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BUTLER (Alfred Joshua, 1850-1936)
BUTLER (Alfred Joshua, 1850-1936) A Manuscript Diary documenting his time Egypt, in between his tutoring duties Butler has much time to visit the Churches and Roman remains of Old Cairo, he records conversations with the Khedive, his handling of a Mutiny in the Army there, the festivals and parties, and with Arab delegations, including a voyage to Greece and Turkey, from January 15th 1881 until 10th May 1881,    1881
217 pages, written on alternate pages of a note book,with occasional note on the verso,14½ x 9½ ins. 37 x 24 cms. original boards, canvas spine, inscribed on the front endpaper "Alfred J. Butler, Abdîn Palace Cairo", and underneath in Arabic, also with a signature of S.A. Roslin, the South African Politician and Islamicist,
Butler begins - "Saturday Jan 15.1881. this day a year ago I arrived in Cairo. Here is a characteristic day to be recorded of the new life. In the morning after my hour's work with the 'infants' I took two Coptic pictures and arranged with a photographer to copy them & take other views for me. Returned to the Palace for lunch. In the afternoon Loftie [Rev. W.J. Loftie, A Ride in Egypt, 1879] and Middleton [W.C. Middleton, Letter from Egypt 1883], came to call for me as I had arranged to show them the remains of the temple I discovered & underground passage." The poor state of the church of St. Michael. Evening conversation with the Khedive at the Ismalia Palace. Discussion about the Duke of Buckingham who had arrived. Gordon's letter on Egypt and Abyssinia in the Times 'I think Col. Gordon does not know the facts', and went on to tell me about the recent arrival of King John's envoys requesting the ordination of a patriarch by the Coptic Patriach and desiring friendly relations with the Khedive." In a long ranging conversation they, discuss the Khedive's abolition of the Doseh religious ceremony performed by Dervishes, also other "barbarous practices" the eating of serpents and chewing of glass. Butler quotes the Khedive "As for the dancing an howling Dervishes they do no harm: their customs are foolish but comparatively innocent and may be left to disappear naturally with the advance of education. In changing the Doseh too I thought it better to remove the festival of the Prophets' Birthday entirely to a new scene. It will no longer be near Boulac, but in Abbasiyeh." He goes on to talk about the total abolition of Slavery, and the opposition of his Prime Minister Riaz Pasha. At a dinner on the 26th of Jan, with Rev. Greville Chester, Dean Butcher "and there was a good deal of talk on Coptic Churches". Greville Chester tell the story of the lost manuscript of Tyrwhitt Drake who had heard reports that the Jew in remote parts of Palestine were crucifying Christian Children, but his notes disappeared after his death when they were sent home for publication. "Captain Burton who has lived a long time in Syria believes and confirms this story.... I don't." On the 1st Feb. he reports "a mutiny among the soldiers because of the favoritism shown by Oman Pasha Minister of War, to Circassian Officers, and neglect the natives. There was talk of murdering all the Turkish Officers... the Regiment of Guards attacked the Minister of War who escaped through a window. They were led by heir Colonel Ali Bey the Khedives Aide de Camp, the man with the villain's smile that I am always meeting in the anterooms. Ali Bey was arrested and put in ward, but the mutineers broke open the prison and let him out." The Khedive accepts the resignation of the Minister of War and pardons the mutineers "we told him in Europe the mutineers would have been shot first and heard afterwards: but he thinks his govt. not strong enough yet for strong measure. He may be right." Feb. 2nd. Festivities begin for the marriage of the Khedive's sister Jamileh Hanem to her cousin Prince Ahmed. Butler is invited to theatricals at the Palace. He describes the decoration of the various palaces, and particularly those of the gardens. Feby. 4th As I was writing the above I was rather surprised by the entry of Middleton (J.H. Middleton?) bringing the Sheykh of the Tourara Arabs of Mount Sanai. This was the man for whom Lady Anne Blunt wished me to intercede with the Khedive. Their grievance is that they have to pay at the bridge of the Suez Canal... The Sheykh is one of the stateliest and grandest men I have ever see: six feet three, with huge brawny shoulders and finely knit muscular frame, a middle-aged man with full beard and moustache, in his turban and Arab raiment he looked every inch a king of the desert." He complains about the toll fees and being driven out of his country onto Syria. Butler later talks to the Khedive about the matter. The Khendive remains preoccupied by the mutiny and predicts the breakup of Turkey and Greece. "Saturday 5 Feb. I went with Middleton to Old Cairo and helped him to make a collection of pottery fragments for Wm. Morris the poet. the glaze is so beautiful and the colours so rich on this Old Arab ware that the pieces one finds are like jewels and Morris will be glad if he can imitate them. At present the art is lost in Egypt and does not exist in Europe." Sunday 6th Feb. He gives and account of a Coptic Funeral at the Church of Mari Mena. 15th Feb. In a paragraph that Butler has crossed through he related further instances of the mutineers causing trouble, ignoring commands and insulting messengers. Monday 28th Feb. Butler demands and interview with the Khedive to tender his resignation as tutor to the Princes. The work had changed and he was not enjoying it and his heart wasn't in it. It took until Saturday 11th March for another interview with the Khedive who removes all obstacles from Butler's departures. April 1st. Presentations and leaving presents from the Khedive and his children. On the 2nd he leaves for Alexandria. He takes a Khedivial Mail ship talking wood to build a hut on Chios for the Khedivial Agent homeless after an earthquake. They stopped first at Santorini. See effects of the earthquake on Khios. 15 April. The plague of locusts a Smyrna. The grave of Polycarp. Lesbos the plain of Troy - stopping in"the neck of the Hellespont". 17 April "Easter Day arrived in cloud and rain at Constantinople". 22nd April Back to Smyrna where he leaves the ship and catches the train to Sardis, Magnesia stays with "Mr. Smith". Colossus of Niobe the tomb of Tantalus. Wed. 27th Italian Boat to Piraeus, arrived at Piraeus 28th and then Athens. Notes on the Churches and Cathedral of St. Nicholas. May 6th boat to Venice, via Brindisi. Alfred Joshua Butler was an Historian, and Fellow of Brazenose College, Oxford. In 1880 he was employed as tutor, in the Abdeen Palace to the sons of the Khedive of Egypt, the eldest of whom became Khedive in succession to his father in 1892. This put him in an unrivalled position to pursue his Coptic studies. Ancient Coptic Churches of Egypt was published in 1884, and his book on Court Life In Egypt was published in 1887.

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