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In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 177 1, 1772, and 1773. 




Nilus in extremum fugit perterritus or bent, 
Occuluitque caput, quod adhuc latet. 

Ovid. Metam. 





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ba 1 

' " |i ii i . 1 1 n » n ■ » ■ — ' ... — _ — i ,, 



O F T H E 







*£ranfaclions at Mafuah and Arkeeko, P. i 


Directions to Travellers for preferving Health — Difeafes of the Coun- 
try — Mufic — Trade, &c. of Mafuah — Conferences with the 
Naybe. •? I 

Vol. III. a CHAP. 



youmey from Arkeeko over the Mountain 'Taranta, to Dixan, P. 64 


journey from Dixan to Adowa, Capital of T'igre, 93 


Arrive at Adowa — Reception there— Vifit Fremona—^And Ruins of 
Axum — Arrive at Sire, 1 1 8 


jfourney from Sire to Addergey t and 'Tranfaclions there , 152 


youmey over Lamalmon to Gondar? 172 




Reception at Gondar — Triumphal Entry of the King— The Author's 
Jirjl Audience, P. 197 


Tranfactions at Gondar, 233 


Geographical Divi/ion of AbyJJinia into Provinces, 248 


Various Cuftoms in AbyJJinia, fimilar to thofe in Perjia, &C— A 
bloody Banquet defcribed, &c. 262 


State of Religion— -Circumcifion — Excifion, &c. 313 

aa BOOK 





The Author made Governor of Ras el Feel, P. 359 


< - 

Battle of Banja — Confpiracy againf Michael — The Author retires to 
Emfras — Defcription ofGondar, Emfras, and Lake Tzana, 373 

chap. ni. 

The King encamps at Lamgui — Tranfaclions there — PaJJes the Nile, 
and encamps at Derdera — The Author follows the King, 389 


Pafs the River Gomara — Remarkable Accident there-~Arrive at 



Dara — Vifit the Great Cataracl of Alata — Leave Dara, and re- 
fume our Journey ', P. 405 


Pafs the Nile, and encamp at Tfoofnwa — Arrive at Derdcra — dlarm 
on approaching the Army — Join the King at Karcagna, 43 2 


King's Army retreats towards Gondar — Memorable Pajfage of the 
Nile~— Dangerous Situation of the Army — Retreat of K&fa Ycfous 
— Battle of Limjour — Unexpected Peace with Fafil-— Arrival at 
Gondar, 44^' 


King and Army retreat to Tigre — Inter efing Events following that 
Retreat — 'The Body of Joas is found — Socinios, a new King, 
proclaimed at Gondar, 470 


Second Journey to dif cover the Source of the Nile — Favourable turn of 



the Kings Affairs in Tigre — We fall in with Fafd's Army at 
Bamba % p. 4^ 


Interview with Fafil — -Tranfaclions in the Camp, ^09 


Leave Bamba, and contiuue our fourney Southward— -Fall in with 
Fq/iFs Pagan Galla — Encamp on the Kelti, 532 


Continue our fourney — Fall in with a Party of Galla — Prove our 
Friends — Pafs the Nile — Arrive at Goutto, and vifit thefrjl Ca- 
taracl, 550 


Leave Goutto— Mountains of the Moon— Roguery ofWoldo our Guide 
—Arrive at the Source of the Nile. 577 


Attempts of the Ancients to dif cover the Source of the Nile—No di/ co- 


very made in latter Times — No Evidence of the fcfuits having ar- 
rived there — Kirchers Account fabulous — Difcovery completely 
made by the Author ', s 603 


Defcription of the Sources of the Nile — Of Geejh — Accounts ofitsje- 
veral Cataracls — Courfefrom its Rife to the Mediterranean, 632 


Various names of this River-— Ancient Opinio? 1 concerning the Caufe of 
its Inundation — Real Maimer by which it is effected — Remarka- 
able Dtfpofition of the Peninfula of Africa, 65^ 

CHAP. xvr. 

Egypt not the Gift of the Nile — Ancient Opinion refuted — -Modern 
Opinion contrary to Proof and Experience, 67: 


The fame Suhjetl continued— Nilometer 'what— How divided and 
meafured^ 689 




Inquiry about the Pojfibility of changing the Courfe of the Nile — 
Caufe of the Nucla, P. 712 


Kind reception among the Agovos — 'Their Number , Trade, Charac- 
ter, &c. 726 


1*2^^4. N 

The Ifland 

A . Btu/ oft/it inj'urd . 

EiwliQi Miles . 

" II II ■ ■ " * ' *■ I ' I * I • — 

T R A V E L S 



B o ok v. 





TfranfaEiions at Mafuah and Arkecko. 

ASUAH, which means the port or harbour of the 
Shepherds, is a fmall ifland immediately on the Abyf- 
finian Ihore, having an excellent harbour, and water deep 
enough for mips of any fi^e to the very edge of the ifland : 
here they may ride in the utmoft fecurity, from whatever 
point, or with whatever degree of ftrength, the wind blows. 
As it takes its modern, fo it received its ancient name from 
its harbour. It was called by the Greeks Sebafticum Os, from 
Vol. III. A the 


the capacity of its port, which is diftributed into three divi- 
sions. The ifland itfelf is very fmall, fcarce three quarters 
of a mile in length, and about half that in breadth, one- 
third occupied- by houfes, one by cifterns to receive the 
rain-water, and the laft is referved for burying the dead. 

Masuah, as we have already obferved, was one of thofe 
towns on the weft of the Red Sea that followed the con- 
queft of. Arabia Felix, by Sinan Balha, under Selim emperor 
of Conftantinople. At that time it was a place of great com- 
merce, pofTefling a lhare of the Indian trade in common 
with the other ports of. the. Red Sea. near the mouth of the 
Indian Ocean. It had a confiderable quantity of exports 
brought to it from a great tract of mountainous country 
behind it, in all ages very unhofpitable, and almoft inac- 
ceiTible to ftrangers. Gold and ivory, elephants and buffa- 
loes hides, and, above all, Haves, of much greater value, as 
being more fought after for their perfonai qualities than 
any other fort, who had the misfortune to be reduced to 
that condition, made the principal articles of exportation 
from this port. Pearls, confiderable for fize, water, or colour,., 
were found all along its coaft. The great convenience of 
commodious riding for vefTels, joined to thefe valuable ar-- 
ticles of trade, had overcome the inconvenience of. want of 
water, the principal neceffary of life, to .which . it had been? 
fubjecled from its creation. 

Masuah continued a place of mucli.reforras long as com* 
merce flouriihed, but it fell into obfeurity veiy fuddenly 
under tlie opprefTion of the Turks^ who put the finiihing- 
hand to the ruin of the India trade in the Red Sea, begun 
feme years before by the difcovery of the Cape of Good 




Hope, and the fettlements made by the Portuguefe on the 
continent of India. 

