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cold or temperate regions of the North, that the flame of personal liberty is accustomed to burn with the brightest lustre. The heat of a southern sun is unfriendly to exertion, and has ever been found to facilitate the establishment of despotism38. And it is observed by Volney, that 'mountainous countries, alone, afford to liberty its great resources. It is there,' says this judicious Frenchman, 'that skill and address, favored by situation, supply the deficiency of numbers.—In flat countries, on the contrary, the first tumult is
cnce.' Turkestan, or the eastern Tartary, was entered and subdued by him; and ' his most distant camp was two months journey, or 480 leagues to the north-east of Samarcand, and his emirs, who traversed the rivers Irtish, engraved in the forests of Siberia a rude memorial of their exploits.' Kipzak, or the western Tartary, he also invaded 'with such mighty powers, that 13 miles were measured from his right to his left wing.' After a march of five months in which 'they rarely beheld the footsteps of man, and their daily subsistence was often trusted to the fortune of the chace,' his forces encountered and defeated those of the powerful Khan, who ruled over the Mogul empire of the North, and who had recently entered the dominions of Timour at the head of 90,000 horse. 'The pursuit of a flying enemy carried Timour into tributary provinces of Russia,' and 'Moscow trembled at the approach of the Tartar.' But 'ambition and prudence recalled him to the south.' After crossing the Indus and the Ganges, and fighting several battles with the princes of Hindostan, he made himself master of that rich and extensive country. Syria and Armenia were afterwards ravaged by him, and Anatolia and Georgia were subjugated by the arms of the Mogul. In the memorable battle of Angora he defeated an army of 400,000 horse and foot, commanded by the Turkish emperor, Bajazet. 'Astracan, Carisme, Delhi, Ispahan, Bagdad, Aleppo, Damascus, Boursa, Smyrna, and a thousand others, were sacked, or burnt, or utterly destroyed, in liis presence, and by his troops.—From the Irtish and Volga to the Persian gulf, and from the Ganges to Damascus and the Archipelago, Asia was in the hand of Timour; his armies were invincible, his ambition was boundless -' and it was on his march towards China, at the head of 200,000 of his select and veteran troops, that the Mogul emperor expired, after having skilfully planned the invasion and conquest of that great empire. Gibbon, vol. IV. p. 358; VI. p. 4—53, 108—122; XI. p. 408—429; XII. p. 4—45.
38 ' The cities of Mecca and Medina,' says Mr. Gibbon, 'present, in the heart of Asia, the form, or rather the substance, of a commonwealth.' Vol. IX. p. 234. That the historian regarded this fact as an unusual phenomenon in the political world, the manner in which he notices it unequivocally shews.
suppressed, and the ignorant peasant, who does not even know how to throw up an entrenchment, has no other resource but in the clemency of his master, and a quiet submission to slavery. We shall therefore find that no general principal can be advanced more true than the following: That plains are the habitation of indolence and of slavery, and mountains the country of energy andfreedom?9''
'Asia,' says Colonel Dow, 'the seat of the greatest empires, has been always the nurse of the most abject slaves. The mountains of Persia have not been able to stop the progress of the tide of despotism, neither has it been frozen in its course through the plains of the Northern Tartary by the chill air of the North.' But the Arabs of the desert, he observes, 'remain unconquered by arms, by luxury, by corruption; they alter not their language, they adhere to their customs and manners, they retain their dress,°.'
There are trees, which, being unassisted by cultivation and the labors of man, retain, even after the lapse of many ages, their primeval shape and wildness, and strongly resemble those which first shed their blossoms on the virgintoil. Thus although Ishmael and his sons, by whom a principal part of the land of Arabia was planted, lived in a period of the most remote antiquity, and in the very infancy of society; yet his modern descendants, inhabiting a country, that has never been subdued, or completely explored by the most intrepid conqueror, vary as little from their primitive manners, as the trees of an immense forest, which has never been cleared by rustic industry, and the recesses of which have never been penetrated by the most adventurous traveller, differ from those parent-trees, which first occupied the wilderness's wide expanse.
On the characteristic resemblance of the Arabs in general to their earliest ancestors, I might refer the reader to a
39 Travels, vol. I. p. 200. The Arabs are specified by Volney as an exception to this general principle.
40 Diss, on the Origin of Despotism in Haidostan, p. II. prefixed to the I lid vol. of the History of Hindostan by Alexander Dovi, Esq.
crowd of ancient writers and of modern travellers; but it will be sufficient to cite the testimonies of two celebrated infidels, who are competent, and certainly impartial, evidences on a fact of this nature. 'The same life,' says Mr. Gibbon, ' is uniformly pursued by the roving tribes of the desert, and in the portrait of the modern Bedoweens, we may trace the features of their ancestors; who, in the age of Moses or Mahomet, dwelt under similar tents, and conducted their horses, and camels, and sheep, to the same springs and the same pastures4'.'
