« PreviousContinue »
rock was on the outer edge of the whirlpool, which sometimes washed the bases of the sandy hills, at a caldron of foam swept round and round in circling other times meandered between low banks, genereddies. Yet below were two fierce rapids, each ally fringed with trees and fragrant with blossoms. about 150 yards in length, with the points of black Some points presented views exceedingly picturrocks peering above the white and agitated surface. esque-the mad rushing of a mountain torrent, the Below them, again, within a mile, were two other song and sight of birds, the overhanging foliage rapids—longer, but more shelving, and less diffi- and glimpse of the mountains far over the plain, cult.
and here and there a gurgling rivulet pouring its Fortunately a large bush was growing upon the tribute of crystal water into the now muddy Jorleft bank, about five feet up where the rush of the dan; the western shore was peculiar from the high water from above had formed a kind of promon-calcareous limestone hills which form a barrier 10 tory. By swimming across some distance up the the stream when swollen by the efflux of the Sea stream, one of the men had carried over the end of of Galilee during the winter and early spring ; a rope, and made it fast around the roots of the while the left and eastern bank was low and fringed bush. The great doubt was whether the hold of with tamarisk and willow, and occasionally a thicket the roots would be sufficient to withstand the strain, of lofty cane, and tangled masses of shrubs and but there was no alternative. In order not to risk creeping plants, gave it the appearance of a jungle. the men, I employed some of the most vigorous At one place we saw the fresh track of a tiger Arabs in the camp to swim by the side of the boats, [leopard ?) on the low clayey margin, where he had and guide them if possible clear of danger. Land- come to drink. At another time, as we passed his ing the men, therefore, and tracking the Fanny lair, a wild boar started with a savage grunt, and Mason up stream, we shot her across; and gather-dashed into the thicket ; but for some moments we ing in the slack of the rope, let her drop to the tracked his pathway by the shaking cane, and the brink of the cascade, where she fairly trembled and i crashing sound of broken branches. bent in the fierce strength of the sweeping current. The birds were numerous ; and at times, when It was a moment of intense anxiety. The sailors we issued from the shadow and silence of a narrow had now clambered along the banks, and stood at and verdure-tinted part of the stream into an open intervals below, ready to assist us if thrown from bend where the rapids rautled and the light burst in, the boat and swept towards them. One man with and the birds sang their wilderness song, it was, to me in the boat stood by the line ; a number of use a similie of Mr. Bedlow, like a sudden tranArabs were upon the rocks and in the foaming wa-sition from the cold, dull-lighted hall, where gentleter, gesticulating wildly, their shouts mingling with men hang their hats, into the white and golden the roaring of the boisterous rapids, and their dusky saloon, where the music rings and the dance goes forms contrasting strangely with the effervescing on.
1.-Pp. 212, 213. food, and five on each side, in the water, were clinging to the boat, ready to guide her clear of the
The passage of the river was accomplished hreatening rock if possible.
without any real opposition from the neighboring The Fanny Mason, in the mean while, swayed Arabs—all hostile demonstration being apparently from side to side of the mad torrent like a fright- held in check by the manifest strength of the party. ened bird, straining the line which held her. Some friendly intercourse, indeed, took place at Watching the moment when her bows were in the right direction, I gave the signal to let go the different points. We observe generally that the Tope. There was a rush—a plunge-an upward explorers, with their minds preoccupied with leap, and the rock was cleared—the pool was ideas of North American Indians, greatly underpassed ! and half full of water, with breathless ve- rate the position, character, and knowledge of the locity, we were swept safely down the rapids. Arabs. Indeed, they are plainly called “ Such screaming and shouting! The Arabs seemed ages ;” but they are not savages, unless the pato exult more than ourselves. It was in seeming triarchal fathers of Scripture history were savages, only. They were glad-we were grateful. Two of the Arabs lost their hold, and were carried far which no one ever thought. This misapprehenbelow us, but were rescued with a slight injury to sion of the Arabs is, of course, exhibited in a still one of them.-Pp. 189, 190.
more exaggerated form in the narrative of MonThe following, which is one of the best descrip-tagne's sailor, whose less cultivated perceptions
are still more obtuse. tions, has reference to an earlier portion of the
He ventures to say in one river's course, about one third from the lake of place that the Arabs wondered how the boats Tiberias :
could walk the waters without legs!
