MR. ELLIOTT'S TRAVELS IN AUSTRIA, RUSSIA, AND TURKEY.
'run author of these volumes quitted the Civil Service of the Eait India Company for the Church ; but was compelled to suspend the exercise of his new profession in consequence of a complaint itt the throat, for which travel was recommended. In search ofa stronger voice, he visited Vienna ; descended the Danube in the steamer to Galatz, and thence travelled by land to Odessa ; from which port he made an excursion to the Crimea. Returning from his Tartar trip, he proceeded to Constantinople by steam, and then to Smyrna ; which he made his head-quarters or starting-point for a visit to the Apostolical Churches of Asia and an exploring pit. grimage to the Holy Land.
Parts of this tour have little novelty of subject, the descent of the Danube and Constantinople having been pretty well ex. hammed by common tourists ; and though Mr. ELLIOTT varies his matter by historical digressions from the time of the R }mans, yet the whole of this part of his work could well have been spared, excepting a few characteristic sketches of manners, and sortie information respecting the social and political condition of Wallachia and Bulgaria. When the traveller quits the Danube, he gets on newer ground ; and his sketches of the desolate and barren steppes of Southern Russia are picturesqe in themselves, and suggestive of instruction, indicating clearly enough how costly it must be to move a Russian army even to some of her frontiers, much more beyond them, and how very little mere testi- tory contributes to wealth and strength. His adventures with the Russian officials, and his anecdotes of their doings in Poland, form a striking contrast to the panegyrics of late travellers to St. Petersburg and Moscow ; where all is kept in " apple-pie order," apparently to catch the eye of strangers. His descriptions of Odessa and the Crimea have both interest and novelty. But his strong ground is the Holy Land and its vicinity : affording another proof how a pursuit and knowledge of it render a man superior to greater artistical skill—how matter excels manner. Sy ria and Palestine have been thoroughly traversed of late, and by men who have excelled Mr. ELLIOTT in the art of writing and the power of painting in words : but, with all their practised dex- terity, they could see nothing beyond the surface; or if an object called tip associations, they were of a schoolboy or commonplace kind. With Mr. Essiorr, on the contrary, almost every town or mountain carries him back to the days of the Patriarchs, of the Kings and Prophets, or of the Apostles. He has also looked with a close eye to the present state of the religious world in those countries. And in a very bad condition he found in—rival sects disputing with and hating each other ; the clergy lording it over the laity, and even calling in the Infidel arm to support their spiritual tyranny ; whilst the laity, designedly kept in igno- rance, fear their pastors without respecting them. Here is one of several pictures of debasing superstition.
l'he Greeks and Latins have an equal share in the Holy Sepulchre, to which they now enjoy coequal access. This, however, is not always the case. The Turks, who regard the sacred tomb as an object of odious idolatry, see in only a source of gain, anti sell it by turns to the highest bidder: thus, at one time the Latins, at auother their rivals, are vested with a superior right .of en- trance. The quarrels to which their jealousy and furious passions give rise are a disgrace to the Christian name ; and if ever divine forbearance were displayed, it is manifest in this, that the walls of Jerusalem are still suffered to stand, anti that the city is not overwhelmed in the doom of Chorazin and Bethsaida. Our visits to the church of the Sepulchre were frequent, as we happened to be present in Jerusalem during the t' holy week " of both the Latms and the Greeks, one of which immediately followed the other. Once in three years they occur together ; the second year they succeed each other, as on this occasion; and the third, an interval of seven days elapses between the termination of the one and the commencement of the other. It is when both parties require access to the tomb at the same, or nearly the same time, that the most disgraceful scenes are witnessed. The church is then crowded to excess by pilgrims, all anxious to obtain the best places, and scuffling for them without shame or awe.; so that children, women, and even men, are often killed. But accidents coastt• tote the least melancholy part of the drama : with or without provocation, the inimical hosts, animated by religious b ite and impelled by their priests, proceed to blows ; the hallowed shrine is stained with the blood of murderers and the murdered ; and Turkish soldiers are forced to interfere and drag violently from the fray Christian combatants, nay, Christian priests, wielding their bludgernw over the sepulchre of the Prince of Peace. If the eyes of the Royal Psalmist became fountains of tears while he bewsiled the ordinary sinfulaess.of man, what would have been his feelings could he have seen professing Christians thus insulting their Saviour in the house appropriated to Isis service, and over the tomb which attests the magnitude of his sacrifice ? Surely tears of blood had not belied his sorrow ! Could any thing rival the horror of such a scene, it would be that inspired by the conduct of the Turks themselves. Accustomed to regard Claudius' u dogs, and to detest them as idolaters; too long habituated to the riots and murders of the church of the Holy Sepulchre; and justly considering the pilgrims and priests who figure there as among the most foolish and degraded of their race, the indignities they inflict on them know no bounds. If a Tut.k of rank or a Frank gentleman wish to pas. through the crowd, a Iowan will precede him with a stick, dealing his blows right and left with is mercdessnese which makes the beholder shudder ; sod the hierarchy at the very altar cm*
it THE DEAD SEA.
