« ElőzőTovább »
further than by stating what he saw, and what he | by hearing of the proposed publication of a Nardid. He appears to have had a sincere zeal in rative of the Expedition, said to be by a member the enterprise, which originated in his sugges
of the party. The permission asked was granted tions, and he exhibited much energy and consid- by the Hon. J. G. Mason, Secretary of the Navy,
with the remark-" I give this assent with the erable tact in carrying out his objects in spite of more pleasure, because I do not think that you the obstacles he encountered. He also knew how should be anticipated by any other who had not the to observe, at least as a sailor, and he states well responsibility of the enterprise.' and clearly the process and results of his observa- Feeling that what may be said on the subject had tion ; but he scarcely knew what to observe, and better be rendered imperfectly by myself ihan by certainly has not turned the rare advantages com- another, I have been necessarily hurried; and the
reader will decide whether the narrative which folmitted to him to all the account of which they lows was elaborately prepared, or written “curwould have been susceptible in the hands of a rente calamo.”—Pp. v. vi. more literate traveller. Oh, that Dr. Robinson or Eli Smith had been of the party! Between their
It would, however, have been much better that learning and deep studies in Palestine geography, it should not have been so written. The object and Lieutenant Lynch's practical energies, we
was not adequate to justify the production of a might have had something far more worthy than very crude account—which this certainly is—of the book before us of being set forth as the result an expedition to which the public funds had been of this most praiseworthy and liberal enterprise, applied, and in the results of which all Christenwhich is in every way most creditable to the
dom was interested. After all, the rival account United States government, and contrasts advan- was produced before the authentic statement aptageously with the unutterable meanness of our
peared ; and the object of haste being thus frusown government in all things of the sort. What
trated by a work which could satisfy no cultivated is there in our position which places the inevita- mind, more time might have been safely taken. ble mark of shabbiness, procrastination, and futil- Perhaps, indeed, our worthy sailor could not, with ity upon whatever our rulers do for the encour- any amount of time, have produced a much better agement (!) of literature, art, and scientific book ; and we regret that he had not been advised investigation ? Despotic powers act handsomely
put his materials into hands better qualified than in such matters. So, as we now see, in this and his own to do them justice. Dr. Robinson might other instances, can a republican government, quite have made something of them. The lesser book, as amenable as our own to the people for the employ- however, appeared before the other, and was an ment of public money. Whence this unhappy pe
obvious and gross attempt to forestall the market. culiarity, for it is no less, of our position among
On its appearance it was disavowed by Lieutenant the nations of the earth—with wealth more
Lynch ; and from the explanations which passed abundant—dominions more widely spread—and on both sides in the American papers, but which advantages far greater than any other nation ever
do not appear in either of these volumes, it seems possessed? We hope to look into this matter that Mr. Montague is an Englishman, who held a some day; but must now keep to our text.
petty officer's berth on board the “Supply." He Before proceeding to state the results which was left ill of the small-pox at Port Mahon on the have been promised, we may give the reader some
passage, and saw nothing of the expedinotion of the books before us.
