Thomas Shaw.

Travels or observations, relating to several parts of Barbary and the Levant online

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Travels or observations relating to
several parts of Barhary and the ...

homas Shaw

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Said by A. Johhstome, J. Oole, A. Black, and J. 8c J. Robbrtsoh,

Edinbi^r^h: M. Ogle, Glasgow; E. Lksslie. Dundee; tod by

J. Hatchard, Williams Sc Smith, J. Boeoitt,

iU)d W. K.LNT, London.


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• • • • •

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1 HOMAs Shaw, D. D. was born at Kendal^ in
the comity of Westmoreland, about l69fi. He
was educated at the grammar school there, and
was admitted fiatclielor at Queen's College, Ox-
ford in 1711- He received the degree of Batch-
clor of Arts, July 5. 1716, and of Master of Arts,
Jan. 16. 1719-

He afterwards took orders, and was appointed
Chaplain to the English Factory at Algiers. He
remained there for several years, and travelled
from Whence into various parts of the East. While
he was absent in 1727, he was chosen a Fellow of
his College, and after his return became Doctor
of Divinity, in 1734. He was also in that year
elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of London.
He published the first edition of his Teavels at
Oxford, in 1738, in folio. He also presented the
University with some natural curiosities, ancient
coins and busts, which he had collected during


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his travels. Three of the last of these are en-
graved in the Marmora Oxoiiiensia. On the
death of Dr Flii,t6N^ in 1740, he was nominated
by his College, Principal of Edmund Hall, which
he raised by his muniificeace from a ruinous con-
dition. He was also presented at same time to
the vicarage of Bramley, in Hampshire, and wa^
Reruns Professor of Greek till his death, which
took place in 1751.

His Travels have been universally esteemed,
not only for therr accuracy and fidelity, but on
account of the illustrations they contain of Na-
tural History, of the Classic Authors, and espe-
cially of the Scriptures. They were translated into
French, and printed in Ato in 1743, with seve-
ral tootes and emendations communicated by the
Author* He published two supplements to them
in 174^ and 1747, the latter addressed to Dr Clay-
TUN, Bishop of Clogher, in Ireland. The con-
tents; of these were afterwards incorporated iu
the second Edition, which, with great improve-
ments and alterations, were prepared for the press;
by the Author. Death put a stop to his labours,
but the Public have reaped the fruit of them.
The present Edition is printed verbatim from this
second and itnproved one, published in 1757, but
cbrrected in several respects, particularly in the
Index to the passages of Scripture illustrated.
fioth editions, especially the latter, have be-
come extremely scarce, and have sold at a high


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The foltewJng epitaj^h on the Author was com-
posed by Dr Browx, Provost of Queen's College,
Oxford, anrf placed on his Monument in Bramley


Peregrinationibus variis

Per Eufdpamy Afttcam^ Astamqui

Feliciter absolutis,

£t Exuviis mortalibus hie loci

Tandem depositisj

Coelestem in Patriam remigravit

THOiM AS SHAW, S. T. P. et R. S. S.

Gabrielis Fil. Kendaliensis :


Consulibus Angiitis apud Algerenses

Primum erat a Sacris ;

Mox ColL Regina inter Socios ascriptus ;

Aula d^in l^attcti Edmundi Principalis^

Ac ejusdem mtmificus Instaurator ;

J^ingua demum Gracgp apud Oxonienses

Professor Regius.

De Literis quantum meruit Auctor celebratus,

Edita usque testabuntur Opera,

Ppamidibus ipais, quas peniti&s inspexerat,

Perennioca forsan extitura.

Hie, Studiis etsi severioribus

Indies occupatus,

Horis tamen subsecivis emicuit

Eruditus idem et facetus conviya.

Optima quanquam Mentis indole

Et multiplici Scientia instnictus ;

Literatorum omnium, domi forisque,

Sufiragiis comprobatus ;


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Magnatum Procerumque popiilarium

Familiari insignitus Notitia ;

Nee summb in Ecdesia Dignitatibus impar $

Fato tamen iniquo evenit,

Ut Bratnleyensis obiret Parcscut

Vicarius pen^ Sexagenarius
XVm. CaL Sept. A.D. 1751.

