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bag, a fifth stomach of the animal, whose body is imprinted with the marks of servitude: the larger breed is capable of transporting a weight of a thousand pounds; and the dromedary, of a lighter and more active frame, outstrips the fleetest courser in the race. Alive or dead, almost every part of the camel is serviceable to man: her milk is plentiful and nutritious: the young and tender flesh has the taste of veal; and the long hair, which falls each year and is renewed, is coarsely manufactured into the garments, the furniture, and the tents of the Bedoweens.
The perpetual independence of the Arabs has been the theme of praise among strangers and natives; and the arts of controversy transform this singular event into a prophecy and a miracle, in favor of the posterity of Ishmael.* Some exceptions, that can neither be dissembled nor eluded, render this mode of reasoning as indiscreet as it is superfluous. Yet these exceptions are temporary or local; the body of the nation has escaped the yoke of the most powerful monarchies; the armies of Sesostris † and Cyrus,‡ of Pompey and Trajan,|| could never achieve the conquest of Arabia; the present sovereign of the Turks may exercise a shadow of jurisdiction, but his pride is reduced to solicit the friendship of a people whom it is dangerous to provoke, and fruitless to attack. The obvious causes of their freedom are inscribed on the character and country of the Arabs. Many ages before Mahomet, their intrepid valor had been severely felt by their neighbors, in offensive and defensive war. The patient and active virtues of a soldier are insensibly nursed in the habits and discipline of a pastoral life. The care of the sheep and camels is abandoned to the women of the tribe; but the martial youth, under the banner of the emir, is ever on horseback, and in the field, to practice the exercise of the bow, the javelin, and the scymetar. The long memory of their independence is the firmest pledge of its perpetuity, and succeeding generations are animated to prove their descent, and to maintain their inheritance. In the more simple state of the Arabs, the nation is free, because each of her sons disdains a base submission to the will of a master. His breast is forti
* ISHMAEL. Son of Abraham and Hagar, and the supposed ancestor of the Arabians. + SESOSTRIS. An Egyptian king and warrior.
CYRUS. The founder of the Persian Empire; one of the great warriors mentioned in the
POMPEY. A famous Roman general, born 106 B. C. (See Plutarch's Lives.)
TRAJAN. A Roman emperor, born 52 A. D.
fied with the austere virtues of courage, patience, and sobriety; the love of independence prompts him to exercise the habits of self-command; and the fear of dishonor guards him from the meaner apprehension of pain, of danger, and of death. The gravity and firmness of the mind is conspicuous in his outward demeanor: his speech is slow, weighty, and concise; he is seldom provoked to laughter; his only gesture is that of stroking his beard, the venerable symbol of manhood; and the sense of his own importance teaches him to accost his equals without levity, and his superiors without awe.
THE separation of the Arabs from the rest of mankind has accustomed them to confound the ideas of stranger and enemy; and the poverty of the land has introduced a maxim of jurisprudence which they believe and practice to the present hour. They pretend that, in the division of the earth, the rich and fertile climates were assigned to other branches of the human family; and that the posterity of the outlaw Ishmael might recover, by fraud or force, the portion of inheritance of which he had been unjustly deprived. According to the remark of Pliny,* the Arabian tribes are equally addicted to theft and merchandise: the caravans that traverse the desert are ransomed or pillaged; and their neighbors, since the remote times of Job and Sesostris, have been the victims of their rapacious spirit. If a Bedoween discovers from afar a solitary traveler, he rides furiously against him, crying, with a loud voice, "Undress thyself, thy aunt (my wife) is without a garment." A ready submission entitles him to mercy resistance will provoke the aggressor, and his own blood must expiate the blood which he presumes to shed in legitimate defense.
The nice sensibility of honor, which weighs the insult rather than the injury, sheds its deadly venom on the quarrels of the Arabs: the honor of their women, and of their beards, is most easily wounded; an indecent action, a contemptuous word, can be expiated only by the blood of the offender; and such is their patient inveteracy, that they expect whole months and years the opportunity of revenge.
Whatever may be the pedigree of the Arabs, their language is derived from the same original stock with the Hebrew, the Syriac, and the Chaldean tongues: the independence of the tribes was
* PLINY. A Roman historian.
