There is, after all, a fair prospect of the Arabian camel becoming a regularly naturalized and valuable American citizen. Our government, on two separate occasions, has imported cargoes of camels, in order, if possible, to acclimatize them for long journeys over the dreary plains of the south-west. Lieut. Beale, formerly of the navy, and superintendent of the construction of the new military road from Texas to the Colorado river in California, has made the exploration, occupying forty-eight days, and located an excellent wagon road, the whole distance. On this exploration the camel was the tried animal, and it seems it surpassed his expectations for patience, endurance and fitness for American desert travel. He says respecting it :— " Unsupported by the testimony of every man of my party, I should be unwilling to state all that I have seen them do. Starting with a full determination that the experiment should be no half-way one, I have subjected them to trials which no other animal could possibly have endured, and yet I have arrived here not only without the loss of a camel, but they are admitted, by those who saw them in Texas, to be in as good condition to-day as when we left San Antonio. In all our lateral explorations, they have carried water sometimes for more than a week, for the mules used by the men, the camels never even receiving n bucketful each. " They have traversed patiently with heavy packs on these explorations, countries covered with the sharpest volcanic rock, and yet their feet, to this hour, have evinced no symptom of tenderness or injury. With heavy packs they have crossed mountains, ascended and descended precipitous places, where an unloaded mule found it difficult to pass, even with the assistance of the rider dismounted, and carefully picking its way. I think it would be within bounds to say that in these vari0113 lateral exvlorations they have traversed nearly double the distance passed over by our mules and wagons."
This article was originally published with the title "The Camels" in Scientific American 13, 20, 155 (January 1858)