On the same day at half-past twelve we set out on our way to Tiberias. In spite of Sir Moses' entreaties for them to return, we were accompanied for about half-an-hour by the principal authorities and most of the people of the town, who, in taking leave, called down upon Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore all the blessings of heaven.
We passed through a beautiful country, a very long descent, winding round hills covered with olives, figs, and pomegranates. In the plain we saw the richest land imaginable, though but a very small part of it was under cultivation, large fields being covered with thistles five and six feet high. The path was rocky and difficult. After riding three hours we reached the plain, and dismounting near a stream of water reposed for an hour. Our road then lay near the foot of the mountains; it was one continual ascent and descent. When we were about two hours' ride from Tiberias, while saying the afternoon prayers, we heard the sound of the darabuca (Turkish drum), with shouts of joy, and soon beheld a large party coming to meet us, dancing and singing. They joined us in prayer, and when we had finished, the head of the German congregation bade us welcome in glowing terms. We then proceeded on our way, the people dancing and running before us, playing on the drum and fife, and singing in Hebrew in a general chorus. The spiritual heads of both German and Portuguese communities and the principal representatives of all scholastic and charitable institutions of the town now joined our cavalcade. They were all singing in Arabic and Hebrew, to express their delight at our visit to their city. We had gone but a short distance when we were met by the Mooselim or Governor, well mounted and armed, and attended by about a dozen officers and servants. He told Sir Moses he came to offer him his services and to do him honour, and that in this Holy Land he respected persons of all religions. He directed his soldiers to skirmish up and down the sides of the mountain, charging and retreating for our amusement. The Cadi (Judge) and his son also joined our party, paying Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore many compliments.
"The evening," says Lady Montefiore, "was beautiful, and the gaiety of the scene beyond my feeble powers of description; the music, singing, and dancing of the people, the firing of guns, the horsemen at full gallop up and down the steep sides of the mountain, discharging their pistols, throwing the jareed, stopping their horses when at full speed, and then riding round our party; and now, as we approached the town, the moon shone brightly on the lake; it was a complete fairy scene. At a short distance from the town we were met by a great concourse of people, men, women, and children, many bearing large torches. They formed, as it were, a lane on either side for us to pass through, the same merriment, music, singing, and dancing continuing. We found the whole town illuminated, it was as light as in the day; we were saluted on all sides with expressions of joy and heartfelt wishes. Not only were the streets crowded, but even the roofs of houses were covered with gaily-attired females. All cheered us as we passed, joining in the chorus, 'They are come, they are come, our happiness is come.' Never will the scene be effaced from our memory."
We proceeded to the house of Rev. H. N. Abu-el-afia, which he had prepared for our reception. Here the Governor and good people took their leave, thinking we must need repose after so much fatigue. All appeared greatly pleased, Mussulmans as well as Jews. The house looked very clean and comfortable, with good sized rooms neatly furnished in the Turkish style. Mrs Abu-el-afia, a pretty and clever woman, made us partake of some coffee and sherbet, which was soon followed by a good supper.
INVITATION FROM THE PORTUGUESE CONGREGATION AT JERUSALEM—SANITARY MEASURES IN THE HOLY CITY—THE WIVES OF THE GOVERNOR OF TIBERIAS VISIT LADY MONTEFIORE—A PLEASANT JOURNEY—ARRIVAL AT JERUSALEM.
Tuesday, May 28th.—The heat was very great. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore did not leave the house till nine o'clock, when they went for a little while to the shore of the lake. Sir Moses received letters from the heads of the Portuguese congregation at Jerusalem, dated ten days back, informing him that they had prepared a house for him, but were sorry they could not come out of the town to receive him, as there was a cordon round the city. They did not mention one word as to the state of the city, but in two other letters brought by the same messenger, we learned that many Jews, whose names they gave, had died of the plague, all the individuals in four houses being stricken with it. In conversation with the messenger, the latter informed Sir Moses that the plague was in Jerusalem and in all the villages surrounding it; also at Gaza and Jaffa, adding that Sir Moses might cut off his head if he had not spoken the truth.
Sir Moses determined to despatch a messenger to Mr W. T. Young, the British Consul at Jerusalem. On applying to the Governor of Tiberias to let him have a messenger with a good horse, he immediately sent us a fine, handsome fellow, armed with pistols, sabre, &c. Sir Moses gave him the letters, and he started instantly, at three o'clock in the afternoon.
The Governor sent early in the morning to say that he wished to come and pay his respects; at the same time he sent a small, very beautiful gazelle for Lady Montefiore, which was there considered a valuable present. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, having appointed twelve o'clock for the interview, he came punctually at that hour, accompanied by the Judge of the town and some half dozen of their officers. Pipes, coffee, and sherbet were handed round. The Governor was most friendly. He said he had made that day a holiday in the town in honour of their visit, which had given joy and peace to all the inhabitants, and that Sir Moses might command his services in any way he pleased. Houses, servants, horses, &c., all were at his disposal. He much regretted being obliged to leave the town himself with some soldiers he had collected, who had to join Ibrahim Pasha. He would be away about twenty days, but had desired his secretary to attend to any request Sir Moses might make in his absence. He added a hope that Sir Moses would come and settle in that part of the world, as the Jews were in great need of a chief or leader; they could then take land and engage in agriculture. Soon after he left, Lady Montefiore received an invitation from the Governor's wives to come and dine with them, saying that they had had a lamb killed and prepared for the occasion by a person specially sent by the Jewish authorities of the place. Lady Montefiore was anxious to accept the invitation that she might see the interior of the harem, but it was thought she had better not go, and an apology was sent, she pleading fatigue from the journey.
The Jews all agree in acknowledging that the present Governor is an excellent friend to them. The Judge is not friendly to them, but the Governor prevents him from doing them any mischief.
The representatives of the German and Portuguese congregations, each attended by about twenty of their members, paid them visits, remaining for about an hour in earnest conversation. They promised to have ready, by the next day, statistical accounts of their communities, which Sir Moses desired to have for his special guidance in the distribution of the money he had brought for them.
Wednesday, May 29th.—The heat during the night was most oppressive. Most of the inhabitants placed their mattresses either on the roofs of their houses or in the yards, and slept in the open air. In the morning, before five, we rode on horseback to the hot baths, about half-an-hour's distance from the town. These are natural hot springs. Sir Moses did not find them sulphurous, but rather salt. They are situated close to the lake, but the hot spring has its source in the mountains. Ibrahim Pasha had erected a handsome building, with some rooms for the use of bathers. The large bath, which is circular, would accommodate one hundred persons. There are also two chambers with handsome marble baths. There is a room, commanding a beautiful view of the lake and distant mountains, where, after having taken the bath, one can enjoy an hour's rest, and partake of coffee and sherbet prepared by the attendants there.
On their return from the bath they visited the tombs of some distinguished teachers in Israel, whose resting-places were pointed out by the gentlemen who accompanied them.
In the course of the day the Governor's wives sent to say they wished to have the pleasure of paying Lady Montefiore a visit. They also sent for her acceptance a fine large sheep.
Lady Montefiore, in her diary, gives full particulars of the visit. The Governor, she was told, had four wives, but only three of them came. They were attended by a black girl, and by a man as their guard, as well as by the mother of the Governor's youngest wife. The first wife, who is considered to be, and is also called, "The Great Lady," was a pleasing and intelligent woman; the other two were somewhat younger, but equally good-looking, the age of the youngest being about eighteen, and the eldest thirty. All of them were exceedingly good-tempered. When Sir Moses asked them if they could read, the eldest one replied in the negative, "but," said she, "the Agha intends marrying another lady, so that she may teach us to do so; we shall all be pleased if he does."
They became very chatty, and were most desirous that Lady Montefiore should visit them, and go on the water with them to the bath. "The great lady" smoked a chibouk, but did not offer it to the others. Lady Montefiore made each of them a present of a neat gold ring set with mosaics, with which they were much pleased. They said it was the first visit they had ever paid; they were not even allowed to visit their own brothers, but the Agha was so pleased with Lady Montefiore, that he wished his wives to see her. The ladies remained two hours, and I had to act as interpreter. About fifty members of the Portuguese community came to see us, and we had a long conversation with them on the subject of the cultivation of land in the vicinity of the town. Many members of the German congregation arrived at the same time to pay their respects to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and also joined our conversation on the subject. The early marriages, which are customary in the East amongst all classes of society, were warmly discussed by all present. To Europeans the custom appears strange, and a great drawback to the promotion of happiness among the contracting parties, as well as to society in general. Orientals, on the contrary, think it most desirable to preserve a custom which they consider beneficial, and conducive to the happiness of families.
Thursday, May 30th.—On this day the distribution of money took place. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore themselves put their gifts into the hand of every man, woman, and child of the Hebrew, as well as of the Mussulman and Christian congregations. Their labour was not finished before ten in the evening, the trouble and fatigue of the distribution being exceptionally great, in consequence of the lists containing the names and descriptions of the recipients not having been correctly prepared. Of the sheep brought to Lady Montefiore by the Governor's wives, Sir Moses distributed to the descendants of Aaron those parts which, according to an injunction of Holy Writ, belong to them, a proceeding which afforded much gratification both to donor and the recipients.
