A voyage to Abyssinia (Salt)/Chapter 10
Some account of the ancient history of Abyssinia; its Inhabitants descended from aboriginal Tribes of Ethiopians—their Conversion to Christianity—Conquest of Yemen by the Emperor Ameda—List of the Sovereigns who have reigned in Abyssinia—Attempts of the Portuguese to introduce the Roman Catholic religion—their failure—Notice of the different travellers who have visited the country—Its present state—Concluding Remarks—Departure from Mocha—Storm in the neighbourhood of Socotra—Arrival at Bombay—Departure thence, and return to England.
HAVING already given an account of the events that occurred during my stay in Abyssinia, which I have considered worthy of notice, I shall now proceed to lay before the reader a short abstract of the history of the country, some general remarks respecting its present condition, and a few miscellaneous observations which may tend to elucidate its geography. I shall not enter, at any great length, into the history of Abyssinia; but shall content myself with giving (as far as I have thought necessary) a list of the reigning sovereigns, which I have had an opportunity of correcting from the best authorities in the country; and shall endeavour, in a cursory way, to point out merely such particular events, mentioned in the native annals, as are confirmed by the writings of contemporary authors of other nations, and which, from receiving their concurrent testimony, may be considered as established historical facts. To wade further into the obscure materials of these chronicles would be trespassing on the patience of my reader, more especially after what has already been attempted by Mr. Bruce; who, though he has not published a very correct abstract of Abyssinian annals, has, in the modern part at least, brought together a highly ingenious compilation, written so characteristically, as to afford a very fair general idea of their history.
I still retain the opinion I have given in my former observations on this subject, that the Abyssinians or Axomites (as they were called by the Romans) are descended from a race of the aboriginal inhabitants of Africa, composed of native Ethiopians who became in the course of time mixed with settlers from Egypt; and that they do not exhibit any claims to an Arabian descent, as was supposed by the late Mr. Murray; though I confess that I feel considerable regret in entertaining a different opinion from that gentleman, on a subject, upon which, from his extraordinary acquirements in Oriental literature, he was, in some respects, so eminently qualified to decide. The chief, and indeed sole argument on which Mr. Murray founded his opinion, was drawn from the similarity between the Geez and the Arabian languages; but surely this circumstance may be sufficiently accounted for, from the supposition, that both might have been derived from the same common stock, namely the Hebrew, which Mr. Murray himself appears to have satisfactorily explained to be the most ancient language in existence; whereas, on the other side of the question, the general tenor of the history of the Abyssinians, their buildings, written character, dress, and the description of them given in the earliest Arabian and Byzantine writers, all tend to prove them a distinct race from the Arabs.
As the last argument has not before, to my knowledge, been used, though it appears to bear very strongly on the question, I may be excused for entering into it a little more at large. In the history of Arabia Felix, collected from various Arabian authors, by Schultens, we find several accounts of the conquest of this country by the Abyssinians, and the epithets continually applied to them, are "blacks" (سود), which Schultens translates Æthiopes, and "people with crisped hair" (crispâ tortilique comâ:) one of their princes also, suing to the Emperor of Persia, entreats him to drive out "these crows," who are hateful to his countrymen; application of which terms, makes it apparent that there existed, at that time, no traces of their being descended from the same progenitors. The Axomites are likewise correctly distinguished from the Homerites, in Philostorgius, one of the earliest of the Byzantine writers, by the appellation of "Æthiopes," and in like manner Procopius, Cedrenus, Cosmas, and John Malala, though all apply the word Indi to both people, confine the epithet Æthiopes to the Axomites. The term of Ethiopians too, or Itiopjawan, is, as I have before noticed, the favourite appellation by which the Abyssinians designate themselves. It is true, that in the intercourse carried on with the opposite coast, vast numbers of Arabians have in process of time become mingled with them: but still it appears to me, that both in feature, colour, habit, and manners, they form a perfectly distinct race.
The "Tareek Negushti" or "Chronicle of the Kings of Abyssinia," begins with a list of the emperors from "Arwê," or "the serpent," to Menilek, some of whom, like the sovereigns of old, are said to have reigned several hundred years. From Menilek, the list appears to wear a somewhat more probable shape, though no great dependence can be placed upon it, as will appear by the following enumeration.
|Menilek, or Ibn' Hakim reigned||29||0|
|Zagesyu||half a day.|
|and in the eighth year of his reign Christ was born.|
After Bazen the following kings reigned in succession.
|Za Zigen and Rema||40||0|
|Za Baesi serk||4||0|
|Za Baesi tsawesa||1||0|
|Za Wakena||two days.|
|El Tsegaba||23||0 |
|El-Abreha and El-Atzbeha or Aizana and Saizana||26||6|
In the Chronicle itself a somewhat different order is observed from the one I have given, Abreha and Atzbeha being inserted after El Ahiawya, and not in the situation where I have ventured to put them; but, if any reliance may be placed upon the list, it is evident that, in the arrangement found in the Chronicle, there must exist a very striking error; for the whole sum of years there given, from the 8th year of Bazen, to the 13th of Abreha, must amount to four hundred and sixty-five years; whereas the Chronicle itself expressly states that a period of three hundred and thirty only had elapsed. This inconsistency first led me to suspect the mistake, which, on subsequent and attentive consideration, I became satisfied had taken place: and therefore I feel myself justified in arranging Abreha and Atzbeha according to the date of the period in which they reigned, after "El Semera," and considering the remainder of the names contained in the list as following in regular succession. The correctness of this distribution is strongly confirmed by the circumstance of the inadequate number of sovereigns mentioned in the Chronicle as having reigned between Abreha and Ameda; whereas, by the order I have ventured to adopt, it affords a very fair proportion; and from the singular coincidence that, taking the 8th year of Bazen for the birth of Christ, and adding the thirteen years of Abreha, which is the period assigned for the introduction of Christianity, it precisely makes up the number three hundred and thirty, which is the exact interval between those two events assigned to have taken place in the Chronicle. Supposing then Asfah, Arfad, Amosi, and Seladoba to have reigned altogether about seventy years, and adding them to the list after El Ahiawya; and it gives a probable consistency to the Chronicle, bringing it regularly down as far as Ameda, whom we know to have been contemporary with Justin.
The classical reader will find a pleasure in recognising, in the above list, the name of the sovereign who reigned in Abyssinia at the period when the Periplus of the Erythrean sea was written; as it can scarcely, I think, admit of a doubt that Zoskales (Σωσκαλες) there mentioned answers to the Zahakale here named, who is said to have reigned between the years seventy-six and ninety-nine; and it is an extraordinary circumstance how nearly this agrees with the period to which Dr. Vincent had attributed the writing of the Periplus, namely, to the 10th year of Nero, or A. D. 64, making a difference of about twelve years only, a singular coincidence which necessarily adds a very important confirmation to both accounts.
The next light thrown on this history may be drawn from the narratives of the conversion of the Axomites to the Christian religion in the time of the Emperor Constantine, as related by Rufinus, and other ecclesiastical writers; by which it appears evident that the person named Frumentius was the Abba Salama or Fremonatos noticed by the Chronicle; who, after having resided some years in Abyssinia, was raised to the rank of a bishop by Athanasius, and first introduced Christianity among the inhabitants. It subsequently appears, that, on the Arians gaining the ascendency in the following reign, the Emperor Constantius sent an embassy through Theophilus, an Indian, with a letter addressed to the ruling sovereigns Aizana and Saizana, whom he styles αδελφοι τιμιωτατοι, most dear brethren, for the purpose of persuading Frumentius to relinquish the doctrines of Athanasius, and to adopt those of the new patriarch Georgius; and that such monarchs reigned in Abyssinia is clearly proved by the inscription I discovered at Axum. Some difficulty exists in ascertaining to which of the sovereigns mentioned in the list these appellations may apply; in my former narrative I attributed them to Abreha, and Atsbeha: but from the date which must be allowed to Constantius's letter (A.D. 356) Mr. Murray was of opinion, that it ought to be applied to some of the succeeding kings: but this change I do not conceive necessary; as it is not improbable that the names of the sovereigns who reigned when Frumentius was first sent into the country might (even though they had ceased to reign,) have been used on the second occasion, by the Emperor Constantius.
At this period the power of the emperors of Abyssinia seems to have been very fully established, and their conquests to have extended over part of Arabia, and from Zeyla up to the junction of the Tacazze with the Nile. Such, at least, is the extent of the jurisdiction assumed by one of the Adulitic inscriptions, which, since I gave my suggestions to the public, has been allowed by several persons, eminently qualified to decide on the question, to commemorate the transactions of an Abyssinian sovereign, and in all probability of the same prince who erected the monument at Axum.
From the period of which I am speaking, a lapse of nearly two hundred years occurs before we again find the Axomites noticed, when, from the complete command they had gained in the Red Sea, they began to take a lead in the general scale of politics, which makes them the subject of repeated mention both in the Greek Arabian authors, whose accounts in general are extremely consistent, though, from the variation in the names and other obscure passages, much difficulty has hitherto been experienced in reconciling them to each other. At length, however, from a close comparison of the narratives in different authors, I have been enabled to establish two points, in which the Byzantine historians agree so precisely with the statements in the native chronicles, that it in a great measure removes the obscurity which has hitherto attended the subject; a circumstance which appears to me of considerable importance to general history, as connected with the Roman, Persian, and Arabian transactions of this period.
The points to which I allude are "the arrival of some holy men from Egypt, who came to settle the faith, and the expedition of one of the Abyssinian monarchs against Dunowas, a Jewish king who had persecuted the Christian traders in Arabia." The former event has always hitherto, without any satisfactory reason, been supposed to have occurred within the years 426-80; and the latter has been attributed to the Emperor Caleb, who must have reigned as late as 570—whereas it now appears that the two events were intimately connected together, and that the conquest of Arabia took place prior to the arrival of the holy men from Egypt.
