My LATEST FURLOUGH-YEARS (1903-1904)
THE year 1903 opened with cholera in Damascus and traffic on the railway stopped on account of cordons. There was an unusual interest in the week of church in Beirut.
Having prepared, with the able assistance of Mr. Haurani, a commentary on the Pentateuch based on Ellicott, I was perplexed by being unable to find Volume I of the Arabic manuscript. We searched my library, the theological class library, where I had used it with the class, and also the manuscript cast in the press, but in vain. Later a letter came from Yebrud, on the road from Damascus to Palmyra, from a student, saying that he found the book in his chest on reaching home, and had sent it to Damascus; so after the cholera cordon was removed, it was forwarded to me to my great relief. The preparation of books in Arabic is laborious, and before printing, we have to prepare three copies in manuscript, two of which we must send to Constantinople to the public censor of the Bureau of Public Instruction. He examines it, returns a corrected copy to us and retains one in his library. We have to print from the corrected copy, and before issuing the book after printing, we send a volume back to Constantinople to be compared with the manuscript. This naturally costs the censor and his aids immense labour, and us immense patience.
When one sees the scandalous vituperation and the exposures of abominable crimes in the "yellow press" of New York and Chicago, he can almost feel reconciled to the Turkish restrictions on the press. It is inconvenient and often expensive to have a manuscript detained in Constantinople for a year, but then in the East, time is a negligible factor in most matters, and one gets used to waiting.
In February, Mr. Samuel Dennis of New York, a trustee of the college, spent a month here and went through all the departments of the college with the keen scrutiny of an experienced business man and gave many useful suggestions to the faculty and wise counsels in addresses to the students.
March 8th Professor Day, professor of geology in the college, was requested by Muzaffar Pasha, Governor of Lebanon, to proceed to Akoura, a village in the heights of Lebanon, situated at the foot of a cliff a thousand feet high, and report upon a landslide which threatened to overwhelm the village. He made a full report and received the thanks of the government.
Before leaving for America, March, 1903, I went with Mrs. Jessup to visit Dr. Mary P. Eddy in her medical mission outpost at M'aamiltein, the terminus of the French tramway on the coast, twelve miles north of Beirut. Her house and hospital are in the centre of the Maronite district of Kesrawan, the Spain of Syria, and the stronghold of papal superstition. Churches, chapels, monasteries, and nunneries abound. They are perched on the rugged mountain crags, and ensconced in the ravines and valleys. The monks and bishops own almost the entire landed property of this part of Lebanon, and they have kept the people in abject and servile subjection. The most of the fellahin (farmers) are tenants of the ecclesiastics and the possession of a Bible or the suspicion of liberal or Protestant sentiments will eject a man from his house and ruin his family. They have boasted that no Protestant could live north of the Dog River. When Dr. Mary leased her present hourse, the patriarch thundered against the landlord, but she had the wit and the grit to hold on, and now he declares that he will keep Dr. Mary as a tenant and enlarge or repair the house to suit her. The priests, monks, and nuns who raged against her, now come when ill to consult her and receive her treatment. Her clinics are crowded by people from scores of villages. Her professional skill and mastery of the Arabic language with a thorough insight into the tastes and habits of the people have won their confidence. Later the patriarch proposed to use force and drive her back to Beirut, and the American cons u l-general, Mr. Leo. Berghoiz, sent word to the pasha that Dr. Mary P. Eddy and Miss Holmes in Jebail. were under the protection of the American flag and interference with them would not be tolerated.
On March 15th , just before sailing for America, I conducted an Arabic preaching service in Beirut in the house of Miss Jessie Taylor. The congregation consisted of Moslem men and boys on the front seats, and in the rear, the Moslem and Druse girls of the school. My son William and I spoke to them in the plainest manner of the way of salvation through Jesus Christ, and the men leaned forward and listened with close attention and frequent signs of approbation. The common people of Islam, in the cities and villages, would gladly hear the Gospel but for fear of their sheikhs and the government. It is a fact that the government in this land is a purely sectarian government, ruled by Moslems, its army and navy Moslem' its public schools Moslem, and its laws everywhere discriminating in favour of Moslems and against Christians and all others. Christianity has not a fair chance. Islam is exclusive, assumptive, and domineering where it has the power. But there are multitudes who are longing and praying for liberty of conscience and liberty of worship.
On the 10th of May, Rev. Howard S. Bliss, D. D., son of the Rev. Daniel Bliss, D. D., and for ten years pastor in Upper Montclair, N. J., was inaugurated as president of the Syrian Protestant College. The father, as president emeritus, after living in the Marquand House for over thirty years, moved outside the college campus, and the son, now president, moved in, a worthy successor of his noble father.
In resigning his office in July, 1902, Dr. Daniel Bliss rendered his thirty-sixth and final report to the board of managers, closing with the words, "With this report closes the first generation of college history. From a few rented rooms, we have reached the threshold of a university career. May the great work that calls he second generation be achieved in the fear of God."
Whereupon the faculty passed the following minute We, the faculty, with hearts full of affection and love for our venerable president, desire to express our gratification that, in health and strength beyond that usually given to men of eighty years, he has been permitted to lay down the burden he has so long and faithfully and so successfully borne. We pledge our loyalty to his son and successor.
"July 9, 1902."
In March word was received that the honoured and saintly mother of Dr. D. Stuart Dodge, Mrs, William E. Dodge, Sr., had been summoned, after her long pilgrimage of ninety-four years, to the joys, privileges, reunions, and occupations of the heavenly life. The announcement was made at college evening prayers, and it was received by the great concourse of students with a hush of reverent sympathy.
How well I recall my many visits to that Christian home on Murray Hill, from the year 1852, when I entered Union Seminary, until my last visit. She was a woman of great intellectual and spiritual power, full of good works, and full of intelligent interest in foreign missions. She visited Beirut several times and won the esteem and admiration of both the foreign and Syrian community.
She was disinterested, generous, devout, and prayerful - a model wife and mother. "Aunt Melissa," as she was called by a large number of nephews and nieces and friends, was a universal favourite. In her later years, when no longer able to walk to church, she rode in her wheeled chair, and continued to attend the house of God at an age when the aged are usually supposed to be too infirm to venture out. And the loving devotion and thoughtful attention of her son, Dr. Stuart, were most affecting.
He was like husband, son, and daughter combined, tenderly anticipating every want. There are few such mothers and few such sons. Well I recall his early desire to be a foreign missionary and when God in His providence hedged up his way, he nobly sent his substitutes, not one but many, and no small part of the success of the Syrian Protestant College is due to his generous gifts and incessant labours. In selecting tutors for three years' service in the college, he has shown remarkable, sagacity and knowledge of human nature. Only the revelations of the last great day will reveal the mighty influence for good exerted by the noble family of Hon. Wm. E. Dodge, Sr.
Pursuant to a recent custom, favoured by the Board, I was adopted by the church in Kirkwood, Mo., as their missionary. I have kept up an intermittent correspondence with that church ever since. The relations between churches and their own missionaries are very delightful.