Leaving the pilgrims thus engaged, and having obtained 3 special guide from the modest/lint, we proceeded to visit the Dead Sea, next to Jordan the most ie. tenting piece ef water in the world ; and, in a philosophical point of view, without a rival. The Turks call it Behr ool Lout, or Behr ool Moat ; that is, the Sea of Lot, or the Sea of death. The route we had to traverse is regarded ss one of great danger, because infested by Arabs who have only to cross the over to get back to their fastnesses its the mountains of Arabia, where they rosy laugh to scorn the power of the pasha. Dining a ride, however, of two hours along, or at some little distance ham the hanks uf Jordan, we saw not a • I 'ogle man or animal, and reached in safety its embouchur e, where it discharges its muddy waters with considerable force into the sea of Soilmn. The soil appeared to be a mixture of sand and clay, the former being superficial and appareetly deposition from the water during its annual overflowing. Very minute shells lie scattered in myriads over the plain ; but in the immediate vicinity of the lake of death even these symptoms of a bygone life are no longer visible ; their place is occupied by little masses of white frothy substance exuding from the earth, resembling in shape and size the tuibinated cones thrown up by worms; when taken in the hand, these almost melted, leaving a smell of brimstone ; they looked like a sulphureous effioreseenee in combination with salt ; but the taste indicated the presence of something more than these ingredients. No ate. of vegetation are to be seen except eea•weed and another marine pro- Nododer the sttokes of the infidel. No description can convey an ade. ondasteide: of the degradation of christianity within the walls of its holiest
Amongst Mr. Eworr's excursions during his sojourn at Jerusalem, was one to the banks of Jordan, in company with the roan of pilgrims. The journey end the bathing he describes at length : but having, three years since, quoted an account of from Mr. MuNgos Summer Rumble, we will go on with him to
The air, even at seven o'clock in the morning, was heavy and oppressive, though the sky was cloudless and the heat not unpleasant. We saw no symp- toms of the smoke said to be the effect of bituminous explosions underneath the lake and to arise constantly from its surface ; but a mist covered it, which might have been nothing more than the ordinary effect produced by the morn- ing sur. Hemmed in, as the water is, by mountains absolutely barren, them. selves of a gloomy hue, the sand and clay below reflecting no brighter rays, it is not surpri.in„e that every object should wear a dreary aspect, and the very eve: be deceived into a belief—if deception it be—that the only colour it dis- cerns partakes of a sombre livid tint. The air is regarded as pestilential ; no human dwellings are to be seen ' • probably no spot in the world is so calculated as this to convey the idea of an entrance into the king. dem of death. Here deaths wields a leaden sceptre. The eye per- ceives only the absence of life. The ear is cheered by no sound; even the waveless sea sleeps in mysterious silence. The taste and smell detect only that mineral which is too intimately associated in the mind with unquenchable fire and eternal death ; and the sense of feeling becomes sympathetically affected, as though every nerve were on the verge of dissolution. In this region of death the living exception is ready to exclaim, " How dreadful is this place 1" On the north, where we stood, the Aophaltites is bounded by "the Great Plain," on the west by the mountains of Judah, on the east by those of Moab and the lofty Pisgah, and on the south by the deserts of Idumea. The sea is here only eight miles in breadth, but it is wider towards the south. Its length is variously stated at thirty, forty, and fifty miles • for every attempt to ascer. tole diis --curate!), by railing over it has proved abortive. The last was made, al s) ego, by the English gentleman already referred to. Whet token up in a glass, the water appears perfectly clear; • but, when. vies . mane under a cloudless sky, though in seine parts it reflects imper- fectly the awe hue, yet in others it is quite brown. The taste is inconceivably mucous, salter then the ocean and singularly bitter, like sea water mixed with Epsom salts and quinine. It acts on the eyes as pungently as smoke, and pro. duet on the skin a sensation resembling that of" prickly heat," leaving behind a white saline deposit. having already filled some bottles in the stream of Jordan, we were desirous of carrying to England a similar sample ft our the Dead Sea, which we succeeded in doing. An analysis of this water some years ago established the fact, that it contains nearly une.fourth of its own weight of various salts ; the principal of which are muriate of soda, mutiate of magnesia, and muriate of lame; with a small pi °portion of sulphate of lime. This accounts for its re- markable specific gravity, noticed by every writer