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ARE DEDICATED WITH GRATITUDE AND RESPECT
THE NEIGHBOURING CLERGYMEN
WHO SO KINDLY PERFORMED ALL MY PAROCHIAL DUTIES
DURING MY VISIT TO THE LAND OF THE MORNING,
ANOTHER ESTEEMED CLERICAL FRIEND,
THE ONLY SURVIVING SON OF MY FIRST PATRON,
WHOSE ASSISTANT I WAS TILL HIS DEATH.
MANSE OF DOLPHINTON,
18th May, 1852.
Forty years since, a trip to Greece was esteemed not only to be difficult, but dangerous. Young men of fortune seldom ventured so far as Malta. The activity of Sterne has long been admired for undertaking a sentimental journey in France, and it required courage in the artist to enter Italy. These countries are now swarming with English tourists, and every year cartloads of travels are published till they have become stale and unprofitable as fetid fish. Morning-ward of Europe matters are still somewhat as they were in France and Italy at the end of the last century. The distance is great, the intercourse limited, and the discomforts are formidable from the warmth of the climate, and even from the dangers of disease and robbery. Above all, the delay occasioned by the voyager being so often put into quarantine, and otherwise detained waiting for steamers, is rather vexatious. But notwithstanding these serious drawbacks, a few sturdy tourists are constantly traversing all the corners of Turkey, and more especially Egypt and Palestine; and several works of very considerable merit have lately appeared as to these countries.
The Author, in the spring of last year, was permitted by Divine Providence to accomplish what from his earliest recollections had been the desire of his heart—a journey into the Bible-Lands of the East, into the once stirring localities of Western Asia, and
homeward through the classic countries of Greece, Sicily, and Italy. And having accomplished such a jaunt of about ten thousand miles in extent, he feels naturally desirous to record the memorials of a summer marked by such change of scenes and varieties of feeling, that he may share them with those who, from experience in this way, sympathize with them,—that he may recall them for his own satisfaction,—and that he may interest the reading public with some information, and several pious reflections.
But the bilious critic says, really there is no use for another volume of travels in the East, when so very many have already fallen dead-born from the press. It is only to pour the liquid out of one bottle into another, to give it a stronger colouring a little different, then to shake it well, and set it up in the window before a newer light to attract the attention of novices. Besides, we are told even in parliament, that not one book of a season pays the publisher, and that three hundred copies are not sold in one work of a thousand which are advertised; and I have heard of a worthy clergyman, who wrote a bulky commentary on the Revelations, being compelled to sell a house for every thick folio volume he produced. Candid reader, and kind purchaser! my sagacity or consummate vanity brings me to a different conclusion. I think that I have travelled further to the East, and traversed more interesting countries in one trip, than many single tourists have hitherto done. Different men view even the same country with different eyes, and several cross lights are required to bring out the real state of matters. The countries referred to in the following pages are at present in a state of rapid transition, which should be accurately noticed in detail, as often as travellers have the opportunity. In Africa, on the banks of the Nile, in the Holy Land, down the Jordan, and along the shores of the Dead Sea, in Asia Minor, throughout European Turkey, and especially in Italy, the prophecies are in the act of being speedily fulfilled to a greater or
less amount in the different localities, and important events are turning on the wheel of fortune, which may, ere long, astonish the civilized world. Every movement therefore should be marker, the progress towards civilization and Christianity should be detailed from time to time; and the working of the five great rival European powers, which are all quietly gaping for a slice of Turkey, when it is cut up, should be detected; and the manners and inclinations of a population so enormous should be shadowed forth in every variety of light. In a word, no traveller who has the capacity of a hen, should traverse these distant regions without contributing some mites of information and devotion to the public treasury of amusement and piety. The work may be abused in the periodicals and pamphlets of the day, or worse still, it may attract no notice whatever. But at any rate,
"Tis pleasant sure, to see one's self in print;
If no other human being ever peruses this work, the Author hereby pledges himself, whether or no, to take it up at a time, and thus to travel in his own easy chair all the parts mentioned over and over again, certainly with as much pleasure, and probably with less risk and expense than before. And whether the transaction may pay or not, I am not the man in such an affair to sell
house at this time, in respect that I possess no such heritable property in my own right. But this I know, that the enterprising publishers have bought the manuscript at a handsome sum, and all is stereotyped with the confident expectation of selling ten thousand copies of the work.
It is hardly worth while to add, that readers who have never roughed it through thick and thin, either in Africa or Asia, may, in the simplicity of their hearts, startle at some of the oddities mentioned here and there, and perfumed dandies, glittering in their