On the 16th of March, 1903, I sailed for America with Mrs. Jessup. Our furlough in Syria comes every eight years. Only those who have been engaged in exacting labours for a long period abroad can appreciate the feelings of one who treads the deck of a steamer homeward bound. A heavy load of responsibility and care seems to be lifted at once. The air is clearer, the sea more inspiring, and though the heart is divided between the adopted land and dear native land, the thought of a change and the anticipation of seeing once more the "land of the free" is enough to heal the sick and inspire and revitalize the weak.
And then you are leaving the land of espionage and censorship and secret police and of political and ecclesiastical tyranny, at least for a time, and the thoughts reach forward and westward to a land which, with all its faults, is the best land the sun shines on.
Now inhale the pure air, face the ocean gale, rise superior to the perils and discomforts of the sea-for "Should the surges rise, And rest delay to come, Blest be the sorrow, kind the storm, Which drives us nearer home."
We stayed a week in Naples, then on by North German Lloyd steamship Moltke, by Gibraltar and the Azores - then the Nantucket light-ship - Fire Island, Sandy Hook, the Narrows - the American flag waving everywhere,-and the friends on the wharf and the reunions and the greetings, and even the uniformed custom-house officials, though they overhaul the baggage, seem like blessings in disguise.
(What a contrast between this voyage and my first Atlantic voyage in December, 1855. The steamship Moltke was of 13,000 tons - the bark Sultana was 300 tons! The former was forty-tree times the size and tonnage of the latter!)
There on the wharf, April 13th, were two sons and their wives, one daughter, two grandchildren, and other kindred, among them a brother-in-law, who has met me on the pier on every visit I have made to America. There were also Dr. Dennis, Dr. A. Erdman, Dr. A. J. Brown, and my old friends, T. B. Meigs and judge Vanderberg.
We were the guests of my son, Henry W. Jessup, Esq., in 130th Street, and we certainly learned the length of New York City if not its breadth during the weeks we spent in that lovely home.
A basket of lemons which we had picked from our own trees in Beirut and brought in cold storage were in perfect order on reaching New York.
We made history rapidly the next few months.
On the 20th met the members of the Board of Missions in their room at 156 Fifth Avenue; on the 21st heard George Kennan and Professor Wright of Oberlin lecture on Siberia, at the Quill Club; then on the 23d and 24th to the old childhood homes of Mrs. Jessup and myself in Binghamton and Montrose; on the 28th attended the ordination of my youngest son, Frederick Nevins, by the Presbytery of Bath, as missionary to Persia, in the church of the Rev. Mr. Frost in Bath. I was asked to give him the charge, which I did with all my heart.
I was glad to give the charge to my own son and to aid in setting him apart as a missionary to Persia. Why not Syria? was the question of many. Frederick preferred to go farther afield than his, childhood's home. My son William, who is a missionary in Syria, went to America when he was two years old and his coming to Syria was going to a foreign land. Frederick said going to Syria would be going on a home mission and he wanted to go to a foreign land as his father did in 1855.
I felt a strong drawing towards Persia. It was through the burning eloquence of the sainted Stoddard of Persia that I received one of my early impulses towards foreign missionary work, during his visit to Yale College, his alma mater, during my freshman year. And in 1882-1883 I was nominated American Ambassador to Persia by President Arthur, and declined to go, as I could not give up my missionary work, and now it was a joy to see my youngest son going to that same land as an ambassador of Jesus Christ. As my youngest son, my Benjamin, it would have been agreeable to my parental heart to have him near me in my advancing years. The heart clings to the youngest, but I would not give to the Lord that which cost me nothing. Freely I gave him up and invoked for him the Saviour's benediction. He had been chosen as the special missionary of the churches of the Bath Presbytery and before sailing he visited them all.
On the 7th of May we attended his graduation at Auburn Seminary.
On May 13th Mrs. Jessup and I set out for the General Assembly at Los Angeles, California, in "Car B of the special train, Assembly's tour." It would require a volume to tell of that wonderful journey over mountain and plain; of the inspiring meeting of the Assembly; the great and good people we met - and the spiritual uplift of that great meeting. And then, on the return journey, new perils in the great Kansas floods along the caving banks of the treacherous Missouri River, so that for twenty-four hours our train was reported lost in some unknown region among the floods, and our gratitude at getting safely over the St. Louis bridge and away from Fast St. Louis which was two-thirds under water.
June 7th, after preaching in the Fifth Avenue Church, New York, a lady spoke to me and said that her grandmother gave a contribution to Levi Parsons, the first missionary to Palestine, in 1818.
It took two elders and one clergymen to clothe me with the clerical gown in which to preach to that congregation. Gowns are eminently becoming and levelling, as a poor man looks as well as a rich man, but I have never yet possessed one. Our college professors in Beirut have adopted the hood, cap, and gown habit and on great occasions give the platform an air of rainbow-hued splendour. Yet they cannot vie with the Greek and Maronite clergy with their mitres and embroidered and jewelled robes. I once at a funeral in Beirut wore a black velvet study cap to protect my head from the cold wind as the service was in the open air. Dr. Post stood by me without a cap. The humble people at once decided that I was the bishop and Dr. Post only a priest or deacon!
June 10th "we three" attended the conference of the Board's secretaries with the "outgoing" missionaries, among whom was our Frederick. It lasted a week and was about as useful to us old missionaries as the new recruits. We did our part in giving practical ideas to these fine young men and women who were about to sail for Africa and all parts of Asia.
One evening (June 11th), Rev. Dr. J. Balcom Shaw invited me and my three sons, a missionary, a lawyer, and a doctor, to a dinner given to us by him at the Fifth Avenue Hotel, at which fourteen Presbyterian ministers were present. It was an unspeakable privilege to meet such men, and the memory of that occasion is very delightful.
On the 13th we were among the privileged guests at a garden party given to members of the conference by Mr. and Mrs. John Crosby Brown on Orange Mountain, in their beautiful home, beautiful for situation as Mount Zion is beautiful, and beautiful in its cordial, bounteous and loving Christian hospitality. Many will be the comforting memories of that scene, its host and hostess, its lawns and gardens and hothouses, when these young missionaries are scattered abroad in distant and perhaps desolate regions.
Then after various visits and services, I went to New Haven to Yale commencement. It was delightful to be the guest of my dear classmate, Dr. Theodore T. Munger, and a fellow guest with such genial men as Hon. Andrew D. White, Dr. Lyman Abbott, and my classmate Enos N. Taft. It was a surprise to find such weather on the 23d of June. From the time of my arrival, for two days it rained most incessantly and we sat before a blazing fire in the grate, morning and evening. The growth of Yale in numbers and in buildings has been marvellous. The campus has crossed streets and blocks so that I got lost trying to find my way about. The Peabody Museum interested me greatly and I was fascinated by the exquisite specimens of minerals and fossils.
The alumni dinner, when 1,500 sat at the table, was an impressive sight, and we four of the class of 1851 were near the highest tables of the oldest alumni next the platform. The after dinner speeches were good, but what was my amazement to see the President of Yale University coolly drawing out a match and lighting a cigar and puffing out smoke before that vast multitude of graduates and students. Shades of Elihu Yale, of Dwight and Day and Woolsey and Porter "What a fall was that, my countrymen" and my fellow alumni! Has the President of Yale, who preaches and teaches continence and self-control to 2,500 university boys, no control over the appetite for cigar smoke? I exclaimed when I saw it. Dr. Munger, who sat by me, said, "Times have changed since our day. Yale is not what it was. It is in some things better, in some things no better." I agreed with him. Dr. Schaff said to me that the Heidelberg fifth centenary celebration was the greatest beer drinking bout inhuman history. Is Yale commencement to shrink into a smoking bout?
