Passport for the Early Explorer of Jerusalem, the Reverend Eli Smith, Signed by James Buchanan

October 23, 1846

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Passport for the Early Explorer of Jerusalem, the Reverend Eli Smith, Signed by James Buchanan
Document Signed
1 page | SMC 2068

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      Background

      The journey to Palestine for which this 1846 passport was key was not the first for the Reverend Eli Smith: he had, remarkably, already been there, in 1838, as the Arabic-speaking companion of Edward Robinson, there to explore, most famously, biblical Jerusalem. Nor was the “Wife” with whom he traveled, the first he had brought with him to the Middle East, but the third , the other two having died there.

      “Enfeebled health and shortened life are the sacrifices necessary to the work of the missions,” Smith had unhappily noted; and indeed, having returned from America after a year’s furlough in 1846 – his last - he would himself die in Beirut, at the age of 56.

      Here, then, Secretary of State Buchanan, who would in ten years become America’s fifteenth President, signs the passport of the Connecticut Yankee who would, also within the decade, become America’s first Arabist.


      Document Signed, as Secretary of State, partially printed and accomplished in manuscript, being a Passport, for the Reverend Eli Smith and Wife (Hetty Simpkins Butler Smith) 1 page, large folio, Department of State, Washington, October 23, 1846. Signed by ELI SMITH, and on verso, stamped and docketed by the U.S. Consulates for Constantinople and Syria & Palestine – including a 3-line autograph docket, signed, in the hand of HENRY WOOD, as United States Consul for Syria and Palestine at Beirut.
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      Page 1 transcript
      UNITED STATES
      OF AMERICA

      To all to whom these Presents shall come, Greeting

      DESCRIPTION                            

      Age 45 Years
      Stature 5 Feet 6 Inches Engh
      Forehead _________
      Eyes  dark
      Nose  common
      Mouth  common
      Chin ____________
      Hair  dark
      Complexion  dark
      Face  round      

      Signature of the Bearer

      ELI SMITH


      GRATIS


      No 1390.

      I, the Undersigned, Secretary of State of the
      United States of America, hereby request all
      whom it may concern to permit safely and

      freely to pass Revd Eli Smith, ac-  1
      companied by his Wife 2
      a Citizen of the United States, and in
      case of need to give him all lawful Aid and
      Protection

      Given under my hand and
      the impression of the Seal of the
      DEPARTMENT OF STATE at the
      City of Washington the 23d day  3
      of October A. D. 1846,
      in the 71th Year of the Independence
      of these United States.

      JAMES BUCHANAN

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      Page 2 transcript
      Eli Smitte. [sic]
      No. 271. the 9, Mouharrem 1263

      Vu a la Legation des Etats Unis a Con=
      =stantinople le 5eme Janvier 1847. Bon
      pour La Syrie.

      D.S. CASS