Friday, May 31st.—Another visit was paid to the different localities in which the tombs of the renowned teachers in Israel had been pointed out to them. In the afternoon they attended the Portuguese Synagogue, and in the evening, after the Sabbath repast, hundreds of members of the community sat down in the spacious courtyard in order to enjoy a full view of the honoured pilgrims, who were singing Psalms and Sabbath hymns. The evening was beautiful; the whole place was illuminated with variegated lamps, and the Oriental holiday attire of the many ladies who surrounded the fountain of cool and refreshing water, made the scene charming and picturesque in the extreme.
The next day they attended divine service in the German Synagogue, and were present at the naming of a child, the son of a distinguished member of the community, to whom they had been requested to act as god-parents. In the afternoon, having attended service in the Russian place of worship, they visited the heads of that congregation, and spent the evening at home in receiving the numerous friends who called on them.
Sunday, June 2nd.—At half-past 5 P.M. we left Tiberias. Hundreds of persons came to see us off, and followed us. The officers of the Governor (he having gone with some troops to Damascus), with about a dozen soldiers and some attendants, also accompanied us for nearly half-an-hour. We rode for two hours and a half over the hills. Towards the west the land was very rich, and sown with wheat, barley, and oats, but not well cultivated. We pitched our tents at Eyn Louba. The effect of the numerous glowworms and fireflies in the darkness of the night was extremely beautiful. Late in the evening a messenger arrived from Caiffa, bringing Sir Moses a letter from Beyrout. There had been no battle, but both parties were in daily expectation of hostilities. The plague, it was reported, had broken out in Damascus, and the country, both around that city and Beyrout, had begun to be in a very disturbed state. Several travellers had been robbed, but the post still passed. All vessels from Alexandria had to perform quarantine; most of the villages in Palestine were infected with the plague.
Monday, June 3rd.—We started at five and halted at 6.40 for the mules with our luggage. We were not travelling the usual way, as we wished to avoid the villages as much as possible. We were then near the highest point of Mount Tabor; we had crossed some of the richest land imaginable, and seen many fig and almond trees, pomegranates, prickly pears, &c. We reposed under an almond tree till our luggage came up. The servants had mistaken the way, and one of the janissaries was obliged to go in search of them. We set forward again at eight, and rode till 1.30 P.M. We then rested near a rivulet, in the shade of a small cavern in the front of the mountain, commanding an extensive view of the rich plain, nearly the whole of which was in a state of cultivation. Almost all the crops were cut. On the mountain above us, Jacob and Laban made their league together, and called it Gal-ed. We started again at 4 P.M., and rode till seven, when we pitched our tents in a very pretty orchard of fig-trees and pomegranates, the latter covered with blossoms.
Tuesday, June 4th.—After taking a cup of coffee, we set off at five in the morning from Djouni, riding through a lovely country of mountains, hills, dales, valleys, and plains, all truly splendid, and in the highest state of cultivation (wheat, barley, oats, &c.). We passed many towns and villages, but did not enter them. This part of the country appeared well populated. The inhabitants were good farmers, and possessed horses, cows, oxen, sheep, and goats in great abundance. There were also olive and mulberry trees of very great age, apparently many centuries old, and there was more skill displayed in their cutting than we had hitherto noticed in the Holy Land. It was a complete garden. "I have never seen," Sir Moses observed, "any country so rich and beautiful. We rested under a grove of fig-trees, in a garden surrounded by the most magnificent scenery; the spot might well have been termed, 'a garden of Eden, a very Paradise.'" We amused ourselves by discussing the writings of Hillel the elder, and reading extracts from the works of Maimonides.
At two we proceeded on our journey till six. The road was very rocky, and the ride, especially the descent to Nablous, the ancient city of Shechem, exceedingly difficult. We encamped close to the well of Jacob. Many of our brethren came from the city to welcome us, and brought with them some fine poultry and fruit, which they requested Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to accept. They did not enter our tents, as we were fearful of contagion.
Sir Moses had, eight or ten days previously, sent them a number of printed forms, for the purpose of inserting under particular headings any statistical information they could give respecting their own community. These he now requested them to let him have, as he desired to distribute some money among those who stood in need of assistance. Fortunately they had already prepared the papers required, and it did not take long to send a messenger to the Synagogue, who brought them without delay.
Wednesday, June 5th.—We visited the tomb of Joseph, and copied the inscription on the wall. We said our prayers there, and proceeded to the village of Awarta, where we copied the Samaritan and Arabic inscriptions on the tombs of Phineas, Eleazar, and Ithamar, the sons of Aaron the High Priest. We also visited the tombs said to be those of the seventy elders, and then continued our way to Jerusalem. At twelve o'clock we rejoined our attendants, who had already prepared various refreshments for us in a tent pitched for our accommodation, near a well called "Eyn" or Khan Lebban. We were much fatigued, and the heat was excessive. While we were partaking of our repast, many persons, travellers and others, came to water their beasts. Some of the Mussulmans, after performing their ablutions at the well, said their prayers, and a number of young women, with pitchers on their heads, came from the neighbourhood to fetch the cool water from the inexhaustible spring of Laban.
At four o'clock we left this pleasing scene, and ascended a high mountain by a desperately stoney road, on the edge of precipices. On the summit we were surprised at finding a very lovely plain, well cultivated, and with many gardens, containing fig, olive, and almond trees, as well as vines. We erected our tents at six o'clock in the corner of a field near the village of Snidgil. Both on that and the previous day we met many families, Jews, Christians, and Mussulmans, flying from Jerusalem to escape the plague; the accounts which they gave us were extremely alarming.
Thursday, June 6th.—We were on horseback at half-past four in the morning. The day was cool and pleasant. Our road lay between the mountains, in a narrow pass, formed by the dry bed of a torrent, with gardens on each side. The mountains were cultivated in terraces, and planted to the summit with vines and olives—"a lovely scene," Sir Moses observed. Indeed it would have been impossible to travel through a richer or more beautiful country.
We stopped to rest and take some refreshments, and started again, ascending an extremely barren mountain, and at two o'clock reached Shabia, or Gibeah, the commencement of the scene of destruction.
We dismounted, and read some of the Lamentations of Jeremiah, then continued our journey till three o'clock, when we had the first view of Jerusalem. Dismounting once again, we recited the usual prayers.
Hearing that the plague was yet in the city, Sir Moses deemed it prudent not to enter. We therefore passed the walls and went up the Mount of Olives, where we pitched our tents on a spot commanding a magnificent view of the Holy City and Mosque of Omar, near the tomb of "Huldah" the prophetess.
For two hours before reaching Jerusalem, the road by which we travelled was stoney and deserted. Not a blade of grass or a tree was visible. "Most fervently do I pray," Sir Moses remarked, "that the wilderness of Zion may again be like Eden, and her desert like the garden of the Lord."
Friday, June 7th.—Before Sir Moses was up, the Governor of the city came to pay him his respects, and waited till he was ready to receive him, which he did under one of the olive trees, as we had declared ourselves in quarantine. The Governor was exceedingly friendly, and offered to accompany Sir Moses to the Jordan, Dead Sea, and Hebron, and to do him any service in his power; he also sent a present of five sheep. All the representatives of the Portuguese and German congregations, accompanied by crowds of their members, came up to give a heartfelt welcome to their future champion and his excellent wife, bringing with them numerous presents of choice wines, fruit, and cakes, besides articles of rich embroidery.
Saturday, June 8th.—We recited our prayers under the shade of an olive tree, directly opposite the spot where stood the Temple of Solomon. Our situation commanded a splendid view of every part of the city and the surrounding mountains. Our happy moments were unfortunately disturbed by the wailing of the Mohammedan mourning women who followed no less than four funerals. In the course of the day all the leading members of the community came to visit us. When Sir Moses spoke to them on the desirability of procuring work for the poor, the majority of those present expressed themselves in favour of agriculture. In the evening, while sitting in our tent, a jackal stole noiselessly in. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were a little alarmed at the incident, which recalled to their minds the words of the prophet, "For this our heart is faint, for these things our eyes are dim, because of the mountain of Zion, which is desolate, the foxes (jackals) walk upon it" (Lamentations v. 17, 18).
In the course of conversation with Mr Young, the English Consul, the latter expressed his approval of the Jews being employed in agriculture. He advised beginning in a small way, so as not to excite the suspicions of Mohhammad Ali. Mrs Young gave Lady Montefiore some distressing accounts of the poverty of the people, and pointed out the necessity of at once finding them some means of earning a livelihood. Money, the Consul said, was very scarce in Jerusalem; he had lost by every bill he had cashed for travellers. Five weeks previously he had sent his servant to Beyrout for L300, and he was fearful he had either been robbed of the money, or else had run away with it.
