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,2S?^a;aaf^7u!2X> t!/:^^ 














Do not enquire of occurrences how or why they happened ; for that which is decreed 
must come to pass. Arabic Proverb. 



^nsUfif) anD amnican TSotlk«tHttiS ant Publietnf. 



Wilson and Ooilvy, 

57, Skinner Street. 



By the Rev. GEORGE FISK. 

Having visited the Holy Land^ and made myself somewhat 
acquainted with the state and condition of its various inhabi* 
tants, both Jewish and Gentile, I was glad to be among the 
first to welcome and to show what Christian kindness I could 
to Jacob esh Shelaby, whose personal history is a prominent 
feature in the following sketch of the more modern history of 
the Samaritans. On his arrival in this country, he was 
introduced to me by his kind friend Mr. Vice-Consul Rogers; 
and his intelligent, earnest, and manly character of mind and 
heart, coupled with the interest I felt in the mission on which 
he came, soon awakened within me a sincere friendship for 
him, of which I am sure he is worthy; and I should be 
greatly surprised if any Christian could read the following 
brief narrative without sharing the feelings which I cherish 
towards hinn and the small remnant of an ancient and 
peculiar people of which he is the authorised representative 
amongst us. 

I do not imagine that my name or recommendation will 
add much weight to the touching statements in the following 

pages ; but those who know me will be sure that I would not 
endorse either a person or a narrative without the fullest 
conviction that in so doing I am only discharging what I 
account to be a Christian duty. 

I hope this little work will be read by many ; and that 
those who read will remember, and feel also, that what 
concerns man concerns them; in which case, the interest 
already taken in the cause of the Samaritans by the Earl 
of Shaftesbury, the Earl of Bradford, the Archbishop of York, 
the Bishop of London, and many other influential persons, 
will extend itself widely, and Jacob esh Shelaby will return 
to his own people convinced that our Christianity is not a 
mere name or a shadow; and with such a contribution in 
aid of the urgent necessities of the Samaritans, as may fill 
their hearts with gratitude to Almighty God. 

Earnestly praying for God^s blessing on the mission of 
my friend Jacob, and for grace to enable him and his people 
to confess Christ as the one Mediator between God and 
man, T cordially recommend the following narrative to 
tlie perusal and consideration of the Christian public. 


Fbbbxkpaby op Lichfield, and 

Minister of Chbist Chapel, 

St. John's Wood, London. 


By thb Rev. C. MARRIOTT. 

There is little for one resident in England to add to the tes- 
timonies of those who have known the Samaritan people and 
their representative, Yakub esh Shelaby, in Palestine. I may 
venture, however, to invite attention to this the first eflfort of 
one of that nation to commmiicate with the British public, as 
having a just claim to a favourable reception. From what I 
have seen of Yakub himself, I entertain the hope that his 
residence in England may prove permanently beneficial to 
himself, and through him to his people ; and, isolated as they 
now are, they have an especial need of protection and assist- 
ance, while the Jews, and each division of Christians, have 
other communities, near or at a distance, of their own religion. 
It is well that they should see in us those dispositions toward 
the distressed which our religion certainly teaches, and which 
ought to be found in all who profess it. My conversation 
has been chiefly with Mr. Rogers, from whom I learned much 
that was new to me with respect to Palestine and the Sama- 
ritans ; but, by adopting a simple style of grammar, and 
carefully observing what is understood, I have been able to 

converse with Yakub himself in English, and have found 
much to interest me in his conversation. The present seems 
to be the opportunity with his people, and it ought not to be 
let pass without doing something for their welfare. 


Fellow of Obiel College, Oxfobd, and 

ViCAE of St. Maby the Vieqik, Oxfobd. 

Oxford, April 29, 1855. 


Having known the subject of the following Memoir in his 
own conntiy, and heard from his uncle, Abu Shelabi, the 
narrative of the forced conversion of his cousin Isaac to the 
religion of the Koran. I cannot withhold my testimony to the 
authenticity of the following narrative, and a word of hearty 
sympathy for the sufferings of a small remnant of an ancient 
and once powerful people, whose continued existence around 
the chief seat of their fathers' worship furnishes a striking evi- 
dence for the historical truth of the Sacred Records, scarcely 
less remarkable than the history of their old antagonists — 
the Jews. The memorials of patriarchs and prophets in the 
vicinity of Nablous are very numerous, and authenticated by 
the continuous testimony of Jews and Samaritans from the 
remotest period : and Jacob's well, Joseph's tomb, the sepul- 
chres of Phinehas and his father Eleazar in Mount Ephraim, 
of Caleb and Joshua in Kipher Hares, and, above all, the two 
Mounts Ebal and Gerizim, of the latter of which it was said 
nearly 2000 years ago, "our fathers worshipped in this 


mountain ; — all these and other places in the vicinity of 
Nablons, of which the Samaritans are the hereditary guar- 
dians^ are so connected with recollections^ and so blended 
with the facts of the sacred narrative of the very earliest books 
in the Bible, that they may yet have an office to perform sub- 
sidiary to other evidences for the genuineness and authenticity 
of those ancient books, which it is too much the fashion of 
modem critics to disparage or despise as comparatively recent 
compilations ; whereas the geography of the Bible is so woven 
into the very textiu*e of the history, that it seems impossible to 
reconcile the entire harmony and consistency and minute accu- 
racy of the former with the hypothesis of the fabrication of the 
latter ; and I apprehend that one who had passed a few days 
in investigating the archaeology of Nablous and its environs, 
under the guidance of the Levite Amran and Yakub esh 
Shelabi, would think it as reasonable to question the account, 
e, g,y of Abimelech^s conspiracy with the men of Shechem, or 
any other facts in its ancient history, as to dispute, in sight of 
Cressy or Agincourt, of Bannockbum or Marston Moor, the 
great historical facts enacted in those memorable fields. 

As the following notices of the Samaritans relate exclu- 
sively to very recent times, some account of their origin and 
ancient history and traditions may not be unacceptable in 
this place. 

In the narrative of the deportation of the ten tribes by 
Shalmaneser, King of Assyria, contained in the 2d Book of 
Kings, we are informed that the depopulated country was 
colonised by Assyrians and Syrians, who, under the instruction 


of one of the Hebrew priests^ adopted a mixed form of wor- 
ship, combining the fear of the Lord with the service of their 
own gods, the ancient idols of Chaldsea and Syria. 

The Samaritans, it must here be observed, claim for them- 
selves a far more ancient and respectable origin. They profess, 
in fact, to be a remnant of the ten tribes who returned from 
their captivity and settled in their ancient seats ; and while 
they call themselves ^^ Beni IsraeV^ — ^' Children of Israer^ — 
they trace their origin chiefly to the two sons of Joseph, 
Ephraim and Manasseh, but believe themselves to possess a 
branch of the Levitical tribe, by whom their services have 
been conducted throughout aU generations, although the 
comparatively recent failure of the Aaronic family has pre- 
cluded the possibility of their oflFering sacrifice, and obliged 
them to. confine their ministrations to such services as may be 
legally performed by a simple Levite. 

They date their separation from the Jews as far back as the 
time of Eli, the High Priest in Shilo, who is an object of their 
special execration, as having first introduced division into the 
inheritance of the Lord, which had been before united in one 
federal bond, by their common worship in Mount Gerizun, the 
place divinely appointed, according to their reading of Deu- 
teronomy (xxvii. 4), as that which God had chosen to place 
His name there— the only legitimate seat of the worship of 
Jehovah, and the only actual seat, as they maintain, from the 
time of Joshua to the days of Eli. 

This Eli, not being of the priestly family, as they truly 


allege^ i. e, not of the family of Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, 
to whom the covenant of an everlasting priesthood was given, 
but of the collateral branch of Ithamar, the brother of Eleazar, 
none of whose family appear in the priestly genealogies in the 
Book of Chronicles (vii. 3 — 15, 49 — 53, compare xxiv.), 
having usurped the office of High Priest, their ancestors con- 
tinued steadfast in their allegiance to their legitimate priest- 
hood, maintained the true worship in Mount Gerizim, in 
custody of their most sacred treasure, which they believe 
themselves still to possess, viz. a copy of the Pentateuch 
written by Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the 
Priest. Such is their own account of their origin, contained, 
together with many curious particulars of their subsequent 
history, in their Book of Joshua. 

