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Emperor. His vows, he believed, prohibited him from warring against a monarch professedly Christian, and called him onwards to Jerusalem. In the course of a few months that decision occasioned the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of the crusading armies. Conrad marched first. Manuel informed the Turkish leaders of all his movements, and the guides whom he furnished to conduct the Europeans through Asia Minor led them into the most dangerous defiles, where the Turks had planted their forces in ambush, and the crusaders were rather slaughtered than defeated, Conrad himself barely escaping with his life. Louis was more on his guard; but he could not altogether shun the snares of Greek treason. He arrived, indeed, in Palestine, but so weakened in his military resources, that his subsequent undertakings produced no salutary results to the enfeebled Christians, beyond delaying, perhaps, their ultimate fall for a few generations.
Half a century elapsed, and the Christians in Palestine, weakened by dissensions among themselves, and betrayed by the successive Emperors of Constantinople, at length lost Jerusalem, taken from them by the conquering and heroic Saladin. The Third Crusade had been as unsuccessful as the Second, and the lion-hearted Richard of England left Palestine in A.D. 1192, with its metropolis in the hands of the Saracens.
In the meanwhile, the imperial throne at Constantinople had been filled by a rapid succession of usurpers, who all made crime their pathway to power. They ruled over a people increasingly corrupt, and who were rapidly filling up the measure of their iniquities. At length, in A.D. 1204, one judgment from heaven fell upon them in the siege and capture by storm of the imperial city by the Franks, chiefly under the conduct of the Venetians.
The aristocratical republic of the boasted Spouse and Queen of the Adriatic was, perhaps, during the time of the Crusades, at the height of her splendour and power. Her nobles were merchants, and her merchants princes; and at a period when commerce was little understood in other parts of Europe, and by the warrior sovereigns and barons of the age despised as unworthy of their notice, the riches of the known world were poured into Venice. In the military expeditions of the First Crusade she took no active part; but when success began to crown the enterprising valour of the soldiers of the cross, she also began to interfere ; less impelled, however, Italian as she was, by the superstitious ardour of the age, than by a greedy and rapacious commercial avarice. She helped the crusaders from time to time, but always took care to be paid for the help she afforded, not only by pecuniary returns for military supplies, but by various stipulations and treaties, in all which advantage and security forgainful trafficwere sought. Towards the close of the twelfth century, the attention both of the remaining Christian colonies in Palestine, and of the rulers of Western Europe, became more fully directed towards Constantinople. The Christian colonists saw in the Greek Emperors foes more dangerous than Saracens and Turks, because more treacherous, dastardly, and cruel. In Europe the impression began to be felt that the Holy Land was only to be conquered, and the possession of Jerusalem regained, at Constantinople. Constantinople rather than Jerusalem, or at least Constantinople for the sake of Jerusalem, became the object of whatever of the old crusading spirit inight yet exist, or be awakened. At this juncture a circumstance occurred which rendered the feeling, somewhat wavering though powerful, definite and fixed. In a.d. 1194, Isaac, surnamed “the Angel,” though his actions were rather those of a fiend, was robbed of the throne, which he had himself usurped, by
VOL. VI.--FOURTH SERIES.
his own brother, who caused him to be deprived of both his eyes. Such was the character of Alexis III., that he won for himself the epithet of “the Tyrant !” Alexis had spared the life of a son of his brother, (likewise called Alexis,) but he kept him closely confined in prison. After a few years, the young Alexis escaped, and fled into Western Europe, where he sought to persuade the several princes to espouse his cause, and assist him to regain the inheritance of which he had been deprived, and to re-establish on the throne his blinded parent. He was, of course, profuse in his offers. If successful, he promised to place the Greek Church under the obedience of Rome. To the warriors he engaged to supply aid both in money and
He was at length successful. The warriors of Europe wanted occupation; and, for the last century, Palestine was the only object which had possessed sufficient power to withdraw their attention from their domestic broils. The prayers of the young Alexis produced what is commonly called the Fourth Crusade ; but which, as it only aimed at the conquest of the Greek empire, to which for half a century it gave rulers from Western Christendom, is properly only an episode (as, indeed, it is termed by Count Daru) in the history of the wars for the deliverance of the Holy Land.
Of this new Crusade, the Venetians were the leaders. They said that a very large debt was due to them from the imperial treasury, and they complained of their losses in trade through the enmity of the Greeks. To those who mixed together the military and the mercantile character, and who combined in one strong passion the love of prey and the love of gain by which in that age both were marked, the capture of Constantinople offered a prize the attractions of which were not to be resisted. Powerful preparations were made ; and, in a.d. 1203, the Venetian fleet sailed for Corfu, the appointed place of rendezvous for all who had agreed to engage in the undertaking.
(To be concluded.)
THE APPLES OF THE DEAD SEA.
