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history and geography of Palestine. All which preceding writers had done to elucidate or mistify the subject is here patiently examined; the truth is vindicated, and the error is exposed. The long series of writers from Josephus and Jerome, down through the fathers, monks, pilgrims, crusaders, Arabian writers, the early and late travellers, from Benjamin of Tudela to Berton and Schubert, are referred to, and the most valuable of them frequently quoted. At the end of the first volume, there are thirty pages of illustrative notes and observations; at the close of the second, about forty pages; and of the third, two hundred and forty-six. These last contain a chronological list of such works on Palestine and Mount Sinai as were consulted in the preparation of the volumes, with brief remarks on the character of most of them. The list comprises more than one hundred and fifty authors. Then we have a Memoir on the maps accompanying the work by H. Kiepert, of Berlin.* This is succeeded by full itineraries; by the Essay on the Arabic language and lists of Arabic names, before referred to; and by the Indexes, one of Arabic names and words, another pertaining to ancient geography, antiquities, &c., and the third enumerating the passages of Scripture illustrated. These statements will give our readers some conception of the magnitude of the work, and of the thoroughness with which Dr. Robinson has accomplished it.
The amount of details, with which the "Researches" are crowded, may be a matter of reprehension on the part of some readers. There are minute records of the bearings, and the latitude and longitude, of innumerable places; the time which was taken up in travelling is noted; uncouth and barbarous proper names are, it may be thought, needlessly multiplied; in short it is an itinerary, and not an agreeable
The following is the introductory paragraph in this Memoir: "The entire transformation wrought in the geography of Palestine and the countries adjacent on the South, by the discoveries of Messrs. Robinson and Smith, and the materials collected by them; and also the great changes exhibited in the maps drawn out by me from these materials, in comparison with all former labors of the like kind; seem to require a full report upon all the important points of the construction, and an enumeration of the other sources to which reference has been made." (Vol. 111. p. 29.) These maps, contained on five sheets, a German copy of which we have before us, have been constructed with the utmost care. After one has perused the "Researches," with the maps lying before him, the strong language of Mr. Kiepert will not appear extravagant.
journal of travels; it may be accurate, but it is not entertaining.
In reply to such allegations, it may be said that the authors do not profess to have made it their object to amuse. They have given us researches, not romances; well authenticated observations, not highly wrought narratives of "hair breadth 'scapes, and perilous accidents by flood and field." The journey was undertaken in reference to Biblical geography"; to settle disputed topographical questions; to discover ancient monuments; and, by all means practicable, to assist the student of Revelation in his pursuits. Hence minute accuracy was indispensable. The authors invite the closest examination. By calling in question, to so great an extent, what some of their predecessors have said and done, they virtually challenge the free expression of opinion upon their own labors. But they must furnish adequate materials for this. They must put the reader in possession of the requisite data. In other words, they must be exact in all their movements, and particular in all their statements.
At the same time we cannot admit that the volumes are uninteresting. To us they are full of the deepest interest. There is an honesty and a conscientiousness which are eminently attractive. There is that perspicuity in the style, and that order in the arrangement of the different parts, which are the result of clear conceptions and definite views, and which are always pleasing. And then, the volumes are by no means devoid of stirring incidents. The Arab character and habits furnish occasion for not a few spirited delineations. The phenomena of climate, and the peculiarities of Oriental scenery, are described with good effect. Some wild adventures, also, come in to startle us; like the robbery at the south end of the Dead Sea, the hostile movement of the Bedawin in Wady Mûsa, and the narrative of the terrible overthrow of the Christian hosts by Saladin.
The great utility of these "Researches" consists in the flood of light which they will pour on the interpretation of the Scriptures. Since we have perused them, we feel a new interest in the historical portions of the Old Testament. Real significancy is given to many hitherto dark passages. Geographical and topographical details are no longer unintelligible. We feel an unwonted confidence in the honesty of the sacred records. He who sheds real light upon the exposition
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of the Bible, we may be permitted to say, is no ordinary benefactor. He confers substantial benefits on millions. He will receive a tribute of silent yet heartfelt gratitude from the unnumbered multitudes of children and youth in every part of the Christian world, who are statedly rehearsing the Psalms of David, or following "the man of sorrows" in his errands
We must also add, that we have another proof that literary men, and the world generally, are under no slight obligations to the Christian missionary. These "Researches" would not perhaps have been undertaken at all, if Mr. Smith had been unable to lend his assistance. Dr. Robinson also acknowledges his obligations to other American missionaries. We are likewise informed, that Mr. Smith has returned to Beirût, taking with him instruments of the best kind, in the hope of being able, during his occasional journeys, to verify or correct former observations; and also to extend his examinations over other parts of the country. The materials thus furnished, Dr. Robinson proposes to use in the preparation of a systematic work on the physical and historical geography of the Holy Land.
