In the summer of 1840 Loudon found himself a witness to war when Britain and other European powers intervened to prop up the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans had suffered a series of humiliating defeats at the hand of the Egyptian Pasha Muhammad Ali, who had occupied Syria, including the Lebanese coast. In a letter of 17 September 1840 Loudon describes arriving off Beirut ("...We found the Turkish Troops about 4500 & [Charles] Napier all ready to make a landing we saw the grounds about the Town all bristling & glittering with Muskets & Bayonets...”) and writes with evident disquiet about the brutal shelling of the city that followed (“...we have been pelting away unmercifully upon people who do not return us a shot. The people of the country are all enslaved & would gladly rise but the time I fear is gone...”). The Princess Charlotte remained in the region until December, and Loudon's letters describe such key events in the campaign as the devastating bombardment of Acre and the controversial behaviour of Napier.
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