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he halted, and sent to the vizir, asking whether he should appear at court or not. The vizir, afraid of refusing, replied, telling him he might come in safety, and when he arrived, treated him with honor, and granted his demand that the Sultan's forces should withdraw from the possessions of the “Old Man of the Mountains." He delivered up to him also a certain fortress, and promised to pay a yearly tribute. The messenger remained at court several days, and to show the vizir and his master how much they were in the power of the “Old Man," he informed him that several of the pages and body-guard of the Sultan were of his order. The vizir, greatly astonished, demanded proof. He was told that they would declare themselves if he would swear that they should not be harmed. He did so, and then the messenger gave a sign which brought forward five of the most trusted servants of the Sultan, who affirmed that they belonged to the order. One of them declared to the vizir that the only reason why he had not assassinated him was that he had received no command from his master to do so. The vizir in dismay made them swear in turn that they would not injure him, asserting that he would secretly obey the “Old Man of the Mountains" as he did his own Sultan. When the latter heard what had transpired, he compelled the vizir to put to death the five Assassins, and the chief of the pages for having admitted them into his service. The vizir obeyed, but he feared the vengeance of the "Old Man of the Mountains," and it was not long before a message arrived from him to this effect: “You have executed five of my servants to save your own head; pay for each of them ten thousand pieces of gold.” The vizir complied. Thus dearly did princes and vizirs purchase safety from the daggers of the Assassins.
But although Ala-ud-Dîn could protect himself against outsiders, he could not against those of his own household. It is more than surmised that he had killed his own father by poison, and now he met a similar fate. His son hired a Moslem to murder him. The chiefs of the Assassins had to learn that patricide begets its like.
Rokn-ud-Din, who succeeded Ala-ud-Din in 1255 A. D., was the last grand-master of the order, whose end was near at hand. It was the Mongols who gave the death-blow to this scourge of Asia. They overran nearly the whole continent, and were led at this period by Hulagu Khan. As they approached Bagdad, the Caliph, whom we have seen imprisoned in his palace through fear of the Assassins, sent messengers to Hulagu entreating him to wipe out this accursed order from the face of the earth. Other princes joined in the entreaty, and when Hulagu drew near the territory occupied by the Assassins, he sent repeated commands to the grandmaster to submit. Rokn-ud-Din had a vizir named Nâsirud-Din, a distinguished astronomer, who had previously been in the service of the Caliph, but, regarding himself slighted by hiền, had joined the grand-master of the Assassins with the hope of inducing him to assassinate the Caliph. As Rokn. ud-Dîn did not seem inclined to do so, he determined to betray him into the hands of the Mongols, hoping to secure through them means of revenge upon the Caliph.
To further his plans he induced Rokn-ud-Din to negotiate with the Mongols, who were now plundering his territory. Hulagu would hear of nothing save the destruction of his castles and complete submission. Rokn-ud-Din hesitated, urged to do this by his traitorous vizir, and this proved his ruin. Hulagu sent him peremptory orders to appear before him; but, as he did not, he at once besieged him in the castle where he was then residing. The vizir soon delivered it into his hands (1256 A. D.), and Rokn-ud-Din, made a prisoner, was obliged to give orders for the surrender of other strongholds to the Mongols, and he even gave command to his distant officers in Syria and elsewhere to deliver the positions they held to the agents of Hulagu. The strongholds numbered more than one hundred. Alamût, the chief, resisted, as did some others, the order of the grand-master, but they , were finally compelled to submit. Alamût was found well provisioned, and might have held out long, and would have done so at an earlier day. Quarried out of the rock beneath the fortress were found great store-houses and vaults filled with wheat and honey, said to have been stored there by Hassan ben Sabâh from one hundred and thirty to one hundred and forty years before, and so secure were the vaults that all were still in good condition. Rokn-ud-Dîn, despised for his weakness, was murdered by the Mongols in 1257 A. D., and vengeance did not stop with him. His family was exterminated, and orders were given to exterminate the accursed race of the Assassins, root and branch. Executioners were sent in every direction, and any one of them they could apprehend was despatched on the spot. Neither age nor sex was spared. Thus did long-suffering humanity wreak vengeance upon the order that had held so much of the world in terror for one hundred and fifty years.
The Assassins were blotted out in the East, but in Syria they held out some years longer. The Mongols could not for some time proceed against them there. Meanwhile the Mamluke Sultan of Egypt, Bibars, gained the supremacy in Syria, and the chief of the Assassins, Nejm-ud-Din, gave allegiance to him, and consented to share his authority with the lieutenant of Bibars. The latter gradually obtained possession of all their fortresses, but did not exterminate them. The Mamlukes preferred to use them for their own purposes, and accomplish by means of their daggers what they could not by the sword.
In 1326 A. D., Mohammed, the son of Bibars, sent more than thirty Assassins from Syria to Tabriz to destroy the Emîr Kara Sonkor, with others, but they failed, and some of them were seized and executed. But Mohammed did not give up his design against the Mongol rulers, his rivals, and hired other Assassins from Masyaf. Kara Sonkor was again
attacked, but again escaped. One of the assassins fled, a second killed himself, and a third died under torture, without revealing his accomplices. Another Assassin, sent to Bagdad, struck down the governor of the city in broad daylight, and escaped to tell Mohammed of his success. Kara Sonkor, however, seemed to bear a charmed life. Assassin after assassin attempted his life, but in vain. If we can believe Macrisi, one hundred and twenty-four perished in the attempt to assassinate him. The Assassins of Masyaf seem to have been as devoted to their accursed work as those of Alamût, but less skilful.
As they lost political power they resorted to intrigue, keeping up the organization in the hope that some turn of fortune would again give them the power they had lost, but fortune never smiled upon them a second time and they rapidly sunk into one of the insignificant heretical sects of Islam. The remnants of the order still exist in Syria at Masyaf and a few other places, but the Nusairi, or Ausairi, have crowded them out of much of their former territory. In 1809 they took Masyaf, plundered and killed many of the Ismaîlians, as they have always called themselves, and as they are now known. The Governor of Hamath did not wish to allow the Nusairi to become too powerful, as they are now far more formidable to the government than the Ismailians, and hence he reinstated the latter at Masyaf, and there they still reside, a miserable remnant of that once powerful order which for a century and a half played one of the strangest roles in history.
THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC AND THE DEBS
BY MR. Z. SWIFT HOLBROOK,
The American Republic is the fruitage of a religious inspiration. Our democratic institutions, our notions of lib. erty and equality, had their origin with men who practised every form of self-denial, that they might be free from hierarchical authority and worship God according to the dictates of conscience. They were not men, like the colony that landed at Jamestown in 1607, moved by the spirit of adventure or by the desire to acquire,—both worthy and useful passions when subordinated to higher ends,—but they came to an unknown land, braving the perils of the sea and enduring the privations incident to such a perilous journey, that they might have freedom to worship God.
To what extent these men had caught the inspiration of Luther and had given it a new interpretation, need not here be traced; but the age was one of discovery, of heroism, of adventure, of awakened intellect,-giving the world the revival of faith, hope, and learning. It was the Elizabethan Age in literature. It was the period of the centuries when, freed from the bonds of ecclesiastical authority, individualism burst the barriers which had restrained it, and men took on new conceptions of liberty and of individual worth. Man as an individual, a unit, free and independent in his relations to the unseen, and bound by social compacts only because thus his individualism found higher freedom and fuller development, this was the conception that inspired