The second and tion from the 1st of February, 1848, two months smaller of them has been procured with difficulty ; | before it landed in Syria, until it reëmbarked at and the accounts which fell under our notice in Malta on the 12th September following. It is evAmerican papers might have been sufficient to ident, therefore, that he has no responsibility save prevent the desire to see it ; but it occurred to us of literary execution for that part which relates that the different position and point of view of the to this long interval, and which, he alleges (but writer would induce him to state some particulars not in the book) was prepared from the diary of which might throw light on the other account,
one of the men. His claim to any peculiar qualor furnish some points of comparison with, or ification for this task is not very clear, unless it contrast to it. We are bound to say, that in this be that he performed part of the outward voyage case there has been discreditable haste even in the with those who afterwards formed the exploring authentic account by the commander of the expe- party—and to which very common run he devotes dition, in taking advantage of the public curiosity,
no less than ninety pages. Again, he was with without proportionate regard to the real advantage them for several weeks on the homeward voyage, of the public and the interests of science, by the and might have picked up by questioning the men
all that he here states. preparation of a well-digested account of the ex
But we believe, from inplorations. The writer actually apologizes for the ternal evidence, that he had, as he states, the manifest defects of his book on that very ground. diary of one of the men for his guidance. There As soon as possible after our return I handed in nished for his own observations, the same vile
is, indeed, in the part Montague might have furmy official report, and, at the same time, asked per- taste, the same school-boy balderdash, and the mission to publish a narrative or diary, of course embracing much, necessarily elicited by visiting
same wretched forecastle slang as in the rest ; but such interesting scenes, that would be unfit for an it is only afterwards that we encounter the pecuofficial paper. To this application I was induced | liar American crow which pervades the rest of
the volume, and continually starts up in such de- Dead Sea are of special and remarkable interest, licious phrases as—"We Yankee boys flinch not; and the costume figures are also striking and sugwe fear neither the wandering Arab nor the with-gestive, although with one or two exceptions very ering influence of disease ; we fear neither the wretchedly engraved ; and the effect of the Araheat of the sun nor the suffocating sirocco. We bian figures is spoiled by the stiff cable ropes have determined souls, enduring constitutions, plen- which are twined around the koofeyehs, or headty of provisions, lots of ammunition, swords, bowie shawls, in place of the soft twists of wool or knife, pistols, Colt's revolvers, and a blunderbuss camels' hair of which this head-band is really which is capable to scatter (sic) some fatal doses composed. But the sketch-map of the whole among any hostile tribe ; we have officers as de course of the Jordan between the lakes of Tibetermined, cool, and brave as-ourselves (!); and rias and Asphaltites, with its rapids and innumerfor a commander, one of the best, most humane, able bends, and that of the Dead Sea, through its thoughtful, and generouş men in the world, who whole extent and in its true shape and proportions, lacks nothing in the sense of 'bravery,' and the are both invaluable ; and their production, without resolute 'go-a-head' spirit of a real, true-born a word of letterpress, were well worth the whole American." Again—" We Yankee boys can cost and labor of the expedition. perform wonders, and are not yet out of spirits." The history of that expedition we may now Again—“Such an accumulation of difficulties state, before examining the results which it has and disappointments are sufficient to cause any realized. other than Americans to give up to despair." After the surrender of Vera Cruz in May, 1847, Again—“However, the true-born, undaunted when there was no more work for the United American never flinches from his duty,”—and so States' navy in these parts, Lieutenant Lynch apon,
cock-a-doodle doo !” after the manner of plied to his government for leave to circumnaviCaptain Ralph Stackpole, throughout. From this gate and thoroughly explore the Dead Sea. After and other signs, we have no doubt that this ac- some consideration, a favorable decision was given, count of the expedition was drawn from the notes and he was directed to make the requisite preparof one of the American sailors (they were allations. At the beginning of October the lieutenpicked native-born Americans) of the expedition ; ant was ordered to take the command of the store and though upon the whole a worthless, trashy ship “Supply,” formerly the “ Crusader.” This book, one may pick up a notion or two out of it, vessel was to be laden with stores for the squadseeing that it is at least real, when we are enabled ron in the Mediterranean; and while preparing to view the same object through the eyes of both for this regular duty, the commander made the the commander and of one of his men.