The firft government of Mafuah" under the Turks was by 
a baftia fent from Conflantinople, and from thence, for a 
time, the conquefl of Abyflinia was attempted, always with 
great confidence, though never with any degree of fuccefs ; 
fo that, lofing its value as a garrifon, and, at the fame time, 
as a place of trade, it was thought no longer worth while 
to keep up fo expenfive an eflablifhment as that of a ba- 

The principal auxiliary, when the Turks conquered the 
place, was a tribe of Mahometans called Belowee, fhepherds 
inhabiting the coafl of the Red Sea under the mountains 
ef the Habab, about lat. 14 . In reward for this affiflance, 
the Turks gave their chief the civil government of Ma- 
fuah and its territory, under the title of Naybe of Mafuah ; 
and, upon the bafha's being withdrawn, this officer 
remained in fact fovereign of the place, though, to fave 
appearances, he held it of the grand fignior for an an- 
nual tribute, upon receiving a iirman from the Ottoman 

"The body of Janizaries, once eflablifhed there in garrifon, 
were left in the ifland, and their pay continued to them 
from Conflantinople. Thefe marrying the women of the 
country, their children fucceeded them in their place and 
pay as Janizaries ; but being now, by their intermarriages, 
Moors, and natives of Mafuah, they became of courfe rela- 
tions to each other, and always fubject to the influence of 
the Naybe. 

A 2 „ Tits 


The Nay be finding the great diftanc'e lie was- from his-. 
protcCtors, the Turks in Arabia, on the other fide of the Red 
Sea, whofe garrifons were every day decaying in ftrength,* 
and for the rnoft part reduced; fenfible, too, how much he 
was in the power of the Abyflinians, his enemies and neareft 
neighbours, began to think that it was better to fecure him- 
felf at home, by making fome advances to thofe in whofe 
power he was. Accordingly it was agreed between them, . 
that One half of the ciiftonis mould be paid by him to the 
king of Abyflmia, who was to fuffer him to enjoy his go- 
vernment unmolefled ; for Mafuah^as I have before faid, 
is abfolutely deftitute of water ; neither can it be fupplied 
with any fort of provifions but from the .mountainous coun- - 
try of Abyflinia. 

The fame may be faid of Arkeeko, a large town on the 
bottom of the bay of Mafuah, which has indeed water, _ 
but labours under the fame fcarcity of provifions ; for the tract 
of flat land behind both, called Samhar, is a perfect defert,.. 
and only inhabited from the month of November to April, , 
by a variety of wandering tribes called Tora, Hazorta, Shiho, 
and Doba, and thefe carry all their cattle to the Abyflinian , 
fide of the mountains when the rains fall there, which is . 
the oppoflte lix months. When the feafon is thus reverfed, , 
they and their cattle are no longer in Samhar, or the domi-„ 
nion of the Naybe, but in the hands of the Abyflinians, efpe- 
cially the governor of Tigre and Baharnagaili, who there- - 
by, without being at the expence and trouble of marching 
againfh Mafuah with an army, can make a line round it, 
and ftarve all at Arkeeko and Mafuah, by prohibiting any 
fort of provifions to be carried thither from their fide. In. 
the courfe of this hiflory we have feen this practifed with 



great fuccefs more than once, efpccially againft the Naybe 
Mufa in the reign of Yafous I. 

The friendfhip of Abyflinia orrce fecured, and the power 
of the Turks declining daily in Arabia, the Naybe began 
by degrees to withdraw himfelf from paying tribute at all 
to the bam a of Jidda, to whofe government his had been 
annexed by the porte. He therefore received the firman as a 
mere form, and returned trifling prefents,but no tribute; and 
in troublefome times, or a weak government happening in 
Tigre, he withdrew himfelf equally from paying any con- 
fideration, either to the bafha in name of tribute, or to the 
king of Abyflinia, as fhare of the cuitoms. This was pre- 
cifely his iituation when I arrived in Aby inn ia. A great re- 
volution, as we have already feen, had happened in that king- 
dom, of which Michael had been the principal author. 
When he i was called to Gondar and made minifter there, 
Tigre remained drained of troops, and without a governor. 

Nor was the new king, Hatze Hannes, whom Michael 
had placed upon the throne after the murder of joas his 
predeceflbr, a man likely to infufe vigour into the new go- 
vernment. Hannes was pafl feventy at his acceiiion,. and 
Michael his minifter lame, fo as fcarcely to. be able to fland, 
and within a few years. of eighty. The Naybe, a man of about 
forty-eight, judged of the debility of the Abyffinian govern- 
ment by thofe circumstances, but in this he was miltakem 

Already Michael had intimated to him, that, the next 
campaign, he would lay wafte Arkeeko and Mafuah, till 
they fliould be as defert as the wilds of Samhar ; and as he 
hacLbeen all his life very remarkable for keeping his promi- 

2 . fes 


■fes of this kind, the flranger merchants had many of them 
fled to Arabia, and others to Dobarwa *, a large town in the 
territories of the Baharnagafh. Notwithitanding this^ the 
Naybe had not lliewn any public mark of fear, nor lent one 
penny either to the king of Abyflinia or the bafha of 

On the other hand, the bafha was not indifferent to his 
own interefl ; and, to bring about the payment, he had 
made an agreement with an officer of great credit with the 
SherrifFe of Mecca. This man was originally an Abyflinian 
Have, his name Metical Aga, who by his addrefs had raifed 
himfelf to the poll of Selictar, or fword-bearer, to the Sher- 
rifFe ; and, in fa6l, he was abfolute in all his dominions. 
He was, moreover, a great friend of Michael governor of 
Tigre, and had fupplied him with large ftores of arms 
and ammunition for his lafl campaign againfl the king at 

The bafha had employed Metical Aga to inform Mi- 
chael of the treatment he had received from the Naybe, de- 
iiring his affiflance to force him to pay the tribute, and at 
the fame time intimated to the Naybe, that he not only had 
done fo, but the very next year would give orders through- 
out Arabia to arrefl the goods and perfons of fuch Maho- 
metan merchants as mould come to Arabia, either from 
motives of religion or trade. With this meffage he had 
fent the firman from Conflantinople, defiring the return 
both of tribute and prefents. 


Suppofed from its name to hay? been formerly the capital of the Dobas, 


- Mahomet Gibberti, Metical Aga's fervant, had come in 
she boat with me ; but Abdelcader, who carried the mef- 
fage and firman, and who was governor of the ifland of Da- 
halac, had failed at fame time with me, and had been 
fpeetator of the honour which was paid my fhip when me 
left the harbour of Jidda. 

Running flraight over to Mafuah, Abdelcader had pro* 
claimed what he had feen with great exaggeration, accord- 
ing to the cuflom of his country ; and reported that a prince 
was coming, a very near relation to the king of England, 
who was no trader, but came only to vilit countries and 

Tt was many times, and oft agitated (as we knew after- 
wards) between the Naybe and his counfellors, what was 
to be done with this prince. Some were for the mofl expe- 
ditious, and what has long been the mofl cuftomary me* 
thod of treating flrangers in Mafuah, to put them to death, 
and divide every thing they had among the garrifon. O- 
thers infilled, that they fhould flay and fee what letters I had 
from Arabia to Abyflinia, left this might prove an addition 
to the florm jufl ready to break upon them. on the part of. 
Metical Aga and Michael Suhul. 