Sunday, June 9th.—More than three hundred visitors came to see Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore. The Governor also called again to say that he was very anxious they should enter the city, that the people might have an opportunity of showing their esteem for them. Sir Moses, in reply, said that he and Lady Montefiore would visit the city on the following Wednesday. The Governor then arranged that he would come himself with some soldiers to conduct them, that they might run no risk, and begged Sir Moses would ride his horse.
Monday, June 10th.—We rose early and rode round the walls of the city, and through the valley of Jehoshaphat. Having descended Mount Zion, we passed the Pool of Siloam, and crossing the bridge over the Brook Kidron, visited all the important tombs and monuments in the valley. We then read our Psalms, and returned to our tents for breakfast. Again hundreds of visitors arrived, amongst whom were four Scotch clergymen, who were making a tour in the Holy Land to enquire into the state of the Jews there; they intended going through Poland for the same purpose.
The following day, being the anniversary of Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore's wedding, they gave a special feast to all their attendants, which prompted the janissaries, guides, and moukaries to sing praises of the devout pilgrims, and invoke heavenly blessings on their benefactors.
THE TOMB OF DAVID—SPREAD OF THE PLAGUE—MUSSULMAN FANATICISM—SUSPICIOUS CONDUCT OF THE GOVERNOR OF JERUSALEM—NAYANI, BETH DAGON, JAFFA, EM-KHALET, AND TANTURA.
Tuesday, June 11th.—We rode before breakfast through the valley of Jehoshaphat, then to the tomb of King David. The keeper of the place produced an order from Ibrahim Pasha, which prohibited the entrance of Europeans to the tomb. We addressed a letter to the Governor, informing him that the keeper would not admit us. A short time afterwards the Governor arrived. He approved of the conduct of the keeper, but thought, nevertheless, that the Pasha's order did not refer to a gentleman who, like Sir Moses, was the bearer of letters of introduction from the highest authorities in the land, and, leading the way, he invited us all to follow him to the tomb. It was a spacious vaulted chamber, supported in the centre by a column. At the further end we saw a trellised window, on the right of which was an arched folding door. Being led to the spot, we beheld through the lattice the tomb, covered with richly embroidered carpets. In the centre was an Arabic inscription, "This is the tomb of our Lord David," on either side of which were the double triangles known by the name of "the shield of David." On one corner of the tomb hung a rich silk sash and a pistol, the offerings of Ibrahim Pasha. The Governor, addressing Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, said, "I will now leave you to your religious devotions," and then left the place. We recited several psalms, and went away much gratified with the opportunity which we had had of visiting the sacred spot.
On our return we visited the cave of Jeremiah and the tombs of the Kings. In the evening a number of people came up to pass the night on the Mount of Olives, so as to be ready in the morning to join the procession which had been arranged for our entry into the city. Many of our brethren from Hebron, including the spiritual heads and representatives of their congregations, came to offer us their congratulations, and to accompany us the next day to the Synagogue. In the evening a large number of friends, and students from the colleges, assembled round our tents, to recite the evening prayers in front of the place formerly occupied by Solomon's temple.
Wednesday, 12th.—We rose before four o'clock. The Governor offered to attend us at daybreak, but Sir Moses said he would let him know when we were ready. At six o'clock Sir Moses sent for the Governor, who came attended by the representatives of the several congregations, a number of soldiers, and many of his officers and servants. They took coffee, pipes, etc., and after sitting down some time we set out at eight o'clock in procession. Sir Moses rode a beautiful white Arabian horse, which the Governor had sent him the day before; Lady Montefiore rode her own. We entered the city by the Gate of the Tribes, and passed through most of the streets, which were crowded with men, women, and children, the Governor having made it a holiday. We proceeded to the Portuguese Synagogue, where the Governor left us. His officers and men remained with us till we again reached the Mount of Olives. The Synagogue was beautifully decorated, and attended by as many of the congregation as space would permit. Special prayers were offered up by the Ecclesiastical Chief, who invoked the blessings of Heaven on the pious pilgrims. At the conclusion of the service we received a hearty welcome to the Holy City from all present.
We then went to the German Synagogue, where a similar service was held, addresses delivered, and prayers offered up for the friends of Zion, after which we proceeded to the Western Wall, and recited there the usual prayers in the presence of a large assembly. Having thanked the representatives of the several communities, we repaired to the house of the Governor, Lady Montefiore awaiting our return in the Synagogue of the late Mr Lehren.
Sir Moses then rejoined Lady Montefiore, and paid a visit to Mr and Mrs Young and some other friends, returning to the Mount of Olives about four o'clock P.M.
The record of this day in his diary concludes with the following words, expressive of the grateful sentiments which filled his heart:—
"The Lord God of Israel be praised and thanked for permitting our feet to stand a second time within thy gates, O Jerusalem, may the city soon be rebuilt, in our days. Amen." "I believe," he continues, "the whole population was looking at us, and bestowing blessings on us."
Thursday, 13th.—We were engaged all day in speaking to persons who came with petitions. Some of Sir Moses' friends, fearing the ravages of the plague, informed him of their intention to accompany him to Hebron. A man to whom we had spoken, only a few days previously, had since died of the plague, so that their apprehensions of serious danger seemed to be fully justified. Sir Moses distributed the money he had brought with him from England, and made arrangements for the further distribution of L500, which he promised to send either from Beyrout or Alexandria.
Friday, 14th.—With feelings of deep regret we left the Mount of Olives for Hebron, and after three hours' journey reached Rachel's Tomb. Seeing that it was greatly out of repair and going fast to ruin, Lady Montefiore gave directions for an estimate for its restoration to be made. Half way to Hebron we rested for an hour near a fortress and a great reservoir. Our route lay through a mountainous country, little cultivated. On the summit of a mountain at some distance we saw the tombs of Nathan the prophet and Gad the seer.
About an hour's ride from Hebron we were met by the representatives of the Hebrew community, accompanied by hundreds of their members, many of whom danced and sang psalms to manifest their delight. They preceded us to the place where we pitched our tents, in an olive grove near the town. The vicinity of the town was beautiful, very mountainous, but covered with vines, olives, and pomegranates. We attended the Portuguese Synagogue, and then returned to our tent.
Saturday, 15th.—Early in the morning, the representatives of the community came to accompany us to Synagogue, where both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were received with the highest respect. At the conclusion of the service the same gentlemen accompanied us back to our encampment. Whilst at breakfast the Governor was announced; he brought with him a present of four sheep. As we kept ourselves in quarantine, and our place of encampment was surrounded by a cordon, Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore could not receive him in the tent. After having finished their repast, however, they went out to him, although they did not consider it advisable to accept his present, as he had not paid the pilgrims the attention due to them on their arrival. The Governor, feeling that he had not acted as he should have done, offered profound apologies, but blamed the community for not having given him due notice of their arrival. In consideration of his polite excuses, his present was accepted. When he offered his services, Sir Moses asked whether he could take us to the Cave of Machpelah, but he could not give a favourable reply. We had visitors the whole day.
Sunday, 16th.—There were assembled in front of our tents no fewer than two hundred people, men, women, and children, including all the representatives of the congregation, together with their wives and children. They presented us with certificates entitling us to free seats in their several Synagogues, both Portuguese and German. They also requested Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore to accept the presidency of their charities and schools. The Governor also paid them another visit, as a special mark of respect, repeating his apologies for not having come to meet them, and volunteering his services during our visits to the holy places. After he left, the whole congregation united in prayers for the evening service. The scene was most interesting. Numerous presents had again been sent by various members of the community; also a jar of fresh butter and another of honey, by the Sheik of the place. After the prayers, the four sheep which the Governor had sent were prepared for the repast. The parts appropriated to the descendants of Aaron, the High Priest, were given to them, the hind quarters were presented to the Mussulman and Druse attendants and moukaries, and the forequarters to poor Jewish families. All present appeared happy. Singing, playing, dancing, and performances with sword and gun, afforded amusement to old and young, to Druse, Mussulman, Christian, and Jew.
Monday, June 17th.—The Governor and Sheik having, on the previous day, promised to accompany us to the Cave of Machpelah, they came this morning before nine o'clock, together with their attendants. After having partaken of coffee and sherbet, with the usual accompaniment of a chibouk, we set out for the tombs of our forefathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Many members of the Hebrew community followed us. On reaching the steps of the Mosque, even before we had dismounted, there was a great cry against us entering. We nevertheless ascended the steps, and entered the passage leading to the interior of the Mosque. It was filled with people, all screaming and threatening us with sticks. But the situation soon became much more serious. The Mussulmans began to beat back those of the Jews who had followed us, and the screams were truly frightful. The soldiers of the Governor of Beyrout and the janissary from Mr Moore, the English Consul, behaved admirably; they struck right and left with all their might, and the entrance gate was soon closed. We remained inside, and following the Governor, attempted to enter the Mosque, but we were for some time prevented by the cries of the people, which were greatly increased by a dervish, who threw himself before the door, shrieking in a most frightful manner, and calling on the people not to allow us to enter. Sir Moses, however, drew Lady Montefiore along past him, and we made good our entrance; but, perceiving that we were in great danger, the Mosque being filled with at least five hundred persons, many of whom were armed with sticks, Sir Moses did not deem it prudent to remain. We therefore immediately passed through the opposite door, and left the Mosque by a different gate to the one through which we had entered. The only objects we saw in the passage deserving notice were two large stones in the wall; they were similar to those in the Western Wall at Jerusalem, at least nine yards long and one yard broad. We also saw an iron gate which, we thought, might perhaps lead to the cave, but Sir Moses felt certain that they were determined we should not enter to see any part of it. The Governor appeared in great alarm, and had not the least influence with the people. "To say the truth," Sir Moses remarked, "I did not see him make any exertions for our safety." He accompanied us to our tents, making many apologies for the unhappy result of our visit; but Sir Moses would not speak to him, as he (the Governor) was bound in honour and duty not to have subjected us to such an insult.
