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ACCOUNT OF CRETE.
ders, who, being raised to the throne, rewarded the services of BONIFACE, Marquis of Montserrat, by making him King of Thessalonica, and adding to it the island of Crete. BONIFACE, preferring a sum of money to the government of the island, sold it to the Venetians in the year 1194.* Under the wise laws of this great republic, Crete again began to revive ; and the people were encouraged to apply themselves to commerce and agriculture, which soon greatly prospered.
But the blessings flowing from a free and enlightened government, finally fled from Crete in the year 1645'; when the Turks, in the midst of a profound peace, suddenly invaded CRETE with a fleet of 400 sail, having on board an army of 60,000 men, under the command of four Pachas; to oppose whom, the whole island could only muster 3500 infantry, and a very small number of cavalry. With this small force they held out against a numerous and continually recruited army, so that the Ottoman power was employed for nearly thirty years, before they got the entire possession of the island, in the attainment of which the Turks lost about 200,000 men. Since the year 1675, the whole island has been under the government of the Turks.
The island of Crete is one of the most salubrious in the world : the soil is rich, and it produces no ferocious or poisonous animals. Mount Ida is described by SAVARY as beginning near Candia, and stretching from east to, west as far as the White Mountains, and from the Northern to the Southern Sea. It is the highest in the island, and from its summit may be seen many of the scattered islands of the Archipelago. In summer, when the snows are melted, vast plains, situated on the declivity of the mountain, afford excellent pasturage for the flocks. The southern side abounds with the strawberry-tree, privets, and rock-roses: the eastern is beautified with cedars, pines, and cypresses : but on the west, its perpendicular sides present nothing but piles of rocks which it is impossible to scale. From its summit numerous streams flow on every side : some rush in torrents into the valleys, while others water the plains, which produce luxuriant harvests, or, distributed by art, maintain fecundity in the innumerable fruit-trees which grow round the villages. The hill-sides, exposed to the powerful rays of the sun, are clothed with vineyards, which produce exquisite vines; and the olive-trees every where constitute the principal riches of the country. One of the rivers, which rises in the abovenamed mountains, is called Platania, and runs throdgh a forest of the same name, the beauties of which exceed description. In this vast forest of plane-trees, few of them are less than seventy feet high: every tree has vines planted round it, whose shoots rise like the ropes which secure the mast of a ship. In this rich and productive soil, the vines shoot with an astonishing vigour, and growing to the height of the planes by which they are supported, crown them with their verdant tendrils, and adorn them with their fruit. Each tree, thus decorated, forms a large arbour, impenetrable to the rays of the sun. Under these mag
* SAVARY's Letters on Greece,
. nificent canopies, are seen clusters of grapes, some of which are two feet in length : they are of various species; and by the side of a yellow cluster, may be
ACCOUNT OF CRETE.
seen the purple, the violet, the rose, and the muscadine, of a deeper or lighter hue. These grapes have a very large berry, and ripen two months later than those which grow on the hill-sides; but they adorn the tables of the inhabitants till the month of December, and are of an exquisite flavour. It would be difficult to find a place more delightfully pleasant than this forest. In spring, innumerable birds resort thither to build their nests; the nightingale, the gold. finch, and the blackbird, seek its shades, and make the echoes resound with their melodious warblings.
At a little distance from the plain of Gortyna is the celebrated Labyrinth. It was visited by SAVARY in the year 1780, and he gives us the following account of it: “We had brought with us the thread of Ariadne, that is to say, 400 fathoms of twine, which we fas. tened to the gate, and left two to guard the entrance. The opening of the Labyrinth is natural, and not wide, with a flat roof cut out of the solid mountain. After having lost our way several times, in which we had to measure our steps back by the thread, we at last found the true passage, which is on the right as we go in, and the entrance of which is by a path so low and narrow, that we were obliged to creep on our hands and knees for the space of 100 yards. At the end of this passage the ceiling rises suddenly, and we were able to walk upright. Here numerous ways struck off on each side, and crossed each other in different directions. These alleys were, in general, from seven to eight feet in height, and varied in width from six to ten; they are all chiselled out of the solid rock. In some places, huge blocks of stones, half detached from the roof, seem ready to fall on your head in passing them. These stones have doubtless been loosened by earthquakes, which are very common in CRETE. We continued to wander in this maze, and frequently, after encircling with our cord a great extent of rock, we were obliged to wind it up, and return by the way we came. It is impossible to describe to what a degree these passages are multiplied and crooked : some of them lead you insensibly by a curve to a vast empty space, supported by enormous pillars, whence three or four passages strike off, that conduct to opposite points; others, after long windings, divide into several branches; these again extend a great length, and, terminating by the rock, obliged us to trace our way back.”—The same traveller remarked a singular property possessed by the rock, of presenting the names engraven on it in relief. “We saw several of them, wherein this sort of sculpture had risen to the thickness of the sixth part of an inch. The substance of this relief is whiter than the stone." His opinion is, “ that such are the intricacies and windings of this Labyrinth, that it would be impossible for any man to find his way out of it, if left there without either clue or light.” There was another Labyrinth built by DÆDALUS, which, on account of its various windings, deceived those who got bewildered in it, and prevented their return. Minos converted it into a royal prison ; but the criminals confined there were only deprived of their liberty.
This island was one of the first in which Christi. anity was established. The first Christian Church was raised by St. Paul, who appointed Titus to the office of Bishop of that church, about the year 02 ; and whether Titus ever left it afterward is not certain. Some ancient writers say, that he died in Crete in the ninety-fourth year of his age, and was
buried there. It is now " divided into twelve bishops' sees, under the Patriarch of Constantinople; but though the Turks profess to allow to the Christians the free exercise of their religion, yet they will not permit them to repair their Churches. It is only by the influence of large sums of gold, paid to the Pachas, that they can keep their religious houses from total dilapidation. The Mohammedans have indeed converted most of the christian temples into mosques. In Candia, the metropolis, they have left two churches to the Greeks, one to the Armenians, and a synagogue to the Jews. Candia is about 500 miles from Constantinople." *
It is a painful reflection, that this island, one of the most fertile and salubrious in the world, where the Gospel was preached by the Apostles themselves, should have been so long enveloped in the gross
darkness of Mohammedan delusion, and that the few. who still profess the christian faith, should be the subjects of Turkish cruelty and oppression.
LITTLE EDWARD. EDWARD D— was the only son of respectable and pious parents, residing in the north of England, and the object of their tenderest solicitude. He was engaging from his earliest infancy; and even then discovered a most amiable disposition, and an easy perception of such things as are not generally within the capacity of children at his age. His constitution was so delicate, and his frame so slender, that his mother was induced to bestow upon his health more than ordinary care.
* DR. CLARKE S Preface to TITUS, VOL. VI.