June 27th I made a pilgrimage with my son Frederick and my niece Fanny and her husband, Rev. Jas. R. Swain, from Flushing to Southampton, L. I., the home of my ancestors. We visited our cousins the Fosters, went to the house where my father and his father were born, visited the ancient cemeteries and the rolling Atlantic surf. We returned to Flushing for Sunday and then went to the old restful village of my childhood, the lovely Montrose, with its maple avenues, lawns, and forest-crowned hills. The fishing excursions with my sons and grandsons were frequent and often fishless. We had, however, outdoor exercise, good appetites, and sound sleep at night.
A prominent character in my brother William's family was his "coloured" man-of-all-work, Gabriel Chappel. He had been the body-servant of General Gordon in the South before the war, and came North after peace was restored. He was intelligent, active, a good groom, gardener, and carpenter, and was prominent in the African Church. He was also a champion prize winner in the cake walk, and a politician. The negro brethren down in the valley in Montrose at one time were divided, some being in favour of slavery and some opposed to it. They once had a meeting to decide what colour to whitewash the meeting-house. Gabriel was once at Alford railroad station with my brother's carriage and about to drive back the eight miles to Montrose alone. A stranger accosted him and asked to ride, as there was no stage going. Gabriel took him in. On the way, he told Gabriel he was coming to Montrose on business and wanted to know who was the best lawyer in town. Gabriel replied, "This team belongs to judge Jessup and he is said to be the most lawless man in northern Pennsylvania. You'd better try him." The stranger smiled inwardly and called on my brother the next day and told him of Gabriel's flattering language and they had a good laugh together. Gabriel died in 1905, greatly lamented by all who knew him. He was above eighty years of age.
While in Montrose, the heirs of my childhood's pastor, Rev. Henry A. Riley, presented to me for the Syrian Protestant College his fine cabinet of minerals and fossils which used to be my delight and wonder when a boy. For twenty-five years since his death, the glass cases had never been opened, and I spent days with my four grandsons and several nephews and friends in dusting, arranging, and packing in six strong boxes this valuable collection. The coal fossils from the Lackawanna and Wyoming anthracite, the fossil ferns and plants from the Montrose old red sandstone, and the Devonian fossils from Central New York, are an addition to the Beirut College cabinet which could not have been secured in any other way, and the Riley family deserve sincere thanks for their generous donation.
Then August 9th came the shock of the death at Bar Harbor of Wm. E. Dodge, a worthy son of a noble father.
On the 22d we bade farewell to Frederick on the deck of the Campania, commending him in prayer to God, rejoicing that this dear son and brother was going on the King's business and at the King's command.
We were greatly stirred by the cablegram in the papers that the American Vice-Consul Magelsen bad been assassinated in Beirut, and that the ships Brooklyn, San Francisco, and Machias had been cabled to proceed to Beirut. It soon turned out that he had only been shot at and not shot, but Mr. Magelsen had the pleasure of reading obituary notices of himself in scores of American journals. The President acted with his usual promptness in ordering those ships to Beirut, and they at-rived in the "nick of time," as a riot broke out between the hereditary factions of Moslems and Greek Christians in Beirut, which threatened to produce a massacre, but the presence of these ships, and Admiral Cotton's declaration that in the case of a Moslem rising, be would land marines and take possession of the city, spurred the worse than worthless Waly, or governor- general, to put a stop to the riot. Great excesses had been committed. Innocent Greeks were murdered in their houses at noonday, and firing was going on promiscuously, when the consul and the admiral reached the spot and virtually forced the Waly to "call off his dogs" and stop the bloodshed. Thousands of Christians bad fled from the city, and for three years afterwards some of their houses remained unoccupied. During the excitement, some 4,000 armed Maronite Catholics rallied in Lebanon and threatened to rush down from the mountains and punish the Beirut Moslems, but the consuls and pashas succeeded in restraining them, pledging that no further outrage should occur.
These panics among Syrian Christians are terrible and uncontrollable. Usually in other lands, when a riot occurs, the people look to the government and the military to restore order. But here in Syria, where the military are all Moslems, the Christian people are as much afraid of the soldiers as of a mob of Moslem roughs, and they can never forget that regular troops joined in the awful massacres in Damascus, Hasbeiya, and Deir el Komr in 1860.
The faithless Waly of Beirut, Rashid Effendi, was removed to a distant post, and another appointed in his place, who has succeeded well in keeping order.
One day an American resident in Beirut remarked to a company of foreign and Syrian friends, "Years ago two little boys rode on one donkey in Beirut. One of those boys is now president of the Syrian Protestant College (Dr. Howard S. Bliss), and the other is Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States." One of the Syrian gentlemen here observed, "And the donkey, what has become of him?" He answered his own question, "The donkey is now Waly of Beirut." That remark shows the estimate in which that Waly was held by the people of Syria and his removal was a positive relief to the tension of the public mind in Syria. He was distrusted by all sects and he bled all alike.
The respectable Moslems, merchants and literary men, are men of peace, and as they have everything to lose and nothing to gain by rioting between Moslems and Christians, they cooperate with the Christian notables in trying to keep order.
But alas, it is hard to control drunken Moslems and drunken Greeks and Maronites. An orthodox Moslem will not, touch ardent spirits, not even wine. The Koran says, "Surely wine and games of chance and statues and the divining arrows are an abomination of Satan's work" (Sura 5: 92). "Whosoever drinks wine, let him suffer correction by scourging, as often as he drinks thereof." (Hidayet 2: 53). But in these degenerate days, especially since the occupation of Syria by six thousand French troops in 1860, intemperance has greatly increased. When I first came to Syria, the Pasha of Beirut closed the only grogshop. Now there are 120 licensed saloons, and Moslems of the two extremes of society, the Turkish civil and military officers and the lowest class of boatmen and artisans, drink as much as the foreign Ionian Greeks, and the native so-called Christian sects. The Moslem middle class, the well-to-do merchants, the Ulema and property owners, are generally temperate and peaceable
There are old feuds arising from stabbing affray between the Greek masons and quarrymen of the southern suburbs of Beirut and the Moslems of the Busta quarter, through which the Greeks must pass on the way in and out of the city. A glass or two of arrak, the poisonous Syrian whiskey, will make a Greek insolent and a Moslem pugnacious, and on the feast days, which come about once a week, the Greeks generally throng the saloons and the arrak does its work. As every native in Beirut (and one might say, in all Syria) carries either a knife or a revolver in his girdle, not much time passes between an exciting word and a knife thrust or a pistol-shot. Some one will be killed. The murderer will be caught, imprisoned for a few weeks until his friends bribe him free, and then he is ready for another victim. If a Christian is killed, a Moslem will be killed in revenge, and if a Moslem is killed, a Christian will fall. The want of punishment for crime and the prevalence of bribery make crime easy and life insecure.
