Auction 78 Rare and Important Items
May 25, 2021
 8 Ramban St, Jerusalem.
The preview and the auction will be held at our offices in accordance with the instructions of the Ministry of Health, 8 Ramban St. Jerusalem
The auction has ended

LOT 93:

Letter Describing a Journey to Palestine on Board the USS Delaware in 1834 – One of the First American Ships to ...

Sold for: $1,600
Start price:
$ 1,500
Estimated price:
Auction house commission: 25%
VAT: 17% On commission only
Users from foreign countries may be exempted from tax payments, according to the relevant tax regulations

Letter Describing a Journey to Palestine on Board the USS Delaware in 1834 – One of the First American Ships to Reach the Shores of Palestine – Interesting Report of Meetings with the First American Consular Agent in Palestine, David Darmon, and with Pasha Muhammad Ali
Lengthy handwritten letter, from a passenger on the USS Delaware (Lewis Woofley?). Sent from the port of Mahon (Menorca), to Ohio, United States. October 1834. English.
An interesting letter describing a journey to Palestine via Italy, including a report of a visit to Egypt, meeting Pasha Muhammad Ali, approaching Palestine and meeting the first American consular agent in Palestine, David Darmon.
This letter was written by a passenger on one of the first American ships to reach the shores of Palestine – USS Delaware. The journey took place in 1834, only four years after the United States and the Ottoman Empire signed a treaty establishing sailing and commerce relations between the two countries, and the letter constitutes an important documentation of the Middle East at this historic time.
The letter includes an interesting description of Pasha Muhammad Ali (1769-1849), founder of modern Egypt, who hosted some of the passengers in his palace: "He did not rise to meet us but kept his crossed legged position reclining his head and motioning us to be seated… Coffee was… handed us in fine China goblets, resting on golden stands. The Pacha is one of the most interesting men, in many respects, of the age. The changes that he has introduced among his subjects, the improvements that he has made and is still carrying on in Egypt are immense. He cut one canal 40 miles in length… by which water is brought from the Nile to the city... It only took a few weeks to complete it, as 120,000 hands were employed in its construction… 30,000 are said to have perished while at work on this canal!".
The letter further describes reaching the shores of Palestine and meeting the first American consular agent in Palestine, David Darmon: "On the morning of the 12th [of August], we came in sight of land – the 'Holy Land!' Palestine!... We stood off and on from Jaffa during the day, and sent in to inquire for information respecting the health and the state of the roads between this place and Jerusalem. The Consul came on board and from the account he gave us of the unsettled state of the country, the bad roads… the danger of bandits or robbers by the way, as well as the existence of plagues and fever in Jerusalem itself seems to preclude the possibility of making a pilgrimage to the 'Holy City' – what a pity! After having come so far and being so near to it – Like Moses, we are only to be permitted to see the 'promised land', but not to enter it" (on 15th August, some of the passengers on this ship, presumably including the writer of this letter, reached Jerusalem. In a postscript on the first page, dated October, the writer notes that he was unable to describe the rest of the journey due to the cholera epidemic).
David Darmon was the first diplomatic representative of the United States in Palestine (his official title was consular agent, since he was appointed before the American consulate was established in Jerusalem, and was subordinate to the consulate in Constantinople). Darmon, a French Jew and an unknown figure in the United States, was appointed in 1832 upon the recommendation of the Jewish American traveler, Colonel Mendes Cohen (Cohen fought in the War of 1812, and spent many years in the Middle East). He was removed from his position in 1835, only three years after his appointment, partly due to his poor performance in accommodating American travelers.
Due in part to his short tenure, it is rare to find documentation of Darmon's activity in Palestine.
[1] leaf, folded in two (four written pages). 25 cm. Good-fair condition. Folding marks and stains. Tears (including open tears) to margins and folds, slightly affecting text. On final page, near address, postmark from New York ("New York / Ship / Jan 20").