Billeder på siden
[ocr errors]

• By a steep, devious, and difficult track, following our horses on foot, we descended from this place to the village of Hatti, situated at one extremity of a cultivated plain. Here, having collected the stragglers of our party into a large plantation of lime and lemon trees, we were regaled by the Arabs with all their country afforded. Having spread mats for us beneath the shade which the trees afforded, they came and seated themselves among us, gazing, with very natural surprize, at their strange guests.

Some of these Arabs were Druses. As we rode from this village towards the sea of Tiberias, the guides pointed to a sloping spot from the heights upon our right, whence we had descended, as the place where the miracle was accomplished by which our Saviour fed the multitude; it is therefore called The Multiplication of Bread ; as the mount above, where the sermon was preached to his disciples, is called The Mountain of Beatitudes, from the expressions used in the beginning of that discourse. This part of the Holy Land is very full of wild animals. Antelopes are in great number. We had the pleasure of seeing these beautiful quadrupeds in their natural state, feeding among the thistles and tall herbage of these plains, and bounding before us occasionally, as we disturbed them. The Arabs frequently take them in the chace. The lake now continued in view upon our left. The wind rendered its surface rough, and called to mind the situation of our Saviour's disciples, when, in one of the small vessels which traverse these waters, they were tossed in a storm, and saw Jesus, in the fourth watch of the night, walking to them upon the waves. .

• Near the town of Tiberias are some buildings erected over the warm mineral baths of Emmaus, and on the northern shores of the lake, through a bold declivity our travellers beheld the situation of Capernaum. Here they were regaled with fried fish, a species of mullet which, according to tradition, was the favourite food of Jesus Christ. The doctor proceeds:---

• We were on horseback by six o'clock, on Monday morning, July the sixth, notwithstanding our excursion, and continued our route. · Leaving Tiberias, we took a different road from that by which we came, and crossed an extensive valley, hoping

[ocr errors]

to visit Mount Thabôr. In this valley, three hundred French cavalry defeated an army of ten thousand Turks; an event sp astonishing, even to the Turks themselves, that they considered the victory as obtained by magic; an art which they believe many of the Franks to possess.

* All the pleasure of travelling, at this season of the year, in the Holy Land, is suspended by the excessive heat of the sun. A traveller, wearied and spiritless, is often more subdued at the beginning than at the end of his day's journey. Many rare plants and curious minerals invite his notice, as he passes slowly along, with depressed looks fixed upon the ground; but these it is impossible for him to obtain. It appears to him to be an act of unjustifiable cruelty to ask a servant, or even one of the attending Arabs, to descend from his horse, for the purpose of collecting either the one or the other. All nature seems to droop; every animal seeks for shade, which it is extremely difficult to find. But the cameleon, the lizard, the serpent, and all sorts of beetles, basking, even at noon, upon rocks and in sandy places, exposed to the most scorching rays, seem to rejoice in the greatest heat wherein it is possible 4 to exist,

• After three hours, walking our horses, we arrived at a poor village, called Labi, situated upon the brow of a range of hills, which bound the valley before mentioned, towards the south. During our ride, we had suffered apprehensions from the tribes of Arabs under arms, who were occasionally fi seen, descending and scouring the opposite hills, as we crossed the valley. We could plainly discern them, by means of our glasses, reconnoitering us from the summits of those hills. They were described at Labi as collected in great force upon all Mount Thabôr; so that our visit to that mountain became impracticable: the guard whom Djezzar had sent with us; would not venture thither. Our travellers being compelled bu alter the plan of their journey, returned towards

• When our author and his party had arrived at the eat campment of Djezzar on the great plain, or field of Meggica they were kindly received by the general, but inuch oppress the by the wind of the desert



[ocr errors]

• The next morning, Tuesday, July the seventh, we were refused camels to carry our luggage, by the people of Nazareth ; upon the plea, that the Arabs would attack us, and seize the camels, in return for the cattle which Djezzar had taken from them. Asses were at length allowed, and we began our journey at seven o'clock. Every one of our party was eager to be the first who should get out of Nazareth; for although we had pitched a tent upon the roof of the house where we passed the night, it had been, as usual, a night of penance, rather than of rest: so infested with vermin was every part of the building. The author accompanied by a servant, set out on foot, leaving the rest of his companions to follow on horseback. Having inquired of an Arab belonging to Djezzar's guard the shortest road into the plain of Esdraelon, this man, who had lived with Bedouins, and bore all the appearance of belonging to one of their roving tribes, gave false information. In consequence of this, we entered a defile in the mountains, which separates the plain of Esdraelon from the valley of Nazareth, and found that our party had pursued a different route. Presently messengers, sent by captain Culverhouse, came to us with this intelligence. The rebel Arabs were then stationed at a village, within two miles distance, in the plain ; so that we very narrowly escaped falling into their hands. It seemed almost evident that the Arab, whose false information as to the route had been the original cause of this deviation, intended to mislead, and that he would have joined the rebels as soon as his plan had succeeded. The messengers recommended, as the speediest mode of joining our party, that we should ascend the mountainous ridge which flanks all the plain towards Nazareth. In doing this, we actually encountered some of the scouts belonging to the insurgents; they passed us on horseback, armed with long lances, but offered us no molestation. As soon as we had gained the heights, we beheld our companions collected in a body, at a great distance below in the plain ; easily recognising our English friends by their umbrellas. After clambering unong the rocks, we accomplished a descent towards the spot where they were assembled, and, reaching the plain, found Vol. IV.