But Achmet, the Naybe's nephew, faid, it was folly to 
doubt but that a man, under the description I. was, would- 
have protections of every kind ; but whether Lhad.or not,, 
that my very rank fhould protect me in ever) place where 
there was any government whatever,; it might do even a- 
mong banditti and thieves inhabiting woods and mountain,- ; 
that a fufheiem quantity of ftrangers blood, had been al- 

fi read] 


ready flied at Mafuah, for the purpofe of rapine, and he be- 
lieved a curfe and poverty had followed it; that it was im- 
pomble for thofe who had heard the firing of thofe mips to 
conjecture whether I had letters to Abyffinia or not ; that it 
would be better to confider whether I was held in efteem 
by the captains of thofe mips, as half of the guns they fired 
in compliment to me, was fufheient to deftroy them all, and 
lay Arkeeko and Mafuah as defolate as Michael Suhul had 
threatned to do ; nor could that vengeance coll any of the 
mips, coming next year to Jidda, a day's failing out of their 
way ; and there being plenty of water when they reached 
Arkeeko at the fouth-weft of the bay, all this deftruclion 
might be effected in one afternoon, and repeated once a- 
year without difficulty, danger, orexpence, while they were 

Ac h met, therefore, declared it was his refolution that I 
mould be received with marks of confideration, till upon 
infpecting my letters, and converfmg with me, they might 
fee what fort of man I was, and upon what errand I was 
come ; but even if I was a trader, and no prieft or Frank, 
fuch as came to difturb the peace of the country, he would 
not then confent to any perfonal injury being done me ; if 
I was indeed a prieft, or one of thofe Franks, Gehennim, they 
might fend me to hell if they chofe ; but he, for his part, 
would not, even then have any thing to do with it. 

Before our veflel appeared, they came to thefe conclu- 
sions ; and though I have fuppofed that holding the colours 
and faluting me with guns had brought me into this dan- 
ger, on the other hand it may be faid, perhaps with greater 



reafon, they were the means Providence kindly ufed to fave 
my life in that flaughter-houfe of ftrangers. 

Achmet's father had been Naybe before, and, of courfe, 
the fovereignty, upon the prefent incumbent's death, was to 
devolve on him. And what made this lefs invidious, the 
fons of the prefent Naybe had all been fwept away by the 
fmall-pox; fo that Achmet was really, at any rate, to be con- 
fidered as his fon and fucceflbr, Add to this, the Naybe had 
received a ftroke of the palfy, which deprived him of the life 
of one of his fides, and greatly impeded his activity, unlefs 
in his fchemes of doing ill ; but I could not perceive, When 
Intending mifchief, that he laboured under any infirmity. 
All this gave Achmet fovereign influence, and it was there- 
fore agreed the reft mould be only fpectators, and that my 
late mould be left to him. 

Achmet was about twenty-five years of age, or perhaps 
younger; his ftature near five-feet four; he was feebly made, 
a little bent forward or (looping, thin, long-faced, long-neck- 
ed; fmalL/but tolerably well-limbed, agile and active enough 
in his motions^ though of a figure by no means athletic ; 
he had a broad forehead, thick black eye- brows, black eyes, 
an aquiline no fe, thin lips, and fine teeth; and, what is very 
rare in that country, and much defired,a thick curled beard. 
This man was known to be very brave in his perfon, but 
exceedingly prone to anger. A near relation to the Bahar- 
.nagafh. having faid fomething impertinent to him while he 
was altering the pin of his tent, which his fervant had not 
placed to his mind, in a paflion he ftruck the Abyfiinian 
with a wooden mallet, and killed him on the fpot and al- 
though this was in the Abyftiman territory, by getting 

Vol. III. B nimbly 


nimbly on horfeback, he arrived at Arkeeko without being 
intercepted, though clofely purfued almoft to the town. 

It was the 19th of September 1 769 when we arrived at Ma- 
fuah, very much tired of the fea, and defirous to land. But, 
as it was evening, I thought it advifeable to fleep on board 
all night, that we might have a whole .day (as the firft is 
always a bufy one) before us, and receive in the night any 
intelligence from friends, who might not choofe to venture 
to come openly to fee us in the day, at leaft before the de- 
termination of the Nay be had been heard concerning us. 

Mahomet Gibberti, a man whom we had perfectly fe- 
cured, and who was fully interacted in our fufpicions as to 
the Naybe, and the manner we had refolved to behave to 
him, went afhore that evening ; and, being himfelf an Abyf- 
finian, having connections in Mafuah, difpatched that fame 
night to Adowa, capital of Tigre, thofe letters which I knew 
were to be of the greater! importance ; giving our friend 
Janni (a Greek, confidential fervant of Michael, governor 
of Tigre) advice that we were arrived, had letters of Meti- 
cal Aga to the Naybe and Ras Michael ; as alfo Greek letters 
to him from the Greek patriarch of Cairo, a duplicate of 
which I fent by the bearer. We wrote likewife to him in 
Greek, that we were afraid of the Naybe, and begged him 
to fend to us inftantly fome man of confidence, who might 
protect us, or at leaft be a fpectator of what mould befal us. 
We, befides, inftructed him to advife the court of Abyfliniaj 
that we were friends of Metical Aga, had letters from him 
to the king and the Ras, and diftrufted the Naybe of Mafuah. 

Mahomet Gibberti executed this commimon in the in- 
ftant, with all the punctuality of an honelt man, who was 



faithful to the instructions of his matter, and was indepen- 
dent of every perfon elfe. He applied to Mahomet Adulai, 
(a perfon kept by Ras Michael as a fpy upon the Naybe, and 
in the fame character by Metical Aga) ; and Adulai, that 
very night, difpatched a trufty mefTenger, with many of 
whom he was conflantly provided. This runner, charged 
with our difpatches, having a friend and correfpondent of 
his own among the Shiho, paffed, by ways beft known to 
himfelf, and was fafely efcorted by his own friends till the 
fifth day, when he arrived at the cuftomhoufe of Adowa, 
and there delivered our difpatches to our friend Janni. 

At Cairo, as I have already mentioned, I met with my 
friend father Chriftopher, who introduced me to the Greek 
patriarch, Mark. This patriarch had told me, that there 
were of his communion, to the number of about twenty, 
then in Abymnia ; fome of them were good men and be- 
coming rich in the way of trade ; fome of them had fled 
from the feverity of the Turks, after having been detected 
by them in intimacy with Mahometan women ; but all of 
them were in a great degree of credit at the court of Abyf- 
finia, and ponefhng places under government greatly be- 
yond his expectation. To thefe he wrote letters, in the man- 
ner of bulls from the pope, enjoining them, with regard to 
me, to obey his orders ftrictly, the particulars of which I 
fhall have occafion to fpeak of afterwards. 

Janni, then at Adowa in Tigre, was a man of the firft 
character for good life and morals. He had ferved two 
kings of Abyflinia with great reputation, and Michael had 
appointed him to the cuftomhoufe at Adowa, to fuperintend 
the affairs of the revenue there, while he himfelf was occu- 
rs $ pied 


pied at Gondar. To him the patriarch gave his firfl injunc- 
tions as to watching the motives of the Naybe, and prevent- 
ing any ill-ufage from him, before the notice of my arrival, 
at Mafuah mould reach Abyflinia. 

