RE: Passports

by Jim Morgan


This taken Burton’s Pilgrimage to Mecca

Through ignorance which might have cost me dear but for friend Larking’s weight with the local authorities, I had neglected to provide myself with a passport in England, and it was not without difficulty, involving much unclean dressing and an unlimited expenditure of broken English, that I obtained from H.B.M’s Consul at Alexandria a certificate, declaring me to be an Indo-British subject named Abdullah, by profession a doctor, aged thirty, and not distinguished-at least so the frequent blanks seemed to denote-by any remarkable conformation of eyes, nose, or cheek. For this I disbursed a dollar. And here let me record the indignation with which I did it. That mighty Britain-the mistress of the seas-the ruler of one-sixth of mankind-should charge five shillings to pay for the shadow of her protecting wing! That I cannot speak my modernised “civis sum Romanus” without putting my hand into my pocket, in order that these officers of the Great Queen may not take too ruinously from a revenue of seventy millions! O the meanness of our magnificence! the littleness of our greatness!