We were scarcely in our tents before many people came running to us from the Jews' quarter, saying that the Mussulmans were beating them most unmercifully, and they were fearful of being murdered. Sir Moses received letters from the representatives of the community, one of whom had been so severely beaten that he was obliged to write from his bed. Several others called who had also been very much ill-used. We feared that perhaps we should also be attacked as soon as it was dark, although Sir Moses felt no serious apprehension, should such an event take place, as we had seventeen people with us, many of them well armed. Nevertheless, as we strongly recommended it, he wrote a letter to the Governor of Jerusalem, acquainting him with what had occurred, and requesting him to send a few men as a guard.
Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore then attended both the German and Portuguese Synagogues, and distributed their benevolent gifts to the men, women, and children in the same way as at Safed and Tiberias. We then returned to our tents, took our dinner, and afterwards received many visitors. Having looked to our arms and said our prayers, we retired to rest, "confiding," Sir Moses observed, "in the protection of Heaven."
Tuesday, June 18th.—Our tents and luggage having been placed on our mules, we left the olive ground, followed by the heads of the community and many of our brethren. A few minutes later we were joined by the Governor of the town and the Sheik, with his officers. They again made many apologies for the occurrences of the previous day, and accompanied us on our road for half-an-hour. The Jews also followed us, singing psalms. Sir Moses entreated them to leave us, which they did, after bestowing thousands of blessings on him and on Lady Montefiore.
In less than a quarter of an hour we met the janissary whom Sir Moses had sent to the Governor of Jerusalem. He came at full gallop, and had several horsemen with him. He brought Sir Moses an answer from the Governor, who had sent him twenty brave fellows, all well mounted and armed. We waited a few moments till they all came up. They were commanded by an Agha, who promised to defend us with his blood and that of his men.
Sir Moses then requested our co-religionists to return to the town, giving them numerous tokens of his love for the Holy City of Abraham "the beloved." (This latter attribute the Mussulmans always attach to the name of Abraham.) They departed with many blessings for their devoted friends and protectors. The soldiers, janissaries, moukaries, and our own attendants continued feasting and firing their muskets the whole night, and making so desperate a noise as to render sleep impossible.
Sir Moses afterwards learned that the Governor of Hebron had already commenced showing his authority, much to the advantage of the Jews. Having heard that one of them had been ill-treated by a Mussulman, the Governor immediately caused the offender to be severely punished in his presence as a caution to the Mussulmans against again committing a similar offence.
Wednesday, June 19th.—We left our encampment at seven, reaching the tombs of Nathan the Prophet and Gad the Seer at half-past nine. Our guards amused us on the way with a complete sham fight with lance, sabre, musket, and pistol, advancing and retreating at full gallop. They were all capital horsemen, and it was a most pleasing and lively sight. We read our prayers at the tombs, which are situated near the village of Halhool. Our road lay between the mountains, a continuous desert, until we reached the plain. Sir Moses there discharged our escort, made presents to the Agha and every one of his soldiers, and sent a letter of thanks to the Governor of Jerusalem, accompanied by a valuable telescope. We encamped for the night near the village of Zaccariah, and started again the next morning at six.
Thursday, 20th.—We proceeded via Nayani to Beth Dagon, near Ashdod, and reached Jaffa the next day. We encamped on the sands close to the sea. The British and Russian Consuls soon after called, bringing with them the sad intelligence that the plague was in the town and neighbourhood.
The superintendent of the Quarantine then came to see Sir Moses, and gave him a certificate which, we thought, would enable us to proceed to Beyrout without performing quarantine. The Cadi and the Governor of the town also called to pay their respects. The latter, being the brother of the Governor of Jerusalem, was particularly attentive, and sent presents of sheep and various kinds of fruit.
We left Jaffa on Sunday, reached the village of Emkhalet in the evening, and encamped in a large and beautiful plain near Mount Carmel. The next day we started at two o'clock in the morning, and at seven arrived at Caesarea, where once stood the proud city of Herod. It must have been a place of great magnificence, to judge from the splendid remains of the granite columns; there is also every appearance of its having had a fine harbour, most beautifully situated. It is now, with the exception of some portions of the wall which formerly surrounded the city, little more than an immense pile of ruins. We had a very pleasant ride nearly the whole way, on the sands close to the sea.
We left Emkhalet early in the morning. It was very dark, and we ran great risk of serious accident, having to pass many deep holes, like wells, in which the corn is laid up for the year. These were at that time being filled in, so that they were left uncovered.
We breakfasted and rested till twelve, when we again set forward and encamped in the evening at Tantura, the ancient city of Dor, of which we read in the first Book of Kings that it was inhabited by the son-in-law of King Solomon. We left our tents a few minutes after one o'clock. We had a pleasant ride, great part of the way through a beautiful plain between Mount Carmel and the sea. We passed not far from some splendid ruins of a castle and town. On proceeding to the spot, we found it to be "Athlit," some of the Arabs called it "Atlik," the Castellum Perigrinorum frequently mentioned by the Crusaders. There are still many arches and vaults to be seen, as well as some granite pillars. The remains of a church also attract the traveller's attention; by the style of its architecture it is supposed to be of Christian origin. There are some stones in the walls round the building as large as, and similar to, those in the Western Wall at Jerusalem.
ENCAMPMENT NEAR MOUNT CARMEL—STATE OF THE COUNTRY—CHILD MARRIAGES IN THE PORTUGUESE COMMUNITY AT HAIFA—ARRIVAL IN BEYROUT.
At 8 P.M. we reached the quarantine cordon at the foot of Mount Carmel, a narrow pass between the sea and the mountain, about two miles from Haifa, where we had intended to rest, fully relying on our certificate from the superintendent of the quarantine at Jaffa. Having always kept ourselves in quarantine since we left Beyrout, and lodged in our own tents, avoiding all villages, we expected to have been allowed to pass without any detention, but to our great mortification the officer in command informed Sir Moses that, having come to his cordon, he and his party must perform quarantine, but that he might send a messenger to the Governor of Beyrout, under whose orders he acted. This Sir Moses at once did, and having addressed an Arabic letter to him, he charged one of the soldiers of his suite to take it to the Governor with all possible speed. In the meanwhile, the superintendent suggested that we should have all our things dipped twice into the sea, once on that day, and after seven days a second time.
Some members of the Hebrew community came to us and promised to bring us all the provisions we might require during our stay in quarantine, and we became reconciled to our detention. Mr Young, the British Consul in Jerusalem, when forwarding to Sir Moses his letters from England, took the opportunity of adding some information respecting the state of the Holy City, which was far from satisfactory. He also informed Sir Moses that several of his friends had been attacked by serious illness. Mr Kilby, of Beyrout, sent a report, in which he said that war was inevitable, that all the country was in a disturbed state and the roads infested with robbers. Several assassinations had taken place even at Beyrout, and he recommended us to apply to the Governor of Acre for an escort. "Last week," he wrote, "two Jews left Beyrout with three hundred dollars for Hebron, which had been sent from Amsterdam for the congregations; they were stopped near Kasmia, robbed of the money and dreadfully beaten, one of them being shot in the struggle. Although severely injured, the wounded man contrived to reach Sidon, but died there." "How wonderful are the ways of Heaven!" observed Sir Moses. "The second night after we left Beyrout we thought ourselves most unfortunate in being compelled to sleep in the open air, as we were too fatigued to reach our tents and luggage, which were already at Kasmia. Had we continued our journey and succeeded in reaching that place, we should in all probability have shared the same fate as the other two Jews." A messenger had also been robbed, and had lost several of his fingers by a sword cut.
Signor M. di A. Finzi, the British consular agent at St Jean d'Acre, came to present his respects to Sir Moses, and brought some valuable information respecting agriculture in the environs of Tiberias and Safed. This gentleman had acted most benevolently towards the unfortunate people who had been attacked by Druses. The British Consul of Haifa also came to see Sir Moses, and reported that Ibrahim Pasha had advanced on Aleppo. It was rumoured that there had been some fighting, and all the troops in quarantine had received orders to leave the next day and join Ibrahim Pasha. All the country was in a most disturbed state, and the Jews of Safed were so much alarmed, that they fled from their homes and had reached Haifa in a very distressed condition. The people at Safed had received information that the Druses were coming to pillage the place. The Governor of the town had left it with the few soldiers he had under his command. Every one appeared very uneasy at the unprotected state of the country, as a hundred men from the mountains could, with the greatest facility, have plundered every town and village in Palestine. On the previous evening the Governor of Acre had brought his thirty-five wives to the Carmellite convent as a place of security; he remained there overnight and left in the morning. The convent was just above the spot where the quarantine ground was situated.
