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THE CITIES OF THE PLAIN-HAVE
Tyre, from the village of Kefr-Burreim,
| he tells us he discovered the old Hazor THEIR RUINS BEEN FOUND?
mentioned in Joshua, and that the ruins T AST year we were startled by the are very extensive ; but he gives no de
publication of M. De Saulcy's narra- scription, enters into no details, and protive of his Travels in the East, containing duces no evidence. “Its exact site," he accounts of the still visible ruins of the says, “ seems to have been lost for the condemned cities in the neighbourhood of last three hundred years, and not to have the Dead Sea, an identification of the been sought for again in the right place. Tombs of the Kings of the dynasty of Perhaps an inaccurate expression of JoseDavid at Jerusalem, with many other par- phus may have been the cause of this. ticulars no less extraordinary than novel He describes Hazor as situated about and interesting. Mr. Van de Velde, then Lake Merom.” Why does Mr. Van de on his way to the Holy Land, happened Velde not show how this locality of Joseto be in Paris, and present at two stormy phus, with which Dr. Robinson quotes meetings of the French Institute on the and accords, is incorrect? De Sauley subject. His piety was shocked at the came unexpectedly upon the ruins of a indecent clamor. He thought the rea- very large city, in a different situation, soning of De Saulcy so anti-scriptural and considerably more to the north-east, and absurd, that he wondered how he was list nearer the lake, agreeing with the site ened to with patience. But he received named by Josephus, and which he deterfrom him a copy of his manuscript maps, mined to be the Hazor of Joshua, on a with considerable personal kindness and long and clear investigation of the texts, much general information. At the same Scriptural and profane, which bear upon time it is quite evident he had adopted an the subject. He also gives general drawimpression that the French traveler was ings of the ruins, and a minute groundnot a man of veracity and little to be relied plan of a remarkable building of Cyclopean on. This bias, as he proceeds, ripens into construction, very much resembling the a conviction that De Saulcy is a credulous ancient temple on Mount Gerizim, and enthusiast, a shallow scholar, a question another edifice which he supposes to be a able quoter, a perverter of holy writ to suit remnant of Gomorrha, on the north-east his own mistaken views, never right even point of the Dead Sea : yet Mr. Van de by accident, and always wrong through Velde passes all this over without allusion ignorance or design. This is the substance or comment, as if no such discovery had of his charges against De Saulcy, ex- ever been made by a preceding traveler. pressed in very unceremonious terms. The reader who compares the two accounts “ What,” says he, “ has that traveler not will easily decide whether this is fair dealseen?” The accusations are heavy, and ing. Van de Velde here, as in other places, ought not to be set forward without the admits that it is impossible to find ruins in clearest accompanying proof. We shall | Palestine without assistance from the nasee presently how far Mr. Van de Velde tives, and places much reliance on the is to be considered an unprejudiced inves- | similarity of modern and ancient names, tigator, and the amount of testimony by when it suits his purpose to do so; but which his own allegations are supported. whenever De Saulcy adopts the same
The ostensible object of Mr. Van de guides, he accuses the French savant of Velde's visit to the Holy Land was to weak credulity and defective judgment. lay down trigonometrical surveys. He1 Mr. Van de Velde visited Samaria, now landed at Beirout, and proceeded on to Sebastieh, and Mount Gerizim, but he Sidon, whence he made an excursion across says very little of the remarkable ruins Mount Lebanon to Hâsbeiya, were he was still remaining at both these places, and robbed and left nearly in a state of desti- again has no allusion to De Saulcy's pretution, stripped of piastres, without which vious examinations, or the very elaborate the “highways and byways” of Palestine plan, which he was the first to give, of the are hermetically sealed against the adven- great Samaritan Temple, built by Santurous explorer; as the honest and patri- ballat under permission of Alexander the archal Bedouins regulate their hospitality Great. Either this survey and approprito intruding Europeans by the extent and ation are authentic or imaginative, and in weight of their purses. On his way to | neither