Uxor JOANNA, Ed. Holien Arm. Consulis

Algerensis olim ConjuZj bis Vidua,



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Most Gracious Sovereign,

1 BEG leave to approach Your Royal Person,
with an humble present in my hand, after the fa-
shion of those countries where I have long resi-

It is a volume of Travels and Observations,
wherein are described the situation, polity, and
customs of various nations ; nations unacquainted
with liberty, and whose government is the very
reverse of Your Majesty's wise and gracious

I HAD an opportunity of making these Ob*
servations, whilst I had the honour of being
Your Majesty's Chaplain at Algiers. It was in
this situation that I first collected materials for
the following sheets ; and so extensive is Your '
Majesty's influence, that it procured me safety
and protection, even in countries remote and bar-

A WORK which owes its rise, its progress,
and completion, to these assistances, seems in
some degree entitled to Your Royal Favour, and
IS therefore, with all humility, presented to Your
Sacred Majesty.


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Whilst I was engaged in this undertaking,
it was a pleasing encouragement to consider, that
my well intended labours were approved by Her
Late Majesty ; and it did not a little inflame
my endeavours, when She was pleased to promise
me the honour of Her lloyal Patronage.

But I must not presume to mention private
and personal favours, when whole societies are
indebted to that Illustrious Princess. Particu-
larly, that ancient House of Learning, 6f which
I have the happiness, to be a member, stands dis-
tinguished by Her ijLoyai Bounty, and. owe« its
beauty and ornament to Her Munilu ence.

If Heav£n had spared that invaluable Life,
with wloat zeal siiould we liave paid repeated ac-
knowledgments to our iloyal Benefactress ! Bat
now — we can only join with thousauds in ia*
menting the public loss, and with gratitude trans^
mit Her Memory to our latest Successors.

That Providence may lopg preserve Your
Majes^tv, and continue the many blessings of
Your Reign to this church and nation, is the
constvint prayer of,

Tv'j^ M.'\ji:j:Ty\s 7'iC7r humble
And )vosi (kvoitd S^f^aut andSfuhj^ct^


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•Jtrevious to the prefatpiy discourse^ it may be
proper to observe wherein this second Edition of
the Book of Trwoth andK)hseTvattom differs from
the jirst. First of all then, it is printed with
smaller types, and confined to a smaller volume,
to be at once more portable and less expensive.
In the next place, several lines and pages which
might be looked upon as superfluous or unneces-
sary, are here omitted ; such as the Escerpta^ as
they were called, together with several of the
larger notes and quotations from ancient authors,
the references themselves being only her^ retain-
ed. Some paragraphs likewise have been omit-
ted or abridged in the work itself, viz. several of
the geographical observations in the kingdoms of
Algiers and Tunis; particularly where neither
ancient nor modern history were more imme-
diately concerned, and where the general scheme
of these geographical inquiries would admit of
it And lest the greater proficients in botanical
learning should regard the Phytograpkia, or hi-
story of plants, as more copious than curious, the
author has continued such of them only as are
roL. I. b the

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the most rare, or which have not been hitherto -.
described. Yet such caution lias been every
where taken in these, and in a tew other omis-
sions and abridgments of less account, that-iutle/ '
or nothing material or properly essential .i^VAie. '«
work itself should be wanting to this secoiid.'^dd^''* ,.
tion. , ./..'

Yet what has been thus omitted or abridged, J
has made room not only for the several additrcmtil.\.
discourses and dissertations that were contained '%/
in the supplement lately published to this bopk^* /'
but for a variety also of new remarks and obser- .
vations, which' were either overlooked in the au- •
thor's journals and memoirs, or which have oc*
curred to his memory upon the revisal of them
both. And as errors and mistakes were almost
unavoidable in a work of this copious nature and
subject, (several sheets whereof, through the great
importunity and impatience of the subscribers,
might have been too hastily printed off), these*,
whether they regard the press, or some geogra-
phical or historical facts, or whether they relate
to numbers or measures, or the reasonings there-
upon, as they are, when taken all together, very
few, and seldom of any consequence, so they
have all alox^, according to their nature and im^
port, and as far as they came to the authors
knowledge, been either rectified, altered, or en^
tirely left out. Besides, that order, roetliod, and
connectioii should be the better preserved through^
out the whole, the particular paragraphs have
been sometimes transposed, aad the general chap-

^Digi tized bT^ OO'gle JJ


tera have been sabdivided into sections ; whilst
the style itself, which might frequently appear
too copious and redundant, like those foreign Ian*
guages which were familiar to the author during
his long absence from his native countiy, is here,
more agreeable to the English diction at present,
rendered more terse and concise*

The following pages therefore, with these ad-
ditions^ alterations, and improvements, are pre*
sented to the reader, as an essay towards resto-
ring the ancient geography, and placing in a pro-
per light the natural, and sometimes civil history
of those countries, where the author has travel-
led. In pursuance of which design, these obser-
vations, of what kind soever, whetlier they re-
gard geography, natural history, or other miscel-
laneous subjects, are not blended or mixed toge-
ther as they chanced to fall in his way, but are
ranged under distinct heads and divisions, with-
out repeating, npon every occasion, the time, the
place, or manner wherein they were made.

