A Yankee Engineer Abroad
Part II: The East
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This book is a transcription of a recently discovered manuscript of a Grand Tour taken by a clasically educated American engineer in the years 1855 through 1857.
On returning from El Deir to the tents, we were met by one of our men, who had sought us with information that the English party had taken their departure; and that some of our own servants, frightened by the threats of the Bedouins, had left with them. We found the camp in great commotion. A further party of Wady Mousa men had come in, and there were violent discussions going on in the harsh Arabic tongue. We could understand no more of the points of the debate than that they related to further backsheesh and to a division of the spoils. The newly arrived were determined to have their share and to enforce their demands by a plunder of the baggage. The Arabs of our escort stood to their duty manfully, resisting the attempt; for a little while, matters seemed about coming to a crisis between parties very unequal in numbers. Flashing eyes and drawn swords, and lighted matches, shewed the appearance at least of earnestness. I never saw such fiends in human shape as these Arabs of Wady Mousa: black, scowling brows and eyes – having more the glare of savage beasts or the malevolent passions of demons than rational intelligence – drawn weapons flourished over heads, accompanied by a most infernal howling and shouting – a scene worthy of Pandemonium or of the accursed Land of Edom. Violent demonstration, rather than real violence, was the object intended; for although swords were drawn against each other, and guns threateningly presented, the men managed to avoid actual encounter. The ugly scars, however, and mutilated limbs of some of these human demons shewed that they were no strangers to violence and bloodshed. After some further attempts at plunder and some compromise on the part of our dragoman, we were all required to leave forthwith, and prohibited from any further visits to the ruins. We should have enjoyed another day’s stay in Petra, could we have had quiet, to see more deliberately its objects of interest; yet we had already visited the more prominent, and were not sorry to escape from a tumultuous crew that would call to mind a further passage of the above-quoted prophecy: “It shall be an habitation of dragons.” It was certainly consoling to remember that we were not the first to have been thus driven-out, as it were, from Petra. Nearly every traveller that has recorded his visit here has suffered more or less from these men of Belial. This year they have been more than usually violent. Several parties preceding us were unable even to gain admission.
The following obituary and preface are taken from the book "Notes on the History of the Church" by Frederick Hubbard, privately printed, and published in 1896 by Thomas Whittaker, New York.
HUBBARD. — In New York City, on October 30, 1895, of consumption, FREDERICK HUBBARD. Funeral services at Trinity Church, All Saints’ Day. Burial at Utica, N.Y.
Entered into the rest of Paradise, at No. 20 Union Square, New York City, October 30, 1895, FREDERICK HUBBARD. In close of a completed life, he has left the memory of religion, pure and undefiled, to which his many friends may point with affectionate reverence. Born June 20, 1817, in Hamilton, Madison County, of Thomas H. and Phœbe Hubbard, his boyhood days were passed in Utica. Graduating at Hamilton College in 1836, he adopted the profession of engineering and was for many years connected with the laying out of the early railroads of the country, especially the Hudson River, Erie, Michigan Southern and Northern Indiana. For two years he was engaged in the erection of Harlem Bridge. Retiring from business some twenty-five years ago, he travelled extensively and occupied himself with classical reading and scientific research. Of positive conviction in religion, he brought to bear his wide erudition especially on Biblical studies. He long ago identified himself with Trinity Church, New York, where he was a regular worshipper and devout communicant, and entered into the practical work of helping in her many activities. For years he conducted a Bible-class and gave himself to interesting young men in the guilds. Through his liberal gifts he was practically identified with many parishes throughout the country. Especially sympathetic with the sick and needy, he endowed beds in St. Luke’s Hospital and St. Mary’s Home; but so unostentatious was he in his charities, almost to secrecy, that their extent can only be guessed at. Simple in his demeanor, yet choice in his tastes, his life moved quietly on without parade, content in the satisfaction of doing good. In that great day of reward many will rise up to call him blessed, and, though he has passed from the field of his rich activities here, his works do follow him.
The funeral took place on All Saints’ Day from Trinity Church, New York. The interment was on Saturday in the Hubbard family lot, in Forest Hill Cemetery, Utica.
E. B. S.
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