If all the saloons in Beirut were shut and the liquor traffic suppressed, there would be few disturbances of the peace. And if the law against carrying concealed weapons were executed, there would be little danger of Moslem "uprisings." As it is, a Christian boy will now and then be searched for weapons, but Moslems are unmolested. This is the weakness of the whole system. It is a sectarian government and rules in the interest of one sect. Such a state of things is antiquated and narrow and cannot long survive the contact with modern civilization.
Admiral Cotton and his officers greatly endeared themselves ,to the American colony in Beirut in the mission and the college, and the admiral addressed the college students, giving them excellent advice.
In August, 1855, I went on a trout fishing trip to the Beaver Hill, Delaware County, N. Y., on invitation of my dear friend, Dr. David Torrey of Delhi. In the party was young Titus B. Meigs. We had a week of marvellous success in the woods, bringing back about a bushel of trout.
This summer of 1903 Mr. Meigs, now a large lumber merchant and landowner, invited me to visit him on Follensbee Pond, near Tupper Lake, in the Adirondacks. I reached his cottage September 19th, after driving six miles through the woods from the railroad and then rowing two and a half miles to the spruce log cottage. It was an ideal spot, quiet and peaceful, the unbroken forests coming down solid to the water's edge and unapproachable, as Mr. Meigs owned 25,000 acres around the lake on every side. The first afternoon we trolled for pickerel and I had the glorious luck to haul in a pickerel twenty-nine inches long and weighing six and a half pounds. Three days later I caught a pike twenty-seven and a half inches long weighing five pounds. Our luck was varied, with bass and pickerel. The calm repose and lovely landscape refreshed my very soul, It was an unspeakable comfort to visit these refined, intelligent, and godly families of Mr. Meigs, his son, and son-in-law.
After a week in the woods I went to Mount Hermon, Northfield, and spent the Sabbath with Mr. Duley, who was once our guest in Mount Lebanon. It was a privilege to speak to those earnest young men in preparation for future usefulness. I found a decided interest in missionary work.
I returned then to Montrose, the dear old home, where everything reminded me of childhood days and youthful happiness.
With my grandsons and nephews I overhauled the old cabinets of minerals and fossils in father's office and made little boxes for each of them with specimens of the various ores and stones. Father used to enjoy seeing his boys interested in natural science and said we had the "stone fever," and I was delighted to find that some of my grandsons had a passion for geology.
After visits in Binghamton, where I had an Arabic service, and Oswego, I attended the Synod of New York at Ithaca and had the pleasure of seeing Cornell University. It was a pleasure to meet judge Francis M. Finch, whom I knew in Yale as a member of my brother William's class of 1850.
In Binghamton Dr. Cobb presented me with a box of beautiful specimens of the zinc ores of Joplin, Missouri; and in Scranton I packed a box of the coal fossils from the mines, and shipped them all to New York en route for the college in Beirut.
On November 16th I addressed the Congregational Union of New York at the St. Denis, and had the honour of hearing Dr. Herrick and Miss Dr. Patrick of Constantinople.
On the following day Mrs. Jessup and I left New York for St. Louis to attend a foreign missionary conference, with Dr. Halsey of the Board. Mr. Coan of Persia and Mr. McConaughy were in attendance. We were the guests of Mrs. Mermod at Kirkwood, where the pastor, Rev. P. V. Jenness, with his people, had adopted me as their missionary. It was my privilege to speak several times in the Kirkwood Church and in Webster Grove; in several churches in St. Louis (Dr. Gregg's and Mr. Chalfant's); and at the ministers' meeting at the Presbyterian rooms; and in the library of Mr. Semple. At Grace Church Mr. Chalfant, Sr., said to me that his China missionary son had led seven men to the missionary field, and he himself was led to become a missionary by an address I once delivered in Lafayette College. Truly, "bread cast on the waters" does return, though it be "after many days."
On the 21st we were all invited to make an automobile trip around the Exposition grounds and buildings, then rapidly approaching completion. We called on President Francis and Professor Rogers. Professor Rogers expressed interest in the exhibition of a model of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut, and promised to give it an eligible position in the Educational Building. I agreed to have it finished in due season after my return to New York. On our last day in St. Louis, we removed to the Southern Hotel in the city and met my Yale classmate, John Noble, who insisted on our having the best of everything, and when, I came to pay the bill on our departure the clerk informed me that it had already been paid. That was Noble!
We spent Thanksgiving in Binghamton with the Lockwoods and Leveretts and heard one of Dr. Nichol's admirable discourses. That Binghamton Church and pastor are as near the ideal as any I have known. The church of 1,200 members are devoted to him and he to them. He is a living force in the community and looked up to by clergy and people of all churches. He is a true apostolic bishop, as were the bishops of the churches in Ephesus. Happy is such a pastor and happy is such a people!
December 1st we removed to New York and were the guests of my son Henry W. Jessup, a lawyer and an elder in the Fifth Avenue Church, and who keeps up the family tradition handed down from my father, judge Wm. Jessup, and my brother, judge Wm. H. Jessup, by frequently serving as commissioner to the General Assembly. I am thankful that as he did not become a minister he became an elder, and as a member of the Board of Home Missions and of the Bible Society, keeps in touch with the great work of the Church at home and abroad.
December 2d I began my work of making a new model of the campus of the Syrian Protestant College. Professor Bumpus, of the Museum of Natural History, assigned me a place in an immense unoccupied and steam heated room of the colossal edifice, and with the aid of Mr. Strader, a first-rate carpenter, and 'Mr. Orchard, an expert taxidermist and decorator, I entered on the formidable work. I had photographs and measurements of the Beirut campus and buildings and of the territory below the college down to the sea. After enlarging the scale, the wooden frame was made, fifteen by eleven feet, the wooden ribs of the skeleton sawed and nailed on so as to show the elevation of the terraces and slopes of the campus. The huge frame was made in three sections, so exactly fitted that when covered with the artificial grass and trees, the joints were not visible. The frame was covered with wire gauze, bent and moulded to correspond with the uneven surface and then coated with a liquid papier mache made by Mr. Orchard. I do not recall how many lumps of this plastic material and how many quarts of liquid glue, with cork and sponge and leafy sponge and moss and green dye we used. But day by day it grew into shape and when finally the stone carved models of the buildings arrived from Beirut, Mr. Strader had finished a beautiful polished mahogany and plate glass case, fifteen. by eleven feet, and six feet high, to fit over the frame, and my joy was full.
Owing to constant exposure to the biting and freezing winds which often assailed me when I came out from my steam-heated workshop in the museum, I took a severe cold, which obliged me to keep to my bed at my son's house for eighteen days.
February 13th Mr. Morris K. Jesup, president of the Museum of Natural History, invited about seventy-five friends of Syria and the college to a reception at the museum at the unveiling of the model which had cost me so much time and labour.
After giving a descriptive lecture to the assembled friends, I found myself exhausted and, returning to the hotel, took to my bed with grippe,-where I remained until the 19th, when we hired an automobile and returned to Harry's lovely quiet home in 130th Street. There I remained in bed under the care of good Dr. Spaulding and a trained nurse, until March 3d, five days before sailing for Syria.
