Page images


Extract of a letter from Mr. Benjamin Barker, Agent to the British and Foreign Bible Society, at Aleppo, dated Garden of Ibrahim Aga, near the Ruins of Aleppo, August 23, 1822 :

“With a heavy heart I take up my pen, to trace anew in my dejected mind the most dreadful of events. The wounds of affliction must bleed afresh, when I recall to my memory the lamentations of fathers for their children, of children for their fathers, of husbands for their wives, and of wives for their husbands, running naked from place to place, imploring the protection of the Almighty, or with their feeble hands, amidst the falling ruins, to extricate themselves and their relations.

On the night of the 13th of August, about half past nine o'clock, Aleppo, third city of the Ottoman empire, built entirely of stone, was, in the space of a few seconds, brought down to its foundation. I was at that time asleep on the terrace of my particular friend Mr. Maseyk, who, by the help of the Almighty, was mercifully saved with all his family.

“ About half an hour previous to the great shock, a light one was felt, when I took the precaution to draw my bed from under a very high wall, where it was placed. I was soon awakened by the fall of that wall, on the very spot where my bed had stood. I sprang from my couch, and, without waiting to dress myself, fled into the house, which I found falling on all sides.

To remain in the house, or to take to flight through the streets, amidst falling houses, appeared to be equally dangerous.

I recommended my soul to God, and embraced the latter resolution, In cosequence, I descended the back stairs of Mr. Maseyk's house, by the Almighty's guidance, for the great staircase fell at the same time.

“ The darkness of the night and the clouds of dust that covered the atmosphere, prevented me from perceiving the stones and rubbish on the stairs, which had fallen from a part of the house, and I was precipitated into the court-yard on a dead body.

How can I express my feelings at that moment, ignorant on what body I had fallen! I was half dead with fright and horror. I afterwards learnt that it was a faithful servant, who a second before had descended those stairs, when some stones of an adjoining Tnrkish house fell and killed him.



“ I quitted that melancholy spot, and like a man deprived of his senses, ran amidst the falling walls to the gate of the town, which is situated at some distance from my friend's house. It was on my road, among narrow streets, that I was destined to witness the most horrible of all scenes. The lights of the houses whose sides had fallen, exposed to my view men and women clinging to the ruined walls of their houses, holding their children in their trembling arms ; mangled bodies lying under my feet; and piercing cries of half buried people assailing my ears; Christians, Jews, and Turks, were imploring the Almighty's mercy in their respective tongues, who a minute before did not perhaps acknowledge him.

“ After a great deal of trouble and fatigue, running among the ruins, I arrived exhausted at the gate of the city, called Babelfaniage, the earthquake 'still continuing. Cold and dreadfully bruised, and cut in my body and feet, I fell on my

knees among a concourse of people to thank the Almighty for my

deliverance from the jaws of death. But the gate of the city was shut : and no one dared toʻrisk his life under its arch, to open it. After recommending my soul again to my Creator, I threw myself on the gate. I felt in the dark, and perceived that it was not locked, but the great iron bařs that went across the folding-doors were bent by the earthquake, and the little strength I retained was not sufficient to force them." I went in quest of the guards, but they were no more!

ti 150 m2 *** I fell again on my knees before the Almighty, who alone could save me from the immediate peril of being

e crushed to death. I did not forget in my prayers the miserable creatures around me. " While I was in that attitude, four or fiye Turks and joined hands their accustomed way;

Havinay in calling out, “ Alla! Alla!"". my safety, and that of thousands of individuals who crowded to the gate to escape, I madę no op man

help me open the gate, in order to save our lives and those of so many individuals who were continually perishing before us. *t!! The Lord inspired them with courage ; and, providing themselves with large stones, according to my instructions, in a little I quitted it, than a strong shock of an earthquake crumbled it to pieces, and several Jews were killed by its fall,

and affecting scene was now exhibited. A great concourse of people rushed out,' and with one accord fell on their knees to render thanks to the Almighty for their preservation ; but when the first transports of joy were over, the thought of having left buried, in the city, their friends and relations, made them pour such piercing lamentations, that the most hard-hearted person would have been penetrated with grief. I'crept, as

came near me, Ana Alla


f som

“A news

well as I could, about twenty yards, to a place where I sawa group of people, who had saved themselves from the suburbs, where no gates prevented their issuing out of the town ; there I fell, half dead with cold, and with the pain from my sores.

ir Two or three people who recognised me in that miserable condition, immediately gave me a cloak, and brought me a little water. When I recovered a little my senses, I began to feel new sufferings, of a nature too poignant to be described.

“ The thoughts of what might have befallen my brother and his family, who were at Antioch, and the fate of my friends in the city, besides the melancholy, objeçts around me, some wounded, others lamenting the death of their relations, many having before them their dying children taken from under the ruins, preyed so strongly on my mind, that the pen of the ablest writer cannot give an adequate idea of my feelings. I spent the whole night in prayer and anxiety.

