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colleges of Electors should exercise their discretion in selecting the Chief Magistrate. A more alarming innovation is the system of electing judges by popular vote. This change has its origin, partly at least, in the influence of the Democratic theory, confounding Natural with Political Rights. “We have a right to a judge of our own choosing," is the substance of the claim; “if we have an inalienable right to choose our governors and legislators, why not, also, our judges ?" And admitting the premise, it is difficult to avoid the conclusion. But will not the abuse of the elective franchise, and scenes of riot and disorder in large cities, together with the prostitution of the bench, which has been already witnessed, provoke a conservative reaction, and corresponding changes in our political system? We venture not to prophesy; but this we affirm, that if the Democratic system fails to secure the ends of society, if it do not work well, there are no rights of man to be pleaded in support of it.



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Some knowledge of the physical appearance of the country a people inhabit is of essential service in studying their character and history. Having painted before us the home scenery, in its detail of river, valley, plain, hill, and mountain, we feel a deeper interest in the type of life and character exhibited. It was a remark of Burke, that geography was an earthly subject, but a divine study; and how much more the latter, when life-history vitalizes surface description. It is not sufficient that we survey an interesting region : we ask what life vitalizes it, or has vitalized it in the past. Who are the dwellers of these plains, valleys, high mountains, dark retreats, deep and beautiful glens ? The strange people that find here a home-who are they? what their history, character, and mode of life?

In describing that region of the East which is properly the home of the Kurd, our limits will allow us to draw only a few outlines, a mere imperfect sketch, yet we may hope to present some of its more remarkable features.

A tolerably correct idea of the physical geography of Kurdistan can perhaps be formed, if we consider it as a region of lofty terraces, separated by deep valleys, and forming an irregular series of mountain elevations, leading up from the low plains of Mesopotamia and Assyria, to the high table-land of Iran and ancient Armenia. These ranges of hills and mountains in many places assume the majestic and imposing character of Alpine scenery, and yet there is a difference. In the Alps there seems not so much of mystery. On the beautiful lake of Lucerne, in approaching St. Gothard, or at the foot of Splügen, one is indeed awed, and the feeling at times is almost overpowering; yet the surprises are not frequent, startling, and varied ; but in Asia, in the central region of Kurdistan, the mountains are full of defiles, inaccessible retreats, shadowy depths, where are concealed the rarest combinations of scenery, both magnificent and lovely.

A residence in the country is necessary, in order to discover these charming situations, by leisurely exploration, and by frequent excursions wherever a winding path or almost inaccessible way may conduct. It may often be the case, that when one imagines he has discovered all the defiles of a wild gorge, he will suddenly be surprised by another more hidden and more wonderful still. Perhaps, for instance, at the extremity of a deep ravine, where there seems only a perpendicular towering cliff many hundred feet high, a sudden turn will lead down a rocky steep of winding steps into one of the sweetest valleys possible, all green with soft grass and made musical by a clear sparkling stream running through it ;-this narrow rale opening in the distance to the warm sunlight coming down upon a luxuriant little plain, walled up on every side with perpendicular rock. Sometimes, a steep and dangerous ascent leads along the almost overhanging side of some frowning, rocky eminence, by a narrow path, a few inches in width, where, if there should be the least misstep of the horse or mule, the traveler might be precipitated into the dark gorge, a thousand feet in depth ; thus ascending, he may suddenly turn the point of the jutting edge, and reach unexpectedly an extended area on which flocks of sheep or goats are quietly feeding. Or, again, following the rocky channel of some roaring

. mountain-stream, he may come gradually to a narrow defile, into which he almost fears to enter; for, in the craggy sides of the mountain that here shuts down upon him, there are dark openings, some of them many hundred feet above, homes of robbers ; he wonders how they climb up to those dark hiding places; and his fears suggest that there is, perhaps, a secret way leading down into some hidden recess in the path before him. He is aware, it may be, that they have long been watching him from those retreats, as he has slowly approached; he has seen them, moving cautiously at the openings, as though preparing to receive him.

There are in this region many mountain fastnesses, places fortified, perhaps, three thousand years ago, high up in the elevated ranges, where the mountain tribes dwell securely, acknowledging no allegiance to any king or Sultan. No Turk would ever dare venture into these wild retreats.

But who are the people of these interesting though mysterious mountain regions? IIave they a history? to what nations are they allied? what is their language, what their character, religion, customs, and forms of life?

An intimate acquaintance with them of some years duration would lead us to say, that we know of scarcely any people or tribe more interesting to the historian of our race than the Kurds. “There they have remained in their mountain fastnesses, an unchanged and unrecorded race, for certainly more than two thousand years. They have preserved, during all this time, their language, their laws, customs, habits, and independence. From their heights they have witnessed the plains below successively occupied and forsaken by nations from every quarter of the compass. The Assyrian, the Persian, the Arab, the Greek, the Roman, the Tatar, and Turk, have all set up their habitations in these vales and have passed forever; the Turk only lingers. It has been no home or resting-place for any of these races.

But the Kurd looks back on an unbroken descent through a hundred or more generations. From father to son the mountain heritage has been handed down without a breach."

a The Kurds are mentioned by Xenophon, about four hundred years before Christ, as inhabiting these same mountains, manifesting the same characteristics, and leading the same kind of life, as at the present day. In the celebrated Retreat of the Ten Thousand, they gave him much annoyance. At his first entrance into their villages, dispersed as they were in the valleys and recesses of the mountains, they fled with their wives and children into their more hidden retreats and fastnesses; but the Greek army being compelled to supply itself from their stores of provisions, they rallied and greatly harrassed it at the difficult passes, rolling down stones of enormous size, discharging their arrows, and making use of their slings. It is said that they were very skillful archers, their bows being nearly three cubits in length, and their arrows more


than two. In discharging these arrows, they drew the string by pressing upon the lower part of the bow with the left foot. And with such force were the missiles sent that they pierced through the Grecian shields and corslets, wounding and killing many of the men. It is also said that Xenophon found fine horses among them, an abundance of provisions, and a large quantity of wine, kept in plastered cisterns.

These same Carduchi or Kurds gave similar annoyance to the Roman generals, Crassus and Mark Antony, and to the latter in such a degree that, envying the more successful retreat of Xenophon, he frequently cried out: “O the ten thousand ! the ten thousand !"

There exists a great diversity of opinion as to the nations with which the Kurds have affinity or relation. Golius regards them as the original Chaldees, and several distinguished Orientalists in Europe have recently advanced the same opinion. It has been said that the Chaldeans of Babylon were originally a colony of Kurds, brought from the Kurdish mountains by the Assyrian kings, and settled in Babylonia, of which they made themselves the masters, founding the dynasty which ruled for some time over Upper Asia. This policy of transporting tribes and peoples from one region to another extensively prevailed with the ancient Assyrian kings, as we know that Esarhaddon brought the Cutheans, probably from Media, which he had subdued, to inhabit the Samaritan country; and it has been remarked that the introduction into Babylonia and Mesopotamia of a Kurdish colony, which became powerful and subdued its conquerors, would explain a fact which has much puzzled ethnographers-namely, the existence of a new people in Babylonia, having a different language from the old Assyrian (or Aramean). Peter Lerch, in his treatise upon the Kurds, published at St. Petersburg in 1857, says: “investigations respecting the Kurdish people become not a little important for Assyrian and Babylonian studies, if the connection, affirmed by various scholars to exist between the Kurds and the conquering warriors of the Chaldeans, is historically established, and if, as is supposed, both the Assyrian dynasties and their successors were of Kurdish origin.” Kunik, member of the

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