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ANSYREEH AND ISMAELEEH:
A VISIT TO
THE SECRET SECTS
WITH A VIEW TO THE ESTABLISHMENT OF SCHOOLS.
BY THE REV. SAMUEL LYDE, B.A.,
FELLOW OF JESUS COLLEGE, CAMBRIDGE,
The writer of a book of travels, whatever may be his native modesty, cannot help making himself sufficiently conspicuous under the I or we whose adventures form the theme of the narrative. In some cases, therefore, he may prefer to travel, as far as possible, incognito, but in the present case the author cannot avoid introducing himself to his readers.
He would say, then, that he is a clergyman of the Anglican Church, whose ill-health prevented him from exercising the duties of his profession in England, at least during the winter months. He, consequently, for some successive winters went abroad, and during the winter of 1850-1, he made the usual tour of Egypt and Syria. Feeling more and more the duty and desirableness of being employed, if possible, in the proper work of his office, he was led to think of Syria, as a country whose climate would allow him to remain and labour the year round. The only thing was to find a field of labour. This the providence of God seemed to present. In a conversation with Her Britannic Majesty's Consul at Beyrout—Mr. Moore,—he heard of a people, called the Ansyreeh, numerous and important, but sunk, as they had been for ages, in a miserable state of ignorance and oppression, arising from the profession of a secret and effete religion. Finding, further, that the Consul had long been of opinion that there was a most favourable opening for commencing a mission among this people, and was surprised that no Christian Church had yet attempted one, he determined to return to Syria and judge for himself, by personal inquiries made in a tour among them. He therefore returned to Beyrout in 1851, and in the summer of last year paid a visit to the seats of the Ansyreeh in Northern Syria. This little book is a narrative of that visit, and is published in the hope of obtaining that co-operation which is necessary to the further prosecution of the object proposed, and which is fully explained in a note at the end of the volume. These pages do not pretend to be a revelation of the secret of the Ansyreeh (which probably consists of nothing more than a few unintelligible prayers, a medley of Christianity and Mohammedanism, and a trivial, if not obscene, rite), that could only be discovered by a lengthened residence among them. Its object is to give a faithful picture of the present state and disposition of that people, and a description of the country which they inhabit. The reader is advised to turn to the last chapter of the book for a brief