For the purpose of illustrating these facts, I shall lay before the reader the separate accounts of these transactions given in the native Chronicles, in the Historia Chronica of John of Antioch, as well as other Greek writers. In the first work it is related that during the reign of Ameda or Amda, arrived nine saints or holy men from Room and Egypt, and settled the faith, one of whom, superior to all the rest, was called Arogawi, signifying the old man, and that each built a church bearing his own name in Tigré. John Malala, after writing an account of the king of the Axomites' expedition against "Dimnus," which exactly agrees with that told by the Arabian authors against "Dunowas," proceeds to say, "that, the king of the Axomites, when he had obtained the victory, dispatched two of his relations with two hundred followers to Alexandria, for the purpose of soliciting from the Emperor Justinian that a bishop and some holy men might be sent, to instruct his subjects in the mysteries of the Christian faith. The Emperor being informed of these things by Licinius, his viceroy at Alexandria, gave an order that the ambassadors should be allowed to make choice of whomsoever they pleased: and they accordingly chose John, the almsgiver of St. John in Alexandria, a good and pious man, about sixty-two years of age; and took him, then a bishop, together with several holy men, to their country to Anda, (or Ameda) their king;" which narrative coincides so remarkably with the statement from the native Chronicles, that there can no longer exist a doubt, I conceive, that both refer to the same facts.
The same author afterwards gives an account of an embassy sent by Justinian to the Emperor of the Axomites, whom he there calls Elesbóas, (in the Abyssinian language signifying the blessed;) thus, fortunately, identifying Anda, Ameda, and Elesboas as titles of the same sovereign. Now Cedrenus, who mentions these transactions, says, that St. Arétas, whose murder by the Homerites gave occasion to the expedition of Elesboas, died in the fifth year of the Emperor Justin; and he also relates, "that in the fifteenth year of Justinian, Adadus" (Αδαδ, which is an evident corruption of Amda or Anda) fought with the Homerites, and subdued their King Damianus," ('Δαμιανον') likewise a corruption of "Dimnus," or Dunowas,) after which "he took possession of the country; and in gratitude to God (ευχαριϛησας τῳ θεῳ) dispatched an embassy to the Emperor Justinian, to send him bishops and clergymen, and all the country was baptised and became Christians." The facts in this last account agree very exactly with the others, excepting in the last statement, which appears to be somewhat incorrect; for it is evident from Cosmos and other writers, that these "holy men" had no pretensions to the honour of introducing Christianity into the country, but that they merely, "settled the faith;" Cosmas expressly stating, that in his time "there were churches, priests, and many Christian people throughout Ethiopia, Axum, and all the adjacent country;" now Cosmas was at Adule, as he himself mentions, early in the reign of the Emperor Justin, and consequently several years before the arrival of the holy men from Egypt. The foregoing remarks, therefore, fix the death of Aretás to 522, or the 5th year of the Emperor Justin; Cosmas's visit to Adule to about 525; the expedition against Arabia to about 530, and the arrival of the holy men and settling of the faith to between the last period and 542.
Procopius also gives a full account of the expedition against Arabia, calling the sovereign of the Axomites, Hellesthæus. It is singular, that it should have escaped the attention of his commentators, that the mere alteration of a single letter would restore this word to its proper form, Hell'esbæus or El esbaas, nothing being more likely to have occurred in Greek than the mistake of the β for θ. His "Abramus" is also clearly the Abreha of the Arabian authors, who afterwards conducted the war of the Elephant, and the Hesimaphæus may be, in all probability, the Aryat Abu Sehem, who was placed by the Abyssinian monarch as his Viceroy over Yemen. It appears, also, that the embassy of Julianus sent by Justinian to persuade the Emperor Ameda to make war against the Persians, and to take the silk trade into his own hands, occurred immediately after this conquest of Yemen, during the time that Angane, the Emperor of Abyssinia's nephew, remained on the throne; and on his being displaced by Abreha (or Abram, who is said to have been a slave from Adulis), a second embassy was dispatched from Constantinople, a particular account which is given by John Malala (p. 194-6), which so much gratified the Abyssinian monarch and his deputy, that the latter actually "marched out his troops on an expedition against the Persians." It was this same embassy, in all probability, which was conducted by Nonnosus, as mentioned in Photius (p. 6;) for there, as in the account given by John Malala, it is noticed that "he gained all that he sought," (tamen quæ voluit perfecit) which Julianus evidently did not accomplish.
The advantages derived from this conquest over Yemen appear to have been very trifling; for the troops sent over became so enamoured with the country, that they permanently settled there, and soon lost every tie, except a nominal allegiance, which bound them to the mother state. About seventy years after the death of Aretas (according to the Arabian accounts) the Persians, whose consequence had revived in proportion to the degradation of the Roman empire, sent an overpowering force against the Abyssinians in Yemen; reconquered that country; and, as it appears, gained a naval superiority in the Red Sea, the tradition of the country
assigning to them not only complete possession of Aden and the Arabian ports, but also of the whole of the islands and harbours on the African side of the sea; so that from this period the Abyssinians may be considered as having lost all their influence as a maritime state.
How long the superiority of the Persians continued, is uncertain: but in all probability it gave way to the rising greatness of the Mahomedan power, which soon afterwards overwhelmed all the countries adjoining Arabia; spread to the remotest parts of the East; and penetrated even across the unsocial regions of Africa; while Abyssinia, unconquered and true to the Christian faith, remained within two hundred miles of the walls of Mecca, a constant and galling opprobrium to the followers of the prophet. On this account, implacable and unceasing war ravaged her territories; the native princes on the borders being supplied with arms and money, and occasionally rewarded with splendid presents by the reigning Sheriffes, whose constant attention was directed towards the conquest of the country.
From Ameda the list of kings runs in the following succession, but no number of years is assigned to their separate reigns.
- Guebra Mascal.
- Wusen Segued.
- Fré Sennai.
- Akul Woodem.
- Grim Sofer.
- Zer gāz.
- Degna Michael.
- Woddo Gúsh.
- I zoor.
- Woodm asfar.
- Degna Jan.
In the time of Dilnaad, a woman of the name of Gudit overthrew the reigning dynasty, and, after destroying Axum, removed the seat of empire to Lasta, the descendants of the royal family having fled to Shoa. This event is supposed to have occurred in about A. D. 925, a space of three hundred and fifty-four years being allowed in the chronicles for the whole duration of the reigns of the above mentioned kings,
During this period, and indeed up to the year 1255, very little is known respecting the affairs of the country; the only mention of them in the Arabian authors consisting of an occasional notice of their sending for an Abuna from Egypt, and the chronicles themselves containing the names of a few only of the latter emperors.
In about 1255, or thereabouts, Icon-Amlac recovered the whole kingdom through the abilities of an ecclesiastic named Tecla Haimanot; but still, owing to the necessity of keeping up a constant opposition to the Mahomedans, who had become very powerful on the eastern frontiers, he was obliged to continue his residence in Shoa.
The sovereigns who succeeded Icon Amlac have the following periods assigned to them in the Chronicles.
|Icon Amlac||from 1255||to 1269|
|Kudma Asgud, Asfa-Asgnd, Sinfa Asgud||1284||1287|
|Amda Sion||1301||1331 |
|Amda Yasous, Béd el Nain, Isba Nain||1429||1434|
|Secunder his son, Amda Sion||1478||1494|
|Levana Dendel, David||1507||1539|
|Menas Adamas Segued||1558||1562|
|Sertza Denghel, or Malac Segued, and his son Yakob, Za Denghel||1562||1604|
Thus far the list is copied from the Chronicles. The succeeding sovereigns, as I was informed in the country, have been
|Tecla Haimanot, who reigned||8|
|Bæda Mariam reigned||2|
|Ayto Gualo, or Egwala Sion, who still continues to reign||14|
Marco Polo, who visited the East early in the thirteenth century, confirms the Chronicles of that period by his account of the country, and mention of a successful campaign which the reigning sovereign undertook against the Moors, in consequence of an affront offered to one of his priests, whom he had commissioned to carry his offerings to Jerusalem. This campaign is attributed to the year 1288 by Ramusio, which in all probability applies to the conquests of Amda Sion, related in Mr. Bruce's Travels, Vol. III. p. 41 et seq. as extracted from the Chronicles; and therefore the reign of that sovereign should, I conceive, be carried back about twenty years, or rather more; a difference that will not appear extraordinary, when it be considered that the period assigned for that king's reign was ascertained merely by computing back from the time of Yoas.
In this narrative of Amda Sion's wars, which is an important point in the history of Abyssinia, much confusion has been introduced into Mr. Bruce's account, owing to the slight knowledge then existing of the geography of the country; for, from his entertaining a supposition of Zeyla being an island, he was under the necessity of imagining that there were two towns of the same name; and has placed the one taken by Amda Sion about seven degrees to the south of the other, and carried the advance of the armies to an inconceivable distance beyond its actual progress, which, at that time, evidently extended no further than the ancient and present town of Zeyla, situated on a peninsula; the principal object of the war having been to open a free communication with the coast.
About this same time, an account is given by Ibn'el Wardi, an Arabian author, respecting the country, which, as it has not, I believe, before appeared in English, I have inserted with a translation of Marco Polo's, in the Appendix. Throughout this period a regular communication appears to have been kept up between Abyssinia and Europe: and in 1445, Zara Jacob, then reigning, sent an ambassador to the council of Florence, and wrote some interesting letters to his priests at Jerusalem, which are still extant in the Church History of Abyssinia by Geddes, (vide p. 27.)
It affords an interesting subject for reflection, to trace occasionally the fortuitous course of events, by which the most important changes in the affairs of the world have been brought about. It may not therefore be foreign to the object I have in view, to observe that, owing to the slight connection kept up by the Abyssinian Church with Europe, we may perhaps be indebted for our knowledge of India and the discovery of a passage round the Cape of Good Hope; as it was in consequence of the flattering accounts which the Abyssinian priests delivered at Jerusalem respecting the Eastern Empires and their commerce with the south, that the attention of learned men was first excited to the subject, and that the princes of Portugal were induced, subsequently, to send their emissaries into the East. To one of these agents, named Peter Covilham, we are indebted for the renewal of a more extended intercourse with Abyssinia; as in 1490 he succeeded in reaching the court of the Negush, at that time held in Shoa: and shortly afterwards, owing to his representation, the reigning Queen-mother, or Iteghé, was induced to send Matthew, an Armenian, as her ambassador to Portugal, for the purpose of opening a direct communication with that country.
