferiority. He sees that the man thing but the perfumes of Arabia, the entrance from the West, of colossal stature and iron-mould, to which he proverbially compares with the de- can do what he can't that he can subdue to his scent to Gehennam, and whose inhabitants he own uses the powers of the elements—that he is believes to be destined to the warmest conceivable irresistible in war, and wise and full of resources quarter in the next world.

in peace--and the pride which besotted ignorance The worst consequence, perhaps, resulting from engenders melts away in the light of facts. feelings and ideas so reprehensible, is the sense This is more especially the case with respect of degradation experienced by the sufferers ; what to Englishmen, a wonderful idea of whose power ever may in this country be imagined to the con- and character has penetrated even into the wildtrary, the Jew of the East almost acquiesce in the est deserts and least enlightened portions of Asia. judgment of his Turkish neighbour. He feels Who and what we are, they frequently fail to himself to be weak and powerless, and perpetually comprehend. With the resources, and even, perbreathing an atmosphere of scorn and obloquy ; haps, with the geographical position of our islands, withers and dwindles, under its deleterious influ- they are unacquainted. They only know that we ence, into the wretched creature he is supposed to have marched as conquerors over half the east; be. He crawls about the city in fear and trem- that from central Asia to the Chinese wall, our bling, and never experiences the dignified feelings banners have waved, and our soldiers deposited of a man, but when bending over his gold, the their bones; and that our fleets have swept like sole staff of his life, with which he sometimes is hurricanes, along the coasts of every

maritime enabled to smite the heathen, and return them a nation in the habitable world—that we possess portion of the scorn they lavish on him. In Eng- more colonies than they can number, and that we land a Jew may always be respectable if he have acquired everything, by the exertion of an pleases. The laws recognise in him most of the intellectual energy, never hitherto displayed by rights of citizenship, and will shortly grant him any other people known to history. If the proall he can desire, or that humanity can contend ject, consequently, were proposed to them of refor in his behalf. But how different is the case constructing our social system, by means of any in the East? There he has no rights, is acknow- mental influence originating in the East, they ledged by no law, protected by no institutions; would treat the idea with the most contemptuous but simply suffered to exist as a necessary evil, ridicule. To discover the gigantic proportions of like a drain or a kennel ; all but his own people Great Britain, we must detract from her as we shun him in the street, and consider themselves do from the Pyramids, and take our stand among polluted by his very touch. Even the fascina- the tribes and races which contemplate her from tions of beauty, which reconcile the nobles and a distance. That the Asiatics thoroughly comprinces of the East to the women of all other na- prehend us, and are able to infer our future destions, seldom or never subdue their aversion for a tiny, from what we have already accomplished, Jewess, whom they generally regard with as much we are very far from affirming. But the slightest abhorrence as a vampire. We never knew of a possible knowledge of their opinions and manner female Yahood having been admitted into a of thinking will suffice to convince us that they harem. The inerradicable prejudices of creed would as soon think of deranging the march of and race forbid the shocking idea. All the other the constellations, as hope to give a bias to our inmates, at the first glimpse of that acquiline civilisation, by any process of thought or modifiphysiognomy, which our less fastidious taste often cation of belief originating among them, in their regards as handsome, would immediately take to present helpless condition; and if Asia, generally, flight, and leave the perfumed chambers and be a spent volcano, Syria may be regarded as its luxurious gardens a desert to their possessor. most exhausted crater.

