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THE EDITOR'S PREFACE.
THE author of this little narrative has given in it so circumstantial an account of himself, that there seems to be no occasion for my saying anything, in order to make the reader better acquainted with him. But it may be satisfactory to state, that, as I bore part myself in a considerable portion of the travels, and in many of the incidents which he relates, I can give testimony so far to his truth and fidelity; and therefore feel little
doubt that those gentlemen whom he speaks of having accompanied in other journies and adventures will find him equally accurate, where those are described. Of the remainder, I can recollect to have heard long ago from his own mouth, during the period that he was with me, many of the most remarkable particulars, detailed just in the manner here given and, whilst I cannot but feel surprised at his memory, which was never assisted by a reference to any book, or consultation of any map whatever, for the purpose of refreshing it, it affords a strong proof of its correctness, that, upon a comparison
of his account of the Wahabee war with that of Monsieur Mengin (which, though rather a dry work*, seems to have been compiled with great industry at Cairo), only such occasional variations in circumstances and details will be found, as might be expected between the personal recollections of an eye-witness, and a chronicle collected and digested from various sources; the principal events, and the order of them, as well geographically as in point of time, being
* Published at Paris 1823, entitled "l'Egypte sous le Gouvernement de Mahomet Ali," 2 vols., 8vo. The author, Monsieur Mengin, had remained in that country from the time of the French Expedition, as appears by his preface.
for the most part the same in both, so that they materially confirm one another, taking only into account, in the names of places, the widely different spelling between a Frenchman and an Italian. An equally satisfactory concurrence is the general result of confronting the description here given of Mecca with that of Ali Bey*;
*Ali Bey was a Spaniard from Catalonia, of the name of Badia: I found some particulars among his original papers, to which I had access at Constantinople, which induced me to suspect him to have been secretly brought up as a Jew, but I have in my possession authentic proof of his having been employed by the French government as a spy, in the original draught in his own handwriting of a memorial to Bonaparte, reciting his services and claiming his reward. His papers prove him to have been a man of indefatigable
the trifling points of ceremonial which do not exactly coincide being doubt
industry, but of very little previous knowledge; and I have heard from those who conversed with him in the East, that he spoke Arabic very imperfectly. Of his want of historical information the reader will form a judgment when he sees that in page 300 of Vol. i., he evidently supposes Catherine II. to have been widow of Peter the Great! Ali Bey returned into the East a short time before I quitted it, with the intention of penetrating in some new direction from Damascus, but there or in that neighbourhood died soon afterwards, as it was thought, by poison.
It is not from any preference to these two writers, above many others, that I have compared and cited them, but because they write about the same countries and often about the very same persons and events near the same period. I have pointed out where they differ from our author;-Ali Bey seems to have been a man of more industry than intelligence, and more vanity than either; and Mengin had certainly opportunities of being better informed than