The arrival of this mission produced a strong impression in Europe respecting Abyssinia; and in return an embassy was sent back with Matthew, consisting of several Portuguese gentlemen of different professions, which, after many unforeseen difficulties and considerable delay, arrived safely, in 1520, at Massowa. A very interesting narrative of the transactions which occurred during its stay in Abyssinia, was subsequently published by Francis Alvarez, secretary and chaplain to the mission: and the detail of a journey through Tigré, Lasta, and Amhara, which he has there introduced, contains much geographical and other valuable information. After staying six years in the country, Alvarez and his companions (with the exception of two, named P. Andred, and J. Bermudez) returned to Europe, bearing letters from the Emperor David to King John of Portugal, accompanied by a native of the country, Zaga Zabo, whose arrival induced the Church of Rome to entertain sanguine hopes of the conversion of Abyssinia, a circumstance which was eagerly laid hold of by the different ecclesiastical societies at that time so formidable in Europe, as a means of extending their respective influence.
Meantime the country itself became in danger of being over-run by a ferocious Mahomedan chieftain, named Gragné, who ruled the kingdom of Arar or Hurrur, which lies eastward of Shoa, the success of whose incursions induced the Emperor to send one of the Portuguese, named Bermudez, who had been left in Abyssinia, to solicit immediate assistance from the King of Portugal, at the same time promising unqualified submission to the Pope. In 1540, Bermudez, after having been appointed by Paul III. to the high rank of Patriarch of Ethiopia, returned back to Abyssinia, and was accompanied by Don Christopher De Gama, with a force of four hundred soldiers, and a considerable supply of arms. This timely assistance changed the face of affairs: and Abyssinia, through the efforts of these brave men, who in the struggle suffered severely, and had to lament the fall of their leader, was rescued from the attacks of the Mahomedans, with the loss, however, of a considerable part of its southern possessions; which occasioned the court being removed for security to the mountainous district of Samen. A narrative of these transactions was afterwards published by Bermudez himself, containing a very candid statement of all that passed; from which it appears, that owing to his own intemperate zeal in the cause he had espoused, he not only fell into disgrace with the Emperor Claudius, but even with his own countrymen, who almost unanimously disclaimed his authority.
About this period, at the urgent remonstrances of a very distinguished Abyssinian priest, named Peter, who had arrived in Europe, Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits, undertook the conversion of Abyssinia; but the Pope objecting to his going into those remote regions, two distinguished prelates of his order, Nunez Baretto, and Andrew Oviedo, were appointed, under his sanction, to take charge of a mission to that country. The first of these died in India; but the latter arrived safely in Abyssinia, early in 1557; and continued to reside there the remainder of his life, greatly advancing the interests of the Catholic religion by his prudence, magnanimity, and forbearance; qualities which made him universally respected throughout the country. This venerable patriarch died in 1577. During his stay, particularly in the reign of Sertza Denghil, the Galla became very formidable from their incursions into the southern provinces, and about the same time the Turks took possession of Massowa and the sea-coast; in consequence of which, the country was rendered extremely difficult of access. At length, in 1599, an adventurous monk named Belchior da Sylva, gained admittance in the disguise of a faquier, and continued there alone, till the arrival of Peter Paez. The latter, who proved to be a far more able man than any other who had been sent into the country, entered Abyssinia in 1603; and in the following year proceeded to court, where he shortly gained so complete an ascendency over the mind of the reigning prince, as to induce him to send letters to Europe with offers of submission to the Roman See; and in a subsequent reign, obtained the grand object for which the Jesuits had so long contended; the Emperor Socinius, his brother, Ras Sela Christos, and all the nobles of the court publicly and solemnly proclaiming their adhesion to the Roman Catholic Faith. Peter Paez, however, who by his extraordinary abilities seems to have accomplished this important change in the religion of the country, did not long survive to witness its effects; for in the same year he died at Gorgora, universally lamented by the Abyssinians, as well as by his own countrymen; his death proving an irreparable loss to the cause which he had supported. In December, 1623, Father Emanuel D'Almeyda and some other priests reached Massowa, and travelled up by way of Adegada, where they were met by a company of six hundred armed men; and thence they proceeded across the plain of Serawé, and partly along the course of the Mareb, until they arrived at Fremona. A very interesting account of this journey is to be met with in a work subsequently compiled by Father Almeyda, of which there at present remains only an abridgment by Tellez. Father Almeyda continued ten years in the country, during which period he seems to have been employed chiefly in collecting materials for his history.
The next and last patriarch sent into Abyssinia was Don Alfonzo Mendez, who arrived in 1625; a man of singular courage and undaunted perseverance, but whose disposition appears not to have been very well adapted for conciliatory measures, which appear at that time to have been peculiarly called for to insure the adherence of the Abyssinians to the new-established faith. In 1628, the Catholic influence was considered at its highest pitch; no less than nineteen priests of the society of the Jesuits having fixed their residence in the country. Their power, however, was of short duration; for the injudicious conduct of the patriarch, and the intemperate zeal of their great patron, Ras Sela Christos, brought on a rebellious commotion in the country, which soon destroyed all their projects. The Emperor Socinius was himself compelled to abjure the Roman Catholic doctrines: and his son, who shortly afterwards succeeded to the crown, in 1652 expelled the patriarch and his whole flock from the country; two only, who were daring enough to stay behind, having been publicly executed in 1640.
The whole period of this persevering attempt to convert the Abyssinians to the Roman Catholic faith may be considered as having occupied a space of one hundred and fourteen years, during which a continual
struggle was maintained between the people and its monarchs, the former appearing to have been uniformly averse from the doctrines which the Jesuits attempted to introduce. After the expulsion of these priests, the Abyssinian Empire seems to have enjoyed an interval of rest; the seat of government became settled at Gondar, which was built by Facilidas; and the court regained a considerable portion of its former splendour, as appears by the testimony of Mons. Poncet, a French traveller, who visited the country in 1699. Fortunately for the success of his mission, this gentleman lost his companion, Father Brevedent, a Franciscan friar, on the way, whose purpose, like that of his predecessors, would in all probability have occasioned their destruction.
The Society of the Propaganda had not yet, however, given up its views on Abyssinia; for so late as the year 1750, a fresh mission was sent into the country, consisting of three Franciscan friars named P. Remedio and Martino of Bohemia, and Antonio of Aleppo, who succeeded in penetrating as far as Gondar in the time of Yasous the Second, where they rose into great favour with that Emperor, as well as with the Queen-mother or Iteghé, and many of the principal noblemen about the court. The account of this mission is contained in the MS. of an Italian Journal, now in the possession of Lord Valentia. On first meeting with this narrative, I was led to doubt its authenticity, from not having seen any notice of such a mission either in Mr. Bruce's travels or elsewhere: but I have subsequently ascertained several circumstances, which seem to place its credit beyond dispute; these consist of the correct mention of the names which the two Emperors, Bacuffa and Yasous, assumed on their coming to the crown, the notice of the Queen-mother, and other trifling facts which could not easily have been fabricated; and, lastly, of an observation in Mr. Bruce's original memoranda, Appendix Vol. VII. p. 65, which proves that his great friend, Ayto Aylo had actually been won over to the Roman faith by one of these very monks; it being there incidentally noticed that "he (Ayto Aylo) had been converted by Father Antonio, a Franciscan, in 1750." This observation, which, for evident reasons, had been kept back in the original travels, affords so convincing a proof of the voyage being genuine, that I have been induced to give a translation of it in the Appendix, and it may be considered, in all probability, as containing an account of the last effort of the "Propaganda" in this hopeless cause.
In 1769, Mr. Bruce commenced his hazardous enterprize into the country, the fruits of which have been given to the public: and from the period of his return, up to my first visit in 1805, no other traveller had succeeded in gaining admittance into Abyssinia. Having thus shortly sketched out all the sources of information which may tend to elucidate the Abyssinian history, it is unnecessary for me to dwell longer on this subject: and I shall therefore proceed to close my volume with a few general remarks on the present situation of the country.
The present state of Abyssinia may with justice be compared to that of England previously to the time of Alfred; the government of the country being formed on the model of a complete feudal system. The constant disputes on the borders, the dissensions among the several chiefs, the usurpation of power by a few of the more considerable of the nobles, the degraded condition of the sovereign, and the frequent incursions of a barbarous enemy, too strongly bear out the comparison: though I fear that the result of the struggle in which Abyssinia has for so long a time been engaged, is not likely to terminate in so favourable a manner as that which ensued in our own country, owing to a variety of causes, which it would be here foreign to my purpose to enumerate. At this time I consider Abyssinia as actually divided into three distinctly independent states; the separation of which has partly arisen from natural causes, and partly from the intervention of barbarous tribes of Galla, as may be seen by a reference to the general map given in this work, which I have thought it advisable to have coloured, for the purpose of more accurately marking out their respective limits.
The high range of mountains in Samen, extending from Waldubha to the south of Lasta, together with the line of the Tacazze, which shapes its course north-easterly along its base, sufficiently point out the boundaries of the two larger divisions of Tigré and Amhara: and when we consider, in addition to these natural obstacles to communication, that the inhabitants of both countries speak distinct languages, and are so materially different in character, it can only remain matter of surprise, that they ever became united under one government. In fact, the union appears at no period of time to have been very cordial; the conquest of one by the other has been frequently effected; but the possession of either state has been always held by very precarious tenure; a natural jealousy existing between the two classes of natives, which renders impracticable all attempts at establishing any intimate or permanent connection between them. The alliance of Tigré with Amhara was indeed more uninterrupted while the latter held the whole southern range of country; but when the irruptions of the Galla had weakened it by breaking off the provinces of Shoa and Efat, Tigré regained its independence; and though it has since been nominally held by a Viceroy, under the orders of the Emperor, yet it has not unfrequently assumed the right of nominating that sovereign to his crown.
