Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/149

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145
JEFFERSON DAVIS'S CAMEL EXPERIMENT

After Wayne and Porter met at Spezzia they decided to get a camel at once in order to study its habits and to learn the proper treatment. They went in the Supply to Tunis, where Mohammed Bey gave them two animals which they hoisted on board, and proceeded to the Asiatic coasts, studying on the way the habits, ailments and care of the animals. Their observations were carefully reduced to writing and sent to Davis. The first stop after leaving Tunis was made at Smyrna, where they found fine burden camels, but no dromedaries such as Davis was anxious to get for chasing the Indians; at Salonica, the next stop, there were no camels—from both places the dromedaries had been taken for use in the Crimean war then going on. Davis had instructed Wayne and Porter to go to Persia to see about the Bactrians of that region, but at Salonica they found that the roads were closed by snow—it was now December—and that the country was in an unsettled condition. So after sending circulars to the English-speaking missionaries, consuls and business men in the Levant requesting information, the two officers sailed to Constantinople and thence went to the Crimea to see what was being done there with the camels. Wayne reported that the Bactrians seemed to be of little use because they were slow and because of their two humps, which made it difficult to fasten on the loads. But the one-humped Arabians were valuable; 3,000 were already in the Crimea and more were to be imported for the next campaign. The English officers who had used them in India were enthusiastic.

At Constantinople Wajme was disappointed in not getting a supply of both kinds of animals. All there were worthless or had the "itch." The Sultan sent far into the interior for good ones to give them, but Wayne, anxious to go to Egypt, did not wait for them to be brought to Constantinople.

The Supply sailed to Egypt and while Wayne went to Cairo to get permission to export dromedaries Porter remained at Alexandria looking over the market and making a lengthy report to Secretary Davis. He was now an enthusiast on the subject of camels. "I hope to see the day," he wrote, "when every Southern planter will be using the animal extensively." The education of Wayne and Porter progressed rapidly. They were soon expert camel traders. Animals at first palmed off on them as good they were now able to pronounce worthless. These they got rid of—two, for instance, they sold to a butcher in Constantinople for $44. Porter said "the good condition of these camels recommended them to a butcher of Constantinople, who bought them for purposes known only to himself." The natives now could not impose upon the ignorance of the American officers.

An amusing incident happened in Egypt. Wayne found it difficult to get permission to carry camels out of the country. He wanted twenty dromedaries; but could get permission to carry out only two. After protest this number was increased to four and later to five. Some-