All this that relates to the Jordan is new, valuable, For hours in their swift descent the boats floated and important. It is the real, great work of the down in silence—the silence of the wilderness. Here and there were spots of solemn beauty. The expedition. We absolutely knew next to nothing numerous birds sang with a music strange
about the river between the two lakes before, exifold ; the willow branches were spread upon the cept just below where it leaves the upper lake, stream like tresses, and creeping mosses and clam- and just above where it enters the lower ; but here bering weeds, with a multitude of white and silvery the whole river is set forth before us, and all the little flowers, looked out from among them; and mysteries connected with its course are completely the cliff swallow wheeled over the falls, or went at solved. For this, the cominander is well entitled his own will, darting through the arched vistas, and to the gold medal by the Royal Geographical Soshadowed and shaped by the meeting foliage on the banks ; and above all, yet attuned to all, was the ciety, which we should hope will be awarded to music of the river, gushing with a sound like that him. In the Dead Sea, the additions to our of shawms and cymbals. There was little variety knowledge are less striking and important. The in the scenery of the river; to-day the streams | lake had been viewed at nearly all points by differ
ent travellers ; the comparison of whose statements | occasional generalizations of details, which the furnished a sufficiently correct idea of the figure reader of such a work is entitled to expect, and and directions of the lake, and of the peculiar phe- which, it might be thought, might have been nomena which it offers. In most respects, there easily given as a general retrospect of the whole, fore, the business here was not to discover any- is the great defect of the book. Dr. Robinson, in thing new, but to verify previous accounts; and, his really great work on Palestine, after giving in most respects, all the accounts given by the the details of his explorations, pauses on every best of former travellers-especially such as sub- vantage-ground to survey the scene, and to state vert the old traditions of the lake—are abundantly the general effect and character of the whole. confirmed, and settled beyond all further doubt or But nothing of the kind is attempted by our auquestion. In fact, the navigation of the lake in thor, who seems to have been either ignorant of boats is not a new thing—it having been previous- this necessity, or to have lacked the skill to suply done by an Irishman, Costigan, and more re- ply it. The sea-custom of keeping an account of cently by an Englishman, Lieut. Molyneux, of minute particulars and observations from day to H. M. S. Spartan. Indeed, the latter officer had day in the log-book, tends to create a habit of coralso performed the same passage down the Jordan ; rectly observing and registering small details, but and had he lived to impart to the public the fruit is perhaps unfavorable to the formation or cultivaof his observations, the interest of the present ex- tion of the faculty of generalization. On the other pedition would have been forestalled, and its facts | hand, there are men who can only anticipated at all points. It is to the credit of
See things in the gross, Lieut. Lynch that he manifests a full conscious Being much too gross to see them in detail. ness of the claims of his predecessors. He even gives the name of Point Costigan to one of the One of this sort is Montague’s sailor, who, being points of the peninsula, towards the south of the incapable of following the observations of his comDead Sea, and of Point Molyneux to the other; mander, and being, as it seems, only partially acand it is certainly not the least of our obligations quainted with other than the most obvious results, to these officers, that their prior claims, in all states general impressions rather than particulars; probability, prevented these spots from being orna- and we are not sure but that in this way he renmented with the names of Fanny Mason and Fanny ders to the common reader the general effect of Skinner, if not of Uncle Sam. It is bad enough the whole much more effectively than his comas it is, to see an ancient and a sacred soil thus mander, whose account alone is, however, here of desecrated with any modern and Frankish names. any scientific value. It has seemed to us, indeed, Dr. Robinson would have ascertained the native that this part of Montague's book is better done names of those places ; and our explorers might, than any other. He here makes a most distinct if they had chosen, have done the same, by the aid impression, and, but for the egregious blunders of so accomplished and excellent an interpreter as
into which he falls whenever stating what men Mr. Ameuny. We hope this sort of folly will know from reading, we might suppose that in this end here. It is quite enough that the geograph- portion of the work he had access to better infor
nomenclature of half the world is ruined by mation than in other parts. This writer does not this frightful bad taste, without the sacred land it- lack power of observation ; and his errors are self being exposed to the same deep abasement.
