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ine Hia Majesty with regard to what I felt to be the sentiments of my Government.
This soon offered, by His Majesty's asking me whether England would not force his Ambassadors through Massowah and Egypt, the question being prompted by his late doubtful treatment of the Egyptian Envoy, Abderachman Bey, which he had endeavoured previously to explain.
I replied that if. there was war England could not take his Ambassadors through Egypt without the consent of that Government. If there was peace, that I could see no obstacle.
He repeated the question in another form, wishing that I should leave him an opening for skirmishes on the frontier as apart from actual war.
I gave the same reply. His Majesty then said that his Empire and religion were in danger of being crushed, and that he would fight to the death in their defence; but he made this important addition, that he would not make or bring on war until he had made an appeal to all Christendom.
I told him I was glad to hear this, and that I would write it to my Government.
After this I waited several days in the expectation of a private audience. My food became scant and bad, and I detected a disposition among the spies who had been attached to me, accordiug to the custom of the country, under pretence of rendering me service, to turn matters in such a way that at last I should solicit the King to leave.
I was hourly asked when I was going, which I settled one morning by replying to the usual question, to one who I knew would carry it to the King, that I might stay 6 months if my business was not finished.
An hour after I received a peremptory message from His Majesty to leave for the sea at once, and Fend him an answer whether my Government would receive his Embassy or not.
I considered, on the other hand, that as I had been sent to Hiss Majesty at a considerable expense, and on a mission of pure courtesy, it was his duty, at least, to give me some reply to the question of a Treaty, which had been so long pending, including the other important point as to his admitting a Eepresentative of Great Britain to reside in his country, if such were our wish.
1 thought, too, that, unless I l:ad clear details with regard to his projected Embassy, much embarrassment might ensue to us hereafter, while at the same time I wished to know His Majesty's intentions regarding the Slave Trade, and to elicit information from bim regarding an intercourse with his new Kingdom of Shoa, and his hold on the tribes to the side of Zeyla.
I therefore wrote His Majesty a letter, copy of which is herewith inclosed.
Fortunately, just as it was finished, I got a batch of letters from Massowah. One was a letter from Mr. Colquhouu, telling me that he had received my despatch to your Lordship, stating my fears that Turkey intended to encroach on Abyssinia from her new settlements on the coast; to which he replied that the Porte would be warned to do nothing which could give umbrage to King Theodore. He added that I ought to inform His Majesty that his best mode of obtaining the sympathies of England was by putting down the Slave Trade in his dominions.
There was a further passage regarding Mr. Sheffer's mission to Tadjurah, which was corroborated by an extract from the "Home and Overland Mail," forwarded from Aden, stating what the mission had done, and that the new settlement was merely intended for a base of operations against Abyssinia.
All this, together with the old Treaty made with Eas Ali, was carefully read through to His Majesty by two interpreters, well conversant with English.
I also forwarded His Majesty a letter, in Arabic, from Jerusalem, detailing the part our Consul has taken in some outrage against the Abyssinian community there.
The King, at the same time, got information that Bussia had 40,000 meu within 4 days of Constantinople; that Say id Pasha had gone to France; and that the Sultan was in Egypt.
This various intelligence seems to have pressed heavily on His Majesty. He sent me a message thanking me, entreating me to observe the peril in which he was from two powerful enemies, and begging me to act sincerely by him.
On the following morning I sent a note to His Majesty, telling him that, if he wished, 1 would return by Matcmma, where he told me the Turks hud been taking tribute unjustly, ami gathering troops, and do what 1 could there to keep them back, or, at least, collect facts which might tell against them hereafter. Matemma is, just now, a hot-bed ot lever.
I reassured him about his Embassy; and wishing to mention something more about his statement regarding not provoking attack, which, as your Lordship w ill perceive, 1 had written to him to say that I would report, I sent him a letter which I have expedited to our Consul at Khartoum, asking the hitter to do his utmost to preserve peace, but, above all, to report military movements or aggression ou Abyssinia to Alexandria.
I told His Majesty that I did this for his sake; he must also now keep his own Governors in restraint.
The answer of His Majesty was kind in the extreme.
He deprecated iny going to Matemma on his account, leBt, as he expressed it, I should die in his country like Mr. Flowden, and he should again be left without a resource in his present difficulties, but bade me act as I thought fitting; said that, though he was ready to fight, peace was best, and asked me again to do what I could for him by writing.
I answered simply that my life, health, and services were always at the disposal of His Majesty.
On the following morning he sent me a silken embroidered robe, similar to that worn by his chief men, with 1,000 dollars towards paying my expenses to Massowah, and a message to come to him.
My first business was to tell him that I had plenty of money waiting for me at Qondar; that I would write to my Government of his kind consideration; but that if I accepted money from him I might be dismissed from my service.
It was with great difficulty that I could get my interpreters to translate this, aB, in Abyssinia, a refusal of such a nature, especially to a King, has in it something of the nature of an insult.
His Majesty made no reply for half an hour. He then said that all he wanted was friendship.