Thursday, 27th June.—Even the discomforts of a detention in quarantine were sometimes varied by pleasing incidents, such as making the acquaintance of distinguished travellers. In this case we had the pleasure of becoming acquainted with several eminent men, including the Rev. Dr Alex. Keith and Dr Black, who happened to be performing their quarantine in the same locality.
These gentlemen called on Sir Moses, and he returned their visit the next day. The time passed so agreeably to all that these visits were frequently renewed.
The superior of the convent on Mount Carmel addressed a very polite letter to Sir Moses, regretting that our being in quarantine prevented his having the pleasure of receiving us in his convent, but making an offer of his services, and sending a present of the best wine of Mount Lebanon.
Saturday, June 29th.—The day was spent in repose, with prayers and reading the Sacred Scriptures. Being so close to Mount Carmel, our thoughts naturally turned to the Prophet Elijah; and in addition to the usual Sabbath prayers, Sir Moses read to us the 18th chapter of 1st Kings in a most solemn manner, and with such fervour that every one present was deeply affected.
In the course of the day the messenger returned, bringing the following reply to Sir Moses' letter:—"The Governor cannot allow a shorter quarantine than seven days."
In the evening, after the conclusion of Sabbath, letters from Mr Kilbee were opened, containing the correspondence from England. There had been disturbances in some of the manufacturing towns at home and in Paris; the Melbourne ministry had resigned, but had again accepted office. This was all the news we received from England, but Mr Kilbee added unsatisfactory intelligence from Beyrout. He wrote that the Druses had plundered Damascus, and the whole country was in a state little short of rebellion, and that poor Lady Hester Stanhope had died on the night of the 21st inst., having been without medical aid or the attendance of any European. Mr Moore, the British Consul, and the Rev. Mr Thomson had been to her house on the 23rd, and they buried her the same night by moonlight.
The accounts which the messenger brought from Beyrout of the disturbed state of the country induced some of our men to beg Sir Moses to discharge them, as they were fearful of continuing the journey, and all appeared much alarmed. Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore were undecided by which way they should proceed to Alexandria, as they were unwilling to go by sea, the boats from Haifa to Alexandria being very small; nor did they wish to risk an attack of the Druses by going to Beyrout.
Sunday, June 30th.—We heard heavy firing at Acre, about two hours' ride from here, which caused some uneasiness; but at ten o'clock the guardians informed us that Ibrahim Pasha had defeated the Sultan's army near Aleppo, and had taken many prisoners. The firing of cannon at Acre was in celebration of the victory. Sir Moses feared it was but a proof of hostilities having actually commenced.
Many gifts arrived daily from the Agha of the place, from the Superior of the convent, and from several Sheiks in the neighbourhood; and as Sir Moses invariably returned handsome presents to these parties, as well as to their servants, it is not surprising that, in every town and village which they visited, the gifts they received were so numerous.
The chief of the quarantine visited us with the physician, and requested me to feel the pulses of every one of our party, including Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and to declare on my honour whether they were in good health. They evidently mistook me for a doctor of medicine, and I gladly complied with their request. I felt the pulse of everyone, and reported it to be in a most satisfactory state. During this examination Sir Moses was in a state of great uneasiness, as the least indisposition would have subjected him and the rest of the party to an addition of forty days extra quarantine at the least, which he prayed heaven to avert, as he feared it would make us all seriously ill. The same evening Drs Keith and Black came to our tents and acquainted us with the news they had just received from Haifa. The road to Beyrout by the sea shore was infested with thieves, and the road they had intended to take, through Nablous, was quite impassable; they had therefore determined to proceed by sea, and intended leaving at six o'clock the next morning. Sir Moses, however, relying on the Almighty's protection, decided to go by land with Mr Finzi, the English Consular Agent at Acre, who had offered to accompany us.
Monday, July 1st.—"We left with a grateful heart," writes Sir Moses, "the place of our encampment in the morning, and were accompanied by the superintendent of the quarantine, the British Consul at Haifa, and Signor Finzi, who rode with us as far as the Synagogue in Haifa. They wished to wait for us there, and then accompany us to Acre, but I thanked them for their intentions and begged them not to do so; they therefore took leave of us with many good wishes."
We entered the Synagogue, which was but a small and mean looking room, and after divine service Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore distributed gifts to the poor to the same amount he had given in the other towns. He expressed his displeasure to the Portuguese community for allowing marriages among such very young people to take place, and begged them to follow the example of their co-religionists in Jerusalem, who allowed no such early marriages as those which must have taken place in Haifa. Of the few German Jewish families whom he saw there he spoke in terms which showed his great satisfaction with them.
Tuesday, July 2nd.—We set off this morning at two. Our road for three hours lay through a well cultivated plain, but after that we had to cross a steep and rugged mountain. At seven o'clock we stopped in a beautifully situated spot to rest. We sat down under a fine tree in a garden which commanded an extensive sea view, but we were informed that snakes had been seen in the garden, so we started again at 2 P.M. Our road led over a mountain pass, one of the most difficult, Sir Moses said, he had ever seen. The pass ran many hundred feet above the sea and close to the edge of a precipice nearly all the way. On descending into the plain we found it well cultivated, being almost covered with white mulberry trees. We noticed several women engaged in stripping them of their foliage, whilst others were winding the silk off the cocoons.
At three o'clock we reached the fountain, "Ain el Gaml," or "Sebeel Iskandrooni," and from there to "Ain el Medfooni;" the road was again very rocky and in some parts precipitous. Lady Montefiore being an excellent rider, galloped along rather heedlessly, and her horse rushed right into the sea. Apprehending danger, I galloped after and succeeded in overtaking her, and in seizing the bridle of her horse. In doing so my own horse stumbled and threw me rather heavily, but fortunately the fall was not attended by any serious consequences. The waters of the fountain just named bear a great reputation among the natives in that neighbourhood for their healing qualities, and numerous invalids may always be found there, who come for the cure of their various ailments. At six we encamped near the famous fountain known by the name of "Ras el-'ain," where the ruins of its great aqueduct leading to "El Ma'-shuk" (an isolated hill in the plain) and the ancient Tyre were still to be seen. This fountain and those previously named were considered by several writers of the middle ages to be identical with those alluded to by King Solomon in the Song of Songs (iv. 15): "A fountain of gardens, a well of living waters, and streams from Lebanon."
July 3rd.—We rose about one o'clock, set off at three, and reached "Nahr el Kasimiyah" at five. When we had crossed the river of that name, we saw a wolf under some rocks, about thirty yards distant. One of our guards fired immediately, but only succeeded in frightening it, and it ran away. The shock of the musket threw the man off his horse! "So much for guards!" exclaimed Sir Moses. "This was one of the three men we took from Acre, on account of the dangerous condition which the roads were reported to be in." Afterwards we saw four beautiful young deer bounding along the sea shore, and the British Consular Agent hurried on in the hope of getting a shot at them; but he was disappointed, much to the satisfaction of the soldier who had been so unsuccessful in attempting to kill the wolf. He slyly observed that he was pleased to find some one equally clever in the party; nevertheless, he continued, "our will was good, even if we failed in the deed." We rested at "El Kantare." During the day we came across quantities of wheat that was being cut and carried, and observed many men in the fields, but they were all Druses. They were the only able-bodied men we had seen engaged in agriculture during the whole of our tour. The crops were everywhere most abundant, and of excellent quality. Indian corn and tobacco covered much land, and had likewise a most promising appearance.
Sir Moses now sent a messenger to Mr Kilbee, of Beyrout, requesting him to engage a house for us. We started at four, and reached Bassatin towards the evening, where we encamped for the night. On the road we met three men, who were recognised as belonging to the sect of the Metouali by the peculiar turbans which they wore. Our guides begged them to let us have a little water to drink, but this they refused to do. As it is a most unusual thing in the East not to allow a traveller to quench his thirst, they were ultimately compelled to hand us their jars of water, though not before some unpleasant arguments as to their right of giving or withholding had taken place. Our people, having slaked their thirst, returned the jars to the Metoualis, who took them, and immediately dashed them against the stones, where they were shattered to pieces. The strangers assigned as their excuse for doing so, that their religion forbade their using any vessel after it had been touched by a person of a different creed.
