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has been already indicated, there were several grades to which the members of the order were admitted as they proved themselves of sufficient capacity and trustworthiness to be advanced to them. The rank and file of the order, the great mass of adherents, were taught to follow the tenets of orthodox Islam, with the reserve only of perfect obedience to the grand-master, as the representative of the Imam who was to come and give the world a new revelation. Those admitted to the higher grades were alone taught the secret tenets, which inculcated the moral indifference of all acts, and the futility of all positive religion; in fact, the negation of all morality, a bald infidelity, or even blank atheism. These doctrines had been carefully concealed from the world and the great mass of his followers by Hassan ben Sabâh and his two immediate successors, but Hassan II. determined to cast aside the veil, and openly declare to all his followers their release from all religious observances and all bonds of morality, and allow them to give free rein to every lust and passion. He would only enjoin upon them obedience to him as the representative of the coming Imam, from whom he professed to have received a communication permitting him to make this declaration. This was done with great pomp at Alamût, and a new era was thus inaugurated, which Hassan hoped would increase his following and raise his power to the highest point. But he was sadly mistaken. Men are corrupt and easily corrupted, but they have a moral nature that revolts against publishing their corruption to the world. No creed that rejects all moral restraint has any chance of success, and Hassan II. soon found that this open defiance of all religion and all moral principle weakened his forces, and roused the world against him and his accursed crew. It is not strange to learn that Hassan II. fell a victim to his own teaching. His brother-in-law was his assassin. He was succeeded in 1167 A. D. by his son Mohammed II., who. although he preached the same doctrine of moral indifference
of all acts, took care to punish his father's assassin, who with his whole family was executed.
Meanwhile stirring events were taking place in Syria. Many more strongholds had fallen into the hands of the Assassins, chiefly in the Nusairi mountains. The grand-prior of the order in Syria was now Rashîd-ud-Din Sinân. The Sultan of the Turks was the renowned Nûr-ud-Din, who ruled Syria well for some years, dying in 1173. He was succeeded by the still more renowned Salah-ud-Dîn, or Saladin, who had been Nûr-ud-Din's viceroy in Egypt, and had put an end, while there, to the Fatimite dynasty, the former allies of the Assassins. Naturally the latter were not well disposed toward him, and determined to get rid of him after his coming to Syria and assuming the reins of power. As he was besieging Aleppo in 1175, Rashid -ud-Dîn, the chief of the order in Syria, sent three emissaries to assassinate him. They attacked him in his tent, but failed. Later, when Saladin had fully established his authority, he determined to root out the pestilential horde from his dominions. He advanced toward Masyaf, their chief stronghold, capturing and destroying whatever belonged to the Assassins, and finally laid siege to the place. Rashid-ud-Dîn tried the dagger again, and sent three more assassins to cut him down. They attacked him in succession, but in vain. Saladin seemed to bear a charmed life, and they all met the fate they had intended for him. Rashid now began to despair, and feared the vengeance of the great warrior. He made proposals for peace, and Saladin granted it on condition that he should make no more attempts on his life with the dagger. When we consider who and what Saladin was, we are impressed with the universal fear of the Assassins that pervaded all hearts, so that even such a prince bargained for safety from their daggers, and let their chief escape when almost within his power.
Rashîd-ud-Din seemed desirous of rivalling the "Old Man of the Mountains” himself in dignity and influence. He claimed to be an incarnation of the Godhead; he secluded himself from the vulgar gaze; he permitted no one to see him eat, drink, or sleep. He would take his stand on a lofty rock, and preach from sunrise to sunset. His eloquence is said to have been remarkable, and his influence over his followers unbounded. It appears to have been his intention to make himself grand-master of the order. He intrigued with the crusaders, and with the purpose of releasing himself from certain obligations to the order of the Templars, which he had entered into, he sent an embassy to the King of Jerusalem, pretending that the Assassins were inclined to adopt the Christian faith. The King and the bishop of Jerusalem were deceived, and sent an embassy to Rashîd-ud-Dîn in return. The ambassadors of Rashid were cut to pieces by the Templars on their way back, and although the King tried to induce the grand-master of the Templars to punish the murderers, he would not, and all negotiations between the King and the Assassins came to no result. It is not strange that the “Old Man of the Mountains " should take vengeance into his own hands. There had been a sort of truce between the crusaders and the order since 1149, when Raymond, Count of Tripoli, had been assassinated, but now they were to be taught that the dagger was still active. In 1192 two young men of the order appeared at Tyre and demanded baptism. They received the rite, and entered into the service of Conrad, Marquis of Montserrat, Prince of Tyre. They remained in his service six months, devoutly praying to the God of the Christians. One day the Marquis dined with the Bishop of Beauvais, and as he was coming from the Bishop's residence he was assassinated by these two young men.