case ought to have been passed over in silence by one who professes as would have found that the French author a leading object of inquiry to examine not only mentions the building in question, closely the statements of a predecessor. but has given in his accompanying atlas After a considerable halt at Jerusalem, of plates, a drawing, and two very minute our author proceeds toward the Dead ground-plans of the same. This is what Sea by Bethlehem, Hebron, and a part of he says of it :-“Before us, within a hunthe route followed by De Saulcy on his dred yards, is a ruin, which resembles a return. He declares that the French party church with a circular apsis. Our Bedouhad spoiled the Bedouins by imprudent ins inform me that this is the Qasr or liberality, and thereby increased the diffi- Palace. I hasten to examine it. The culties de future travelers. His own cara- principal chamber is terminated by this van contained no European besides himself, oven-like apsis, with one small round winand was limited altogether to nine per-dow.” Now, to decide that an ancient sons, the greater proportion unprovided edifice is a comparatively modern church with arms. His escort consisted of four because it resembles one in form and posiDjahalins of the tribe of Abu Daouk; but tion, is to jump at a desired conclusion that renowned scheikh, who accompanied with the same baseless precipitancy which De Saulcy, and, according to Van de Velde, the writer charges against his literary crammed the enthusiastic Frenchman with brother. As reasonably might we assert all manner of unfounded inventions, de- that the Buddhist crosses, scattered over clined his personal service on this occasion, Hindostan and elsewhere, are vestiges of as the limited “backshish" comported not the more recent faith, because they prewith his dignity and overweening expec sent the symbol of Christianity. But tations.
Mr. Van de Velde passes without notice Van de Velde approached the Dead Sea the gate of Madasa and its pointed arch, in the neighborhood of Masada, and as- | (of which De Saulcy has also given a cended that far-famed rock on the 31st drawing and plan ;) this, by a strange of March, 1852. He accuses De Saulcy inconsistency, Wolcott pronounces a modof having added a few flourishes of his ern ruin, while he refers all the other own to the already exaggerated descrip- | remains at Masada to the epoch of King tion of Josephus respecting the perilous Herod. We must, on the contrary, decide pathway by which the platform must be that this form of arch is thus carried back scaled; but he admits, at the same time, some ten centuries behind the period usuthat the undertaking was most formidable, ally assigned for its invention. There are that he had to drag himself up almost the lines of Silva as clearly defined as perpendicular stones by the hands and feet, when he left them; there are the crumand that he was only preserved from a fall bling ruins of the buildings he found when that would infallibly have killed him, by he stormed the ramparts on the selfthe timely relief of a bottle of eau-de-immolation of Eleazar and his Sicarii. cologne, which fortified his nerves and If anything can be pronounced certain, of dispelled giddiness. He saw there what which we have no direct proof, it is that others have seen before him, the ruins of Masada has never been disturbed by huthe fortress of Herod, as destroyed by the man inhabitants since that eventful period. Romans under Flavius Silva, in the reign Up to this point of his journey, Van de of the Emperor Vespasian. He says, Velde has either ignored De Saulcy, or “ It seems not known that Masada was scratched him gently; but he now preever after inhabited. Yet I surmise that pares to close with him in a death-struggle, it must have been so, from the evident and finish him outright, even as Hercules remains of a small church, with a round strangled the giant Antæus. Zoar, he chancel turned to the east, just as in the says, could never have stood on the site case with the Christian churches met which De Saulcy has fixed for it, -namely, everywhere else in Palestine. I am sur-| Es-Zuweirah. The similarity of names prised that neither Wolcott nor De Saulcy goes for nothing. He adds, “ The travels observed it.” According to Van de Velde, / of Irby and Mangles, De Bertou, RobinDe Saulcy sees too much at one time, and son and Smith, and not long ago of the too little at another. But he has made a most unguarded assertion, and has read! It will be remembered that, according to De Saulcy's book very carelessly, or he Eastern tradition, Buddha was crucified.