July 4th.—We rose soon after midnight, and started at two o'clock. Our road lay for some distance along the sands, close to the sea, and over rocks, from which we obtained fine views of the distant mountains. We reached "Chadi" at eight, and reposed there till 4 P.M., when we again set forward, and proceeded as far as "Bir Khassan," a small tavern on the road side. Here we recited a prayer of thanks for our safe return. A number of our brethren came to meet us, and in their company we continued our journey to Beyrout, which place we reached at eight o'clock. The afternoon's ride had been extremely beautiful, our route taking us through what seemed a succession of gardens. Sir Moses, however, felt very weak, and thought he could not have endured another day's journey. We found a house, which had formerly been inhabited by the Rev. Mr Thomson, comfortably prepared for us.
Friday, July 5th.—Beyrout.—Sir Moses received a visit from the Governor of the town, who said he was happy to see us safely returned, as he had been uneasy on our account. "Indeed," he observed, "you displayed more courage than prudence in attempting such a journey under existing circumstances, and I am delighted to think you met with so little inconvenience." He also gave us the official account he had received of the victory. He said 12,000 prisoners had been captured, besides 140 pieces of cannon, and 25,000 stands of arms, the killed and wounded on both sides being 9000. The victory had been most decisive, and the whole of the Turkish army was annihilated. "Before this battle," the Governor continued, "the country was in a state little short of open rebellion. There being no troops left to keep the Druses in check, they came down from the mountains, and pillaged the towns at their pleasure. Many of the inhabitants of Damascus and Safed fled to Beyrout and Acre for refuge."
The residence which Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore occupied was so pleasant, that it contributed greatly towards their recovery from the fatigue and excitement of the journey. The house stood very high, in the midst of a beautiful garden. It was about three quarters of an hour's ride from the town, and commanded beautiful views of the sea, the adjacent country, and the mountains of Lebanon. The gardens in the neighbourhood were mostly filled with mulberry trees (white) for the cultivation of silk-worms, and, at a short distance, we noticed several sand hills. These hills move progressively, and destroy the country in their course by burning the land and trees. Of many fig trees only the tops remain visible. In the evening several visitors belonging to the Hebrew community arrived, and joined in divine service for the Sabbath.
July 6th.—The Austrian steamer from Jaffa arrived, bringing reports that Russia had chartered 400 transports to convey 25,000 troops from Odessa to Constantinople.
July 7th.—Many visitors came to offer their congratulations on our safe return from the journey; among others, Mr Moore, the British Consul, who told us that English, French, and Austrian steamers were expected with further information respecting the political state of Egypt, Turkey, and Syria.
ON BOARD THE ACHERON—SIR MOSES' PLANS ON BEHALF OF THE JEWS IN PALESTINE—INTERVIEW WITH BOGHOZ BEY—PROPOSED JOINT STOCK BANKS IN THE EAST.
Monday, July 8th.—We sent the greater part of our luggage on board the Acheron, under the command of Captain Kennedy, and prepared to start at a moment's notice. Sir Moses occupied himself with writing letters to Mr Young, the British Consul at Jerusalem, to whom he sent money for distribution among the indigent Christians of the Holy City, as well as for their burial ground. To Mr Joseph Amsaleg he sent L500 for the poor of the Hebrew communities, and to the Rev. Mr Thomson he sent a donation for the Christian poor of Beyrout, as well as a souvenir for himself, in consideration of the accommodation afforded to Sir Moses in his house. To the poor of Safed he gave, through R. Moses Schmerling, 53,500 piastres, and to those of Hebron he gave, through Nissan Drucker, 11,770 piastres, being the amount he had promised for these two Holy Cities.
The following day Sir Moses concluded his arrangements with the representatives of the Hebrew community in Beyrout, respecting the distribution of his gifts for their Synagogue and poor. This being accomplished, his work for the day was over.
"I am now anxious," said Sir Moses, "to have an interview with the Pasha at Alexandria, for the purpose of claiming of his Highness security for the persons and property of the Jews in Palestine, and particularly for those at Safed and Tiberias where they are continually exposed to insult, robbery, and murder. I have also several other requests to make of him, viz., that he will order the walls of Tiberias to be repaired; that he will admit the evidence of Jews in cases brought before the judges or governors of the land; that he will permit land and villages to be rented on a lease of fifty years, free from all taxes or claims of governors, the rent to be paid at Alexandria; that he will allow me to send people to assist and instruct the Jews in a better mode of cultivating land, the olive, the vine, cotton, and mulberries, as well as the breeding of sheep; finally, that he will give me a firman to open banks in Beyrout, Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Cairo. I sincerely pray," he continued, "that my journey to the Holy Land may prove beneficial to the Jews; not only to those who are already there, but to many others who may come to settle in the Holy Cities, either from love for the Land of Promise, or from a desire to quit countries where persecution prevents their living in peace. I shall then be amply repaid for the fatigue and anxiety of my journey."
July 10th.—Sir Moses had been extremely unwell on Tuesday and confined to his room, but feeling a little better the next morning, he gave orders for our immediate departure, as the English Consul had informed us of the arrival of the Indian Mail Packet, adding that we must embark at once, as the boat would get under weigh about noon. Having taken leave of all our friends, we proceeded to the wharf, where Captain Kennedy's boat took us on board the Acheron. We were under weigh at seven o'clock. The weather was extremely sultry, and a terrible swell, with a head wind, contributed greatly to the discomfort of all on board.
July 12th.—At five o'clock in the morning we had a sight of land off Rosetta, and at half-past nine we passed the Egyptian fleet; fourteen ships under full sail, standing to the east, about twelve miles from Alexandria. They made a very imposing appearance. All had new sails; they kept an equal distance ship from ship, a cable and a half's length apart (900 feet), and formed an excellent line. The second ship, with a flag at the foremast, was the Vice-Admiral's. The Admiral was in the centre of the line, which consisted of eleven line of battleships with three tiers of guns, two large frigates, and one large corvette. The Rear-Admiral's flag was at the mizzen of the last ship. We anchored safely in the harbour of Alexandria at 11 A.M. The men-of-war in the harbour were all dressed with flags, and over the houses of the Consuls floated the flags of their several nations. The captain took us on shore in his boat, and at one o'clock we reached the hotel. The first news we learned on our arrival was that the Sultan was dead, and that his son and successor had accorded the Dominion of Egypt to Mohhammad Ali and his successors.
Sir Moses called on Colonel Campbell, but he had to wait some time before seeing him, as the Colonel was with the Pasha. The Colonel willingly consented to introduce Sir Moses to Boghoz Bey, and fixed four o'clock for the purpose. Colonel Campbell said he would call for Sir Moses, and bring one of his horses for him.
The Colonel was punctual, and we rode together to the residence of Boghoz Bey. Sir Moses gave him his three requests in writing, and he promised to lay them before Mohhammad Ali and explain them to him. The Bey appeared well inclined to forward his requests, and offered to present him to the Pasha either the same evening or the next morning. Sir Moses fixed nine o'clock the next day, although Colonel Campbell wished it to be the same evening, Sir Moses was, however, desirous that the Pasha should have time to consider and talk over the matter with his minister before the interview, and it being near Sabbath, he knew not how to get there.
July 13th.—We rose at five in the morning; recited the Sabbath morning prayers. About half-past seven we proceeded to the Pasha's palace. The Sardinian Consul kindly lent Sir Moses his sedan chair, the only one to be found in Egypt at that time. We could not ride in a carriage on account of the Sabbath. Sir Moses was in full uniform, and wore his Sheriff's chain. The palace was situated about half-an-hour's distance from the Hotel de l'Europe, and commanded an extensive view of both harbours, as well as the outer roads. The Pasha's fleet was in full sail nearly opposite to his window.
Sir Moses gives the following account of his interview with the Pasha:—
"I had to wait," he writes, "for Colonel Campbell in one of the attendance rooms, being before the time I had appointed to meet him; he came very punctually at nine o'clock. We were immediately admitted to the presence of Mohhammad Ali. He received me standing, then taking his seat on the divan, he motioned me to a seat on his right hand, Dr Loewe next to me, and Colonel Campbell on the left of the Pasha. His Highness gave me a very gracious reception, and spoke on each of my requests. Referring to the one for renting land of him in Palestine, he said he had no land there, but any contract I might make with the Mussulmans should have his approval, and he would send it to Constantinople for confirmation.
"On repeating that I had been led to believe that his Highness possessed land there, from information I had received when in the country, he replied that if I could point out the parts belonging to him, I could have them.
"He said he would be glad to see the land better cultivated, and I might send proper persons with agricultural implements.
"I then spoke to him on the subject of the Jews being admitted as witnesses at Safed, Tiberias, and Hebron, in the same manner as in Jerusalem. He first said that on account of their religion they could not be permitted to give evidence against Mussulmans, but on my again repeating that they were so permitted in Jerusalem, he replied that Jews and Christians should be treated alike, and there should be no difference between them.
"I then spoke to him as to the rebuilding of the wall round the town of Tiberias, which had been destroyed by the earthquake. I said there were plenty of stones on the spot, and people willing to do the work free of expense, as the inhabitants were at present so much exposed to robbers. At first he misunderstood me, and asked which wall it was that the Jews wished to repair. I explained to him that both Mussulmans and Jews were equally anxious that the city wall should be repaired: both had written and spoken to me on the subject whilst I was at Tiberias, begging me to represent to him the present insecure state of the city; all that was required was his order to have the work done. He said he would order a report to be made immediately to him, and the wall repaired.