mostly in those allusions to things in general," The expedition spent no less than twenty-two
in which only a man possessed of assured know]. nights upon the lake. During this time the whole edge from reading and study, can be always correct. circuit of it was made, including the back-water We are not sure that the blunders made in alluat the southern extremity, which had never before sions of this sort—which are as plenty as blackbeen explored in boats. Every object of interest berries—and the disgust one feels at the vile slang upon the banks was examined ; and the lake was
which turns up every now and then, tends to crossed and recrossed in a zigzag direction through create an under-estimate of the truthfulness of its whole extent, for the purpose of sounding many observations on matters that fall within the The figure of the lake, as laid down in the sketch
scope of an intelligent seaman's knowledge. map, is somewhat different from that usually given
The only passage in which Lieutenant Lynch to it. The breadth is more uniform throughout ; attempts to furnish us with something like the it is less narrowed at the northern extremity, and result of his exploration is this :less widened on approaching the peninsula in the south. In its general dimensions it is longer, but its geographical position, taken the exact topog
We have carefully sounded the sea, determined is not so wide as usually represented. Its length raphy of its shores, ascertained the temperature, by the map is forty miles, by an average breadth width, depth, and velocity of its tributaries, collected of about nine miles. The observations and facts, specimens of every kind, and noted the winds, curfrom day to day, are recorded in Lieut. Lynch's rents, changes of the weather, and all atmospheric book; and it is by reading them that the reader phenomena. These, with a faithful narrative of must realize the impressions which the survey is events, will give a correct idea of this wonderful
body of water as it appeared to us. designed to produce, for the author does not take
From the summit of these cliffs, in a line a little the trouble to combine his results in one clear and north of west, about sixteen miles distant, is Hebconnected statement; indeed, the want of these ) ron, a short distance from which Dr. Robinson found
the dividing ridge between the Mediterranean and I tion, we must hasten to complete the historical
From Beni Na'im, the reputed tomb of notice of its incidents, by stating, that before Lot, upon that ridge, it is supposed that Abraham looked toward all the land of the plain," and be quitting the shores of the Dead Sea, the party held the smoke “ as the smoke of a furnace.” The made an excusion to Kerak, with the view prininference from the Bible, that this entire chasm was a cipally of affording the men an intermediate refreshplain sunk and“ overwhelmed” by the wrath of God, ment from the close atmosphere of the lake. Here seems to be sustained by the extraordinary charac- there are about 1000 Christians kept in most opter of our soundings. The bottom of this sea con-pressive subjection by about one third of the numsists of two submerged plains, an elevated and a ber of Moslem Arabs, who live mostly in tents depressed one; the last averaging thirteen, the for- outside the town. They have commenced buildmer about thirteen hundred feet below the surface. Through the northern, and largest and deepest one,
ing a church in the hope of keeping all together, in a line corresponding with the bed of the Jordan, and as a safe place of refuge for their wives and is a ravine, which again seems to correspond with children in times of trouble ; but the locusts and the Wady el-Jeib, or ravine within a ravine, at the the sirocco have for the last seven years blasted south end of the sea.
the fields, and nearly all spared by these distracBetween the Jabok and this sea, we unexpectedly tions has been swept away by the Arabs. They found a sudden break-down in the bed of the Jordan. furnished the party with the subjoined appeal to If there be a similar break in the water-courses to the south of the sea, accompanied with like volcanic the Christians in America, and which deserves to characters, there can scarce be a doubt that the be known in this country. whole Ghor has sunk from some extraordinary convulsion, preceded, most probably, by an eruption
By God's favor! of fire, and a general conflagration of the bitumen
May it, God willing, reach America, and be prewhich abounded in the plain. I shall ever regret
sented to our Christian brothers, whose happiness that we were not authorized to explore the southern may the Almighty God preserve! Amen.
