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date of its erection, though all agree that it was founded as a caravanserai for passengers, on account of the adjacent well. Its architecture is plain and solid, resembling the style so prevalent in the Arabian buildings of the last and preceding century, that is, of the Saracenic order, but of inferior execution to the works of the Caliphs. At the present moment, it is called a fort, and maintains a Turkish governor and twenty Arabs, with four rusty cannon, badly mounted, and all of different calibre and construction, the largest not exceeding an English four-pounder. Its professed object is the securing of deserters, Albanians, Greeks, etc., from the public service, as it lies near the junction of the three roads to Cairo, and as far as the apprehension of straggling individuals is intended, may be effectual. Officers, soldiers, and messengers of the government, also halt here in their way, but other passengers, except by favor of the governor, never.
ARRIVAL AT Suez. — Friday, FEBRUARY 18TH. — We were roused before sunrise, and taking our breakfast on the sands, without the walls, loaded our little caravan and departed, taking leave of the venerable old Moosa, Abdallah, and the Bedouin boys, who continued their route easterly, to pass round the arm of the Red Sea above Suez, while we branched off more southerly toward the town.
An hour after setting out, we reached another enclosed building, but of a much ruder kind, the interior of which I did not see, although we alighted for that purpose, as the occupants of it refused to open the doors without a positive order from the Aga himself. Without the walls was a large trough, out of which our camels drank, though the water was blacker, and of a stronger smell, than the foulest bilge-water I had ever seen. The bitter, dry, and thorny herbs on which these creatures fed in the desert, and their capability of swallowing water like this, surprised me even more than the fatigues and privations they have the power of sustaining in their desert marches.
On leaving this building or watering-place, the scenery gradually improved. The high mountains of Adaga on our right were grand and picturesque; the sea opened to our view; and the town, the harbor, and port of Suez, with the few vessels at anchor there, were all interesting objects, after so monotonous a journey in point of scenery as ours had been.
We reached Suez about ten o'clock, and alighted at the Okella of the Greeks, but finding there neither accommodation for ourselves or camels, we waited immediately on Hassan Aga, the governor, to whom I presented my letter from the Kiah Bey, the Pasha's representative at Cairo. My reception was extremely favorable, and I was offered a seat beside him on the same sofa, an explanation as to the motive of my disguise having removed the prejudicial impression created by the appearance of my Bedouin dress.
After an hour's conversation on the affairs of Europe, the state of the war in Arabia, and other topics of mutual inquiry, an officer was directed to show me a room in an adjoining house, where I took up my quarters for a short stay, and had reason to be pleased with its situation, as it received the cool breezes of the north-east, and overlooked the small harbor for boats, abreast of the town. It was soon furnished with our own mat and cooking-utensils, neither chairs nor tables being known here; and the luxuries of undressing and enjoying a clean change of linen, were of the highest kind.
After dining on a rice pilau at noon, I passed three or four hours agreeably in rambling through the town; and the evening was spent with the governor, whose divan was filled with visitors of all classes ; soldiers, merchants, traders from Yemen, and Arabs from all parts of the surrounding country. Even Phanoose paid his respects to the governor in person, filled his pipe, and was served with coffee by the men in waiting; but he persisted in his motive being rather to take care of me, than to gratify himself. Upon the whole, indeed, I had much reason to be pleased with my reception and entertainment by the governor, Hassan Aga, who was more polite and intelligent than the generality of Turks in corresponding situations.
Town of Suez. FEBRUARY 19th. - I was visited, very early in the morning, by an old Arab, of Suez, who spoke a few words in English, and who showed me some Grammatical Exercises in that language, with corresponding phrases in Turkish and Arabic, written by a Mr. John Jones,
supercargo at this port, for the House of Forbes and Company at Bombay, some few years since; as well as by a Greek captain of a vessel, who had been in London, and who spoke Italian very intelligibly; and obtaining from Hassan Aga, the governor, one of his soldiers as a guide, I was accompanied by those three in my walks through the town, to which I devoted most of the day, examining its interior, as well as making the circuit of its walls.