arrangements that appeared needful for the more The larger and authoritative work will consid- special service. He had constructed, by special erably disappoint expectation on the grounds at authority, two metallic boats, one of copper and which we have already hinted. Notwithstanding the other of galvanized iron. These boats were the gallant author's disavowal of "author craft,” so constructed as to be taken to pieces for conventhe work has most visible signs of book-making. ience of transport across the land ; but, as the The information respecting the proceedings of the taking the boats apart was a novel experiment, expedition is not advantageously exhibited, for and might prove unsuccessful, two low trucks (or wants of adequate information in the writer ; and carriages without bodies) were provided, for the taking it as it is, it might, with great advantage, purpose of endeavoring to transport the boats enhave been compressed within half the space over tire from the Mediterranean to the Sea of Galilee. which it is spread ; for there is much in the vol. The trucks, when fitted, were taken apart, and ume on common and exhausted topics and places compactly stowed in the hold, together with two before we come to the Jordan and after we leave sets of harness for horses. The boats, when the Dead Sea. It may also be added that the complete, were hoisted in, and laid keel up on a book is disfigured by much of a kind of uncouth frame prepared for them; and with arms, ammuand very commonplace sentimentality, which is nition, instruments, tents, flags, sails, oars, fearfully out of keeping in the account of a scien- served meats, cooking-utensils, the preparations tific expedition. Perhaps, however, the very qual- were complete. Nothing that could conduce to ities which detract from the value of the work in the safety or success of the expedition seems to the eyes of serious philosophers may help it much have been overlooked. Air-tight gum-elastic in the circulating libraries—and it is certainly a water-bags were even procured, to be inflated sufficiently readable book. In our esteem the value when empty, for the purpose of serving as lifeof the work is greatly enhanced by the engravings. preservers to the crew, in case of the destruction These are from drawings by Lieutenant Dale, the of the boats. Great care was also taken in the second in command of the expedition, and who ap- selection of the crew intended for the special serpears to have well merited the designation of a vice. Ten“ young, muscular, native-born Ameri“ skilful draughtsman,” which is given to him. cans, of sober habits," were chosen, and from each The interest of these lies in their representing of them was exacted a pledge to abstain from intoxisubjects mostly new to the eyes of those who have cating drinks. “ To this stipulation," says the been wearied with the five-hundredth repetition of commander, “under Providence, is principally to the same scenes and objects. The views on the be ascribed their final recovery from the extreme prostration consequent on the severe privations Lieutenant Lynch, “we saw the Supply stand and great exposure to which they were unavoida- out to sea. Shall any of us live to tread again bly subjected." Besides these few men, Lieuten- her clean familiar deck ? What matters it! We ant Dale and Midshipman Aulick were attached to are in the hands of God, and, fall early or fall late, the expedition ; and the commander had with him we fall with his consent.” There was certainly his son, who took charge of the herbarium. Thus room for serious reflection. The fates of the unthe party consisted in all of fourteen persons, to happy Costigan, and more recently of Lieutenant whom were subsequently added, as volunteers, Mr. Molyneux, both of whom perished of fever caught Bedlow and Dr. Anderson, the former at Constan- on the Dead Sea, were but too well calculated to tinople, and the latter at Beirut, where also an damp the spirits of the adventurers. Even the interpreter was acquired in the person of an intel- thoughtless sailors felt its influence :ligent native Syrian called Ameuny. We should
We had been told, (it is stated in the Montague like to know whether this was the person of the book,) that there never was an expedition planned same name who, a few years back, studied in to explore the Dead Sea which had prospered, King's College, London. We feel almost sure some fatality, like the unerring dart of an eagle, that this is the same person ; and, in that case, had always pounced upon its brave fellows; they we know that he was qualified to render far great- had been sick, and lingered but a short while, and er services to the expedition than he has credit had died in this unfriendly climate ; or had been atfor on the face of the narrative.
tacked by the bloodthirsty Arabs, plundered, and
then murdered. These things had taken place so The Supply sailed from New York on the 21st recently, that the murderer has scarce sheathed of November, 1847, and reached Smyrna on the his sword—the smoke from his pistol has scarce 18th February, 1848. From Smyrna the officers of died away in the atmosphere—the unerring spear the expedition proceeded to Constantinople in the has scarce stayed from its quivering—and the blood Austrian steamer, with the view of obtaining from of the murdered has scarcely yet been dried up by the sultan, through the American minister, per- earth. But we Yankee boys, &c.
the prevailing heat, or absorbed by the surrounding mission to pass through a part of his dominions in Syria, for the purpose of exploring the Dead The first difficulty of a practical nature was Sea, and of tracing the Jordan to its source. The how to get the boats across to the Sea of Tiberias. account of this journey occupies too much space; The copper boat, we should have noticed. was and even the writer of the lesser account, although named Fanny Mason, and the other, Fanny avowedly remaining behind at Smyrna, treats us Skinner-two very pretty and appropriate names to an account of Constantinople, prepared, it for the navigation of the Sea of Death. The would seem -- like the other notices of places boats, mounted on the trucks, were laden with which he is fond of thrusting in from those in the stores and baggage of the party, and all was valuable authorities, the geography books for the arranged most conveniently-only the horses use of schools.