Beduan. Ghor to the Red Sea. All our observations have impressed me forcibly
We are in Kerak, a few very poor Christians, and with the conviction that the mountains are older are building a church. than the sea. Had their relative levels been the
We beg your excellency to help us in this undersame at first, the torrents would have worn their taking, for we are very weak. beds in a gradual and correlative slope ; whereas,
The land has been unproductive, and visited by in the northern section, the part supposed to have the locust for the last seven years. been so deeply engulfed, although a soft, bituminous, for want of funds, for we are a few Christians sur
The church is delayed in not being accomplished limestone prevails, the torrents plunge down several hundred feet, while on both sides of the southern
rounded by Muslims. portion the ravines come down without abruptness, Christian brothers of America, we need say no
This being all that is necessary to write to you, although the head of Wady Kerak is more than a thousand feet higher than the head of Wady Ghu
The trustees in your bounty. weir. Most of the ravines, too—as reference to the map will show-have a southward inclination
A bd’ ALLAH EN Nahas, Sheikh. near their outlets; that of Zerka Main or Callirohoe
YÂKÔB Ev Nanas, Sheik's brother. especially, which, next to the Jordan, must pour
Kerak, Jámad Awâh, 1264. down the greatest volume of water in the rainy seaBut even if they had not that deflection, the
These poor people behaved very well, as they argument which has been based on this supposition always do, to our travellers; but from the Arabs would be untenable ; for tributaries, like all other of Kerak they were, on their return, threatened streams, seek the greatest declivities, without re- with much danger- with greater danger, indeed, gard to angular inclination. The Yermak flows than had previously been known. But this and into the Jordan at a right angle, and the Jabok with all dangers passed, and the survey of the lake an acute one to its descending course. There are many other things tending to the same needed, were taken to pieces, and sent, with two
being soon after completed, the boats, no longer conclusion : ; among them the isolation of the mountain of Usdum ; its difference of contour and of camels' loads of specimens, to Jerusalem, whither range, and its consisting entirely of a volcanic pro- the party itself followed by the route of Santa duct.
Saba. After some stay there they crossed the But it is for the learned to comment on the facts country to Jaffa. Nor was this without object or we have laboriously collected. Upon ourselves the labor, a line of levels having to be carried, with result is a decided one. We entered upon this sea the spirit level of the most recent and improved with conflicting opinions. One of the party was sceptical, and another, I believe, a professed un- construction, (Troughton's,) froin the chasm of the believer of the Mosaic account. After twenty-two
Dead Sea, through the desert of Jordan, days' close investigation, if I am not mistaken, we precipices and mountain ridges, and down and are unanimous in the conviction of the truth of across yawning ravines, and for much of the time the scriptural account of the destruction of the under a scorching sun. The merit of this opercities of the plain. I record with diffidence the ation is assigned to Lieutenant Dale. The results conclusions we have reached, simply as a protest are not stated, but are said to be confirmatory of against the shallow deductions of would-be-unbe
the skill and extraordinary accuracy of the trianlievers.-Pp. 378-380.
gulation of Lieutenant Symonds. As we have chosen a way of our own in which At Acre the party divided, one portion proceedto state some of the other results of this explora-jing in a Turkish brig to Beirut, and the other re
turning across the country to Tiberias, by way of may that it was found the Supply had not, accordNazareth. The object being from hence to follow ing to appointment, arrived there to receive them the Upper Jordan to its source, our interest in the the rather as Mr. Dale and some of the men special objects of the expedition is revived. This became sick, and needed medical assistance. In part of the business is, however, passed but lightly a few days, however, they all recovered except over, there being no very new or very adventurous that ahle officer, who, after lingering a few weeks, work to execute, and, as it seems to us, the officers died of the same low nervous fever which had being but ill-informed as to the points which in carried off Costigan and Molyneux—the former this part specially demanded attention.
explorers of the Dead Sea.
