1873 - The American Palestine Exploration fiasco - Rustum Pasha - Prayer - Ramadan.
LIEUTENANT STEEVER, Professor Paine, formerly of Robert College, Rev. Mr. Ballantine, Rev. A. A. Haines, C. E., and others left Beirut in March, 1873, to explore and map trans-Jordanic Syria. They had many and valuable instruments worth $15,000 loaned by the American government and did substantial service, but the "Map" has never realized the hopes of the society although they mapped 600 square miles. Want of harmony among the staff well-nigh wrecked the expedition.
Lieutenant Steever, the head of the expedition, laboured under the strange delusion that he was commander of a military expedition in an enemy's country. He laid down martial rules for the camp, and gave orders to Mr. Haines and Professor Paine as if they were privates under his military control. Without consulting them he would announce his plan for the day just before starting and subject them to humiliating rules and conditions.
The New York Society had appointed Drs. Thomson, Van Dyck, Bliss, Post, and H. H. Jessup a local advisory committee to whom the expedition were primarily to report. May 20th we received a letter from Lieutenant Steever complaining of the inefficiency of his assistant. On the 26th of August we were surprised by the arrival in Beirut of Rev. A. A. Haines and Rev. Ballantine who had fled post-haste from the camp, having been threatened by Lieutenant Steever with a court martial. We had a committee meeting and seeing no possibility of their being able to work longer with the lieutenant, we approved their taking the first steamer for home. And thus the first exploration expedition collapsed.