Submitted by scott on

We are cut up into parties of six or eight, and by this time are scattered far and wide. Ours is the only one, however, that is venturing on what is called “the long trip”—that is, out into Syria, by Baalbec to Damascus, and thence down through the full length of Palestine. It would be a tedious, and also a too risky journey, at this hot season of the year, for any but strong, healthy men, accustomed somewhat to fatigue and rough life in the open air. The other parties will take shorter journeys.

To Jane Lampton Clemens and Family
10 September 1867 • Beirut, Syria


U.S. Consul’s Office,
Beirut, Syria, Sept. 11.

Dear Folks—

We are here, eight of us, making a contract with a dragoman for to take us to Baalbek, then to Damascus, Nazareth, &c, then to Lake Genassareth (Sea of Tiberias,) then south through all the celebrated Scriptural localities, to Jerusalem—then to the Dead Sea, the Cave of Macpelah & up to Joppa where the ship will be. We shall be in the saddle three weeks—we have horses, tents, provisions, arms, a dragoman & 2 other servants, & we pay five dollars a day apiece in gold.1

Love to all.

The eight were Clemens, Slote, Van Nostrand, Moulton, Davis, Birch, Church, and Denny. Clemens must have written this letter on 10 (not 11) September, for he implies that the contract had not yet been settled, and Denny’s journal shows that negotiations for the trip were completed on 10 September, when a “committee” of three (Church, Birch, and Denny himself), acting for the party, paid the dragoman “in the presence of our Consul one half the cost.” The total cost of the expedition was “one pound sterling each per. day for twenty days,” or $800, the remaining half of which was due on arrival in Jaffa. On 11 September Clemens wrote in his notebook:

Abraham, of Malta, is Chief Dragoman, & Mohamed —— of Alexandria, Egypt is 1st Assistant.

Camp Equipage: 3 sleeping tents; 1 kitchen tent, & 1 eating tent—all large, finely furnished & handsome.

Our caravan numbers 24 mules & horses, & 14 serving men—28 men all told.

The United States consul general in Beirut was J. A. Johnson (N&J1, 416–17; Denny, entry for 10 Sept; Interior Department, 8).

Clemens’s notebook records, and Denny’s journal confirms, that the party left Beirut on 11 September at 3:00 p.m. Denny noted that they mounted and set out from in front of “the Hotel Belview in Beyrout a meray happy company eight in number” (N&J1, 416; Denny, entry for 11 Sept)

SLC to Jane Lampton Clemens and Family 10 Sept 1867, Beirut, Syria (UCCL 00148), n. 1.

Scharnhorst notes (pg 427):  "While the food and accommodations were satisfactory, even better than expected, on the whole the trip quickly became an ordeal.  Sam was not fond of Denny, or a couple of the other pilgrims in the party, partly because they refused to break camp during the two Sabbaths they were on the road""     There were actually three sabbaths:  September 15, 22 and 29.  On the 29th they had arrived in Jaffa.

Of possible interest is that on the Long Trip Denny, Church and Birch shared one tent, Van Nostrand, Davis and Moulton another and Sam and Dan Slote, a third smaller tent. (Regan)

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