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Hejaz, or Holy Land of the Moslem.

Government of Hejaz-Succession and Power of the SheriffsReign of Ghaleb Sheriff Families at Mecca-Cities and Towns in Hejaz―Jidda-Yembo-Taïf-Mecca-Description of the Beitullah or Grand Temple-The Court and Colonnades-The Kaaba―The Black Stone-The Tob or Covering of the Kaaba― The Zemzem Well-Servants and Revenues of the MosqueInhabitants of Mecca-Their Character, Domestic Manners, and Employments-Low State of Arts and Learning in Hejaz.

THE government of Hejaz, which includes the territories of Medina, Jidda, Yembo, Taïf, and Gonfode, belongs to the Sheriff of Mecca. The honour attached even to a nominal authority over the holy cities had led, in former times, to frequent disputes between the caliphs of Bagdad, the sultans of Egypt, and the imams of Yemen; although the possession of that dignity, instead of increasing their income, obliged them to incur great expenses. The sole benefit they derived was the right of clothing the Kaaba, and of having their names inserted in the prayers of the mosque. The supremacy of Egypt over Mecca, so firmly established from the beginning of the fifteenth century, was transferred by Selim I. to the sultans of Constantinople; in whose hands, with the interruption of a few years, it has since continued. The sheriff was invested annually with a pelisse from the grand seignior, from whom he held his office; and in the Turkish ceremonial he was

ranked among the first pashas of the empire. When the Porte became unable, even by means of large armies, to secure its command over 'that country, these subordinate rulers threw off their dependence; although they still called themselves the servants of the sultan, prayed for him in the great mosque, and received the wonted investiture.

The succession to the government of this province, like that of the Bedouin sheiks, is not hereditary; though it usually remained in the same tribe so long as the power of that tribe preponderated. The election was always made from one of the sheriff families descended from the Prophet, settled in Hejaz. They were divided into various subordinate branches, of which sometimes one sometimes another enjoyed the sovereignty of the holy cities. There were no ceremonies of installation or oaths of allegiance. The new governor received complimentary visits; his band played before the door,-an honour significant of royalty; and his name was inserted in the public prayers. Succession rarely took place without disputes; but the contests were in general neither sanguinary nor of long duration. The rivals submitted, or rather withdrew in gloomy silence; and atonement for the blood shed on both sides was duly made by fines paid to the relations of the slain.

The result of these political quarrels was attended with bad consequences to the community; for though they checked the power of the reigning sheriff, they weakened the state by the frequent occurrence of wars, feuds, and intestine broils. The vicissitudes of fortune to which they gave rise, and the arts of popularity which the chiefs were obliged to employ, gave to the government of Hejaz a character differ

ent from that of most other countries in the East. None of that haughty ceremony was observed which draws a line of distinction between Oriental sovereigns or vicegerents and their subjects. The court of the sheriff was small, and almost entirely devoid of pomp. He was addressed by the plain title of seidna (our lord), or sadetkum (your highness); and the meanest of the people considered it no violation of etiquette to represent their grievances personally, and boldly though respectfully to demand redress. No large body of regular troops was kept up, except a few Mamlouks or Georgians as a bodyguard; and when war was determined upon, he summoned his adherents and partisans to meet the emergency; but they received no regular pay.

The dress of this great functionary is the same as that of all the chiefs of the sheriff families at Mecca, consisting usually of a silk gown, over which is thrown a white abba of the finest manufacture of El Hassa; the head is enveloped in a Cashmere shawl, and the feet in sandals, or yellow slippers. When he rides out on state occasions, he holds in his hand a short slender stick called metrek; and over him a horseman carries the umbrella or canopy.

To present an account of the sheriffs of Mecca, were only to describe the petty wars of rival factions. Burckhardt shrunk from the task of tracing their intricate pedigrees, and the historical notice of them given by D'Ohsson is chargeable with several errors. About the middle of the last century the sovereignty was held by Mesaad; and after his death (in 1770) it was seized by Hossein, the leader of an adverse party, but again returned to his family in the person of Serour, who slew his rival in battle (1773),

and whose name is still venerated in Hejaz on account of his extraordinary courage and sagacity, which were frequently called into exercise in repressing the turbulence and depredations of the inferior chiefs. His death, which happened in 1786, was bewailed as a public calamity, and his remains were followed to the grave by the whole population of Mecca. Two of his brothers aspired to the supreme power, of which Abdelmain kept possession for five days only, when the younger brother, Ghaleb, by his superior skill in intrigue, and by the great reputation which he had acquired for wisdom and valour, supplanted him in the government.

During the first years of his reign the slaves and eunuchs began to indulge in their former disorderly behaviour and acts of oppression; but the new sheriff soon freed himself from their influence, and acquired at length a firmer authority over Hejaz than any of his predecessors had ever enjoyed. His nephews, the sons of Serour, attempted to wrest from him the reins of power, but without success. His government, on the whole, was lenient and cautious, although his extreme avarice betrayed him into many acts of individual oppression. The whole of his private household consisted of fifty or sixty servants and officers, and as many slaves and eunuchs. His harem contained a small establishment of wives, being about two dozen of Abyssinians, and twice that number of female attendants to wait upon them and nurse their children. When in the full enjoyment of his power, he possessed a considerable influence over the Bedouin tribes of Hejaz, but without any direct authority.

The income of the sheriff is derived chiefly from

the customs paid at Jidda and Yembo, which were much increased by Ghaleb, who had also engrossed a large share of the commerce to himself, having eighty dows constantly engaged in the coffee-trade. He also levied a tax upon all cattle and provisions, carried either to the coast for exportation, or into the interior of the country. The other branches of his revenues were the profits realized from the sale of provisions at Mecca; a capitation-tax on all Persian hajjis; presents, both gratuitous and compulsory; part of the money sent from Constantinople for the use of the Temple; and rents to a considerable amount from landed property, consisting of gardens around Taïf, and plantations in many of the neighbouring wadis; besides houses and caravansaries at Jidda, which he let out to foreigners. Burckhardt calculates the annual receipts of Ghaleb, during the plenitude of his power, to have amounted to about £350,000 sterling; but when the Wahabees occupied Hejaz, it probably did not exceed half that sum. The maintenance of his household did not perhaps require more than £20,000 per annum. The small force he kept up in time of peace did not exceed 500 men, whose pay was from eight to twelve dollars per month. During war, the increase of his army to 3000 or 4000 troops rendered some additional expense necessary; but there is reason to conclude, that never at any period of his power did this governor live up to the full amount of his income. The reign of this sheriff has acquired considerable importance in Europe from its connexion with the history of the Wahabees; and his name will again be necessarily introduced in our notice of these fanatical warriors.

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