Through the courtesy of Messrs. E. K. Warren, W. N. Hartshorn, and A. B. McCrillis, I was invited to take passage March 8th on the North German Lloyd steamer Grosser Kurfurst with eight hundred delegates to the World's Fourth Sunday-School Convention to be held in April in Jerusalem. They offered me free passage and reduced rates for my wife and daughter. As the time drew near, and I found myself weak and exhausted from long illness, I began to doubt the morality of accepting this offer, as I would be expected to lecture and speak during the voyage on subjects connected with missions and the Bible lands and I could hardly stand on my feet. However, the doctor and my sons encouraged me, and my wife and daughter, who was herself a fellow invalid with me, felt sure that the sea air would soon restore my strength, so on the appointed day we drove to the ferry, crossed to Hoboken, and with the aid of my two stalwart sons, I made out to scale the stairway up the side of the lofty steamer. My heavy winter clothing and a ponderous ulster overcoat made it difficult for me to move about the ship. The crowd was simply indescribable. Eight hundred passengers hunting for staterooms, calling to stewards to bring missing baggage, wedging their way through the narrow passages with throngs of friends, compelled me to take refuge in a corner of the saloon bidding good-bye to friends until the good ship left her dock.
We found our stateroom blocked with baskets of fruit and flowers.
The ship was of 13,180 tons.
The sea air and change stiffened my bones and revived my spirits, and I was able to deliver seven addresses, on advice to tourists; Islam; Dr. Kalley and Madeira; Moslem women and girls; Abdul Kadir and the massacres of 1860; on temperance in Syria; my forty-eight years in Syria. I could hardly whisper before sailing, but my voice soon regained its strength. Our visits to Madeira, Gibraltar, Algiers, Malta, Athens, Constantinople, and Smyrna were full of interest. This was my first visit to Algiers and Athens. I found that the Moslems in Algiers could understand Syrian Arabic, though their pronunciation is very different. Athens was a very delightful revelation. In the exhilaration of seeing the Parthenon and other sites, I forgot my physical weakness and suffered in consequence, so that I was laid up the next day.
In Constantinople we were taken possession of by our old friends, Consul-General and Mrs. Dickinson and Miss Mason, who took us to their apartments at Hotel Londres. Miss Mason acted as our guide to the Imperial Museum and the Mosque of St. Sophia, and took the ladies to the bazaar,. Mrs. Ponafidini (nee Cochran), wife of the Russian consul, told us of the murder of the American missionary, Mr. Labaree, near Salmas. The Sayyid who killed Mr. Labaree and his servant intended to kill her brother, Dr. Cochran.
March 30th Mrs. Dickinson took us in her carriage to Robert College. We first called on my old friend, President Emeritus Dr. George Washburn, and then attended a mass meeting of students in the college chapel, presided over by President Gates. Addresses were made by Willard of Baltimore, Frizzel of Toronto, and myself, and a statement on behalf of the college by President Gates.
In comparing Robert College with our Syrian Protestant College in Beirut, a natural remark would be that these two colleges have secured the two most beautiful sites in the Turkish Empire, the former having the Bosphorus (which means Ox-ford) with its unique beauties and charming landscape, and the latter the commanding view of the blue Mediterranean and the snowy range of Lebanon. Beirut College at first had only Arabic-speaking students and its language was Arabic, with English and French as secondary; Robert College, drawing its students from divers nationalities, the Bulgarians, Greeks, Armenians, and Turks, adopted the English language from the outset and largely outnumbered the Syrian Protestant College. Today Syrian Protestant College, with its attractive medical and commercial departments, has adopted the English language for its curriculum, with Arabic, French, and Turkish as secondary, and has 865 students, with a large proportion of Armenian, Persian, Bulgarian, Greek, and Egyptian students.
In religious matters, Beirut Syrian Protestant College is more distinctively religious and missionary in aiming at the religious instruction of all its students, and both are important factors in shaping the future moral destiny of Western Asia.
March 13th our captain gave us a sail to the Black Sea mouth of the Bosphorus. As we passed Robert College, the building was decorated with flags, and the students sang and cheered, and returning, we set sail for Smyrna. Dr. McLachlan, of the International College of Smyrna, lectured that evening. The next day, five hundred and eighty of our company visited Ephesus. Dr. Hoskins of Beirut, who had come on to meet the excursion, delivered an address the evening of April 2d on Beirut, Damascus, and Baalbec, and the passengers raised $290 for the press in Beirut. Dr. Hoskins brought word of the serious illness of his mother-in-law Mrs. Dr. W. W. Eddy of Beirut.
On Sunday, April 3d, I introduced Dr. and Mrs. McNaughton of Smyrna to the audience on board, and after a stirring account of their work in Asia Minor, the company gave and pledged $600 to the work.
This interesting journey was now near its end for me as I was to land in Beirut. And what a unique voyage! Eight hundred Sunday-school superintendents, teachers, and friends, all of one heart and mind. Prayer-meetings daily, with Bible classes and lectures; harmony and quiet prevailed; not a profane oath nor an intoxicated passenger; there was not a wine or beer bottle on the dining-tables; the company represented all that is good, manly, and womanly in our Christian land. I believe that the result of this tour will be a great increase of missionary interest among all the churches, societies, and Sunday-schools represented in this delegation. They can testify to what they have seen. They have already done it by generous contributions to various missions visited. I thank God for permitting me in the closing years of my life to make the acquaintance of such a choice and beloved company of Christian brothers and sisters.
At 6 A. M., April 4th, we cast anchor in Beirut harbour, and crowds of our friends came on board to welcome us: brother Samuel from Sidon; my son William from Zahleh; my daughters, Mary Day and Ethel Moore of the Syrian Protestant College; my sons-in-law, Professor Day, Professor Moore, and Rev.
Paul Erdman; with three of Ethel's children; and my nephew, Stuart D. Jessup; President Howard Bliss, Mrs. Dale, Professor
Porter, Mr. Freyer, and a company of Syrian and foreign friends. It was a joyous reunion and a time of hearty thanksgiving to God.
At ten o'clock the ship's company came out to the college and addresses were made in the chapel. In the evening Dr. Post and Dr. Samuel Jessup lectured on board the steamer and Dr. Mackie and others sailed with them to Jaffa for Jerusalem.
I was now at home in Beirut the beautiful, with the blue sea, the snowy summit of Sunnin, the bright spring flowers, and everything homelike and familiar. I was not well enough to resume work at once. My daughter Mary, Mrs. Day, insisted on our coming to her house and there for days we welcomed old friends.
On Wednesday, April 6th, a conference of Syrian preachers and helpers met on invitation of President Howard Bliss in his capacious study in Marquand House and for several days discussed important religious and practical subjects and united in prayer. The delegates were guests of the college, occupying the beds vacated by the students absent on vacation and had their meals in one of the refectories. Incidentally, they thus became well acquainted with the college. A delightful spirit prevailed and God's presence was abundantly realized, and many a testimony was given at the time and since to the fresh incentives that were received to more effective service.
That evening they met in the Sunday-School Memorial Hall in town to bid me and mine welcome back to Syria. Addresses were made by Dr. Bliss, Dr. Hoskins, and Pastor Rev. Asaad er Rasi to which I responded. Brother Samuel presided.
This conference was a loving conception of President Bliss and brought our scattered pastors and preachers into close touch with the work of the college. And the nearer the college can be kept to the fundamental idea of missionary work, the more completely will it answer the aim of its founders and the greater will be its influence for good in the East. Hon. E. W. Blatchford, of Chicago' President Bliss's father-in-law, was a valuable coadjutor in all this.
