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for his ransom, and procured his release; but Plowden therefore let Christian Powers unite and help one died a few days afterwards. About the same time Bell, another! the King's Grand Chamberlain, fell in battle ; and within The reader already knows what became of this remark. a few months Theodore lost his first wife, the beautiful able letter when it reached England. Consul Cameron and virtuous Tawabeteh. His naturally violent temper -after expediting the letter to Massowah, whence it was was soured and embittered by these losses. He took a conveyed to Aden, and home by the Indian mail steamer terrible revenge on the chiefs who had been instrumental -turned aside to visit the district of Bogos, a little in the deaths of Bell and Plowden; and he bade fare. | Abyssinian upland, nearly surrounded by the Egyptians well for the rest of his life to that marital fidelity for and other Mussulmans of the plains. The Christians of which, while Tawabeteh lived, he had been conspicuous. Bogos had on some former occasion complained to the He married for his second wife the daughter of Oobyé, Consul at Massowah of ravages committed in their terri. the Tigré chief whom he had dethroned; but it was a tory by the neighbouring tribes, and Captain Cameron union of policy, not of affection, and Theodore's illicit wished to know whether things were now quiet there, and amours were numerous and scandalous. In 1861, he got also whether there was any opening for trade. Mainly the rebel Negussye into his power, together with his with this latter object, he next visited the Egyptian town brother, and put them to death with horrible cruelty. of Kassala, and thence went to Matamma, a place just
Theodore was now at the height of his power, and within the Abyssinian frontier. Here he remained s European Governments evinced a considerable desire to considerable time. Being taken ill at Matamma, he court his friendship. The French Government nominated feared to return to Massowah across the arid and una M. Lejean as French Consul at Gondar, but on account healthy plains, but resolved to make his way back across of some real or imagined affront paid to an emissary Abyssinia. He arrived at Djenda, near the Lake of whom Theodore had sent to Paris, with a letter to the Dembea, in August, 1863, calculating that he would thus Emperor, M. Lejean was sent at a day's notice out of the be in the country when the expected reply from England country. The British Government, on hearing of the to the King's letter arrived. It appoars that Theodore, death of Plowden, immediately replaced him at Massowah who had become prone to suspicion, was offended when by the appointment of Captain Cameron. This gentle | he heard that Consul Cameron had been at Kassala, man arrived at Massowah in February, 1862, and visited among his mortal enemies the Egyptians; and his disTheodore at his camp in the following October, bearing a satisfaction, probably through the channel of Mr. Walker, fow presents, and a letter in the Queen's name, thank the Vice-Consul at Massowah, had become known at the ing him for his exertions in ransoming poor Plowden. Foreign Office. Moreover, Lord Russell-who wrote Captain Cameron was very well received. Theodore told soon after this to an English agent, that “he trusted him that he had executed 1,500 of the followers of the that interference on behalf of a Christian country, as chief who had killed Plowden, to revenge his death, and such, would never be the policy of the British Govern. that he might thereby win the friendship of the Queen of ment"*-entirely disapproved of the Consul's interesting England. He also spoke with great bitterness of the himself in the Bogos people because they were Chris. encroachments of the Turks and Egyptians, both on the tians; his business was only to promote trade. Thus it sea-coast and also about Matamma on his north-western happened that when, early in 1864, a young Irishman, boundary, on what he called his ancestral dominions. In named Kerans, whom Consul Cameron had appointed the following month, when Cameron left his camp, he his secretary, arrived from England with despatches, entrusted him with the famous letter to the Queen of Theodore, through the carelessness and incompetence of England, the postage of which, as Colonel Sykes said, the Foreign Office, received no answer to his letter, while cost us five millions. In this letter the two ideas then for the Consul there was only a despatch of a few lines, prominent in his mind—to deserve and win the friendship ordering him to return immediately to Massowah, and of the Queen of England, by executing wholesale ven. not to interfere any more in the internal affairs of Abys. geance on those who had killed Englishmen; and to gain sinia. This letter was seen by Theodore, and enraged the Queen's help in his darling project of humbling the him greatly. He seems to have coupled it with the inci. Mussulman-received distinct expression. “All men,” dent of the unanswered letter, and with the report that wrote the King, " are subject to death; and my enemies, England had retired from the protection of Abyssinian thinking to injure me, killed these my friends (Plowden Christians at Jerusalem,t and to have convinced himself and Bell]. But, by the power of God, I have extermi- that the Queen of England spurned his overtures and nated those enemies, not leaving one alive, though they intended to abandon him to the encroaching and mis. were of my own family, that I may get, by the power of believing Turks. Theodore had but one mode of retaliaGod, your friendship.” Again, “I fear that if I send tion open to him, and he adopted it. He seized Consul ambassadors with presents of amity by Consul Cameron, Cameron and all his suite (January, 1864) and imprisoned they may be arrested by the Turks. And now I wish that you may arrange for the safe passage of my am.