The territories coloured yellow in the map are either subject to the command, or acknowledge the influence of Ras Welled Selassé, forming the division commonly passing under the appellation of Tigré, which may considered as the more powerful state of the three; a circumstance arising from the natural strength of the country, the warlike disposition of its inhabitants, and its vicinity to the sea-coast; an advantage that has secured to it the monopoly of all the musquets imported into the country, and what is of still more consequence, of all the salt required for the consumption of the interior. The kingdom of Tigré is bounded by the Bekla, Boja, Takué, and several wild tribes of Shangalla on the north; by the mountains of Samen on the west; and by the Danákil, Doba, and Galla, on the east and south; comprehending an extent of about four degrees in latitude, and about the same in a longitudinal direction, and forming in shape the irregular figure of a trapezium. The separate divisions and sub-divisions, in this portion of Abyssinia, are extreme!y numerous, of which I shall endeavour to convey a concise idea, by arranging them under a few general heads, which may be termed provinces, premising, at the same time, that the minor districts are often spoken by the Abyssinians in terms of equal importance with the larger, thereby introducing into their accounts a confusion that is very difficult to unravel.
I shall begin according to the mode generally practised by the Abyssinians themselves, with the central province of Tigré proper, which has given its name to the whole; and shall then proceed south-eastward, and take a kind of general survey of the remainder.
The high range of mountains, in the neighbourhood of Adowa, runs down the centre of Tigré proper. This province is bounded on the north by the river Mareb; the east, by Agame; on the west, by Shiré; and on the south, by the river Warré, which takes its rise eastward of Haramat, and runs by Gullibudda and Temben to the Tacazze. It contains within its limits the minor districts of Adét, Adowa, Gundufta, Kelle, Devra-Damo, Haramat, Amba-Sanet, Tsai, Tsama, and Abba Garima, with many others of inferior note; and its general character is that of a range of hill-forts, or "ambas," intersected by deep gullies and highly cultivated plains.
To the east of Tigré proper lies the province of Agamé, a rich and fertile territory, owing in a great measure to its being situated on a level at a considerable elevation above the sea, which in the torrid climates generally insures these advantages. It has for its eastern frontier part of the lofty ridge of mountains which extends from Senafé to Taranta: and its strong holds bordering on the Taltal, together with its vicinity to the salt-plain, render it of great importance in the country. The chief town is Genata, and the smaller "gúltas" of Seraxo, Shihah, Calaut, Adegraat, Gullimuckida, Gunde Gunde, and Agro, are comprehended within its limits.
To the southward of Agamé a considerable number of petty districts are found in the neighbourhood of Senafé, which may properly be considered as forming a part of the province of Enderta, to which, in fact, they have for a long time been subordinate: these consist of Derra, Asme, Womburta, Désa, Muntille, and Monos, mountainous districts, forming by their position the eastern boundaries of Tigré. Besides these, Enderta embraces within its limits the territories of Moculla, Dirbah, Gambela, together with Upper and Lower Gibba, to which I shall add Wazza, Saharti, and Giralta, though these are sometimes enumerated among the distinct provinces. The capital of Enderta is Antálo, a town admirably calculated by its position for the protection of the southern provinces against the Galla, on which account it has been selected for his residence by the Ras.
Below this province, to the south, lies a long strip of country, running in an east and west direction, called Wojjerat; the inhabitants of this district are celebrated for their conquest of the Doba, a tribe of negroes residing on their frontier. Wojjerat is a wild country, abounding with elephants, lions, rhinoceroses, and every species of game. It is said that in this province the rains are not so periodical as in the rest of Tigré, owing possibly to the extensive forests with which the country is covered. Between Wojjerat and Lasta lies a small and low district called Wofila, bordering on the lake Ashangee; here the Galla have become mixed with the natives of the country, many of the former professing the Christian religion.
The rugged and almost inaccessible mountains which form the province of Lasta, have been before noticed. It is frequently called by the Portuguese writers Bugné: but for what reason I could never ascertain; as that name is at present unknown in the country. Bora and Salowa also form two mountainous districts northward of Lasta: and between them and the Tacazze lie the comparatively low countries of Waag and Gualiu, which are inhabited by Christian Agows.
Still advancing northward, the province of Avergale follows in succession, consisting of a narrow line of country, which extends about fifty miles in a north and south direction, along the eastern bank of the Tacazze. This district is also in the hands of the Agows, of whose manners and language some account has been before given. I have in addition to remark, that their buildings seem invariably to be put together without mortar, and that the better sort of houses are constructed in the characteristic form of ancient Egyptian temples. On the eastward side of the Tacazze, in this latitude, rises the lofty province of Samen, which may undoubtedly be considered as the highest point of land in Abyssinia; the whole range of its mountains extending in a northerly and southerly direction, about eighty miles. A fresh attempt has been made since I visited Abyssinia to dispossess the Ras of his influence over this province; but the attempt, like many others undertaken during his continuance in power, completely failed. Between the northern part of Samen and Tigré proper, extends the valuable province of Temben, subdivided again into several shummuts (or districts) under different chiefs, many of whom I became acquainted with during my stay in the country. The principal of these is Shum Temben Guebra Michael, who, from having distinguished himself particularly in the war with Gojee, is highly respected by the Ras, and thought likely to succeed to his power. The houses in this province, like those in Avergale, bear a resemblance to Egyptian temples, and the inhabitants plait their hair in the same manner as the soldiers of Lasta.
Above Temben, to the westward of Axum, is situated the province of Shiré, which forms a pretty sharp angle with the Tacazze in latitude 14°; and on the opposite side of the river extend still farther westward the districts of Waldubba and Walkayt, both of which continue to pay tribute to the Ras. The flowery meadows, shady groves, and rich vallies, with which the former abounds, are celebrated for the resort of numerous pilgrims, professedly devout, who clothe themselves in a yellow dress, with a cord round their waists, and pass their time there in religious and secluded retirement; but the satirical vein of pleasantry which distinguishes the Tigrians ascribes to them more unseemly motives: and scandal does not hesitate to say that Love, not of the purest kind, presides over their retreat.
I have now only to notice the remaining portion of Tigré, commonly called the kingdom of the Baharnegash, which may be considered as comprising the districts of Hamazen, Kōte, Seah, Kúde Falasha, Egella, Serawé, Maisella, Dixan, Halai, Tsama, (commanded by Baharnegash Subhart) Logo, Rivai-Munnai, Gehasé, ( Debib's district) and Zewan Búr, or Upper Búr, the district of Shum Woldo, which are all now ruled by separate chieftains, styled either Shum, Kantiba or Baharnegash, of whom I have had occasion to speak sufficiently in the course of my different journies through their respective territories.
The second division of Abyssinia (coloured blue in the map) is always termed by the natives of the country Amhara, an appellation, in all probability, retained on account of the language prevailing there, notwithstanding that province properly so called, has been, for a long time, almost entirely in the possession of the Galla. This division comprehends the provinces of Begemder, Menna, Belessen, Foggora, Dembea, Tcherkin, Kuara, Tchelga, Maitsha, Gojam and Damot, the whole of which may be considered, at present, as under the command of a chief called Guxo, the great opponent of Ras Welled Selassé. This chief, in the first instance, held the command over Begemder and the eastern provinces only, having succeeded, in fact, to the power held by Powussen during the time of Mr. Bruce's visit to the country; but he afterwards greatly increased his consequence by the conquest of Zoldi, a celebrated chief who succeeded to the power of Fasil in the provinces of Damot and Gojam. This latter was highly celebrated for his courage as a "jagonah:" but in his last battle was deserted by the troops of Gojam, who are become notorious for their treachery; and by this means fell into the hands of Guxo, who has since kept him closely confined at Gondar, though he dare not put him to death through fear of Ras Welled Selassé, to whom Zoldi had been always strongly attached. The annexation of the provinces of Gojam and Damot to those which he before commanded, rendered Guxo's power absolute on the western side of the Tacazze, which he has continued to keep up by means of his connection with the southern Galla, to whom he is both by birth and manners intimately allied; and he has lately attached them more firmly to him by erecting a splendid house in their country on the southern borders of the lake of Dembea. The strength of his army depends chiefly on his cavalry, drawn from the province of Begemder; and of these he is said to be able to bring twenty thousand into the field; but even this numerous body constitutes a force very inadequate to offensive war against an enemy whose habitations may be properly described as "resting upon the hills." The government of Guxo is said to be guided by no principle of justice; the king lives in almost total neglect, with only a few attendants, at Gondar, the capital of Dembea: and a poor man is afraid to wear a good cloth there, lest it should be stripped from his back by a ferocious Galla.
The third or southern division of Abyssinia, (coloured green in the map) which is now entirely separated from the others by the Galla, consists of the united provinces of Shoa and Efat.
The province of Efat lies between the 9th and 11th degree of latitude, and is described as a high tract of land running north and south, gradually declining on either side into a Kolla, or low plain, and casting off a number of small streams both in an easterly and westerly direction, some of which fall into the Nile on one side, and the rest into the Hawush on the other; two branches of which latter river are said partly to encircle the province. The capital of Efat is called Ankober, where the ruler of the country, styled Murd-azimaj, always resides, who may now justly be considered as an independent sovereign, the government having descended for many generations in a right line from father to son. The present Murd-azimaj is named Wussen Segued, who is the son of Asfar Wussen, and grandson of the Yasous mentioned by Mr. Bruce. The country which he commands is acknowledged, even by the Tigrians, to form one of the finest portions of Abyssinia, and his power is said to equal that of Ras Welled Selassé; the force which he can bring into the field chiefly consisting of horsemen, much celebrated for their courage in battle. This chief keeps up a pretty regular intercourse both with Gondar and Antálo, his friendship being cultivated by the rulers of these respective towns, on account of the valuable presents of horses which he occasionally sends them, though the communication between the several states is extremely difficult, owing to the tribes of Galla intervening; a circumstance which often occasions the messengers, sent on these errands, a delay of many months before they can reach their destinations.
