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to kill us and our children and our cattle with thirst? Wherefore have ye made us to come out of Egypt to bring us into this evil place? It is no place of seed, or of figs, or of vines, or of pomegranates: neither is there any water to drink." They were here in the early days of their wandering, when the freshness of the Nile Valley was vivid in their remembrance, and it was later in the year than when we travelled that way. To them the sun was more scorching than to us; and the caked soil of the water-courses had become dry dust; and, as Burckhardt found at a yet earlier season, the scanty foliage of the thorny acacia was all so dead and crisped with the heat as to ignite with a spark. The faith of the meditative and instructed Moses must have been strong to bear him up in such a scene; and what must have been the clamour and despair of the slavish multitude, whose hope and courage had been extinguished by that bondage which yet left their domestic affections in all their strength. At every step we found the scriptural imagery rising up before our minds-the imagery of overshadowing rocks, sheltering wings, water-brooks, and rain filling the pools: even we relieved our mental oppression with imagery like this!'
Yet farther to the south, and east of the Red Sea, lies that immense, jagged, and irregular triangle, four times as large as France, comprising the three Arabias-the Stony, the Sandy, and the Happy. Happy Arabia (Arabia Felix), in which was the Sheba of the Scriptures, consists chiefly of the high lands of a thousand miles extent of coast washed by the Indian Ocean, and fruitful in herbage, fruits, and flowers; the land of frankincense, of coffee, and anciently of gold and precious stones, and cuirassed from attack by land by the stony and sandy deserts which extend along the Red Sea, stretch over to the Persian Gulf, and away towards Jerusalem, Syria, and the Euphrates. Till the capture of Aden by the British no European power has ever held actual possession of any part of Arabia—not even the Romans. One of the armies of the Emperor Hadrian perished miserably there; and it is quite certain that only a great maritime power could make any permanent impression upon it. This is the country of Hagar and Ishmael, and yet mainly possessed by their descendants-the still untamed children of the desert. This is the land, too, of Uz, in which it is thought the solemn and magnificent drama of Job and his counsellors was inspired and poured forth in prophet verse. Here also it was, we know, that in the seventh century of the Christian era, when all of spiritual meaning that attached to their primitive forms of worship had utterly departed, and the image of Abraham, with divining arrows in his hands, divided celestial honours with Hobal, Al Hat, Al Üzza, and other numerous blocks of wood and stone, a trumpet-voice pealed forth from Mecca, proclaiming the great truth and the debasing fiction which constitute the formula of the faith of Islam: La illah il Allah; Mohammed Resoul Allah!'—'There is no god but God, and Mohammed is his prophet '-words which to this day echo from the lips of a hundred and fifty millions of human beings; and there, on the western shore of this Araby, along which it is hoped the merchant navies of Europe may soon freely sweep, stands the Caaba of Mecca, lighted nightly by hundreds of lamps, which illumine the swarthy features of a multitude of devotees, offering their prayers to Allah beside the holy Black Stone and the sacred Zem Zem-the well, they tell you, pointed out
by the angel to Hagar in the wilderness-the only relics or symbols of idolism respected by the great Idol-breaker. A marvellous influence did that man's words possess: These are no gods, I tell you,' rang over the desert wastes: 'you rub them with oil and wax, and the flies stick on them: these are wood, I tell you;' kindling a fire in the hearts of the enthusiastic Arabs-the Italians of the East, as they have been rightly called which swept like a tempest of flame over a large portion of the earth. Persia embraced the faith; Egypt, India, bowed their dusky foreheads beneath the flashing sword of Islam; Constantinople saw the sun go down upon the cross and rise upon the crescent; Spain sank beneath the Moslem yoke; and till the victory of Charles Martel restored calm and confidence to startled Christendom, it appeared probable that the religion of the sword would triumph over the whole of the partially-civilised globe. The contrasts which Arabia present, striking and peculiar as they are, must greatly tend to excite and strengthen the imaginative and superstitious character of the Arab. Amidst pathless solitudes of sand and rock, a luxuriant garden, as at Tayfa, suddenly blossoms amidst the thirsty, arid wilderness; vineyards, rich green pastures, the pomegranate, the melon, the palm, the lotus-every variety of Eastern fruit and flower flourish there in rich luxuriance. We smile at their tradition that Tayfa was floated at the Deluge to its present site; but we cannot marvel that the Arab should be powerfully impressed with the divine work of creative mercy, brought out in such bold relief upon those parched and barren sands, visibly created amidst natural sterility and dearth! The dweller in the desert, oppressed as he must be by an ever-present sense of human helplessness; wandering as he does amidst a moving soil, which the breath of Allah may in an instant convert into pursuing armies, compared with whose swift speed the fleet dromedary is slow and laggard; depending for life itself upon the scattered springs of water, the sudden palm and herbage, which well-up and flourish in unexpected places-tables spread forth at intervals by an unseen, merciful hand, it must seem to him, for the especial sustainment of the fainting wayfarer; and overarched by those intensely-flashing eyes heaven, which look down from Eastern skies-must ever be an impressionable, enthusiastic being, prone to superstition, but always eagerly listening for some clearer, more distinct revelation of the mysterious Power by whose wonders he is for ever and so palpably surrounded. This consideration may weigh with many persons with much greater force than any commercial advantages that more direct and facile means of intercourse with such countries may offer. Superstitious, and in some sort devout, as the Arab may be, his morality is of the lowest kind; but frequent collision with the higher civilisation of the west could not but ultimately rub off the slimy incrustation of eastern semi-barbarism in which he has been for so many ages enveloped. We do not think it would require a long time to count the years of Black-Stone and Zem-Zem sanctity after a locomotive shall have begun to hiss and puff in their vicinity. The steam-horse proclaims a lesson of intellectual superiority which the dullest minds comprehend; and there can be little doubt that, greatly by its agency, the venerative predisposition of the Arab might be trained in a better direction than it is at present-just as other Asian abominations and superstitions are gradually yielding to the resistless momentum of its influence. A
railway train and the car of Juggernaut cannot in the nature of things long run on together; and from what we know of Bedouin, Thuggee, and other Eastern moralities, the reformation cannot take place too early.
