His Family Attempt His Liberation

19. Phares brought us a letter, which had just been received by the

family at Hadet, from the patriarch, wishing them to come immediately to

Cannobeen. Tannoos and his mother have gone, and intend, if possible, to

bring Asaad away, either to Kesroan, or to Hadet. The mother insisted on

going, and wished to pass through Beyroot on her way, that she might

consult us before she went; but this was not permitted her.

The above mentioned letter, in English, runs thus:--"After telling you

how much I desire to see you in all health and prosperity, I send you

news respecting the wretch Asaad Esh Shidiak, otherwise called lord of

hell. His obduracy, with which you are acquainted, has exceedingly

increased. It is not unknown to you, how much care I have bestowed on

him for his good, how much I have laboured for his salvation, and under

what severe discipline I have put him; and all to no effect. And now, as

might be expected, he has fallen ill, and therefore can no longer run

away, according to his custom, and we have been thus constrained to take

off the severity of our treatment. But fearing lest his disease should

increase upon him, I have sent you word, that you may come and see how

he is, and consult what is best to be done with him. Make no delay,

therefore, in coming, and the apostolic blessing be upon you."

This attempt of his family to effect his liberation failed, for some

reason unknown; and he continued immured in prison, suffering

persecution. He was confined in a small room with an iron collar round

his neck fastened to the wall with a strong chain. In October, 1826,

another attempt was made to effect the liberation of Asaad. The civil

authorities were consulted, but could not be prevailed upon to enlist in

his behalf. In November, 1826, however, he effected his escape, but was

soon arrested, and treated more cruelly than ever.

In the Herald for April, 1828, we find the following history of Asaad

from the time he was betrayed into the hands of the patriarch till the

spring of 1826. It is thus prefaced by Mr. Bird, one of the


"This account of our suffering friend, though by no means complete, may

nevertheless be relied on as authentic, and is by far the most full and

satisfactory account which we have been able to obtain. It was sent us,

as you will see in the journal, by the friendly young shekh, Naami

Latoof, who, some time previous, spent a few weeks in our families, and

whose heart seems to have been touched with the truths of the gospel.

The priest, who has proved so great a benefactor to Asaad, is a relative

of the shekh, and they have grown up together from childhood on the most

intimate terms of familiarity and friendship. Many of the occurrences

here related, the priest found written among the monks, who pass their

time idly with the patriarch, and to many he was an eye-witness. The

account was drawn up under his own inspection. He seems a man unusually

conscientious for an Arab, unusually open to conviction in argument, and

has promised to do his utmost to save Asaad from further abuse, and in

the end to deliver him from his state of confinement. Thus, while all

our own efforts have failed of essentially benefitting the poor man, the

Lord, without any of our instrumentality, has raised up a friend from

the midst of his persecutors, who has already saved him from impending

death, and we hope and pray, will soon open the way for his complete

deliverance from this Syrian Inquisition."