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of war if they were Americans or serving on an American vessel-and if they refused to enter the Royal Navy. Presumed Britons in this circumstance were, at the least, put in the navy.
There is no solid evidence in the protection certificates that the process was abused to certify English sailors as American. There is, however, an obvious degree of looseness in the witnessing. Look at the wording of some of the oath forms. "Personally came (name of seaman) and made oath that he is a native of (city, state) and a citizen of the United States," or "who being legally sworn says that to the best of his knowledge and belief, he was born in (city, state)." Then elsewhere, “And (name of witness) being also duly sworn, did depose and say, that the facts above stated are true, according to the best of his knowledge and belief." The collector of customs, receiving this affidavit, issued the seaman his protection certificate which states in part, “I do hereby certify that the said (name of seaman) is a citizen of the United States."
Occasionally, two seamen, giving widely separated birthplaces, acted as each other's witness, each swearing that the other was a native of that place “to the best of his knowledge and belief." "Best knowledge and belief” could, of course, have come from one's telling his friend where he was born, information that certainly falls short of positive knowledge. This kind of swearing occurred in a large number of cases. A spot check of the crew lists indicates that probably about one-quarter of the male, nonrelated witnesses were shipmates of the men whose birthplaces they swore to. Occasionally the mate of a ship would swear to the birthplaces of members of the crew. The female witnesses who were probably temporary wives or girl friends of the seamen most likely had no solid evidence of their birthplaces or citizenship other than the seaman's own statement. Somewhat more than 10 percent of the witnesses had
the same surname as the seaman or were actually listed as father, mother, sister, aunt. Presumably, relatives swore to accurate information.
Of more than one hundred notaries, aldermen, and justices of the peace in Philadelphia, twenty-two got practically all the business in seamen's oaths, raising the possibility that some officials were less stringent in their requirements for proof than others. Convenience, however, probably explains the phenomenon. The Philadelphia city directory for 1813 shows that the officials most often used were all fairly close to the waterfront. Nicholas Diehl, the notary public with about 25 percent of the business, was located "Next door to the Custom House." 5
In summary, for about one-third of the certificates examined, the witness probably did not have direct, independent knowledge of the seaman's birthplace and citizenship, but of course he swore only “to the best of his knowledge and belief.” The statements may well have been fully true, but the process was open to fraud and certainly vulnerable to the criticism the British made of it.
The impressment problem was really solved by British public reaction against the practice that was part of the great English reform movement of the 1830s and 1840s and by diplomatic exchanges during the period. American seamen continued to obtain protection certificates, but these gradually metamorphosed into general seamen's identification papers. The certificates performed their new function until 1940 when they were replaced by the Seamen's Continuous Discharge Book, and the last relics of the 144-year-old law went out of service. O
5 One justice of the peace, John Hunter of 186 South Fifth Street, seemed to get business almost exclusively from blacks, although other officials also made affidavits for black seamen. Unlike other officials, Hunter for some reason used a fully manuscript oath statement, nearly identical each time, rather than a printed form with blanks.
WILLIAM F. LYNCH'S EXPEDITION
TO THE DEAD SEA, 1847-48
Perhaps one of the most important explorations of the Holy Land was that undertaken in 1847-48 by the United States Navy under the command of Lieutenant William F. Lynch. Scientifically, the region was completely unknown until the beginning of the nineteenth century. Maps of the River Jordan, the Dead Sea, and the Sea of Galilee were merely sketches lacking precision and detail, and the flora, fauna, and other geographical components of the area had not been studied. Although many travelers had visited the region before Lynch's expedition, no one had accurately mapped the area in its entirety. The earliest map, the Jacotin map of the Holy Land, was
drawn in 1799 by a French army officer during Napoleon's invasion of Palestine, but it correctly charted only a short segment of the Jordan Valley south of the Sea of Galilee and the coast on the western part of the lake.3
The first attempt to explore the River Jordan and the Dead Sea was made by Christopher Costigan, a young Irishman, in 1835. Accompanied by a Maltese sailor he had surveyed only parts of the Jordan and the Dead Sea when, stricken with a fever, he died without leaving a written account of his investigations. Eight months after his death the American explorer John Lloyd
The author wishes to thank Robert Mitchell and Eric Van Swol of the Department of Geography, University of Maryland, for their assistance in the preparation of this article.
1 The original handwritten report of the expedition is in Miscellaneous Records, Naval Records Collection of the Office of Naval Records and Library, Record Group 45, National Archives Building.
