Page images
PDF
EPUB

probably, wag Joseph, the ancient Sheekh Bellet of Egypt, unattended when he went to meet his father, though the sacred historian simply says, “ that Joseph made ready his chariot, and went up to meet Israel his father, to Goshen, and presented himself to him.”! As · Ali went out to meet his father with a great and pompous attendance, we may believe Joseph paid Jacob this honour in his life-time, as we are expressly told he did at his death . And Joseph went up to bury his father; and with him went up all the servants of Pharoah, the elders of his house, and all the elders of the land of Egypt.**

Striking, however, as the resemblance was in many respects, in same points there was a great difference: Ali Bey, either by compulsion or persuasion, or a mixture of both, renounced the Christian religion in which he was educated; Joseph continued firm in that of the Patriarchs : Jacob continued in Egypt to the time of his death; but Daout would rot stay there, but returned to his own country: Joseph died in Egypt in great honour; while Ali experienced a miserable reverse, dying in Egypt, but in prison, of the wounds which he received in the fatal battle that overwhelmed him. But there are so many particulars in which there is an agreement, that the comparing them together gives a very sensible pleasure to me, and perhaps may to some of my readers, as there is a very strong resemblance Chap. xlvi. 29.

• Gen, ki 7.

between the honours paid by these eminent young personages to their aged parents, and on, their account, by the Egyptians and the great men of that country.

OBSERVATION LXXX. Pecuniary Rewards Tokens of Honour in the East.

Among us, here in Europe, the distinction between honorary and pecuniary rewards is so great, that we oftentimes can hardly think of jumbling them together as an acknowledgment of public services; and the same person that would receive the first with emotions of great pleasure, would think himself affronted by one of a pecuniary kind: but it is otherwise in the East, and it was so anciently.

De Tott did many great services to the Turkish empire, in the time of their late war with Russia, and the Turks were disposed to acknowledge them by marks of honour, “ His highness,” said the first minister, speaking of the Grand Seignior, “ has ordered me to bestow on you this public mark of his esteem, and, at the same time, made a sign to the master of the ceremonies to invest me with the pelisse;" while the hasnadar o presented me with a purse of 200 sequins.”

" Which robe was richly ermined, according to the pre. ceding page.

Or treasurer. p Mem. Tom. 3. p. 127. A scquis, according to p.110,

The lively French officer was hurt by the offer of the sequins. " I directly turned towards those who had accompanied me, and shewing them my pelisse, I have received, said I, with gratitude, this proof of the Grand Seignior's favour; do you return thanks to the visir for this purse, it is his gift.

« This expedient, which I preferred to a discussion of our different customs, was à sufficient lesson to the visir, at the same time that it disengaged me from the embarrassment of Oriental politeness.”

He then in a note adds, “ This Turkish custom of giving money occasioned the greatest mortification to M. de Bonneval, that a mian, like him, could receive. The ambassador extraordinary, from the emperor, who in the Austrian army had been in an inferior station to the refugee, dined, as is customary with the visir. The Porte had chosen Kiathana® for the place of this entertainment. M. de Bonneyal had orders to repair thither with the corps of bombardiers, of which he was commander. When the exercise was over, he was sent for by the visir, who gave him a handful of sequins, which his situation obliged him to accept, with submission.”

Just thus we find Joab would have rewarded an Israelitish soldier of his army, in the days is a gold coin of different values: that most in use is worth 5s. 10d. of our money, consequently 200 sequins of this sort were equal to 581. 6s. 8d. or something more than 55 guineas.

A place in the outskirts of Constantinople.

of King David, who saw Absalom hanging in a tree: Why didst thou not smite him there to the ground, and I would have given thee ten shekels of silver, and a girdle ? 2 Sam. xviii. 11, The girdle would have been an honorary reward, like de Tott's ermined vest; the ten shekels (or half-crowns) would have been a pecuniary recompense, like the 200 sequins de Tott disdained to receive.

I may add, that a furred robe, in general, is no distinguishing badge of dignity, for it may be worn by wealthy people in private life, who can bear the expense ; so that there is no ground to suppose, Joab's giving a girdle to the soldier would have been conferring some military hopour, somewhat like knighting him, as, if I remember right, some have imagined : it would have been simply a valuable present, and enabling him in after-time to appear with such a girdle as the rich wore, instead of the girdle of a peasant, but united with the consciousness and the reputation of its being acquired by doing some public service, and not the mere effect of being descended from a wealthy family.

The apparatus which some of the Eastern people make use of to gird themselves with is very mean. The common Arabs, according to de la Roque, use a girt adorned with leather ; and their women make use of a cord, or strip of cloth: but some of the Arab girdles are very rich, according to this writer.' The girdle

" Voy. dans la Pal. ch. xvi. p. 211, &c.

Suity.

Joab proposed to give, was doubtless designed by him to be understood to be one of such value, as to be answerable to the supposed importance of the service he wished the man had performed, as well as his own dignity.

So Symon Simeonis, an Irish traveller to the Holy Land, in the year 1322, tells us, “ that the Saracens of Egypt rarely, if ever, girded themselves with any thing but a towel, on which they kneeled to say their prayers, except their people of figure, who wore girdles like those of ladies, very broad, all of silk, and superbly adorned with gold and silver, in which they extremely pride themselves."

I cannot well finish this article without remarking, from what the French baron says concerning himself, what strong disagreeable impressions of an erroneous kind, may be made upon the mind of an European at the offering some of the Asiatic presents, which are not only not affronting in their views, but designed to do those honour to whom they are presented, since de Tott could not get the better of it, though he perfectly knew the innocency of the intention, and had resided long enough, one would have thought, in the country to have destroyed the impression. ,

* Itin. p. 29. Saraceni autem raro vel nunquam cingun. tur nisi tualia, quam cum oratum vadunt coram se exten. dunt, exceptis nobilibus et equitibus, qui cingulis cingun. .tur ad dominarum modum, latis et de serico totaliter factis, auro et argento nobilissime ornatis, in quibus summe glori. antur.

CLIO

« PreviousContinue »