on the subject, whether ancient or modern, and now found by experiment to exceed that of rain water by mire than sixteen per cent. We proved it practically ; for our whole party, consisting of five persons, plunged in and remained some time in the lake. Though the avertion be not true that a flat dense mass of frog will be sus- tained on the surface, let a man who cannot float elsewhere finds no difficulty here: having proceeded some way into the lake, till his shoulders are nearly immersed, his feet are actually borne off the ground, and he walks, as it were on water; or else his legs are forcibly raised, and he is compelled either to float or swim. To sink or dive would require some effort. The specific gravity of the water accounts for its reputed immobility : it is less easily excited than that of any other known lake, and sooner resumes its wonted stillness.
The pages of our traveller frequently throw much light on Scriptural allusions or illustrations, and sometimes a correction. This is the reading of " milk and honey."
A favourite food with the natives is a sort of molasses prepared by boiling the juice of the grape' which is left to cool, when it assumes the consistency of treacle. It is called dibash, a name originally Hebrew, which is translated "honey" in those passages of the Pentateuch that describe the promised land as "flowing with milk and honey ; " and, inasmuch as the production of grapes is a surer sign of fertility than the abundance of the wild herbs and flowers that yield honey, it is far from improbable that this very article may be that more immediately referred to in scripture. Moreover, dibash is to be found in great plenty throughout the whole of Syria ; whereas the plain of Jericho is the only part of Canaan where much honey is produced. The Bible translators were, however, right ; for they used a word which not only conveyed an idea, but recalled a treat to the mind of their reader. Even now that we know the mean- ing of dibash, who would feel his mouth water at the mention of s land flowing with it ?
Passing from Asia into Europe, we will go first to Wallachia for a passage descriptive of its slavery and morals ; the com- plexion of the Gipsies there, answering to that of the Negroes it) America.
A system of tyranny, which commences with the !Joyrider, extends itself to this Boyars; and the whole population may be divided into two classes, tyrants and slaves. Though the majority of the people are thus virtually slaves, the Only persons legally recognized as mach ate Gipsies and their descendants. In Hungary, vast numbets of these are found scattered among the peasantry; but Wallachia and 3Ioldavia are their head-quarters, where they form a large east, important on account of their numbers; but otherwise valued as little as, or less than beasts of burden. They are estimated at a hundred and fifty thou- sand in the two Principalities. History leaves us ignorant of the period and circumstances of the immigra. don of the Gipsies ; nor does it appear why they are more numerous in these countries than in most of the other kingdoms of Europe through which they have been diffused. The physiognomy, musical taste, thievish and conjuring tricks, falsehood, dirt, and idleness, which characterize them throughout the world, here equally distinguish them: it may almost be said that they bear the same name ; fur in the wards Zingani and Tchingani we trace the etymological root which point,' to Egypt as the native soil of the French Egyptien, the Eng- lish Gipsy, the Spanish Gitano, the Italian Zingaro, and the German Zigeuner. They intermarry almost exclusively among themselves, and thus perpetuate alike the distinguishing features of body and mind. As all Gipsies are re- quired to pay an annual tax to government uf so many grains of gold, varying_ [torn ten shillings to three pounds, they become dextrous in detecting the pre- cious metal in the auriferous streams of the Principalities, and in separating it from sand by one or other of the methods already described. Some pursue the trade of blacksmiths, some of tinkers, and others of carpenters; but all retain the natural aversion of their caste from agriculture, though they are said to he less male and of more settled hahits here than in most countnee. A healthy
nom costs three pounds, a woman two; and both sexes are bought and sold by the nobles without any regard to the bonds of domestic union. Ouly eightdays before our visit to Tehernitz, a Boyar, close to the house where these notes were penned, who had a slave eupporting a wife and three children by )117 daily la- bour, separated him from them, and sent him to a distant establieliment in the interior, while he Inkl his family into other hands. Another noble, one of whose Zipped% was making a little money as a blacksmith, sold his wife and children, in order that he might dispose of all that the man earned. Nor are instances of this kind rare ; on the contrary, they are of too frequent recurrence to be recorded as individual cases.