He died at a village In his way up the shore of the lake of Galilee, twelve miles up the Lebanon, to which he had Lieutenant Lynch very modestly expresses an withdrawn, in the hope of being invigorated by opinion in favor of Tell Hum as the probable the mountain air. The afflicted commander, detersite of Capernaum, in preference to Dr. Robin-mined to take the body home, if possible, immeson's Khan Minryeh ; and his return to the old diately started with it to Beirut. “It was a slow, ways we hail as a proof of his sound judgment. dreary ride, down the rugged mountain by twiIn respect of Bethsaida he is less fortunate, light. As I followed the body of my late com confounding the north-east Bethsaida with the panion, accompanied only by worthy Arabs, and western Bethsaida, as the city of Andrew and thought of his young and helpless children, I Peter. But mistakes of this sort swarm through- could scarce repress the wish that I had been taken out the work. The chances being only a de- and he been spared.” The body was, however, gree or two less in this work than in Mon- not taken home, but was deposited, “ amid untague's that we encounter a blunder in connection hidden tears and stifled sobs," in the Frank cemwith every proper name that turns up.* Between etery at Beirut. the two lakes the river hastens—a rapid and There is much reason to apprehend that the foaming stream, between a thick border of willows, report of the results of this expedition has suffered oleanders, and ghurrah. Of the lake Huleh noth- much from the loss of this accomplished officer. ing is added to our previous information, indeed, We see from a paper by Dr. Robinson in the scarcely anything is said ; and we are quite dis- Bibliotheca Sacra, for November, 1848, that he tressed to say that the commander does not seem anticipated this would be the case. He states to have been at all aware that it was an object of
Lieutenant Dale had reached the age of thirtyinterest to ascertain whether the river from Has
five ; he was a man of fine appearance and elegant beiya, which, as the remoter source, must be re- manners, and was selected by Lieutenant Lynch to garded as the true Jordan, unites with the river be his companion because of his experience in the from Banias before it enters the lake Huleh, or exploring expedition under Captain Wilkes, and as else reaches it as a separate and parallel stream. an engineer, first in connection with the coast surNot a word is said on this point, and there is no vey, and afterwards in Florida. His loss will map or plan that might indicate the view taken of doubtless be greatly felt in making up the report the matter.
of the expedition, the end of which he was permit
ted to behold, but not to participate its fruits, nor The sources of the Jordan have been so often
to enjoy its rewards. visited, and are so well known, that we could hardly expect much that is new on the subject. We grieve to add, from the preface of the We certainly do not find anything that was not volume before us—“His wife has since followed previously well known. Upon the whole, this him to the grave ; but in his name he has left a exploration of the Upper Jordan is a failure alto- rich inheritance to his children.” These are sad gether. But this is excusable from the unbent words, when we recollect the shortness of the inattention of men whose energies had of late terval between the return of the expedition and the been greatly overtasked, and who regarded the appearance of this statement. great objects of their undertaking as already ac About a week after, being a full month after complished.
the return to Beirut, the party embarked on board The party proceeded to Damascus, and returned a French brig for Malta, being tired of waiting vy way of Baalbek to Beirut. It was with dis- longer for the Supply. At Malta they were
joined by that vessel on the 12th September, and * We note a few specimens. It is “Collingwood,''
reëmbarking in her, sped homeward, reaching and not Jervis, who is described as breaking the enemy's line at Cape St. Vincent. The prophet " Isaiah," and New York early in December, after an absence not Elijah, as resting under the juniper-tree in the wil. of something above one year. derness. Reland is throughout " Reyland." " The Arab has no name for wine, the original Arabic word for which
Having thus traced the course of the expediis now applied to coffee!” The truth being, that one of tion, we must return to offer the reader some reminy Arabic words for wine is so applied. J. Robinson, marks upon the Dead Sea, in connection with D. Þ., of New York,” for E. Robinson, D. D. Chinese Kotan” for “ Kotou." “Almeidan” for “ At
those researches concerning it which this Amerimaidan." "We saw the river Cayster (modern Mean- can expedition may be regarded as having conder !") “Acre derived its name from the church of St.
summated. Jean d'Acre." “ Saul and his three sons threw themselves upon their swords.” “ Near the palace of Bes
The name of “ Dead Sea” is not known in chiktasche on the Bosphorus] stood the column of Simeon Scripture, in which it is mentioned by the various and Daniel Stylites, iwo saintly fools, who spent most of their lives upon its sunanit." Simeon was never near
names of the East Sea, the Sea of Sodom, the the Bosphorus. But enough of this.