Mahomet Adulai difpatched his meffenger, and Maho- 
met Gibberti repaired that fame night to the Naybe at Ar- 
keeko, with fuch diligence that lulled him afleep as to any: 
prior intelligence, which otherwife he might have thought- 
he was charged to convey to Tigre ; and Mahomet Gibberti^ 
in his converfation that night with Achmet, adroitly con- 
firmed him in all the ideas he himfelf had firfl flarted in 
council with the Naybe. He told him the manner I had 
been received at Jidda, my protection at Conftantinople, and- 
the firman which I brought from the grand fignior, the 
power of my countrymen in the Red Sea and India, and my 
perfonal friendfhip with Metical Agai He moreover infinu- 
ated, that the coafts of the Red Sea would be in a dangerous- 
iituation if any thing happened to me, as both the fherrifFe 
of Mecca and emperor of Conftantinople would themfelves,. 
perhaps, not interfere, but would moil certainly confider the 
place, where fuch difobedience mould be fhewn to them 
commands, as in a flate of anarchy, and therefore to be a- 
bandoned to the juft correction of the Englifh,.if injured;. 

On the 20th, a perfon came from Mahomet Gibberti to 
conduct- me on fhore. The Naybe himfelf was flill at Ar- 
keeko, and Achmet therefore had come down to receive the 
duties ©f the merchandife on board the veffel which broughs 
me. There, were two elbow-chairs placed in the middle of 
ihe market-place. Achmet fat on one of them, while the 

fever ai 


feveral officers opened the bales and packages before him ; 
the other chair on his left hand was empty. 

He was drefled all in white, in a long Banian habit 
of muflin, and a clofe-bodied frock reaching to his an- 
cles, much like the white frock and petticoat the young 
children wear in England. This fpecies of drefs did not, 
in any way, fuit Achmet's fhape or fize ; but, it feems, he 
meant to be in gala. As foon as I came in fight of him, I 
doubled my pace : Mahomet Gibberti's fervant whifpered 
to me, not to kifs his hand ; which indeed I intended to 
have done. Achmet flood up, juft as I arrived within arm's 
length of him ; when we touched each other's hands, car- 
ried our fingers to our lips, then laid our hands crofs our 
breafts : I pronounced the falutation of the inferior Salam Ali- 
cuml Peace be between us; to which he anfwered immediate- 
ly, Allcum Salami There is peace between us. He pointed to 
the chair, which. I declined ; but he obliged me to fitdowm 

In thefe countries, the greater honour that is fhewn you at 
firft meeting, the more considerable prefent is expeete e 
made a fign to bring coffee directly, as the immediate of- 
fering of meat or drink is an afTurance your life is not in 
danger. He began with an air that feemed rather ierious : 
*' We have expected you here fome time ago,- but thought 
you had changed your mind, and was gone to India."— 
** Since failing. from Jidda, I have been in Arabia Felix, tht 
Gulf of Mocha, and crofted laft from Loheia." — " Are you not 
afraid, 91 faidhe, " fo thinly attended, to venture upon thefc 
long and dangerous voyages. ?" — " The countries .where I 
have been are either fubject to the emperor of Conflar. - 
nople,.Vvrhofe firman I have now the honour to 



or to the regency of Cairo, and port of Janizaries — here 
are their letters— or to the fherriffe of Mecca. To you, Sir, I 
prefent the iherriiFe's letters ; and, befides thefe, one from 
Metigal Aga your friend, who, depending on your character, 
allured me this alone would be fufticient to preferve me 
from ill-ufage fo long as I did no wrong : as for the dan- 
gers of the road from banditti and lawlefs perfons, my fer- 
vants are indeed few, but they are veteran foldiers, tried 
and exercifed from their infancy in arms, and I value not the 
iuperior number of cowardly and diforderly perfons*" 

He then returned me the letters, faying, " You will give 
thefe to the Naybe to-morrow; I will keep Metical's letter, 
as it is to me, and will read it at home." He put it accord- 
ingly in his hofom; and our coffee being done, I rofe to take 
my leave, and was prefently wet to the fkin by deluges of 
orange flower-water Ihowered upon me from the right and 
left, by two of his attendants, from filver bottles. 

A very decent houfe had been provided ; and I had no 
fooner entered, than a large dinner was fent us by Achmet, 
with 2 profufion of lemons, and good frefh water, now be- 
come one of the greateft delicacies in life ; and, inftantly 
after, our baggage was all fent unopened ; with which I 
was very well-pleafed, being afraid they might break fome- 
thing in my clock, telefcopes, or quadrant, by the violent 
manner in which they fatisfy their curiofity. 

Late at night I received a vilit from Achmet ; he was 
then in an undrefs, his body quite naked, a barracan thrown 
loofely about him; he had a pair of calico drawers; a white 
eoul, or cotton cap, upon his head, and had no fort of 

j arms 


arms whatever. I rofe up to meet him, and thank him for 
his civility in fending my baggage ; and when I obferved, 
oelides, that it was my duty to wait upon him, rather than 
fuffer him to give himfelf this trouble, he took me by the 
hand, and we fat down on two cufhions together. 

"All that you mentioned," faid he, "is perfectly good and 
well ; but there are queftions that I am going to afk you. 
which are of confequence Eu yourfelf. When you arrived 
at Jidda, we heard it was a great man, a fon or brother of a 
king, going to India. This was communicated to me, and^ 
to the Naybe, by people that faw every day the refpect paid 
to you by the captains of the mips at Jidda. Metical Aga, 
in his private letter delivered to the Naybe laft night by 
Mahomet Gibberti, among many unufual expreffions, faid s 
The day that any accident befals this perfon will be looked, 
upon by me always as the moft unfortunate of my life. 
Now, you are a Chriftian, and he is a Muffulman, and thefe 
are expreffions of a particular regard not ufed by the one 
when writing of the other. He fays, moreover, that, in your 
firman, the grand fignior ftiles you Bey- Adze, or Moil Noble, 
Tell me, therefore, and tell me truly, Are you a prince, fon ? 
brother, or nephew of a king? Are you banifhed from, 
your own country; and what is it that youfeek in our's,ex->- 
pofmg, yourfelf to fo many difficulties and dangers?" 

" I am neither fon, nor brother of a king. I 'am a pri- 
vate Engliftiman. If you* Sidi Achmet, faw my prince, the 
eldeft, or any fon of the king of England, you would then 
be able to form. a jufter idea of them, and that would for 
ever hinder you from confounding them with common 
men like me. If they were, to choofe to appear in this part 



of the world, this little fea would be too narrow for their 
fhips : Your fun, now fo hot, would be darkened by their 
fails ; and when they fired their terrible wide-mouthed can- 
non, not an Arab would think himfelf fafe on the diflant 
mountains, while the houfes on the fhore would totter and 
fall to the ground as if fhaken to pieces by an earthquake. 
I am a fervant to that king, and an inferior one in rank; 
only worthy of his attention from my affection to him 
and his family, in which I do not acknowledge any fupe- 
rior. Yet fo far your correfpondents fay well: My anceftors 
were the kings of the country in which I was born, and to 
be ranked among the greateft and moll glorious that ever 
bore the crown and title of King. This is the truth, and 
nothing but the truth. I may now, I hope, without offence, 
afk, To what does all this information tend?" 