Let us now direct our attention to the south-western extremity of Araby the Blest, where stands the fortress of Aden-the last great steppingstone on this high-sea route from England to Bombay, upon a little mountainous peninsula connected with the mainland by a spit of sand only. It was here, we are told, the ships of Solomon met those from India and the land of Ophir, and exchanged products. In the time of Constantine it was a great and populous city, and the seat of a Christian bishopric. Three centuries afterwards Mohammed preached there, planted on its towers the green banner of Islam, and it was, there can be no question, the chief mart of Arabia. Fatalism did its ruinous errand at Aden as elsewhere, and the Turkish conquest so thoroughly completed the work of desolation, that in 1836 it contained only ninety decaying houses, inhabited by about 600 meagre Arabs. There were, however, a very numerous race of long-tailed monkeys-the transformed remnant, according to Arab tradition, of the once mighty tribe of Ad, whose ancient seat is by the same authority declared still to exist somewhere in the unexplored wilderness. As a sufficient proof of the formerly-flourishing, or, at all events, populous condition of Aden, we need only mention its wells, about 300 in number, bored through the solid rock, many of them to the depth of nearly 200 feet; its numerous reservoirs and cisterns; and its immense burying-ground. Aden is surrounded by a black, briny desert of lava and volcanic sand, having neither water, tree, nor shrub-clusters of barren rocks, which might fitly be likened to heaps of fused coal out of a glass-house, and the sea. The necessity of the rockbored wells was consequently a vital one, and by their means Aden is plentifully supplied with that rare luxury of the East-pure, fresh water. Three years only after the English obtained possession of the place the population had increased to 20,000; and now, it is said thirty thousand Arabs, Hindoos, Nubians, Albanians, Copts, Jews, negroes, traffic and wrangle in its crowded bazaars. The fortifications have been repaired and strengthened, and it is garrisoned by a considerable British force. There are few incidents in Anglo-Indian history more curious and characteristic perhaps than
THE CAPTURE OF ADEN,
or more illustrative of the promptitude, sagacity, and resolution with which the active agents of British government in the East seize upon and turn fortunate accidents, unexpected chances, to swift account. This key of the Arabian Gulf and half-way stage between the Isthmus and India-it is as nearly as may be midway between Bombay and Suez-is situated at a few miles' distance only from Bab-el-Mandeb, and eager glances had long been turned in the direction of the coveted spot. Its precise condition, and the great uses to which in British hands it might be turned, had been clearly and elaborately set forth in numerous papers and pamphlets, duly labelled Aden,' among the archives of Bombay, Madras, and Calcutta, but it was not till 1837 that an opportunity occurred of turning that knowledge to account.