Their subsequent history, as far as it is authenticated by 
trustworthy writers, may be soon told. On the return of the 
Jews from the Babylonish captivity, their rejection of the 
proflRered services of the Samaritans to aid them in rebuild- 
ing the temple, still further exasperated the old enmity; 
and a defection of a large number of Jews, among whom was 
Joiada, son of Eliashib the high priest, who had married a 
daughter of Sanballat, strengthened the ranks of the Sama- 
ritans. It was for this Joiada that his father-in-law, by per- 
mission of Alexander the Great, erected a temple on Mount 
Gerizim, which served as a refuge and sanctuary for the dis- 
aflfiected Jews from Jerusalem. The Samaritans were con- 
quered and their temple destroyed by John Hyrcanus, but 
they still continued to maintain their worship in that Mount, 
with occasional interruptions, until they were expelled by 


the Emperor Justinian for acts of violence against ihe 
Christians of Neapolis, when a garrison of Roman soldiers 
was placed in a castle on the summit of the hiD, where 
some ruins may still be seen, — which M. de Saulcy, how- 
ever, is disposed to refer rather to the temple than to the 

The small community which still clings with such perti- 
nacity to the place where their fathers worshipped, is well 
typified by that ruined and dismantled fragment, so venerable 
in its decay. Gk>d grant that the few remaining stones of the 
crumbling edifice may, by the power of the Divine Architect, 
be rescued from ruin to be built up as lively stones in His 
spiritual temple, to which He Himself in the days of His 
earthly sojourn, and His Apostles soon after His ascension, 
converted a large multitude both of men and women of 
Neapolis, from which city He subsequently raised up one of 
the earliest and ablest apologists, Justin Martyr, whose im- 
portant services to our common faith we have now an oppor- 
tunity of acknowledging in this, his townsman, a represen- 
tative of an ancient race, for whom,, as pertaining to Israel 
after the flesh, it may be designed that " through our mercy 
they also may obtain mercy.^^ 

The claims of the Samaritan community on the sympathy 
and generosity of the British public consist in this, that they 
have been grievously injured and oppressed by a Power with 
which this country is now allied in a just and righteous 
quarrel, the result of which will probably be to perpetuate the 
domination of that Power in Syria, for an indefinite period. The 


Government, through Lord Clarendon, have nobly interposed 
to protect this hitherto friendless tribe from a repetition of 
the cruel spoliation to which they have been subjected. It 
remains for private liberality — seldom appealed to in vain in 
this coimtry— to reinstate them in the position in which they 
formerly stood, and from which they have been reduced to a 
state of most abject poverty. 


Senior Fellow autd Yice-Pboyost op King's College, Oahbsidgb ; 
Wabden ov St. Golumba'b College, Ibelakd; 


Alexandeb, at Jebusalem. 

King's College, Cambridge, 
May 1, 1855. 



In order to the due imderstanding of the following history^ 
it is necessary to explain something of the state of the 
government of the district of Djebal Nablous or the Nablous 

The seat of government is the town of Nablous^ situated 
in a beautiful valley between Mounts Ebal and (xerizim : it 
contains from 12000 to 14000 inhabitants^ of whom by fer the 
greater proportion are Mohammedans of a very fierce and 
fanatical disposition ; the rest are about 300 or 400 Christians 
of the Greek Orthodox Church, eight or ten Jewish families, 
and the Samaritans, who number 195 souls. There are in 
Djebal Nablous four great factions, from one of which the 
Mutsellim or Governor is generally appointed ; they are the 
Abd ul Hady, the Jerrar, the Rayan, and the Tokan. The 
Abd ul Hady family has its stronghold in Arabeh, a walled 
village with iron gates, situated at about twenty miles north- 
west of the town of Nablous. The Jerrar has its stronghold 
in Sennoor, a fortified village at about fifteen miles due north 


of Nablous ; and each has a large number of followers in 
almost every village of the district, these two families 
having sprung from the peasantry. The Tokan family has its 
stronghold in the black tents of the Arabs, from which it 
sprang j it can bring much more physical force to bear upon 
any engagement, in consequence of its influence amongst the 
kindred tribes of the desert. The Rayan also has much 
influence amongst the Arab tribes, having its origin from the 
stock in the district of Jamaeen, near Nablous to the west. 

When, after any oflence, a Governor, from his inability to 
satisfy the rapacity of the Effendis of Council and other 
followers of the Pasha at head-quarters, is put out of office, 
some member of a rival fia<;tion immediately repairs thither, 
and with large sums of money ingratiates himself into the 
favour of the Effendis, Secretaries, &c., who speak well of him 
to the Pasha, and he is then installed as succeeding Governor. 
He then uses all means in his power, foul or fair, to reimburse 
himself for his great outlay in obtaining the official title. He 
with impunity levies impositions upon aU who have too little 
influence to be able to complain. It devolves upon him to 
appoint the Sheikhs or Chiefs of the villages : those who 
were already in oflBce under his predecessor are allowed to 
remain if they make suitable and sufficient presents at the 
time of his accession; otherwise, the offices are given to 
those who make larger offers. 

After this brief outline the following may be better 

E. T. R. 



Our family, the Benfeeyeh, was once very extensive in 
Nablous, Gaza, and Jaffa. My ancestors possessed landed 
property in the neighbourhood of Nablous; some were 
merchants, and from time immemorial one or more have 
always been in some sort of employment in the service of the 
Mutsellim under the Turkish Government. 

My grandfather, " Joseph esh Shelaby," the eldest of three 
brothers, was Nazir and Sarraff, Inspector and Manager of the 
Government Treasury in Nablous; his brother ^^Jacob'^ was 
a rich merchant, and ^^Abd es Samery,^^ the youngest of 
the three, was Secretary of the Government Stores in the 
same district. My grandfather, after sei-ving faithfiilly 
under twenty-seven successive Governors, died in a.h. 
1222 (a.d. 1805), leaving issue a boy of ten years old, 
named Shelaby. About a week after his death, he was 
disinterred by the Governor of Nablous for the sake of his 


signet ring ;* but his brother Jacobs shrewdly anticipating 
some such project, had previously smashed the stone of the 

A relation named Asmar now took the management of the 
Treasury, and remained in oflBce for the period of eight years, 
when the then recently victorious rival Mutsellim Moossa Bek 
et Tokanf lay wait for him and shot him. The dying body 
was carried home, and a few minutes afterwards Moossa Bek 
paid a visit of assumed condolence, but brought with him 
a phial of otto of roses, which, as he poured it upon the 
wound, caused instant death. This circumstance first roused 
the suspicion that the Mutsellim was himself the mur- 
derer, which was strengthened almost to confirmation by the 
fact of his gun having been recently discharged, and by Abd 
es Samery (the secretary above alluded to) being found hidden 
in a charcoal cellar, whither he had escaped from his cousin^s 

Abd es Samery now took the management of the Treasury, 
in A.H. 1228 (a.d. 1811), and with it the care of the whole 
Samaritan community, which had been reduced almost to 
penury during the arbitrary government of Moossa Bek et 
Tokan and his predecessor Abd ul Hady ; he took his nephew 
Shelaby under his especial care, and married him to a girl of 

* In the East, more value is attached to the impression of a seal than to a 
signature, which may be more easily forged. 

t I shall continue to attach the family name to that of the Gbyernor, that 
it may be known to which of the riral factions he may belong. 


good family^ by whom he had one son, bom in the year 
1244 (a.d. 1829) ; he named him Jacob. I am that Jacob 
esh Shelaby. 

In about the year 1241 (a.d. 1826), Moossa Bek et Tokan 
was summoned by the Pasha to Damascus, where he was 
poisoned ; when his uncle Mustafa Pasha et Tokan took the 
Governorship of Nablous, and remained in office for about a 
year and a half, during which time he was fully as tyrannical 
and oppressive as his predecessors. After his removal, a 
Turk* named Hussein Aga was appointed, whose coming 
seemed to put new life into the poor oppressed Samaritans, 
for he was kind and obliging in proportion as his predecessor 
had been cruel and arbitrary. Abd es Samery became rich 
and influential. Hussein Aga continued in office dunng only 
one year, and his departure is lamented to this day. Assaad 
Bek et Tokan now took the reins of government in Nablous ; 
and although he manifested an outward show of kindness to 
Abd es Samery, he was inwardly jealous of his influence, and 
sought for a means of his disgrace. In the year 1243 
(a.d. 1828), Assaad Bek went to Damascus, and at his urgent 
request (probably by means of a bribe) obtained from Joseph 
Pasha, the Governor Greneral of Syria, residing in that city, 
an order that Abd es Samery should be fined the sum of 
40,000 piafitres,t and be sent handcuffed to Damascus. On 

* The first Turk who had been appointed here. It is still very unusual for 
this district to be under the immediate government of the Turks, as thej very 
rarely understand the intricacies of the Arab character. 

t At that time equal to about £400 sterling. 



his way home Assaad Bek rested himself at Beit Uzza, a village 
about seven miles to the north-east of Nablous. There he 
met a rival Sheikh named Mohammed Kasim er Rayan, a 
sworn friend of the Samaritans, who, suspecting that Assaad 
Bek had some scheme on foot against his friend Abd es Samery, 
after coffee and compliments said — " I hope, Assaad Bek, that 
you have brought with you an order for the disposal of that 
infidel Abd es Samery, who has ruined Djebal Nablous with 
his corruptions and intrigues/^ ^^ Why,^^ said he, ^^ I feared 
that you would oppose me in it, or I would have done so." 
" Not I, indeed,*' said Mohammed Kasim, with assumed anger, 
" I detest the rascal too much to oppose you in so noble a 
scheme ; have you brought such an order or not ?" After 
much altercation, the Mutsellim, feeling confidence in 
Mohammed in consequence of the contemptuous way in which 
he spoke of the Samaritan, imparted to him the secret, and 
told him the nature of the Pasha's order, and shortly 
rode on to Nablous. 