On Friday, April 8th, the British contingent of the Jerusalem Sunday-school convention reached Berirut, and came to the college, where addresses were made by Dr. Munro Gibson, President Bliss, his father, and myself. I also met Dr. Schofield of London, a member of the London Central Committee of our Asfuriyeh Lebanon Asylum for the Insane.
I found our missionaries greatly concerned by the persistent refusal of the Ottoman government to allow to our missionaries in Syria the same immunities and privileges which are given to missionaries of all other nationalities, Protestant and Catholic. For many years we have petitioned our minister in Constantinople and the State Department but without effect. We are thus discriminated against in a manner which no European 'state would submit to. Minister Leischman insists that it is because he is of inferior rank, and that if made ambassador he could at all times communicate directly with the Sultan, instead of being turned over to the ministry, which has no authority to decide any political question.
April 11th Mrs. Dr. Moore with her husband and four children left for Switzerland for Dr. Moore's regular furlough. It often happens that it is better for health and the purse to take one's furlough in a "pension" in Switzerland than to go to the United States, where both the climate and the expense of living makes one's furlough more a loss than a gain.
On April 14th, at 6 P. M., Mrs. William W. Eddy entered into rest, aged seventy-seven years, after fifty-two years of missionary life in Syria.
She was born in Montgomery, Orange County, N. Y. Her father was the Rev. Dr. Robert Condit, long pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Oswego, N. Y. She was educated at Mount Holyoke Seminary, graduated in 1846 and was the first graduate to come to Syria from that missionary institution, She taught in Hartford, Conn., and other places. November 24, 1851, she married Rev. W. W. Eddy and they sailed soon on the bark Sultana, arriving in Beirut January 31, 1852. Mr. and Mrs. Eddy lived five years in Aleppo and Kefr Shima, then twenty-one years in Sidon, and twenty-six years in Beirut.
She lived to see three of her children engaged in missionary work. She was full of hospitality, a lover of the people, and beloved by them, a "mother in Israel," devotedly fond of teaching in Bible class and Sunday-school. When preparing her home for a prayer-meeting, she fell and fractured her thigh, an injury which eventually caused her death. She died surrounded by all her children but one and several of her grandchildren. Truly her works follow her. She was a woman of great strength of character, a strong will and wonderful energy, which traits are perpetuated in her descendants.
April 22d I attended the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Arabic journal, Lisan el Hal at the house of the editor, Khalil Effendi Sarkis. Mr. Sarkis has, by enterprise and industry, founded and conducted a printing-house and edited a bi-weekly and daily journal, The Tongue of the Times, Lisan el Hal. A great crowd of Syrian and foreign friends were present and prose and poetical addresses abounded. Arabic poetry lends itself with great effect to such occasions. I congratulated him on his success, for as editor also of a newspaper, I had had many years of experience with the exasperating methods of Turkish censors.
From this meeting, I went to President Emeritus Dr. Daniel Bliss's to a reception given to Mr. Marcellus Hartley Dodge, Mr. Crofts, and Professor Kepler. Mr. Dodge has since that time given to our press a thirty horse-power oil engine which has given new life and efficiency to our work of printing, and to the college an eye and ear hospital.
April 23d we visited Zahleh, where we remained eleven days, visiting this important station and making excursions into the mountain and the plain. William had found a crystalline sandstone slab by the roadside near the summit of the Lebanon ridge with a Latin inscription of the Roman Emperor Hadrian, being a "definitio sylvarum," a boundary mark of the forests, and now there is not a tree within several miles of it. We drove up to visit it, and now it is in the museum of the Syrian Protestant College in Beirut.
Returning to Beirut May 4th, we were just in time to meet the friends who had met in the girls' seminary to unveil an oil-painting of Miss Eliza D. Everett, which was presented by her old pupils resident in Cairo.
The next day was a still more impressive scene, the unveiling of a splendid white Carrara marble statue, life size, of our beloved Dr. Daniel Bliss, president emeritus of the Syrian Protestant College. Addresses were made by Mr. Nas50 Berbari, of Cairo, who presented the statue in behalf of college alumni in Egypt and the Sudan; President H. Bliss, Dr. George E. Post, H. H. Jessup, Dr. Scander Barudi, and Dr. Daniel Bliss. I was deeply affected by this deserved tribute to one of my dearest earthly friends, and it was a scene not often witnessed in this world, when Dr. Bliss stood by the side of his own life-size statue in marble and expressed his gratitude to the Egyptian alumni and said, "We do aim in this college to make perfect men, ideal men, Godlike men, after the model of Jesus Christ, against whose moral character no man has said or ever can say aught."
It is a striking fact that the only two marble statues erected to eminent men by modern Syrians are the statue of Dr. Van Dyck in the Greek Hospital of St. George in the eastern part of Beirut and that of Dr. D. Bliss in the college in the western extremity of the city. "Par nobile fratrum!" These statues prove that the people of the East are not ungrateful for what men of the West have done for them.
May 10th the semi-annual meeting of the mission was held in Beirut. At the mission meeting, it was decided to purchase the Misk and Pharaun houses, the former for a permanent manse in memory of Col. Elliot Shepard, and the latter for a mission residence and library.
A Hindu, of Ahmedabad in India, called upon me. He is a student of Arabic in the college, and has begun translating into Hindustani the "Life of Kamil."
Dr. George Adam Smith visited Beirut, addressed the college students and preached in our mission church.
The last of May we visited Sidon, and in eleven days examined all departments of the work.
Modern Sidon is itself an antique curiosity-a town of the oldest Oriental pattern, its houses flat-roofed, its streets roughly paved, and in many places arched over. There not being room enough within its narrow walls for a growing population, houses had to be built over the various streets, converting them into veritable subways or tunnels. In many places the arches are so low that a horseman must dismount. Dr. Thomson says that
Sidon was in ruins "before antiquity was born," and the town is built upon successive strata of ancient ruined Sidons. The gardens overlie rich treasure of buried coins and antiques, and the foothills to the east are honeycombed with Phoenician tombs and exquisite sarcophagi. But a city cannot live on it, ancient history, and but for the American and French schools which have stirred up the Moslem Sidonians to open schools for boys and girls, the town would steep on for years to come as it has slept on ever since the soporific influence of Islam levelled it into slumber 1,200 years ago. It was once the commercial mistress of the Mediterranean, but now it can hardly influence a steam launch to anchor in its port. The breath of life which has entered it from America is waking up its young men and maidens, and some day it may recover its old renown. But the proximity of thrifty, vigorous, commercial Beirut, with its port and steamers, its railways and gas lights, its government headquarters, its schools, colleges, and hospitals, its printing - houses and newspapers, its quarantine and electric. tramway, leaves Sidon, Tyre, and Jebail, the old Phoenician trio, stranded on the sand-bars of decrepit antiquity.
Sidon is a restful place to us who go as transient visitors, but there is little rest in that busy hive which centres in Gerard Institute, and whose awakening influence extends out through Southern Lebanon and Galilee of the Gentiles, and to the north, south, and west of glorious Hermon. The mission station there superintends twelve evangelical churches, thirty-five preaching stations, twenty-four schools, with 2,000 pupils. Hundreds of the Protestant adherents have emigrated to America, and some of them are bringing back new ideas and new aspirations for the elevation of their loved native land. For however dreary and desolate we may regard many parts of Syria, it is a fair and beautiful land and its people love it fondly.
