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writer, who should translate the title “Voyage de la Palestine," as follows; “Journey through Palestine, to Mount Tabor and Jerusalem, the ancient Judea ” ? Yet this would be a case exactly parallel. — Another blemish, which has arisen
. doubtless from reducing the original materials to a “continuous whole,” is the omission of many dates. We were for a long time unable to ascertain even the year in which the journey of M. Laborde was performed; incidentally we discovered from a note in Ruppell’s Reisen (p. 250), that it took place in the year 1828; and we afterwards found in the English work itself (p. 51) the date of February 25, 1828, assigned as the time of the departure of the travellers from Cairo. This and the notation of a few succeeding days up to the time of reaching Akaba, are the only dates given in the whole volume; although in the original, the daily dates of the Itinerary are continued until the arrival of the travellers at Petra, on the 26th of March.
We have neither time nor patience to proceed further with this catalogue of error and incompetency; but there are yet two examples of ignorance so glaring, that justice to ourselves requires us not to pass them over in silence. The first is found on pp. 140, 141, of the English copy, where M. Laborde, in travelling up the great valley El Araba from Akaba to Petra, mentions the Wady Garandel or Gharendel, a valley which descends from the eastern range of mountains, and opens into El Araba some leagues south of Petra. This Wady was also traversed by Burckhardt, through its whole length ; and, emerging from it, this traveller crossed El Araba on his way to Cairo, over the western desert.* The English editor intended doubtless to subjoin to M. Laborde's text the account which Burckhardt gives of this same valley; but instead of this, he has given in a note Burckhardt's account of the other Wady Gharendel or Ghirondel, which is found on the western coast of the peninsula of Mount Sinai, about two days' journey from Suez! This is done apparently without the slightest suspicion as to the identity of the two places; and is very much the same, as if a geographer should undertake to elucidate the position of Bethlehem in Judea, by subjoining a description of Bethlehem in Pennsylvania." There is a
* Travels in Syria, etc., 4to. p. 441.
river in Macedon; and there is also moreover a river at Monmouth .... and there is salmons in both."
The other instance is, if possible, still worse. M. Laborde relates (p. 106) that two of his guides went out to hunt the gazelle, the timid and delicate animal of the antelope genus, whose large and brilliant eye is the standing emblem of beauty in all Oriental poets. These animals are not infrequent in the peninsula ; and at another time our traveller himself aided in shooting one from a flock near Mount Serbal (p. 246). On the present occasion, however, the guides returned without a gazelle, but bringing in their cloaks a whole family of the little animal called by the Arabs Weber, Waber, or Wober, consisting of the male, female, and two young ones.
This animal is known to naturalists as the Hyrax, of which there were formerly supposed to be two species, Hyrax Syriacus, and Hyrax Capensis. Cuvier and other late naturalists regard these as not distinct species ; although Nitzsch (not Ritzsch, as even M. Laborde has it,) still speaks of the former. Cuvier has also transferred the hyrax from the class of rodentes to that of pachydermes, where he places it next after the rhinoceros; remarking, that with the exception of the horn, the hyrax may be regarded as the rhinoceros in miniature. *
In its general appearance it is not much unlike the Guinea pig. All this is set forth in the French original with entire perspicuity; a drawing of the animals is given, and they are spoken of only as the hyrax or oueber; for so M. Laborde writes it. But the English editor, knowing nothing either of gazelle or hyrax, seems to have taken it for granted, that, because the guides went out to hunt the gazelle, therefore the animals they brought back were of necessity gazelles ; and he goes on to speak of them repeatedly as such, where in the original there is not the slightest ground for even the possibility of such a misconception! As well might any one in this country confound a deer with a woodchuck, or a calf with a rabbit.
We turn now to the French travellers ; and, after a brief account of their route and personal adventures, we shall endeavour to present some general views of the topography and history of Mount Sinai, and the Land of Edom, with its singular metropolis, chiefly as connected with the illustration of the Scriptures ; not confining ourselves to the materials fur
* Cuvier, Règne Anim. 1829, Vol. I. p. 248.
nished by M. Laborde, which of course are scanty; but drawing from all the sources within our reach, and pointing out, as we go along, whatever additions M. Laborde and his companion have made to the materials furnished by their predecessors.
The reader must not look, in M. Laborde, for that patience and accuracy and thoroughness of observation which characterize the Travels of Niebuhr and Burckhardt; nor, on the other hand, does he exhibit the looseness and glowing hyperbole of Bruce and Chateaubriand. He seems to have travelled rather as a man of taste than of science, - for the gratification of his own spirit of enterprise in archæological pursuits, rather than with the view of making scientific researches for the benefit of the learned world. The self-complacency of the Frenchman never forsakes him; and we see in his frequent errors of fact and of historical opinion, evidence of superficial research and a too ready credulity. The portions on the ancient commerce of Phenicia and Arabia Petræa, are merely conjectural, and in many parts contradictory of known facts.