On arriving there (it being Saturday) he did not imme- 
diately send for Abd es Samery, concluding that he would 
visit him as usual after sunset. 

Mohammed Kasim, however, lost no time in his endeavour 
to rescue his friend from the clutches of the Mutsellim, so 
sent a special horseman to Abd es Samery desiring him to 
meet him at Beit Uzza immediately, that if the Henna (a red 
or black dye) were on his fingers, he was not to wash it off till 
his arrival at Beit Uzza ; and conjuring him to start imme- 
diately, notwithstanding the Sabbath. This injunction was 


obeyed, and Abd es Samery started for Beit Uzza without even 
informing his relatives. 

Assaad Bek waited until after sunset, but as Abd es Samery 
did not make his appearance, he sent his servant to seek him, 
who returned after a fruitless search in Nablous. He was 
therefore despatched to Beit Uzza, Assaad Bek saying to him, 
" Tell nobody of your real errand ; merely see whether that 
infidel Abd es Samery is in Mohammed Kasim's house ; but 
in case of your being asked your errand, say that your master 
lost his ring near Beit Uzza, and that you are sent to seek 
it/' The slave went as he was bidden, and found Mohammed 
Kasim seated at the door of his house, who, upon being told 
the feigned errand, said to the slave, " Go, tell your master 
that the ring (meaning the Samaritan) he seeks will never fall 
into his tyrannical possession again/' 

Mohammed el Kasim kept Abd es Samery at his house, 
at which the Governor and his party were fearftdly enraged ; 
and the next day was the beginning of one of the direst and 
most bloody fights that ever took place in Djebal Nablous 
between the families of et Tokan and er Rayan : it lasted 
for fifty days, and several hundreds were slain on both 
sides — from which it is called the Khatnseeneeyeh, or the Fifty; 
and it is regarded to the present day as an epoch from which 
to reckon other events. The city of Nablous, as well as all the 
surroimding villages, was barricaded and divided into parties : 
at last, after a desperate struggle, the family of er Rayan 
came off victorious, and the Governorship of Nablous was 
taken by Sheikh Kasim el Ahmed, who, however, placed 


his son Mohammed Kasim (above referred to) as his agent in 
the oflBce. 

A few months afterwards the sub-employes and secretaries 
of the district were called to Damascus ; Abd es Samery went 
amongst the rest, taking with him my father, and the 
accounts and dues of Djebal Nablous and Jeneen ; and after 
making up accounts with Joseph Pasha, and receiving an 
acknowledgment in ftill, the Pasha ordered him to prison 
(without assigning any reason), where he was detained for four 
months, after which time a celebrated and influential man, head 
secretary of the Pashalic of Damascus, Ibrahim Tannoos, and 
Ali Aga en Noonoo^ exerted themselves for his release, which 
was eflected upon the payment of P.4000 ( = £40) to the Pasha. 
After his release, he was admitted to an interview with the 
Pasha, who asked him how he liked the prison. Abd es Samery 
replied, " As it was ordered by your Excellency, I was pleased 
with it, especially as during the monotonous leisure of a prison 
life I am thankful to say that I have studied and acquired the 
Turkish language, which will be of great use to me in my 

He then returned to Nablous, where he was welcomed by 
the Governor's family ; his own relations rejoiced greatly to 
see him, as they had feared that the tyrant Joseph Pasha 
would strangle him. 

The families of el Rayan and Abd ul Hady now re- 
mained on terms of friendship for some time, the Governor- 
ship continuing in the hands of the former. But although 


friendship was openly professed, a factious spirit was 
hot in their breasts; and Abd ul Hady, inflamed by 
jealousy, paid his respectful visit of ceremony to Abdallah 
Pasha immediately on his being proclaimed Pasha in Acre, in 
1246 (a.d. 1831), with whom he laid plots for the overthrow of 
his rivals of the Jerrar family, who were wealthy, numerous, 
and powerful — ^possessing a strongly fortified village named 
Sennoor, situated on a hill difficult of access ; and had lately 
formed a compact with the Rayan family. The Pasha sum- 
moned the heads of all the rival families. The family of er 
Rayan were afraid to go, but sent Abd es Samery in com- 
pany with Hussein Abd vl Hady. Assaad Bek et Tokan and 
Mustafa Bek et Tokan went as representatives of their family. 
The family of Jerrar, fearing the intrigues of Abd ul Hady, 
did not venture to obey the summons. 

Hussein Abd ul Hady finding that he had succeeded in keep- 
ing the family of Jerrar away from the Pasha, now represented 
to His Excellency that they were a set of rebellious robbers, hold- 
ing a fortified city, setting all superior Governors at defiance ; 
and moreover, intimated that it would be but right that His 
Excellency should punish them. So Abdallah Pasha wrote to 
them, saying that unless the elders of the family immediately 
repaired to Acre, he would himself ride with his army and take 
the village by storm. They sent back a very insolent answer to 
the eflfect that their defence was powder and shot, but that in 
case His Excellency had not enough, they would lend him 
some, to be returned at the end of the fight. His Excel- 
lency, enraged, immediately collected all his forces, and sent 
his Vizier to storm the village of Sennoor ; but from the 


sturdy hardihood and brayery of the peasantry of the &mily 
of Jerrar, and the extreme diflBculty of access to the village, 
the Vizier besi^ed it for thirty days without any result other 
than the loss of his ammunition and provisions. Abdallah 
Pasha then went in person, taking with him much heavy 
artillery, and claiming the assistance of the Emir Besheer and 
the Druses firom Mount Lebanon. He built a small tower on 
an adjacent hill-side, but, after a siege of several months, was 
obliged to make a truce with the &mily of Jerrar through the 
mediation of other Sheikhs ; peace was thus effected on terms 
of great humiliation to Abdallah Pasha, who, upon returning 
to Acre, was greatly enraged with Hussein Abd ul Hady, and 
accused him of having by his intrigues caused disgrace to 
the Grovemment, the loss of many lives and much ammuni- 
tion and provisions. Hussein, fearing that his life was in 
danger, made his escape to his village Arabeh, which was 
quite as strongly fortified as Sennoor, but not so well 
situated. Some horsemen were sent after him, but he was 
safely lodged before they arrived. 

Circumstances seemed now to conspire against the unfortu- 
nate secretary Abd es Samery, who, although only 52 years of 
age, had suddenly become white-headed during the conflict. 
Mustafa Bek et Tokan and his cousin Assaad Bek et Tokan now 
sought to curry favour with AbdaUah Pasha : they began by 
representing to His Excellency that Abd es Samery had been 
the instrument of the flight and escape of Sheikh Hussein. His 
Excellency, therefore, immediately sent for Abd es Samery, and 
ordered him to be beheaded. But Antone Catafago, a man of 
considerable influence, interceded for him, and his execution 


was commuted to imprisonment till the return of Sheikh 
Hussein AM ul Hady. Assaad Bek et Tokan now came to 
Abd es Samery, representing to him that he was at death's 
door, that one word from Antone Catafago or from himself 
would be the means of his immediate execution : thus he 
commenced by alarming him, and then asked him to swear 
upon the Pentateuch and the sword that he would befriend 
him and never oppose him in any of his plans in case of his 
obtaining the Governorship of Nablous; concluding his remarks 
by saying that, in return for the oath, he would directly get 
him released and reinstalled in his Secretaryship in Nablous. 
Abd es Samery and Assaad Bek et Tokan, therefore, took the 
prescribed oath not to oppose or deceive each other, but always 
to remain steadfast friends. 

Sheikh Hussein Ahd ul Hady after his flight had taken 
the oath of friendship with the family of er Rayan, and 
these united to lay plans for the destruction of the Tokan 

The Pasha, at the request of Antone Catafago, released 
Abd es Samery from prison ; and afterwards, on consideration 
of a large bribe, granted the Governorship of Nablous to 
Assaad Bek et Tokan , dismissing his family and Abd es 
Samery in new dresses.* 

Upon their arrival in Nablous Assaad Bek et Tokan pub- 

♦ An Oriental custom when any inferior officer is restored to fayour. 

lished the tidings of his Groyemorship in all the villages of the 
district, that the petty Sheikhs might visit him ; but not one 
obeyed the summons. Hussein Ahd ul Hady, perceiving the 
extreme unpopularity of Assaad Bek, and being on friendly 
terms with Antone Catafago, applied for and obtained the ne- 
cessary documents for the Governorship of Nablous. He 
repaired to Nablous, but Assaad Bek et Tokan of course 
resisted; Hussein attacked himirith a large body of men, and 
was victorious after a severe conflict, which lasted for a 
fortnight. Abd es Samery retained his office of Inspector 
and Superintendent of the Treasury. 