Returning to Beirut in June, we found ourselves at once in the whirl of constant duties and engagements. We had an important meeting of the executive committee of the insane hospital at Asfuriyeh, four miles from Beirut. Some might say, "What has that to do with your missionary work?" I reply, "Much, in every way." It is a work of blessed and Christlike compassion to care for the suffering insane and their more suffering relatives and friends. Hundreds of patients have been treated and a fair proportion have been discharged cured. Moslems, Jews, Maronites, Greeks, Druses, and Protestants, alike have received the benefit of the hospital, and in view of the fiendish cruelty with which the Lebanon monks of the monastery of Kozheiya have treated the insane in past years, this well-ordered hospital is regarded as a veritable godsend to the land. An aged Moslem sheikh from Mecca was brought to the hospital in a state of delusional insanity, and on recovering his reason was full of gratitude. A fanatical priest, who had been wont to curse and denounce all Protestants as emissaries of the devil, was seized with acute and violent mania. I saw him in the strong room for violent patients. He was stark naked and gesticulating violently and preaching in Arabic against his imaginary foes. In a few months he recovered, and his gratitude knew no bounds. His patriarch and bishops sent their thanks and gratulations to the officers of the hospital.
The eighth annual report gives 157 patients as under care during the year, of whom thirty-four recovered and twenty-eight improved. The patients have come from Syria and Palestine, Armenia, Arabia, and Egypt. The site is healthful and there have been no cases of enteric fever or tuberculosis. This is the first organized institution of the kind in Western Asia and is a missionary hospital in the sense; that it was founded and has been supported by Christian men and women for the honour of Christ, in showing the true spirit of Christianity by caring for the helpless and afflicted. All honour to Mr. T. Waldmeier and the doctor and nurses for their self-denying devotion to the mentally afflicted of a strange land. I know of no other form of Christian service which requires more of self-sacrifice, unless it be that of the leper asylums.
June 11th, I attended in Aleih, Mount Lebanon, the funeral of an aged peasant in the Greek Church. Eight priests from neighbouring villages assisted the Khuri Giurgius in the service. An aged priest, Antonius, delivered the Arabic sermon, Scriptural, earnest, and truly evangelical. I listened with interest and surprise, but my surprise ceased when I recognized in the preacher an old theological student of 1886, who is now priest of the Orthodox Church in Bhamdoun. I asked him how he could read the prayers to the Virgin in the Greek liturgy, and he said in a low tone, "I do not believe them and pass over them lightly, and the people know I do not believe them." I warned him to be careful lest he sear his conscience by seeming to be what he is not. An enlightened man can hardly be at ease in the Greek Church, with its gross adoration of the sacred ikons or pictures and its abject Mariolatry. And the mass of the enlightened youth of Syria in the Greek sect are in danger of going into infidelity, unless they compel their clergy to purge their liturgy of its creature worship.
June 20th Sabat, the woman who cares for our Beirut house in the summer, was shot at in the afternoon by Moslem roughs, and her husband was shot at on the balcony of our house. With a rotten, bribe-taking police, we have no redress. Moslem thieves and murderers roam at large, or if imprisoned, soon bribe their way out, so that Sabat begged me not to complain. A few assassins have been reported as exiled to Barbary, Africa.
My son-in-law, Professor Day, is collecting snakes, and offers a reward to the boys of Lebanon to bring him specimens. Many of them are venomous but the most are harmless. In 1903 Miss Gordon, who was living with Professor West's family in Aleih, was bitten by a poisonous serpent when walking out after sunset and died in forty minutes. Since that time, we have warned our friends against walking in the thickets after sunset. Mount Lebanon, with its stony hillsides and innumerable stone terraces, is a safe haunt for snakes, and the black snake, viper, adder, and asp are not infrequently found.
July 1st I met at the Aleih railroad station Dr. Samuel J. Curtigs, the noted writer on "Primitive Semitic Religions To-day" in Palestine. He was returning from Hamath and was en route for Nablus, and not long after died in London when on his way to America. His death was a distinct loss to the cause of Biblical literature.
During the summer I preached regularly in the little chapel in Aleih in Arabic, as has been my wont for twenty-one years. The boys and girls of the day-school sit on the wall benches, and the body of the room is filled with summer residents from the plain and from Egypt and fellahin from the villages. Arabic preaching is my delight. It does a preacher good to have a good proportion of his audience young people and children. It keeps one's language simple and clear, prevents pedantry, and compels one to use plain figures of speech and homely illustrations which appeal to all.
This summer I received a copy of a remarkable book, an Arabic metrical translation of Homer's "Iliad," a work of 1,200 pages, with an introduction of 200 pages on Homer, the "Illiad," and a comparison between Greek and Arabic poetry. The translator is Soleyman Effendi Bistany, of the famous Lebanon family of Bistany. It is a colossal undertaking. The introductory essay on Arabic poetry is worth the price of the volume. The author used the original Greek and the English and the French translations of the "Illiad," and the marginal notes and explanations are full and complete, showing remarkable learning and research. The book was printed in Cairo at the author's expense, and should be in the library of every college and university. I know of no work in Arabic which shows greater scholarship and genius. To translate foreign poetry into prose in our own language is practicable, but to render it into poetry is a work which only a Pope, Cowper, Derby, or Bryant could undertake. [The author is (in 1909) one of the Beirut members of the Ottoman Parliament.]
One night in July, Dr. George E. Post, the famous surgeon, author, and professor in the Syrian Protestant College, was riding up from Beirut, when suddenly near Jemhour a railway train passed and the headlight and noise of the engine frightened his horse, which sprang backward off a high bank, falling partly on the doctor, breaking his wrist and gashing his head. The hairbreadth escapes of the foreign doctors in Syria, in travelling by night in storms and darkness over rocky defiles, and through thickets and quicksands, would fill a volume.
THIRD BRUMMANA CONFERENCE OF CHRISTIAN WORKERS
(1904) This third conference was held as before in the beautiful grounds of the Friends' Mission at Brummana, Mount Lebanon. No speaker from abroad could be secured, and the conference was entirely conducted by missionaries from the Turkish Empire. The Rev. Geo. M. Mackie prepared the programme' on the subject: "The Missionary Gospel and the Missionary; The Message and the Messenger, and the things that affect his daily life and service for the Master."
No less than thirty-two brief papers were read, after each of which there was free discussion-and devotional and praise meetings were held at sunrise and sunset daily. Two hundred delegates were present, of whom ninety were British, fifty-eight Americans, thirty-seven Syrians, six Germans, three Danes, three Swedes, two. Armenians and one Hindu.
Eighteen Christian denominations, representing twenty-six societies, were present. Again all felt that the spiritual benefits of such a gathering far more than compensated for the trouble -and expense incurred.
On leaving Brummana, we saw below us in the harbour off Beirut thirty British ships of war, and the thunder of their salutes August 9th, on King Edward's coronation day, when each ship fired twenty-one guns, echoed and reechoed through the mountain ranges of Lebanon. Hundreds of mountaineers thronged Beirut, and went on board at certain appointed hours.
