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primitive people, the wants of each successive generation are handed down from father to son, so that the living representatives of each passing age become the principal depositories of the facts of their previous history.
“ Hört was die alten Hirten sich erzälen,"
is an invitation always coupled with authority, because we know that the relater, whatever may be his deficiencies, intends to tell the truth, and that is a great point gained. The historian is ordinarily too apt to let party spirit or private prejudice give a colour to his story, so that the past, instead of being faithfully painted, is but the reflex of the present; but the old man who sits down with you to tell you the old story which was told to him, feels bound simply to deliver the trust as faithfully as it was confided to him, and would not tell you if he thought you would not do the same.—“We have heard with our ears, and our fathers have declared unto us” must ever be the best guarantee for the trustworthiness of the narrator.
The interesting and extraordinary Creed which I append, I have taken every care to translate faithfully. It is to be found in an Arabic manuscript in my possession, which I obtained in the year 1851 with a great
deal of trouble, and after much bargaining, from a Maronite gentleman residing in the village of Hadded, on the Lebanon, who was engaged in initiating me into the mysteries of the Arabic language.
Should my work be acknowledged as not devoid of interest or instruction, I shall feel fully repaid for all my labour: the Reader's favor will be my best reward. In the hope that I shall obtain it,
LONDON, DECEMBER, 1854.