His Early History

Asaad Shidiak was born in the district north of Beyroot, called Kesruan,

where, and at Hadet, a small village five miles south-east of Beyroot,

his family have ever since lived. This family now consists of the

widowed mother, five sons, (of whom Asaad is the third) and two or three

daughters. At about the age of 16, he entered the college of Ain Warka,

and spent a year and a half in studying grammar, (Arabic and Syriac,)

> logic and theology. After this he passed two years teaching theology to

the monks of a convent near Hadet.

He has also been some considerable time scribe to the bishop of Beyroot,

and to the patriarch, the latter of whom was a teacher in the college

when Asaad was a student. During the late rebellion, headed by the shekh

Besir, a mere complimentary letter of Asaad's to one of the disaffected

party, being intercepted, and shown to the emir Beshir, his suspicion

was excited, and he wrote immediately to the patriarch, in whose employ

he then was, to dismiss him from his service. The letter of Asaad was

produced, and though it was seen to contain nothing exceptionable, the

patriarch thought proper to dismiss him without ceremony.