Nothing, therefore, can be more preposterous Nevertheless, the material prosperity of the than the idea of seeking, among the unfortunate country might be indefinitely promoted, could we Yahoodis of Syria, the germs of a new revelation but impart to it some few of these institutions to to ameliorate the condition of the human race. which Europe owes all its greatness. Mr. D'Israeli The mind of Asia, from Behring's Straits to the ridicules Parliaments, and declaims with bitterIsthmus of Suez, is burnt out. Nothing but the ness against what he calls the tyranny of selfcinders, as it were, of creeds and dogmas, be government. At present the Syrians if consulted spreads its empires and kingdoms. The dwellers might possibly, for want of knowing better, agree in secluded fastnesses—the pastoral wanderers with him ; but if they would ever emerge from the over steppes and plains the ignorant and uncivi- miserable state of servitude in which they now lised populations which congregate together, and grovel, they must consent, in these matters, to carry on rude trades and callings, in large, but imitate the Franks, and be at the pains to disorganised cities, still cherish the wrecks of out- tyrannise over themselves. Upon careful inquiry, worn religions, sometimes with warmth and en- it would, we think, be found that the desire for thusiasm, but for the most part with a lassitude some such revolution already exists among them, and indifference which it is painful to witness. though the unfortunate circumstances in which When brought, therefore, accidentally into contact they have long been placed — their sectarian with an European, the Oriental, in spite of the divisions, the obstacles, material and political, stupid prejudices which he has inherited from his! which have obstructed the development of trade

and industry—and the jealousy of certain Earo-, tered throughout the east like the Jews, finding pean powers, have prevented them from acting in all the delights of home and country in their chests obedience to their impulses. If we run our eye and money bags. These patient and econoalong the mountains and valleys which intersect mical people, who are ever ready to compass and diversify the face of the land, reasons will sea and land, through devotion for the breechespresent themselves more than sufficient to explain pockets, constitute an important part of the poputhe existing moral lethargy of Syria. That which lation of Syria, where they contend with the may be denominated the basis of the population, Ishmaelites and Israelites for the mastery in all and is composed of Arabian elements, has hitherto matters of cash. Among those who do not be. proved unsusceptible of all political amelioration. lieve in the Book, few are more disliked or more We mean the partizans of the Sunnce sect, or fiercely persecuted than the Armenians. From followers of the first three caliphs. Scattered the banks of the Nile to those of the Orontes, indiscriminately among these, are the sectaries Abanna, and Pharphar, we find innumerable who uphold the pretension of Ali, known else- anecdotes in circulation, illustrative of their where in the East under the name of Sheahs, avarice and worthlessness. Pashas and Kadhis but in Syria denominated Metwalis. Between acquire popularity by oppressing them. Mohamthese two divisions of Mohammedans there exists med Ali, who possesses some original ideas, and a degree of rancorous hostility, which they who loves to depart from the traditional policy of the are versed in the history of the Inquisition may, Turks, has sought to attach the Armenians to perhaps, be able to understand. Their hatred, in his government, by bestowing on them titles and fact, is exactly proportioned to the slightness and places, and enabling them, like another moneyfutility of its cause. But what will not men con-making race of old, to spoil the Egyptians. But vert into a pretext for destroying each other? | his plan has been attended with little success ; Look at the Musslemans of Northern India, how none of his discontented subjects being more they break forth at stated periods into lamenta- bitterly hostile to him than the Armenians in his tions for the death of Hassan and Hussein ; how service, upon whom he has lavished favours, they parade with frantic gestures through the whom he has fed and educated, and who would streets; listen how they wail and howl and lash still be buried in the darkest night of obscurity, themselves into a frenzy of grief; observe how, in but for his unaccountable partiality. the paroxysms of this madness, they assail the Another Syrian tribe far more obscure to Euinoffensive Hindoos, the fierce and trucculent Sikhs, ropeans, is that of the Ansarièh, upon whom Mr. towards whom they have comparatively no cause D’Israeli has bestowed so large a share of his adof quarrel ; and then imagine with what deadly miration. Two things belonging to the people defury they would be likely to fall upon those who serve special notice; first, they preside over the culrepresent to them the murderers of their prophets. tivation of that wild andoderiferous tobacco, which

