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and Bertou, were still more diverse and inconsistent in their results. The former made the depression of that lake to be 535 Paris feet, only 65 feet less than that of the Dead Sea; while he made the Jordan at the bridge just south of the Hûleh to be 350 Paris feet above the Mediterranean; a difference of 880 feet in the distance of about five miles! Bertou gave the depression of the Lake of Tiberias at about 700 feet; and that of the Hûleh itself at about 18 feet.*
All these different results were utterly inconsistent with each other; and in some respects appeared to us to be equally so with the nature of the country. I therefore ventured, in 1840, to suggest, that "so great is the uncertainty in all such partial measurements and observations, (as evinced in the like case of the Caspian Sea,) that the question can never be decided with exactness, until the intervening country shall have been surveyed, and the relative level of the two seas trigonometrically ascertained."+
The fulfilment of this wish was nearer at hand than I could then anticipate. It was accomplished by Lieut. Symonds, in 1841; and a slight notice of his results was laid before the Royal Geographical Society of London, at their meeting January 24th, 1842; from which an erroneous statement found its way into the newspapers. A full report of his
measurements and calculations was afterwards laid before the society by Lieut. Symonds himself; but no further publication appears yet to have been made respecting them. I therefore subjoin the following account, transmitted to me by Mr. Smith under date of Feb. 7th, 1842.
"I am happy to inform you, that the altitude [depression] of the Dead Sea has been ascertained by exact trigonometrical measurement. Lieut. Symonds, of the British Royal Engineers, surveyed the greater part of Judea, and the region around the plain of Esdraelon by triangulation; and while doing it, carried a double line of altitudes from the sea at Yâfa to Neby Samwîl, and thence another double line to the Dead Sea. He found the latter to be 1337 feet below the Mediterranean ! By similar observations he ascertained the Lake of Tiberias to be 84 feet below the Mediterranean.
*Bibl. Res. II, p. 595.
SECOND SERIES, VOL. VIII. NO. I.
†Ib. p. 222.
These numbers he gave me himself; and at the same time showed me his calculations."
The Rev. Samuel Wolcott was among the missionaries sent out to Syria in 1839. He remained at Beirût; and during the bombardment of that place in September, 1840, withdrew with the Rev. W. Thomson to Cyprus; whence, however, they returned immediately afterwards. During the following year, (1841,) he was employed at Beirût and in the mountains; where he has shown himself to be an active and keen observer of men and things. On the first of December last, he arrived in the Holy City, where he spent the winter, occupying himself with missionary labor, and at the same time exploring the environs and antiquities of the place. The two letters now in my hands, from him to Mr. Smith, are dated Jan. 10th and 25th, 1842; and serve to show, at least, that the first six weeks of his sojourn in Jerusalem, were not passed in idleness.
Ancient Subterranean Gateway under the Mosk el-Aksa. -The first information as to the existence of this gateway, as also the first definite account of the adjacent vaults under the area of the Haram, were given to the public in the Biblical Researches, from the statements and drawings of Mr. Catherwood. The vaults, indeed, are mentioned by Breidenbach and Fabri in 1483, and Baumgarten in 1507; and Maundrell in 1697 relates, that he saw them from without, and describes them as consisting of two aisles extending one hundred feet or more under Mount Moriah, etc. But how he could thus have seen them was to us inexplicable; unless at that time there might have been a breach in the wall. The following extracts from Mr. Wolcott's letters, go to clear up the whole difficulty. Under date of Jan. 10th, he writes as follows:
"On reading of the ancient vaults under the temple-area, (or the present Haram,) seen by Maundrell and other early travellers from a garden within the city-wall on the south, I
*Bib. Res. I. pp. 446–452.
† Ib. p. 446. Maundrell's Journey, Lond. 1810, p. 135.
felt at once the difficulty suggested by Prof. Robinson, from having just observed the extreme solidity and antiquity of all the lower part of the southern wall of the Haram enclosed within the city. I visited the spot again soon after, for the purpose of examining this point. It is obvious that the wall lies in its massive original strength, unmoved and immoveable. At the point where the city wall meets it, or, rather, connecting this with that of the Haram, you will recollect, is a large irregular building, now unoccupied.* Its lower rooms adjoining the garden or field within the city, are accessible from it. I entered the one adjacent to the Haram, whose wall forms one of its sides, and exhibits the same appearance as without; excluding up to this point the supposition of any breach in it, since its foundation.