Joseph el Kasimer Rayan, son of Kasim el Ahmed, was 
now Governor of Jerusalem; and after he had held the 
ofSce for some time, news arrived of the approach of Ibrahim 

The whole faction of Kasim el Ahmed and Abd ul Hady 
met in council in Nablous, to consult as to what should be 
done in regard to Ibrahim Pasha, but they parted much 
divided in opinion. 

Hussein Abd ul Hady went out to meet and welcome 
Ibrahim Pasha, and even remained with him as a guide. 
Kasim and party went to Jerusalem to oppose him. 

In 1247 (a.d. 1832), Ibrahim Pasha took Nablous by sword; 
Hussein Abd ul Hady remained as Mutsellim, and Abd ea 


Samery retained his ofSce with much influence during the 
Egyptian government * 

It being known that Abd es Samery had been formerly on 
terms of friendship and intimacy with the family of Kasim 
Rayan^ he was compelled by threats to show the property 
and treasures of that house^ which were confiscated to 
the Government of Ibrahim Pasha, who decapitated Joseph 
el Kasim and Mohammed el Kasim in Acre, serving their 
father Kasim el Ahmed, and another Sheikh named Burkawy, 
in the same manner in Damascus. 

The son of Hussein Ahd ul Hady, Suleiman el Hussein, was 
now made Governor, under whom (Abd es Samery being 
much respected, and having great influence) the Paschalf 

* In 1831, Mohammed All Pasha, Yiceroj in Egypt, sent his son Ibrahim 
Pasha to Palestine, with a yiew to wresting it, and as much more of the Turkish 
territory as possible, from the hands of H.M. the Sultan. He is said to have 
sworn to place his horse on the Imperial throne of Constantinople. 

t During the days of unleayened bread, the Samaritans live in tents 
on Mount Gerizim, near the site of their ancient temple. On the 16th 
day of the month, the congregation being assembled, the priest stands forth 
on a mound, and reads, in a most solemn and impressire voice, the animated 
description of the Exodus. 

The labourers having previously prepared a trench of ten feet long by 
two feet deep, and two feet wide, on which two cauldrons of water 
are placed, fire being kindled in the trench, and a round pit dug in the 
form of a well] for a bake oven, in which fire is kindled, lambs are brought 
in sufficiency for the whole commxmity : — seven is now the usual number. 
Seven men, in white dresses, take each a lamb before him, and at the 
utterance by the priest of a particular word in the service appointed for 


lamb was again slain on Mount Gerizim^ instead of its being 
done in secret^ as had been recently the case firom fear. 

In the year 1249 (a.d. 1834), my father died, and I, at the 
age of five years, was taken under the special care and pro- 
tection of my great uncle Abd es Samery. 

In 1254 (a.d. 1839), imder the government of Ibrahim 
Pasha, such incessant trouble was given to the Government 
employes, by rigid examinations, in consequence of suspected 
dishonesty and trickery in some of the oflBces, that my uncle 
Abd es Samery sent in his resignation through the hands of 
Hussein Abd ul Hady, who afterwards employed him as pri- 
vate secretary. 

In 1256 (a.d. 1841), Suleiman Abd ul Hady received private 

the day, all seven lambs are slain at one instant. Every member of the con- 
gregation then dips bis hand in the blood of the dying victim, and besmears 
his forehead with it. The boiling water from the cauldrons being poured 
over the fleece, causes the wool to leave the skin without much difficulty : 
it is plucked off with great nicety. 

The bodies of the lambs are examined, lest there be any blemish ; the right 
shoulder and the hamstrings are cut off and thrown on the heap of offal, to 
be burnt with the wool. The seven bodies are then spitted and forced 
into the hot bake oven. A trellis-work is then phtced over the top of the 
oven, which is covered with grass and mud to keep in all the heat. 

A few hours after sunset they are withdrawn, and the Samaritans, each 
with his loins girt and a staff in his hand, eats most hastily and greedily of the 
food thus prepared. 

The scraps of meat, wool, and bone, are carefully sought for and burnt on the 
heap, that not a morsel remain. 


intelligence that Acre had been retaken by the Turkish 
Government from the Egyptians in a grand bombardment by 
English ships of war. He was a calculating man, so, fearing 
a revolt, he fled during the night. 

On the morrow a panic seized the people ; the town was all 
in commotion, townspeople and villagers all up in arms, to 
fight against they knew not what. They soon, however, found an 
object, and came to the resolution that, as Ibrahim Pasha was 
conquered, they would endeavour to destroy all his employes, 
and they immediately seized and murdered five officers 
wearing Egyptian uniform, and dragged them ignominiously 
through the streets. 

Our family having been also in the Pasha^s service, our 
lives were in danger ; we therefore concealed ourselves, and 
gradually appeased the fiiry of the populace, by buying the 
interest of the ringleaders and principal Ulemas or learned 
men of the Moslems. 

A man named Sheikh Sadik of Medgdel succeeded as 
Governor, but he only remained in office for three days, for 
Suleiman in his flight had visited Acre, and by favour and 
bribery obtained from the Turkish Vizier the necessary cre- 
dentials for his reinstalment as Mutsellim under the new 

The head people of Nablous remembered the oppression of 
Suleiman during the government of Ibrahim Pasha: they 
went in a body to Damascus, where was the residence of the 
Governor General, to whom they protested against Suleiman, 


and begged to have him displaced. Suleiman Abd ul Hady 
was therefore summoned; he was accompanied by my uncle 
and myself, and by means of the united influence of our 
friends and of pecuniary presents to the various members 
of the Council, Suleiman was confirmed in his office, and we 
returned triumphantly to Nablous. 

On the road Suleiman was taken ill, and remained so for 
many days after his arrival in Nablous, where, after thirty-six 
days of severe sufl^ering, which had brought him to the point of 
death, two opposing Sheikhs came to visit him, — Mustafa el 
Eessa and Suleiman Bek et Tokan, his direst enemies. The 
Governor, although actually dying, would not allow himself 
to be seen in low spirits, or by any means in a dejected 
condition, by his rivals, lest they should have the satisfaction 
of glorying in his fall ; on their entrance he summoned up 
his courage, assumed a fictitious strength, and sat up in bed ; 
ordered pipes and coff^ee to be brought for the visitors, and 
talked to them as heartily as if he were recovering rather than 
dying. But the exertion was too much for him, as, after 
taking leave, they had not passed more than the distance of 
four or five doors down the street, when the shrill cries of the 
women of the household announced to them that Suleiman 
Abd ul Hady was no more. This fact demonstrates the 
excess to which the factious spirit is carried in this peculiar 
district, Djebal Nablous, as well as the strong deter- 
mined character of the heads of those factions, the ancient 
Arab families of the Moslem religion. 

Mohammed el Hussein Abd ul Hadify who had been with 


the rest in Damascus to complain against his late brother 
Suleiman^ was next appointed to the Governorship. 

A little while previous to this, a Samaritan widow had been 
decoyed by some influential Moslem, and she embraced the 
faith of Mohammed. She had a son and daughter, who 
remained with us; but the Ulemas decreed that they 
must foUow the religion of their mother: the Governor 
Mohammed, however, would not consent to this compulsion, 
and strenuously opposed them. The XJlemas, enraged at an act 
which to them appeared in direct opposition to the dictates 
of their religion, induced Mahmoud Ahd ul ISady (the 
Governor's uncle) to repair to Damascus, where, by means of 
bribery and misrepresentation, he obtained the Governorship 
for himself, his nephew being displaced. 