In a distinct part of Syria, consisting of lofty under the name of Jebel Lataskia, solaces the and almost inaccessible mountains, we find, in wearisome marches of travellers in the East; and great numbers, the indomitable followers of the second, they uphold some strange form of worship, mad caliph Ilakim Beamrilla. Into the pecu- which has the fascination of mystery about it, liarities of their creed and customs we cannot just though enough perhaps has been revealed to ennow enter ; more Jesuitical than the Metwalis, able us to form an idea of what the mystery they industriously disguise that heresy; affect to intended to conceal. It would perhaps think in accordance with all who converse with be more correct to denominate the Ansarièh them, but secretly in their own secluded shrines, a sect than a tribe, though they unquestionpractise rites, and give utterance to opinions, ably differ from the Maronites and Druses, in which, if openly proclaimed, would excite one uni- descent as well as in creed. Very strange versal shudder through the Mohammedan world. notions have been propagated concerning them These formidable heretics are the Druses, who, by travellers. Volney, in general $0 without being at all understood by Europe, have rate and sagacious, was misled by Assemani ; and attracted so much attention by the remarkable succeeding writers have, for the most part, conpart they have always played in the intestine tented themselves with copying or abridging his quarrels of their country.

account. Close neighbours to these are the Maronites or Akin to these fantastical tobacco growers, Christians of the Lebanon, who, though far more though of still more obscure tenets and practices, numerous than the Druses, have generally been are the Ismaclieh, who, through a long succession inferior to them in power, because much less pas- of ages have persevered in their attachment to susionately addicted to a military life. The history perstitions which the ordinary speculators upon of this fragment of Christendom surviving in the human nature innocently believe to be extinct. midst of the Mohammedan world, is full of inter- In the East, however, follies are slow to die. esting vicissitudes, which would be instructive did | Even that which we believe to be an universal men in reality derive any practical advantages antidote, the Press, fails to cure the Syrian mounfrom the annals of past times. Even the ex- taineers of their traditional infatuation, We beistence of the Maronites, however, may be regarded hold printing going on in the midst of men more as an extraordinary circumstance, though less so benighted than the Hellens before the advent of than that of the Armenians, who, driven forth Cadmus among them with his alphabet. Books, from the cradle of their race and faith, live scat- in Syria, so far from putting superstition to flight,

was

accu

it.

only, as far as hitherto appears, tend to foster it. | Mohammedans. As soon as thatvast Pashalic shall The fables, in which the people believe, get imbed- lapse, as it most probably will, to Great Britain, ded in their literature, so that the more they read the Turkish territories, compressed between two the more their credulity is nourished. Not, indeed, mighty empires will be diminished rapidly ; the that they read much ; they are too indolent for Russians extending their conquests south, the that.

English north, until the same strange phenomena Perhaps we discover in the Kords and Turco- which met our view in Central Asia, are repeated mans, who with Yezidis complete the cycle of at the western extremity of that continent. At Syrian populations, the only instrument by which what point the two opposing forces will meet and 'Western Asia can possibly, by a spontaneous shock against each other, it will be for futurity to movement, be regenerated. These manly, though decide ; though, if we might regulate our speculafierce and barbarous tribes, were the idea once tions by the experience of all ages, it would not be to present itself powerfully to their minds, might difficult even now to draw the impassible line of easily erect an empire, the growth of which even demarcation. Europe itself would find it difficult to check. The fate, then, of Western Asia as it appears

They hover perpetually in the back-ground of the to us is, to be absorbed by Europe which will Turkish dominions, gifted with prodigious strength, only then have thoroughly accomplished its mis'but disinclined hitherto to make use of it. Their sion, when its two imperial races shall extend connexion with interior Asia would ensure to them their dominions parallel to each other, from the an inexhaustible supply of soldiers; and their | Ægean to the Yellow Sea. rudeness and ignorance would render them too in- All the populations of Syria, with the excepdifferent to the most lavish sacrifice of human tion of the Osmalis, are industrious, and nearly life, to induce them to pause for a moment in the every district of the country abounds with sources career of ambition, should they once enter upon of wealth. All that is required, therefore, is to