My attention was now arrested by another object. The arch which forms the ceiling of the room, as it rises from its eastern wall, twelve or fifteen feet above the floor, cuts off the square corner of a sculptured stone, projecting several inches from the solid wall of the Haram, with its side and front profusely ornamented, though now blackened. It struck me at once, that this was a portion of the ancient gateway discovered by Mr. Catherwood, and described in the Researches.†
I now went round by St. Stephen's gate to examine the spot without the wall; remarking, as I passed the Golden Gate, that the architecture which I had just seen was of the same florid character. I found a room in the exterior building, east of the one in which I had been, the entrances to which were closed. But it evidently did not embrace the whole width of the ancient gateway, the eastern part of whose ornamented arch with other relics, still remained in the wall outside. In the summit of this arch is a window, which the accumulation of rubbish here has left not more than ten feet above the ground. I climbed up to this window, on the
*Described in the Bib. Res. as a low, square tower, forming a gateway or entrance to the city, now closed. Vol. I. p. 387. I have a distinct recollection of having in like manner noticed this sculptured stone; but as we then had no suspicion of the existence of the gateway, this led to no further results.-R.
wall, and looked through the iron grating. I found myself directly over the gate, (or over the eastern part, for it was double,) and the broad passage [aisle] leading down to it, extending, with a row of columns in the middle, as far as I could I observed a door near the bottom of the passage opening to the east.
"I found here, unexpectedly, a solution of the difficulty which I had felt. Here were the vaults' which Maundrell saw. They could have been no other; and the 'two aisles' of these and their general appearance accord with his description. The same may, perhaps, be said of the other travellers referred to. In their day, the outer building probably did not exist; and the passage-way was visible from an opening in the city."
The very next day, Jan. 11th, Mr. Wolcott again visited, with Mr. Tipping, an English artist, the western room first above described, in which he had noticed a portion of the gateway; and while pursuing their examination, they were enabled, by the aid of a Mussulman boy, to obtain access to the eastern room already mentioned. Here they very unexpectedly found themselves before the entrance of the western half of the double gateway, which opens into the said room. They entered the avenue under the Mosk, and traversed its aisles, taking then but a cursory view. Under date of Jan. 25th, Mr. W. writes as follows:
"I have again visited the passage and gateway under the Haram for a more particular examination. The evidences of its antiquity are unquestionable. Connected with each gate are two marble Corinthian columns, indicating, as Dr. R. has observed, a Roman origin; and there are also works of Saracenic work of a still later date. But the foundations are Jewish; and both walls of the passage are composed in part of smooth, bevelled stones. The arches are of hewn stone, and are the noblest that I have seen in the country. As I walked through the broad aisles, in a stillness broken only by the sound of my footsteps, it was a thrilling thought, that I was treading one of the avenues through which the tribes had pressed to the temple. I seemed to see the throng of worshippers, and to hear their chant: 'I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord. I will pay my vows now in the presence of all his people, in the court of the Lord's house, in the midst of thee, O Jerusalem. Praise ye the Lord.'
"I subsequently visited the place with Mr. Tipping, who has taken an accurate drawing of it. We took a few measurements. The bottom of the passage is now lower than the ground without; but as rubbish has collected here, it must once have been higher.* Its width is forty-two feet; leaving, exclusive of the columns in the middle, about nineteen feet for each aisle. Between the gates is a partition extending ten or twelve feet within, composed of stones of that length and of great thickness; that of one which we measured was four and a half feet. The two longest stones which I saw, were in one of the side walls, each thirteen feet in length and bevelled. The first column is twenty feet high, and fifteen and a half feet in circumference, and is a single block; its capital being a part of it. Beyond the second column, the floor of the passage is raised several feet, and in the western aisle is mounted by steps. In the eastern aisle, in place of steps is a layer of immense stones with their ends bevelled; and upon it, eight or ten feet back, is a wall of mason-work, a little higher than the upper floor of the passage. Of the columns on the elevated portion, only the first is round, and of a single stone, like the lower ones; the rest are square and built with masonry. The upper end of the western aisle is parted off into a small room. At the head of the eastern is the entrance from above, by a common picket gate, to which a few steps lead down, and through which we could see the green grass of the Haram.† A Mihrab [niche of prayer] has been erected here, and another at the foot of the aisle. They have also been placed in the recesses of two door-ways near the bottom, on each side of the gateway, which have been walled up. We have ascertained that the place is still visited for Muslim devotion. We were fortunate in finding it vacant. An owl perched on the capital of one of the columns, and a bat which flitted across the aisles, were the only living things we saw,-representatives of the mournful decay of the glory of the place."
*Mr. Catherwood supposed the bottom of the gateway to be fifteen or twenty feet above the ground outside; Bib. Res. I. p. 451. He would seem not to have passed out into the exterior building; and probably judged merely from the window and the external traces as seen outside.-R.
See Bib. Res. I. p. 450.