Page images

cargoes are shipped off from Jaffa, for Italy, Portugal, and Spain. Religion being almost the only business which brings men of opposite quarters together here, there is much less bustle than would be produced in a trading town by a smaller number of inhabitants.

This city being included within the pashalic of Damascus, is governed by a Mutesellim, appointed from thence; and the nature of his duties, and the extent of his responsibility, is similar to that in other Turkish towns. No difference is created by the peculiar sanctity of this place, as is done by that of the Arabian cities of Mecca and Medina; for while a governor of either of these is honoured by peculiar privi. leges, the Mutesellim of Jerusalem ranks only as the magistrate of a provincial town.

The force usually kept up here consists of about a thousand soldiers, including horse and foot. These are armed and equipped in the common Turkish fashion, and are composed of Turks, Arabs, and Albanians. The walls of the city, added to the strength of its natural position, form a sufficient defence against any attack from the armies of the country; and some few cannon, mounted at distant intervals on the towers, would enable them to repel a besieging force of Arabs, but it could offer no effectual

resistance to an attack conducted on the European system of war.

From the general sterility of the surrounding country, even when the early and the latter rains favour the husbandman's labours, and from the frightful barrenness that extends all around Jerusalem during the parching droughts of summer, every article of food is much dearer here than it is in any other part of Syria. The wages of the labourer are advanced in the same proportion; as the lowest rate given here to those who perform the meanest offices, is about the third of a Spanish dollar per day; while on the sea-coast of this country, it seldom exceeds a sixth, and in Egypt is never more than an eighth of the same coin.

So much has been said on almost every subject connected with this city, from the natural desire to gratify the ardent curiosity which the very name of Jerusalem must excite, that it is difficult to say any thing which should be perfectly new. On the other hand, that desire of communicating or of dwelling on details, being always as great on the part of the writer, as the readiness to receive them can be on that of those who read, it is equally difficult to know where to stop. If, after these dry details, the reader should still, however, desire to see them united,

or grouped, as it were, in a more general and finished picture, I could not do better than refer him to that which M. Chateaubriand has drawn ; for though its chief merit is in the style of its colouring, there are many faithful touches in it, and its dark shades will offer a striking contrast to the "gorgeous magnificence of glittering domes, and stately palaces," which the illusions of the first view have conjured up for more travellers than one, on first beholding this holy city.

"Les maisons de Jérusalem sont de lourdes masses carrées, fort basses, sans cheminées et sans fenêtres; elles se terminent en terrasses aplaties ou en dômes, et elles ressemblent à des prisons ou à des sépulcres. Tout seroit a l'œil d'un niveau égal, si les clochers des églises, les minarets des mosquées, les cimes de quelques cyprès et les buissons de nopals, ne rompoient l'uniformité du plan. A la vue de ces maisons de pierres, renfermées dans un paysage de pierres, on se demande si ce ne sont pas là les monumens confus d'un cimetière au milieu d'un désert ?

"Entrez dans la ville, rien ne vous consolera de la tristesse extérieure: vous vous égarez dans de petites rues non pavées, qui montent et descendent sur un sol inégal, et vous marchez dans des flots de poussière, ou parmi des cailloux roulans. Des toiles jetées d'une maison à l'autre augmentent l'obscurité de ce labyrinthe; des bazars voûtés et infects achèvent d'ôter la lumière à la ville désolée; quelques chétives boutiques n'étalent aux yeux que la misère ; et souvent ces boutiques même sont fermées dans la crainte du passage d'un cadi. Personne dans les rues, personne aux portes de la ville; quelquefois seulement un paysan se glisse dans l'ombre, cachant sous ses habits les fruits de son labeur, dans la crainte d'être

So much learning and critical sagacity have been already exercised in dissertations on the topography of this ancient city, and in endeavours to identify the chief points of it with the local positions now seen, compared with the existing traditions regarding them, that it might be thought an unwarrantable presumption to dispute the accuracy of the inferences to which these have led. The subject, however, is sufficiently obscure even now, after all the learning and skill that have been exhausted thereon, to admit of new lights being thrown on it; but that, not so much from opening new and hidden stores of learning regarding the changes which this city has undergone, as from an examination of the local features of its present site, free from the shackles and fetters of monkish guidance and unsupported tradition.

The principal cause of the errors which are presumed to exist in the systems that pretend

dépouillé par le soldat; dans un coin à l'écart, le boucher Arabe égorge quelque bête suspendue par les pieds à un mur en ruines: a l'air hagard et féroce de cet homme, à ses bras ensanglantés, vous croiriez qu'il vient plutôt de tuer son semblable, que d'immoler un agneau. Pour tout bruit dans la cité déicide, on entend par intervalle le galop de la cavale du désert: c'est le janissaire qui apporte la tête du Bédouin, ou qui -va piller le Fellah." Itinéraire de Paris à Jérusalem, tom. ii. p. 176.

to fix with such infallibility the localities of this celebrated spot, has been, no doubt, the necessity of adapting the plans of the ancient city to the exclusion of Calvary without the walls. The place assumed for Calvary, is now in the very centre of the modern town, so that, on the face of such an assumption, it must appear that the city has gained on the one side by just as much exactly, as that is now within and distant from its walls. In making this place of Calvary the chief point from which the relative positions and distances of the other positions are ascertained, instead of fixing it by reference to more decisively marked natural features, a confusion has ensued, which it would require the breaking down of all the fabric that superstition has raised thereon to reduce into intelligible order.

Objections to the site of the Holy Sepulchre, and of Calvary, in which it is fixed, were urged, even by pious Christians, at a very early period, and Quaresmius undertook to answer them.*

* Quaresmius opens his chapter, entitled, "Objectiones nonnullæ quibus impugnatur veritas sanctissimi Sepulchri," by saying "Audivi nonnullas nebulones occidentales hæreticos detrahentis iis quæ dicuntur de jam memorato sacratissimo Domini nostri Jesu Christi Sepulchro, et nullius momenti ratiunculis negantes illud vere esse in quo positum fuit corpus Jesu, &c." (Vid. cap. 14. lib. 5. Elucid. T. S.) In the following chapter (15.) he offers a refutation of the objection

« PreviousContinue »