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THE HOLY LAND,
EDWARD DANIEL CLARKE, L. L. D.
THE travels of Dr. Clarke in various countries of Europe,
Asia, and Africa, have received the stamp of public approbation. The industry, accuracy, and learning, displayed by this traveller, merit the highest respect, and will perpetuate the singular estimation in which his labours are held.
Having already accompanied some celebrated travellers through the most interesting countries visited by Dr. Clarke, we will confine ourselves to his description of Syria and the Holy Land.
Our learned traveller embarked at Alexandria in Egypt, on board the Romulus, captain Culverhouse, and in five days came to anchor in the bay of Acre, where the Romulus saluted the fort, which was returned in the most irregular manner.
“Soon after we arrived,' says Dr. Clarke we went on shore with the captain, to visit Djezzar pacha, whom baron de Tott found at Acre, and described as a horrible tyrant above twenty years prior to our coming. Having acted as interpreter for captain Culverhouse, in all his interviews with this extraordinary man, and occasionally as his confidential agent when he was not himself present, I had favourable opportunities of studying Djezzar's character. At that time, shut up in his forress at Acre, he defied the whole power of Turkey, despised
the vizier, and derided the menaces of the capudan pacha; although he always affected to venerate the title and the authority of the sultan. His mere name carried terror with it over all the Holy Land, the most lawless tribes of Arabs expressing their awe and obeisance, whensoever it was uttered. As for his appellation, Djezzar, as explained by himself, it signified butcher ; but of this name, notwithstanding its avowed allusion to the slaughters committed by him, he was evidently vain. He was his own minister, chancellor, treasurer, and secretary ; often his own cook and gardener; and not unfrequently both judge and executioner in the same instant. Yet there were persons who had acted, and still occasionally officiated, in these several capacities, standing by the door of his apartment; some without a nose, others without an arm, with one ear only, or one eye; “ marked men,” as he termed them; persons bearing signs of their having been instructed to serve their master with fidelity. Through such an assemblage we were conducted to the door of a small chamber, in a lofty part of his castle, over-looking the port. A Jew who had been his private secretary met us, and desired us to wait in an open court or garden before this door, until Djezzar was informed of our coming. This man, for some breach of trust, had been deprived of an ear and an eye at the same time. At one period of the pacha's life, having reason to suspect the fidelity of his wives, he put seven of them to death with his own hands. It was after his return from a pilgrimage to Mecca; the janissaries, during his absence, having obtained access to the charem. If his history be ever written, it will have all the air of a ro. mance. His real name is Achmed. He was a native of Bosnia, and speaks the Sclavonian language better than any other. It is impossible to give even a detail of his numerous adventures here. At an early period of his life, he sold himself to a slavemerchant in Constantinople; and being purchased by Ali Bey, in Egypt, he rose from the humble situation of a Mamluke slave, to the post of governor of Cairo. In this situation, he distinguished himself by the most rigorous execution of justice, and realized the stories related of Oriental caliphs, by mingling, in disguise, with the inhabitants of the city, and thus making
himself master of all that was said concerning himself, or transacted by his officers. The interior of his mysterious palace, inhabited by his women, or, to use the Oriental mode of expression, the charem of his seraglio, is accessible only by himself. Early in every evening he regularly retired to this place, through three massive doors, every one of which he closed and barred with his own hands. To have knocked at the outer door after he had retired, or even to enter the seraglio, was an offence that would have been punished with death. No person in Acre knew the number of his women, but from the circumstance of a certain number of covers being daily placed in a kind of wheel or turning cylinder, so contrived as to convey dishes to the interior, without any possibility of observing the person who received them. He had from time to time received presents of female slaves; these had been sent into his charem, but, afterwards, whether they were alive or dead, no one knew except himself. They entered never to go out again ; and, thus immured, were cut off from all knowledge of the world, except what he thought proper to communicate. If any of them were ill, he brought a physician to a hole in the wall of the charem, through which the sick person was allowed to thrust her arm; the pacha himself holding the hand of the physician during the time her pulse was examined. If any of them died, the event was kept as secret as when he massacred them with his own hands; and this, it was said, he had done in more than one instance. Such stories are easily propagated, and as readily believed ; and it is probable that many of them are without foundation. We must however admit the truth of the terrible examples he made after his return from Mecca, in consequence of the infidelity of his women. From all the information we could obtain, he considered the female tenants of his charem as the children of his family. When he retired, lie carried with him a number of watchpapers he had amused himself by cutting with scissors during the day, as toys to distribute among them ; neither could there be any possible motive of cruelty, even in the worst of tyrants, towards such defenceless victims. He was above sixty years old at the time of our arrival, but vain of the
vigour he still retained at that advanced age. He frequently boasted of his extraordinary strength; and used to bare his arm, in order to exhibit his brawny muscles. Sometimes, in conversation with strangers, he would suddenly leap upright from his seat, to shew his activity. He has been improperly considered as pacha of Acre. His real pachalic was that of Seide, anciently called Sidon: but, at the time of our arrival, he was also lord of Damascus, of Berytus, Tyre, and Sidon ; and, with the exception of a revolt among the Druses, might be considered master of all Syria. The seat of government was removed to Acre, on account of its port, which has been at all times the key to Palestine. The port of Acre is bad ; but it is better than any other along the coast. That of Seide is very insecure, and the harbour of Jaffa worse than any of the others. The possession of Acre extended his influence even to Jerusalem.
It enables its possessor to shut up the country, and keep its inhabitants in subjection. All the rice, which is the staple food of the people, enters by this avenue: the lord of Acre may, if it so pleases him, cause a famine to be felt even over all Syria. Here then we have a clue to the operations of the French, in this, as well as in every other part of the world. They directed every effort towards the possession of Acre, because it placed the food of all the inhabitants of this country in their power, and, consequently, its entire dominion. It is a principal of policy, which even Djezzar pacha, with his propensity for truisms, would have deemed it superfluous to insist upon, that the key of a public granary is the mightiest engine of military operation. Hence we find Acre to have been the last place from which the Christians were expelled in the Holy Land; and hence its tranquil possession, notwithstanding the insignificant figure it makes in the map of this great continent, is of more importance than the greatest armies, under the most victorious leader, ever 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 imprisonment, many of the most powerful chieftains of the country. The sons of the princes of Libanus remained with Vol. IV.
him always as hostages; for tlie Druses, inhabiting all the mountainous district to the north and east of Seide, were constantly liable to revolt.
"We found Djezzar 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 common Arab, plain but clean, consisting 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 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, bis 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 scissors, and beginning to cut figures in paper, which was his constant employment when strangers were present: these he afterwards stuck upon the wainscot. “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