~ Upon the triumphant arrival of Mahmoud in Nablous, 
the XJlemas assembled and told him that if he wanted their 
favour he must endeavour to purify and thoroughly cleanse 
the city from the Samaritan religion, but first of all must 
oblige the son and daughter of the Samaritan widow imme- 
diately to embrace the "religion of resignation '^ (Been el 
Islam). This he promised, and sought to make the children 
submit. The boy was about fourteen years old, and after a 
fortnight's imprisonment, with threats and frequent lashes, 
he embraced the Mohammedan religion, but the girl died 
from fright of the dreadful torture about to be inflicted 
upon her. The boy's name was Isaac, and he is now known 
throughout Djebal Nablous under the newly adopted Moham- 
medan name of Assaad. After the submission of this youth, 


the Ulemas assembled and conspired to murder the whole 
Samaritan people unless they would embrace the Moslem faith. 
There happened to be present a Samaritan named M^Barak, 
who, alarmed at what he heard, and being threatened, at once 
confessed faith in Mohammed. He was carried in triumph 
through the city on horseback, whilst his former co- 
religionists were being sought for. These, however, had 
obtained information of the scheme on foot, and some of them 
fled, whilst others concealed themselves. The plea upon 
which the Mohammedan XJlemas acted thus, was, that the 
Samaritans had no religion at all, not even believing in any 
one of the five inspired books, which are: — 1. The Tora, or 
Law of Moses ; 2. The Angeel, or New Testament ; 8. The 
Zaboor, or Psalms ; 4. The Anbeeyah, or Prophets ; and 5. The 
Koran of Mohammed. A sect which acknowledges the inspira- 
tion of any one of these five books is legally tolerated by the 
Mohammedans. This being known to the Samaritans, they 
endeavoured to prove their belief in the Pentateuch, but the 
Mohammedans, not being acquainted with the Holy Tongue, 
disbelieved them. They then applied to the Chief Rabbi of 
the Jews in Jerusalem (a recognised representative and head of 
the Jewish faith), who immediately gave them a written de- 
claration certifying " That the Samaritan people is a branch 
of the Children of Israel, who acknowledge the truth of the 
Tora.^^ This document, backed by pecuniary presents, appeased 
the fury of the fanatics. 

The Samaritans during their concealment gave to the 
Mohammedans money, plate, and jewelry to the amount of 
nearly £1000 ; after which they began by degrees to reappear 


in public. All this occurred during the Governorship of 
Mahmoud Abd ul Hady, who was displaced in the year 1260 
(a.d. 1842) ; when an influential member of the Tokan family, 
Suleiman Bek et Tokan, ruled in his stead : as he had often 
assisted us, we were delighted to hear of his appointment. At 
the end of the first year Suleiman Bek, accompanied by four 
members of our family, went to Beyrout to render up 
accounts. After the settlement, Suleiman Bek was cast into 
prison, but we could never discover for what reason. We 
were ordered to return to our official duties, in company with 
a new Governor, a Turk ; but we feared lest the natives of 
Nablous should accuse us of having by intrigue obtained 
the discharge and imprisonment of Suleiman Bek. The 
command, however, was repeated, with threats of imprison- 
ment if we refused to obey; so we started with the new 
Governor, and journeyed with him as far as Caiffa (a small 
sea-port town at the foot of Mount Carmel, of very little im- 
portance at that time, but which is now increasing in size, and 
progressing in mercantile affairs), where we heard that Djebal 
Nablous was much excited at the intelligence of the imprison- 
ment of Suleiman Bek. We requested the new Governor 
to proceed to Jaffa with his train, and thence to Nablous. 
We went to Teerey, and thence to Igzim, and having found 
Mohammed Bek el Maady (an influential MutseUim in the 
district of Atleet and Caiffa), we asked his advice as to our 
ftiture proceedings. He said, '^ You had better go direct to 
Nablous." We did so, and our worst fears were realised. 
The country was up in arms. We were objects of universal 
displeasure, suspected as we were of having been the instru- 
ments of Suleiman Bek^s disgrace. We made equivocal 


answers to the numerous questions put to us^ and then con- 
cealed ourselves in cellars and vaults^ where we remained 
for many days ; by night we sent four delegates to 
Mustafa Bek et Tokan, brother of Suleiman Bek, begging 
his assistance ; and^ having supplied him with a bag of money, 
he appointed his brother Emeen Bek to protect us. 

The new Turkish Governor Moossa Aga went from Jaffa to 
Jerusalem, but did not dare to enter Djebal Nablous, and 
Emeen Bek remained with us for about a month. 

The Pasha of Jerusalem came to Nablous for the purpose 
of quelling the disturbance; but the people would not be 
satisfied unless Suleiman Bek were sent back to his post, 
or the justice of his imprisonment proved to them. The 
Grovemment in Beyrout, therefore, considered it the best 
policy to send back Suleiman Bek, and thousands of the 
inhabitants went out to meet him, his popularity being 
now greater than ever; and we were reinstated in our 
offices, of which we had been deprived by our absence and 
concealment. The Governor General sent a special order 
that for the fiiture the responsibility of the Treasury should 
devolve entirely upon my uncle, Abd es Samery ; the Mut- 
seUim having hitherto been the responsible agent. 

A.M. 1259 (a.d. 1841). — In the year 1841, L e. one year 
after the overthrow of the Egyptian Government in Syria, a 
Scotch gentleman named Dr. Wilson arrived in Nablous, and 
made great inquiries for Jacob's Well, and, having found out 
the exact spot, he hired ten strong men and myself to ac- 


company him thither ; and^ in passing through the bazaar 
he purchased four camel ropes. I could not understand 
all this preparation, but on arriving at the mouth of the 
well I soon discovered the reason. It appeared that one of 
the Scotch Missionaries had some years ago dropped his Bible 
into the weU, which Dr. Wilson was now so anxious to extri- 
cate. The men were soon set to work to remove the huge 
stones from the mouth of the well, and I was chosen, as 
being of light weight, to be lowered down for the search. 
I was much afraid at first. However, I consented upon some 
consolatory words and pecuniary persuasion, and a promise to 
take me to England made by Dr. Wilson. The rope was 
therefore tied round the waist, and T swung round (having 
no means of steadying myself) until I was quite giddy and 
faint from the impurity of the air. The four camel ropes 
were joined together, and still I had not reached the bottom ; 
two shawls, which composed the turbans of two Samaritans 
who were with us, were then tied to the end of the rope, and 
by that means I alighted safely, but much frightened and 
overcome. The bottom of the well was muddy, but no water 
was there at this time, as the spring was dry. The well, which 
is a circular shaft, is cut out of the sofid rock, and is 75 feet 
deep. Dr. Wilson had given me two beautiful white candles and 
a small box of sticks. The sticks were for the purpose of making 
a light. This was the first introduction of lucifer matches 
into Nablous. I had seen Dr. Wilson make use of one up 
above in the open air, and was much surprised ; but now, down 
in this dark place, upon striking the end of one against tlie 
rough side of the box, I was amazed at the report and ig- 
nition, and made up ray mind not to waste any, but to keep 



the box carefully in my pocket, and I thought that this box 
alone would fully compensate for my trouble in coming 
down. I had been told to remove all the stones from east, 
and to place them westwards, and then to return them to 
their original position, and to place in the east those from 
the west ; and in executing the latter command, I found a 
dirty little book about 6 in. long by 4 in. broad, and | in. 
thick. Dr. Wilson shouted down from the mouth several 
times, " Have you found it V The same answer, '^ No,^' was 
continued for some time, but now I did not exactly know how 
to answer : " this could not be the book,^' I thought, " for the 
recovery of which he had expended so much labour and money, 
and yet he might, if it were a book of necromancy, for guiding 
him to hidden treasures.^^ When Dr. Wilson heard that I had 
found something, he caused me to be hauled up, and wel- 
comed me and my treasure, which I felt almost ashamed to 
give him ; yet he was much delighted, patting me on my back 
and paying all the men as well as myself very handsomely. 
He wrapped the Bible in a handkerchief, and deposited it in 
his breast-pocket most carefully. It was currently beUeved 
that this was a book of necromancy, just as it had struck me 
when in the well. This little fact is related in Dr. Wilson^a 
valuable book called " Lands of the Bible.^' 

In 1263 (a.d. 1847), a special accountant was sent from 
Beyrout to examine the state of all the Treasuries in Syria. 
He came to Nablous in company with Mustafa Zereef Pasha, 
and amongst the accounts one was found showing that we had 
paid the sum of 72,000 piastres, according to the cheque 
drawn by the Treasurer, who had held office during our tem- 


porary concealment : we had this cheque in hand, acknow- 
ledged and endorsed by the recipient of the sum ; but the late 
Treasurer had absconded, and it devolved upon us either to 
find him or to pay the sum— so it was placed to our debit till 
the man could be found. The presence of Suleiman Bek as 
Governor, he being our friend and protector, set our minds 
at ease, and, considering his knowledge of all the circum- 
stances of the case, we thought the missing sura would be 
looked over ; or, perhaps, more correctly, relying upon him 
we 4^hought no more about it, and remained in peace and 
plenty for several years, performing our annual sacrifice of 
the Paschal lamb on Mount Gerizim, according to the 
tenets of our religion. 

