spurred towards

Passing by the mosque whose treasure is the Patriarch’s bodies
covered with golden robes, the boys and women threw stones at us,
that we might know we were approaching too near their sacred dead.
They pride themselves on these sacred relics, and allow no man to
pass by without seeing their fidelity displayed. Our drivers
explained to us all they knew of the magnificence inside, but that
was poor explanation and satisfaction, as it had also to be
translated. As we left the city on our way to Jerusalem, we were
shown some two or three olive trees nearly three thousand years old.
About an hour after emerging from the city of Hebron, we met an Arab,
and inquired the distance to the Holy City, and he said, “about half
a day’s camel ride.” All miles are counted here by some animal’s
hour’s travel. At one o’clock we were passing over rolling mounds
adorned with olive trees. One was higher than the rest, and from its
summit I saw Jerusalem only half a mile ahead. Its towers were few
and scarce, and its walls were parched and charred. The mosque of
Omar’s dome glittered in the sun beam, and this Mahommedan sanctum
towered above all the other buildings in this city, that was once the
“glory of the world,” because of its godliness. Yes, the mosque of
the Turk looked down upon our glorious sepulchre, as it were with
contempt. I made my way straight to our humble edifice, and fell upon
the marble slabs that once entombed the flesh and blood of the
greatest man ever tabernacled in a body of flesh. In the middle of
the Latin Church, which means the church we christians of the world
built over Calvary, is another small house like a large sepulchre,
such as I have seen in New Orleans, or _Pere la Chaise_, at Paris,
and in this little house are the sides, bottom, and cover, of the
tomb of our Savior, just as it was taken from the earth and placed on
this stone floor, before this little house and the large church were
built around it. Two men were inside of the little house, one at each
end of our Savior’s tomb, giving wild flowers to the visitors. These
flowers are fresh, and placed daily on the tomb beside the burning
candles, that burn night and day on this consecrated marble tomb. An
English lady, who came in before me, was prostrated on the floor,
kissing the tomb with great devotion. She was a lady of rank who had
pilgrimed here, and now had given way to her devoted feelings towards
the dull, cold marble that once, in the midst of thousands of
enemies, our Savior had lain in, uncorrupted, though bleeding and

The monks were passing to and fro in all directions. The best place
to locate for a short time, is in the convent attached to the church;
they make no charges against a pilgrim, but no pilgrim can come here
unless rich, and no rich man will go away without giving something to
so sacred a place as the tomb of our Savior.

These monks are strict in all their rules, and allow none to be
treated with indifference; they allow no chickens, ducks, cats, or
dogs in the convent; as by their courting habits they might lead the
mind of man from spiritual reflections, to groveling desires. These
are undisputed facts, and I got them from the lips of a monk’s aid. I
walked round the walls of this celebrated city in one hour and a
quarter, though when Titus took it, it contained about 2,000,000
souls. But as Jerusalem was considered by the Jews impregnable, the
people from all the villages round about came here for safety. This
accounts for its having so many people when taken. I am mounting a
small Arab steed to go to Bethlehem. I can see it from here. In an
hour after leaving Jerusalem, I passed by the tomb of Lazarus, and
rode up to the walls of the convent at Bethel. It was closely shut on
all sides. Our guide demanded in an authorative tone and air for
entrance. A bare footed monk unlatched the door, and we walked in,
and were carried direct to the altar built over the manger. We saw
burning candles and flowers strewn around. We came out and wended
our way towards Jericho, it could be seen in the distance. We came to
a spring whose water was running freely, and the guide had the
impudence to tell me that the cause of this water running so freely,
was because the jawbone that Sampson fought so bravely with was
buried here. He had told me another absurd story about Jeremiah’s
cave, but I was not inclined to believe anything I heard from the
people about here, because I knew as much as they did about it. I
came to Jerusalem with a submissive heart, but when I heard all the
absurdities of these ignorant people, I was more inclined to ridicule
right over these sacred dead bodies, and spots, than pay homage.

The same evening I camped at Jericho, about a hundred yards from
where the Jordan empties into the Dead Sea. We took a bath in the
Jordan, and tried some of its water with _eau de vie_, and found it
in quality like Mississippi water. Then before we dressed, we took
another in the Dead Sea. I cannot swim, but I could not sink in this
sea; it is a strong brine of sulphur and salt, and stronger in
holding up substances than the Mediterranean or the Atlantic. No
living creature can live in it; the Jordan washes an immense quantity
of small perch-like fish into it, but they instantly die, and are
thrown out on the banks of the sea within twenty feet of the Jordan.
The Jordan is frightfully rapid, but so narrow that a child could
throw a stone across any part of it within a mile of the sea.
Rabbits and birds are plentiful here; in the shrubbery in the valley
of the Jordan I killed doves and quails enough for supper. Jericho is
not worth mentioning, as there is not even a temple here left by
time. The ground is covered with broken bricks and stones.

