Billeder på siden

The Kiaya Bey beheaded them all without reserve. Some, however, escaped in the dress of Delhis, others disguised as women. They, foolishly, bent their flight towards Upper Egypt, where eventually, and with few exceptions, they were caught and slaughtered. The number of victims amounted, in the end, to upwards of a thousand. The heads of the principal beys were embalmed, and sent as a grateful present to the Divan of Constantinople; one only of the chiefs is supposed to have escaped, Amyn Bey by name, who, with his whole suite, took refuge in Syria. His escape was attributable to chance, for having been delayed, he only arrived at the citadel, at the moment that the Delhis were filing out of the gate. He waited till the troop had passed, but then, seeing the gate shut suddenly, and hearing, almost immediately after, the discharge of fire-arms, he put spurs to his horse, and, followed by his suite, only stopped when he was in safety.

Thus terminated the race of the far-famed Mamlukes of Egypt. They were the cause, however, of their own destruction. Had the advice of the aged Ibrahim been attended to, they might have still existed as a body. They would then have collected their numbers under one leader, according to whose commands all other subordinate beys would have acted, and the result would have been concentration of power, and unity of



purpose. Petty bickerings and private jealousies destroyed them: so true is the holy maxim, that a house divided against itself can never stand.

This massacre, when morally considered, will remain a bloody page in the history of man ; politically interpreted, it was the surest measure for the growth and continuance of the peace and prosperity of the province. The Mamlukes were restless firebrands; they inflamed and destroyed whatever they touched. They were an imperium in imperio, ever in opposition to the Porte, for the weal or the woe of the province; and Egypt never saw one favourable sun under the blight—the dense and destructive blight-spread far and wide by the Mamluke battalions. The Pacha's conscience, however, had, to all appearance, been little disturbed on recollection of the deed. He once heard that his conduct in this respect had been deeply censured in Europe. will have,” said he, “a painting done, representing the murder of the Duke d’Enghien, and by its side will I place another of the Mamluke massacre. Let posterity decide on their respective merits !" .

[ocr errors]



Toussoun's Campaign against the Wahabees—The State of Arabia

Rise of the Wahab Sectarians—Abdul Wahab-His EducationPrinciples of Wahab Faith-Eben Sehood of Derayeh-His Successes in War-Death of Abdul Wahab—The Sheik AbdelazeezDestruction of Kebelah and of the Tomb of Hussein-Death of Abdelazeez-Sehood, his Son and Successor-The Sultan determines on Hostilities against the Wahabees.

: BEFORE enteringon Toussoun's campaigns against the Wahabees, it would not be lost time to cast a cursory glance at their history. Abdul Wahab, otherwise Abdul, the slave of the Most High, was the founder of the sect of the Wahabees. He was the son of Suleiman, the chief of the Ayani, an Arabian tribe of the Ared. Suleiman's trade was that of a camel-driver, or of one who lets out camels for hire. His principal customers were the Mahomedans of India, who yearly travelled the fertile region of the Ared, on their way to Mecca. The trade was most lucrative, and Sulei.

[blocks in formation]

man became wealthy; but he saw with grief the approach of old age, and his own childless state. He sent up entreaties to Heaven—but all in vain, as he supposed, though, when he was about to abandon himself to melancholy and despair, he was suddenly blessed with a son and heir. Prodigies and events of a miraculous quality took place on the occasion, and succeeded each other with rapidity. Happy parent on the advent of whose son the earth was convulsed to its very foundation, and mosques shook, and minarets trembled; in whose presence, lambent but resplendent flames played around the edifices of every city for leagues around, and the sacred lamps in the sepulchre of the Prophet of God himself were extinguished !

The child, born under such tremendous tokens and auspices, was surely worthy of the extremest care of his parent; accordingly, he was sent at the fitting age, to study under the good teachers of Bassora, and the subtle doctors of Damascus. Under their guidance, he was initiated into all the mysteries of Mahomedanism. This, however, would not satisfy him. The pure doctrines of the faith of Islam had been sheltered, as in a sure haven, within the sandy wastes of the Nedjd : for the inhabitants in this arid tract are poor and few, and thinly scattered; wherefore the clashing opinions of disputing casuists had no scope there for action. The dwellers in the land, Bedouins

by birth, and robbers, or wandering shepherds by profession, had little time for reflection : as their creed was delivered to them, so was it treasured up, pure and unadulterated, and so was it handed down to their posterity. In this respect the inhabitants of the western country, where there are many cities and towns, and an extended and dense population, differed materially from the simple Bedouins. With these people, the doctrines of the Prophet of God had been cast into the alembic by subtle logicians, doctors, and controvertists, and had been so frequently transmuted, that not one single vestige or mark of the nature of their original form, character, or essence, remained. Sects had followed sects, until, on account of the innumerable schisms made in the church, and the consequent disputes, and mutual violences of the sectarian parties, the country had the appearance of a habitation of restless and ravenous beasts. To the east, however, of the Nedjd, lies the fertile and populous province of Ared, where the inhabitants are more simple in their manners, more thoughtful in their actions, and less liable to the intrusion of strangers, than are the dwellers of the western country, and of the sea-shore. The people of the Ared, in consequence of their approximation to the Bedouins, imbibed the faith of these last, and becoming, in process of time, great sticklers for purity of doctrine, they were soon led to hate those of the followers of Islam, who had been

« ForrigeFortsæt »