« PoprzedniaDalej »
It is a
The Temple Association has, therefore, done well to settle at Jaffa and enter into its industries. The city is surrounded by orange gardens for a considerable distance, which are artificially irrigated, and the oranges are largely exported.
The trade of Jaffa is now increasing, and the imports and exports are becoming more various: they receive coal, coffee, iron, sugar, petroleum, etc., from England, France, Italy, and the United States; and in return send out oranges, olive oil, barley, wheat, soap, etc. The Germans are engaging largely in the manufacture of soap from olive oil, and bid fair to build the business up to respectable proportions. very acceptable article for the toilet, and may be procured at reasonable prices of many of the druggists in our cities; it is very solid and lasting, and is growing more popular with every year. The imports of Palestine were in 1878 about $375,000, and the exports $1,500,000. In contact with Europeans the natives must soon learn to raise more and need more, and thus largely increase the trade. With the growing inclination to increase our trade in the Mediterranean and contiguous waters, it would not cost our vessels much more time to go to Palestine with coal in ballast, and bring back cargoes of Oriental fruits, olive oil, and the soap mentioned above. Coal is the great desideratum to progress in Palestine; it is needed for mills and machinery of all kinds on account of the dearth of fuel. Even building timber is brought into Palestine from Turkey and Austria. The era of steam mills is likely to commence now by the enterprise of the German colonists. The last accounts inform us that they are constructing one in Jerusalem, much to the mystification of the natives, who see no water with which to run it. But the fuel will be a far more difficult question than water, and not much can be done in this line until the “coal question" can be settled.
The import trade is almost exclusively in the hands of foreigners, among whom the Germans have two large houses, one in Jerusalem and another in Jaffa. The heaviest import is that of salt, amounting to three millions of pounds, a greater weight than that of all other articles together. The cause of this is, doubtless, the fact that salt is used by all the inhabitants of Palestine, whereas all other imported articles are used only by small portions of the community. Even rice, which is
largely eaten by the inhabitants of the cities, reaches the poor fellah's mouth only as an article of luxury on special occasions. The misery of these poor wretches is said to be nearly indescribable; they work all day for the merest pittance, and quiet their hunger with a few hard cakes baked on stones.
The export trade, on the contrary, is nearly all in the hands of native merchants, who, as land owners and leasers, and money lenders, have the poor fellahs so tightly in their hands that they get but little from their unwilling labors. The fellah seldom owns any land, or if he does he has not often the money wherewith to obtain cattle and seed. He either borrows money, or the cattle and seed are provided for him by the dealer, who in turn demands so much of the crop that the fellah gets scarcely enough for his sternest wants. In this way he seldom succeeds in saving any thing, or, if he does, the Turkish tax-gatherers, to whom the customs are generally farmed out, strip him to his back.
Of the articles of export, olive oil, tilseed for the manufacture of croton oil, and the olive-oil soap are the principal. Olive oil is to-day the leading production of Palestine. The olivetree is found every-where, and many new plantations are now being started. In the plains is the olive, as on most of the mountains around the villages; it is found on Carmel and around Bethlehem and Jerusalem. The monks of the cloisters are setting out new plantations. The Greek monastery in Jerusalem some time ago bought a waste piece of land for $4,000, and covered it with young olive-trees, and now, in twenty years, they ask over $100,000 for it. This fact shows the capacity of the country if cultivated with energy and thrift.
Palestine is pre-eminently the land of the grape, in certain sections; but as the Moslem drinks no wine, he does not know how to make it, and, therefore, this industry has brought him nothing. But the grape is a very important article of food in the summer months, and what they do not eat they dry for raisins, or use in the manufacture of an excellent grape honey. The ancient grape city of Hebron is still surrounded to great distances with vineyards, which make it one of the prettiest places in Palestine. It is natural that the Germans should utilize the grape for the production of wine, after the manner of their home-life, and they are doing this in the neighborhood of Jaffa, and especially at their settlement in the plains of Sharon, not far from Jaffa. They raised enough last season for their own use, but some of them are now beginning to acknowledge that in this Oriental land a pint of milk is of more value than a pint of wine-which is a great concession for a German to make-and they are seriously discussing the question whether they will not gain more from their cows than from their winepresses. It is doubtful whether they will ever make a good wine for export, although they are trying to do so.