As a station for transporting the merchandise of the Red Sea to Cairo, and shipping off supplies of grain from Egypt to Arabia, considering the limited extent of the trade at the present moment, Suez answers the purpose most effectually; but as a town, scarcely any assemblage of houses, to which that name is given, can be imagined less deserving it. Situated on a point of land, faced by shallows toward the sea, and having a wide desert behind it, not a tree, a bush, or a blade of verdure, is any where to be seen. It has been recently enclosed with miserable walls, formed of stones loosely piled together, without cement, and having a range of loop-holes for musketry; though one need only be within ten paces of them, to be convinced that they would fall before the first discharge of half a dozen field-pieces. This wall surrounds it on three sides, leaving it open toward the north-east, where are the wharves for loading, and the scala for the boat harbor. The whole circuit of the town is, however, less than two British miles, its greatest length being northwest and south-east, and its shape irregular.
The many open spaces within the walls of Suez, unoccupied by buildings, leave little more than five hundred separate houses, among which are a great number ruined by the French, during the campaign in Egypt; others forming the temporary habitations of strangers, and others again used only as magazines for merchandise. Like the majority of their dwellings at Cairo, the basements are built of hewn free-stone, above which wooden balconies project into the VOL. XI.
street, resting on the ends of stone beams, and the upper parts of the walls are built either of unburnt brick, or wood, with latticed windows, in the Arabic style. The lower door-ways, too, are generally surmounted with the carving and pointed arch of the Saracenic age,
appear to have been originally well finished. There are, proportioned to its size, an equal number of starving dogs, ragged Arabs, ugly women, and filthy children, as in the metropolis of Egypt itself; and its general resemblance of aspect, proves its close affinity to the capital, as no colony could preserve the features of its great original, in a more unadulterated manner than they are displayed here.
Although there is nothing at Suez which can deserve the name of a fortification, a company of forty or fifty soldiers are stationed here, and eight or ten pieces of cannon are mounted in different directions ; but, like all the Turkish artillery I have yet seen, they are little calculated for show, and still less for service. Three mosques, and one small Greek chapel, are all the places of worship in the town; and these offer the best guide as to the proportion of numbers between the Mahommedan and Christian worshippers who visit them for devotion.
The fixed resident population, I have been assured from various quarters, does not exceed one thousand persons, employed as tradesmen, merchants, mechanics, porters, etc., while there are frequently in the town from two to ten thousand strangers, arriving either in caravans from Egypt, or in vessels from Arabia, and consisting of persons as varied as the quarters from whence they come; but as these are almost invariably the bearers of their own provisions, neither scarcity, nor an increased circulation of money, attend their arrival or departure, more particularly as their stay seldom exceeds a few days.
The first great necessary of life, and one for which so few substitutes can be found, is as deficient in quantity, as it is disagreeable in taste. Every drop of water consumed here, except that used by camels, is brought in skins from wells in the neighboring deserts, and from the opposite coast of Arabia; the summer price being about three pence per skin, though by strangers it can only be drank either in coffee, wine, or spirits; the two last of which are articles scarcely ever to be found here, at any price. Although their supplies of the best Egyptian wheat are always regular, they make worse bread here than in any part of the East; and nothing but extreme hunger could make it palatable. No other meat than mutton is sold, and this is coarse, tough, lean, and exorbitantly dear; fowls, five piastres, or a dollar each ; eggs ten paras, or three pence each; milk and butter, brought only to the governor and his officers; and fish, though said to abound in this sea, of bad quality, and extremely
Under such circumstances, it is rather to be wondered at that its stationary inhabitants are not still less in number: but what are the privations to which the pursuit of gain will not reconcile men ?
or the severer dictates of necessity enable them to bear ? Our evening was passed again at the governor's, in as large a company, and as agreeably, as the preceding one. By turning the conversation on localities, the inhabitants were flattered, and at the
same time it furnished me with many interesting particulars, with which I could only have become acquainted by indirect inquiry, but which were of value as completing more and more that species of information which it was the express object of my visit to obtain.
Port OF SUEZ. FEBRUARY 20. Hassan Aga, the governor, had engaged to take me over the harbor, and on board the vessels in port, in his own boat, this morning; but intelligence reaching him of the arrival of the grand caravan, from Cairo, which had set out the day before we left that city, he was prevented from accompanying me, and politely begged my acceptance of his boat and eight men for the day. We left the wharf at an early hour, and taking with me the Greek captain and our attendant of yesterday, we steered out into the deep channel, the banks being dry at low water, and the wind from the southward. We first visited a ship of four hundred tons, and a brig of about three hundred, the former ready to depart for Jedda, laden with grain, brought across the desert from Egypt; the latter recently arrived from thence in ballast. Both of these were vessels belonging to the Pasha; they were nearly new, and had been built in the yard at Suez; nor were they, either in their construction or equipment, inferior to the ships of the Adriatic. Each of them was armed with fourteen guns, manned with a very motley crew of fifty men, and commanded by Greeks of the Archipelago, under Turkish flags.
