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the dividing ridge between the Mediterranean and | tion, we must hasten to complete the historical this sea. 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 depressed one; the last averaging thirteen, the former about thirteen hundred feet below the surface.
Through the northern, and largest and deepest one, in a line corresponding with the bed of the Jordan, is a ravine, which again seems to correspond with the Wady el-Jeib, or ravine within a ravine, at the south end of the sea.
ber of Moslem Arabs, who live mostly in tents outside the town. They have commenced building a church in the hope of keeping all together, and as a safe place of refuge for their wives and children in times of trouble; but the locusts and the sirocco have for the last seven years blasted the fields, and nearly all spared by these distracBetween the Jabok and this sea, we unexpectedly tions has been swept away by the Arabs. found a sudden break-down in the bed of the Jordan. furnished the party with the subjoined appeal to They 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 of fire, and a general conflagration of the bitumen which abounded in the plain. I shall ever regret that we were not authorized to explore the southern
Ghor to the Red Sea.
All our observations have impressed me forcibly with the conviction that the mountains are older than the sea. Had their relative levels been the same at first, the torrents would have worn their beds in a gradual and correlative slope; whereas, in the northern section, the part supposed to have been so deeply engulfed, although a soft, bituminous; limestone prevails, the torrents plunge down several hundred feet, while on both sides of the southern portion the ravines come down without abruptness, although the head of Wady Kerak is more than a thousand feet higher than the head of Wady Ghuweir. Most of the ravines, too-as reference to the map will show-have a southward inclination near their outlets; that of Zerka Main or Callirohoe especially, which, next to the Jordan, must pour down the greatest volume of water in the rainy season. But even if they had not that deflection, the argument which has been based on this supposition would be untenable; for tributaries, like all other streams, seek the greatest declivities, without regard to angular inclination. The Yermak flows into the Jordan at a right angle, and the Jabok with an acute one to its descending course.
There are many other things tending to the same conclusion; among them the isolation of the mountain of Usdum; its difference of contour and of range, and its consisting entirely of a volcanic product.
But it is for the learned to comment on the facts we have laboriously collected. Upon ourselves the result is a decided one. We entered upon this sea with conflicting opinions. One of the party was sceptical, and another, I believe, a professed unbeliever of the Mosaic account. After twenty-two days' close investigation, if I am not mistaken, we are unanimous in the conviction of the truth of the scriptural account of the destruction of the cities of the plain. I record with diffidence the conclusions we have reached, simply as a protest against the shallow deductions of would-be-unbelievers.-Pp. 378-380.
By God's favor!
May it, God willing, reach America, and be presented to our Christian brothers, whose happiness may the Almighty God preserve! Amen. 8642. BEDUAH. We are in Kerak, a few very poor Christians, and are building a church.
We beg your excellency to help us in this undertaking, for we are very weak.
The land has been unproductive, and visited by the locust for the last seven years.
for want of funds, for we are a few Christians sur-
Christian brothers of America, we need say no
The trustees in your bounty.
ABD' ALLAH EN NAHAS, Sheikh.
YAKOB EN NAHAS, Sheik's brother.
Kerak, Jumad Awâh, 1264.
These poor people behaved very well, as they always do, to our travellers; but from the Arabs of Kerak they were, on their return, threatened with much danger-with greater danger, indeed, than had previously been known. But this and all dangers passed, and the survey of the lake being soon after completed, the boats, no longer needed, were taken to pieces, and sent, with two camels' loads of specimens, to Jerusalem, whither the party itself followed by the route of Santa Saba. After some stay there they crossed the country to Jaffa. Nor was this without object or labor, a line of levels having to be carried, with the spirit level of the most recent and improved construction, (Troughton's,) from the chasm of the Dead Sea, through the desert of Jordan, precipices and mountain ridges, and down and across yawning ravines, and for much of the time under a scorching sun. The merit of this operation is assigned to Lieutenant Dale. The results are not stated, but are said to be confirmatory of the skill and extraordinary accuracy of the triangulation 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-ing 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, accord-
beiya, which, as the remoter source, must be regarded as the true Jordan, unites with the river from Banias before it enters the lake Huleh, or else reaches it as a separate and parallel stream. Not a word is said on this point, and there is no map or plan that might indicate the view taken of
There is much reason to apprehend that the report of the results of this expedition has suffered much from the loss of this accomplished officer. We see from a paper by Dr. Robinson in the Bibliotheca Sacra, for November, 1848, that he anticipated this would be the case. He states
The sources of the Jordan have been so often visited, and are so well known, that we could hardly expect much that is new on the subject. We certainly do not find anything that was not previously well known. Upon the whole, this exploration of the Upper Jordan is a failure altogether. But this is excusable from the unbent attention of men whose energies had of late been greatly overtasked, and who regarded the great objects of their undertaking as already accomplished.