This gave me an opportunity of repeating expressions of goodwill on the part of my Government, and of assuring him of my own high appreciation of his character and devotion to his cause; on which he said voluntarily that he had well considered the subject of a Treaty, about which there would be no difficulty, but that at present his mind was full of other things j also, that if matters weut well, he would gladly receive a Consul. He likewise spoke about putting down the Slave Trade, on which I purposely questioned hiin.
After this I presented His Koyal Highness the Duke of SaxeCoburg'sj decoration, which was exceedingly well received.
He then wrote the letter to Her Majesty, which I herewith have the honour to forward.
The translation was written by his own interpreters.
He intended also to have written a letter to Mr. Colquhoim about t he Slave Trade, and a letter of appeal to the King of Holland, similar to those he had already dictated, but it was too late.
This morning I was told to leave for Massowah.
I sent a memorandum to His Majesty, reminding him of the letter for Mr. Colquhoun, and stated the advantage he would derive from it.
He replied that he would write afterwards, but assured me that he would stop the Slave Trade effectually, not as a concession to us, but because he bated it himself.
lie repeated his expressions of entire confidence in me, and added that he believed I would be a friend to him, as Mr. Plowden had been before.
A Royal Circular of appeal has likewise been forwarded to France from the camp this day by a Frenchman, to whom the King has given 500 dollars for his road expenses.
It states, like the two others, that His Majesty projects a struggle with the Turks, and wishes to send Ambassadors to France. He requests an answer by the bearer, who is, however, travelling slowly.
One will also go for Russia, with which country His Majesty has been in some communication. Others are being prepared for the German Powers.
As it is desirable, on every account, that we should not be without a correspondent in Abyssinia for a considerable time, I am preparing a letter on the subject to the Resident at Aden, copy of which will herewith be inclosed
There seems to be no necessity for irritating the King further at this moment about the 1,000 dollars. I will hand them over to the Negadderass of Adona, send your Lordship a receipt in Arabic, and write to His Majesty, telling him what I have done, and sending a copy of the paragraph in the Consular Instructions bearing on the subject.
Rut I must here state that Mr. Flowden was more than once placed in the same difficulty with myself, by the King's presenting him with money, which he generally accepted to avoid explanations, making a present of larger value in return.
The sooner, however, the King understands our feelings on this subject the better, and my manner of settling the matter will, I hope, prevent such presents for the future.
1 propose to proceed hence to the neighbourhood of Bogos, whose inhabitants have been long under our special protection, and for whom we formerly interceded with the Egyptian Government on the occasion of certain predatory inroads, which, from intelligence I have received, may again be renewed.
1 will also write to the Pashas of Capalla and Matemma, in order, if possible, to check mischief. This, and writing occasionally to the King in order to hold him to his promise, is all I can do until 1 receive further instructions from your Lordship.
I have, &c.
Earl Russell. C. DUNCAN CAMERON.
(Inclosure 1.)—Consul Cameron to the King of Abyssinia.
Oodjam, Abyssinia, October 22, 1862. Mat It Please Youb Majesty,
I Have had the honour to receive your Majesty's message of this morning, informing me that I had better leave at once for Massowah, in order to ascertain, for your Majesty's information, whether I would be able or not to pass certain Ambassadors or messengers, whom you are anxious to 3end to England.
On this point I believe myself justified in repeating the reply I made to your Majesty on the same subject in my last interview, viz., that if Egypt was at war with your Majesty it would be impossible to pass such Ambassadors or messengers through without her consent; if, on the contrary, there was peace, that I could conceive no possible obstacle.
I will, however, send a messenger immediately to Aden, informing the Resident there of your intention, and requesting him to send you an answer direct in Arabic, without reference to me.
Your Majesty ought, however, now to inform me of the number of people of which your Majesty's Embassy, if it goes, will consist; the exact date at which it will be at Massowah, or, if you wish, Hallai; and the character of the presents they are to take, as if there are any horses intended to be sent, as I hear, it will be necessary for me to write this beforehand, so as to insure accommodation, if, indeed, it is possible to afford accommodation on board a steamer.
It might be desirable, too, to speak with me as to the objects of the Embassy, supposing them to be more than what you told me loosely the other day, viz., to appeal to England with regard to certain differences between yourself and Turkey, as also Egypt. "We might then consult on those differences, before your taking so serious a step as to bring them before an European Power.
My being an European, and one versed, in some degree, in public affairs, as conducted among us, may perhaps assist you.
Besides which, I may remind your Majesty that my appointment has obliged me to think much over everything connected with Abyssinia.
If your Majesty wishes imich business to be done by talking, it would be fitting to choose such a person as the head of the Embassy as may be thoroughly versed in the matters to be spoken about, nnd one who would give a favourable opinion of the intelligence aud civilization of your people, as well as of your Majesty's character, both of which have been greatly misrepresented by your Majesty's enemies.
The accompanying retinue, also, ought to be the smallest possible; a sufficient retinue being always to be obtained in England.
I would say that one or at most two heads of the Embassy, and an interpreter, with a secretary, if necessary, would be amply sufficient, each with a Bingle native servant.
Having given your Majesty my opinion with regard to an Em