The province of Shoa lies, throughout, on a lower level than Efat; and is much celebrated for its fine pasturage and fertile vallies, containing many large towns, and an immense number of monasteries. The dependent districts, most worthy of notice, are Walaka and Gidm; the former was little known to my informants, and the latter, which lies northward of Efat, had lately rebelled at the instigation of a younger brother of Wussen Segued, who was reported to have gone over to the Musselmaun faith; in consequence of which a strong force had been sent out against him, and no doubt seemed to be entertained of the insurrection being speedily quelled. From the various accounts which I received of the above provinces, there is just reason to suppose that Ethiopic literature might be found in a more flourishing condition there than in any other part of Abyssinia; and that the inhabitants retain more of the ancient customs and peculiar manners of their forefathers than either of the other two states, which, together with them, once constituted the empire of Abyssinia.
The effect of my late journies has tended to increase the preponderance of Tigré: and it appears to me that the only plan, which offers a hope of restoring any thing like a regular form of government into the distracted country of Abyssinia, would be to promote still further the welfare of that province, by removing the obstructions which interrupt her communications with the coast, and by establishing thence a free intercourse with the British settlements in the East. Were such a measure to be accomplished, and a branch of the royal family to be placed by the consent of the chiefs of Tigré on the throne at Axum, it might again revive the political importance of the country, and ultimately lead to the most desirable results.
At present the possession of the ports of Massowa and Suakin by the deputies of the rulers of Jidda, forms a decided obstacle to all effectual intercourse with Abyssinia, owing to the unjust exactions which are extorted from the merchants who attempt to trade in their ports; and the power of these chiefs in the Red Sea may comparatively be considered as formidable, from their possessing several armed ships of four and five hundred tons burden, with a fleet of dows, carrying each from six to eight guns, which, when manned with the desperate ruffians who constitute the population of Jidda, give them complete command over both sides of the Gulf. The most effectual plan, I conceive, of opposing this influence, which appears to me fraught w4th remote danger, even to our Indian possessions, would be best accomplished by forming a native power in the Red Sea, sufficiently strong to counteract its effects, and likely to prove more friendly inclined to the English interests. This could be brought about without any great difficulty by means of the Imaum of Sana, who might readily be induced to concur in any plan which had for its object to repress the ambitious schemes of the rulers at present in possession of Jidda; since he has lately been threatened with an attack from that very quarter against one of the most valuable parts of his dominions.
I may farther observe, that if some such general plan as the one I have ventured to suggest, were carried into effect, and any one point on the Abyssinian coast taken under the protection of the British flag, there is not a doubt that a considerable demand would shortly arise for both English and Indian commodities, which, though not in the first instance of any great importance, might still form a valuable appendage to the trade of Mocha, whence it could be easily carried on at a trifling expense. The advantages of this intercourse to the Abyssinians themselves would prove incalculably beneficial; it would open to them the means of improvement, from which they have been so long debarred, and would raise them to a consequence more than sufficient to repress the inroads of the Galla; introducing at the same time such an amelioration into their condition, as might lead perhaps, ultimatety to a diffusion of civilization, if not of Christianity, over a considerable portion of Africa.
In addition to the foregoing observations, I likewise possess many particulars which I collected respecting the kingdom of Hurrur and its inhabitants; as well as the various other tribes of natives to the south, especially the Somauli, noticed in the accompanying map. These I intended to have incorporated in my work, together with an abstract of the journal of Mr. Stuart during his residence at Zeyla; but I found that they would extend this volume to so unreasonable a length, that I felt myself under the necessity of withholding their insertion. Should my labours, however, receive the approbation of the public, I may probably be induced to prepare a Small supplemental volume for the press, which, besides the matter above referred to, may include some further information relative to Abyssinia; as I have lately (May, 1814) received a regular journal from Mr. Pearce, of the transactions that have occurred there subsequently to my last visit; as also several letters in the Ethiopic language from the Ras Welled Selassé, Dofter Esther, and other well informed persons, noticed in the progress of my travels; which, altogether, I conceive, might form a compilation worthy the attention of the public.
I shall now proceed to give a short account of my return to England, with which this volume will conclude.
On the 27th of June, (sea reckoning,) the Captain having completed his cargo, we took leave of our friends at the Factory, and went on board the Marian; and on the same day set sail from the Roads of Mocha, with the intention of making a windward passage against the south-west monsoon to the Cape of Good Hope, where it had been previously arranged that the ship should touch on her way back to England. Owing to the wind blowing from the south-west quarter, it took us three days to clear the Straits of Babelmandeb, soon after which we experienced a considerable change both in the wind and weather, the former veering to the north-east, and the latter proving squally and unsettled. On the 1st of July, having advanced to the eastward of Aden, we experienced such heavy gales from the south-west, in latitude 12° 5′ 0″, that the Captain thought it advisable to wear ship to the westward, the sea running very cross, and the vessel, from pitching heavily, having shipped more water than usual. On the following day, as we advanced westward, the wind again moderated, and at six P.M. it became almost calm. This induced us to steer back SE. by E. under a supposition that the gale had subsided; but in a few hours we came again within the influence of the north-west wind, which increased during the night to a perfect storm, compelling us to lie-too under a close reefed main top sail; a tremendous sea at the same time running in from W.S.W. In the morning, having drifted considerably to the westward, the wind and sea once more became moderate.
I have particularly noticed these sudden changes in the weather, as they prove very distinctly, that at this point the full influence of the south-west monsoon commences which prevails over the Indian Ocean. From this time we kept over to the coast of Africa, where we found light breezes from about W. by N., with clear and pleasant weather, which continued till the 5th of July, when at four P.M., having brought Mount Feluk to bear due south, distant four leagues, the Captain took a fresh departure, and steered about east north-east, with an intention of passing to the northward of the Island of Socotra. A few hours after this the wind from the north-west died away, and at nine it became calm. But before midnight a heavy gale once more commenced from the south-west, attended by a tremendously high sea as we opened the channel between Gardafui and Socotra, when we were compelled to put the ship under her fore-sail, still keeping an eastern course; and during the whole night she strained so much with the rolling of the sea, that the pump was employed every ten minutes to keep her free. By the foregoing observations, it appears that if a line be drawn from Ras Gardafui to Aden, it will give an exact notion of the general direction and limits of the south-west monsoon in this gulf. It very often extends beyond this along the Arabian shore into the Red Sea, as before observed, (vide p. 85;) but on the African side it appears to form a complete eddy, which in all probability is occasioned by the curving shape of the two coasts, influenced by the Promontory of Babelmandeb, and the high land on the African continent to the northward of Zeyla.
At ten the next morning, to our great surprise, though the weather was hazy, a lofty range of land was discovered on our starboard beam; the southern extreme bearing S.S.E. and the western S. by W., distant about five leagues; and at eleven A.M. we saw a white rock on our lee-bow, bearing NE. by E., distant four miles, being at noon, when the weather cleared, in latitude 12° 20′ 0″ N. At this time, from the general appearance of the land, which was extensive and mountainous, we concluded that we were passing the Island of Socotra, to which we supposed that we must have been carried by an extraordinary current, said to prevail in this part of the sea; as, owing to the erroneous manner in which the Island of Abdelcuria is laid down in modern charts, (appearing to be little more than a rock,) we did not entertain a suspicion that it could possibly prove to be that island. Under this impression, the Captain proceeded to steer about east south-east, resting confidently assured that we had before us a clear sea. The strong south-westerly gales still prevailed: and the vessel shipped several heavy seas; at midnight, the wind blowing excessively hard, split the fore-top-mast stay-sail, and the sea continued to run very cross.
At half past five in the morning, an appearance resembling that of land was seen on our lee-beam, which was supposed at first to be nothing more than a fog bank. But at seven, to our great alarm, it proved to be very high land, not above four miles distant; while at the same time a perpendicular cliff came in sight less than three miles distant on our lee-bow, which satisfied us at once, that we had got into a deep bay on the south-west side of the island of Socotra, the sea then running very high, and the ship being evidently in very shallow water. Our situation now became imminently dangerous, and, in consequence, the Captain immediately adopted the only plan which offered a hope of saving the vessel, wearing the ship round towards the north-west, and putting her under a press of sail, which we had only just room to effect, as by this time we had drifted very near to the shore. Fortunately, our efforts succeeded; for being aided by a strong current which set off from the island, we made a favourable tack to windward; and at noon, being in latitude 12° 23′ 0″, had the satisfaction of clearing the western point of land, and of finding ourselves again in a situation of comparative safety; after which we ran within a white rock lying off this end of Socotra, and endeavoured to steer close under the lee of that island. The occurrence I have just related, points out very strongly the necessity of making the Island of Abdelcuria of greater consequence in the charts than has hitherto been the case; as it was solely owing to the inattention of hydrographers, in this respect, that we were drawn into the awful situation I have described. We had the strongest reasons, however, to be grateful to Providence that this had not occurred before day-break; as, otherwise, the ship, and every person on board, must have inevitably perished; for at the time we were nearest to the shore, we could clearly discover a tremendously heavy surf breaking over the rocks with which the coast was lined.
On the 8th of July, notwithstanding that we kept close under the land, the wind continued to blow with excessive violence, keeping us under the foresail and mizen stay sail, which prevented our making a single mile on our course; and perfectly convinced us that, during its continuance, it would be impracticable to gain a windward passage. On the 9th of July, the weather became still more boisterous: and the vessel shipped so much water as to keep our men almost constantly employed at the pumps, when the carpenter, on examining her top-sides, reported that he found them in so bad a state, that the water at times came in perfectly clear about the waste of the main-rigging; in consequence of which the captain called a meeting of his officers, to deliberate respecting the state of the vessel, and to determine on what measures it might be advisable to pursue. At this consultation it was unanimously judged necessary for the safety of ship and cargo, as the vessel was in a disabled state, to desist from any further attempt to gain a windward passage; and to bear away for Bombay or some other harbour on the Malabar coast, where she might receive such repairs as to enable us to complete the voyage. A document to this effect was drawn up and signed by all the officers on board for the purpose of justifying this departure from the track to which the vessel had been limited; and at 2 hours p.m. the captain, in consequence, bore up for Bombay.