• See Markham's "Abyssinian Expedition," p. 78 (note).
+ The report was founded on the fact that, whereas on several bassadors everywhere on the road. I wish to have an former occasions the British Consul at Jerusalem had Interfered with answer to this letter by Consul Cameron, and that he effect in favour of the Abyssinian church, in 1868 the Pachs gave crer
the Abyssinian convent and church at Jerusalem to the Copts, in may go with my embassy to England. See how the
disregard of the remonstrances the Consul. This woull naturally, Islam oppress the Christian!” He meant to say- in Alıyssinia, appear in the light of a withdrawal of protection.
them. There were two unfortunate missionaries, Stern The mission thus constituted, bearing the Queen's and Rosenthal, already in confinement, charged with an letter to Theodore, and presents of considerable value, offence which a vain and absolute ruler does not readily arrived at Massowah in July, 1864, and immediately forgive. Stern had written a book on Abyssinia, passages dispatched messengers to Theodore's camp, who should in which reflected severely on Theodore's proceedings. request permission to enter the country. For many This book had found its way out to Abyssinia, and trans- months no answer came from Theodore, and the mission lations of the offensive passages had been placed before dragged on a miserable and undignified existence on the his eyes. He at once ordered Stern to be flogged, and burning and fever-stricken shore of Massowah. Through both missionaries to be kept close prisoners; they might a sort of back-stair intrigue-Rassam having ingratiated consider themselves fortunate that their lives were spared. himself with the cousin of the chief steward of Theodore's Soon after his arrest Cameron, together with Stern and / household -& curt and ungracious permission was at Rosenthal, were tortured with ropes, with the view of last obtained from Theodore for the mission to proceed. extorting a confession of the names of the persons who The route indicated was by Matamma. Starting from had told the stories against the King in Stern's book. Massowah on the 15th October, 1865, the mission reached All three were shortly afterwards sent to the fortress at Matamma on the 21st November. Here it was necessary Magdala and put in irons.
again to communicate with the King, and a further delay Absolute power and sensual indulgence had by this of five weeks took place. At last a satisfactory letter time turned Theodore's head, and many of his subsequent was brought from the King, directing the mission to actions seem hardly to be those of a sano man. His cross the frontier, and place itself under the guidance of cruelty, fickleness, and suspicion made his rule more the officials whom he would depute to conduct it to his and more intolerable to all his subjects. Rebellions were presence. Leaving Matamma on the 28th December, and plotted in every province, and after a time broke out. escorted by Theodore's servants through the country lying Menilek, the young heir of Shoa, escaped from confine to the west of Lake Dembea into the fertilo districts of ment, and expelling Theodore's lieutenant. established Agow Meder and Damot, the mission arrived at the himself as the independent ruler of that county. The camp of Theodore on the 25th January, 1866. At that chief Gobazve raised the standard of revolt in central time the King was encamped at Ashfa, a village on the Abyssinia, and one of his lieutezants, named Kasa, a southern slope of Mount Geesh, the celebrated mountain Chief of the best blood of Tigré. rebelling against his known to all the readers of Bruce's “Travels”—from principal. made himself independent in that province. | which gushes the source of the Blue Nile. The fabric of Theodore's Christian empire, ruined through Mr. Rassam's first interview with the King was on the his own degeneracy, was fast crumbling to pieces. • Mean 28th January, 1866. Theodore was in his tent, seated on time, the news of Captain Cameron's imprisonment had a sofa, muffled up to the eyes in the common robe of the cansed a considerable sensation in England. There was country, called a shamma. The Queen's letter of the now no British agent at Massowah, for Mr. Speedy, whom . 