Lieutenant Dale had reached the age of thirty-
The party proceeded to Damascus, and returned by way of Baalbek to Beirut. It was with dis
We grieve to add, from the preface of the volume before us-" His wife has since followed him to the grave; but in his name he has left a rich inheritance to his children." These are sad words, when we recollect the shortness of the interval between the return of the expedition and the appearance of this statement.
*We note a few specimens. It is "Collingwood," and not Jervis, who is described as breaking the enemy's line at Cape St. Vincent. The prophet "Isaiah," and not Elijah, as resting under the juniper-tree in the wilderness. Reland is throughout "Reyland." "The Arab has no name for wine, the original Arabic word for which is now applied to coffee!" The truth being, that one of may Arabic words for wine is so applied. J. Robinson, D. D., of New York," for E. Robinson, D. D. "The Chinese Kotan" for "Kotou." "Almeidan" for "Atmaidan." "We saw the river Cayster (modern Meander !") "Acre derived its name from the church of St. Jean d'Acre." "Saul and his three sons threw themselves upon their swords." "Near the palace [of Beschiktasche on the Bosphorus] stood the column of Simeon and Daniel Stylites, two saintly fools, who spent most of their lives upon its suminit." Simeon was never near the Bosphorus. But enough of this.
About a week after, being a full month after the return to Beirut, the party embarked on board a French brig for Malta, being tired of waiting longer for the Supply. At Malta they were joined by that vessel on the 12th September, and reembarking in her, sped homeward, reaching New York early in December, after an absence of something above one year.
Having thus traced the course of the expedi-
The name of "Dead Sea" is not known in
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-season. 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 Apocrypha, 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; and the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife was turned.
hands, they dissolve into smoke and ashes." So Tacitus: "The herbage may spring up, and the trees may put forth their blossoms, they may even attain the usual appearance of maturity, but with this florid outside, all within turns black, and moulders into dust." This plant has of course been much sought after by travellers. Hasselquist and others thought it the fruit of the Solanum melongena, or egg-plant, which is abundant in this quarter, but which only exhibits the required char
Now it must be confessed that this smoke was a very suitable incident for the imagination to rest upon. It was in keeping. It agreed with the doom in which at least the southern gulf of the lake originated, and suggested that the fires then kindled, and by which the guilty cities were consumed, still smouldered in the depths or upon the shores 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 from the active evaporation going on upon the surface, which often overhangs the lake in the morning, and is only dissipated as the sun waxes hot. This is frequently mentioned by our expeditionists. It is seen not exclusively in the morning:
At one time to-day the sea assumed an aspect peculiarly sombre. Unstirred by the wind, it lay smooth and unruffled as an inland lake. The great evaporation enclosed it in a thin transparent vapor, its purple tinge contrasting strongly with the extraordinary color of the sea beneath, and where they blended in the distance, giving it the appearance of smoke from burning sulphur. It seemed a vast caldron of metal, fused but motionless.-P. 324.
The idea of fire, which is connected with that of smoke, may in part also have originated in the intensely phosphorescent character of these heavy waters by night. We are not certain that this has been noticed by any other than the present travellers.
