HABEEB RISK ALLAH EFFENDI. The Thistle and the Cedar of Lebanon. London, James Madden, 1854.
8vo. Original cloth, lettered and decorated in gilt; pp. xii, 400, a fine steel-engraved portrait of the author with tissue guard; a little wear to extremities, toning to portrait with offsetting to title-page, as usual, and a little spotted, otherwise a very good and clean copy of a scarce work, even more so in the original publisher's binding, school prize inscription to front fly-leaf.
Second edition, improved and corrected, of this book by a Lebanese Christian on his home country, and his journeys into neighbouring regions, such a Syria, Cyprus, Palestine and Southern Anatolia. Habeeb travelled as well to Paris and London to encourage support for the peoples of the Middle East, badly governed by the Ottoman Empire. The National Archive in Kew holds his British naturalization document from 1856. In describing the complex religious patchwork of the region at the time he naturally deals with the Druze as well.
'The author, a Christian Arab from Lebanon, gives a very interesting account of life among the native Christian population. The work consists of a mixture of autobiographical anecdotes, travels and information on Syria and Lebanon. There is also an amusing chapter on how a young Syrian sees England, plus a very interesting account of silk-worn culture' (Blackmer)
A short appendix is by the British naturalist working at University of Edinburgh, Edward Forbes, on the geology of Syria. - In the preface of this edition, the author, before setting off to the East again, expresses his hopes that the current tribulations of Syria (1850 Massacre of Aleppo, usually called the Events - al-hawadith) will be overcome with the help of Calif Abdulmedjid II, his enlightened minsters and British and French pressure.