American investigators under Lieutenant and four intelligent well-educated French Lynch, might have sufficiently convinced gentlemen who were with him, and corthat gentleman ; while the Scriptures, too, roborate his description. The weight of show in the clearest manner that Zoar did evidence is unquestionably in favor of the not lie here, but on the Moabitish or east French travelers. Mr. Van de Velde side of the Dead Sea.” In proof of this, goes on to say :Van de Velde refers to Gen. xix, 30-38; ' “ That M. de Saulcy should have found Isa. xv, 5; and Jer. xlviii, 34. These here not only the remains of buildings verses most certainly do not show any- and cities, but positively those of Sodom, thing of the kind, as all will see who I declare I cannot attribute to any other examine them, and De Saulcy has chal- source than the creation of his fancy. lenged his adversary to produce any other The public seems to be charmed with his Biblical texts that do. Moreover he tells | pseudo-discoveries. I have perused both him that he cannot read the Scriptures in the French and English editions with the original Hebrew, and is utterly igno- great care, hoping to find something to rant of Arabic, while he, De Saulcy, is justify M. de Saulcy's conclusions. This well versed in both languages, which gives is not the place to enter into a critical him a great advantage in the dispute. A review of his work. I must also say, that defective scholar like Van de Velde should contradictions, erroneous quotations, and be more cautious in accusing another of a false hypotheses are so numerous in it, want of learning. De Saulcy of course that to repeat them all would require a differs from Robinson, Irby and Mangles, book as large as that of Mr. de Sauley as to the site of Zoar, and we think un- himself. So far as regards his quotations prejudiced readers will admit his argu- from Scripture and profane writers, I leare ments to be sounder than theirs. The it to any one who feels anxious to know opinion of Captain Lynch is of little value the truth to form an opinion for himself.” in the matter, for he coincides with the Now all this appears to us equally ilidea that Zoar is to be found at El Mez- logical, suspicious, and ungenerous. No râah on the eastern side of the Dead Sea, time and place can be so well fitted to while he believes that he saw the pillar receive evidence as those in which the of salt into which Lot's wife was trans-accusation is made. It matters not to formed at a great distance from that local- what bulk this evidence might extend; ity, very far to the west, under the salt the contradictions, erroneous quotations, mountain of Esdoum. If this pillar existed and false hypotheses, require to be demonat all, which it clearly does not, it could strated, and until they are, the whole only be close to Zoar ; and if Zoar is at charge evaporates into mere assertion, El Mezrâah, let any one look at the map | unsupported by proof. “Feeling satisand say why it should of necessity follow, fied,” concludes Mr. Van de Velde, " with or how it even appears possible that the having found out the error with regard other cities are hidden under the sea, to Sodom and Zoar, I have not given according to the popular delusion. Mr. myself any further trouble in looking for Van de Velde affirms that he traversed the the three other cities; and indeed, one entire plain between the salt mountains need not undertake the difficult and danand the sea, and that no vestiges what- gerous journey to the Dead Sea to perceive ever are there of the extensive ruins which the absurdity upon which M. de Saulcy De Saulcy and his companions declare to bases the discovery of the pentapolic be those of Sodom. He says that the cities.” Why then did he undertake it, rows of large stones standing generally in if his mind was previously satisfied that parallel lines, which do exist, are nothing it was a work of supererogation? Having more than débris from the mountain, | demolished, as he supposes, the theory of washed down by the winter torrents, and the French traveler, he proceeds to give that they were never placed or fashioned / us his own; which is, that these conby the hand of man. The ruins, he de- demned cities, Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, clares, exist only in the excited imagina- and Zeboim, stood in close neighborhood tion which describes them. But Van de to each other, in the middle of the valley Velde was unaccompanied by any Euro- of Siddim; and that the valley of Siddim peans, and his single testimony stands occupied what is now the southern portion against the united opinion of De Saulcy, I of the Dead Sea, inundated by the sinking of the ground at or after the destruc- vations on the disputed sites, by asserting tion of the cities, by the water which that what Josephus and other writers say poured in from an upper lake formed long of the still visible ruins of Sodom and her before, and comprising about three-fourths sister cities has no better foundation than of the sea as it exists at present. This hearsay. If he will take the trouble of southern portion has an extreme depth looking at book i, chap. 11, of “ Jewish never exceeding thirteen feet, and is in Antiquities," and at book iv, chap. 8, of some places so shallow that it can be the “ Wars of the Jews,” (in the original forded.