From this time to the 15th of July, we continued making a direct course to that harbour, the sea rolling very heavily, and the ship labouring and straining so much with the gales, that we were constantly obliged to keep the pumps at work. On the 15th we experienced heavy rain, and saw several sea snakes, which are sure signs of approaching the coast, when shortly afterwards we gained soundings in 37 fathoms. On the following day, by a happy coincidence, we met with a ship that had been out twenty-four hours only from Bombay, the commander of which gave us the bearing of the light-house, when we bore up, and at five entered that harbour.
On my arrival I immediately proceeded to call upon the Governor, Mr. Duncan, who received me in a very friendly manner, and immediately allotted some apartments for my use in the government house. A few days afterwards, the dangerous state of the Marian having been officially ascertained, her cargo was unshipped, and she was taken into dock for the purpose of undergoing a thorough repair. During the delay which this event occasioned, I spent my time very agreeably, owing to the polite attentions paid to me by the inhabitants, and particularly by Sir James Mackintosh, who, with the peculiar liberality distinguishing his character, allowed me to have free access to his extensive library, containing a more valuable selection of books than was probably ever before seen within the limits of our Eastern Empire.
On the 4th of October, we again set sail from Bombay; and on the 4th of December reached the Cape of Good Hope, where I was welcomed most kindly by my former friends and acquaintance, several of whom, owing to our long delay, had entertained serious alarm for my safety. At this time, I was sorry to learn from Lord Caledon, that no satisfactory intelligence had been received, since my visit to the Settlement, respecting Mr. Cowan or the party which had gone up with him into the country; but on the contrary, that there was too much reason to suppose that they had fallen victims to the ignorance and mistaken jealousy of some of the barbarous tribes of natives in the interior; thus further adding to the melancholy list of those enterprising and unfortunate travellers who have fallen a sacrifice to their generous efforts, in attempting to diffuse the blessings of civilization among the hitherto oppressed inhabitants of Africa.
On the 12th of December, the Marian left the Cape of Good Hope, and on the 29th touched at St. Helena; and, after a remarkably fine passage, on the 10th of January, 1811, reached the coast of England, when, on the following day, I had the pleasure of landing at the Port of Penzance, in Cornwall. Thence I proceeded to London, where, after laying a statement of the transactions which had occurred during the two years I had been absent, before the Marquess Wellesley, then Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, I had the honour of receiving his unqualified approbation of my proceedings; a circumstance which I may be excused for mentioning with some degree of pride, as His Lordship's pre-eminent talents and extensive knowledge of Eastern affairs added a peculiar value to the opinion which he had officially to pronounce upon the subject. I shall here take my leave of the reader, with an anxious hope, that I may, in this instance, meet with the same liberal indulgence which has hitherto attended my efforts in the cause of Abyssinia; and, referring once again to that country, shall conclude with the words of the learned and disinterested Ludolf, "Excitet D.O.M. Principum nostrorum animos, ut pervetustæ huic Christianæ nationi opem ferant, Christianismo in tam remotis mundi partibus proferendo utilem, sibique omni ævo gloriosam futuram."
- Vol. III. throughout, and part of IV.
- Lord Valentia's Travels, Vol. III, p. 242-3.
- App. to Bruce's Travels, Vol. VII. p. 435.
- Historia Joctanidarum in Arabiâ Felice, p. 83. "Ipse السودان) vinciri." Nowas equo evectus se in mare præcipitem dedit, addens, per Deum mergi præstat quam Ethiopibus (
- Historia Joctanidarum in Arabiâ Felice, p. 137.
- O rex! corvi regiones nostras oppressêre, &c. p. 129.
- Philostorgii Historia Eccles. Lib. III. p. 478. Mogunt. 1679.
- De Bello Persico, L. I. p. 257, et passim. Basil, 1531.
- G. Cedreni Hist. Comp. p. 364. Paris, 1647.
- Historia Chronica Joannis Antioch. Oxonii. 1691, p. 163.
- Ludolf's Hist. Ethiop. L. i. c. 1. Francf. 1681.
- These consist of Arwé, who reigned four hundred years. Za Beesi Angàba, who reigned two hundred years. Zagdur, one hundred. Zazebass Besedo, fifty. Zakawasya b'Axum, one. Za Makeda, fifty: in her fourth year she went to Jerusalem, and after her return reigned twenty-five years.
- Another corrupt list exists in the Chronicles which I brought over, running as follows: Ibn Hakim, Tomai Zadgur, Ascumai, Tahawasya, Abralius, Wurred-Sai, Endor, Wurred Negush, Ausanya, Elalior, Toma Sion, Bailius, Autet, Zaware, Scifi, Rami, Artsé, Suffelia, Agbul, Bawaul, Bawaris, Mahassé, Naqué, Bazen; and these are, no doubt, "the twenty-four emperors" alluded to by Tellez. Travels of the Jesuits, p. 74. London, 1710.
- Up to this reign we find the Za or Zo prefixed, which is the mark, as I conceive, of the shepherd kings or original Ethiopians; but about this time the "El" which succeeds seems to denote a change in the dynasty, a conjecture strongly confirmed by the very short reigns of the three sovereigns Za baesi tsawesa, Za wakena, and Za-hadus, which intervene, and with the last I imagine that the first race of kings became extinct. It may admit of a query whether this revolution were not effected by a colony of Syrians, who are said to have been placed by Alexander to the south of the Axomites near the mouth of the Red Sea. Vide Philostorgius, p. 470. Πρότεροι δε τούτοι των Αυξυμίτων επὶ των εξωτάτω πρὸς ανατολας καθηκοντες ωκεανὸν παροικούσιν ὁι ΣΥΡΟΙ, ταύτην την κλῆσιν καὶ παρα τοῖς εκεῖσε φεροντες Αλεξανδρος δε παρα τοῦτοις ὁ Μακεδων εκ της Σύριας αναϛησας ενταυθοῖ κατωκισεν, ὁι δε νυν ἔτι τῃ πατρωῳ φωνῃ κεχρηνται. Μελανες οὖν εισι δεινως απαντες, ὀξειας αυτοῖς του ακτινος του ἡλιου καθαπτομενης, παρα τούτοις ἢ τε ξυλοκασμα μαλιϛα γινεται. κ.τ.λ. Nicephorus Call. (Basil, 1559) Lib. ix. Ch. xviii. gives the same narration; a circumstance which, if allowed, might in some degree account for the introduction of the Geez language into the country, without seeking for its origin in Arabia.
- The reader will observe here a striking coincidence, that by taking the eight years of Bazen, which happened subsequently to the birth of Christ, and adding the thirteen in Abreha's reign, at which period Christianity was introduced, it forms precisely three hundred and thirty years, the period which is stated to have elapsed between those two events in the Chronicles.
- It is probable that all these five names should be also removed, El Ahiawya being placed before El Abreha, and the other three following immediately after: and then, instead of two, there would be only one Ameda: but I have not ventured to make this alteration; though, to confirm the propriety of it, one of the Chronicles states, that the space between the 8th year of Bazen and the 15th of Abreha was three hundred and thirty-three years.
- Vide Mr. Murray's Appendix to Vol. VII. of Mr. Bruce, who partly collected his information from lists which I brought into the country.
- The alteration of a single letter "α" for σ, would give precisely the same name, and it is a mistake that is very likely to have occurred. Vide Periplus of the Erythrean Sea edited by Dr. Vincent.—"The king of this country is Zoskales, whose dominions extend from the Moscóphagi to Barbaria—a prince superior to most, and educated with a knowledge of Greek."
- Lib. I. c. 9, and Cedreans, p. 284, Vol. I
- Vide Philostorgius 477, et seq. et Sancti Athanasii Apol. Paris, 1627, p. 698.
- Vide Appendix to Bruce, Vol. VII. p. 438, by Mr. Murray, and page 119 of the Periplus by Dr. Vincent, who both candidly admit my conjectures.
- Gibbon himself remarks, after giving an account of these affairs in his history, "this narrative of obscure and remote events is not foreign to the decline and fall of the Roman empire. If a Christian power had been maintained in Arabia, Mahomet must have been crushed in his cradle, and Abyssinia would have prevented a revolution which has changed the civil and religious state of the world."
- Vide Tellez; p. 91. Geddes' Church History of Ethiopia, p. 14, and Ludolfi Comment. p. 283.
- Vide the same author, Ludolf fixes the date of Caleb's reign at 522.—Lib. II. c. 4. Geddes at about 530, p. 15.—and Murray at 511, p. 438, Vol. VII, of Bruce.
- By Room is meant Constantinople.
- The names of the rest were Abba Alef, Tsama, Asfé, Gúba, Likanos, Yemata, Garima, and Abba Pantaleon.