The labors of Mr. Smith are but a single instance out of many which might be adduced, in proof of the incidental yet eminent literary advantages of modern missions. Dr. Parker's course in China is well known to our own medical and mercantile community. An unpretending, yet well written volume, from the pen of Dr. Grant, another missionary physician, has just appeared, in which a most interesting country is described (the mountains of Independent Koordistan), hitherto inaccessible, for ages, to civilized man. But we cannot add to the list, which we might swell to an indefinite ex
These "Researches," we say in conclusion, are an honor to the country. It is no exaggeration to predict, that they will supersede every thing which has hitherto appeared on Palestine. If they should not be welcomed in England, which we do not assert, they will assuredly work their way into favor even there; for their substantial. merits will overcome prejudice. They are now known and highly appreciated by some of the most learned men on the continent. With the spontaneous testimony of one of the ablest of these, Ritter, the celebrated geographer of Berlin (who has himself written one
of the best books on the Holy Land), we shall close this article. "I cannot often enough express," says Professor Ritter, "what an uncommon amount of instruction I owe to this valuable work. It lays open, unquestionably, one of the richest discoveries, one of the most important scientific conquests, which have been made for a long time in the field of Geography and Biblical Archæology. I can at present say this the more decidedly, because, having had opportunity to examine the printed sheets nearly to the end of the second volume, I can better judge of the connexion of the whole, than was before possible. Now I perceive how one part sustains another; and what noble confirmation the truth of the Holy Scriptures receives from so many passages of these investigations, in a manner altogether unexpected and often surprising, even in particulars seemingly the most trivial and unimportant. The accompanying maps too, justify, step by step, the course of the investigations. Thus now first begins, since the days of Reland, the second great epoch of our knowledge of the Promised Land."
ART. IX. - Notices of the War of 1812. By JOHN ARMSTRONG, late a General in the Army of the United States, and Secretary of War. New York: George Dearborn. 1836. 1st Vol. pp. 263. Wiley & Putnam. 1840. 2d Vol. pp. 244. 12mo.
WHEN the first volume of these "Notices" was issued in 1836, the public was informed, that the second volume would follow with all convenient despatch," a phrase of most convenient latitude, though probably, in the opinion of that public at least, not warranting the four years which have deferred the fulfilment of its expectations. No title could be more modest and unpretending, than that which has been assumed for this work, none which could authorize a more summary or detached treatment of the subject in hand, as it admits of almost any selection or omission of the various facts presented, and any method of comment upon them. Accordingly, the author has made his work rather a military critique. than a history, the several prominent campaigns of the war being something like texts for his critical commentaries.
It is said, with much truth, that "the late war" has not yet been made the subject of history. Many detached accounts have been written of it, which embody materials for the future historian. These "Notices," sententious and unpretending as they are, may perhaps be regarded as the nearest approach to a connected record of the military events of that period, which the public has received. Symptoms, however, have already appeared (on the publication of the first volume), which show that its correctness or fairness is questioned, and even openly impeached. We do not think that a veteran soldier, well versed in the doubts and contradictions that envelope the deeds of war, especially battles, will be surprised at this. He must know, that probably no battle, in which more than a company, or so, has been engaged, has ever been related in precisely the same manner by two witnesses. The difficulties in the way of agreement, in these descriptions, are obvious. Military engagements have much to occupy and confuse the attention. Scarcely any two persons are likely to observe the same occurrences, at least under the same aspects. Nearly every one, excepting the chief in command, has his attention confined to more or less limited portions of the field, and cannot be supposed, under the deep responsibility resting upon him to sustain with all his energy and devotion the distinct part allotted to him, to have cast more than hasty glances at other parts, which could probably be but imperfectly seen even under a more steady examination.
Those who have had some experience in military events, and have been accustomed to reflect on the difficulties here referred to, and the hopeless task of endeavouring to record them, in all their details, with perfect truth, or so as to reconcile the testimony of all spectators, will feel convinced, that little more than the main results of such events will at last be satisfactorily fixed in history. Contemporaneous accounts are ever conflicting, and it is only after they have been taken up with some of the sobermindedness and impartiality of posterity, and brought into a degree of conformity with those results,
* This phrase, "the late war," which was very appropriate many years since, is still much used, though with less and less propriety, of course, each year, by the officers engaged in that war, partly from habit, and partly. perhaps, from a faint hope that it will disguise the quarter of a century that has elapsed since it closed.