Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day/Captain Warren, R.E.
CAPTAIN WARREN, R.E.
The shafts pierced through the rubbish were little holes, from three to four feet square. Their sides were walled up with wood, which was continually being 'started.' They were pierced to a depth sometimes of eighty, ninety, or even a hundred feet; galleries being run out from thence to examine along a wall, or to follow up a trace Sometimes an aqueduct would be discovered, dry and empty, or foul with the tricklings of sewage overhead. Down this would crawl El Captan, as the Arabs called him, note-book in hand and pencil in mouth, measuring, sketching, and examining; for nothing must be left undescribed. Who could tell but that some lucky accident, some unexpected clue, might not lead at once to the solution of all the difficulties? Then the stuff through which the digging had to be conducted was so penetrated with the sewage of the town, that if the fingers were ever so slightly scratched, festering would ensue. And—which was the greatest anxiety of all—the lives of a hundred workmen and more, to say nothing of the gallant non-commissioned officers under his charge, were in the hands of Captain Warren. An error of judgment, a carelessly protected shaft, and all would be over in a moment. During all his work, he never lost a man.
Captain Warren's name is so well known as associated with the recent excavations at Jerusalem as to need but little notice. These works were carried on in the teeth of the most formidable difficulties; against religious prejudices which had to be carefully 'managed,' against an unhealthy climate, against shortness in the finance department, and against great personal risks. We are not here going to recall the leading features of those explorations; suffice it to say that their results are of such great importance as to set the question of the holy sites upon an entirely different footing. Other travellers have preceded Captain Warren; none of them explored as he did, nor perhaps ever will again.
The account, chiefly an official statement, of his results was published originally in a connected form in 'The Recovery of Jerusalem.' The work was intended for students; and those who had not made what is called the Jerusalem question a serious study found it a dry and uninteresting work, lightened by the little bits of personal adventure. The Palestine Exploration Fund have issued a popular account of all their work, in continuous order, including the researches of the other officers who have worked for them. In this account full justice is done to the pluck, intelligence, and zeal of the gallant officer whose portrait we have given. Captain Warren, we have only to add, has found himself unable to go out again to the Holy Land; and has rejoined his corps, the Royal Engineers.