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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.

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