2 G

[ocr errors][ocr errors]



at the


captain Culverhouse busied in surveying with his glass about three hundred of the rebels, stationed in a village near the mouth of the defile, by which we had previously proceeded. It was at this unlucky moment, while the party were deliberating whether to advance or to retreat, that the author, unable to restrain the impulse of his feelings, most imprudently punished the Arab who had caused the delay, by striking him. It is impossible to describe the confusion thus occasioned. The Mahometans, to a man, maintained that the infidel who had lifted his hand against one of the faithful should atone for the sacrilegious insult by his blood. The Arab recovered from the shock he had sustained, sought only to gratify his anger by the death of his assailant. Having speedily charged his carbine, although trembling with rage to such a degree that his whole frame appeared agitated, he very deliberately pointed it at the object of his revenge, who escaped assassination by dodging beneath the horses, as often as the muzzel of the piece was directed towards him. Finding himself thus frustrated in his intentions, his fury became ungovernable. His features, livid and convulsed, seemed to denote madness: no longer knowing what he did, he levelled his carbine at the captain of Djezzar's guard, and aferwards at his dragoman signior Bertocino, who, with captain Culverhouse, and the rest of us, by this time had surrounded him, and endeavoured to wrest it from him. The fidelity of the officers of the guard, added to the firmness and intrepidity of captain Culverhouse and of signior Bertocino, saved the lives of every Christian then present. Most of our party, destitute of arms, and encumbered by baggage, were wholly unprepared either for attack or defence; and every individual of our Mahometan escort was waiting to assist in a general massacre of all the Englishmen, as soon as the affront offered to a Mahometan had been atoned by the death of the offender. Captain Culverhouse, by a violent effort, succeeded in wresting the loaded carbine from the hands of the infuriate Arab; and signor Bertocino, in the same instant, with equal intrepidity and presence of mind, galloping among the rest of them, brandished his drawn sabre over their heads, and threatened to cut down the first person

who should betray the slightest symptom of mutiny. The captain of Djezzar's guard then secured the trembling culprit, and it was with the greatest difficulty we could prevent him from putting this man to death. The rest of them, now awed into submission, would gladly have consented to such a sacri. fice, upon the condition of our concealing their conduct from Djezzar, when we returned to Acre. These men afterwards confessed, that if any blood had been shed, it was their intention to desert, and to have joined the rebel army.

Here on this plain, the most fertile part of all the land of Canaan, which, though a solitude, we found like one vast meadow, covered with the richest pasture,) the tribe of Issachar “rejoiced in their tents.” In the first

In the first ages of Jewish history, as well as during the Roman empire, the crusades, and even in later times, it has been the scene of many a memorable contest. Here it was that Barak, descending with his ten thousand from Mount Thabôr, discomfited Sisera and “and all his chariots, even nine hundred chariots of iron, and all the people that were with him,” gathered “from Harosheth of the Gentiles, unto the river of Kishon;" when all the host of Sisera fell upon the edge of the sword; and there was not a man left;" when “ the kings came and fought, the kings of Canaan in Taanach, by the waters of Meggido.Here also it was, that Josiah, king of Judah, fought in disguise against Necho, king of Egypt, and fell by the arrows of his tagonist. So great were the lamentations for his death, that the mourning for Josiah became an ordinance in Israel.” The “great mourning in Jerusalem," foretold by Zechariah, is said to be as the lamentations in the plain of Esdraelon, or, according to the language of the prophet, “as the mourning of Hadadrimmon in the Valley of Megg idon.” Josephus often mentions this very remarkable part of the Holy Land, and always under the appellation of The Great Plain.” The supplies that Vespasian sent to the people of Sepphoris, are said to have been reviewed in the great plain, prior to their distribution into two divisions; the infantry being quartered within the city, and the cavalry encamped upon the plain. Under the same name it is also mentioned by Eusebius, and


« ForrigeFortsæt »