We made a somewhat singular discovery when travelling among the mountains to the east of the Dead Sea. It was a remarkably hot and sultry day; we were scrambling up the mountains through a thick jungle of bushes and low trees, when I saw before me a fine plum-tree loaded with fresh, blooming plums. I cried out to my fellow-traveller, “ Now, who will arrive first at the plum-tree?” and, as he caught a glimpse of so refreshing an object, we both pressed our horses into a gallop, to see which would get the first plum off the branches. We both arrived at the same moment; and, snatching at a fine ripe plum, put it at once into our mouths; when, on biting it, instead of the cool, delicious fruit which we expected, our mouths were filled with a dry, bitter dust, and we sat under the tree upon our horses, doing all we could to be relieved of the taste of this strange fruit. We then perceived, to my great delight, that we had discovered the famous apple of the Dead Sea, the existence of which has been doubted and canvassed since the days of Strabo and Pliny, who first described it. Many travellers have given descriptions of other vegetable productions which have some analogy to the one mentioned by Pliny ; but up to the present time no one had met with the thing itself, either upon the spot named by the ancient authors, or elsewhere. I brought several of them to England. They are a kind of gall-nut. I found others afterwards upon the Plains of Troy ; but there can be no doubt whatever that this is the apple of Sodom to which Pliny and Strabo referred.—Curzon's Monasteries of the Levant.
CHRISTIAN LIBERTY THE HIGHEST LIBERTY.
LIBERTY, in a bodily and temporal sense, may be said to be that which all men naturally desire, and which, when they are deprived of it, they earnestly strive to obtain; to be that which they make the subject of the highest praise, and look upon as the source of the greatest happiness. It is that which most ardently fires the breast of the poet, and most readily touches the heart of the philosopher ; it is that which animates most powerfully the eloquence of the orator, and kindles most quickly the zeal of the patriot; it is that which most strongly nerves the arm of the warrior, and most keenly inflames the bosom of the unlettered citizen, as well as the simple-minded peasant. Indeed, of all the bodily and temporal privileges which men enjoy, to none, it may be safely asserted, do they attach a greater value, or higher importance, than to liberty. Accordingly, in order to obtain it when it is not possessed, or to defend it when it is in danger, they willingly submit to the heaviest hardships, and endure the severest sufferings. And as the annals of history amply testify, when their circumstances have been such as to afford them no hope of ever enjoying liberty, many, rather than live a life of slavery, have cheerfully embraced death in the most appalling and excruciating form. But valuable and important, desirable and pleasant, as bodily and temporal liberty is, how much more so ought spiritual and eternal liberty to be in the judgment of all? For what is the slavery of the body to the slavery of the soul? or slavery during the longest life upon earth to slavery throughout eternity ? Or what is slavery of any worldly nature to the slavery of sin ? or the slavery of man towards his fellow-men, even when it is most oppressive, to the slavery of Satan, the most promising of masters, but the most despotic of tyrants? Yet, alas ! in this, as in other respects, bodily and temporal benefits are preferred to spiritual and eternal blessings. For while bodily and temporal liberty of every kind is highly prized, and the greatest efforts are made to secure it, or, when secured, to retain it, spiritual and eternal liberty is naturally neglected by all; or, when it has in some measure been obtained, it is too often lightly esteemed. In short, when we are in the enjoyment of bodily and temporal liberty, we are all too apt to imagine that we are perfectly free; or that, when we are in want of such liberty, if we possessed it, we would then have every kind of liberty which we stand in need of. But even when we enjoy this liberty in the widest sense of the term,—such as liberty of person and liberty of action ; liberty of trade, and liberty of political franchise ; liberty also of thought, and liberty of private judgment; liberty of speech, and liberty of writing; and even liberty of conscience in Divine things, and liberty of religious worship, as well as of reading the word of God,--even then, need we add, that if we are the servants of sin, even of a single sin, and that the smallest, we are the greatest of slaves, or in a state of the worst of slavery, and, consequently, still require to be made free? What Christ, therefore, on one occasion said to the Jews, when they vainly and falsely boasted, saying, “We were never in bondage to any man,” may still be addressed to all, whatever bodily or temporal, political or outward religious, liberty they possess,—“ If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” (John viii. 36.)-From “ Christian Liberty the highest Liberty:" W. P. Kennedy, Edinburgh.
THE ORINOCO, AND OTHER GREAT RIVERS OF SOUTH
AMERICA.* In the preceding section, which was made the subject of an academical lecture, I sought to depict those boundless plains which, according to the varying modification of their natural characters induced by climatic relations, appear to us sometimes as deserts devoid of vegetation, and sometimes as Steppes, or widely-extended grassy plains or prairies. In so doing I contrasted the Llanos of the southern part of the New Continent with the dreadful seas of sand which form the African Deserts; and these, again, with the Steppes of Central Asia, the habitation of world-assailing pastoral nations, who at a former period, when pressed hitherward from the East, spread barbarism and devastation over the earth.