After obtaining from their commanders all the local information they could afford me, relative to the prevailing winds, weather, and navigation of the Red Sea, we procured from them a hand-lead and line, and with the chart and compass I possessed, we proceeded to survey the harbor, and take the soundings and bearings of the best anchorage-berths. It was a long and tedious duty, with so bad a boat's crew; but as the weather was extremely favorable, I succeeded in executing it much to my own satisfaction ; and had the whole of the best anchorages marked with their accurate bearings, and their depth in fathoms, upon the chart.
Mr. Browne, the African traveller, in his work, says : 'At Suez, I observed, in the shallow parts of the adjacent sea, a species of weed, which was of a hue between scarlet and crimson, and of a spongy nature. Perhaps this, if found in abundance, may have given the recent name to this sea; for this was the Arabian Gulf of the ancients, whose · Mare Erythræum,' or Red Sea, was the Indian Ocean. This weed was perhaps the Suph of the Hebrews, whence again Suph, their name for this sea. I sought personally, and by inquiries among them, after such a weed, but neither saw nor heard of any other than the common brown weed of the English channel, approaching nearer in color to those floating fields which are carried northward by the Gulf of Florida stream, and having rather a yellowish than a reddish hue. Even this, however, was by no means abundant, any more than the beautiful shells of which he speaks, and which are found only to the southward.
We returned in the evening with a light southerly breeze against the ebb tide, and had scarcely landed, before the wind flew round
to the north-west, and blew with great violence, increasing with the night.
As a port, Suez is infinitely superior to Cosseir, farther down the Red Sea; and the difficulty of access to it from the southward, on account of the prevailing northerly winds, may be considered as its greatest if not its only disadvantage. When the port is gained, however, the shelter from those winds, under the high land of Mount Adaga, is secure; the depth of water, from two-and-a-half to ten fathoms, is convenient; and the holding ground, being firm sand, is good. The prevalence of fine weather will generally allow good anchorages to be deliberately chosen ; and for the same reason, berths may be shifted at pleasure. The tides, having not more than five or six feet rise and fall, are not violent in their rate of ebb and flow, and are but little influenced by winds. The time of high water, at full and change, is about twelve o'clock at noon, the new moon of to-day affording me an opportunity of actual observation; and from the testimonies of others, those tides are extremely regular in their courses and returns.
Vessels lightened of their cargoes, and laden boats, pass from the outer harbor to the town, through the deep channel, at all times of tide ; and for small boats, there is water through the shallow channel at about a quarter flood. Cargoes may be therefore shipped and landed in the large barks of the country, with perfect safety; the distance of the anchorage to the wharves being at least three iniles, would render the use of ship's boats unnecessary, unless to tow against the wind or tide.
Of the vessels now actually employed in the trade of the Red Sea, from Suez only, there are upward of a hundred sail, including the dows, or boats of forty to sixty tons each. These bring from Mocha, Jedda, Yambo, and the ports of the south, coffee, gums, spices, drugs, Indian pepper, etc., and return thence with Egyptian corn. Their passages to the southward are in general short and favorable ; but in beating up the Red Sea, their practice is to turn to windward during the day, and anchor on the coast until morning, as the northerly winds die away at sun set, and make night anchorages safe. For this purpose, they are provided with light anchors and grass cables, and these in more than usual abundance, from their liability to loss by the chafing of the coral rocks. Fresh water is bad and scarce through every part of the Red Sea; it is therefore an article of expense, and one that requires rigid economy in its use. The fountains of Ayoon, on the Asiatic coast, supply ships at Suez for their voyage to the southward, and at Tor they generally touch to replenish, after a long passage up.
The wages of sailors are low, and their provisions cheap, being chiefly rice, coffee, ghee or butter, and corn, etc.; but they are so unskilful in their profession, that a double crew is almost indispensable to insure the safety of the voyage. The pilots of the port are also extremely ignorant of their duty, and every thing combines to render capacity and vigilance the more necessary on the part of those who may be entrusted with the direction of vessels in this sea. The magazines for the reception of goods are cheap, and sufficiently secure for a climate in which it seldom rains. Camels for their con