marked by their peculiar dialects; but cach, after their own, allowed a just preference to the pure and perspicuous idiom of Mecca. In Arabia, as well as in Greece, the perfection of language outstripped the refinement of manners; and her speech could diversify the fourscore names of honey, the two hundred of a serpent, the five hundred of a lion, the thousand of a sword, at a time when this copious dictionary was intrusted to the memory of an illiterate people. The monuments of the Homerites were inscribed with an obsolete and mysterious character; but the Cufic letters, the groundwork of the present English alphabet, were invented on the banks of the Euphrates; and the recent invention was taught at Mecca by a stranger who settled in that city after the birth of Mahomet. The arts of grammar, of meter, and of rhetoric were unknown to the freeborn eloquence of the Arabians; but their penetration was sharp, their fancy luxuriant, their wit strong and sententious, and their more elaborate compositions were addressed with energy and effect to the minds of their hearers. The genius and merit of a rising poet was celebrated by the applause of his own and kindred tribes. The Arabian poets were the historians and moralists of the age; and if they sympathized with the prejudices, they inspired and crowned the virtues, of their countrymen. The indissoluble union of generosity and valor was the darling theme of their song; and when they pointed their keenest satire against a despicable race, they affirmed, in the bitterness of reproach, that the men knew not how to give, nor the women to deny. The same hospitality, which was practiced by Abraham, and celebrated by Homer, is still renewed in the camps of the Arabs. The ferocious Bedoweens, the terror of the desert, embrace, without inquiry or hesitation, the stranger who dares to confide in their honor and to enter their tent. His treatment is kind and respectful he shares the wealth, or the poverty, of his host; and, after a needful repose, he is dismissed on his way, with thanks, with blessings, and, perhaps, with gifts. The heart and hand are more largely expanded by the wants of a brother or a friend; but the heroic acts that could deserve the public applause must have surpassed the narrow measure of discretion and experience. A dispute had arisen, who, among the citizens of Mecca, was entitled to the prize of generosity; and a successive application was made to the three who were deemed most worthy of the trial. Abdallah, the son of Abbas, had undertaken a distant journey, and his foot was in the
stirrup when he heard the voice of a suppliant. "O son of the uncle of the apostle of God, I am a traveler, and in distress! He instantly dismounted to present the pilgrim with his camel, her rich caparison, and a purse of four thousand pieces of gold, excepting only the sword, either for its intrinsic value, or as a gift of an honored kinsman. The servant of Kais informed the second suppliant that his master was asleep; but he immediately added, "Here is a purse of seven thousand pieces of gold (it is all we have in the house); and here is an order, that will entitle you to a camel and a slave": the master, as soon as he awoke, praised and enfranchised his faithful steward, with a gentle reproof, that by respecting his slumbers he had stinted his bounty. The third of these heroes, the blind Arabahı, at the hour of prayer was supporting his steps on the shoulders of two slaves. Alas!" he replied, "my coffers are empty! but these you may sell if you refuse, I renounce them." At these words, pushing away the youths, he groped along the wall with his staff. The character of Hatem is the perfect model of Arabian virtue; he was brave and liberal, an eloquent poet, and a successful robber : forty camels were roasted at his hospitable feast; and at the prayer of a suppliant enemy he restored both the captives and the spoil. The freedom of his countrymen disdained the laws of justice; they proudly indulged the spontaneous impulse of pity and benevolence.
Ir was on that day or rather night, of the 27th June, 1787, between the hours of eleven and twelve, that I wrote the last line of the last page of the Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire in a summerhouse in my garden.* After laying down my pen, I took several turns in a covered walk of acacias, which commands a prospect of the country, the lake, and the mountains. The air was temperate, the sky was serene, the silver orb of the moon was reflected from the waters, and all nature was silent. I will not dissemble the first emotions of joy on recovery of my freedom, and perhaps the establishment of my fame. But my pride was soon humbled, and a sober melancholy was spread over my mind, by the idea that I had taken an everlasting leave of an old and agreeable companion, and that, whatsoever might be the future date of my History, the life of the historian must be short and precarious.
* Gibbon was then living at Lausanne, Switzerland.
THOMAS JEFFERSON was born in Virginia in 1743 and died in 1826. He will live forever in the memory of Americans as the author of The Declaration of In lependence. He was President of the United States, 1801-9; was Governor of Virginia, Member of Congress, Minister to France, Secretary of State, etc. He is best known in literature by his Notes on Virginia, privately printed in Paris in 1782; but none of his writings afford a clearer idea of his style than does this extract from his view of the character of Washington. Hon. Edward Everett said of Jefferson: "On Jefferson rests the imperishable renown of having penned the Declaration of Independence. To have been the instrument of expressing, in one brief, decisive act, the consecrated will and resolution of a whole family of States; of unfolding, in one all-important manifesto, the causes, the, motives, and the justification of this great movement in human affairs; to have been permitted to give the impress and peculiarity of his mind to a charter of public rights, destined to an importance in the estimation of men equal to anything human ever borne on parchment or expressed in the visible signs of thought; - this is the glory of Thomas
CHARACTER OF WASHINGTON.
His mind was great and powerful, without being of the very first order; his penetration strong, though not so acute as that of Newton,* Bacon,† or Locke; ‡ and as far as he saw, no judgment was ever sounder. It was slow in operation, being little aided by invention or imagination, but sure in conclusion. Hence the common remark of his officers, of the advantage he derived from councils of war, where, hearing all suggestions, he selected whatever was best; and certainly no general ever planned his battles more judiciously. But if deranged during the course of the action, if any member of his plan was dislocated by sudden circumstances, he was slow in a readjustment. The consequence was, that he often failed in the field, and rarely against an enemy in station, as at Boston and York. He was incapable of fear, meeting personal dangers with the calmest unconcern. Perhaps the strongest feature in his character was prudence, never acting until every circumstance, every consideration, was maturely weighed; refraining if he saw a doubt, but when once decided, going through with his purpose, whatever obstacles opposed. His integrity was most pure, his justice the most inflexible I have ever
* NEWTON. An illustrious English philosopher and mathematician, born 1642. (See Brewster's Memoirs of Sir Isaac Newton.)
BACON. One of the greatest lawyers and philosophers that ever lived, born 1561. (See Campbell's Lives of the Lord Chancellors.)
LOCKE. The author of the celebrated Essay on the Human Understanding, born in England,