The travellers left Cairo on the 25th of February, 1828, and were a month in reaching the object of their journey. The party consisted of MM. Laborde and Linant, a French veteran named Petit-Jean, who had been in the service of the Pasha of Egypt, a dragoman, and a Berber servant. They had nine dromedaries, and put themselves under the direction of four guides from the peninsula of Mount Sinai, Arabs of the Tohrat or Towara, the Bedouins of Tor. They set off from Suez on the 29th, and passing along the usual route of the peninsula, after visiting the ancient tombs of Sarbout el Kadem, they left Mount Sinai on the right, and descended along the Wady Zakal to Dahab on the coast of the Elanitic gulf, perhaps the ancient Dizahab, Deut. i. 1. From this place to Akaba “the coast is bordered by mountains, which, lofty in the distance, decline into low hills as they approach the sea; they afford no traces of vegetation ;” and the shore is deeply indented with gulfs. At Akaba the travellers were hospitably received by the Egyptian governor, and entertained in the castle. Hence they despatched messengers to Abou Raschid, the chief of the principal tribe of Arabs in the vicinity of Wady Mousa or Petra,* (well known as the brave and faithful protec
* M. Laborde speaks of Abou Raschid as chief of the Alouein Arabs, apparently confounding these with the much larger tribe of the Howeytat, who inhabit the region around Wady Mousa, though not that valley itself. According to Burckhardt (p. 512), the Alouein are confined to the lower end of the great valley El Araba, near Akaba. In the English copy the name Akmed Raschid is often erroneously substituted for Abou Raschid, as on pp. 123, 144, 145. It is hardly necessary to remark, that in all which relates to the Arabs and their various tribes, the authority of Burckhardt is far greater than that of M. Laborde.
tor of Mr. Bankes and his party ten years before,) requesting him to come and meet them at Akaba. During the absence of the messengers, the remaining party made an excursion to the valleys on the western shore of the gulf, and visited the little island of Graia or Emrag, of which we shall speak further in the sequel. They left Akaba on this excursion on the 13th of March ; and this is the last date which we find in the English volume. The messengers at length returned, not having found Abou Raschid himself, who was absent on an excursion, but having negotiated with a brother and four nephews of that chief, and also with Abou Djazi, the chief of another portion of the same tribe, who was said to have great influence over the Fellahein inhabiting Wady Mousa. This latter chief, as it afterwards turned out, was the very individual who made such violent opposition to the progress of Mr. Bankes and his party, and was only overcome by the noble and determined spirit of Abou Raschid in their favor. * “ He was a little old man with a white beard, whose delicate features and cheerful look indicated great benevolence. His costume was characterized by all the simplicity of the desert; the only thing he wore by way of refinement was a piece of white muslin round his kefieho or turban.
These six chiefs arrived soon after, mounted on dromedaries, and accompanied by two men on foot. After an enormous repast at sunset, a regular divan was held in the presence of the governor, and the business of the travellers brought under discussion.
“The first question was put on our side; our object being to know if we could go to Wady Mousa mounted on our dromedaries. Abou Djazi assured us that we could; adding, at the
* Mr. Legh, and also Messrs. Irby and Mangles, call this chief Abou Zatoun, i. e. Father of Olives; and the latter gentlemen mention (p. 391) another chief as one of their opposers, whom they call Ebn Jarzee. To judge from the resemblance of names, the Abou Djazi of M. Laborde was more probably this latter individual. There is great confusion in the use of the words Abou and Ebn, i. e. father and son, in proper names; Mr. Legh gives the name Ebn Rascbid to the chief whom Burckhardt, Irby and Mangles, and Laborde, all call Abou Rasclid.
same time, that he would be answerable for them, and would look upon them as his own. We would [should ?) undoubtedly have been perfectly satisfied with this promise; but our Tohrats forthwith proceeded simultaneously to exclaim, and to protest that they would not enter a territory where they had no guarantee for their safety. On the other side, the Alaouins [Howeytat] vociferated that they had nothing to fear, inasmuch as engagements were made in their behalf in the presence of the governor and the topshi (gunner). 'And,' cried out Hussein (our guide] solemnly, standing up at the same time, if one of our party be killed, we shall have two Alaouins in exchange.' Upon this the clamor became still louder; each man was anxious to take part in the discussion, and ranged himself on one side or the other. We knew not how to obtain a hearing; and to put an end to this uproar, as our Tohrats no longer listened to us, we arose and returned to our apartments, doubting whether some obstacles to the completion of our journey might not proceed from our own guides. They followed us; but judge of our astonishment when we were alone, on seeing them break out into a burst of laughter, saying that all this clamor was nothing but a ruse, in order to compel the Alaouins to pay strict attention to their promises, and to establish, before setting out, all the conditions of the bargain in the most positive manner. ..... It only remained for us to admire the tactics, by which they contrived to conceal their real fears under the mask of simulated passion throughout this discussion. The whole of this comic scene, so characteristic of the manners of these tribes, served as a lesson to us for the future, teaching us to extract all the benefits we could from the hubbub wild' of these Arabs."
The treaty was at length satisfactorily concluded, and their departure fixed for the next day. The chiefs were then questioned as to Burckhardt's visit to their country ; but they did not remember having seen or heard of any Frank at that period. So thoroughly had this celebrated traveller acquired the language and manners of the Arabs, that he passed through the midst of their nomadic encampments, regarded simply as a “ townsman,” and without awakening a suspicion of his real character. As to Mr. Bankes and his companions, Abou Djazi was prudently silent ; but the younger chiefs, a few days after, were more communicative. The visit of Messrs. Strang ways and Anson was also spoken of, who were said to have reached Wady Mousa under the guidance of a single Arab from Gaza. No account of this visit has ever been VOL. XLIV. —NO. 95.