Both were seized, and died under torture without revealing who had employed them to do the deed. Many charged it upon Richard Coeur de Lion, with whom Conrad had quarrelled, and by whose death Richard greatly profited, since it gave him Tyre; others charged the deed upon Saladin, and declared that he had hired assassins to put Richard out of the way also. But all is conjecture: the mystery of Conrad's death still remains unsolved, and historians have condemned or acquitted Richard very much according to national bias. There can be no doubt, however, as to the instruments employed. They were adherents of the “Old Man of the Mountains," who thereby showed that his dread power still existed, and that he would use it against Christian or Moslem as his own advantage dictated. He still had servants ready to do his bidding regardless of consequences.
Two years after the death of Conrad, Henry, Count of Champagne, was passing Masyaf, and was invited by the grand-prior of the Assassins to visit him in his castle. He accepted the invitation, and was shown about the place with great civility. Standing upon one of the lofty towers, the prior remarked to the Count that his followers were more obedient than those of the Christian prince, in proof of which he gave a sign to two of them who were standing by. They immediately hurled themselves from the tower, and were crushed upon the rocks below. The prior then remarked, that all the initiated among his followers would do the same. “These,” said he, “are they who will execute any command, however difficult, I may lay upon them and rid me of any enemy I may designate.” In this, Rashîd-ud-Dîn manifested the same authority over his followers as the first grand-master, Hassan ben Sabâh. When Malek Shah sent messengers to the latter, commanding him to become his vassal, he called one of his attendants and ordered him to kill himself. Without delay the attendant thrust a dagger through his own body, and fell dead at his master's feet. He ordered another to throw himself from the parapet; he obeyed, and a moment later lay dashed in pieces below. Said Hassan to the messengers of Malek: “Go, tell your master what you have seen, and that I have seventy thousand such to do my bidding; let that be my answer to his command.” It was this devo
VOL. LII. NO. 205.
tion that enabled the “Old Man of the Mountains” to overawe so many princes.
Mohammed was succeeded by his son Jelâl-ud-Dîn, Hassan III., as grand-master of the order, 1182. He was opposed to the policy of his father and grandfather; for, while they had released their followers from the observance of the laws of Islam, he returned to the policy of the founder, and enjoined the strictest orthodoxy in regard to the observance of all the precepts of Islam. His opposition to his father appeared before the latter's death, and when he came to power he strained every nerve to prove to the Mohammedan world the reality of his faith, and his sincerity in keeping the law. But he could not wholly undo the work of his predecessors, and many distrusted his professions altogether. The true inwardness and spirit of the order had been laid bare, and most men could not believe that such a spirit and creed could nourish any sincerity save in iniquity.
The dagger slept, however, during the reign of Hassan III., but revived again in that of his son Ala-ud-Din. Orchân, the Emír of Nisabûr, had ravaged the territory of the order in his vicinity. Ala-ud-Din sent messengers to warn off the invaders. The only answer the Emîr gave was, to draw several daggers from his girdle and cast them on the ground, as much as to say: If you care to use the dagger, I can use it equally well. But he reckoned without his host. Not long after, he was set upon by three Assassins and killed. They then boldly rushed through the streets of the town with their bloody daggers in their hand, calling aloud the name of their master. They next sought Orchân's grand-vizir in his own house; but, not finding him, they stabbed one of his servants, by way of leaving their card denoting that they had called in person. They then returned to the street, declaring to all who they were, until the people rose and despatched them with stones. At the same time a messenger from their master was approaching. Hearing of what had happened,