Palestine, Colonists in
Palestine, Colonists In On this subject we present an extract from Lieut. Conder's-Tent Work in. Palestine, 2:305 sq.:
"The German colonists belong to a religious society known as the 'Temple,' which originated among the Pietists of Wiirtemburg, who, without leaving the Lutheran Church, separated themselves from the world, and engaged in Sunday meetings for prayer and edification. The Pietists accept as their standard the explanation given by Dr. J.A. Beugel (in his Gnomon of the New Test.) of the prophecies in the Revelation. Among the friends and disciples of Bengel was a certain Dr. Hoffmarin, who obtained from Frederick, the eccentric king of Wurtemburg, a tract of barren land at Kornthal, where his disciples established a Pietist colony, which he intended to transplant later to Palestine. Hoffmannu, however, died, and his followers remained contentedly on their lands; but Hoffmann's soul was not forgetful of his father's designs, and instituted a new colony at Kirschenhardthof, with a special view to its final removal to the Holy Land. Among his earliest disciples was Herr G.D. Hardegg, who became in time a leader among the Temple Pietists.
"The younger Hoffmann (Christopher)'visited Palestine about 1858, and, in 1867, a small trial expedition of twelve men was sent. out. They settled in reed huts near Semfinieh, on the edge of the Plain of Esdraelon, west of Nazareth; and in spite of the warning, of friends who knew the unhealthy climate of that place, they remained in the malarious atmosphere of the low ground near the springs, until they all died of fever.
"On August 6, 1868, Christopher Hoffmann and G.D. Hardegg left Kirschenhardthof, and in October they reached Palestine; after visiting various places, they resolved on settling at Ihaifa and Jaffa, and bought land in both places. The Haifa colony was the first founded, that at Jaffa being some six months younger. Hardegg became president of the former, and Hoffmann of the latter.
I. The religious views of the colonists are not easily understood, and I believe that most of them have rather vague ideas of their own intentions. Their main motive for establishing colonies in Palestine is the promotion of conditions favorable to the fulfillment (which they expect to occur shortly) of the prophecies of the Revelation and of Zechariah. They suppose it to be a duty to separate themselves from the world, and to set an example of a communt living, as closely as possible, on the model of the apostolic age. The spread of infidelity in Germany appears to be the main cause of this separative tendency among the Pietists "The tenets of the Temple Society are probably best summarized in the 'Profession of Faith of the Temple, published by Herr Hoffmann, and including five articles as below:
1 To prepare for the great and terrible day of the second Coming Of Jesus Christ, which, from the signs of the times, is near. This preparation is made by the building of a spiritual temple in all lands, specially in Jerusalem.
"2. This temple is composed of the gifts of the Spirit (1Co 12:4), which make the true Church, and every one should strive to possess them.
"3. The means to obtain these is to seek the kingdom of God, as described by the prophets (Isa 2:2; Isa 19:25; Eze 40:48).
"4. The temple of Jerusalem is not a building of dead, but of lively stones; of men of every nation (1Pe 2:4-10) united in the worship of God in spirit and truth.
"5. The Temple service consists of sacrifices such as are described in the New Test. (Ro 12:1; Heb 13:15-16; Jas 1:27).
"The writings of Hardegg are far more diffuse and mystic. The main peculiarity which I have been able to extract from them is the belief that it is not to the Jews, but to the true Israel (by which he apparently understands the Temple Society to be intended), that prophecies of a return to Palestine are to be supposed to refer.
"I have stated as far as possible the apparent religions beliefs of the community, but there seem to be many shades of doctrine among them; all, however, agree in an expectancy of some immediate change in the world's affairs, in the arrival of Armageddon and the Millennium, and in the fulfilment of all prophecy.
"In 1875 I had the opportunity of attending one of the Sunday services, in the colony at Haifai. The congregation was devout and earnest; the service was simple and free from extravagance of any kind. The president offered up a long prayer in German, a hymn was sung with the usual musical good taste of Germans, and a chapter of the prophecy of Zechariah read. The president then delivered an exhortation, announcing the immediate advent of the Savior, who would 'suddenly come to his temple.' Other elders followed, speaking with much earnestness, and another hymn 'was sung, after which the congregation quietly dispersed from the bare schoolroom in which they had assembled. A discussion of the affairs of the colony often immediately succeeds the regions services.
"Of the history of the Jaffa colony we gathered comparatively little. They have two settlements — one called Sarona, about two and a half miles north of the town, consisting, in 1872 of ten houses; the second, nearer the walls of Jaffa, was bought from the surviving members of an American colony which came to grief, and this settlement included thirteen houses, with a school and a hotel, the latter kept by Hardegg's son, who also represents the German government in Jaffa.
