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where, that many places surrendered to him which he had not actually visited in person, whose inhabitants procured their liberty on the common terms of bartering their consciences.

Having reduced Mecca, the place of his nativity, which he marched against with about ten thousand men, he put to death all those whom he suspected to be his most inveterate enemies, giving pardon to the rest on a formal recantation; and having committed the government of the city to a confidential deputy, he returned to Medina, for he did not deem it safe to dwell any longer in a place where he might every moment run the risk of being secretly despatched.

The Arabs compute their time from the period at which Mohamined fled from Mecca, which they call the Hegira, a word that in their language signifies flight. This is similar to the Grecian method of computing from the first institution of the Olympic games, and the Roman practice of dating from the foundation of the city. Formerly the Mohammedans computed from the last war in which they had been engaged.

Mohammed having a deep rooted enmity against the Jews, made war upon all those adjacent tribes who professed that religion. It is perhaps difficult to assign a reason why his animosity had neither limits to its rage, nor termination to its existence; but we find one circumstance mentioned by some authors, which the Impostor might view as a vindication of its occasional sallies. A certain Jew, named Caab, having a brother who had espoused the religion of Mohammed, he composed on the occasion a ludicrous poem, in which he exhibited the fooleries and nonsense of that religion in such a satirical light, that the prophet determined to take vengeance on every tribe professing Judaism on his account. Such is the tendency of satirical compositions, if well written, that they unavoidably exasperate the persons against whom they are levelled, if they do not reclaim them. Rage being the effect which Caab's poem produced, Mohammed gave strict orders to apprehend, and bring him to condign punishment. And in order the better to secure the performance of his command, he offered a reward to the person who should seize him. On his being apprehended and brought before him, the poem was recited by the author in his hearing; after inserting the name of Abu Bekr instead of Mohammed, which it seems occurred very often, expecting thereby to mitigate his fury. But finding him by no means inclined to the side of clemency for this alteration, Caab had recourse to an expedient, which answered his purpose, rescued him from impending destruction, and even obtained him the intimacy and patronage of the prophet. The Impostor having received a new mistress by way of present, an object it seems, who was the very darling of his soul, Caab wrote a poem in commendation of her charms, so exactly suited to the palate of the pretended prophet, that he buried his resentment in an excess of kindness.

Presence of mind, if it be not a virtue, is nevertheless of such importance to its possessor, that it frequently delivers him from greater trials, difficulties, and embarrassments, than any of the four which are denominated cardinal.

The whole life of Mohammed after his flight to Medina, was one continued scene of butchery and rapine. He, with his associates and followers, plundered every caravan of its valuable commodities, if not guarded by a force superior to his own, in which case he was obliged to make a precipitate retreat in order to save his life. It often happened, however, that there arose much disputation among his followers, how the booty should be divided, to which he put a final period by the eighth chapter of his Koran. He there assigned one fifth part to himself, and ordered the rest to be divided among his soldiers. Strict discipline and subordination are not easily kept up among freebooters and thieves, for even the captain of such a gang will soon dwindle into contempt, and perhaps be in danger of losing his life, if he discovers a determined resolution to have an immoderate share. Such is the nature of his employment, that he must rather make his portion the result of their concessions, than of his own stern authority. With this fact Mohammed seems to have been perfectly acquainted, and therefore as he had small hopes of composing their differences or silencing their murmurs by his exertions as a man, he had recourse to his old trade of fetching authority from heaven, and made God the umpire between him and his followers. He was very fortunate in his battles, if success in a desperately wicked cause deserves the appellation; but amidst the wonderful and mysterious vicissitudes of human affairs, it was not to be expected that he would always be victorious. The most distinguished favorites of fortune, whether in the senate or the field, never experienced uninterrupted success. At the battle of Ohud he was obliged to retreat, having lost a considerable number of his men, whom he left dead on the field. As many of his adherents concluded that the prophet of God would be invulnerable; and his army crowned with universal triumph, they could not help murmuring against him on the loss of their relations, which, as it betrayed a spirit of disaffection, he prepared himself to suppress. He attempted to persuade them