could not be persuaded to draw. The harness The commander had the honor of an audience was also found to be much too large for the small of the young sultan, and manifests some disposi- Syrian horses ; and although they manifestly glotion to plume himself upon the republican free- ried in the strange equipment, and they voluntaridom of his demeanor. There is, we must say, ly performed sundry gay and fantastic movements, much bad taste of this sort throughout the book. the operation of pulling was altogether averse to We are also indulged with some rather twaddling their habits and inclination. What was to be observations upon the character of the sultan, and done ? Oxen might have been tried, and we have the impending downfall of the Turkish empire. no doubt that they would have performed the The latter is a subject on which we are sorely task well ; but they were all engaged in the latempted to have our say too ; but we will not at bors of the field, it being now " the height of this time allow even Lieutenant Lynch to seduce seed-time," (which must be a mistake for harvest,) us from our proper theme. The desired authori- and Lieutenant Lynch generously hesitated to zation was granted ; and the sultan even appeared withdraw them from that essential labor. He to manifest some interest in the undertaking, and was thinking of taking the boats to pieces, though requested to be informed of the results.
most reluctant to adopt that course, when the idea Thus armed with all necessary powers, the of- of trying whether camels might not be made to ficers returned to Smyrna, rejoining the Supply, draw in harness crossed his mind.
The experiwhich sailed the next day (March 10) for the coast ment was tried; and all hearts throbbed with of Syria, and, after touching at Beirut and other gratitude as the huge animals, three to each, places, came to anchor in the Bay of Acre, under marched off with the trucks, the boats upon them, Mount Carmel on the 28th.
with perfect ease. It was a novel sight, witnessed The expedition men, with the stores, the tents, by an eager crowd of the natives, to whom the and the boats, having landed, an encampment successful result disclosed an unknown accomwas formed on the beach, and the Supply depart- plishment in the patient and powerful animal, ed to deliver to the American squadron the stores which they had before thought fit only to plod with which it was charged, with orders to be along with a heavy load upon his back. back in time for the reëmbarkation of the explor- This difficulty, and some others, thrown in ing party. “With conflicting emotions," writes their way by the Governor of Acre, being removed, the party at length set forth from the coast on the allied Bedouins, with the cattle, proceeding along 4th of April. They were accompanied by “a the shore, under the command of Lieutenant Dale. fine old man, an Arab nobleman, called Sherif | The real business of the expedition here commenced, Hazza of Mecca, the thirty-third lineal descend- and aware of this, the commander made a division ant of the prophet.” As he appeared to be of labor, assigning to each officer and volunteer his highly venerated by the Arabs, Lieutenant Lynch appropriate duty. Mr. Dale was to make topothought it would be a good measure to induce him graphical sketches of the country ; Dr. Anderson to join the party; and he was prevailed upon to do was to make geological observations and collect so with less difficulty than had been anticipated. specimens; Mr. Bedlow was to note the aspect of Another addition to the party was made next day in the country on the land route and the incidents that the person of a Bedouin sheikh of the name of Akil, occurred on the march ; Mr. F. Lynch was to colwith ten well-armed Arabs. This person, described lect plants and flowers for the herbarium: to Mr. as a powerful border sheikh, had become known Aulick, who had charge of the Fanny Skinner, was to them at Acre, and on now visiting him at his assigned the topographical sketch of the river and village of Abelin, he was induced to attend the its shores ; and Lieutenant Lynch himself, in the expedition“ with ten spears,” which, with the Fanny Mason, undertook to take notes of the course, sheikh and sherif, and the servants of the latter, rapidity, color, and depth of the river and its tribumade fifteen A rabs in all. The exploring party taries, the nature of its banks, and of the country itself amounted to sixteen, with the interpreter through which it flowed-the vegetable productions, and cook; so that altogether, with the Arabs gal- and the birds and animals which might be seen, and lantly mounted, with their long tufted spears, the also to keep a journal of events. mounted seamen in single file, the laden camels, The descent of the river occupied above a week, and the metal boats, with flags flying, mounted on as the bathing-place of the pilgrims, somewhat carriages drawn by huge camels, the party pre- above the Dead Sea, was not reached until the sented rather an imposing aspect. “It looked,” night of the 17th. During this time the water says the commander, proudly, " like a triumphal party had generally, in the evening, joined the land march."