26th May, 1864, was presented by the envoy, and TheoCameron had left in charge of the Consulate there, had | dore received it graciously. He then entered upon the taken his departure for New Zealand in the beginning of subject of his grievances. The cause of all the mischief, 1864. The charge of Abyssinian affairs devolved upon the prime offender, was the Abuna Salama, the Coptic Colonel Merewether, the Resident at Aden, an able and Patriarch, who had told false and malicious stories about experienced officer, and he kept the Home Government him to various Europeans. Against the missionaries he fully informed of all that was passing. The Government had a great deal to say, particularly against Mr. Stern, resolved to send out a regular mission, bearing a letter, who had written and published in a book that his (Theosigned by the Queen, in answer to Theodore's long- doro's) mother was a person of mean origin and calling; neglected epistle, to demand the release of Cameron and having been so informed by the Abuna. Against Mr. the other captives. A Syrian, named Hormuzd Rassam, | Cameron, besides the offence of never having brought born at Mosul on the Tigris, who had passed somo years him back an answer to his letter to the Queen (a piece of in England in early life, had then been employed by neglect for which Theodore, ignorant of the real offender, Mr. Layard when carrying on excavations at Nineveh made the Consul responsible), he taxed him with having to manage his gang of native workmen, and had latterly gone to visit his enemies the Turks and Egyptians, and been engaged in the diplomatic service at Aden under been very friendly with them; and on one occasion, when Colonel Merewether, was selected as the head of the he was at Kassala with the Pacha, with having brought mission. On some accounts an English officer of known the King and his army into contempt, by ordering his standing, whether civil or military, would have been Abyssinian servants to imitate the war-dance of the royal preferable; yet, on the other hand, Mr. Rassam's perfect troops. The King's story was, that only one of Mr. knowledge of Arabic was greatly in his favour, and it is Cameron's servants could be induced to perform the even possible that Theodore, in one of his fits of mad dance, the sight of which made the Turks laugh; and and drunken passion, might have subjected to yet worse they said, jeeringly, to the Abyssinians, “Is this the way treatment an envoy not so personally acceptable to him the soldiers of your great King fight?” This story was as Mr. Rassam undoubtedly was. To Rassam were told to the King by a discharged servant of Mr. Cameron's, added Dr. Blanc and Lieutenant Prideaux, two officers named Ingada Wark, who had quarrelled with his master, from the Bombay establishment,
| and it is probably devoid of foundation. We give it
here as a sample of the kind of insults and injuries over Arabic translation of the letter which he had just written which the suspicious and wayward mind of Theodore was to the Queen, announcing the release of the captives. continually brooding, and of which Mr. Rassam's inter. There is a touching humility, a childlike simplicity, in the esting report * is full. It is also highly characteristic of tone of this letter, which, coming from one who so often the Abyssinians generally, who are extremely sensitive to appeared in the light of a bloodthirsty and capricious gossip or calumny. Consul Plowden, in a report addressed tyrant, afford a curious study of the complexities of human to Lord Clarendon in 1854, after stating how hardened character. A day or two after, Mr. Rassam had another and indifferent the Abyssinians are about either com. long conversation with the King. The misdeeds of Mr. mitting or being taxed with any vice or crime, continues, Cameron again formed a prominent topic; and it is worth "They are peculiarly sensitive, however, to ridicule and while to record a part of the King's indictment, because
abuse, whether true or untrue ; and half the time of an | the language which he used on this occasion seems to cast Abyssinian master is passed in deciding disputes on such a strong light on the actual sequence of feelings and subjects."
ideas which influenced him in committing Cameron to When the Queen's letter had been translated for him prison. Theodore said that after he had written his into Amharic, Theodore was much pleased with its famous letter to the Queen in the autumn of 1862, he contents. On the 29th January, he sent for Mr. Rassam, gave it to Consul Cameron, requesting that he would take and told him, that for the sake of his friend the Queen of it down to the coast, and bring up an answer himself; England, and in return for the trouble that he had taken that he gave him money for the journey, and ordered the in the matter of Consul Cameron, he was pleased to pardon chiefs of all the provinces between Gondar and Massowah all the European captives, and he had ordered their im to supply him and his followers with food, and treat him inediate release. He then ordered a scribe to read an with respect and honour. What he chiefly wanted to
effect by the letter was this-that since he had no navy • Report by Mr. Rasgam respecting his mission to Abyssinia.
of his own, the Queen should send a vessel to convey his Presented to Parliament in 1868.
ambassador to Suez, and should procure for him a safe Vol. IX.-No. 441.