The Turks and the Arabs are, for all great rouse the spirit of production, which may at once purposes, effete ; so that it would be unphiloso- be done by affording effectual protection to prophical to expect anything further from them. perty, and opening sufficient outlets for the multiThe other inhabitants of Syria are numerically plied creations of industry. Many provinces are too weak to form or earry out any extensive plan admirably adapted to manufacture ; others are of conquest; and the Kords and Turcomans gifted with an inexhaustible fertility ; some, bor'who might, as we have suggested, be more suc- dering on the desert, would find a never-failing cessful, should they make the attempt, have market among the Bedouins ; others, skirting hitherto only pushed their vanguard into Nor- the sca, would look to Europe for their custhern Syria; and, in the present state of the tomers. It is unnecessary to enumerate here world, are not likely to be inspired by the idea of the productions of Syria, but we may mention acquiring supremacy in Western Asia.

its silk, and tobacco-its corn, and wine, and What then, it may be asked, is to be the fate oil—its honey and its balm—its frankincence, of that part of the world ? Is the political edifice and its unrivalled steel. But, perhaps, the greatof the Turkish Empire capable of re-construction, est source of Syrian wealth- —we mean of possible and, if so, can it be built up by European diplo- and future wealth_lies in an article almost of macy, or must some modification of Asiatic genius untried growth-that is to say, in cotton, in which, preside over it? Without being at all dogmatic from various circumstances which have come on the point, we would invite the statesmen of the to our knowledge, we feel convinced it might West to consider diligently the progress they seem be made to rival even the most favoured districts of to have made in restoring vitality to the Ottoman America. What is called the upland Georgia Porte. The tendency of all they have accom-cotton, is scarely equal to some grown along the plished up to this moment, seems only to have skirts of Lebanon, and the whole valley of the been to hasten the overthrow of that wbich they Jordan and the vast plains of Esdraelon and the meant to reinstate in its primitive condition. Hauran could produce an article not inferior in There has been no revival of patriotism-no fineness. restoration of faith among the Turks, who have It is in circumstances like these, and not in dwindled gradually into a sort of Oriental Epi- wandering about the deserts in the hopes of encureans, intent on present enjoyment, forgetful joying interviews with angels, that the Syrians of the past, and careless of the future. Meanwhile, are to seek the instruments of their future regenethe greatest power of the North has been steadily ration. The best angel they could meet with just pressing upon the frontier, extirpating or subjuga- now would be a steam-engine. Not that we unting one small population after another; and dervalue those pure principles of action with which causing it to be universally felt, that it is merely Heaven inspires great men, through whom it inby an artificial check, originating in political com- stils truth and piety into the great moral world, binations, and not by any native power of resist- as it instils moisture into the physical, by means of ance, that it is restrained from extending its fron- those lofty mountains which avert and attract the tier to the Persian Gulph. On the other extremity clouds ; but over such processes we have no conof the Turkish Empire, there is a space widening trol. Our business is to wield, for the promotion every day into which European energy must of our own comforts and happiness, the physical sooner or later flow. We allude to Egypt, which powers with which Nature has surrounded us. cannot long remain under the domination of the No madness can be greater than that which

would prompt us to interrogate an ignorant | mapping out, as it were, of the whole subject, people respecting the means of bettering human which, however vast and comprehensive, rests on society. With them revolution does not neces- one single principle, the necessary and lasting sarily signify ascent—they change, but do not subordination of force and violence to political always improve. Witness the outbreak of the wisdom. At this very moment we actively inWhahabis, who brought about what is technically fluence the whole fabric of society throughout called a revival in the Mohammedan world, and Asia. European agents stud the entire continent, gave, for a time, a new direction to the currents insomuch that there is not a single prince or emir, of faith and opinion. But it happened that the from the isthmus of Suez to the utmost limits of principle they introduced was not prolific of Mongolia, who has not his mind, from time to civilisation ; and so, after drenching the desert tiine, enlightened by some one from the West, with blood, and thinning populations already commissioned to extend the circle of our arts and too scanty, they retreated into their original our commerce. This may, perhaps, reveal to obscurity, having only added one sect more to many a state of things with which they were not a part of the world which had before too previously familiar. We could print a long list many.

of emissaries who are now labouring unostentaBy introducing the lever from Europe, a very tiously in that vast vineyard. different state of things may be brought about.