party on the shore, and remained encamped until Some difficulty was experienced in getting the the morning. But little information concerning the boats over the broken and rocky upper country, the river could be obtained at Tiberias, and it was thereroads being no better than mule tracks; but by fore with considerable consternation that the course breaking off a crag here, and filling up a hollow of the Jordan was soon found to be interrupted by there, and by sometimes abandoning the road alto-frequent and most fearful rapids. Thus, to proceed gether, difficulties were overpassed, and the whole at all, it often became necessary to plunge with equipage reached the brink of the slopes overlook- headlong velocity down the most appalling descents. ing the basin of the Galilee lake. How to get so great were the difficulties, that on the second them down into the water was still some question. evening the boats were not more than twelve miles
Took all hands up the mountain to get the boats in direct distance from Tiberias. On the third down. Many times we thought that, like the herd morning it became necessary to abandon poor
Uncle of swine, they would rush precipitately into the sea. Sam, from its shattered condition. It was seen that Every one did his best, and at length success crowned no other kind of boats in the world, but such as those our efforts. With their flags flying we carried them which had been brought from America, combining triumphantly beyond the walls [of Tiberias) uninjured, and amid a crowd of spectators, launched great strength with buoyancy, could have sustained them upon the blue waters of the sea of Galilee the shocks they encountered. The boats were inthe Arabs singing, clapping their hands to the time, deed sorely bruised, but not materially injured, and and crying for backshish—but we neither shouted a few hours sufficed to repair all damages. nor cheered. From Christian lips it would have The immense difference between the levels of sounded like profanation. A look upon that conse- the Lake of Tiberias and the Dead Sea—the latter crated lake ever brought to remembrance the words, having been, by the best observations hitherto ob“ Peace, be still!” which not only repressed, all tained, ascertained to be no less than 984 feet lower noisy exhibition, but soothed for a time all worldly than the former-had recently been called in quescare. Buoyantly floated the two “ Fannies,” bearing the stars and stripes—the noblest flag of free- tion both by Dr. Robinson and Carl Ritter. In the dom now waving in the world. Since the time of “ Bibliotheca Sacra” for August, 1848, Dr. RobinJosephus and the Romans no vessel of any size has son has a statement on the subject, which may be sailed upon this sea ; and for many, many years but thus summed up : a solitary keel has furrowed its surface. — P. 162.
The result of the survey made by Lieutenant This "solitary keel" is, it appears, the same that Symonds of the royal engineers gives 1311.9 feet the party bought for six pounds, and put in repair for the depression of the Dead Sea, and 328 for to relieve the other boats in transporting the bag- that of the Lake of Tiberias below the sea-level of gage. It was called “Uncle Sam ;' and on the the Mediterranean. Seeing that the distance be10th of April the boats were pushed off from the tween the two lakes does not exceed one degree, shelving beach, and sought the outlet of the Jor- this would give to the river Jordan, which passes dan; Uncle Sam, rowed by Arabs, being preceded from the one to the other, a descent of 16:4 feet per by his two fair daughters-Fanny Mason leading mile. Of several rapid rivers, whose course is the way, closely followed by Fanny Skinner; the stated, the lower part of the Orontes, “ roaring over its rocky bed,” and unnavigable, and the Missouri / rather, the cliffs and slopes of the risen uplands, at the Great Falls, are the only ones whose rapid- present, for the most part, a wild and cheerless ity of descent can compare with this. “ But the aspect. The verdure—such as it is—may only Jordan, so far as known, has neither cataracts nor be sought on and near the lower valley or immerapids, and its flow, though swift, is silent. Yet, diate channel of the Jordan. No one statement of the 984 feet of its descent in 60 geographical can apply to the scenery of its entire course ; but miles, there is room for three cataracts, each equal the following picture, which refers to nearly the in descent to Niagara ; and there would still be left central part of the river's course, some distance to the river an average fall equal to the swiftest below Wady Adjlun, is a good specimen of the portion of the Rhine, including the cataract of kind of scenery which the passage of the river Schaffhausen.” On these grounds Dr. Robinson offers. It is also a very fair example of the style hinted there might probably be some error in the in which Lieutenant Lynch works up the passages calculation, affecting the results. We must admit he wishes to be most effective :: there was ample ground for the doubt thus ex