Immorality of the worst description pervades all classes in the Principalities; and mothers frequently carry their new-born infants to the Danube to drown them. " When they act NU towatds their own children," said a lady residing here, " you will readily believe that I cannot feel mine safe with them when out of my tight." But the example so closely imitated origivatcs with the highest ordera. The maniage-vow is almost wholly disregarded. It is actually, we were told, in the power of every married person, man or woman, to obtain from the Metropolitan a divorce or. the score of caprice alone or the preference of another pal ty. Thu.; it frequently happens, that a gentlemen and lady who were once man and wife, accompanying their respective partners to a ball-room, will there meet two or three more ci-deoant husbands of the lady, and as many ei- devout wives of the gentleman; nor will either of the parties be less esteemed in society on account of their frequent divorces. Where the marriage tie, the bond of all the charities of life, is thus unheeded, the whole fabric of social happiness is undermined, and neither moral nor intellectual excellence can be expected. The result sanctions this conclusion ; and it may safely he affirmed that Chris- tendoin does not contain a country more demoralized and more degraded dean Wallachia and Moldavia.
The serfdom in Russia, like the villeinage of our own country,. has this advantage over slavery — that the peasantry, being_ attached to the soil, cannot be sold away from it : but in other respects it is oppressive and grinding enough. This is Mr. ELIA (iris account of it : and his views are entitled to much atten- tion, because he has had experience of slavery in various forms, in India and Africa as well as in Europe.
r,e system under which the seigneurs and serfs are connected very much re- sembles the feudal, to al! the evils of which it is subject ; but the Russiau noble-
is kind, and excess of anger , at his characteristic; so that his slave fares better than that of the Spaniard ot .lortuguese. Wretched as is the serf's con- dition if estimated lly our ideas of happiness, it is less so in reality, because he sees and knows no other. His master is raised too far above him to excite jea- lousy or ambition ; and between them there is no third class: so long as he can satisfy the cravings of nature, he wishes for nothing more: devoid of fore- thought, he has no anxiety for the future ; the stripe inflicted one tnoment is forgotten the next, and not dreaded for the following ; and when old or dill. aided, he is euppotted by his lord, and serves to swell the train of his attendants in the city, where each decreoid sEive contributes to form a class of idle and diesolutedepend:nts. Still, the caee of the Ituesian peasant is a hard one the noble is extravagant, and therefore poor; and his steward is ordered to drain all he can out of the serfs, who are consequently oppressed. They either pay a cer- tain (Ara, or rent, according to their average gains, or else the seigneur is en- titled to their labour during three days in the week ; these services may be re- quired at any time, and the Nei f's own crop may be rotting on the ground while he is working fur his master ; or his task may be appointed at the distance of a day's journey froin his house, and the hours spent on the roud are not carried to his credit ; or rain may interfere with his threshing, which is always executed in the open air, aud thus another day is lost. As an appendage to the sod; he cannot legally bun alienated from it ; yet the law is often evaded. He may be beaten or imprisoned ; but, happily, the master's interest is intimately connected with the olive's; and an abuse of this power is therefore checked by seltiehness. Nevertheless, isolated cases of extreme cruelty must and do occur; and, what- ever the practice, the principle remains indefensible. No man ought to be trusted with absolute dominion over his fellow man. There is DOM a lady in 0 Jesse, under the si.rveillance of the police, some of whose female servants have been disposed of in a suspicious manner; and there are others of noble blood and tender vex who wilt stand by while their women are beaten, and order more lashes to be inflicted.
