Parsons, Abraham (DNB00)

PARSONS, ABRAHAM (d. 1785), traveller and consul, was bred to the sea, his father being a merchant captain. In early life he visited many countries in command of merchant vessels. He then set up in business as a merchant at Bristol, but was not successful. In 1767 the Turkey Company appointed him their consul and marine factor at Scanderoon in Asia Minor, a post he held for six years, and resigned on account of the unhealthiness of the climate. He then began travelling for commercial purposes, making several journeys in Asia Minor, and travelling from Scanderoon, through the mountains to Aleppo, crossing the desert from Aleppo to Baghdad, ascending the Euphrates to Heylah, and then descending the stream to Bussorah, where he was during the siege of that place by a Persian army in 1775. He next visited Bombay, made a lengthy voyage along the whole west coast of India, visiting all parts as far as Goa. He returned by way of the Red Sea and Egypt, visiting Mocha, Suez, Cairo, and Rosetta. He got as far westward as Leghorn, where he died in 1785.

Parsons bequeathed a manuscript narrative of his travels to his brother-in-law, the Rev. John Berjew, by whose son (the Rev. John Paine Berjew of Bristol) it was edited and published in 1808, under the title of ‘Account of Travels in Asia and Africa,’ London, 4to. A paper by Parsons on ‘A Phenomenon at Bussorah’ appeared in ‘Nicholson's Journal’ (London) in the same year.

[Parsons's Travels in Asia and Africa.]

H. M. C.