Sea of the Desert, and the Salt Sea. In Jose
phus and the classical writers, it is known by the perfection ; but there are others with which these name of the Lake of Asphaltites, from the great conditions agree well, and which will there yield quantities of bitumen it produced. Its current their fruits. There is not much evidence on this name doubtless originated in the belief that no subject to be found in travellers, who have seldom living thing could subsist in its waters. In the been there in the season of fruit. But our exincidental allusions to it in the Old Testament, peditionists found divers kinds of plants and for it is not named in the New—there is nothing shrubs in vigorous blossom, and which might to suggest a foundation for the statements which therefore be expected to yield their fruits in due have since been disproved ; and all recent re
However, the general character of the search confirms the scriptural intimations. We shores is dismal, from the general absence of no sooner, however, get out of the Bible into the vegetation except at particular spots; and it must A pocrypha, than we are in the region of exag- be admitted that the exhalations and saline deposgeration and tradition. The author of the Wis- its are as unfriendly to vegetable life as the waters dom of Solomon, speaking of the cities of the are to animal existence. plain, says—“Of whose wickedness even to this We suspect, however, that the writer of Wisday the waste land that smoketh is a testimony, dom, had in view those same famous apples of and plants bearing fruits that never come to ripe- Sodom, of which Josephus speaks as of a peculiar ness; and a standing pillar of salt is a monument product of the shores of this lake. “ These fruits," of an unbelieving soul.”—x. 7. Here are three says Josephus, “ have a color as if they were fit points—smoke rising from the lake; plants to be eaten ; but if you pluck them with your whose fruits will not ripen in this atmosphere ; hands, they dissolve into smoke and ashes." So and the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was Tacitus : “ The herbage may spring up, and the turned.
trees may put forth their blossoms, they may even Now it must be confessed that this smoke was attain the usual appearance of maturity, but with a very suitable incident for the imagination to rest this florid outside, all within turns black, and upon. It was in keeping. It agreed with the moulders into dust.” This plant has of course doom in which at least the southern gulf of the been much sought after by travellers. Hasselquist lake originated, and suggested that the fires then and others thought it the fruit of the Solanum mekindled, and by which the guilty cities were con- longena, or egg-plant, which is abundant in this suined, still smouldered in the depths or upon the quarter, but which only exhibits the required charshores of the Asphaltic Lake. This smoke, how- acteristics when attacked by insects. But since ever, turns out to be no other than the dense mist Seetzen and Irby and Mangles, there has been no from the active evaporation going on upon the question that the renowned “Apple of Sodom” is surface, which often overhangs the lake in the no other than the Osher of the Arabs, the Asclemorning, and is only dissipated as the sun waxes pias procera of the early writers, but now forming hot. This is frequently mentioned by our expe- part of the genus Callotropis. Dr. Robinson gives ditionists. It is seen not exclusively in the morn- a good account of it; and our expeditionists add ing :
nothing to the information already possessed conAt one time to-day the sea assumed an aspect of which have been found from ten to fifteen feet
cerning it. The plant is a perennial, specimens peculiarly sombre. Unstirred by the wind, it lay smooth and unruffled as an inland lake. The great high, and seven or eight feet in girth. It is a gray,
The fruit evaporation enclosed it in a thin transparent vapor, cork-like bark, with long oval leaves. its purple tinge contrasting strongly with the ex- resembles a large smooth apple or orange, and traordinary color of the sea beneath, and where they when ripe is of a yellow color. It is even fair to blended in the distance, giving it the appearance of the eye, and soft to the touch, but when pressed, smoke from burning sulphur. It seemed a vast it explodes with a puff, leaving in the hand only caldron of metal, fused but motionless.-P. 324.
the shreds of the rind and a few fibres. It is inThe idea of fire, which is connected with that deed chiefly filled with air like a bladder, which of smoke, may in part also have originated in the gives it the round form, while in the centre is a intensely phosphorescent character of these heavy pod containing a quantity of fine silk with seeds. waters by night. We are not certain that this When green, the fruit, like the leaves and the has been noticed by any other than the present bark, affords, when cut or broken, a viscovs, white travellers.
milky fluid, called by the Arabs Osher-milk, (Le
ben-osher,) and regarded by them as a cure for The surface of the sea (says Lieutenant Lynch) barrenness. This plant, however, which from bewas one wide sheet of phosphorescent foam, and the ing in Palestine found only on the shores of the waves, as they broke upon the shore, threw a sepulchral light upon the dead bushes and scattered Dead Sea, was locally regarded as being the fragments of rock.
special and characteristic product of that lake, is
produced also in Nubia, Arabia, and Persia ; Then there are the fruits which will not ripen. which at once breaks up this one of the mysteries It is evident that there are many plants to which of the Dead Sea. It is no doubt found on those the saline exhalations and intense heat of the deep shores from the climate being here warmer, and basin of the Dead Sea must be uncongenial, and therefore more congenial to it than in any other which will therefore scarcely bring forth fruit to part of Palestine.