Warburton, Eliot
Travels in Egypt and the Holy Land, or, The crescent and the cross: comprising the romance and realities of eastern travel — Philadelphia, 1859

Page: 240
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License: Public Domain Mark Use / Order
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sisted of the " Initiated" and the " Novices ;"* the latter, amongst others, wero
divided into " Nosairi" and " Quadrimousi." The Nosairi performed daily the
most obscene worship ; the latter are supposed to adore a golden calf, as the
Persians do Ahrimam, the Origin of Evil ; this calf symbolizes Eblis, the spirit
at issue with that of the Hakeem.t The principal Druse districts in the Leb-
anon are called " Thoof," " Arkoob," " Shebha," " Garb," and " Mattu."
They are also found in the Haouran, Antilebanon, and Jebel el Alah, near
Aleppo. Their whole number may amount to 120,000,

However differing in creed, these various tribes are all under the same form
of government ; a sort of feudal aristocracy, consisting of Emirs, Mokaddems,
and Sheikhs. These are each independent in his own district. The chief
Emir, or " Hakeem el Wapt," bestows all rank, and entitles a man and all his
descendants to be Sheikhs, or even Emirs, by calling him brother. All the
Emirs, whether Druse, Metouali, or Maronite, acknowledged the Emir Beschir
as supreme, and kissed his hands. In case, however, of making war, the
Emir cannot summon the dependents of the inferior Emirs to accompany him
to battle ; but must, apply to the respective Sheikhs, or Mokaddems, who sel-
dom refuse to furnish their contingent.

After the Shehab family come the Bet Belama, whose ancestor was only a
Mokaddem ; but, having acquired a great reputation, he called himself Emir,
and was confirmed in that title by the Chief of the Emirs. Next is the Ress-
tan family, who are all Druses.

The Chief Emir alone had the power of life and death, which is now mo-
nopolized by the Porte : the inferior Princes and Sheikhs frequently, however,
take the law into their own hands, and no mountaineer would be found base
enough to appeal from them to a Turkish Pasha even to save his life.

The Emirs are subordinate at present to the Pasha of Damascus, who has
nominally the power, (which he dare not test,) to remove them.

The Metoualis, and the few orthodox Moslems in the Lebanon, are devoid
of all feeling for the Divine right of the Sultan, and have no scruple in carry-
ing arms against the " Vicegerent of the Prophet."

All the chiefs possess property and tenants ; but there are many independent
freeholders who, together with the tenants, pay all the taxes ; the nobility and
clergy being exempt. I. have spoken of the industry of the people in a former
chapter ; I must also observe upon their fine, martial bearing, their freedom from
many of the vices of the Plains, their tolerance, intelligence, and hospitality.

Some years ago, the Druses sent a deputation to our Consul General, offer-
ing to place themselves under the protection of Groat Britain, to receive and
build houses for our missionaries, and to send all their children to the Christian
schools. The proposition was coldly received by Lord Ponsonby, treated with
indifference by Lord Melbourne, and the chiefs retunred to their mountains,
affronted and disheartened.

* Called the Fawil, or "interior;" and the Teizil, or "external."
f And the same that the Israelites worshipped in the wilderness.
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