" To your fafety," faid he, " and to your honour, as 
long as I command in Mafuah ; — to your certain death and 
deflruction if you go among the Abyflinians; a people with- 
out faith, covetous, barbarous, and in continual war, of 
which nobody yet has been able to difcover the reafoa, 
But of this another timeo" 

" Be it fo," faid I. " I would now fpeak one word in fe- 
cret to you, (upon which every body was ordered out of the 
room) : All that you have told me this evening I already 
know ; afk me not how : but, to convince you that it is 
truth, I now thank you for the humane part you took a- 
gainfl thefe bloody intentions others had of killing and 
plundering me on my arrival, upon Abdelcader governor 
of Dahalac's information that I was a prince, becaufe of the 

i i honour 


nour that the Englifh mips paid me, and that I was loaded 
with gold." 

-Ullah Acbar ! (in great furprife) " Why, you was in the 
middle of the fea when that pafTed," 

" Scarcely advanced fo far, I believe ; but your ad- 
vice was wife, for a large Englifh fhip will wait for me all 
this winter in Jidda, till I know what reception I meet 
here, or in Abyffinia. It is a 64 gun fhip ; its name, the 
Lion ; its captain, Thomas Price. I mention thefe particu- 
lars, that you may inquire into the truth. Upon the firfl 
news of a difafter he would come here, and deflroy Ar- 
keeko, and this ifland, in a day. But this isViot my bufinefs 
with you at prefent. 

It is a very proper cuflom, eftablifhed all over the eaft, 
that flrangers mould make an acknowledgement for the 
protection they receive, and trouble they are to occafion. I 
have a prefent for the Naybe, whofe temper and difpofition 
I know perfectly, — (Ullah Acbar ! repeats Achmet). — I have 
likewife a prefent for you, and for the Kaya of the Janiza- 
ries ; all thefe I fhall deliver the firfl day I fee the Naybe ; 
but I was taught, in a particular manner, to repofe upon you 
as my friend, and a fmall, but feparate acknowledgement, 
is due to you in that character. I was told, that your a- 
gent at Jidda had been inquiring everywhere among the 
India fhips, and at the broker of that nation, for a pair 
of Englifh piftols, for which he offered a very high price ; 
though, in all probability, thofe you would get would have 
been but ordinary, and much ufed ; now I have brought 
you this feparate prefent, a pair of excellent workmanfhip ; 

Vol III. C here 


here they are : my doubt, which gave, rife to this long pri- 
vate converfation, was, whether you .would take them home 
yourfelf ; or, if you have axonfidential fervant that you can 
trull, let him take them, fo that it he not known \ for if the 

" I understand every thing that you fay, and every thing 
that you would fay. Though I do not know men's hearts 
that I never faw, as you do, I know pretty well the hearts 
of thofe with whom I live. Let the piftols .remain with 
you, and mew them to nobody till I fend- you a man to? 
whom you may fay any thing, and he mall go between 
you and me; for there is in this place a number of devils, 
not men ; but, Uttah Kerim, God, is great. , The perfon that 
brings you dry dates in an Indian handkerchief, and an 
earthen bottle to drink your water out of, give him the 
piftols. You may fend by him to me any thing you choofe. . 
In the mean time, lleep founds and fear , no evil ; but never- 
be perfuaded to truft; yourfelf to the Cafrs of Habeih at Mad- 

On the 20th of September a female flave came and: 
brought with her the proper, credentials, an Indian hand- 
kerchief full of dry dates, and a pot or bottle of unvarnifh- 
ed potter's earth, which keeps the water very cool.: I had; 
ibme doubt upon this change of fex; but the Have, who was 
an Abylunian girl; quickly undeceived me, delivered the 
dates, and took away the. piftols deftined for Achmet, who > 
had himfelf gone to his uncle, the Naybe, at Arkeeko. 

On the 21ft, in the morning, the Naybe came from Ar- 
&eeko, The ufual way is by fea ; it is about two leagues 



ilraight acrofs the bay, but fomcwhat more by land* The 
pafTage from the main is on the north fide of the ifland, 
which is not above a quarter of a mile broad ; there is a 
large chtern for rain-water on the land-fide, where you em- 
bark acrofs. He was poorly attended by three or four fer- 
vants, miferably mounted, and about forty naked favages 
on foot, armed with fhort lances and crooked knives. 

The drum beat before him all the way from Arkeeko to 
Mafuah. Upon entering the boat, the drum on the land- 
lide ceafed, and thofe, in what is called the Caftle of Mafuah, 
began. The eaftle is a fmall clay hut, and in it one fvvivel- 
gun, which is not mounted, but lies upon the ground, and 
is fired always with great trepidation and fome danger. The 
drums are earthen jars, fuch as they fend butter in to Ara- 
bia ; the mouths of which are covered with a fldn, fo that 
a ftranger, on feeing two or three of thefe together, would 
run a great rifk of believing them to be jars of butter, or 
pickles, carefully covered with oiled parchment. 

All the proceflion was in the fame ftile. The Naybe 
was drefled in an old fhabby Turkifh habit, much too Ihort 
for him^ and feemed to have been made about the time of 
Sultan Selim. He wore alfotipon his head a Turkifh cowke, 
or high-cap, which fcarcely admitted any part of his head. 
In this drefs, which on him had a truly ridiculous appear- 
ance, he received the caftan, or inveftiture, of the ifland of 
Mafuah; and, being thereby reprefentative of the grand 
fignior, confented that day to be 'called Omar Aga, in ho- 
nour of the commiflion. 



Two. ftandards of white filk, uriped with red, were car- 
ried before him to the mofque, from whence, he went to 
his own honfe to receive the compliments of his friends. 
In the afternoon of that day I went to pay my refpecls to 
him, and found him fitting on a large wooden elbow-chair, 
at the head of two files of naked favages, who made an 
avenue from his chair to the door. He had nothing upon, 
him but a coarfe cotton fhirt, fo dirty that, it feemed, all 
pains to clean it again would be thrown, away, and fo Ihort 
that it fcarcely reached his knees. He was very tall and 
lean, his colour black, had a large mouth and nofe ; in 
place of a beard, a very fcanty tuft of grey hairs upon the ; 
point of his chin* large, dull, and heavy eyes ; a kind of, 
malicious, contemptuous, fmile on his countenance ; he 
was altogether of a moft ftupid and brutal appearance. His. 
character perfectly correfponded with his figure, for he was- 
a man of mean abilities,, cruel to excefs, avaricious, and a,; 
great drunkard,, 

I presented my firman.-— The greater! bafha in the Tur-?- 
kiili empire would have rifen upon feeing it, killed it, and 
carried it to his forehead ; and I really expected that Omar.- 
Aga, for the day he bore that title, and received the caftan, 
would have fhewn this piece of refpect to his mailer. But: 
he did not even receive it into his hand, and pufhed it back, 
to me again, faying, " Do you read it all to me word for; 
word."»—" I told him it was Turkifli; that I had never learn- : 
ad to read a word of that language." — " Nor I either," fays 
he ; " and 1 believe I never fhalL" I then gave him Meti-- 
cal Aga's letter, the Sherriffe's, Ali, Bey's, and the Janiza- 
ries letters. He took them all together in both his hands, 
qriiclylai'd them unopened befide him, faying, " You mould 



have brought amoullah along with you. Do you think I 
fliall read all thefe letters I Why, it would take me a month." 
And he glared upon me, with his mouth open, fo like an 
idiot, that it was with the utmoft difficulty I kept my gra- 
vity, only anfwering, " Jufl as you pleafe ; you know beft." 