Seetzen and Irby and Mangles, there has been no question that the renowned "Apple of Sodom" is no other than the Osher of the Arabs, the Asclepias procera of the early writers, but now forming part of the genus Callotropis. Dr. Robinson gives a good account of it; and our expeditionists add nothing to the information already possessed concerning it. The plant is a perennial, specimens of which have been found from ten to fifteen feet high, and seven or eight feet in girth. It is a gray, cork-like bark, with long oval leaves. The fruit resembles a large smooth apple or orange, and when ripe is of a yellow color. It is even fair to the eye, and soft to the touch, but when pressed, it explodes with a puff, leaving in the hand only
the shreds of the rind and a few fibres. It is indeed chiefly filled with air like a bladder, which gives it the round form, while in the centre is a pod containing a quantity of fine silk with seeds. When green, the fruit, like the leaves and the bark, affords, when cut or broken, a viscous, white milky fluid, called by the Arabs Osher-milk, (Leben-osher,) and regarded by them as a cure for barrenness. This plant, however, which from being in Palestine found only on the shores of the Dead Sea, was locally regarded as being the 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.
The surface of the sea (says Lieutenant Lynch) was one wide sheet of phosphorescent foam, and the waves, as they broke upon the shore, threw a sepulchral light upon the dead bushes and scattered fragments of rock.
As to the pillar of salt into which Lot's wife Not a word is here said respecting the connecwas turned, the existence of which has been re- tion of this pillar with Lot's wife; but in a note corded by many traditions, and of which so many it is pointed out that "a similar pillar is mentravellers have heard vague reports from the na- tioned by Josephus, who expresses his belief of its tives; it is one of the most remarkable discoveries being the identical one into which Lot's wife had of our Expedition, that a pillar of salt does exist, been transformed." This is cautious and judiwhich is, without doubt, that to which the native cious. Montague's sailor, however, to whom this reports refer, and which, or one like which, may sort of thing was specially suited, speaks with less have formed the basis of the old traditions. That reserve; and we remember that this portion of his this pillar, or any like it, is or was that into book had a run through the press in the United which Lot's wife was turned, is another question, States, having been communicated by the publishwhich it is not needful here to discuss. The word ers before the work appeared. It was well chorendered 66 a pillar," denotes generally any fixed sen for the purpose of exciting the curiosity of the object; and that rendered "salt," denotes also bi- public for the disclosures the book was to contain. tumen; and the plain significancy of the text would After a somewhat bald description of the pillar, therefore seem to be, that she was slain by the the writer proceeds, and informs us that it was fire and smoke, and sulphureous vapor; and sixty feet high and forty feet in circumference. her body being pervaded and enveloped by the bi- He then goes on :— tuminous and saline particles, lay there a stiffened and shapeless mass. The text appears to mear no more; but whether this mass may not have formed the nucleus of a mound, or even of a pillar of the same substance, forming as it were the unhonored grave of this unbelieving woman, is a question we are not called upon to consider. If the text required us to understand literally "a pillar of salt," we should know that it existed, and should think it likely that it exists still, and the question would be whether this, which our travellers have found, is that pillar or not. We should probably think not; for although its place is in what must have been the general locality of this visitation, yet if Zoar, to which the fugitives were escaping, has been correctly identified (as we doubt not) in Zuweirah, it is difficult to find this place for the pillar, upon the route thereto, from any spot which Sodom can be supposed to have occupied. Besides this pillar is upon a hill, whereas the visitation evidently befell Lot's wife in the plain. The following is the account of it which Lieut. Lynch gives :
We cannot suppose that Lot's wife was a person
mountain behind, and the whole is covered with de- We were almost prepared to expect that this
writer would shine among those who profess to
filled up with details which could only be true of Tried the relative density of the water of this New York, or of some other great cities invested sea and of the Atlantic; the latter from 25 deg. N. with all the circumstances of modern art and civ-latitude and 52 deg. W. longitude; distilled water being as 1. The water of the Atlantic was 1.02, ilization. and of this sea 1.13. The last dissolved; the water of the Atlantic ; and distilled water of its weight of salt; the salt used was a little damp. On leaving the Jordan, we carefully noted the draught of the boats. With the same loads they drew one inch less water when afloat upon this sea than in the river.-P. 377.