2 See Yehoshua Ben-Arieh, The Rediscovery of the Holy Land in the Nineteenth Century (Jerusalem, 1970); and I. W. J. Hopkins, “Nineteenth Century Maps of Palestine: Dual Purpose of Historical Evidence,” Imago Mundi: A Review of Early Cartography 22 (1968) : 30-36.
3 For the Jacotin map see D. H. (Amiran) Kalner, “Jacotin's Map of Palestine,” Palestine Exploration Quarterly 76 (1944): 157-163; Y. Karmon, “An Analysis of Jacotin's Map of Palestine,” Israel Exploration Journal 10 (1960): 157-174, 244-254; Atlas of Israel, s.v. “Jacotin's map"; and Ben-Arieh, The Changing Landscape of the Central Jordan Valley (Jerusalem, 1968), p. 33.
4 Robert J. E. Boggis, Down the Jordan in a Canoe (London, 1939), pp. 22-25; Ernest W. G. Masterman, “Three Early Explorers in the Dead Sea Valley: Costigan-Molyneux-Lynch,” Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statements 44 (1911): 12-27; John Lloyd Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petraea and the Holy Land, 10th ed. (New York, 1839), 2:197-216.
Stephens visited the Dead Sea and learned of the ill-fated expedition. Stephens made a special trip to Beirut to interview Costi. gan's companion and later incorporated his story and reconstructed a map of the exploration in Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petraea and the Holy Land.5 Other expeditions followed led by such explorers as G. H. Moore, W. G. Beke, G. H. Schubert, J. de Bertou, J. Russeger, T. M. C. Symonds, and Edward Robinson and Eli Smith, who attempted to calculate the depths of the Jordan and the Dead Sea and to study the land features of the area. 6
Although they did not explore the Jordan and Dead Sea, Smith and Robinson made observations in the region that were later useful to Lynch. In 1847 T. H. Molyneux, a British naval officer, rowed down the Jordan from the Galilee to the Dead Sea in order to examine the river's course and to measure the depth of the Dead Sea. He correctly ascertained the depth of the Sea of Galilee to be no more than forty-eight meters. Unfortunately, he did not finish his survey and died six months after the expedition. He did leave, however, a short
5 Stephens, Incidents of Travel, p. 212. See also the new edition, Stephens, Incidents of Travel in Egypt, Arabia Petraea and the Holy Land, ed. Victor W. von Hagen (Norman, Okla., 1970), p. 388.
6 Isaac Schattner, Mapat Erets-Yisrael ... (Jerusalem, 1951); Karl Ritter, The Comparative Geography of Palestine and the Sinaitic Peninsula, trans. and ed. William L. Gage (Edinburgh, 1866), 2: 72-84, 124-128, 3: 130-173; Edward Robinson and Eli Smith, Biblical Researches in Palestine, Mount
Sinai, and Arabia Petraea during the Year 1838 (New York, 1841), 1: 513, 2:222; Robinson, Physical Geography of the Holy Land: A Supplement to the Late Author's Biblical Researches in Palestine (London, 1865), p. 210; Frederick J. Bliss, The Development of Palestine Exploration (New York, 1906), pp. 183-223. Lynch praised the reports of the Jordan Valley and the Dead Sea by Robinson and Smith in his Narrative of the United States' Expedition to the River Jordan and the Dead Sea (Philadelphia, 1849).
account of his journey, including a sketch map of the Sea of Galilee.?
While Molyneux was still struggling with the waves of the Jordan and the Dead Sea, Lieutenant Lynch began preparations for his voyage. He had asked the United States government to authorize a naval expedition to the Dead Sea and the Jordan in May 1847. In November, with a party that included Lieutenant John B. Dale, Midshipman Richmond Aulick, Francis E. Lynch, the commander's son, and ten seamen, he sailed from Brooklyn, New York, aboard the Supply, which was taking provisions to
7 T. H. Molyneux, “Expedition to the Jordan and the Dead Sea,” Journal of the Royal Geographical Society of London 12 (1848) : pt. 2; Ritter, Comparative Geography, ed. Gage, 2:287-294. The sketch map was used immediately by others, as for example, by William Allen in The Dead Sea: A New Route to India ... (London, 1855), and by Carel W. M. Van de Velde, who visited and mapped the country for the first time in 1851-52, in his Memoir to Accompany the Map of the Holy Land (Gotha, 1858).