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mit of Sion, outside the gates, and they assert that it contains the real stone that closed the mouth of the Holy Sepulchre. The exterior of this building is highly characteristic of the late disturbed state of Judea, and of the defensive attitude that all the exposed monastical establishments were obliged to maintain, in order to repel the attacks of the Arabs, who were not only constantly on the watch for an opportunity to rush in and rob the convents, but sometimes came in strong parties, and tried to force an entrance. There are no windows, and no apertures of any kind in the outer wall, except the small, low, and ironstudded door, which is of vast strength. On the top of the parapet was piled a wall of loose stones, of about three feet high, in order to prevent the scaling ladders of the enemy from catching on the solid masonry, as well as to hurl down upon the besiegers.
Within, we found the tombs of the several patriarchs of that church who have died in Jerusalem ; and on the left is shown a small plain chapel, adorned with Dutch tiles, like the churches in Portugal. Here the stone which as they assert closed the door of the sepulchre in which our Saviour was laid, forms the altar ; and it also is covered with pottery ware, except at the ends, and on the back part, where the naked rock is exhibited, to receive the devout kisses of the pilgrims; of late, however, its peculiar sanctity has been very much on the wane, and it is now almost neglected. I believe that Maundrell was deceived when he stated that this stone had formerly occupied a place in the church of the sepulchre, and was stolen from thence by the Armenians, a few years before he visited Jerusalem. This story has now become current among travellers. Sandys, who visited the place eighty-seven years before, speaks of this very stone, but does not mention the theft, which if it had really occurred, would naturally have been fresher in the minds of the people then, than at the period when Maundrell visited the place. It is impossible that it could have been used as a door to the tomb of Christ, for it is seven feet five inches long, by three feet five inches in depth and breadth. In short, though the tradition about it is, no doubt, very old, yet it is an Armenian opposition shop.
The Maronites and other Christian sects that inhabit Palestine, and occasionally visit the Holy City, are so few in number,
that they scarcely deserve any particular notice.* But the Copts cannot be passed over in silence.
Perhaps there is no other people in existence that deserve a more attentive inquiry into their history and physical character, than the Copts; because of no other nation, possessing such claims on our attention, from their origin, descent, or present condition, do we know less. The passing traveller is less likely to gain any accurate knowledge of the religion, customs, or domestic manners of this sect, than of any other; for they are a particularly reserved and silent people, who mix little with those of a different persuasion; and for this reason, information respecting them is with great difficulty obtained.
The question seems now decided, that the Copts are the descendants of the ancient Egyptians, though much altered by intermixture with other nations, particularly the Abyssinians, whom they resemble in colour, and also slightly in features. By the Egyptians here alluded to, I must not be understood to mean all those whose forms are so accurately represented on the ancient paintings and sculptures ; for even independent of the conquered races that are exhibited on these drawings, there were at least three distinct races of Egyptians, as stated by Blumenbach, and as can be seen by a reference to the magnificent plates of Rosselini. I have, however, seen Copts who partook more or less of the peculiarities of all three, except in the copper tinge that appears to have been the peculiar colour of the higher cast.
In stature the Copts are generally small, though, as far as my observations went, they are not the ill made or deformed race they were represented to be by Denon. The figure of the head is that denominated Caucasian ; the hair is thick and rather crisp or curly, but not woolly; the beard is scanty, but not remarkably so, or any thing like what it is in the negro. The nose is straight, though rather larger at the end, and more in
* The following circumstance was related to me in Judea upon good authority :-Some of the Maronites of Mount Lebanon having lately (for certain political purposes) put themsleves under the dominion of the pope, the priests conditioned that they were not to say mass in Latin, as none of them had learned that language-the stipulation on the part of the See of Rome was, that as they could not speak Latin, they should read the service in ancient Syriac, an unknown tongue to the people who heard them!
clined to the horizontal form than in that ancient race of Egyptians, who belonged to a high caste. The lips are thick; and the colour varies from that of the Abyssinian olive, with a tinge of yellow through it, to a deep bronze ; though I have seen several Copts in Cairo as fair as any of the Turks. That which strikes the traveller most is the eye or rather the eye-lids; these Baron Larry has described as possessing a very long aperture. Such, it is well known, was a peculiarity in the eye of the ancient Egyptians, as seen at page 203 of this volume, where it is contradistinguished from that of the modern Egyptian, both being, however, blackened along the brow and tarsal margin ; a practice still in use among the Copts.