That opportunity was eagerly and audaciously seized. Previous to that year rumours had reached the Indian government that the sultan of Lahidge, a place about twenty miles north-west of Aden, was conducting himself very little better than a common plunderer and pirate towards Arab and other vessels that chanced to be wrecked on the coast. As this individual, whose name was Sultan Mhoussin ben - Fondtel ben-Abdul Kevonem ben-Abdallee, was the ruler of Aden, the intelligence was listened to with great interest by the Bombay authorities, and orders were given to the British naval officers on the station to keep a sharp look-out upon his actions. The sultan, however, was prudent enough to abstain from interfering with vessels and persons under the protection of the English flag till 1837, when a stronger temptation than usual fell in his way, and he found himself at once and irredeemably in the iron grasp of the Philistines. In that year the Deriah Dowlut, a vessel of 225 tons burden, the property of the titular Nawaub of Madras, sailed from that port for Juddah, laden with rice, sugar, flour, cloth, and preserves, and having on board several pilgrims of both sexes bound for Mecca. The cargo of the Deriah Dowlut had been insured for £20,000, a sum greatly above its value, and the supercargo, or agent of the owners, contrived to strand the ship in a bay about seven miles distant from Aden, on the morning of the 17th of February 1837. In conformity with sharp Arab practice the vessel was plundered of everything portable it contained, and the passengers stripped of every article they possessed, except the clothes actually on their backs. The females especially were brutally ill-treated, and but for the kindness of the Peer-Gadeh of the tomb of the Sheik Hydroos, the patron saint of Aden, they would have been utterly unable to continue their journey. All this was done by the treacherous connivance of the sultan of Lahidge, who of course obtained the lion's share of the plunder. Doubts, however, of the perfect prudence of his bold venture appear to have early dawned upon the sultan's mind, for the naquidah, or captain of the Deriah Dowlut, was obliged to sign a paper before he could leave Aden, exonerating the authorities there of all blame in the matter of the plunder of the ship. News of the affair soon reached the British agent at Mocha, and Captain Harris of the Indian navy, happening to arrive at that port shortly afterwards, and instantly perceiving the high account to which the opportunity might be turned, set off at once for Aden, to make personal and exact inquiries upon the subject. The sultan at first vehemently denied all cognisance or participation in the plunder of the ship, or the ill-treatment of the crew and passengers, although the stolen property was at the very time being publicly sold in the bazaar, and he exhibited the paper signed by the captain of the Deriah Dowlut as conclusive evidence that he, the sultan at least, was perfectly free from blame in the matter. At last, however, finding that Captain Harris was not to be deceived by lying assertions, however bold and vehement, he offered that gentleman one or two cables, and a few old stores, as all of the plunder he could discover. Captain Harris declined this very handsome offer, and immediately afterwards set out for Bombay. The intelligence he brought excited the liveliest interest in Sir Robert Grant and the other authorities there, and it was instantly, unanimously, and indignantly resolved that full compensation and redress for the outrage on the British flag ought to be at once peremptorily
enforced, and that the sultan could in no way afford that compensation and redress effectually except by the cession of Aden as a coal depôt for the steamers to and fro Suez and India, and its harbour as a port of refuge.
Before acting decisively, however, it was necessary to refer the matter to the supreme council at Calcutta. In the meantime Captain Harris could return to Aden, again formally demand redress, and at the same time impress upon the sultan that the cession of the fortress and port of Aden, merely in trust as a coal depôt and place of refuge, and at a reasonable rent, say about the amount levied at the time as duties on the date- boats which arrive there at one season of the year in great numbers, and other trading vessels from Mocha and the Egyptian ports on the Red Sea, would surprisingly smooth away the otherwise immense obstacles to an amicable arrangement. Captain Harris appears to have executed his mission with great skill and spirit. He left Bombay in the Suez steamer, but meeting with the sloop-of-war Coote on his way, he shifted to her, shrewdly concluding that she would intimate the serious aspect of the business more effectively than the pacific packet. The sultan of Lahidge was absent from Aden, and the negotiation was carried on with his son Hamed, and his son-in-law-an individual with a name as long as his father-in-law's, being Synd Mhoosin ben - Synd West ben - Haman ben - Ali Suffranin whom he, the sultan, appears to have reposed great confidence. The first thing Captain Harris did was to seek out the Peer-Gadeh who had shewn the pilgrims kindness, and present him with a gift of fifty crowns, and a handsome letter of thanks from the Bombay authorities. The next was to demand restoration of the stolen property. This was obtained to a considerable amount, and the sultan gave his bond for 4000 German crowns, payable a twelvemonth after date, for the balance. This effected, more important negotiations with respect to the coal depôt were commenced, and ultimately so successfully carried out, that the son and son-in-law agreed that for the yearly payment of 8700 German crowns the sultan should accede to the Honourable Company's wishes in that respect also. This convention was, however, merely a verbal one, and at last it was suddenly and rudely broken off, and a plan concocted for seizing the person of Captain Harris, and forcing him to deliver up all the papers connected with his mission-the bond of course included. This project was defeated by timely information conveyed to Captain Harris, who was on board the Coote, and he of course did not trust himself again in Aden. The sultan, on being remonstrated with on the folly of such conduct, denied that he had been in any way a party to the contemplated seizure of the British envoy's person, and Captain Harris again returned to Bombay for further instructions. The council at Calcutta had approved of what the Bombay government had hitherto done; but on being again referred to at this stage of the proceedings to sanction the immediate employment of force for the attainment of the desired object, they determined on first consulting the authorities in England. In the meantime, however, in order to keep the question astir, Captain Harris was once more despatched to Aden in the Coote, and furnished this time with a personal guard of thirty men and one officer. His instructions were in substance as follows:
1st. He was to assume for granted that the sultan could have no inten