"I told him that in the cultivation of land, security was necessary for both land and person, and I hoped they would have it. This he also promised.
"I then spoke of establishing joint stock banks with a capital of L1,000,000 sterling, with power to increase it, if necessary. His eyes sparkled at this; he appeared delighted, and assured me the bank should have his protection, and he should be happy to see it established.
"I mentioned the branches: Alexandria, Beyrout, Damascus, Jaffa, Jerusalem, and Cairo.
"I said I was happy to see him looking so well; he did not appear to me older than when I had the honour of being presented to him at Cairo in 1827. This is really the fact. I then congratulated him on the fine appearance of his fleet, which I had passed yesterday. He replied, 'At present it is very small.'
"I presented him with a bronze medal of our most gracious queen, struck by the city of London to commemorate Her Majesty's visit to the Guildhall on the 9th of November 1837. He appeared pleased, examined it attentively on both sides, asked me if it was a good likeness of the Queen, then thanked me for it. I took leave, and returned to the hotel the same way I came, being followed the whole way by crowds of curious people.
"Boghoz Bey, the Pasha's Minister of Commerce, had read over and explained my requests to him on, the previous evening, that he might be fully aware of the object of my visit to him. Being anxious to have Mohhammad Ali's answers in writing, which he said Boghoz Bey should give me, as he had been present at our interview, I called on the Bey, but he had not returned from the Palace.
"Between four and five I walked there with Dr Loewe. Boghoz Bey received me most politely, and said as I had not put my signature to the written requests, he could not give me an answer in writing, but he hoped I was perfectly satisfied with what Mohhammad Ali had promised me this morning. He added that as soon as I had made my several requests in writing, and signed them, he would write me the answer, agreeably with the Pasha's words, as he had accorded me all I required.
"I thanked him, and immediately after the conclusion of Sabbath I wrote, and sent the several requests to Boghoz Bey, properly signed in the form of letters."
Numbers of visitors came to pay their respects to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, and offered congratulations on their safe return from Palestine. Mr Waghorn (the originator of the short overland route between England and India), read to Sir Moses the letters he had just addressed to Lord Palmerston, Mr Hobhouse, and the Times newspaper on the subject. The heat was intense, and we were so terribly persecuted by insects that the pleasure of our interesting discussions was greatly marred. Sir Moses indeed observed that he could not live in Egypt, even to be king of the land.
Sunday, July 14th.—A deputation from the Hebrew community, headed by their Ecclesiastical Chief, and the representatives of their schools and charitable institutions, waited on Sir Moses to report on the state of their Synagogues, &c. Sir Moses, with his usual liberality, contributed towards the funds of all their charities. He then requested me to wait on Boghoz Bey to receive the letter which the minister had promised him. Accompanied by Lady Montefiore, Sir Moses afterwards paid some visits, and took leave of all who had called on them; and, this being accomplished, they proceeded to the harbour, where a boat belonging to the Pasha was waiting to take them on board the Acheron. The peculiar phraseology of the conversation I held with Boghoz Bey, partly in Arabic and partly in Turkish, made it desirable to give Sir Moses, on my return, an exact translation of it in writing, but it may be briefly related as follows. After the usual exchange of compliments, I endeavoured to obtain a definite answer to the letter addressed by Sir Moses to the Pasha, but the Bey did not care to express himself on any other subject than that of the proposed bank, and the elaborate manner in which he sought to induce Sir Moses to establish the bank without delay, the enticing promises of protection, patronage, and personal profit which he held out, left no room for doubt as to the interest he took in the scheme. I, on my part, enumerated in detail all the points to which Sir Moses attached so much importance, and the concessions which he asked in favour of religious toleration, justice, and the practice of agriculture and the establishment of colonies. Upon my pressing for an early reply, the Bey again endeavoured to gain time, and for that purpose changed the subject by opening a religious discussion, taking for his theme the interpretation of the prophet's words, "And the Eternal shall be King over all the earth; on that day there shall be one Lord, and His name One." He seemed to be under the impression that this would be an earthly king. I soon succeeded in allaying his fears, and convincing him that the words of the prophet Zachariah referred to the King of kings, the Almighty in Heaven.
Eventually he fixed ten o'clock as the time for receiving my reply, and after a repetition of the customary Eastern complimentary phrases I withdrew.
It had struck me that the strange question the minister had put to me regarding the expectation of having one King over all the world, had been brought to his mind by the promoters of the colony which he told me intended to settle in Syria. Possibly they might have been informed of Sir Moses' plans, and made some remarks which had come to the ears of the minister. I therefore deemed it right to reassure him on the subject, so that no one should for a moment be led to believe that Sir Moses had any other object in view than that distinctly stated in his letter to the Pasha.
I went once more to Boghoz Bey, but not finding him at home, proceeded at once to the Palace. On my arrival there, I went to the secretary's hall and wrote a few lines, stating that I had come to see His Excellency Boghoz Bey for the promised reply, intending to send it in to him, notwithstanding his being with the Pasha. As I was in the act of handing the note to one of the attendants, the minister came out saying, "Come, my friend, immediately with me to His Highness." After having made my first and second bow, Boghoz Bey said to the Pasha, "This is the very person," alluding probably to the subject of their recent conversation.
The Pasha smiled. Artim Bey then said, "You will hear word for word just as I said to you yesterday."
The Pasha—"I received the letter from Sir Moses just this very moment, that is, the official letter, and I shall send him two letters in reply, one which will reach him when he will be performing quarantine in Malta; acknowledging the receipt of his letter, and informing him that I will take steps to ascertain all particulars respecting the land he wishes to take on lease; but with regard to the protection of the people, the admission of evidence given by Jewish witnesses, and the repair of the wall of Tiberias, I shall immediately give orders. The latter shall be done, whether the stones and materials are to be found there or not, whether people will come forward willing to work or not; all will be done. I shall also write to Sir Moses in the same letter respecting the establishment of banks; all will be satisfactory. The second letter, in which all particulars respecting the contract, and the pointing out of land which belongs to me, or which I shall have to take for Sir Moses from others, he will receive as soon as we shall have obtained all the required information. Be sure of all I have told you."
I thereupon said: "But perhaps His Highness would be so gracious as to give me even these few words in writing."
Upon this both Boghoz Bey and Artim Bey at once began: "My dear L., yesterday was your Sabbath and to-day is ours; I know you are strict in the observance of your religious tenets, therefore we beg you will not insist on our writing."
The Pasha smiled, so did all present. Boghoz Bey made several observations to the Pasha respecting our conversation of yesterday. Having expressed my thanks to the Pasha, in the name of Sir Moses, I withdrew from his presence.
At 3 P.M. the Acheron left the harbour. Our bill of health from Alexandria stated, "With regard to the health of the place, occasional cases of plague occur in this town." This was signed by John Wingfield Larking, Her Britannic Majesty's Consul. We were naturally all glad to quit the place.
ARRIVAL AT MALTA—HOME AGAIN—BOGHOZ BEY RETURNS NO ANSWER—TOUCHING APPEAL FROM THE PERSECUTED JEWS OF DAMASCUS AND RHODES—REVIVAL OF THE OLD CALUMNY ABOUT KILLING CHRISTIANS TO PUT THEIR BLOOD IN PASSOVER CAKES.
July 18th.—About ten o'clock at night we entered the quarantine harbour at Malta, where we were ordered to remain till August 7th. To be confined for twenty days, during the hot summer months, with three hundred pilgrims, at Fort Manoel, was already a cause of great discomfort to Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore, but the circumstances were here made especially painful to them by the loss of a faithful servant, whose death occurred during their stay in the Lazaretto. In addition to this they received news that the Turkish fleet had been delivered up to Mohhammad Ali, in Alexandria, by Kapoudan Pasha; that the Sultan was dead, and 150,000 Russian troops had arrived at Constantinople. This change in the political horizon frustrated almost all Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore's hopes of seeing their schemes for the amelioration of the condition of Syria realised. There was no chance now of receiving letters from Mohhammad Ali.
August 6th.—The captain of the Lazaretto was there before five o'clock in the morning to give us pratique. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore went to the Synagogue, presented some ornaments for the Ark, and various gifts to the officers. They also called on the Governor, and after paying visits to Sir Hector Grey and their many other friends, went on board our steamer the Lycurgus.
August 7th.—About twelve o'clock the steamer moved out of the harbour, and we all bade farewell to the island. On Saturday we cast anchor in the roads of Leghorn. When leaving that place, Sir Moses remained looking at the city as long as it continued in sight. "Heaven only knows," he said, "whether I have seen the place of my birth for the last time; the state of my health and my age would lead me to believe that I can scarcely hope to visit it again. May peace, happiness, and prosperity attend my relatives and all its other inhabitants!"