The repetition of every day^s events and bo*
currences, besides being frequently tedious, and
seldom of any importance, could not have been
admitted in the following sheets, without aug-
menting them to twice their number. Whereas,
the author's principal design and intent being in
a literary way, and with as much brevity as the
subject would admit of, not barely to amuse and
divert, but to inform and instruct the curious
reader, to whom alone these pages were address-
ed ; be has therefore confined himself all along,


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to lay down such observations only as he judged
-were of greater ^ moment and consequence ; such
likewise as were altogether new, or not sufficient-
ly explamed in other books of travels. And as
the greatest part of these observations bear a
near relation to several passages, customs or ex-
pressions in the classic writers, and especially in
the Scriptures, the author has further endeavour-
ed, by comparing thbse ancient accounts and de-
scriptions with these his later discoveries, to
make them receive from, and give to each other,
mutual light and illustration.

However, as the method of travelling or sur*
veying these countries, the diet and reception of
the traveller, the hardships and dangers to which
he is exposed, and other incidents of the like na-
ture^ may be looked upon by some readers as mat-
ters of too great curiosity to be entirely passed
over* and neglected, tlie author proposes to sup-
ply what may be wanting upon that subject, by
placing here in oneview such of the most re-
markable circumstances and occurrences as made
ttp the diaiy-'part of his travels.

The reader therefore is, first of all, to be in-
formed, that in the several maritime towns of
Ba^bary and the Levant, where the British facto-
rieft are »tablished, the author was entertained
with extraordinary marks of generosity andv


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FA£PACfi. xiii

friendBfaip, having the use not only of their
houses^ but of their horses also, their janissaries
and servants. But in most of the inland towns
and villages, particularly of Barbary, there is a
house set apart for the reception of strangers,
with a proper officer, called makarak, to attend
us, where we are lodged apd entertained for one
night at the expence of the community. Yet
even here we sometimes met with our difficul-
ties and disappoiutments ; as when these houses
are already taken up, or when the maharak was
not to be found, or when he was inclined to be
surly and disobliging ; great disputes, and sh&ma-
tan, as they call brawls and discord, happening
at such times. And as tliere were no inns or pu-
blic houses to entertain us, and private families
(contrary to the charitable custom recorded in
Job xxxi. 32. and Matt. xxv. Si.) would never
admit us,, we bad now and then occasion enough
to meditate .upon the same distress with the Le-
vite and his company, (Judges xix. IS.) when
there was no man thai would t^Ae thtni into hii
house. for lodging ; and of the propriety there
was'^o place (1 Tim. v. 10.- Heb. xiii. £.) the lodg-
ing and entertaining of strangers among good
works. '

But when we travel in the open country, at
a distance from thesf towns and villages, as in
Arabia and the greatest part of fiaibary, we are *
to take our chance, both with regard to our food
and our lodgings, as will be hereafter more parti-
cularly related. As to our food, we were some-

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times provident enough to take care of it, espe*
cially in Arabia. But to have furnished ourselves
with tents in travelling through those deserts,
would have been both cumbersome and expen •
sive ; besides the suspicion it might have raised
in the jealous Arabs, that the persons they be-
longed to, were of a more than ordinary rank
and condition, and consequently would be too
rich and tempting a booty to be suffered to
escape. The unfortunate gentlemen, who were
concerned not many years ago in an embassy to
Abyssinia, by order of the French king, found
this to be too true, at the expence of their

As we sliall have frequent occasion, particular-
ly in the description of Barbary, to mention the
Kabyles, the Arabs and the Moors, it will be ne-
cessary to premise, that the Kabyles have gene-
rally the appellation of- Beniy as the Arabs have
that of JFelkd, prefixed to the name of their re-
spective founders. Both words have the same
signification, and denote the children or offspring
of such a tribe: thus, Beni Rashid and IVeUed
Halfa^ equally signify the sons of Rashid and
the sons of Haifa; or the Rashides or Hayides^^is
the ancient geographers and historians would have
named them. We mav observe further, that the
Kal>yles usually live upon the tiiountains, in little
villages, called daskrahs^ made up of mud-walled
hovels (or gurbies, according to their own appel-
lation); whereas the Arabs, being commonly the
inhabitants of tlie plains, are therefore called Be-