that their defeat was to be ascribed to the wickedness of some who followed him, against whom it thus pleased the Almighty to testify his displeasure. It is no doubt true, that the Supreme Being has sometimes shown his hatred of vice by the complete discomfiture of the vicious; but Mohammed very artfully attributed the wickedness in this case to an improper source. If, instead of considering it as a punishment for the sins of his followers, he had honestly confessed that it was for the crimes of their leader, we should have given him credit for the acknowledgment, and considered it as pretty near the truth. In addition to this he made use of an old expedient which had frequently served his turn upon former occa

sions- his beloved doctrine of fate and destiny. He observed that the very moment of every man's death is fixed, beyond which no caution can ever carry him, nor the greatest negligence or danger prevent him from reaching. That it is all one as to the time of his departure whether he is at home or in the field of battle. But he gave the finishing stroke to his sophistry upon this subject by affirming that such as expired in battle, in defence of religion, would unquestionably be rewarded with a seat in paradise. Nothing equal to this could have been invented, to make men fight with ungovernable fury and desperation, which the very certainty of perishing behooved to strengthen. As the prospect of death increased, their brutal ferocity would rise higher and higher, since the point of the sword was their passport to heaven. A man of an enlarged understanding may be astonished how such nonsense could become a subject of belief; but let the fact be admitted that it was believed, and then the consequences which we have stated must follow.

It would be an almost endless task to give even a catalogue of his numerous wars, and therefore we shall confine ourselves to those which more or less affected his circumstances in the world, promoted or retarded the completion of his fondest wishes, or were in any way instrumental in accelerating his death. When he compelled the city Khaibar to surrender, he took up his lodgings in the house of a principal inhabitant, being accompanied by an officer, whose name was Bashar. Sitting down to supper, very likely with a pretty sharp appetite, they fell upon a shoulder of mutton, which had been prepared for their entertainment. It is said by different authors, that the landlord's daughter took care to give it such a seasoning as might have made it their last meal upon earth. In plain English, we are told she poisoned it, and that it proved instantly fatal to Bashar, who died upon the spot. Mohammed himself not relishing the taste of it, ate very sparingly, and beholding the tragical end of his officer and companion, spat out the morsel that was then in his mouth. It seems, however, that he had previously swallowed so much as was sufficient to shatter his robust constitution, and lay it in ruins in the space of three years. Few vegetable or mineral poisons, we believe, are known to the learned of this country, but such as accomplish the dissolution of the body in a very few hours, if not dislodged from the stomach by powerful emetics. Yet we have read of poisons which did not accomplish their object till the end of many years, operating as slowly as chronical distemper, and bringing down to the grave with the same gradual diminution of health and strength, as if the person poisoned had been in a consumption. Those who ascribe miracles to Mohammed, contrary to his own acknowledgments, probably allude to this piece of flesh when they say, that a shoulder of mutton told him it was poisoned. If this was the case, it had whispered to him in so low a tone as not to be heard, or else it had

only vociferated when it was too late. Be that as it may, the whole contexture of this story renders it extremely suspicious.