He affected atfirfl not to underftand Arabic ; fpoke by an 
interpreter in the language of Mafuah, which is a dialect 
of Tigre; but feeing I underflood him in this, he fpoke Ara- 
bic, and fpokeit well. 

A silence followed this fhort converfation, and I took the 
opportunity to give him his prefent, with which he did not 
feem difpleafed, but rather that it was below him to tell me 
fo; for, without faying a word about it, he afked me, where, 
the Abuna of Habefh was ? and why he tarried fo long ? I 
faid, The wars in Upper Egypt had made the roads dangerous ; ; 
and, it was eafy to fee, Omar longed much to fettle accounts 
with him. . 

I took my leave of the Naybe, very little pleafed with 
my reception, and the fmall account he feemed to make, 
of my letters, or of myfelf; but heartily fatisfied with, 
having lent my difpatches to Janni, now far out of his 

The inhabitants of Mafuah were dying of the fmall-pox, , 
fo that there was fear the living would not be fufficient to 
bury the dead. The whole ifland was filled with fhrieks 
and lamentations both night and day. They at laft began, 
to throw the bod'es into the fea, which deprived us of our 
great fupport, ixlh, of which we had ate fome kinds that 

were . 


were excellent. I had fuppreffed my character o'f phyfician, 
fearing I mould be detained by reafon of the multitude of 

On the 15th of October the Naybe came to Mafuah, and 
difpatched the vefifel that brought me over ; and, as if he 
had only waited till this evidence was out of the way, he, 
that very night, fent me word that I was to prepare him a 
handfome prefent. He gave in a long lift of particulars to 
a great amount, which he defired might be divided into 
three parcels, and prefented three feveral days. One was to 
be given him as Naybe of Arkeeko ; one as Omar Aga, re- 
presentative of the grand fignior; and one for having paffed 
our baggage gratis and unvifited, efpecially the large qua- 
drant. For my part, I heartily v/iihed he had feen the whole, 
as he would not have fet great value on the brafs and iron. 

As Achmet's aflurance of protection had given me cou- 
rage, I anfvvered him, That, having a firman of the grand lig- 
nior, and letters from Metical Aga, it was mere generofity 
in me to give him any prefent at all, either as Naybe or O- 
mar Aga, and I was not a merchant that bought and fold, 
nor had merchandife on board, therefore had no cufloms to 
pay. Upon this he fent for me to his houfe, where I found 
him in a violent fury, and many ufelefs words pafled on 
both fides. At laft he peremptorily told me, That unlefs I 
had 300 ounces of gold ready to pay him on Monday, up- 
on his landing from Arkeeko, he would confine me in a 
dungeon, without light, air, or meat, till the bones came 
through my fkin for want. 




An uncle of his, then prefent, greatly aggravated this 
affair. He pretented that the Nay be might do what he 
pleafed with, his prefents ; but that he could not in any 
ihape give away the prefent due to the janizaries, which was - 
40 ounces of gold, or 400 dollars ; and this was all they con- 
tented themfelves to take, on account of the letter I brought 
from the port of janizaries at Cairo ; and in this they only 
taxed me the fum paid by the Abuna for his paffage 
through Mafuah. I anfwered firmly, — " Since you have 
broken your faith with the grand fignior, the government 
of Cairo, the bafha at Jidda, and Metical Aga, you will no 
doubt do as you pleafe with me ; but you may expect to fee 
the Englifh man of war, the Lion, before Arkeeko,- fome 
morning by day-break." — " I mould be glad," faid the Nay be, . 
" to fee that man at Arkeeko or Mafuah that would carry as 
much writing from you to Jidda as would. lie upon my 
thumb nail ; I would ; flrip his ibirt off-firft,-' and then his 
ikin, and hang him before your door to teach you more 
wifdom." : — " But my w^ifdom has taught me to prevent all 
this. My lettetris already gone to Jidda,; and if/in twenty 
days from this, another letter -from me does not follow it, 
you will fee what will arrive. In the mean time, I here an- 
nounce it to you, that I have letters from Metical Aga and 
the SherrifFe of Mecca* to Michael Suhul g;e>vei -nor of Tigre, 
and the king of Abyffinia.. I, therefore, would wifh that 
you would leave off thefe unmanly altercations, which ferve 
no fort of purpofe, and let me continue, my journey." The 
Naybe faid in a low voice to himfelf, " What, Michael tec 1 
then go your journey, and think.of the ill that's before you," 
I; turned my back without any anfwer or* falutation, and 
was fcarce arrived at home when a mefifage came from the 
Naybe, defiring I would fend . him two. bottles of aquavits 

I gave 


I gave the fervant two bottles of cinnamon-water, which he 
refufed till I had firft tailed them ; but they were not agree- 
able to the Naybe, fo they were returned. 

All this time I very much wondered what was become of 
Achmet, who, with Mahomet Gibberti, remained at Arkeeko: 
at lafl I heard from the Naybe's fervant that he was in bed, 
ill of a fever. Mahomet Gibberti had kept his promife to 
me ; and, faying nothing of my fkill in phyfic, or having 
medicines with me, I fent, however, to the Naybe to defire 
leave to go to Arkeeko. He anfwered me furlily, 1 might 
go if I could find a boat ; and, indeed, he had taken his mea- 
fures fo well that not a boat would flir for money or per- 

On the 29th of October the Naybe came again from Ar- 
keeko to Mafuah, and, I was told, in very ill-humour with 
me. I foon received a menage to attend him, and found him 
in a large wafte room like a barn, with about fixty people 
with him. This was his divan, or grand council, with all his 
janizaries and officers of ftate, all naked, afTembled in par-* 
liament. There was a comet that had appeared a few 
days after our arrival at Mafuah, which had been many 
days vifible in Arabia Felix, being then in its perihelion ; 
and, after palling its conjunction with the fun, it now ap- 
peared at Mafuah early in the evening, receding to its aphe- 
lion. I had been obferved watching it with great attention ; 
and the large tubes of the telefcopcs had given offence to 
ignorant people. 

