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Levant; the baneful influence of which can be counteracted only by our preserving the strictest amity with the imperial courts of Vienna and St Petersburgh.' This is amusing. Is the raising up an enemy to our commercial connexions in the Levant, the greatest evil which we should have to dread from the subjugation of Greece by France ? What are our annual profits from those connexions ? Haye certain monopolists ever been able to shew that our whole trade in the Levant amounts in value to one hundred thousand pounds per annum ? or, will they deny that their monopoly costs government annually a sum of five thousand pounds ? Would the destruction of this trade then be of such importance to France; or would it be so detrimental to us, as to induce us to desire, as the author seems to do, that Russia Thould take possession of the city of Conftantinople? We think that the pofleffion of the Morea would, indeed, be a grand object for France; and that the acquiescence of this country in the seizure of Conftantinople by the Russians, might, in such a case, admit of confideration ; but surely it will never be for the sake of our trade in the Levant, that our statesmen will dread the one event as such an evil, as to require such a remedy as the other. Bonaparte, by having obtained possession of Istria, Dalmatia, and the Venetian isles, as it appears he has done by the treaty of Presburgh, fufficiently manifests his designs upon Albania and the Morea. It is to be hoped that those who have it in their power to take measures with other Courts to frustrate fuch designs, will be fully aware of the importance of these accessions to the ambitious projects of France. They will recollect the vast extent of coast which will be thus obtained for the enemies of our maritime greatness; the ports, the forests, the small shipping, the numerous seamen, which will be thus acquired by our enemy; the new subjects, who will be ready to flock to the standard of Bonaparte from every province of European Turkey; the advantageous positions, whence that daring and restless spirit will be thus enabled to direct fresh attacks against the debilitated remains of the Ottoman empire. Should the master of France and Italy add Albania and the Morea to his dominions, already extending to Catarro, what power can resist him if he choose to march to Constantinople ? The conqueft of Egypt will be likewise facilitated by the subjugation of Greece ; and sooner or later, perhaps, India herself might have to trace her destiny to the overthrow of the Ottoman empire by the arms of this insatiable conqueror.

The account which Dr Griffiths has given of the religion and religious customs of the Turks, does not contain much novelty. It will, however, appear curious to those who have not seen the

work country,

work of M. D'Ohgfon. Dr Griffiths thinks that the Turks entertain the most sublime ideas of the Deity as well as ourselves. It is certainly true that they speak in elevated language of the attributes of God; and that they insist upon his unity, with a zeal that would indicate their very erroneous conviction of this doctrine being peculiar to their own religion. Just fufpicions, however, may be entertained, whether any very exalted notions of the divine perfection can be entertained by men, who seriously believe the Koran to be the uncreated word of God.' Nothing less than the groffest superstition could induce rational creatures to attribute such a farrago of absurdities, so many extravagant fancies, and so many gossiping stories, to the inspiration of the Supreme Mind.

We did not expect from our traveller any very minute account of the differences which exist among the Mahometans upon religious topics. Their disputes about free-will and predestination, (for this eternal question is frequently, though secretly, debated among them), their interpretations of the Koran, and their various versions of it, can have little intereft for readers, to whom it is of no consequence to determine, whether the doctrines of the fect of Ali be more or less orthodox, or more or less absurd, than those of the feet of Omar. We could have wished, however, that Dr Griffiths had endeavoured to collect some information concerning that new sect which has lately become so formidable in the East, since the innovations of the Wahabees may be attended with consequences not less fatal to the political than to the religious establishments of the Turks. Their sect had been in existence many years before the arrival of our traveller at Conftantinople; and we can hardly suppose him to have been ignorant of this circumstance. By the asistance of a friend who has been in the East, we are enabled to give the following statement, which may be found interesting, and which may tend, in some degree, to supply the deficiency which we have just had occasion to remark in the volume before us.

It is now more than half a century, fince Abdul Wahab began to promulgate a new creed in Arabia. His first doctrines probably extended no further than to his own peculiar interpretations of the Koran ; and his disciples were confined for several years to a few tribes of the desert. By degrees, however, his opinions became more widely spread ; his heresies were easily adopted by the illiterate robbers, whom they encouraged with the hopes of conquest and of pillage ; and as he found new followers continually flocking round his standard, it is probable that his enthusiasm grew more enterprizing, and his ambition more daring. The design of reforming the old religion of his country, seems to have given place in his mind to that of establishing a a new one; while the plunder of pilgrims and caravans, of mosques and cities, fed at once the zeal and the avarice of his disciples. There was, however, for his own purposes at least, no want either of genius or of knowledge in Abdul. Of the first he had enough to plan with wisdom, and to execute with firmness, his schemes for changing the religion of his country; and of the second he pofseffed a portion fully adequate to convince the Arabs that he best could explain the ordinances of Heaven.

But although the doctrines of the new feet had infected fome of the principal hotdes, and had many secret partizans throughout Arabia, yet it was not until within these few years, that the Wahabees appeared in arms against the standard of Mahomet, and the authority of the Sultan. When, at last, Abdul found his influence to be so extensive, and his followers so numerous, as to secure to him the attachment of the greater number of the tribes of the desert, he boldly declared himself the reformer of those baneful innovations, which, he pretended, had destroyed the true and genuine character of Islamism. In the year 1803 he advanced with a numerous army against Mecca, took poffesfion of that city, plundered the mosques, and massacred the inhabitants. The Ottoman armies were unable to refift his progress; and he was already advancing to „Medina, when the plague and the small-pox broke out in his army, and forced him to retr with his booty into the desert. It was during his stay at Mecca, that the audacious rebel wrote a letter to the Sultan, in which he Teminded him, that the dignity of Caliph only remained to him, while the holy city was protected by him ; and that its conquerors now required of him to renounce the title of Commander of the Faithful, which devolved by right upon him to whom God had given the victory.