In 1264 (a.d. 1848) I was sent to be Treasurer and Super- 
intendent of Stores in the district of Jeneen, a fertile country, 
including part of the plain of Esdraelon, the Mountains of 
Gilboa, and the Mount Ephraim, with forty-five villages, 
where I remained (sometimes acting as Governor during the 
temporary absence of the appointed one, who was of the 
Jerrar family) until the year 1267 (1851). Several of my 
relations were at the same time in office in the district 
and town of Nablous. After having been here for about a 
year, I was one evening seated with the Mutsellim, when 
we were informed that some English official was encamped 
in the garden under the large mulberry-tree, near the Jeneen 
spring. I immediately took two water-melons and pre- 
sented them to the weary travellers, and thus commenced 
my valuable acquaintance with Mr. E. T. Rogers, who was 


at that time in an official appointment at Jerusalem^ whence 
he has been since removed to a more important station at 

In that memorable year 1267 (a.d. 1851), the family of 
Abd ul Hady having, during the past seven years, strengthened 
itself considerably, the younger members, having arrived at 
maturity, sought opportunities to take revenge upon the 
family of Tokan for the success and popularity enjoyed by 
Suleiman Bek. They assembled in many villages for the 
purpose of extirpating all the followers of that family. I 
was myself an eye-witness of much slaughter between the 
two factions. The family of Tokan was assisted by that 
of Jerrar, and part of the family of Rayan, in repelling the 
advances made by Abd ul Hady, who had called in some wild 
Arab tribe to assist : the family of Tokan also called in a 
tribe of Bedouin Arabs. A sanguinary fight ensued : it lasted 
for about three months, during which time about 500 people 
were killed, and as many were wounded. Tokan came oflF 
victorious, and now Abd ul Hady bribed the Government to 
send Mohammed Pasha with his cavalry, and pitch his camp 
near Nablous ; who summoned the elders of the contending 
parties under the pretence of making peace between them ; 
but immediately upon their being all seated within his state 
tent, he gave the word of command, when a company of 
soldiers entered, who took them prisoners. He sent them 
bound to Beyrout, guarded by a detachment of about 400 
cavalry. The names of the eight who were thus igno* 
miniously arrested were — 


Of the J of Tokan : — 

Suleiman Bek et Tokan (the Governor), 
Mustafa Bek et Tokan, 
Abdallah Bek et Tokan. 

Of the family of AM ul Hadj : — 

Mohammed el Hussein Abd ul Hady, 
Abd el Kader Abd ul Hady. 

Of the fiumily of Jerrar : — 

Kasim el Mohammed. 

Of the family of Rayan : — 

Sadik el Mustafa, 

Ibrahim el Burkawey (a friendly Sheikh of no 
great influence). 

Prom Beyrout they were transported by steam to Constan- 
tinople, whence they were sent to Trebizond, where they still 
remain, with the exception of Mohammed el Hussein and his 
brother Abd el Kader, and Kasim el Ahmed, who have lately 
escaped and returned to Nablous. 

Orders were at that time proclaimed that none of either 
family should ever again fill any important office in Djebal 

But Mahmoud Bek Abd ul Hady now endeavoured by 
means of bribery to ingratiate himself into the favour of 


Mohammed Pasha ; he gave him 600 purses (£2500), and he 
was then appointed Mutsellim in Nablous, notmthstanding the 
recent proclamation. 

Immediately on his appointment he commenced a bitter 
and underhanded persecution of all those who had been in any 
way connected with Suleiman Bek. He got the peasantry of 
his party to depose that Abd es Samery had been in the 
habit of extorting money from them in the name of Sulei- 
man Bek, which unfounded accusation, together with others 
equally false, and the transportation of his friend and 
benefactor (the late Governor), coming upon him within a 
short space of time, had such an eflfect upon him in his de- 
clining years, that he died broken-hearted in the year 1267 
(a.d. 1851). 

Mahmoud Bek soon found that this plan was useless : he 
devised another to satisfy his revenge ; he invited us to his 
presence, condoled with us on the death of Abd es Samery, 
and then offered the appointment of Treasurer to Israel, the 
son of the late Abd es Samery, which, notwithstanding the 
irregular state of the books, he accepted, in consequence of 
the kindly- worded promises of Mahmoud Bek. 

But in the course of two or three months, before the 
Treasury could receive any of its revenue, an examination was 
instituted, and by the cross-questioning of several members of 
the Council and Abd ul Hady^s faction, a deficiency of 
112,000 pias. was proved against us, including, however, the 
72,000 above alluded to. The account ran thus : — 


To a non-accepted cheque from the absconded ^ 

Treasurer . 72,000 

To sums remaining due from the village taxes 
and expenses which the Government did 
not acknowledge, notwithstanding having 
been incurred by order of the Governor . 89,000 

Piastres 111,000 

We were ordered immediately to pay the deficiency': 
all the valuables of the family were sold by public auction, — 
our jewelry, furniture, copper kitchen utensils (with which 
Arab families are generally very plentifully supplied), and, 
indeed, everything that would realise any value : yet still the 
enormous debt was not nearly covered ; consequently, Israel 
was imprisoned and tortured. I went off to Jerusalem and 
delivered a petition to Mr. Finn, H.B.M. Consul, who, in 
answer to it, as well as upon several other occasions, remon- 
strated in our behalf with the MutseUim, upon which the 
torture was for a time abandoned, to be renewed within a few 

A Petition was then drawn up complaining of the Mut- 
sellim^s cruel treatment of Israel ; it was signed by all our 
friends who knew anything of the circimistances. This 
petition I presented to the Pasha in Jerusalem. Next 
morning I met H.E.'s secretary, Selim Ayoub, who informed 
me that Mahmoud Abd ul Hady, on hearing that I was 
the bearer of a memorial against him, had written to the 


Pasha, accusing me personally of those crimes which he 
before attributed to my uncle and cousin: this was, of 
course, to lower me in the estimation of the Pasha, and to 
prevent the eflfects of the memorial. I, therefore, according 
to the advice of the secretary, a very friendly man, took my 
departure without a second interview with the Pasha. I went 
to JaflFa, where I expected to find a vessel which would take 
me to Trebizond, to the presence of my late friends and em- 
ployers, Suleiman Bek and his brothers ; but during my stay 
in JaflEa, waiting for a vessel, some horseman arrived from 
Nablous who seized me and threw me into prison. On the 
morrow I was taken to Nablous, when I was brought before 
Mahmoud Bek, who rose on my entering his apartment, and 
said, " Welcome, O thou prime minister of Suleiman Bek ; 
bring coflFee and pipes for him.^^ I said *^ I did not expect 
such politeness from you; I feel such flattery is not in my 
favour ; but do what you please — he who is destined to live 
but a day will not live for two." He then began to threaten 
me, saying he would send me to Trebizond. I said that was 
my great desire, as I wished to be near my friends ; and re- 
peated to him the proverb of the wolf, who, upon being 
threatened, as a pimishment, with being made a shepherd of 
sheep, began to cry and express a wish for the fulfilment of 
the threat. He then ordered me to prison, after having been 
severely bastinadoed in his presence. 

I was heavily ironed, and the Governor caused me to be 
brought before him every day to be beaten, when he swore 
at me, and ordered me to inform him where the property of 
my uncle had been hidden. I could only tell him that all 


tlie property of which we had been possessed^ as far as I 
knew^ had been sold to Uqnidate the debt made out against 
lis ; but he was so angry with me for persisting in making 
the same answer every day, that he ordered my allowance of 
food to be reduced to one small cake a day (six or eight of 
which cakes would only form an ordinary allowance for a 
man). A number of Samaritans came to me frequently to 
consult as to what could be done for my release, but they were 
invariably searched lest they should bring me food. 

They proposed that I should do everything in my power to 
pacify the anger and revenge of the Governor, so my mother 
oflFered for sale her house, which had cost her about £70, 
which, when sold by auction, only realised £26. This sum 
I sent up to the Governor, yet still he would not release me. 
I then wrote a secret letter to two confidential friends, for 
the twofold purpose of inquiring as to the Govemor^s feelings 
towards me, and of consulting about a remedy against his 
cruelty. The following is a translation of my letter : — 

" To my beloved Brethren and . 

" I am in great anxiety to see you both in good health and 
happiness. It is known to you that I am in ^.ison, whither 
the soldiers brought me firom Jaffia, under arrest. I am in a 
great strait, firstly, from being in a very small dungeon ; and, 
secondly, from the great weight of the iron chains wounding 
my neck and legs. This is all caused by the rapacious spirit 


of Mahmoud Bek Abd id Hady, our present Grovernor, who, 
as you well know, is extremely tyrannical. I beg you of 
your brotherhood to give me information on two points :— 
First, What have you heard from the mouth of the tyrant 
above mentioned in regard to his feelings towards me, whether 
good or bad ? Secondly, I wish you to advise me how to 
escape from the hands of this merciless man ; for time is 
lengthening, and I want your advice as from one to his own 
brother, and this in the shortest time possible. May God 
preserve you. 

" Your brother, 

^^ Jacob esh Shelaby." 