"'In 1872 the Jaffa colony numbered one hundred men, seventy women, and thirty-five children: two of the colonists were doctors, and some twenty were mechanics, the rest being farmers. They employed a few natives, and cultivated four hundred acres of corn- land, paying the ordinary taxes to the Turks. The children are taught Arabic, and European languages, also Latin and Greek. The houses are clean, airy, and well built, and the colony wears an aspect of industry and enterprise, which contrasts with the squalor and decay of the native villages.
"With the Haifa colony we became more intimately acquainted, by living in one of the houses for three months, during the winter of 1872-73, and again in the hotel of the colony, for about two mouths, during 1875, when. we saw a good deal of the working of the community.
"In 1872 the colonists numbered two hundred and fifty-four-forty single and forty-seven married men, thirty-two single and fifty-one married women (four widows), and eighty-four children. There were about fifty mechanics, and the settlement consisted of thirty- one dwelling-houses. The land was four hundred and fifty acres of arable ground, with one hundred and forty olive-trees, and seventeen acres of vineyard.
"In the first three years of its existence only seven deaths occurred in the colony, but the mortality increased later; in 1872 there were eighteen deaths among the two hundred and five colonists at Jaffa, which were due principally to fever, but such a death-rate has never yet occurred at Haifa.
"The little village of well-built stone houses is situated west of the walled town of Haifa, under the shadow of the Carmel range. A broad street runs up from the shore towards the mountain, and the greater number of the buildings stand, in their gardens, on either side. Close to the beach is the Carmel Hotel, kept by a most obliging and moderate landlord, and a little farther up are the school and meeting-house, in one building. Mr. Hardegg's dwelling, farther east, is the largest house in the colony. The total number is stated at eighty-five, including buildings for agricultural purposes.
"In 1875 the colonists numbered three hundred and eleven, having been reinforced principally by new arrivals from Germany; the increase of accommodation since 1872 was thus fair greater than that of settlers. The land had also increased, in the same period, to six hundred acres, with one hundred acres of vineyards and gardens but the soil of the newly-acquired property near Tireh, in the plain west of Carmel, is of very poor quality, and the Germans have not yet succeeded in their favorite scheme of obtaining grounds on the top of the mountain, where the climate and soil are both good.
"The live-stock consisted of seventy-five head of cattle, two hundred and fifty sheep, goats, and pigs and eight teams of horses. A superior American threshing machine had been imported. The trades followed are stone-cutting and masons' work, carpentry and wagon-making. Blacksmiths, coppersmiths, tinsmiths, joiners' shoemakers, tailors, butchers, harness-makers, trainers, soap- makers, vintners, and quarrymen are also found. among the colonists. There has been an attempt to trade in soap, olive-oil, and olive-wood articles, but, for these undertakings, more capital is required than Germans at present possess. A good windmill and an olive-press have been brought from England. A tannery was also being put up in 1875, and a general shop exists, which the natives, as well the Germans, frequent.
"The colonists were many of them employed on the English orphanage at Nazareth, which Mr. Shumacher designed and built; and all the masons' and carpenters' work was executed by the Germans. The colonists also. have done much to clear the road from Haifa to Nazareth, though they have not made it, considering that, from a professional point of view, it is not yet a made road at all. Their wagons are now driven between the two. places, and the natives employ them for moving grain.
"The schools in the colony, for the children and younger men, are two in number. In the upper school, Arabic, English, French, and German, arithmetic, drawing, geography, history, mathematics, and music are taught; in the lower, Arabic and German, writing, arithmetic, and singing; in both religious instruction is given; and the girls are taught knitting, sewing, and embroidery, "The colony has thus been sketched in its religious and practical aspects. Though much talk has been expended on the question of colonizing the Holy Land, there is no other practical attempt which can compare in importance with that of the Temple Society. It remains to be seen what the success of the undertaking will be.
"The colonists belong entirely to the peasant and mechanical classes, and even their leaders are men comparatively uneducated. As a rule they are hard-working, sober, honest, and sturdy; and, however mystic their religious notions may be, they are essentially shrewd and practical in their dealings with the world. They are a pious and God-fearing people, and their natural domesticity renders it highly improbable that they will ever split on the rock which wrecked the former American colony, whose president, it appears, endeavored to follow the example of Brigham Young by introducing polygamy. The German colonists have also a fine field for enterprise, in the introduction into Palestine of European, improvements, which are more or less appreciated by the natives: and, as they have no other community to compete with, they might be able to make capital of their civilized education. The wine which they sell is comparatively excellent, and finds a ready market, as do also many of their manufactured articles.