conduct through Egypt. This was the meaning of the King had now begun seriously to entertain the thought passage in his letter (ante, p. 310) where he expresses a of detaining Rassam and his party till the envoy should wish that the Queen should "arrange for the safe passage have obtained for him from England a scientific man to of my ambassadors everywhere on the road.” Instead of teach his people the mechanical arts. He seems to have complying with his request, Mr. Cameron “had gone to been haunted by the fear, that if he once let the English play with the Turks” (this refers to the visit to Kassala), captives go, relations between England and Abyssinia and after a long time came back to Gondar, but without would thenceforth cease; and this he was determined to an answer to his letter. Six months afterwards, Cameron prevent, by fair means or foul. On the 12th March, sent him a letter, which he had received from his Govern- Mr. Cameron, Mr. Stern, Mr. and Mrs. Rosenthal, and ment, and demanded his dismissal, that he might go eleven other captives, mostly Germans, arrived at Korata down to Massowab. The King asked why he had re- from Magdala. On the same day, the King wrote to turned to Abyssinia if he wished to be at Massowah? Rassam, saying that he must have them all over to Zagè, Getting no satisfactory answer to this question, Theodoro and put them on their trial again. Rassam, however, continued, “I sent and told him, by the power of God, obtained leave to try them at Korata; and, having gone you shall be detained in prison until I find out whether through the forms of a mock trial, he wrote to the King you are really the servant of the Queen.” For why, that “they all confessed that they had done wrong, and Theodore would naturally argue, if he is indeed the hoped that, as His Majesty had been good enough to reservant of the Queen, has he not brought me long ere lease them for the sake of his friendship to their Queen, this an answer to my letter?
he would extend to them the forgiveness due from one But the coming of Mr. Rassam, for whom Theodore, Christian to another.” It was thought prudent that the though he afterwards used him so roughly, seems to have captives should thus confess themselves in the wrong, conceived a genuine affection, appeared at first to have re- and throw themselves on the King's mercy; but the moved all difficulties. It was arranged that the mission fabrication did no good, and probably would have been should travel to Korata, a beautiful village on the south better left unattempted. Of course, Mr. Rassam remoneastern shore of Lake Dembea, and there await the strated earnestly and long against the commission of so arrival of the captives from Magdala; after which they serious an offence against good faith and the comity of should all leave the country together. For several days' nations as the detention of the mission would involve. march the mission accompanied the King and his army; The King wavered. On the 25th March, he held separate but Theodore turned aside to Zagè, a place on the western consultations at Zagè, first with the German artisans, and shore of the lake, facing Korata across the water. Mr. afterwards with a body of Abyssinian chiefs, and proRassam reached Korata on the 14th February. A pro- 1 pounded at each the question, Whether to detain Rassam cession of a hundred priests came out to meet the envoy, or let him go ? The chiefs and the artisans were equally and escorted him with distinguished honour to the unanimous in deciding that Rassam ought to be allowed quarters prepared for him. Some weeks elapsed, on to depart. Theodore was shaken, and yet he was not almost every day in which the King sent a friendly quite satisfied. He said that he could not trust any message or letter to Rassam. The first indication of European now, after the ill-behaviour of those whom difficulty was on the 7th March, when the King wrote, he had treated like brothers.” The pressure, however, “When the people (prisoners) reach you, we will consult;" seemed to be telling upon him, and he wrote to Rassam that is, you shall not go home at once, as heretofore (April 8), desiring that he would come and pay him a arranged, but the whole matter shall be reconsidered. farewell visit at Zagè “after the light of Easter," and The words filled Mr. Rassam with dismay. About the bring Mr. Cameron and the other captives with him. same time, a letter was delivered to the King from the | This, however, Mr. Rassam—knowing the hatred which traveller Dr. Beke, who had come out to Massowah, en- the King bore to Mr. Cameron and one or two others closing a petition from the relations of Cameron, Stern, among the captives, and dreading lest the sight of them and several other captives, entreating the King to release should re-awaken it, and bring them all into troublethom. Mr. Rassam feared, and the fear was probably thought it more prudent not to do. He obtained the well founded, that this officious action of Dr. Beke would King's consent to leave them behind at Korata, with the perplex the King, and lead him to entertain doubts about understanding that they were to start on a given day on the reality of Mr. Rassam's mission. That Beke's inter their homeward journey, and himself proceeded to Zagè, ference was merely the unauthorised act of an individual, on the 13th April, along with the other members of the was a notion that could not readily gain admission into mission. Unfortunately for them, Theodore for some the mind of an absolute monarch. He would naturally time past had been drinking heavily, and the effect of this think, “Here has Rassam been giving himself out as a on his moody imagination and suspicious temper was to great man, and as invested with full powers to treat about fill his mind with a thousand preposterous apprehensions. the captives; but that cannot be so, else why should tho Ho conceived the idea that Rassam had supplied, or Queen send out another envoy about the same business? | meant to supply, his enemies, Cameron, Stern, and the Which is the pretender, and which is the true mano” others, with arms; that on his way down to the coast he Rassam tried in vain to make Dr. Beke see the prudence would put arms in the hands of his revolted subjects; of abstaining from any interference in the difficult and he inade it a grievance that Rassam had not brought the delicate negotiation which was being carried on. For the captives to bid him farewell, in compliance with his first