'The vast deserts,' says Volney,' which extend from the confines of Persia to Morocco,' are inhabited by the Bedoweens. 'Though divided into independent communities, or tribes, not unfrequently hostile to each other, they may still be considered as forming one nation. The resemblance of their language is a manifest token of this relationship. The only difference that exists between them is, that the African tribes are of a less ancient origin, being posterior to the conquest of these countries by the Califs, or successors of Mahomet; while the tribes of the desert of Arabia, properly so called, have descended by an uninterrupted succession from the remotest ages; and it is of these I mean more especially to treat.—To these the orientals are accustomed to appropriate the name of Arabs, as being the most ancient and the purest race. The term Bedaoui is added as a synonimous expression, signifying, as I have observed, inhabitant of the Desert; and this term has the greater propriety, as the word Arab, in the ancient language of these countries, signifies a solitude or desert.' The Arabs of the desert, 'we may assert, have, in every respect, retained their primitive independence and simplicity. Every thing that ancient history has related of their customs, manners, language, and even their prejudices, is almost minutely true of them to this day; and if we consider, besides, that this unity of character, preserved through such a number of ages, still subsists, even in the most distant situations,
41 Vel. IX. p. 224.
that is, that the tribes most remote from each other preserve an exact resemblance, it must be allowed, that the circumstances, which accompany so peculiar a moral state, are a subject of most curious enquiry41.'
Of the descendants of the Bedoweens, who inhabit Egypt< some, says Volney,' dispersed in families, inhabit the rocks, caverns, ruins, and sequestered places where there is water; others, united in tribes, encamp under low and smoky tents, and pass their lives in perpetual journeyings, sometimes in the desert, sometimes on the banks of the river; having no other attachment to the soil than what arises from their own safety, or the subsistence of their flocks. There are tribes of them, who arrive every year after the inundation, from the heart of Africa, to profit by the fertility of the country, and who in the spring retire into the depths of the desert; others are stationary in Egypt, where they farm lands, which they sow, and annually change. All of them observe among themselves stated limits, which they never pass, on pain of war. They all lead nearly the same kind of life, and have the same manners and customs. Ignorant and poor, the Bedoweens preserve an original character distinct from surrounding nations. Pacific in their camp, they are every where else in an habitual state of war. The husbandmen, whom they pillage, hate them; the travellers, whom they despoil, speak ill of them; and the Turks, who dread them, endeavor to divide and corrupt them. It is calculated, that the different tribes of them in Egypt might form a body of 30,000 horsemen; but these are so dispersed and disunited, that they are only considered as robbers and vagabonds41.'
42 Vol. I. p. 379, 380.
43 Vol. I. p. 76. The following fact I borrow from another celebrated French infidel. The province of Anossi, in the island of Madagascar, is divided into a considerable number of governments, and these governments are all subject to the descendants of Arabs. 'These petty sovereigns are continually at war with each other, but never fail to unite against the other princes of Madagascar.' The Abbd Kaynal's Hist of the Settlements in the East and West Indies, vol. II. p. 11.
Vol. II. <t
The striking resemblance of the Arabs to their remote progenitors has a strong claim to attention, as well because it is,a fact unusual in the nations of the world, as on account of some peculiar circumstances, which have occurred in the history of this singular people. It cannot be said of the inhabitants of Arabia, that they have had scarcely any intercourse with mankind. It cannot be said, that they have discovered themselves to be destitute of genius and incapable of improvement; or, that they have had- no opportunity of introducing into their country a new system of arts, of manners, and of opinion. It has been far otherwise.- The Arabs or Saracens have been distinguished for their^attainments in literature and their exploits in war. Animated by courage and by enthusiasm, they carried their victorious arms into most of the civilised nations of the world, and erected one of the most powerful empires, which the world has ever seen. Yet, says Mr. Gibbon, 'the liberty of the Saracens survived their conquests. The first caliphs indulged the bold and familiar language of their subjects: they ascended the pulpit to persuade and edify the congregation: nor was it before the seat of empire was removed to the Tigris, that the Abbassides adopted the proud and pompous ceremonial of the Persian and Byzantine courts44;'
The same determined enemy of'prophecy and of Christianity, after alluding to the prediction which I have endeavored to illustrate, and observing that some parts of Arabia have been subdued, a fact which needs not and ought not to be disputed, admits that ' these exceptions are temporary or local.' 'The body of the nation,' he acknowleges, « has escaped the yoke of the most powerful monarchies: the arms of Sesostrjs and Cyrus, of Pompey, and Trajan, could never atchieve the conquest of Arabia; the present sovereign of the Turks may exercise a shadow of jurisdiction, but his pride is reduced, to solicit the friend