The Impostor had reduced this city to obedience by his victorious arms, and therefore we may conclude that its inhabitants would show him all possible respect, however much strained and contrary to their real sentiments that respect might be, since he had it in his power to add butchery to conquest. True, indeed, some individuals have been found among men, who could make the most desperate attempt to recover the independence of their fellowcitizens, and lose all sense of self-preservation in the magnitude of the idea. Brutus could despatch his beloved Cæsar, to preserve the liberty of his country from the assaults of despotism; but we find nothing in the character of Mohammed's landlord which can rank him with a Brutus. He must have been either an innkeeper or a private person of property. If he was the former, it certainly would not strike him to take such a step, since the prophet's money to be paid for the entertainment was as good as another's. If the latter, his invitation was the result of hospitality, and the farthest in the world from a design to murder. It will be to little purpose to say, that the perpetrators of this deed would reason with themselves thus:- If their prophet and general could once be cut off, his soldiers will become so entirely dispirited and incapable of resistance, as either to surrender to the mercy of the town or betake themselves to a precipitate flight, and hide their shame and disappointment in the shades of obscurity. This would have been a desperate supposition, in which the odds were twenty to one against them. Besides, the whole of this transaction is ascribed to a giddy girl, to which her father is not once supposed to have been privy; and therefore to make her reason in such a manner, to draw remote and dubious consequences from premises beyond the reach of a childish understanding, exceeds all power of belief. When interrogated why she ventured to commit such a horrible crime, she is made to reason with the acuteness of an Aristotle. She said, that if he really was a prophet, he would certainly know that the meat was poisoned, but if he was not, she considered it as highly meritorious to rid the world of such an infamous wretch. Here we have a view of things ascribed to a girl, perhaps not fifteen years of age, who discovered a degree of sagac ity and discernment not always to be met with, even in a man of fifty. But to crown the whole, we hear nothing of any signal punishment inflicted on the offender by Mohammed, who was left in a situation to avenge himself of his adversaries, nor is it said that his successor took the smallest notice of it in a vindictive manner.

As to the single circumstance of his dying by poison, there must be some other way of accounting for it than that which passes current with the public. The persons who poisoned him, if they did it through design, would undoubtedly have kept their own secret, since the making it known was their speedy destruction. If it

was the result of accident, we should not have heard the girl reasoning like a philosopher on the merit of her conduct. In a word, it seems to be involved in impenetrable darkness how, or by whom, he was poisoned, without admitting a number of absurdities, at which reason. recoils. Poisoned, however, he was, as he acknowledged on his death-bed, and therefore all that can be said with certainty is this: Mohammed having experienced the snare laid for him, either by mere accident or the superior sensibility of his palate, might perhaps think of turning this circum. stance to his advantage, or of allowing his followers to make as much of it as they could, in heightening his prophetic greatness. As there was probably none present but Bashar to witness what quantity he devoured, he might ascribe his escape to the immediate hand of God, whose prophet he pretended to be, and that he was placed beyond the reach of danger by his heavenly constituent. This idea might suppress his resentment, and induce him to make no minute inquiry after the cause of this calamity, having escaped himself.

His followers having now a leader who was proof against poison, they would be still further persuaded of the truth of his mission. Had Mohammed stopped here, and observed the same cunning and privacy in his last moments, which distinguished him through life, his prophetic reputation would have been much augmented. If, instead of complaining bitterly to the mother of Bashar, that he felt the effects of the bit he had eaten at Khaibar, then corroding his very vitals, and hastening his dissolution, he had given out that his approaching death was the result of age and fatigue, bringing on that momentous period which is the common lot of humanity, his whole life would have been one consistent scheme of wickedness.

From the reduction of Khaibar to his final dissolution, a period of about three years, frequently feeling (as he thought) from occasional twitches and pains in his bowels, that he was not so invulnerable as he and his followers pretended, he became, if possible, more bloody and merciless than before, while he could stand upon his legs, confessing that to be the sole cause of his death in the extremity of his torture, which at first he wished the world to believe had done him no injury. Before his departure he nominated Abu Bekr his successor, to whose particular care and protection he recommended his beloved wife, Ayesha. He gave up the ghost in the sixty-third year of his age, according to the Arabian computation, or in the sixty-first according to ours. His death was matter of astonishment to many of his adherents, who considered it as incompatible with the nature and design of his mission. They concluded, therefore, that he was only asleep, and would assuredly return in the space of a few days. Finding him not at all disposed to return, they gave him a thousand years to finish his journey, which brought it down to 1632. As there was still no appearance

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