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Plt£FAC£. XV

daweeDS, living, as the Nomadesand Scenitae did
of old, in tents ; a coUectioa whereof, pitched
usually in a circle, with their doors opening to-
wards Mecca, is called a dotmar. But the
Moors, who are the descendents of the ancient
inhabitants, the Mauritatiians, live all over
Barbary, as the Turks likewise do, in cities,
towns and villages ; habitations more permanent
than those of the Arabs, as they are more dura-
ble than those of the Kabyles. The language of
the Moors is tlie same with that of the Arabs ;
the particular dialects being alike in them both,
according to their nearer or more distant situa-
tion from Egj pt, where their language is suppo-
sed to be spoken in the greatest propriety and

If therefore, in the course of our travels, we
did not fall in with any of the daskrahs of the
Kabyles, or with the domcars of the Arabs, or
with the towns or villages above mentioned, wc
had nothing to protect us from the inclemency
either of the heat of the. day, or the cold of the
night, unless we accidentally fell in with a cave
or grove of trees, the shelve of a ropk, or with
some ancient arches, that had formerly belonged
to so many cisterns. At these times, which in-
deed seldom happened, our liorscs were the great-
est sufferers ; and as they were always our first
care, we gathered for them stubble, grass, or
boughs of trees, before we sat down and exami-
ned what fragments of some former meal were
reserved for ourselves.


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In travelling along the sea coast of Syria, and
from Suez to Mount Sinai, we were in little or
no danger of being either robbed or insulted,
provided we kept company with the caravan *,
and did not stray from it ; but a neglect of this
kind, through tok) great an eagerness in looking
after plants and other curiosities, may expose the
traveller, as it once did myself, to the great dan-
ger of being assassinated. For whilst I was thus
amusing myself, and had lost sight of the cara-
van, I was suddenly overtaken and stripped by
three strolling Arabs ; and bad not the divine
Providence interposed in raiding compassion in
one, whilst the other two were %hting for my
clothes (mean and ragged as they wev^X I ^lust
inevitably have fallen a sacrifice to their rapine
and cruelty. In the Holy Land, and upon the
isthmus betwixt Egypt and the Red Sea, our
conductors cannot be too numerous, whole clans
of Arabs, from fifty to five hundred, some-
times looking out for a booty. This was the
case of our caravan, 'n\ traveUing (A. D. 1722.)


♦ Vox Persici c$t earvariy id est, negotiator^ vcl collective nc-

godatores 9 ^. tota eorum cohors sjmul iter faciens, quae Ara-
ice cafila vocatur. Hinc mercatorum hospitia publica, qu»
Arabibus audiunt can^ Persis caruan serai nominantur, i. e. cara-
vana; hospitium. Nam serai e$t quaevls domus amfda ; unde in
Constantinopoli, imperatoiis palatium fonninarum Turcis dicitur^
nomine Pcrsico, serai^ Europseis minus bene serail ct seraglio.
Vid. Perits. Itinera Muruli^ ed. T. Hyde, p. 61. In these cansy
kanes^ or caravan serais^ we can sometimes purchase stra^ apd
provender for our horses, mules, &c. though, generally speaking,
they supply us barely with a dirty room to lodge in, being Built
in squares, with an area or quadrangle within for the reception
of our horses, &c«

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from Ramah to Jerusalem ; where, e;Kclu8ive of
three or four hundred spflbees^ four bands of
Turkish infantry, with the mwolofnf or general,
at the head pf them, were not abl?, or durst not
at least, protect us from the repeated insults, ra^
vagcs, and barbarities of the Arabs. There was
scarce a pilgrim, and we were upwards of six
thousand, who did not suffer, either by losing a
part of his clothes, or his money; and when
these failed, then the barbarians took their re-
venge, by unmercifully beating us with their
pikes and javelins. It would be too tedious to
relate the many instances of that day's rapine and
cruelty, in which I myself had a principal share,
being forcibly taken at Jeremiel or Anathoth, as
an hostage for the payment of their unreasonable
dehiands, where I was very barbarously used and.
insulted all that night ; and provided the aga of
Jerusalem, with a great force, had not rescued
me the next morning, I should not have seen so
speedy an end of my suiferings«

But in Barbary, where the Arabian tribe&.are
more under subjection, I rarely was guarded by
more than three spahees and a servant; all of-us
Avell armed with guns, pistols, and scimitars;
though even here we were sometimes obliged to
augment our numbers, particularly when we tra-
velled either among the independent tribes, or
upon the frontiers of the neighbouring king*
doms, or where two contiguous clans were at va-
riance. These, and such like harammees, as the
free-booters are usually named in these countries,
VOL. I. c must

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XVni PR£FACfi.

must be what the Europeans call wild Arabs ;
for there is no such name peculiar to any one

Online LibraryThomas ShawTravels or observations, relating to several parts of Barbary and the Levant → online text (page 1 of 30)