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Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 11, page 253, ca. 1859 [newspaper clipping]

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Identifier: DX03212994

Title: Thomas Butler Gunn Diaries: Volume 11, page 253, ca. 1859 [newspaper clipping]

Description: Newspaper clipping about a lecture by William Boutcher regarding his travels in the Middle East.


WORKING MEN'S EDUCATIONAL UNION.—A lecture entitled "A Ramble in the East" was given to the members of this institution, (gratuitously, for its benefit) at the New National Schools, by W. Boutcher, esq., the room being kindly lent for the occasion by the Rev. M. Woodward, the incumbent of the parish church, in consequence of the lecture room on the Bayle, having sustained damage through the falling of an adjoining building. The chair was taken by the Mayor, James Tolputt, esq. The lecturer who was one of four forming the last Exploring Expedition to the Buried Cities of the East, commenced his ramble from Constantinople, which was graphically pictured, and humorously described the voyage in the steamer, with her miscellaneous human cargo, from thence up the Bosphorus, round the eastern coast of the Black Sea to Sinope, where she stopped to land and embark passengers. This was shown to be an ordinary Turkish port, in a thriving state, with its open roadstead — where, in seven days after, the Russian fleet anchored, and perpetrated the horrible massacre which has been so justly condemned throughout the world. The lecturer here drew a picture of the inglorious fate which soon befell this same fleet, now lying a mass of charred and rotting lumber at the bottom of those waters of which it was intended to be the pride and glory. He then passed on to Samsoun the point where the expedition landed. Here the party commenced their laborious journey, travelling on mules. The wretched state of the Turkish hovels was next spoken of, and the perilous route over the snowy mountains. The lecturer then fully described the habits, manners, customs, and extraordinary apathy of the Turks, and the degraded people inhabiting the country which was passed through on their way to Nineveh, with the general knavery and system of speculation that prevailed from the greatest pasha down to meanest peasant, forcibly contrasting them with the people of the West. The discoveries of Nineveh were then touched upon, with the extraordinary corroboration they afforded to Biblical history, and the fulfillment of prophecy; one inscription discovered, giving a full account of the war of Sennacherib with Hezekiah King of Judah, which agreed almost word for word with the bible account. Amusing incidents of travel were then given, including the passage down the Tigris, and the arrival at Baghdad.

After a short interval the lecturer passed on to the great Arabian desert, describing Arab encampments, character and customs of the Arabs, their horses, women, mode of life, and hospitality of the chiefs, which did not appear to have changed since the days of the Patriarchs. He next described the city of Wurka (or Ur of the Chaldees,) the birth-place of Abraham, and other places, also giving an account of the extraordinary place of burial, nine miles in circumference, where millions of bodies must have been interred, as in digging down to the depth of 20 feet nothing but remains of skeletons were found, exhibiting many different and peculiar modes of burial. The lecturer then gave a fine description of the desert by night, with the magnificent appearance of the heavens, and the peculiar effect of the camp watch fires, noticing also the sand squalls, wild beasts, Bedoueens; Arab surgery and Arab thieves, Bashi Bazouks, and many other features of Arab life, arriving at length at Babylon.

We have not space to follow the lecturer through the rest of his highly interesting and amusing descriptions, but can only say that he concluded a most pleasing and instructive entertainment (given entirely extempore) amidst the hearty applause of a large and attentive audience. We understand it is Mr. Boutcher's intention to make a tour of the provinces, to give a similar lecture or entertainment, illustrated. . . .

Rights: NoC-US


Dates: ca. 1859

Type(s): Clipping, Newspaper


Subjects: Travel
Lectures and lecturing


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