Page images
PDF
EPUB

head. He, however, found a safe retreat with the pasha of Egypt, through whose mediation, and, if our information is correct, by means of a present of 100,000 dollars, he has obtained pardon, and a firman restoring him to his former authority. He received us very favorably. He knew something of America, and when we told him we were Americans, he gave us a salutation, and an expressive look, which flattered our national pride. When he learned that we intended going to Mount Lebanon, he said he should expect to see us there, named a place which he said would be the best for learning Arabic, and promised to give us a letter for that place. We were struck with the stout, robust appearance of the Druses and Maronites.

“3. Called on Osman Nureddin, the President of the pasha's college. We gave him some literary pamphlets, and Erskine on the Evidences of Christianity in French. He treated us very politely, but received Erskine's work with a look which showed that it was not very acceptable. Called likewise to-day on the Armenian bishop Gregory. He gave us a letter for Jerusalem."

Mr. Fisk in connexion with Messrs. King and Wolff was in Egypt about three months. During this time they distributed, or gave away for distribution 3,700 Tracts. They gave away 256 copies of the Bible or parts of it, and sold 644 for about 183 dollars.

"When we review our labors, 'he remarks' we feel, that we have great need, to humble ourselves, and implore pardon for our unbelief, and timidity, and pride; at the same time we can most sincerely give thanks to our Lord Jesus Christ, that he has brought us to this land, and has enabled us to circulate so extensively his holy Word. They, who come after us, will be more able to judge how much good has been done. The day of judgment, we hope, will show that these labors have not been in vain."

CHAPTER X.

JOURNEY FROM EGYPT TO JERUSALEM THROUGH THE

DESERT, INCLUDING HIS. LABORS AND OBSERVATIONS IN THE HOLY CITY AND VICINITY.

We now commence the description, given by Mr. Fisk, of his journey from Cairo to Jerusalem, in company with Mr. King and Mr. Wolff. He passed through the same desert in which the children of Israel wandered, where they murmured and rebelled, and where, after a long protracted day of provocation,” they fell.

"April 7, 1823. Soon after sun-rise an Arab shekh came with our camels. We had engaged thirteen and were to pay six dollars and a half for each, for the journey from Cairo to Jaffa. Four were for ourselves and servant, one for our guide Mustapha, one for water, one for provisions, four for our trunks of books and clothes, and two for the books of the Bible Society and the Jews' Society. We had purchased four goat skins and four leather bottles, in which to carry our water.

"We had hoped to find a caravan going through the desert, but finding it not likely that one would go for some weeks, we prepared to set out alone.

“At 9 o'clock we took leave of Mr. Salt and his family, and rode out of town; and after arranging our baggage, commenced our journey at ten in regular order for Syria. As we started, a Turkish dervish and two or three others joined our caravan. We passed a little way frem Matarieh, and the obelisk of On or Heliopolis. Till one o'clock we rode in the edge of the wilderness, with its immense extent stretching away to the right, and the fertile plains of the Nile to the left. At one our road led us into the fields, but still near the desert. At nearly 4 o'clock, after riding more than five hours, course

E. N. E. we pitched our tent on the sandy plain near the village Abu-Sabel. Here a number of Mussulmans and several Armenians joined our caravan. They had been waiting at the village for a caravan to pass, with which they might go through the desert.

“In the evening we observed the Monthly Concert of Prayer.

“8. We arose at five, and at six resumed our journey. At eight, we passed a village in a large grove of palm-trees. ' At half past eleven, having rode on with our guide, and trotting our camels till we were almost out of sight of the caravan, we stopped to rest under the shade of a tree. Here we felt the force and saw the beauty of the comparison, “like the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.' The caravan came up in half an hour, and we went on. At one, after riding seven hours, course N. and N. E.we pitched our tent on the road near the village Bilbes. Found the thermometer in our tent at $59. In our room at Cairo it had been for some time from 700 to 76. We have hitherto had fertile fields on our left hand, and the barren desert on our right. In looking off upon the desert we have observed at a distance the appearance of water. The illusion is perfect, and did we not know that it is a mere illusion, we should confidently say

that we saw water. It sometimes appears like a lake, and sometimes like a river. As you approach it, it recedes or vanishes.-

Thus are the hopes of this world, and the objects which men ardently pursue,

false and illusive as the streams of the desert. “9. Bilbes being the last village before crossing the desert, our attendants were employed in getting things for themselves and their beasts, and we did not set off till half past nine. Several Turks, Arabs and Armenians here joined our caravan.