Having stayed in the city of Jerusalem seventeen days, I leave it,
never wishing to return again, and am now leaving the wall, Calvary,
Moriah, and Olivet, to see Gallilee, Tabor, Nazareth, and Damascus. I
saw the sea, as no doubt it was when the whale vomited; I saw the
little house where water was turned into wine, I saw Tabor, ascended
and took my chances with the wild boar; I returned from Tabor to
Nazareth, where I had left my baggage and provisions; eat some
camel’s meat. The soldiers were preparing for army stores, and I
hurried on to Damascus to hear something about the decrees of St.
Petersburg against the sublime Porte. The Turks all through Palestine
were preparing for war; they said this year, 1853, was going to be a
memorable one; the crescent and the cross were to shine gloomily, for
the hungry Russian bear was seeking food beyond his lair. About the
1st of July I arrived at the Paradise-plain City of Damascus, and
bought a blade. I bought some silks, and old swords, celebrated as
Damascus blades were, with one I cut a half a dollar into two pieces.
The ambassadors of different nations were informing their country’s
subjects that it was best to be among the missing, and said that some
Russians were here yesterday, but were now gone to parts unknown.
These ambassadors were more frightened than their subjects; one said
to Col. Fellowes and myself, “as soon as the Sultan declares war, no
christian will be allowed to pass the barrier of his boundary,” and
as this is said to be a quarrel on religion, every christian head
might fall “that is found where waves the little Turkish flag of the
crescent and the cross.” I packed my trunk, paid my bill, and left
Damascus and its sights, and traveled towards the Mediterranean. I
looked at my old Damascus blade, and thought of those sharp
scymaters, like reap hooks, and as I could see one in my imagination,
I felt all over, and spurred towards Joppa.

I am now letting loose the thread of my knowledge; the broach is
turning from me to pull away the end, and with it the satisfaction
that though its a hard broach to tie to, I have spun _no yarn_. The
reader that only believes what he can see, through a limited source
of facts, is always losing time and money, to read another man’s
knowledge; but the one who is always seeking to add to the stock of
knowledge which he already has, is sure to gain time and knowledge in
the stride of life.

On my way to Joppa I passed through Lebanon, took a glance at the old
cedars, which I can pronounce nothing but spruce pine. I brought some
of the burrows home to New Orleans, and they received from my friends
the appellation above. An old man close to the little group of
cedars, offered me his virgin daughter for the sum of twenty-five
dollars; he seemed to be in great want of money. I hurried to Acre,
and looked at its strong walls, and heard its foolish citizens talk
of the impossibility of any nation being strong enough to take it.

Jaffa is the present name of Joppa. It was formerly the sea port town
of Palestine; it has suffered much from being the gate city of Syria.
Here, at Jaffa, I took passage to Marseilles, France, and arrived
there just as the emperor of Morocco, who had been visiting France,
was departing, himself and retinue, for Morocco, the Capitol of his
Empire. I arrived back to Paris before the last of July. On the
second day of September, the Franklin backed out from the wharf at
Havre, France, with a splendid trip of passengers for New York city.
Among these were Charles W. March, private secretary of Mr. Webster,
and Geo. W. Kendall, the traveling editor of the New Orleans
Picayune. They seemed to me the happiest men aboard; they eat their
good dinners, drank their good wines, and came on deck and inquired
of me my opinion of thousands of little things that I thought hardly
worth noticing. I am passing by England and Wales for home, my
journey must be considered done. Youth is ever ready to be where it
seems no advantage to him; and it is a long time before he can
surfeit on curiosity, enough to say, “alack, and well-a-day!” The
aged are rough and ready implements of the world, they are too
tightly riveted to their designs to let loose when they are
absolutely in danger; yes, Old Fogy goes on like a saw on a nail,
determined to go through because he had the power, heedless of the
consequences, and determined to make the nail suffer for attempting
to impede his progress; he soon finds his sawing propensities
broken, and much the worse for wear. But not so with youth. I feel in
taking leave of this work, as if I was parting with an old and
familiar friend that I could stay much longer with, but I am afraid
to stay much longer lest I enhance its value as a friend. _A friend?_
Yes, a friend!

James says that men of talent are often seen with many books before
them, extracting their contents and substances. Were such men
authors? No! but imitators; they wrote few impressions because few
were made; they merely confirmed what others proved.

Like an anxious boy, in the ardor of anxiety to describe, I may fail,
but I tell the thing as I saw it.

Should the reader think strange that I could find pleasure in these
curious and strange places for a young man to be in, wherein they may
occasionally find me, he must bear in mind that those are the only
places and streams where flows the tide of curiosity from the mind of
a youthful channel. There is no sameness about youth; like the clock
when down, he must be wound up, or there can be shown no fine work in
the machinery of a career of glory. Henry kindled his own fire,
Washington paddled his own canoe, and for a bright manhood, youth
must find his own crag on the mountain, rivet his eye of determined
prosperity up the cliffy wiles of life, kick assunder impediments and
obstacles, and climb on! When you hear _can’t_, laugh at it; when
they tell you _not in your time_, pity them; and when they tell you
_surrounding circumstances alter cases_, in manliness scorn them as
sleeping sluggards, unworthy of a social brotherhood.

All are obliged to unite when a question of _might_ against _right_
comes up, as it is now before the world. Dickens says, “no doubt that
all the ingenuity of men gifted with genius for finding differences,
has never been able to impugn the doctrine of the unity of man.” He
further says, “The European, Ethiopean, Mongolian, and American, are
but different varieties of one species.” He then quotes Buffon, “Man,
white in Europe, black in Africa, yellow in Asia, and red in America,
is nothing but the same man differently dyed by climate.” Then away
with your _can’t_; when backed to the wall by the debator, you had
better say _nothing_ than _can’t_. You had better say, as I say while
taking leave of you, _au revoir_.