The character of the whole scene of this dreary pressed, and which the great Prussian geographer
waste was singularly wild and impressive. Lookdeclared that he shared—but seeing that a few ing out upon the desert, bright with reverberated weeks were destined signally to subvert the whole light and heat, was like beholding a conflagration reasoning, and the doubt that rested on it, there is from a window at twilight. Each detail of the a striking resemblance between this and Mr. Cob- strange and solemn scene could be examined as den's famous declaration respecting the unchange-through a lens. able peacefulness of Europe. The great secret of
The mountains towards the west rose up like this depression is solved by our explorers on the their bases. The rough peaks caught the slanting
islands from the sea, with the billows heaving at basis of the very facts whose non-existence Dr. sunlight, while sharp black shadows marked the Robinson too hastily assumed. First, there are sides turned from the rays. Deep-rooted in the rapids. The boats plunged down no less than plain, the bases of the mountains heaved the gartwenty-seven very threatening ones, besides a great ment of the earth away, and rose abruptly in naked number of lesser magnitude ; and then, although pyramidal crags, each scar and fissure as palpably the direct distance between the two lakes does not distinct as though within reach, and yet we were exceed sixty miles, yet the distance actually trav- bling the leaves of some gigantic volume, wherein
hours away; the laminations of their strata resemersed by the stream in its course - found to be ex
is written, by the hand of God, the history of the ceedingly tortuous—is at least 200 miles, reducing changes he has wrought. the average fall to not more than six feet in each Toward the south, the ridges and higher masses mile, which the numerous rapids in that distance of the range, as they swept away in the distance, render very comprehensible. Thus the great de-were aerial and faint, and softened into dimness by pression of the Dead Sea below the Lake of Tibe- a pale transparent mist. rias is established both by scientific calculation and hills was broken into ridges and multitudinous cone
The plain that sloped away from the bases of the by actual observation—by two independent lines of like mounds, resembling tumultuous water at “ the proof, which support and corroborate each other.
meeting of two adverse tides ;" and presented a The larger narrative traces, with great and wild and checkered tract of land, with spots of vegproper minuteness, the changing aspects and cir-etation flourishing upon the frontiers of irreclaimcumstances of the river at the successive stages able sterility. of progress. These details are so numerous and
A low, pale, and yellow ridge of conical hills so various that it is difficult to generalize them. marked the termination of the higher terrace, be
neath which swept gently this lower plain with a We are, therefore, glad that Montague's sailor, similar undulating surface, half-redeemed from barin his more general and less responsible view, sup-renness by sparse verdure and thistle-covered hilplies a few lines, which, corroborated as they are locks. by the commander, will serve our purpose well. Suill lower was the valley of the Jordan-the sacred
river !—its banks fringed with perpetual verdure ;
winding in a thousand graceful mazes ; the pathThe banks of the Jordan are beautifully studded way cheered with songs of birds, and its own clear with vegetation. The cultivation of the ground is voice of gushing minstrelsy ; its course a bright not so extensive as it might be, and as it would be, line in this cheerless waste. Yet beautiful as it is, if the crops were secured to the cultivator from the it is only rendered so by contrast with the harsh, desperadoes who scour the region. The waters of calcined earth around. Pp. 232, 233. the Jordan are clear and transparent, except in the immediate vicinity of the rapids and falls. It is
Of the manner in which the rapids were passed, well calculated for fertilizing the valleys of its the following passage will afford an adequate nocourse. There are often plenty of fish seen in its tice : deep and shady course; but we see no trace of the
At 10. 15 A. M., cast off and shot down the first lions and bears which once inhabited its thickets : now and then are to be seen footsteps of the wild rapid, and stopped to examine more closely a despe
rate looking cascade of eleven feet. In the middle boar, which sometimes visits the neighborhood.
of the channel was a shoot at an angle of about sixty
degrees, with a bold, bluff, threatening rock at its The wide and deeply-depressed plain through foot, exactly in the passage. It would therefore be which the river flows, is generally barren, tree- necessary to turn almost at a sharp angle in deless, and verdureless; and the mountains, or'scending, to avoid being dashed in pieces. This