“Early the next morning. I was conveyed by some charitable people on an ass to the nearest garden, to profit by the shade of the trees. I did not remain long before Mr. Derhé, the French dragoman, joined me, and gave me the agreeable news that all the European Christians, excepting a little boy, had been saved ; but many, like myself, were greatly bruised.

Of the European Jews, the Austrian consul Mr: Esdra de Picciateo, and a few others, were crushed to death"; and many thousands of native Christians, Jews, and Turks, perished with them. I have now the satisfaction to know, that my brother and family have escaped from a similar danger at Antioch; which place has likewise been destroyed, as well as Latakia, Gisser Shogre, Idlib, Menduu Killis, Scanderoon, and all the rest of the towns and villages in the Pachatick of Aleppo..!!

« Of the interior, as yet, we have had no news. All those who have made their escape out of the city are encamped in the gardens.; L. remained four days without being able to move, from -- mybruises and sores, having only a sheet to screen me from the -scorching rays of the sun. I am now, thank God, much better, and begin to walk a little, but with great pain. of 15 When I joined the rest of the Europeans in the garden of Ibrahimi Aga, I was most kindly received by the French consul, Mr. Lesseps, who afforded every possible assistance.

I cannot too greatly admire the conduct of this worthy gentleman, in the critical and afflicting position he is in A father could not shew more affection to his children than Mr. Lesseps manifests to his countrymen, as well as to all those who iare in want of his advice or assistance.

"!-The next day, my friend Mr Maseyk came to live among us ; in the bošom of whose family I begin again to enjoy life, although deprived of all its comforts.

My heart bleeds for the poor Europeans ; who, without the

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

least prospect of having, for a time, a roof to preserve them from the scorching rays of the sun, must soon, from the heavy rains of the autumn and winter, be deprived of every resource ; for the few effects they have been able to save, must be sold for their sustenance.



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Mr. Latrobe relates a rencontre between Mr. Schmitt, one of the missionaries, and a tiger; which, though published in some of their accounts, cannot fail to prove interesting to many readers. It happened in 1811; and Mr. Latrobe visited the spot in company with Mr. Schmitt, and heard him there relate it :

“ Wolves having done much misehief at Groene Kloof, an attempt was made to destroy them. For that purpose, the missionaries, set out early in the morning towards the Lanweskloof hill. One of these animals was seen, and lamed by a shot, but escaped and entered the bushes. The Hottentots followed, and called to the missionaries, that the wolf was in the thicket. Brother Schmitt rode back, and, alighting, entered with a Hottentot of the name of Philip Moses. The dog started some animal, which those within the thicket could not see; but the Hottentots on the outside perceiving it to be tiger, called aloud to the missionary to return. He, therefore, with Philip, began the retreat backwards, pointing his gun, and ready to fire, in case the animal made its appearance. Suddenly a tiger sprang forwards, but from a quarter not expected, and, by a flying leap over the bushes, fastened upon the Hottentot, seizing his nose and face with claws and teeth. I measured the distance from whence the tiger made his spring, to that on which the Hottentot stood, and found it full twenty feet, over bushes from six to eight feet high. Brother Schmit observed, that had it not been for the horror of the scene, it would have been an amusing sight, to behold the enraged creature fly, like a bird, over that length of ground and bushes, with open jaw and lashing tail, screaming with violence. Poor Philip was thrown down, and, in the conflict, lie now upon, now under the tiger. The missionary might easily have effected his escape, but his own safety never entered his thoughts,-duty and pity made him instantly run forwards to the assistance of the sufferer. He pointed his gun, but the motions both of the Hottentot and tiger, in rolling about and struggling, were so swift, that he durst not venture to pull the trigger, lest he should injure Philip. The tiger perceiving him take aim, instantly quitted its hold, worked himself from under the Hottentot, and flew like lighting upon Brother Schmitt. As the gun was of no use in such close quarters, he let it fall, and presented his left arm to shield his face. The tiger seized it with its jaw, Brother Schmitt, with the same arm, catching one of its paws, to prevent its outstretched claws from reaching his body. With the other paw, howev the tiger continued striking towards his breast, and tearing his clothes. Both fell in the scuffle, and, providentially, in such a position, that the missionary's knee came to rest on the pit of the tiger's stomach. At the same time, he grasped the animal's throat with his right-hand, keeping him down with all his might. The seizure of his throat made the tiger instantly quit its hold, but not before brother Schmitt had received another bite, nearer the elbow. His face lie right over that of the tiger's, whose open mouth, from the pressure of the windpipe, sent forth the most hideous, hoarse, and convulsive groans, while its starting eyes, like live coals, seemed to flash with fire. In this situation, brother Schmitt called aloud to the Hottentots, to come to his rescue, for his strength was fast failing; rage and agony supplying to the animal extraordinary force in its attempts to disengage himself. The Hottentots at last ventured to enter the thicket; and one of them, snatching the loaded gun, presented it, and shot the tiger, under the missionay's hand, right through the heart. Brother Schmitt and Philip were materially injured in the conflict.”


At Tunbridge, in the year 1715, a gentleman, whose name was Hedges, made a very brilliant appearance : he had been

« PreviousContinue »