Greek,) he will find that Josephus declares A reference to Scripture refutes this that what he describes, relative to the theory in a moment. There is no men- land of Sodom, he had seen with his own tion in any part of the Bible of water ever eyes. having been used as an agent in the de- ! De Saulcy and his companions encampstruction, or supposed consequent submer- ed at Ayn-el-Fechkhah, on the north-west sion of the cities. Moses tells us (Gen. xiv, side of the Dead Sea. Here they dis2, 3) that the five kings of Sodom, Go- covered the remains of some extraordinary morrah, Admah, Zeboim, and Bela (which buildings, which he carefully examined is Zoar) joined their forces together in the with the Abbé Michon, and has minutely Vale of Siddim, which is the Salt Sea. | described, giving, as usual, an accurate This verse clearly implies that what was ground-plan. These buildings he cononce the Vale of Siddim had become the siders to have belonged to the Scriptural Salt Sea when Moses wrote, about four Gomorrah, and, on the following day, hundred and fifty years after the circum- / while proceeding to Nabi-Mousa, passed stance he narrates. But he neither says through the extensive ruins of a large nor implies that the cities of the five kings city, still bearing the name of Kharbetwere in the Vale of Siddim, or near it. Goumran. Dr. Robinson noticed the first, It is much more likely that they were at a but did not examine them. The latter he considerable distance, the kings having saw not, as his route lay too close to the selected the Vale of Siddim as a conve- beach. Mr. Van de Velde, journeying nient central spot for joining their armies ; | from Mar-saba to the northern coast of and this is still further corroborated by the Dead Sea, on his way to the Jordan, verse 10 of the same chapter, which says: must have passed very near this spot, and " And the Vale of Siddim was full of he had De Saulcy's map to mark its exslime pits, and the kings of Sodom and act position. But he did not care to look Gomorrah filed and fell there; and they for it, having previously satisfied himself that remained fled to the mountain." | that De Saulcy was not to be believed on Surely they would have taken refuge in any question. We were, unquestionably, the cities, had the cities been near them, taken by surprise when told that Gomorand in the vale to which they were rah was situated more than fifty miles to driven. Moses also tells us (Gen. xiv, the north of Sodom, in a direct line. We 17) that when Abraham returned after had been so habituated to couple the two rescuing his brother Lot, “ the King of names, that we persuaded ourselves the Sodom went out to meet him at the Val- places must have stood close to each ley of Shaveh, which is the King's Dale." | other; but the Scriptures contain no such Here we have the King's Dale nearer to evidence of proximity, as is clearly laid Sodom than the Vale of Siddim, still ex in the case of Sodom and Zoar. isting, and not covered by the Salt Sea Before leaving the Asphaltic lake, we when Moses wrote. The expression in shall find, on a comparison of the routes, Hebrew respecting this Vale of Siddim that De Saulcy and his party traversed the is very singular and forcible. It is lit | shores of that mysterious water througherally, “and the low plain of Siddim was out three quarters of their extent, while pits of pits of pitch," meaning that it was Van de Velde touched only on two insualmost entirely composed of these pits of lated points, at the extreme north and naphtha or bitumen. A very convenient south. If the ruins last named are not place to swallow up a defeated army, but those of Gomorrah, De Saulcy naturally a very unlikely and ineligible locality for asks to be told what other city they can the erection of large cities.
possibly represent; and this question has Mr. Van de Velde winds up his obser- | not yet been answered.