After entering the desert, we counted the persons belonging to the caravan, and found the whole number 74, with 41 caméls, 57 asses, one mule, and one horse. Sev

eral of the camels are loaded with merchandize, and most of the camel drivers perform the whole journey on foot. It may be interesting to some of our friends to see a list of oriental names, and to learn with what a 'mixed multitude,' we passed through the 'great and terrible wilderness.'

“There were Mussulman dervishes:—viz. Hadgi Mustapha, of Jerusalem; Hadgi Abdool, Hadgi Khaleel, and Hadgi Saveer, from Bokkaria; Hadgi Kahman, Hadgi Mohammed, and Abdallah, from near Astrachan.

"Arabs:-Mustapha, our guide and the shekh of the caravan; Ismael (Ishmael) and Abdool Assiz, who own a part of the camels; and Hadgi Ahmed, the conductor of a part of the caravan. Among the camel-drivers on foot were Moses, Mahommed of El Arish, Hassan, Hadgi Ibrahim (Abraham,) Mahommed of Gaza, Said, Khaleel, Mahommed, a lad, and Selim and Selina, two Bedouins.

"Turks:-Hadgi Ibrahim, of Damascus. [He was attended by a black eunuch, and his form and size would seem to mark him out as a son of Anak. He seemed built like a tower.] Three soldiers from Erzeroum; Hadgi Suleiman (Solomon) of Dearbeker; Hadgi Younas (Jonas) of Bagdad; and Hadgi Mahmoud.

Armenians: -Boghas (Paul) from Smyrna; one from Constantinople; Boghas and three others from Koordistan; and Tameer, who passed for a Turkish soldier, but told us privately that he was an Armenjan.

Greeks: -One from Tocat, where Martyn died, one from Anatolia, (neither of whom speak any thing but Turkish,) and Elias, a Catholic Maronite from Nazareth.

"There were also eight women; one the mother of Elias, three Turkish, one an Arab, and three negro slaves.

“At half past two, after riding five hours, we pitched our tent on the plain called Rode el Wolten. Thermometer in our tent at 79o. Asked the dervish, Hagdi Mustapha, what a dervish is. He replied, ‘One that eats what he has to day, and trusts God for the future.' "Are they priests?' They are among Turks what priests are among Christians.' 'Are they monks? or can they marry?' 'Some marry, others not, as they please. The term Hagdi, which occurs so often in the above list of names, means pilgrim, and is a title given by the Turks to all who have performed the pilgrimage to Mecca. The Greeks have adopted the word into their language, and bestowed the title upon all who have made the pilgrimage to Jerusalem

“Most of the time to day we have been rising a gentle ascent, course E. and N. E. We are now in the desert, out of sight of the inhabited world. Its appearance, however, is not so perfectly barren, as we expected to find it. Almost every where we see thistles, grass, and flowers, growing out of the sand, though thinly scattered, of stinted growth, and of a dry and withered look. When we stop, we select a good spot for our encampment, raise our tent on its two poles, stretch out the ropes and fasten them to the earth with pins, and then arrange our trunks and boxes of books, so that they serve us for tables, chairs, and bed-steads.

1:10. When the caravan stops, the camels are turned out to feed on the thistles, weeds, and grass, which the desert produces. At sun-set they are assembled, and made to lie down around the encampment. Yesterday afternoon four of them which carried merchandize for an Armenian, went off, and could not be found. Two or three men were despatched in search of them. This morning they were not found, and we arranged our baggage so as to give the Armenian one of ours. The rest of the company also gave him assistance in carrying his baggage,

« PreviousContinue »