Sir Joseph Banks was active in the Association for Promoting the Discovery of Africa, and at his home Jean Louis Burckhardt. The letter of credit which he brought to a merchant of the town was not honoured, since it was eighteen months old; Burckhardt was practically penniless. When Burckhardt was in Jidda the hinterland was still dangerous for travellers because of bands of Wahhabi raiders. Burckhardt admits that he had an aversion to receiving a present rather than a loan from the Pasha, and that he had not intended to go to Taif at that time, but ‘the invitation of a Turkish Pasha is a polite command’. The Pasha had told his messenger to bring Burckhardt by the northern route, bypassing Mecca. Burckhardt did not speak Turkish, and for a few minutes the two men exchanged courtesies through an interpreter.