THOUGHTS OF AN OLD SMOKER. :|
| I have not exceeded the more moderate
computation, I shall let it remain. A QUARTER of a century ago, I began Six hundred and fifty dollars-setting Al to master two difficult attainments : aside the consideration of interest-is a I learned to shave and I learned to smoke. large sum. If, twenty-five years ago, inOf these two attainments, smoking was stead of a tobacco-box I had set up a incomparably the hardest; but I managed money-box, and dropped into it a weekly it. What has it cost me? I have smoked half dollar, I cannot avoid the conclusion almost all sorts of tobacco, and, as I sup- that I should be now six hundred and fifty pose, in almost all forms. I began with dollars richer than I am: and there are cigarettes, advanced onward to cigars, many things I could do with six hundred then to Maryland tobacco, then to returns, and fifty dollars. It might serve me for a thence to bird's-eye, and thence to the year's housekeeping, for my establishment strongest shag. I have bought and smok- ) is on a humble scale ; or it might set up ed cigars at all prices, and of all manufac- my eldest boy; or it might refurnish my tures, from the suspicious articles, six of house. Or, if the half dollar a week had which may be bought for sixpence, and been devoted to a life insurance, and I which probably are innocent of any con- were to die to-morrow, my family would nexion with nicotiana, save a slight tinge be the better for my self-denial by one with its juice, to the costliest Havanna. thousand five hundred dollars. Or if I I have been fanciful in cigar tubes, and had spent half a dollar a week on literaalso in pipes, though to no alarming extent, ture, my library would now be, and much having never paid more than a dollar and a to my advantage, larger than it is. Or if, half for a tube, and a dollar and a quarter laying aside selfish considerations, I had for a meerschaum ; and, after all attempts set apart the half dollar a week to works to be fine, preferring the naked cigar, or of charity and mercy, the world might the half yard of clay. I have spent have been the better for it. Many a heartmoney, too, on instantaneous lights of ache might have been relieved by the six many sorts. When phosphorus boxes, hundred and fifty dollars which I have containing a small bottle of fiery mixture, puffed away. I think, then, that if I had and about a score of matches, cost seventy- to begin life again, I would not learn to five cents each, I gave that for one. smoke. When lucifer matches were invented, and I know it may be said that the same arsold for twelve cents a box-less in quan- guments could be raised against this, that, tity than may now be bought for a cent, and the other superfluity, which might be. I patronized the manufacture. I have done without. But I am not writing used German tinder, fusees, and a dozen about this, that, and the other superfluity; other kindred inventions; and all these, I am writing about tobacco-smoke. costing money, have served me only for To turn to another thought: I am not the lighting of my pipes or cigars. quite sure that smoking is a healthy
Looking at it, then, altogether, and practice. I know it is not necessary to taking into account cigars, cigar-cases, health, for I see my friends who do not cigar-tubes, tobacco, pipes, and matches; smoke are not troubled with diseases to considering, too, that I have been a con- which those of us who do are subject. stant and persevering, though not an My wife does not smoke, and, so far as I enormous smoker, I may safely and fairly can see, she does not suffer from the conclude that, take one time with another, privation. I might go a step further, and smoking has cost me half a dollar a week say, I have a strong suspicion that somefor twenty-five years.
times smoking disagrees with some of us, A half dollar a week ; that is to say, and is rather detrimental to health than twenty-six dollars a year ; making for the otherwise. Certainly, excessive smoking whole period, and without reckoning in- is injurious; but who shall draw the line terest, either compound or simple, the sum of demarcation between moderation and of six hundred and fifty dollars. Now | excess? As for myself, I do not know this, I repeat, is keeping within compass; that smoking has ever hurt me. It is and a friend at my side tells me that true, when I have a bilious head-ache, I double the amount a week would be nearer nauseate the smell of tobacco-sinoke, but the mark; but as, during ten years past, / so do I nauseate also the smell of roast