August 11th.—At Marseilles, Sir Moses visited the gas-works, and expressed great pleasure at seeing the new gas holder and coal shed nearly finished. In the evening he invited all the gentlemen connected with the Imperial Continental Gas Association to take tea with him.
August 13th.—We left Marseilles and proceeded via Aix, Avignon, Valence, and Lyons to Chalons. Here we had an instance of the great attention which Sir Moses invariably paid to everything he saw. Having noticed a man lighting the street lamps without the aid of a ladder, he sent for the man to come to our hotel, desiring him to bring with him the long stick he had used in lighting the lamps. The man came and showed it to him; it had a small lantern near the top, and was furnished with a hook. In explaining its use the man pointed out that the burners had no taps but valves, which were raised or lowered by the hook. "It appears to me," said Sir Moses, "a very simple and neat contrivance, a saving of time, and consequently expense, both in lighting and extinguishing the flame." He requested me to make an exact drawing of the stick, with the lantern and hook attached to it, and before leaving the hotel, made the man promise to bring him one of the burners to look at.
Thursday, August 22nd.—We reached Paris. Baron Anselm de Rothschild, who had been with the King at Eu, told Sir Moses that the Pasha had refused to give up the Turkish fleet, and the King would not compel him. Sir Moses called on Mr Bulwer, who informed him that the King would probably be in Paris in five or six days, and wished Sir Moses to remain there, so as to be presented to him. Mr Bulwer also promised to take him to an evening party, to be given on September 3rd by Marshal Soult. But Sir Moses was longing to return to England, and would not prolong his stay.
August 30th.—We left the French capital for Beauvais, where we remained over Sabbath. On Sunday we proceeded to Boulogne, and on Thursday, September 5th, we arrived safely at Dover. Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore continued their journey on the same day to Ramsgate, where they arrived in time to be present at the evening service in their Synagogue, and to offer up fervent thanks to the Most High for their safe return after so long an absence and so dangerous an excursion. The next day they left Ramsgate for Richmond, where they were received with most tender affection by their mother, sisters, and brothers, and every member of their family.
On their return their correspondence with the East increased rapidly, and engaged much of their attention. Messengers frequently arrived from Jerusalem to entreat them to do what they possibly could to improve the condition of the Jews there. Both Sir Moses and Lady Montefiore took great pleasure in relieving, as far as in their power, every deserving case.
At the end of December Sir Moses thought he might, without impropriety, remind His Excellency Boghoz Bey, Minister of Finance in Egypt, of the promise the Viceroy had made him, when he was at Alexandria, respecting the purchase of land in Syria, and the establishment of banks there and in Egypt. He addressed a letter to Boghoz Bey, recapitulating all the particulars which he had verbally explained to him and the Pasha.
Weeks and months passed, and no reply came from Egypt. Sir Moses meanwhile occupied himself with other subjects, thinking that perhaps another and more favourable opportunity might present itself for bringing the matter forward again. His duties in connection with his financial companies took up his time till about the month of March, when the report of an outrage in the East roused sorrow and indignation in the heart of every upright man.
In a letter from the Elders of the Hebrew community in Constantinople, addressed to Messrs de Rothschild in London, dated March the 27th, 1840, we read:—
"Independently of the tie which so strongly binds together the whole Jewish community, of which you, gentlemen, are distinguished ornaments, having always been prominent in assisting our distressed brethren, whose appeals to you are not infrequent, your hearts cannot but be greatly moved to sympathise with two Jewish communities (viz., that of Damascus, under the Egyptian jurisdiction, and that of Rhodes, one of the Ottoman States) oppressed by the tyrannies of the Pashas who govern them.
"These persecutions originated in calumnies, which the oppressors themselves have invented, and which have been long rankling in their hearts, to the prejudice of the Jewish community. Our brethren are accused of being accomplices in murder, in order to make their Passover cakes with the blood of the murdered men—a thing in itself incredible, as being forbidden in our holy religion. This report has, however, found credence with the governing Pashas of Damascus and Rhodes, and they have oppressed and incarcerated not only several old men and Rabbins, but even a number of children, putting them to tortures, of which it makes men shudder to hear. Such is the afflicting picture drawn in the letters of our persecuted brethren, of which, with deep regret, we hand you copies.
"The community now addressing you, although implored by the sufferers to put an end to these persecutions, and to prevent, if possible, their recurrence, is deeply grieved to find itself incapacitated from affording any relief, in consequence of being subject to a Government not on friendly terms with the Pasha of Egypt.
"There remain, therefore, no means of salvation for the oppressed, except an appeal to your innate goodness and pity. We entreat you to interpose your valuable mediation, in such manner and with such persons as you may deem most desirable, for the safety of our unhappy brethren languishing in chains and in prison, so as to obtain, from the Pasha of Egypt, the liberation of the Jews of Damascus, and a compensation, not only from the governing Pasha of Damascus, commensurate with the excesses committed by him, but also from the Consular Agents at Rhodes, who have oppressed persons not subject to them.
"We, the Rabbins and Elders of this place, impressed with the urgency of the case, and moved by compassion for our brethren, and further induced by the report which is current throughout the world, of the generous and philanthropic sentiments which animate you and fill your hearts, ever open to the miseries of the oppressed, feel persuaded that you will exert yourselves to do all you possibly can, in these distressing circumstances.
"(Signed) I. Camondo. Salamon Qm. Mco. Fua. Samuel de N. Treves.
"The Jews of Damascus, addressing Messrs Abram Conorte and Aaron Cohen, Elders of the Congregation at Constantinople, after expressing their wishes for their health, say as follows:—
"To our deep regret, we address you these few lines to inform you of the continued state of misery in which our brethren, inhabitants of Damascus, still remain, as communicated to you in my letter of the 17th of Adar (February), forwarded to you by the steam-packet. We had hoped to advise you in this letter that the circumstances of the murder, respecting which the Jewish community were calumniated, had been ascertained, but in this hope we have been sadly disappointed. We will now, therefore, repeat everything in detail, and it is this:—
"On Wednesday, the 1st day of the month of Adar (February) there disappeared from Damascus a priest, who with his servant had dwelt for forty years in the city. He exercised the profession of physician, and visited the houses of Catholics, Jews, and Armenians, for the purpose of vaccination.
"The day following, viz., Thursday, there came people into the Jewish quarter to look for him, saying they had seen both him and his servant in that quarter on the previous day. In order to put into execution their conspiracy they seized a Jewish barber, telling him that he must know all about the matter, and took him to the Governor, who on hearing the accusation, immediately ordered him to receive five hundred stripes. He was also subjected to other cruelties. During the intervals between these inflictions he was urged to accuse all the Jews as accomplices, and he, thinking by this means to relieve himself, accused Messrs David, Isaac, and Aaron Harari, Joseph Legnado, Moses Abulafia, Moses Becar Juda, and Joseph Harari, as accomplices, who had offered him three hundred piastres to murder the above mentioned priest, inasmuch as the Passover holidays were approaching, and they required blood for their cakes. He said that he did not, however, give ear to their instigations, and did not know what had happened to the priest and his servant. Upon this the Pasha caused the persons named to be arrested as instigators, and punished with blows and other torments of the most cruel nature; but as they were innocent they could not confirm as true that which was a calumny, and therefore, in contradiction, they asserted their innocence, appealing to the sacred writings, which strictly prohibit the Jews from feeding upon any blood, much less that of a fellow-creature, a thing totally repugnant to nature. Nevertheless they were imprisoned with chains round their necks, and had daily inflicted on them the most severe beatings and cruelties, and were compelled to stand upright without food of any kind for fifty hours together.
"Subsequently the Hebrew butchers were cited to appear; they were put in chains together with the Rabbins Jacob Antubi, Salomon Harari, and Asaria Jalfon; and they too were beaten to such an extent that their flesh hung in pieces upon them; and these atrocities were perpetrated in order to induce them to confess that they used blood in making the Passover cakes. They replied that, if such had been the case, many Jewish proselytes would have published the fact. This, however, was not sufficient.
"After this, the same Governor went to the boy's college; he had the boys carried to prison, bound them with chains, and forbade the mothers to visit their imprisoned children, to whom only ten drachms of bread and a cup of water per day were allowed, the Governor expecting that the fathers, for the sake of liberating their children, would confess the truth of the matter.
"Subsequently a Jew, who was still at liberty, presented himself before the Governor, stating that the calumny of our using blood for our Passover cakes had been discussed before all the Powers, who, after consulting their divines, had declared the falsehood of the charge; and he added that either others had killed the priest and his servant, or they had clandestinely absented themselves from the country, and that the barber, in order to save himself from persecution, had stated that which, was not true.
"Upon this the Governor replied that, as he had accused other persons of killing them, he must know who the murderers were; and in order that he should confess, he was beaten to such an extent that he expired under the blows.
"After this, the Governor, with a body of six hundred men, proceeded to demolish the houses of his Jewish subjects, hoping to find the bodies of the dead, but not finding anything, he returned, and again inflicted on his victims further castigations and torments, some of them too cruel and disgusting to be described. At last, being incapable of bearing further anguish, they said that the charge was true!!!