- Joh: Malala—Chronographia, page 163, et seq. Ἐν ἀυτῷ δὲ τῳ χρόνῳ συνέβη Ἰνδοὺς πολεμῆσαι πρὸς ἑαυτοὺς οἱ ὀνομαζόμενοι Αὐξουμῖται, καὶ οἱ Ὁμηρῖται, ἡ δὲ αἰτιὰ τοῦ πολέμου αὕτη. Ὁ τῶν Αυξουμιτῶν βασιλεὺς ενδότερὸς ἐϛὶ τῶν Ἀμεριτῶν, ὁ δὲ των Ὁμηριτῶν πλησίον ἐϛὶ τῆς Αἰγύπτου. Ὁι δὲ πραγματευταὶ Ῥωμαίων διὰ τῶν Ὁμηριτῶν εἰσέρχονται εἰς τὴν Αὐξούμην, καὶ ἐπὶ τὰ ἐνδότερα βασίλεῖα τῶν Ινδῶν· εἰσι γὰρ Ινδῶν, και Αἰθίοπων βασίλεῖα ἑπτὰ· τρία μὲν Ινδῶν, τέσσαρα δὲ Αἰθιόπων, τὰ πλησίον ὀντὰ τοῦ ὀκεανου ἐπὶ τὰ ἀνατολικὰ μέρη. Τῶν οὖν πραγματευτῶν εἰσελθόντῶν εἰς τὴν χώραν τῶν Ἀμεριτῶν, ἐπὶ τὸ ποιήσασθαι πραγματείαν, ἐγνωκὼς Δίμνος ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἀμεριτῶν, ἐφόνευσεν ἀυτοὺς, και πάντα τὰ αὐτῶν, ἀφείλετο, λέγων· ὅτι οἱ Ῥωμαῖοι οἱ Χριϛιανοὶ κακῶς ποιοῦσι τοῖς Ιȣδαίοις ἐν τοῖς μέρεσιν αὐτῶν, καὶ, πολλοὺς κατ’ ἔτος φονευούσι· καὶ ἐκ τούτου ἐκωλύθη ἡ πραγματεία· Ὁ δὲ τῶν Αυξουμιτῶν βασιλεὺς ἐδήλωσε τῷ βαδιλεῖ τῶν Ἁμεριτῶν, "ὁτι, κακῶς ἐποίησας, φονεύσας Ῥωμαίους Χριϛιανοὺς πραγματευτὰς, καὶ ἔβλαψας τὰ ἐμὰ βασίλεῖα." Καὶ ἐκ τούτου εἰς ἔχθραν ἐτράπησαν μεγάλην, και συνέβαλον πρὸς ἀλλήλους πόλεμον. Εν τῷ δὲ μέλλειν τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Ἀυξουμιτῶν πολεμεῖν, συνετάξατο λέγων ὅτι ἐὰν νικήσω Δίμνον τὸν βασιλέα τῶν Αμεριτῶν, Χριϛιανὸς γίνομαι. Ὑπὲρ γὰρ τῶν Χριϛτιανῶν πολεμῶ αὐτῷ. Καὶ νικήσας ὁ βασιλεὺς τῶν Ἀυξοθμιτῶν, καὶ παραλαβὼν αὐτὸν αἰχμάλωτον, ἀνεῖλεν αὐτὸν, καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν βοήθειαν αὐτοῦ καὶ τὴν χώραν καὶ τα βασίλεῖα αὐτου ἔλαβε. Καὶ μετὰ τὴν νίκην ἔπεμψε συγκλητικοὺς αὐτοῦ δύο, καὶ μετ’ αὐτῶν διακοσίους ἐν Ἀλεξανδρεία, δεόμενος τοῦ βασιλέως Ιουϛτίνιανοῦ, ὥϛε λαβεῖν αὐτὸν ἐπίσκοπον, καὶ κλήρικοὺς, καὶ κατηχηθηναι καὶ διδαχθῆναι τὰ Χριϛιανῶν μυϛήρια, καὶ φωτισθῆναι, καὶ πᾶσαν τὴν Ινδικὴν χώραν ὑπὸ Ῥωμαιους γενεσθαι, Και εμηνύθη τῳ βασιλεῖ Ιουϛινιανῷ παντὰ διὰ Λικινίου, Αυγαϛαλιου Αλεξανδρείας· καὶ ἐθέσπισεν ὁ αὐτος βασιλεὺς, ὅντινα βούλονται ἐπίσκοπον λαβεῖν αὐτοὺς. Καὶ ἐπελέξαντο οἱ ἀυτοὶ πρεσβυται Ινδοὶ τὸν παρα μονάριον τοῦ ἁγίου Ιωάννου τοῦ ἐν Αλεξανδρεία, ανδρα εὐλαβῆ, παρθενον, ονοματι Ιώαννην ὄντα ἐνιαυτῶν ὡς ἑξηκοντα δύο, και λαβοντες τὸν ἐπίσκοπον, καὶ τȣς κληρικοὺς οὕς αὐτος επελέξατο, απήγαγον εἰς τὴν Ινδικὴν χώραν πρὸς ΑΝΔΑΝ τον βασιλέα αὐτῶν.
- Vide p. 196, where in a note on the word Ελεσβόας, it is observed, "supra Andas vocatur rex iste Auxumitarum:" the account of this embassy has been quoted by Gibbon. Vol. V. p. 422.
- Vide Vol. I, p. 364
- Vide p. 374
- Vide Opinio De Mundo, p. 179.
- P. 257, et seq.
- P. 258.
- ارياط ابو صحم Vid. Hist. Joctan, p. 143.
- There exists a remarkable conformity on these subjects between Procopius and the Arabian writers.
- The true name of "Hesimaphæus" or "Abou-hesem," which simply means "father of Sehem," appears by John of Antioch, p. 194, to have been Αγγανη, the same name, in all probability as the "Aiga" found in the Chronicles. Another account of these events, agreeing in the main points, is found also in Nicephori Callisti Historiâ, Basil, 1559, L. xvii. c. 32, p. 897: but the names of the sovereigns are there still further corrupted, though evidently taken from the same source; Dunowas being called Damnus, and Andas having been changed through Adadus to David. The confusion of those names baffled the research even of the indefatigable Ludolf, (vide L. ii. c. 4) who rather hastily observes, "at falsa prorsus sunt, quæ a Cedreno et Nicephoro de Adado vel Davide scribuntur!"
- This circumstance is confirmed also by Procopius, who after noticing Julianus's want of success in his embassy to Esimiphæus, remarks, "sed et Abramus postremo, qui et regnum firmissimé obtinuit, sæpe Justiniano promisit in Persidem irruptionem se facturum; semelque tantum iter ingressus, statim remigravit."
- This was not effected by one effort; for, after the first Persian expedition, the Abyssinians recovered their power on a fresh force being sent over from the mother country, (Vide Hist. Joct. 135. Horum Habassiorum aliquis imperium iterum invasit Jemanamque cædibus miscuit atque evastavit) which was probably the expedition of the emperor Caleb, so particularly noticed in the Abyssinian Chronicles; a circumstance very likely to have swallowed up the remembrance of their other conquests, owing to its having been the last great effort made by the country; this probably occurred in about 584, two years before the death of the Persian Emperor Nushurwan, and the final conquest of Yemen must be brought down few years later.
- So called in the Geez: but in Amharic, she is styled Assaat, or fire.
- Vide Elmacini Saraceni Hist. in Purchas, 1032, Vol. V. and Abdullatif. Paris. p. 554, 1810.
- One of these, however, (named Lalibala) was very distinguished on account of the churches which he built in lasts, (before described) and from a successful attempt which he is said to have made, to turn the course of the Nile, This story is also recorded in the Arabian histories of Egypt, and is attributed to the years 831 of the Dioclesian æra, or A. D. 1095. The ignorance of the times may have favoured the opinion of (he possibility of such an undertaking: but in all probability, the only source of a river over which Lalibala had a command, was that of the Tacazze, which takes its origin in Lasta. The names of the monarchs sprung from the legitimate branch which fled to Shoa, are given in the Chronicles as follow after Dilnād came Maimersa Woodim, then Agva Sion, Sin Fārat. Negush Záree, Atzfé, Yakoob, Birasgud, Asgúd, Woodem Asgúd and their reigns are said to have occupied 330 years, which the history down to the period of 1255.
- He lived at Emfras and Duncas, and built Gondar.
- Of these latter kings the six marked thus are still alive.
- Ramusio, Viaggi di Marco Polo, p. 59, Lib. III. (In the "Voyages de Bergeron," which Geddes in his Eccles. Hist. has copied, this event is erroneously attributed to 1258.)
- The necessity of this correction is confirmed, in some degree, by a list which I brought to England, a translation of which I have made use of, which makes a difference of about 15 years from that given by Mr. Bruce.
- An account of this embassy is given in Legatio Magni Indorum presb: Joan: ad Emanuel Lusitaniæ, Anno, 1513, by Damiana Goez, (Antwerp, 1552,) which appears to be very fairly drawn up, though his information is far from correct.
- Vide Alvarez (Fran.) Verdadeira Informacam das terras do preste Joam das Indias. Lixb. 1540, fol. (British Museum.) His narrative is to be found also in the "Viaggi" of Ramusio, L. i. p. 189, who translated it from a Portuguese manuscript, sent to him by Damiana of Goez, which differs from that published at Lisbon, and is considered as in some respects superior to it. The ground plans of the excavated churches are wanting in the Lisbon edition. I have myself a French edition translated from Ramusio, published at Antwerp, 1558, and I have seen a Spanish copy of the same: an English epitome of it is given in Purchas, (Part II.) 1026.
- The convent of St. Stephano was about this time founded for the Abysinians at Rome. Abraham Peritsol, in his Itinera Mundi, seems to allude to the Abyssinian monks, when he says, "Et quoque in Roma est istorum Sacerdotum nigritarum societas una numero fere 30, habitantes in Excelso uno novo quod de novo fundatum est nomini ipsorum." Dr. Hyde, the learned translator of this work, has fallen into a singular error respecting these black priests; for he supposes, that the epithet "nigritarum" was given them on account of their black garments (propter habitum nigrum, in contrarium Sacerdotum Judæorum qui albis indui solebant,) and in enquiring into what society this could be, he conjectures, as the society of Jesuits (Jesuitarum) was not established in 1525, when the book was written, to whom alone he could attribute an interference in Eastern affairs, that it must have been Societas Jesuatorum, of whom he finds a notice in an obscure author, a specimen of criticism worthy of some of the later commentators on Shakespeare.
- Vide relation do Embaixada gō. Joaō Bermudez trouxe da Emperador da Ethiopia. Lixb. 1565, small quarto, (British Museum.) This book is extremely scarce; Ludolf himself (vide Comm. p. 6,) never having been able to get a sight of it; on which account he refers his readers to the translation of it in Purchas, for which, vide Part II. p. 1149.