One of the most remarkable appearances visible in the countenance of this race is the peculiarly dark, suspicious, and sinister look that the whole nation possess—perhaps it may be increased by their situations as tax-gatherers and customs' officers. “Of this,” says no mean observer of nature, though not a professed physiologist, “I find it difficult, sometimes, to perceive any difference between a Copt and a Mooslim Egyptian, beyond a certain downcast and sullen expression of countenance which generally marks the former."* The Copts in Jerusalem do not amount to five hundred; they dress in black, and they have a small chapel to the right of the door of the church of the sepulchre, and a small oratory behind the pavilion. On attending their worship I was greatly struck with the similarity of some of their forms and customs to those of the Mohammadans, whom, on the whole, they resemble more than any other Christian sect known. Their chapel is divided into distinct apartments, separated by wooden lattice
* The Copts, with the exception of a small proportion who profess the Romish or the Greek faith, are Christians of the sects called Jacobites, Eutychians, Monophysites, and Monthelites, whose creed was condemned by the Council of Chalcedon, in the reign of Marcion. They received the appellation of Jacobites, (Ya'a'ckebeh or Yaackoo'bees,) by which they are generally known from Jacobus Baradæus, a Syrian, who was a chief propagator of the Eutychian doctrines. “Saint Mark, they assert, was the first who preached the Gospel in Egypt; and they regard him as the first patriarch of Alexandria.” “ The religious orders of the Coptic church consist of a patriarch, a metropolitan of the Abyssinians, bishops, archpriests, priests, deacons and monks."--Lane's Manners and Customs of
work. Many of the people sat cross-legged, and all on entering took off their shoes on reaching the mat that covered the floor of the interior, similar to that in a mosque; they then approached the altar, and prostrated themselves before it. The few who reside in Jerusalem are as much despised by their Christian brethren, as are their more numerous fraternity by the Mohammadans in Egypt.
During our stay in the Holy City, the war which Ibrahim Básha was then waging with the Druses and Arabs of the Houran, was at its height; owing to this cause, and to the recent rebellion of the Arabs around the city, and the universal murmurings on account of the unjust conscription, the hillcountry about the Jordan, and the Dead Sea, was in a very unsettled state ; and a few days before we arrived, two Frenchmen had been fired at across the Jordan. They had, however, proceeded there with a guard of some two or three Egyptian soldiers, whom the natives mistook for a party of conscription officers, then the most obnoxious people in the whole country. These gentlemen acknowledged that had they proceeded alone, they would have been suffered to pass unmolested. It was deemed advisable, however, that our party should not make the attempt to visit this part of Judea ; more especially as, not having brought tents with us, we should have been compelled to bivouac for the night on the plains of Jericho, or seek an inhospitable shelter in the filthy village that bears the name of the memorable City of Palms. These circunstances were not very inviting to persons seeking health, as well as amusement, so we abandoned the project.
the Modern Egyptians ;-a work which contains more accurate information on the subject of the Copts than any other that has yet been published.
They adhere to the rite of infant baptism; but the form is that of immersion; they also use circumcision; the sacrament is administered in the form of small cakes, steeped in wine; they use auricular confession, abstain from swine's flesh, also from "things strangled, and from blood." The priests and deacons may be married, provided they have been so before ordination ; but if their wives die they cannot marry a second time. The Copts are generally described as a sullen, bigoted, and superstitious race.
The people of Syria complained loudly against the unjust taxation of human life caused by the conscription, an effect which should naturally be expected; and it might well be supposed that the very wildest of the sons of freedom, the Arab, who for ages roamed unshackled wherever his inclination prompted him, accustomed to his own weapons, and prejudiced in favour of his own mode of warfare, would (although fighting was his trade and birthright) resist the galling yoke to which he would consider himself subjected, by the discipline maintained in the army of the Egyptian general. As an illustration of the feelings of the inhabitants on this subject I may relate the following anecdote.
One day while toiling up the steep ascent of Mount Sion from the valley of Hinnom, we perceived an old grey-bearded Arab, who sat under an olive tree with a lovely child in his arms, whose beauty struck us as being very remarkable. The man rose as our party approached, in a different manner from that usually displayed by the generality of his people, and appeared to court an interview. Seeing us stop he advanced a little and inquired of our ciceroni if we were not Russians. On being informed that we were English the old man's face brightened up, his hesitation vanished, and coming boldly forward he seemed to recognise us as friends, at once entered into conversation, and related to us his sad tale. It is one that then echoed throughout the length and breadth of Syria---a tale whose sad reality makes the mother childless, and the wife a widow, but one ever consequent on the horrors of a forced enlistment, and the ravages of war. He told us, with tears standing in his large expressive eyes, that he had been the father of eight sons, seven of whom were dragged from him to join the Basha's army within the last two years. Four of them were killed during the Houran war, and after their death the survivors deserted to the Bedawees beyond the Dead Sea ; and had then a price fixed upon their heads. The youngest, “his sole remaining joy”-the Benjamin of his old age—was the child he carried in his arms. “When,” said he, “will the English come to take this country ?—when will you come to rescue us from our present bondage ? Here is my child-my youngest—and I know that I am but rearing him for the battle; a few years more and he too will be taken from me. Oh! bring him with you to your own free country—take him any where out of this unhappy land.” And he held the child