It is, however, in moral rather than in physical effect., that the baneful in- fluence of slavery and of that degradation which it promotes and perpetuates, is niaraested. All that a serf possesses, even his wife, is the property of hie lord ; and though the conviction that an infringement of the sanctity of wed- lock would lead to his own murder, may act in must cases as a check on the superior, in the absence of law, yet the mere existence of the power alludecloo, however little abused, weakens that sacred tie on which rests the whole fabric of social charities, and carries with it the evils inseparably connected with the insecurity of the first and strongest bond of society. Nov is this the only channel through which slavery infuses a moral poison into the character of the serf. As his atirok will be raised with prosperity, he conceals his gains; and the first lesson he is taught with the dawn of reason is to deceive his muter. To effect this, he must deceive his fellow slaves ; thus, low cunning and a habit of daring falsehood are engendered. Again, self-interest is usually the main- spring of exertion ; and as the labour ot the vassal enriches chiefly his lord, the motive to industry is removed ; he is habitually indolent; and determined idleness becomes a leading feature of his character, which nuthiog but physical compulsion will overcome. Again, he has no reputation to lose; and, mare- spected by others, he respects not himself; when, then, he has an opportundy of thieving, what should prevent him? If discovered, he is beaten ; but he as accustomed to the lash ; and his enjoyment of the stolen goods suffers no dimi- nution from remorse of conscience or violated principle.
We will conclude with a few anecdotes of Russian rule ha Poland, ani its jealousy of the press; the more to be relied on as Mr. ELLIOT'S politics scent to have a Tory or High Church leaning, or at all events are not of the "Movement" kind.
Pasckevich is execrated for the cruelty with which he enforces the orders of the Czar, tormenting the unhappy sufferers by needless severities. It is re- lated that one day, as he was passing through the streets of Cracow, the window of a private dwelling being open, he heard music, and, stopping to listen, recognized the Mazourka, a popular national air of which the Poles are peculiarly fond. He instanly sent to the house to know who was the per- former. His emissary returned, saying it was a little girl, who was amusing herself with practising same uf the few tunes with which she was acquainted. 4' I will teach her another kind of Mazourka," said he : "carry her off to prison ; she shall learn lalazourkas there." It is reported, (though we trust falsely,) that, with puerile anger worthy of a Nero, he once ordered a little bullfinch to he destroyed for piping this favourite air which it bad been taught. No Polish gentleman is allowed to retain a fowling-piece, even to indulge his favourite sport ; whilst any petty Russian officer may enter his house, command his cellar—if house or cellar be spared—and treat him with every species of insolence. Should the boiling blood of the Pole burst the valve of prudence under the high pressure of such indiguitics, he is denounced, and Siberia or death may be his portion. Not only selfolenial but likewise courage is requisite to induce a friend of the refugees to aid them ; for it is a task of danger resulting often in exile. One young Pule who took part in the revolution, after endurine, the greatest priva- tions, arrived in Paris, where he became dangerously ill. enduring communication with Poland was interdicted, and letters were intercepted. Under these cir- cumstances, he was reduced almost to despair ; when lie met with a countryman who offered to convey a note to his parents, still residing in 'Warsaw. A few lines, stating merely his illness and destitution, arrived in safety ; and the father, having for three years received no intelligence of his only sun, was overjoyed to lean that he was alive, and made his friends psrtakers of his happiness. The very day after his answer, containing a cheek, was committed to the post, lie was summoned before the Governor of Warsaw, when, to his astonishment, he saw his letter on the table. Pasekevich commenced—" Is this your writing ?" " It is." " Do you not know that it is contrary to the orders of the Czar that you should hold communication with refuge's?" " I have only sent toy son money to keep him from perishing; I have not touched on public affairs." " It matters not ; you are holding correspondence with a rebel ; and for this you are liable to punishment." The poor father was then dragged to prison, where he remained fur some time.
RUSSIA If CENSORSHIP.
Immediately on our arrival at Odessa, the portmanteau containing our books, sealed up at Liova, was delivered in due form at the rhaneelleric of the Guyer. nor-General. The volumes were thence conveyed to the censor's office, and we were informed that they would be detained till we should quit the country. Two doss Lame sailing for Constantinople. we applied for their restitution ; and the) were all la:turned with the exception of three. These were " Voyage en ()Innis it a liontaider, "..Mrs. Starke's Travels in Europe," and " Auldjo's Visit to Constantioople." The first is prohibited in Ituto.iti the other two are
riot in the of those permitted ; therefore they are forbidden. It seems scaled). credible that so great a power should maintain a sj stem so illiberal. In Peteraburg a chief ceusor reads, or ptofes,tes to read, all hooks published in Europe; what he disapproves, as excluded from the country, and what he does not approve, including what he does not read, are not tolerated. Consequently, the whole intellectual appetite of this prodigious empire is gauged by one man's capacity, arid the supply limited by his caprice.