One drawback to their success is an occasional bad harvest in certain regions. This has just been the case around the Bay of Acre, by which the colony at Haifa has severely suffered. On the contrary, the colony at Sharon had a very good year for wheat and barley. The Germans are teaching the natives the value of manuring the land, which they entirely neglect. Land from which the Arabian peasants had ceased to get any thing is now bearing such fine crops as to be the admiration of the surrounding country. Last year the olive crop was a partial failure. This was a calamity, for olives are one of the principal articles of food of the fellahş. They are soaked in salt, water and eaten with bread. Another curse of Palestine is the cattle pest. Owing to the carelessness of the government in regard to repressive measures, the disease rages over all the land, so that at certain periods there are no cattle for the agricultural work or for slaughter; mutton is, therefore, the principal article of animal food; but fowls are plenty, and the forests furnish the wild boar. The Germans are meeting these troubles like intelligent agriculturists, and are making vigorous efforts to counteract the difficulties which they meet; and their success in proving that this Promised Land may again become one of milk and honey with intelligent care and treatment, is calling the attention of local authorities to their labors. The English embassador, Layard, on his recent visit to Palestine, honored them with a call, inspected their labors and their settlements, broke bread with them, and wished them great success, Some of the most intelligent American teachers and missionaries that have visited them-men, for instance, like Drs. Vandyke and Long-have said very kind and encouraging words to them, and bid them go on in spite of the many discouragements. In short, we think it fair to say that it is the general impression of those who study the case, that if Palestine is ever to be regenerated these are the men to do it.
In the theoretical study of Palestine and its scientific exploration the German savants have been active for many years. It was our rare opportunity years ago to hear that distinguished German professor at the University of Berlin, Carl Ritter, discourse on the Physical Geography of Palestine, after a scientific visit thither. He filled his hearers with a measure of his own enthusiasm, which has borne fruits, and since then the German mind has been closely engaged with the subject of Palestinean exploration, in its scientific aspects. Tobler has gained the reputation of being among the most learned of the Palestine explorers, and other noble names are arranged by his side, which, however, are but little known outside of Germany. The "reason of this may be partially found in the fact that nearly all these men were poor, and most of them did what they did with their own scanty means, which were often too limited to secure a worthy publication of the results of their labors. Thus in the practical exploration of Palestine the Germans were not abreast of other nations, and their scientists have been obliged to stand in the background as mute observers of the work, or to be satisfied to point to harvests for others to garner. But they have watched the expeditions of the French, English, and Americans with careful eyes, and are well aware of the labors of Robinson, Van de Velde, Lynch, Saulcy, and a host of others. They have looked with admiration at the exploration funds that have been raised in other nations, and have enjoyed, without jealousy, their valuable results in the various works - lately published on the exploration of Palestine.
In view of these results there has arisen in Germany a de*sire to unite all their forces for the exploration of Palestine. Their own national regeneration and the high respect that the German consulates now enjoy in Oriental lands give them much reason to hope that the time has arrived when they, too, can join the bands that are intent on investigating and restoring the land. About three years ago some German professors in Basle and Tübingen conceived the idea of establishing also a society for the exploration of Palestine. They constituted themselves as an executive committee provisionally,
and succeeded in obtaining a score or so of others who were willing to join them; among these latter, some persons of high position in the government, such as the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg and the famous soldier Von Moltke. They met at Wiesbaden, and formed an association, with a business committee, consisting of Kersten of Berlin and Guthe of Leipsic. This committee are now publishing, in Leipsic, a periodical devoted to the interests of Palestine, which is sent to the two hundred and fifty members of the association, who pay yearly only the small sum of two dollars and fifty cents as membership fees, which includes also the price of the periodical. The object of the association is the publication of all new and interesting knowledge gained in the matter of exploration, and the founding of a fund for self-labor of their own members. The Emperor of Germany and the Crown Prince, as well as the King of Würtemberg, are among the patrons, and the Emperor of Austria has also subscribed liberally to the funds of the society. Among the scholars who take a special interest in it are such men as Delitzsch and Ebers, in Leipsic, and Kiepert, in Berlin. All the German consuls in the Holy Land are also members.
The first volume of the proceedings has been issued, consisting of four numbers, and it is very rich with the contributions of its members. Nearly every field of labor in the exploration is well represented by text and engravings. We need scarcely say that the maps are very fine, as Kiepert has had them in charge. One of the members of the society lives in Jerusalem, and he is regarded as the most critical judge of all its topographical relations. He is the architectural member of the Turkish authorities there, and in all investigations that are made he has the best opportunity for information. The Germans hope for great success through this undertaking, and are desirous of extending its patronage beyond the limits of their country. They have thus fairly entered the arena of learned rivalry as well as that of practical regeneration. We are confident that their efforts in both spheres will be attended with success.
The very foundation of these industrial and agricultural colonies on their part gives them a point of support that is very desirable in the work of regenerating this impoverished and desolate land, though in itself so rich and promising. And he who looks with reverence and love to the