To this I received the following reply, which made me 
confident in the endeavour to carry out my preconceived 
plan : — 

" To our Brother Jacob esh Shelaby. 

" In anxiety to see you in good health and spirits, as well as 
in prosperity, we received your letter, which has added sorrow 
to your previous affiction, from the continuance of your im- 
prisonment. We cannot express our extreme sorrow and 
trouble on account of our thoughts concerning your state, as 
we well know the callous disposition of the tyrannical and 
merciless Governor. Your imprisonment has been the topic 
of our conversation by day and by night, sorrowing over your 


misfortune. The disposition of Mahmoud Bek is well known 
to all. You ask for information on two points. We answer 
the first by saying that the Governor has said before us, and 
before many others (whom we have asked as to whether he 
would be satisfied by any sum of money that could be given 
to him, who answered that no money would satisfy him), that 
his desire was to annihilate Jacob Shelaby from the earth. 
Secondly, our advice is, that if you can possibly effect it, your 
best plan is to flee from your prison. Pray do not let any- 
one see this our letter, but bum it lest it should fall into the 
hands of our enemies, whereby we might be punished with 
you by the great oppressor. 

" God preserve you, 
(Signed) " Your brethren, 

" and '' 

Having made up my mind what course to pursue, I dictated 
the following letter to my mother : — 

" ^Do not enquire of occurrences how or why they happened ; 
for that which is decreed must come to pass.' 

" My dear Mother, 

" I am, by the goodness of God, in the intention of 
effecting my escape if He permit it; therefore, henceforward, 
make no farther enquiries after me; for if God be propitious 
to me, I will let you know of my state in any town whither I 
may have fled — but if not, then God be praised for what He 


has done already — yoa will then weep for me as Jacob wept 
over his son Joseph. 

" I have written this letter to yon, whilst tears are running 
down my cheeks^ stream after stream. We were tog^her as 
the stars of heaven, but time has parted us, and we wander 
like shooting stars. I b^ you to pray for my success. 

" Your son, 
(Signed) " Jacob esh Shslabt.'' 

I then, therefore, came to the conclusion that my only 
plan was to endeavonr to effect my escape, even if I should 
lose my life in the attempt : I coimted my fellow.prisoners, 
who amounted to fifteen, all of whom were securely ironed like 
myself, and, upon communicating to them my plan, they all 
rejoiced at the very idea of effecting an escape. 

The next time my mother came to see me, I b^^ed of her 
to bring me, by any means in her power, a strong file and an 
iron peg. This she succeeded in accomplishing very cleverly, 
much to our delight. As soon as the guards had retired, I 
went to work with my newly-acquired and invaluable imple- 
ments, and before the fifth hour of the night, say 11 o'clock, 
every one of us was released from his bonds. 

We were now, though free from our chains, still in confine- 
ment within stone walls. 

The door could, perhaps, be easily opened, but several 


guards were sleeping (as they should not have been) on the door- 
step ; some of the prisoners proposed to force the door and 
murder the sleeping guards ; but I would not consent to stain 
my hands with blood, so I induced them to assist me in 
picking some of the stones from the wall, which we accom- 
plished by means of the iron peg, and in the course of an 
hour and a half we were all safe through the hole we had 
thus made. Our next, but comparatively small difficulty, 
was to get out of the city. When we arrived at the 
bazaar we were alarmed by the night patrols, who gave us 
chase, close to our heels ; and in our bewilderment we presently 
found that we had run back into the court of the very seraglio 
from which we had only just escaped with such difficulty ; 
but, fortunately, a small gate on the opposite side had been 
left open by neglect, and afforded us egress, and on arriving 
at a part of the city wall which is rather lower than the rest, 
we, in our anxiety and eagerness, scaled it like cats. 

I am certam I could not get over such a wall now, and am 
only siuTprised at myself, when I reflect that I really did sur- 
mount it without the aid of a ladder, rope, or anything of the 

So dear is Liberty. 

Once in safety outside the town, I counted my companions, 
and found that four had been left behind, having either 
missed us in our precipitate escape, or having been overtaken by 
the guard. 


One of our number was a Bedouin Chief, a Prince among 
his people. 

We were now pursued by mounted patrok, but we took a 
rough stony cut up Mount Ebal, so that the horses coidd not 
possibly follow us. The horsemen cried out, conjuring us to 
leave behind the Bedouin Chief: we, however, refused to do so, 
considering that he had a right to share the same fate as his 

Before dawn we arrived at a village named Tubaz, 
where each one of us went into a house to beg a loaf of bread. 
We had agreed that if any one of us heard or saw any signs 
of pursuit, he was to give warning to the others by a sharp 
whistle. I had hardly got my loaf and a few eggs, when I 
heard the appointed signal, and we all soon assembled in the 
olive grove. 

I found the cause of the summons was, that one of the 
party had discovered in the village a brother of Mahmoud Bek ; 
and fearing lest we should be seized on suspicion, he proposed 
that we should immediately strike into the Ghor.* 

We continued on our way, now running, now loitering to 
refresh ourselves at an occasional spring, or to seek for herbs 
among the grass, which, as it was spring time, were easily 

The plain of tlie Jordan bears thii namo. 


We did not venture to take sleep or rest till after sunset ; 
and then we sat down on a rock to pass the night, without 
any addition to the scanty clothing which we wore during the 
day. There are three things, each of which would prevent 
sleep in any one; and these three were ours — ^viz. fear, 
hunger, and cold. 

On the following morning we again began our inarch, hardly 
knowing whither we directed our steps ; but on and on we 
journeyed until sunset, and then passed a second night under 
the spangled canopy of heaven, without any other food than 
herbs and water. 

Next day we were delighted to perceive in the distance the 
black tents of some wild Arab tribe, for we were purposely 
avoiding the civilised habitations of townspeople. But, upon 
seeing them within about two hours from us, we all grew 
weary, and felt that we could walk no farther, — ^partly from 
sheer exhaustion, and partly, I believe, from the reaction caused 
by our confidence in finding ourselves so near to a temporary 

Two of our little party, however, who had been more inured 
to hard living and out-door exercise than the rest, offered to 
advance and infonn the Arabs of the approach of travellers. 
On their arrival at the tents they found it to be the encamp- 
ment of the very Chief who was with us, namely Ahmed 
el Karoot, — and immediately a large number of the Arabs, with 
saddle-horses for the weary, came forward to meet and welcome 
us ; and we were conducted to the tents amid the singing of the 


women and gun- firing of the men. We were only seven who 
entered the encampment; the rest had gone off^ each in the direc- 
tion of his own residence. I remained with this tribe aboat 
two months^ during which time (as I could not from religious 
scruples eat the meat which they had slaughtered) I took only 
bread and milk, and had no change of raiment; and at last, from 
exposure to cold, sleeping on damp grass, and taking only such 
light food, I became seriously ill. I was acquainted with a 
tribe near Nazareth, called the Hawara, and begged the Arabs 
to conduct me thither, which they did. My late fellow- 
prisoners had left me some time before. 

A short time previous to my imprisonment 1 had received 
from Mustafa el Abdallah, nephew of Abd ul Hady, the sum 
of 100 gazis (equal to about £20) for partnership iu the pur- 
chase of wheat ; he heard of my being at Nazareth, and came 
to the Hawara demanding that I should be given up. This 
they reftised, and Mustafa would not leave me without 
the payment of the 100 dollars. The two parties had much 
angry discussion, and at last I was seized and carried off 
to 'Arabeh. Then Mustafa ordered me to pay the money 
immediately. Though I ofiPered him the receipt 1 had 
obtained from the peasant to whom I had paid the money in 
advance for the wheat, he would not take it ; so I collected 
all old trifling and almost foi^otten sums due to me, and 
during eight months' stay in his house I was allowed to earn 
a little money, aU of which I paid him ; so that there only 
remained about 30 gazis, or £6, for which sum a Samaritan 
friend became my guarantee ; I was thereupon released. As I 
did not dare even yet to go to Nablous, I went round to Jem- 


miem, where I applied for assistance to the English Consul, 
Mr. Finn^ who was very kind to me ; and I remained two 
months in the house of his dragoman, Mr. Moossa Tannoos. 
Then, hearing that Mahmoud Bek was displaced, I went to 
Nablous and found the whole of the Samaritan community in 
deep poverty, their houses mortgaged, and every valuable sold. 
Seeing no possibility of my being restored to my original 
appointment, I thought well to return to Jerusalem, and this 
time I was kindly received by Mr. Finn's cancelliere 
(Mr. Rogers, who was afterwards appointed H.B.M. Vice- 
Consul in CaiflFa), who cheered me up and lent me some money, 
with which I paid the balance due to Mustafa. I remained 
with him during the whole time of the Consid's summer 
encampment, viz. from May till October. 

