11 JULY 1835, Page 17


DR. Woon is entitled to the thanks of the historical student for his translation of Von Hsaimsn's history of the Assassins; al- though the learned Orientalist has treated his subject with too much minuteness, if not at too great a length ; and naturally enough placed perhaps too implicit a reliance on authorities, to gain access to which had cost him exceeding labour and trouble. The account of this secret society is rather an historical episode than a history of itself ; for too little seems to be known respect- ing it to enable us distinctly to perceive the ulterior object of its founder (if it had one), or fully to narrate the adventures and dis- guises--and they must have been strange ones—by means of which any of the Hashishin (herb-eaters) achieved their tasks. HAMMER tells us, however, though rather drily, all that is known upon the subject. He traces the remote origin of the Assassins to a Mahometan sect or heresy, which, originating in a political dissent, subsequently became a secret society. Its followers were called lsmailites ; and they passed through nine degrees, each successive one tending to shake or bewilder faith ; till in the eighth degree the "pupil was perfectly enlightened as to the superfluity of all prophets and apostles, the non-existence of hea- ven and hell, the indifference of all human actions for which there is neither reward in this world nor the next; and thus he was matured for the ninth and last degree, to become the blind instru- ment of all the passions of unbridled thirst of power. To believe nothing and to dare all, was, in two words, the sum of this sys- tem:' learned German next proceeds to the early life of the first Grand Master of the Assassins, HASSAN SABAH, who was a member of this respectable society until lie set up an establish- ment of his own. The mode in which he accomplished this, the rules and regulations which he laid down for the government of the profitne and the initiated, the number of princes and ministers lie caused to be assassinated, the execution of his two sons by his own orders, and finally, his will and death, are next treated at length. And then follow the history of the succeeding Grand Masters and their grand murders, their various treaties and wars with Mahometan powers, their communications with the Crusaders, and the alleged league or understanding with the Templar:, till the virtual overthrow of their power by the Mongols, in the year 1257, upwards of one hundred and thirty years after the death