The visits of these fleets always impress the Syrian populace. The spectacle at night (August 9th), when the ships were decorated with thousands of electric lights and the search-lights illuminated the mountain villages ten miles away, was one of great magnificence. England thus maintains and asserts her naval supremacy in the Mediterranean. She holds Gibraltar, Malta, Cyprus, and Egypt, and will never surrender her control of the Suez Canal, the highway to India, Australasia, and China.
If this empire suffers dismemberment, the arbiters will be the nations who control the sea. The visits, of the European and American fleets make a deep impression upon both Turkish officials and the native people. The braggart, fanatical Moslem roughs hide their heads for a time and officials feel encouraged to keep order and give no occasion for foreign interference or occupation.
Can anything be more beautiful than the love of a little child? I have always loved children, but the artless love of my grandchildren is something precious beyond gold and rubies. A little grandson, two and a half years old, said to me, "Grandpa, I love you." His childish utterances are curious enough. One day his father led him out to the garden and called his attention to a vulture flying overhead. He looked, but it had pawed. Then his father called, "F-------, see that huge bird!" He looked, but the bird had disappeared behind the oak trees, and he began to think his father was joking. In a few moments he ran off some distance in the vineyard and called, "Come, papa, come see!"
His father ran, and the child pointed down between his feet, and said, "See!" "What?" said his father. "A rhinoceros!" answered the lad and burst into laughter.
The Zahleh and Lebanon Presbytery met in Zahleh September 6th, and about twenty members were in attendance. The progress made by these organizations composed of Syrian pastors and elders and American missionaries is encouraging and hopeful for the future. We foreigners are corresponding members, and business is transacted in good order and harmony, giving promise of the time when the evangelical church of Syria shall become self-supporting and self-propagating. What form of polity will be eventually adopted by these churches is a secondary matter. As long as they are dependent on foreign funds they will naturally submit to foreign advice, but when they walk alone and support their own pastors and schols, they will be at liberty to select that form of church government which suits their tastes and preference.
In 1901, a Shechemite swindler of the first water, named Kerreh, a native of Nablus, went to England to raise money for his leper asylum at Tirzah, near Nablus. He represented in his long printed programme that he had a leper asylum with 1,100 patients, extensive buildings, staff, plant, grounds, etc, and he wanted to raise 100 a head for each of his 1,100. He deceived a few persons, when his fraud was detected, and he was arrested. The English judge sent a commissioner, Mr, Francis C. Brading, then travelling in Syria, to investigate. He found at Tirzah an abject village, but no leper, no asylum, and nothing bad ever been heard there of Kerreh and his swindling scheme. He was then convicted and sent to prison. After serving out his time, he crossed the, sea and applied to Mr. H. H. Hall, of Orange, N. Y., for aid for his 1,100 lepers. Mr. Hall wisely inquired through a friend, whose son was in Syria, and obtained the above facts. The man was then headed off, but he will no doubt palm off his monstrous swindle in other parts of America where he has not been exposed. The gullibility of good people is amazing. If all who are asked to help such wildcat schemes would demand credentials and certificates from responsible persons, they would not throw away their money.
On returning home, September 10th, we were shocked by the cold-blooded and unprovoked murder of a beloved and talented young man of Suk el Gharb, a student in the college and a member of a prominent Protestant family in this part of Lebanon. He was stabbed to death just at sunset within a quarter of a mile of his home by two Druse miscreants. The funeral the next day was largely attended and the mudir was present with his soldiers to prevent disturbance, as some of the less educated relatives of the deceased were ready to revenge his death on any Druse who should appear in the village. We conducted the funeral services at the house in the open air, as a noisy crowd of distant relatives and outsiders declared that, according to their traditional customs, to consent to have the funeral in the church would be to admit that they had no further claim for the punishment of the murderers. The father said he would prefer to have it in the church but the crowd overruled him.
The self-control of the father, the brothers, and sister in that tumultuous wailing and shrieking crowd, was a beautiful testimony to the sustaining power of Christian faith. Two years passed and no punishment had been inflicted on the assassins, though legally convicted of murder in the first degree.
September 27th Mrs. Gerald F. Dale, for twenty-five years connected with the mission, tendered her resignation to take the superintendence of the new Maria DeWitt Jesup hospital for women and children and the training-school for nurses. The mission only acceded to this request on the ground that the truly benevolent and self-denying work which she was about to undertake was in every sense a missionary work and an important branch of the great work being done for the benefit of the Syrian people.
On the 14th of October the people of Lebanon saw a brilliant meteoric shower which lasted not less than fifteen minutes.
October 31st word was received that the model of the Syrian Protestant College had received a. gold medal at the St. Louis Exposition. It was deposited in the college. I afterwards heard that the medal was voted, but, with many others, might be given only on paper. When it came it proved to be bronze.
In November, United States Consul Ravendal received a letter from Vice-Consul Shumacher of Haifa, well known as an explorer and archaeologist, resigning his office and also stating that he had .given up his American citizenship and become a German subject, for the reason that, as an American, he could get no rights and secure no concessions for archaeological excavation and exploration, whereas a German subject can get any concession that is desired. Dr. Shumacher's statement is no doubt true. The German emperor, for reasons too palpable to need explanation, has become the backer and friend of the Sultan Abdul Hamid. German railway concessions are necessary to promote German commerce, and for these benefits the Emperor William will stand by the Sultan, who, as a matter of wisdom, will grant the emperor and his subjects privileges allowed to none others. As Mr. Shumacher has large experience in Palestine exploration, and is a permanent resident in Haifa, he naturally prefers the government which can most successfully promote his interests.
December 27th - Today the contract was signed for the purchase of the so-called Misk property adjoining the American Mission premises in Beirut. For sixteen years we bad been trying to secure this valuable property, the funds for which had been given by the late Col. Elliot F. Shepard of New York. The Arabic proverb, "man sabar zafar," "who waits wins," was proved true in this case. Colonel Shepard gave the fund to buy the property and it was carefully invested in America. He authorized the we of the interest for supplying a residence for the native Syrian pastor, and aiding, when needed, in his support, until the purchase should be effected. On completing the purchase, which was done by Dr. Hoskins, after meeting with the various departments and officials of the local courts for three months, the work of demolition and reconstruction was commenced, and the mission premises converted into a convenient campus, containing the church, press, Sunday-school hall, theological school, manse, girls' boarding-school, and cemetery, with two mission residences (the Pharaun and Kekano houses) and open spaces covered with shade trees and orange and lemon orchards.
This valuable property belongs to the Presbyterian Board of Foreign Missions. The Kekano house was purchased in 1889 with funds given chiefly by Morris K. Jesup, Esq., John Stewart Kennedy' and Robert Lenox Kennedy. The Pharaun house was bought with a portion of the theological seminary funds in the hands of the Board of Foreign Missions.
The year has been one of steady progress. The 111schools have instructed 6,353 pupils. The college has had 750 students, more than ever before, and its corps of instructors numbers sixty-two. One hundred and forty-three were added to the churches on profession of faith and the congregations average 5,534.
The press printed 34,577,543 pages, of Which 24,727,000 were Arabic Scriptures for the American Bible Society. The total number of pages printed since 1834 has been 760,089,034.
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