The firft queftion the Naybe afked me was, What that 
comet meant, and why it appeared ? And before I could an- 

4 fwer 


Twer him, he again faid, " The firft time it was vifible it 
brought the fmall-pox, which has killed above 1000 people 
in Mafuah and Arkeeko. It is known you converfed with it 
every night at Loheia; it has now followed you again to nnifh 
the few that remain, and then you are to carry it into Abyf- 
fmia. What have yon to do with the comet ?" 

Without giving me leave to fpeak, his brother Emir 
Achmet then faid, That he was informed I was an engineer 
going to Michael, governorof Tigre,to teach the Abyffinians 
to make cannon and gunpowder ; that the firfl attack was 
to be againft Mafuah. Five or fix others fpoke much in the 
fame {train ; and the Naybe concluded by faying, That he 
would fend me in chains to Conflantinople, unlefs I went to 
Hamazen, with his brother Emir Achmet, to the hot- wells 
there, and that this was the refolution of all the janizaries ; 
for I had concealed my being a phyfician. 

T I had not yet opened my mouth. I then afked, If all 
ihefe were janizaries ; and where was their commanding 
'officer ? A welHooking, elderly man anfwered, " I am 
Sardar of the janizaries." — " If you are Sardar, then," faid 
I, " this firman orders you to protect me. The Naybe is a 
man of this country, no member of the Ottoman empire.'* 
Upon my firft producing my firman to him, he threw it 
afide like waftc-paper. The greateft Vizir in the Turkili 
dominions would have received it {landing, bowed his head 
to the ground, then kiffed it, and put it upon his forehead. 
A general murmur of approbation followed, and I continu- 
ed, — " Now I muft tell you my refolution is, never to go to 
Hamazen, or elfewhere, with Emir Achmet. Borh he and 
'the Naybe have ihewed themfelves my enemies ; and, I be- 

Vol, III. D lieve, 


lieve, that to fend me to Hamazen is to rob and murder me 
out of fight." — " Dog of a Chriftian !" fays Emir Achmet, 
putting his hand to his knife, " if the Naybe was to mur- 
der you, could he not do it here now this minute ?" — " No," 
fays the man, who had called himfelf Sardar, " he could 
not ; I would not fufFer any fuch thing. Achmet is the 
ftranger's friend, and recommended me to-day to fee no in- 
jury done him; he is ill, or would have been here himfelf." 

" Achmet," faid I, " is my friend, and fears God ; and 
were I not hindered by the Naybe from feeing him, his fick- 
nefs before this would have been removed. I will go to 
Achmet at Arkeeko, but not to Hamazen, nor ever again to 
the Naybe here in Mafuah. Whatever happens to me muft 
befal me in my own houfe. Confider what a figure a few 
naked men will make the day that my countrymen afk the 
reafon of this either, here or in Arabia." I then turned my 
back, and went out without ceremony. " A brave man 1" 
I heard a voice fay behind me, " Wallah Engkfel True Englifh, 
by G — d !" I went away exceedingly difturbed, as it was 
plain my affairs were coming to a crifis for good or for evifc 
I obferved, or thought I obferved, all the people fhun me. I 
was, indeed, upon my guard, and did not wifh them to come 
near me ; but, turning down into my own gateway, a man 
palled clofe by me, faying diftinctly in my ear, though in a 
low voice, firfl in Tigre and then in Arabic, " Fear nothing, or, 
Be not afraid." This hint, fhort as it was, gave me no fmall 

I had fcarcely dined, when a fervant came with a letter 
from Achmet at Arkeeko, telling me how ill he had been, 
and how forry he was that I refufed to come to fee him, as 



Mahomet Gibberti had told him I could help him. &e de- 
fired me alfo to keep the bearer with me in my houfe, and 
give him charge of the gate till he could come to Mafuah 

I soon faw the treachery of the Naybe. He had not, in- 
deed, forbid me to go and fee his nephew, but he had for- 
bid any boat to carry me; and this I told the fervant, appeal- 
ing to the Sardar for what I faid in the divan of my willing- 
nefs to go to Arkeeko to Achmet, though I pofitively refu- 
fed to go to Hamazen. I begged the fervant to flop for a 
moment, and go to the Sardar who was in the caftle, as I 
had been very effentially obliged to him for his interpofi- 
tion at a very critical time, when there was an intention to 
take away my life. I fent him a fmall prefent by Achmet's 
fervant, who delivered the mefTage faithfully, and had heard 
all that had pafTed in the divan. He brought me back a 
pipe from the Sardar in return for my prefent, with this 
mefTage, That he had heard of my countrymen, though he 
had never feen them ; that he loved brave men, and could 
not fee them injured; but Achmet being my friend, I had no 
need of him. That night he departed for Arkeeko, defiring 
us to fhut the door, and leaving us another man, with or- 
ders to admit nobody, and advifmg us to defend ourfelves 
if any one offered to force entrance, be they who they would, 
for that nobody had bufmefs abroad in the night. 

I now began to refurne my confidence, feeing that Pro- 
vidence had flill kept us under his protection ; and it was 
not long when we had an opportunity to exercife this con- 
fidence. About 12 o'clock at night a man came to the 
door, and defired to be admitted ; which requelt was refufed 

D 2 without 


without any ceremony. Then came two or three more, in 
the name of Achmet, who were told by the fervant that they 
would not be admitted. They then afked to fpeak with me, 
and grew very tumultuous, prefling with their backs 
againit the door. When I came to them, a young man a- 
mong them faid he was fon to Emir Achmet, and that his 
father and fome friends were coming to drink a glafs of 
aracky (fo they call brandy) with me; I told him my refo- 
mtion was not to admit either Emir Achmet, or any other 
perfon at night, and that I never drank aracky. 

They attempted again to force open the door, which was 
flrongly barricaded. But as there were cracks in it, I put 
the point of a fword through one of them, defiring them 
to be cautious of hurting themfelves upon the iron fpikes. 
Still they attempted to force open the door, when the fer»- 
vant told them, that Achmet, when he left him the charge of 
that door, had ordered us to fire upon- them who offered to 
force an entrance at night-. A voice allied him, Who the devil 
he was ? The fervant anfwered, in a very fpirited manner, 
That he had greater reafon to afk who they- were, as he 
took them for thieves, about w-hofe names he did not trou- 
ble himfelf. " However," fays he, "mine is Abdelcader, (the 
fon of fomebody elfe whom I- do not remember). Now you 
know who I am, and that I do not fear you ; and-you, Ya- 
goube, if you do not fire upon them, your blood be upon 
your own head. The Sardar from the cattle will foon be 
up with the reft." I ordered' then a torch to be brought, 
that they might have a view of us through the cracks of 
the door ; but Abdelcader's threat being fully fufficient, they 
retired, and- we heard no more of them,. 



Tt was the 4th of November when the fervant of Achmet 
returned in a boat from- Arkeeko, and with him four ja- 
nizaries. He was not yet well, and was very defirous to lee 
me. He fufpeeted either that he was poifoned or bewitch- 
ed, and had tried many charms without good effect. We 
arrived at Arkeeko about eleven, palled the door of the 
Naybe without challenge, and found Achmet in his own 
houfe, ill of an intermitting fever, under the very worft of 

He was much apprehensive that he mould die, or lofe 
the ufe of his limbs as Emir Achmet had done: the fame 
woman, a Shiho, and a witch, was, he faid, the occafion of 
both. " If Achmet, your uncle, had loft the ufe of his 
tongue, faid I, it would have faved him a great deal of im- 
proper difcourfe in the divan." His head ached violently, 
and he could only fay, " Aye ! aye ! the old mifcreant knew 
I was ill, or that would not have happened. 1 ' I gave Achr 
met proper remedies to ea-fe his pains. and his ftomach, and 
the next morning began with bark.. 