The last time I was in Nablous, the priest Amran asked me 
if I would imdertake a journey to England for the collection 
of alms. I assented, and was much encouraged with the 
prospect of being allowed to go under the protection of my 
friend Mr. Rogers ; and my hope is that the expectations of 
my brethren may be realised in the favourable reception given 
to me by the British public, 

I brought with me two petitions, one addressed to the 
British Government, seeking protection, which has been very 
favourably responded to by H.M. Principal Secretary of State 
for Foreign Affairs, the Earl of Clarendon, his lordship 
having sent instructions to the Consuls resident in Palestine, 
expressing the interest which H.M.'s Government take in the 
Samaritans of Nablous, and directing them to afford, in case of 



need, such protection as may be proper towards subjects of the 
Porte. His lordship at the same time instructed H.E. Lord 
Stratford de Redcliflfe to use his good offices with the Porte in 
favour of the Samaritan commimity. 

I would conclude my little narrative with a copy of the 
Petition to the British Public, literally translated from the 
Arabic by Mr. Vice-Consul Rogers : — 

Literal Translation of the Petition from the Samaritan 

Community y addressed to the English Public in the Arabic 

and Samaritan Languages. 

" O God, we lift up to Thee our open hands in prayers 
and supplications, to Thee who art incomprehensible and 
incomparable ; we conjure Thee by Him whom Thou wert 
pleased to create, and to whom thou revealedst the mystery of 
Thy Godhead, to vouchsafe to behold with the eyes of assistance, 
to protect and everlastingly preserve the lords and subjects of 
the illustrious Government of Great Britain, who by the 
means of Thy protection obtain wondrous grace. Be thou to 
them, O Lord God, a helper and aid, a preserver and faithful 
guard. So be it, O God ! Amen.^ 


This petition to the threshold of the bountifiil, the generous, 
showeth that your servants, the Samaritan Community residing 
in Nablous, were formerly an extensive people, and respected in 
all lands ; but those days have changed : the Government of 
the district inhabited by us is corrupt and unstable; the 


Grovemors have had no pity upon our state, so that sorrow has 
fallen upon us in the course of time and fate, these same 
Governors having been in the habit of making our goods their 
spoil, and of punishing with fines, and stripes, and death, those 
who disobeyed their arbitrary commands. The population 
rose against us, and the whole people fell sorely upon us ; and 
we have incurred heavy debts, as we were unable to flee from 
our home from the lack of liberty in another place, and, above 
all, we should be unable to carry out the commands of our 
religion elsewhere. Our affairs were very unprosperous, and 
clouds of darkness thickened around us, from our inability to 
undertake the trials of a journey from the home of our fore- 
fathers. Thus from the tyranny of our numerous changing 
Governors, we have gradually fallen into our present state, 
aud we are so far annihilated that we have become very few 
in number, our males only amounting to sixty -five,* including 
men and boys. We therefore solicit your pity, being confident 
in your known mercy ; therefore do not disappoint us of that 
which we expect from your charity; nay, do not turn us, your 
petitioners, empty away. By the representations from the 
travellers of your nation who have visited these lauds, we, 
your petitioners, having become convinced of your merciful 
nature, your fiill and entire sympathy, and your universal and 
never-failing kindness, have thought well to address this peti- 
tion, and to forward it by the hands of the bearer, one of the 
sons of our Commimity, Jacob esh Shelaby, our Agent and 
faithful Trustee : we hope that by him you will receive this 

* The whole number of the Congregation, male and female, amounts to 
about 195.— -E.T. B. 


petition^ that you will look on him with the eyes of mercy^ and 
that you will exercise your never-failing charity ; we trust that 
you wiU exert your high influence, and we pray that your eyes 
may be ever rejoiced at beholding us hereafter, by your 
assisting us now in this time of need, to the means whereby 
we may be enabled to pay our debts, and become free from 
these incumbrances. You are the people of mercy and charity. 
We therefore beseech you to grant us your bountiful assistance, 
that you may thereby gain the grateful prayers of your 
servants, and the humble supplications of our children, at all 
times and in all seasons. 

Signed and Sealed by the Chief Priest, Amran, 

In the name of the Samaritan Commimity. 
[L. SO 

This Petition is supported by recommendations from 
Mr. Consul Finn, of Jerusalem, — Dr. M^Caul, of St. Magnus 
Eectory, London Bridge, &c. — as follows : — 

Recommendation in their favour by Mr. Consul Finn, of 


" The Samaritan Congregation of Nablous being about to 
send a messenger to England for collection of alms in aid of 
their community, I do hereby testify that almost all their 
families are in a state of much poverty, particularly of late 


years; and that they have uniformly shown kindness to 
EngKsh travellers arriving in their city. 

"I am glad to mention Priest Amran, with his father 
Sel&meh (the correspondent of De Sacy many years ago) 
among my best friends in this country. 

'' (Signed and sealed) J. FINN, 

" Her Britannic Majesty^s Consid for Jerusalem and Palestine. 

Jerusalem, April 13th, 1854.'' 

Statement by Mr. Vicb-Consul Rogers, of Caiffa, in 


" The Samaritan Congregation (as well as most of the 
inhabitants of Palestine) were much impoverished by the 
failure of the crops in the year 1853. 

^^ They therefore determined to send a messenger to England 
for the collection of alms. 

" And upon its being known that I was about to undertake 
a journey to England on leave of absence, T was petitioned by 
the Samaritan Community to take charge of their messenger 
Jacob esh Shelaby, which I have accordingly done, and 
feel pleasure in recommending their appeal, having been 
personally acquainted with their wants and sufferings occa- 


sioned by circumstances of oppression from the petty factions 
Grovemors of the neighbourhood. 

'' (Signed) E. T. ROGERS, 

" Her Britannic Majesty^s Vice-Consul for Caiffa, &c/' 

Contributions may be paid into the hands of Messrs. 
Bamett, Hoare, and Co., Bankers, 62, Lombard Street, who 
have kindly consented to open an account for this Fund. 

Donations will also be received by the Rev. W. D. Veitch, 
M.A., Chaplain to the Right Rev. Dr. Gtobat, Anglican Bishop 
in Jerusalem, 26, Devonshire Terrace, Craven Hill, Pad- 
dington; by the Rev. George Fisk, LL.B., Preb. of Lichfield, 
Incumbent of Christ Chapel, St. John^s Wood, London ; by 
Rev. Wm. Brock, 12, Gower Street, Bedford Square ; by Mr. 
Edward Gellatly, No. 1, Albion Terrace, Commercial Road, 
Limehouse ; by Mr. I. Falcke, No. 92, New Bond Street, 
London ; and by Rev. C. Marriott, FeUow of Oriel College, 

The Rev. Dr. M^Caid, who is acquainted with the facts of 
the case, and takes much interest in the remnant of this 
ancient people, fellow-witnesses with the Jews to the truth 
of Scripture, commends their claims to Christian sympathy. 

And I would now beg publicly to express my sincere 
thanks to those friends who have assisted me in my mission. 


to many of whom I have been introduced through my friend 
Mr. Vice-Consul Rogers : — 

Bight Rev. the Lord Bishop of London, 
Bight Hon. the Earl of Shaftesbury, 
Most Noble the Marquis of Blandpord, 
Sir Culling Eardly Eardly, Bart. ; 

P. Gellatly, Esq., and family ; A. J. B. Beresford Hope, Esq. ; 
John Labouehere, Esq. ; Rev. Joseph Wolff, D.D., LL.D. ; 
Rev. George Fisk, LL.B. ; Mrs. Teede, of Bath ; Rev. George 
Williams, B.D., Senior Fellow of King's Coll. Cambridge; 
Rev. W. D. Veitch ; Rev. C. N. Mann, Brighton ; Rev. W. 
Brock, Bloomsbury Chapel; Rev. C. Marriott, Fellow of Oriel 
Coll. Oxford ; the Vice-Chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge ; 
Rev. F. W. Witts; Rev. Dr. Pusey, Regius Professor of 
Hebrew ; Rev. Dr. J. Barrow ; Mrs. Landon, of Bath ; R. R. 
Alexander, Esq. ; Miss Sawbridge, of Bath ; T. Walrond, 
Esq. ; Rev. A. P. Stanley ; Rev. Dr. dimming ; Rev. T. 
Binney ; Dr. Acland ; Isaac and David Falcke, Esqrs. ; Rev. 
E. B. Elliott, of Brighton; Rev. H. V. Elliott, Brighton; and 
especially to Mr. W. G, Rogers, in whose family circle I have 
been kindly received, and where I have been residing during 
my stay in London. 

The original ofiScial documents are in my hands, and I shall 
be happy to show them to any who are interested in the sub- 
ject, on their calling at the undermentioned address. 

10, Carlisle Street, Soho Square: 
I2th April, 1855. 

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