In Central Asia we find more unadulterated Already the vast populations of Asia are heaving populations on which to operate. It is easy to exand fermenting, and exhibit an inclination to put cite or enlighten a man of Samarcan, a dweller on new forms, and assume a similitude to the in Kokan, or a Kurgis Kasak.

But, as you apnobler races of the West. And what is this lever proach the Mediterranean, you have first to break to which we allude ? Simply the conviction that through a crust of false refinement before you can there is nothing in this world so noble as honest reach the pure well-springs of intellectual acindustry, which leads men, in the first place, to tivity. But, beginning at the right end, create property, and, in the next, makes them awakening the spirit of industry, and teachresolute to defend it. Let the East, then, return, ing men how to surround themselves with maunder better auspices, to its old practice of buy- terial comforts, you may effect a decisive amount ing and selling, and to its hereditary reverence of good. This we have practically demonfor merchants—those great apostles of civilisa- strated in the case of many other countries. tion, who, whether they travel on the camel or and populations. We have peopled districts in the caravan, in a ship or behind a steam-en- which, within the memory of man, were unprogine, are sure to humanise more or less all those ductive and uninhabited; we have converted dens with whom they have any dealings. We look of robbers into the abodes of trade and industry. opon Western Asia as hopeless as far as regards We have in one province, and within a single cenany spontaneous efforts.

tury, added forty millions to the population; we Their improvement must be accomplished by have multiplied new heads of cattle, introduced reconciling the nations of the East to their own new grains and grasses, trees, shrubs, and plants; interests, by showing them that there is some-opened up mines, hitherto unknown, and clothed thing more sacred than the sword ; that there mountains and valleys, once devoted to barrenare such things as human rights and human li- ness, with the richest harvests. We are not the berties; and that there is and can be no degra- advocates of ambitious conquests; it is not our dation in the subjection of ignorance to know- desire to subjugate mankind; but we certainly ledge. In glancing at their present condition, esteem it our greatest privilege, that we,can, when though we have not confined ourselves entirely called upon by circumstances, teach the least ento the surface, we have experienced little temp- lightened nations of the earth, how to emerge tation to enter into minute details, which can from want and ignorance, into the enjoyment of only then be profitable, when they have been all the blessings which industry and good govern- . preceded by a general statement of facts, by a ment can bestow.

THOMAS CHALMERS AND DANIEL O'CONNELL. We noticed at the close of last number, the death | many to institute comparisons between their of Daniel O'Connell, at Genoa, on the fifteenth character. The lives of an earnest TheoloMay. The blow fell heavily on Ireland at a pe- gian and an acomplished Lawyer-the habits of riod of famine, of disease, and in the year of death. the Professional chair and the Political tribune Immediately afterwards Thomas Chalmers died do not often afford many grounds of just compariat Edinburgh, on the 31st May. The stroke cut son; but they are not wanting in these lives sharply almost to the heart of Scotland. They lives that will occupy so much of history. The were the two greatest Commoners of their age- one will be written by the son of O'Connell, and walking in lines distinctly apart; and yet occa- the other by the son-in-law of Chalmers ; who has sionally, and at not a few points, approaching each left the manuscript, we understand, of many valuother. The circumstances of their greatness and able works. their death within so short a period have induced Thomas Chalmers was found dead in his bed

« AnkstesnisTęsti »