"Such is one side of the picture, but when we turn to the other we find elements of weakness, which seem to threaten the existence of the colony.
"In the first place, there is apparently no man in the community of sufficiently superior talent or education, or with the energy and force of character, which would be required to control and develop the enterprise. Thegenius of Brigham Young triumphed over the almost insuperable difficulties of his audacious undertaking, despite even the prejudice which the establishment of polygamy naturally raised against his disciples. However superior in piety and purity of motive the leader of the Haifa colony may be, they cannot compare with the Mormon chief in the qualities to which his success was due.
"In the second place, the colonists are divided among themselves. In 1875 we found that Herr Hardegg had been deposed (temporarily, I understood, till he changed his views) from the leadership of the colony, and he had been succeeded by Herr Shumacher, a master-stonemason and architect, who is, moreover, the representative of the American government at Haifa. This deposition of the original leader had caused dissensions among the Germans, and several of the influential members did not attend the Sunday meetings.
"To internal troubles external ones were added. The colonists are not favorites either with natives or with Europeans, with Moslems or with Christians. The Turkish government is quite incapable of appreciating their real motives in colonization, and cannot see any reason, beyond a political one, for the settlement of Europeans in the country. The colonists, therefore, have never obtained title- deeds to the lands they have bought, and there can be little doubt that should the Turks deem it expedient, they would entirely deny the right of the Germans to hold their property. Not only do they extend no favor to the colony, though its presence has been most beneficial to the neighborhood, but the inferior officials, indignant. at the attempts of the Germans: to obtain justice in the courts, without any regard to the 'custom of the country' (that is, to bribery), have thrown every obstacle they can devise in the way of the community, both individually and collectively.
"The difficulties of the colonists are also increased by the jealousy of the Carmelite monks. The fathers possess good lands, gradually extending along Carmel round their fortress monastery; they look with disfavor on the encroachments of the Germans, and all the subtlety of Italians is directed against the German interests.
"The peculiar views of the colonists, moreover, cause them to be regarded with disfavor by influential Europeans in the country, who might do much to help them. They are avoided as religious visionaries, whose want of worldly wisdom might, at any time, embroil their protectors in difficulties not easily smoothed over.
"The community has thus to struggle with a positively hostile government, while it receives no very vigorous support from any one. The difficulties are perfectly well known to the native peasantry, who, with the characteristic meanness of the Syrians, take the opportunity to treat with insolence people whom they believe they can insult with impunity. The property of the colonists is disregarded, the native goatherds drive their beasts into the corn, and several riots have occurred, which resulted in trials from which the colonists got no satisfaction.
"The indiscretion of the younger men has brought greater difficulties on the community; they have repaid insolence with summary punishment, and finding no help from the government, have in many instances taken the law into their own hands. Thus the colony finds itself at feud with the surrounding villages, and the hostile feeling is not unlikely to lead to very serious difficulties on some occasion of popular excitement.
"There are other reasons which militate against the idea of the final success of the colony. The Syrian climate is not adapted to Europeans, and year by year it must infallibly tell on the Germans, exposed as they are to sun and miasma. It is true that Haifa is, perhaps, the healthiest place in Palestine, yet even here they suffer from fever and dysentery, and if they should attempt to spread inland they will find their difficulties from climate increase tenfold.
"The children of the present generation will, probably, like those of the Crusading settlers in Palestine, be inferior in physique and power of endurance to their fathers. Cases of intermarriage with natives have, I believe, already occurred; the children of such marriages are not unlikely to combine the bad qualities of both nations, and may be compared to the Pullani of Crusading times. It seems to me that it is only by constant reinforcements from Germany that the original character of the colony can be maintained; and the whole community, in Palestine and in Germany, is said not to number more than five thousand persons.
"The expectation of the immediate fulfilment of prophecy has also resulted in the ruin of many of the poorer members of the community, who, living on their capital, have exhausted it before that fulfilment has occurred. The. colony is thus in danger of dissolution, by the gradnial absorption of the property into the hands of those who originally possessed the most capital; and in any case it is very likely to lose its original character of apostolic simplicity, some of the members becoming the servants and hired laborers of others.
"The natural desire of those members who find themselves without money is to make a livelihood by any means in their power. Where every man is thus working separately for himself, the progress of the colony, as a whole, is not unlikely to be forgotten, and the members may very probably be dispersed over Palestine, following their various trades where best they can make money."