- Vide De Æthiopiæ patriarchis J. N. Baretto et Andrea Oviedo, P. N. Godigno. Lugduni, 1615, a book which contains much curious matter respecting Abyssinia, though like most other works written by the monks of that order, it must be consulted with great caution.
- One of the fathers belonging to the last mission, F. Francis Lopez, is said to have survived his companions until so late as 1597.
- Mr. Bruce (vide Vol. III. p. 264,) has by mistake attributed the coming of Father Paez to the year 1600, and hence has given him great praise for keeping so long from Court; but Father Tellez, who enters minutely into the transactions of these times, positively states, that he set out from Mazua on the 5th of May, 1603, giving other particulars which make the fact indubitable. Vide Lib. III. Chap. XIII. p. 259. Mr. Bruce has also made a similar mistake respecting Belchior da Sylva, whom he calls Melchior Sylvanus, whose arrival he fixes to 1597, and return to 1600; whereas he arrived in March, 1599, and stayed six years. Vide Tellez, Lib. III. Chap. XI. p. 234. Port. adit.
- Peter Paez left behind him an ample account of the affairs of Ethiopia, a MS. of which is said to exist at Rome in the secretary's office of the crown of Portugal, reaching from 1555 to 1622. P. Bal. Tellez has made great use of it in his celebrated work: and some valuable extracts from it are to be found in the Œdipus Ægypt, by Kircher, giving an exact description of the sources of the Nile, which he visited in 1618.
- Vide Historia Geral de Ethiopia a alta ou Preste Joam edo que nella obraram os padres da companhia de Jesus composta na mesma Ethiopia pelo padre Manoel D'Almeyda, &c. Abbreviada com nova releuçam e methedo pelo padre Balthazar Tellez, &c. a Coimbra, 1660; to be found in the British Museum. A translation or rather abridgment of this was published in English under the title of "The Travels of the Jesuits in Ethiopia," in "A new Collection of Voyages and Travels," Vol. II. London, by Knapton, &c. 1711. An extract from this book was also published by Thevenot under title of Histoire de la haute Ethiopie, écrite sur les lieux, par le R. P. Manoel D'Almeida, Jesuite. The abridgment of Tellez above mentioned is undoubtedly the most valuable work now existing on Abyssinian affairs: and there are said to be only three copies of it in England.
- He also published an account of Abyssinia, the only copy which, that I have seen, is a French translation, entitled "Relation du Reverendissime Patriarche D'Ethiopie Dom Alphonze Mendez, touchant la conversion des ames qui s'est faite en cet empire depuis l'année 1629. Envoyé au Pere Viteleschi, &c. Traduite du Portugais, p. B. Cordose Med. A Lille, 1633. (British Museum.) Ludolf in his Commentaries erroneously remarks, "verum ista historia lucem non vidit," which proves, at least, the scarcity of the work. Jerome Lobo, whose work is well known, attended in the suite of this patriarch. The translations of his work by Le Grand and Johnson have been before referred to; the original is not known to be extant.
- An English ship visited Suakin in 1648, where three of the fathers of the Minori Reformati di S. Francesco, sent by the Propaganda, attempting to penetrate into the country, had been executed; and three more were discovered in Abyssinia in 1674, who had converted Oustas, styled the Usurper, who were all put to death.
- Of the letters written during the above period, which have been separately published, I have met with the following only:
1st. Nuove e curiose lettere del Ethiopia annualmente al Rev. P. N. Viteleschi, &c. da Dembea, 1617, dal Pietro Paez, altera scritta da Goa, 1620, per Michael della Pace, published at Firenze, 1622.
2nd. Litteræ Æthiopicæ pp. Societ. Jesu—de prop. fide apud Abissinos ab ineunte Julio 1623, ad exitum Aprilis 1624, published Gandavi, 1626. These letters appear to have been communicated by Father Almeyda, and contain very interesting details concerning the existing state of affairs.
3rd. Histoire de l'Ethiopie es années 1624-5 and 6. Traduite de l'Italien Alphonze Patriarche de l'Ethiopie, Paris, 1629, and Gaspard Paez, dated July, 1629.
4th. Histoire de l'Ethiopie en l'année 1626 jusques 1629. Traduite de l'Italien—de Gorgora, par Emanuel Almeida, Paris, 1629. All these are at. present in the collection of Lord Valentia, who obligingly lent them to me.
- The court during the preceding reigns had successively resided at Coja, Ibaba, Gorgora, Dancaz, Kaha, &c., as circumstances rendered most convenient.
- The Emperor Yasous reigned from 29 to 53, as is rightly stated in Mr. Bruce, Vol. IV. Mr. Murray has, by mistake, fixed his death to 6th June, 1745, which is incorrect.
- This was the Iteghé Welleta Georgis, who afterwards proved herself so great a friend to Mr. Bruce during his stay in the country. Bruce himself notices in Vol. IV. p. 101, "that she had warm attachment to the Catholic religion in her heart;" and there appears to be a confused account of the disturbance occasioned by the arrival of these priests in Vol. IV. p. 111-117, where the event is evidently misdated.
- The mistake of one year in the date, as Mr. Bruce received his information from oral testimony, cannot in any degree invalidate the fact. It may be noticed as a farther confirmation of it, that I myself met with an Arabic testament in the country, which seems have belonged to these monks. Vide Lord Valentia's Travels, Vol. III, p. 210.
- Mr. Bruce besides adding largely to our stock of general information, brought to our knowledge several new genera of plants, well as some valuable descriptions of rare animals. He also has the honour of having first introduced into Europe a complete copy of the Scriptures, and a set of the Abyssinian Chronicles, in the Ethiopic language; which valuable collection of MSS. still remains in the hands of the family.
- The inhabitants of this province are famous for their skill in cooking. The district is commanded at present by Ayto Welled Afsge, son of Guebra Mascal.
- Chelicut may be considered only as a country residence attached to Antálo.
- This province is famous for its white honey, which is brought in great quantities to the market of Antalo. The mode of domesticating the bees which is practised by the natives is as follows. Having found a wild hive, they hang near it a wooden box, called muggil, rubbed over with old honey, the only access to which is through a small hole in one of the sides. The bees, allured by this stratagem, collect in great numbers in the box, which when the owner perceives, he goes at night, closes up the box, and carries it home to his own habitation. Here they soon become attached, and form their cells in square compartments prepared for them in the walls, which in this part of the country are generally constructed of mud.
- Tudde Ayto rules over the Serawé, and is now dependent on the Ras.
- Governed by Ayto Gasso, a servant of the Ras.
- This word means "pass," and has a connection with the Búr taakti or lower Búr in the hands of the Hazorta on the coast. These constituted, I have no doubt, the great road from Adulé to Axum.
- The Galla, who have conquered Amhara, have since adopted, in a great measure, the more civilized manners of the Abyssinians, dressing in the same way, and living in the same style. The following names of districts in Amhara (mentioned by Ludolf) were recognized by intelligent persons with whom I conversed on the subject at Chelicut, though, as their relative situations could not be ascertained, many of them have not been inserted in the map; Anbasit, Atronsa-Mariam, (under the rule of Liban, but still inhabited by Christians) Barara, Beda Gadel, Daj, Demah, Feras Bahr (under Gusmati Tumro, dependent on Liban, inhabitants still Christians), Ganeta-Georgis, Gel, Geshen, Makana Selassé, bordering on Shoa and under the rule of that province, Malza (under Liban,) Shelga, (near Lasta) Zedbaba Mariam, Waro, (under Liban) Wanz Egr (near Feras 'l Bahar, and on the borders of the Bashilo) and Zar-amba, inhabed by Christians, under Liban, on the borders of Shoa.
- The following names of places were recognized in Begemder. Anjabet, Esté near Lasta and governed by Shoote Aylo, Gúna, Makét near Angote, Mashalama, Nefas Musa, Smada, Tiama, Wudo and Wainadga, which latter place is famous for its grapes.
- Dembea is commanded by a dependent of Guxo; yet, notwithstanding the enmity between these chiefs and Ras Welled Selassé, considerable intercourse is carried on from Gondar to Adowa, as well as Antálo, by the two separate roads of Lamalmon and Inchetkaub.
- Since I left the sea, the Sheriffe of Mecca has been superseded in the command of Jidda, by the Pasha of Egypt, whose influence in the Red Sea, I conceive, likely to produce the worst effects.
- The duties at Massowa at present average from 20,000 to 50,000 dollars annually; which at the rate of ten per cent., makes the value of goods imported about 250,000 dollars; this would undoubtedly admit of considerable increase. Tin sells at Massowa for seven and a half dollars per Mocha frasil: copper for nine and a half; pepper two and a half; and cotton, which is the principal article in demand, for from two and a half to three. Broad cloth will not fetch more than three dollars per yard English measure; but the natives are not particular about quality; colour being the chief thing they regard. Cloth of two colours on the different sides would sell well, either here or in Arabia. Brass foil, or silver leaf, fetches two and a half dollars per ounce: wrought silk one and a half per wakea; red kid skins sell at one and a half dollar each; tobacco at from three to four dollars per frasil. Besides these articles, a few low-priced velvets and coarse muslins might answer, together with cheap looking-glasses. Any ship employed on this service should manage to arrive in the Red Sea before the end of May, so as to be able to leave it in August; under the present system in the Red Sea, however, this trade is not worthy of attention.
- The exact courses and distance of our run will be given in Appendix No. V.
- A sketch of this Cape, and another of Cape Gardafui, is given in the general chart of the East Coast of Africa.
- The Captain, to prevent alarm, would not permit the lead to be heaved, as it could not prove of any use: but we certainly were not in more than five fathoms for some time.
- This rock very much resembles the one lying off the north end of Abdelcuria; which latter contributed towards leading us into the error above-mentioned.
- A sketch of the north-west end of Socotra is given in the chart, for which, I entertain a hope that the Island of Abdelcuria may never again be mistaken.
- The harbour of Bombay, during the rainy season, in the south-west monsoon, is extremely difficult of approach, owing to the continual haziness of the atmosphere, which prevents the possibility of ascertaining the exact position of the vessel.