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Entered, according to Act of Congress, in the year 1843, by
HARPER & BROTHERS, In the Clerk's Office of the Southern District of New York.
D547 os Vid
WHEN I embarked at Trieste for Athens, in November, 1839, my health was so feeble and precarious as to render it doubtful whether I should be able to extend my tour beyond a visit to some of the maritime parts of Greece, and I had certainly little expectation of recording, much less of publishing, the events of the voyage. Change of scene, however, and sea air, acted so favourably upon my shattered nerves, that I had not been three days out of port before I began to amuse myself with keeping a brief diary of the passing incidents. The pleasure of using my pen, to which I had been a stranger for the three previous years, led me to continue the practice, and on my arrival in Athens my notes were spread over several pages. Fifteen days on horseback among the mountains and valleys of the Morea and Continental Greece so much improved my strength and prospects, that I resolved to keep a regular journal of the events and observations of each day, so far as circum
stances would permit. This plan I was enabled to fol
I low, with some slight interruptions, from that time to the termination of my tour in the East.
It will be perceived that I had no opportunity for the prosecution of any course of study chosen with especial reference to the objects of this journey. My general reading had made me acquainted with the history of Egypt and Palestine, and some attention to the antiquities and literature of the Bible bad rendered me somewhat familiar with Oriental manners and customs. Of the several books of travels in these interesting regions which had recently appeared I had not been an inattentive reader, yet many occasions arose in the course of my tour in which I felt the want of a more intimate acquaintance with the researches of scholars and antiquarians. These literary deficiencies will, I trust, be chiefly apparent to the reader in the omission or very cursory treatment of several topics on which the title-page of these volumes confessedly authorizes him to expect more full and satisfactory information. In writing of the antiquities of Egypt, for instance, I have said almost nothing of the hieroglyphic inscriptions, upon which several travellers bestow a regard nearly exclusive, and which, in the view of one class of readers, constitute precisely the most important subject of inquiry embraced within the range of my tour. Without being insensible to the value of this branch of antiquarian study, I did not feel myself competent to form.or express opinions which are something worse than valueless except when they are the result of protracted and careful investigations, such as the mere traveller has no opportunity to make. I have adopted a similar course with regard to the startling chronological questions and conclusions to which the partial and
unsatisfactory progress hitherto made in the study of Egyptian antiquities has given rise. On other points equally difficult, and still more the subjects of controversy among learned men, I have not hesitated to express my opinions with the utmost freedom, because, as it seemed to me, these topics do not belong exclusively to the jurisdiction of scholars and antiquarians. It were presumption to pronounce upon the age of the Temple of Carnac, or upon the import of the mythological symbols sculptured or painted in the Tombs of the Kings, without having devoted years of patient observation and study to subjects so recondite and obscure; yet a man of much humbler pretensions, who has traversed the Desert with an observing eye and the Bible in his hand, may very properly form his own conclusions as to the place of the crossing of the Red Sea, or the route pursued by the Israelites in their way to Sinai and Palestine.
I solicit the attention of the reader to another remark upon a kindred topic. It will be seen that I do not pretend to give a full account of the manners, and customs, and religious opinions of the present inhabitants of the several countries to which my visits were extended. Numerous instances and facts which fell under my own eye I have faithfully recorded, but I have generally refrained from making any statements on these subjects not derived from personal observation or inquiry. It would have been easy to swell and enrich these pages with much valuable information derived from the only authentic sources, from writers skilled in the prevailing languages, and made familiar by long residence with usages which they profess to describe, yet it did not suit my purpose to avail myself of these resources. The reader who requires greater fulness of details can refer to the original works; and I
rather prefer to maintain, as far as possible, in his presence, the character of an eyewitness of the truth of what is here offered to his perusal.
It was with a view to this cardinal purpose that, using the meager guide-books to which I had access merely as convenient catalogues of the objects to which the traveller's attention should be chiefly directed, I have constantly endeavoured to describe by recording the impressions derived from my own examinations and reflections. I have not found it practicable to adhere to this purpose with perfect uniformity, but I have taken care that the reader shall be able to detect every deviation from it without difficulty. I wish to confine this remark to my descriptions of material objects. In referring to opinions and historical facts I have not found it practicable, nor have I thought it important, to be equally scrupulous.
In thus relying exclusively upon my own observations and inquiries, the results of which were always recorded upon the spot, I lay no claim to originality beyond what
I belongs to every independent observer, nor have I attempted or desired to avoid a general concurrence with the statements of former writers. In countries so little civilized, and so bare of all the creations of wealth and refinement as those treated of in these volumes, the same objects occur to every traveller, and are likely to have place in all books of travel; and the tourist who, ambitious of the praise of originality, refrains from describing what has been described, and well described, by those who have gone before him, will have little to offer either for the instruction or amusement of his readers. I have felt no wish to avoid the beaten track, satisfied that it is the easy and natural way to such objects as possess the highest interest and importance; and I have assumed in