I will now, limiting myself to a narrower circle of phenomena, sketch the more cheerful picture of river-scenery composed of foaming rapids and rich luxuriant vegetation. I propose to describe in particular two scenes of nature in the wilderness of Guiana, the celebrated cataracts of the Orinoco, Atures, and Maypures, which, previous to my visit, few Europeans had ever seen.
The impression left on our minds by the aspect of nature is frequently determined less even by the peculiar character of the strictly terrestrial portion of the scene, than by the light thrown upon mountain or plain, either by a sky of azure purity, or by one veiled by lowering clouds; and in the same inanner descriptions of nature act upon us more powerfully, according as they are more or less in harmony with the requirements of our feelings. For it is the inward mirror of the sensitive mind which reflects the true and living image of the natural world. All that determines the character of a landscape,-the outline of the mountains, which, in the far-vanishing distance, bound the horizon,-the dark shade of the pine-forests,—the sylvan torrent rushing between overhanging cliffs to its fall,--all are in antecedent mysterious communion with the inner feelings and life of man. On this communion rests the nobler + portion of the enjoyment which nature affords. Nowhere does she penetrate us more
* From “ ASPECTS OF NATURE: BY ALEXANDER VON HUMBOLDT.”
+ Yes ; “nobler portion.” It is but an ignoble portion which arises from the mere perception of the facts which may be exposed. There are yet many “ Peter Bells” in the world whose views of nature are soon exhaustively described :
“A primrose by the river brim,
And it was nought beside.” But the “ enjoyment” may be carried into the superlative degree, and then the noblest portion is found where there is not only the “mysterious communion with the inner feelings and life of man," but the communion of those feelings themselves with nature's living Author and End. It is a light above the brightness of the sun at noon-day when nature is seen as reflecting the glory of God, and its various aspects become so many exponents of the wisdom, goodness, and power of the liv. ing Creator and Preserver of all. The absence of reference to this, the noblest “portion of the enjoyment which nature affords," is Humboldt's greatest defect.
deeply with the feeling of her grandeur, nowhere does she speak to us with & more powerful voice, than in the tropical world, under the “Indian sky," as, in the early middle ages, the climate of the Torrid Zone was called. If, therefore, I venture again on a description of those regions, I do so in the hope that the peculiar charm belonging to them will not be unfelt. The remembrance of a distant richly-endowed land,—the aspect of a free and vigorous vegetation,--refreshes and strengthens the mind; in the same manner as our spirits, when oppressed with the actual present, love to escape awhile, and to delight themselves with the earlier youthful age of mankind, and with the manifestations of its simple grandeur.
Favouring winds and currents bear the voyager westward across the peaceful ocean-arm, which fills the wide valley between the New Continent and Western Africa. Before the American shore rises from the liquid plain, he hears the tumult of contending, mutually-opposing, and intercrossing waves. The mariner unacquainted with the region would surmise the vicinity of shoals, or a wonderful outbreak of fresh springs in the middle of the ocean, like those in the neighbourhood of Cuba. On approaching nearer to the granitic coast of Guiana, he becomes sensible that he has entered the wide embouchure of a mighty river, which issues forth like a shoreless lake, and covers the ocean around with fresh water. The green, and, on the shallows, the milk-white, tint of the fresh water contrasts with the indigo-blue colour of the sea, and marks with sharp outlines the limits of the river waves.
The name “Orinoco," given to the river by its first discoverers, and which probably originated in some confusion of language, is unknown in the interior of the country. Nations in a rude state designate by proper geographical names only such objects as can be confounded with each other. The Orinoco, the Amazons, and the Magdalena rivers are called simply, “ The River,” or “ The Great River,” or “The Great Water;" whilst those who dwell on their banks distinguish even the smallest streams by particular names.
The current produced by the Orinoco, between the main-land and the island of Trinidad with its asphaltic lake, is so strong, that ships with all sail set, and with a favourable breeze, can with difficulty make way against it. This deserted and dreaded part of the sea is called the Bay of Sadness, -Golfo Triste ; the entrance forms “the Dragon's Mouth,” — Boca del Drago. Here detached cliffs rise like towers above the foaming floods, and seem still to indicate the ancient site of a rocky bulwark, which, before it was broken by the force of the current, united the island of Trinidad with the coast of Paria.
The aspect of this region first convinced the great discoverer of the New World of the existence of an American continent. Familiar with nature, he inferred that so immense a body of fresh water could only be collected in a long course, and “ that the land that supplied it must be a continent, not an island.” As, according to Arrian, the companions of Alexander, after crossing the snow-covered Paropamisus, on reaching the Indus imagined, from the presence of crocodiles, that they recognised in that river a branch of the Nile; so Columbus, unaware of the similarity of physiognomy which characterizes the various productions of the climate of Palms, readily supposed this new continent to be the eastern coast of the far-projecting continent of Asia. The mild coolness of the evening air, the ethereal purity of the starry firmament, the balsamic fragrance of the flowers wafted to him by the land-breeze,-all led him to deem that he had approached the garden