Among the other traditions of the lake are those which speak of the peculiar density and saline qualities of the waters; that, from the buoyancy imparted to them by this density, bodies could not sink in them; that, from the ingredients they hold in solution, no animal life could exist in these waters; and that, from the pestiferous effluvia, no birds are found near the lake, and that such as attempt to fly across fall dead upon the surface.
As to the density of the waters, it is said by Josephus that Vespasian tried the experiment of tying the hands of some criminals behind their backs, and throwing them into the lake, when they floated like corks upon the surface. This was, it must be admitted, not a very sagacious experiment, the position of the hands behind the back, whereby the dangerous weight of the arms is supported by the water, being the most favorable for floating safely in any waters. This, therefore, could not prove that bodies would not sink; yet being thought to prove that, or to have been intended to prove it, Dr. Pococke's assurance that he not only swam but dived in the water, was thought to show either that the experiment had not been correctly stated, or that the water had, in the course of ages, become more diluted than at the time the experiment was made. This, indeed, is one of the points in which tradition has not erred. From the impregnation of saline and bituminous matters, this water is greatly heavier than that of the ocean. This has been shown by many travellers for a hundred and fifty years past, and scarcely needs the confirmation which our explorers afford. Their long stay on the lake enabled them, however, to put together a greater number of practical illustrations of the fact. We will put a few of them together from both books. Some of the particulars almost suggest the idea of a sea of molten metal, still fluid, though cold. The sailor, who took his share in rowing, is most sensible of one of the effects which his commander less notices—the unusual resistance of the waves to the progress of the boat, and the force of their concussion against it. There was a storm of wind when the lake was first entered; and, says this writer, the waves, dashing with fury against the boat, reminded its bold navigators of the sound and force of some immense sledge-hammers, when wielded by a Herculean power." Again, he dwells on "the extraordinary buoyancy of the waters, from the fact of our boats floating considerably higher than on the Jordan, with the same weight in them; and the greater weightiness of the water, from the terrible blows which the opposing waves dealt upon the advancing prows of the boat." There was another circumstance resulting from this density, noticed by the commander, that when the sea rolled, the boats took in much water from the crests of the wave circling over the sides. Before quitting the lake, Lieutenant Lynch
Of the experiments in bathing, little is added to those erewhile so graphically recorded by Mr. Stephens in his Incidents of Travels. We suspect, indeed, that Mr. Montague has drawn somewhat upon the pages of that lively traveller. Stephens says, It was ludicrous to see one of the horses. As soon as his body touched the he struggled with all his force to preserve his water he was afloat, and turned over on his side; equilibrium, but the moment he stopped moving he turned over on his side, and almost on his back, kicking his feet out of water, and snorting with terror." This is closely imitated by Montague, who writes, "An experiment with an ass and a horse was also made. They were separately led into the sea, and when the water came in contact with the body of the animals, it was found heavier than the body itself, and consequently supported it upon the surface. The legs of the animals beface, and they were thrown upon their side, ing rendered useless, were brought upon the surplunging and snorting, puzzled by their novel position."-P. 219. Now, Lieut. Lynch, in reporting the same experiment, expressly says, that the animals were not turned on their sides; and he is at a loss to account for Stephens' statement, but by supposing that the animal was in that case animals turned a little on one side," but adds, that He admits, indeed, "that the unusually weak. they did not lose their balance." A similar experiment was made at another time with a horse, which "could with difficulty keep itself upright.” In bathing himself, the commander says, great difficulty I kept my feet down; and when I laid [lay] upon my back, and drawing up my knees placed my hands upon them, I rolled immediately over." We fancy that we should have "rolled over" in any water, or even on land, in making that experiment. buoyancy of this water is unquestionable; and it But, however, the is clear that both man and beast may not only roll over, but roll over with impunity upon it. So in Mantague's book we read—
Most of the men have bathed in its waters, and found them remarkably buoyant, so that they float with perfect ease upon it, and could pick a chicken, or read a newspaper at pleasure while so floating; in fact, it was difficult to get below the surface.
These, certainly, are rather luxurious ideas for the Dead Sea-floating at ease, without fear of drowning, upon a soft water-bed, picking a chicken and reading a newspaper. Nevertheless, this like other luxuries has its penalties-for afterwards