Submitted by scott on Mon, 10/03/2016 - 12:52

Beirout, September 10, Tuesday The Quaker City has arrived in Beirout, Lebanon. The tourists were broken up into groups, Mark Twain's group was to take 'the long trip"

Well, out of our eight, three were selected to attend to all business connected with the expedition. The rest of us had nothing to do but look at the beautiful city of Beirout, with its bright, new houses nestled among a wilderness of green shrubbery spread abroad over an upland that sloped gently down to the sea; and also at the mountains of Lebanon that environ it; and likewise to bathe in the transparent blue water that rolled its billows about the ship (we did not know there were sharks there.) We had also to range up and down through the town and look at the costumes. These are picturesque and fanciful, but not so varied as at Constantinople and Smyrna; the women of Beirout add an agony—in the two former cities the sex wear a thin veil which one can see through (and they often expose their ancles,) but at Beirout they cover their entire faces with dark-colored or black veils, so that they look like mummies, and then expose their breasts to the public. A young gentleman (I believe he was a Greek,) volunteered to show us around the city, and said it would afford him great pleasure, because he was studying English and wanted practice in that language. When we had finished the rounds, however, he called for remuneration—said he hoped the gentlemen would give him a trifle in the way of a few piastres (equivalent to a few five cent pieces.) We did so. The Consul was surprised when he heard it, and said he knew the young fellow’s family very well, and that they were an old and highly respectable family and worth a hundred and fifty thousand dollars! Some people, so situated, would have been ashamed of the berth he had with us and his manner of crawling into it.

My eyes were still full of the might and majesty of the Chilian Andes, and of the grace and grandeur of Magellan's Straits- — memories which fashionable Vichy and foul Brindisi had strengthened, not effaced — as I landed upon the Syrian shore on Friday, October 1, 1869.  The points of resemblance and of difference between the South Pacific coast and Mediterranean Palestine at once struck my glance.

September 11, Wednesday

Sam, Dr. George Birch, William Church, Joshua Davis, William Denny, Julius Moulton, Dan Slote, and Jack Van Nostrand left Beirut, Lebanon on horseback at 3 PM . . Our caravan numbers 24 mules & horses, & 14 serving men—28 men all told.

September 12 Thursday

The group broke camp at 6:30 AM.  and traveled to Temnin el  Foka.  From Sam’s notebook:1867 "Passed up the Valley & camped on l. side under the dews of Hermon. –first passing through a dirty Arab village & visiting the tomb of Noah, of Deluge notoriety.

September 13 Friday:

The Pilgrims  traveled to Baalbek and the Baalbek quarry.  Then, to the dismay of Sam, on to Sirghaya.  The leg to Baalbek is approximately 15.6 miles with a drop in elevation to 3,111 feet and a climb then to 3.671 feet.  The leg from Baalbek to Sirghaya is approximately 15.9 miles with a climb to 5,582 feet.  This section of the pilgrim's trail has several changes in elevation  with 4,663 feet at Sirghaya.

September 14 Saturday

The Pilgrims depart Sirghaya and travel to Damascus, making a side trip to Figia.  The journey to Figia is approximately 19.8 miles and the final leg to Damascus, and additional 14.2 miles.

A Matter of Conscience


The Vilayet of Syria (Ottoman Turkish: ولايت سوريه‎, romanized: Vilâyet-i Suriye), also known as Vilayet of Damascus, was a first-level administrative division (vilayet) of the Ottoman Empire.

At the beginning of the 20th century, it reportedly had an area of 62,180 square kilometres (24,009 sq mi), while the preliminary results of the first Ottoman census of 1885 (published in 1908) gave the population as 1,000,000. The accuracy of the population figures ranges from "approximate" to "merely conjectural" depending on the region from which they were gathered.

In 1864, the Vilayet Law was promulgated. The new provincial law was implemented in Damascus in 1865, and the reformed province was named Suriyya/Suriye, reflecting a growing historical consciousness among the local intellectuals. Jerusalem was separated from the rest of the province, and made into an independent sanjak of Jerusalem that reported directly to Istanbul, rather than Damascus. Mount Lebanon had been similarly made into a self-governing mutesarrifate in 1864.

In 1872, a new administrative region was created, with its center in Ma'an, but the costs for the new administrative unit far outweighed the revenues, and it was closed the following year. In 1884, the governor of Damascus made a proposal to establish a new vilayet of southern Syria, though nothing came out of this.

In 1888, a vilayet of Beirut was formed from the vilayet of Syria. In May 1892, another proposal was made for a regional government centered in Ma'an, which was approved in August. In mid-1895, the centre of this mutasarrifiyya was moved to Karak (Mutasarrifate of Karak), marking the southernmost extent of Ottoman rule in the vilayet of Syria.

As of 1897, the Vilayet Syria was divided into four sanjaksDamascusHamaHauran and Karak. The Vilayet's capital was Damascus.