The success of the Wahabees occasioned the utmost consterna, tion at Conftantinople, especially at the Porte, and among the Ulemah; for the full extent of the danger was carefully concealed from the people. No devout Turk could, indeed, be expect. ed to hear, without horror, of the profanation of that most sacred

gave birth to the Prophet, and which is fanctified in the belief of every true Mussulman. It was besides a subject of most serious alarm to the government, that the authority of the Sultan as Caliph might be questioned, since it is well known that he can retain that name, so imposing for Mahometans, only while he is the master of Mecca and Medina. Nor was this alarm lesfened, when the Turkish ministers began to make more exact in quiries into the nature and progress of the evil which it became

fo

place which

80 necessary to check. Almost all Arabia had openly adopted the religion of Abdul ; it had many secret proselytes in Syria and Anatolia, at Damascus, Aleppo, and Smyrna ; and on the borders of the empire, the Pacha of Bagdad trembled more at the real power of the Wahabees, than at the menaces of the Sultan. Peremptory orders were issued by the Porte to the Pachas of Asia to unite their forces against the rebels.

Some of these governors were displaced, to make room for others believed to be more zealous in their attachment to the Porte ; but even these required to be instigated by promises of yet greater rewards, before they could be induced to act with vigour in a cause which involved the existence of their religion, and the honour of their sovereign. The Turkish army approached by slow marches to Mecca, where Abdul had left a garrison of five hundred men. The recapture of the holy city was soon accomplished; the triumph of the faithful was celebrated at Constantinople; and the Turkish government recalled its troops, and sunk back into its accustomed tranquillity.

The immediate followers of Abdul were chiefly robbers, who were inured to hardships, and who fled for refuge to the desert, whenever they were defeated in their predatory excursions. The greater part, however, of that numerous army which he led against Mecca, had been collected from almost all the various hordes that wander with their flocks and their camels over Arabia. He had never been at the head of any regular force. The banditti, who flocked to the standard of their leader, were attracted by the hopes of plunder; and though they were impelled by religious enthusiasm, they were easily dispersed by the first appearance

of disaster. But when they returned to their independent tribes, they knew that they could possess their spoils without the fear of punishment; and when the same inducements tempted them to renew their depredations, even the sluggish Divan itself might have foreseen the consequences.

The timid, but cruel, policy of the Turks has never been exhibited in more striking colours than in their late conduct towards the Wahabees, with whom they concluded, what was known, perhaps, on both sides, to be a treacherous peace. Instead of establishing a sufficient force for the protection of Mecca and Medina, the Porte is accused, at least, of having employed a fanatical Mussulman to assassinate the aged Abdul. His death, it is said, has been lately avenged by the recapture of Mecca, and the pillage of Medina; and his place has been supplied by his a man still in the prime of life, as active, as powerful, and as ambitious as his father.

Of the peculiar doctrines of the Wahabees, we pretend not to speak with any positive certainty. They assert, it is said, the

unity

son,

unity of the Deity, like the Mahometans ; they hold him to be immaterial, eternal, and omnipotent; and in their addresses to the Supreme Being, they are fervent and devout. According to them, God has never dictated any written code of laws to men; nor has he made any particular revelation of himself. His existence, they think, is sufficiently manifested in his works. His will cannot be mistaken, since he has implanted the distinct perception of right and wrong in the human mind, together with the conviction that virtue alone can be agreeable to the Author of nature. They do not deny, however, that Providence has occasionally interfered in the concerns of mortals in an extraordinary manner; and that it has chosen its instruments to promote the cause of truth, to reward the good, and to punish the guilty. Some men, they pretend, such as Mahomet and Abdul, have been distinguished by the peculiar favour of Heaven. During their lives, the laws and ordinances of these men ought to be obeyed, and their persons venerated. Their authority, however, should cease with their lives; for the plans of Providence will then be furthered by other means, and with other instruments. If this statement be correct, and it comes to us from good authority, it is easy to see that ambition, not less than enthusiasm, dictated his religious creed to the crafty Abdul. As far as his theism goes, it is, perhaps, more sublime than could have been well expected from an Arab of the desert; but his pretensions to govern the minds and actions of his countrymen, under the special authority of Heaven, betrayed the impostor in the teacher, and the rebel in the reformer. In limiting those pretensions to the period of his life, he probably lost nothing for which he cared; while he assailed the Mahometan faith, without endangering his own immediate power. If, indeed, that power had been

exercised only with the view of introducing a religion more rational than Maho met's, we should not have much regreted its progress. It is humiliating to think that so many millions of people should consider such a miserable rhapsody as the Koran to be really of divine origin; and yet it is much more lamentable to know the ferocious bigotry and intolerance of its disciples. The dogmatical manner in which a Turkish doctor disposes of the souls of all whom he calls infidels, might excite rather derision than anger, if the insults and the cruelties experienced by strangers in Mahometan countries, did not efface every impression except that of indignation. Unfortunately for the cause of humanity, Abdul appears to have had as little tolerance as Mahomet. His sword was stained with the blood of innumerable victims, and whole cities and districts have been desolated by his persecutions. Before we quit this subject, we shall just remark, that it has been

said

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