This medicine operates quickly here;, nay, even the.bark 
that remains, after the Stronger fpiritous tincture is drawn 
from it, feems to anfwer the purpofe very little worle than 
did the nrft'. I {laid here till the 6th in the morning, at 
which time he was free from the fever. I left liirri, howr 
ever, fome dofes to prevent its return ; and he told me, on 
the 7th, he would come to Mafuah with boats and men to 
bring us with our baggage to Arkeeko, and free us from, 
the bondage of Mafuah. 




Upon the 6th, in the morning, while at breakfaft, I was 
told that three fervants had arrived from Tigre ; one from 
Janni, a young man and Have, who fpoke and wrote Greek 
perfectly ; the other two fervants were Ras Michael's, or 
rather the king's, both wearing the red fhort cloak lined and 
turned up with mazarine-blue, which is the badge of the 
king's fervant, and is called Jhalaka. Ras Michael's letters 
to the Naybe were very fhort. He faid the king Hatze 
Hannes's health was bad, and wondered at hearing that the 
phyfician, fent to him by Metical Aga from Arabia, was not 
forwarded to him inftantly at Gondar, as he had heard of 
his being arrived at Mafuah fome time before. He ordered 
the Naybe, moreover, to furniih me with necefTaries, and 
difpatch me without lofs of time ; although all the letters 
were the contrivances of Janni, his particular letter to 
the Naybe was in a milder ftile. He exprefTed the great 
neceflity the king had for a phyfician, and how impatiently 
he had waited his arrival. He did not fay that he had heard 
any fuch perfon was yet arrived at Mafuah, only wifhed he 
might be forwarded without delay as foon as he came. 

To us Janni fent a menage by a fervant, bidding us a 
hearty welcome, aknowledging the receipt of the patriarch's 
letter, and advifing us, by all means, to come fpeedily to 
him, for the times were very unsettled, j and might grow 

In the afternoon I embarked for Mafuah. At the more 
I received a mefTage from the Naybe to come and fpeak to 
him ; but I returned for anfwer, It was impomble, as I was 
obliged to go to Mafuah to get medicines for his nephew, 

3 CHAP. 





Dlrecllons to Travellers for preferving Health — Difeafes of the Country-— *- 
Mufic — Trade , &c. of Mafuah — Conferences with the Nay be, 

'E arrived in the ifland at eight o'clock, to the great joy 
of our Servants, who were afraid of fome flratagem of 
the Naybe. We got every thing in order, without inter- 
ruption, and completed our obfervations upon this inhos- 
pitable ifland, infamous for the quantity of Chriftian blood 
fhed there upon treacherous pretences-. 

Masuah, by a great variety of observations of the fun and 
itars, we found to be in lat. 15 $5' s'^-a-nd, by an obfervation 
of the Second fatellite.of Jupiter, on the 2.2d of September 1 769, 
we found its longitude to be 39 36' 30" eait of the meridian 
of Greenwich : the variation of the needle was observed at 
mid- day, the 23d of September, to be 12 48'. W. From this it 
follows, that Loheia, being nearly oppofite, (for it is in lat.. 
15 40' 52") the breadth of the Red Sea between Mafuah and 
Loheia is 4 io' 22". Supposing, then, a degree to be equal 
to 66 ftatute . miles, this, in round numbers, will bring the 




breadth to be 276 miles, equal to 92 leagues, or there* 


Again, as the generality of maps have placed the coaft of 
.Arabia where Loheia Hands, in the 44°, and it is the part of 
the peninfula that runs fartheft to the weftward, all the 
weft coaft of Arabia Felix will fall to be brought farther 
eaft about 3 46' o". 

Be foe e packing up our barometer at Loheia, I filled a 
tube with clean mercury, perfectly purged of outward air; 
and, on the 30th of Auguft, upon three feveral trials, the 
mean of the refults of each trial was, at fix in the morning, 
26 8' 8" ; two o'clock in the afternoon, 26° 4' 1"; and, half 
pall the evening, 26 6' 2" fair, clear weather, with very 
little wind at -weft. 

At Mafuah, -the 4th of October, I repeated the fame ex- 
periment with the fame mercury and tube ; the means 
were as follow : At fix in the morning 25 8' 1" ; two o'clock 
in the afternoon, 25 3' 1" ; and, at half pall lix in the evening, 
2 5° 3' l"-> c l ear 5 with a moderate wind at weft, fo that the ba- 
xometer fell one inch and one line at Mafuah lower than it 
was at Loheia, though it often rofe upon violent florins of 
wind and rain ; and, even where there was no rain, it again 
fell inftantly upon the ftorm ceafing, and never arrived to the 
height it flood laft at on the coaft of Arabia. The greateft 
height I ever obferved Fahrenheit's thermometer in the 
fhade, at Mafuah, was on the 2 2d of October, at two in the 
afternoon, 93 , wind N. E. and by N. cloudy; the loweft was 
on the 23d, at four in the morning, 82 , wind weft. It was, 
to fenfe, much hotter than in any part of Arabia Felix ; but 

j we 



we found no fuch tickling or irritation on our legs as we 
had done at Loheia, probably becaufe the foil was here lefs 
impregnated with fait. 

We obferved here, for the firft time, three remarkable 
circumftances mewing the increafe of heat. I had carried 
with me feveral fteel plates for making fcrews of different 
fizes. The heat had fo fwelled the pin, or male fcrew, that 
it was cut nearly one-third through by the edge of the fe- 
male. The fealing-wax, of which we had procured a freih 
parcel from the India mips, was fully more fluid, while ly- 
ing in our boxes, than tar. The third was the colour of the 
fpirit in the thermometer, which was quite difcharged, and 
flicking in maffes at unequal heights, while the liquor 
was clear like fpring-water. 

Masuah is very unwholefome, as, indeed, is the whole 
coaft of the Red Sea from Suez to Babelmandeb, but more 
efpecially between the tropics. Violent fevers, called there 
nedad, make the principal figure in this fatal lift, and gene- 
rally terminate the third day in death. If the patient fur- 
vives till the fifth day, he very often recovers by drinking 
water oniy, and throwing a quantity of cold water upon 
him, even in his bed, where he is permitted to lie without 
attempting to make him dry, or change his bed, till ano- 
ther deluge adds to the firft. 

There is no remedy fo fovereign here as the bark ; but 
it mull be given in very different times and manners from 
thofe purfued in Europe. Were a phyfician to take time to 
prepare his patient for the bark, by firft giving him purga- 
tives, he would be dead of the fever before his preparation 

Vol. III. E was 


was completed. Immediately when a. naufea..or averflon 
to eat, frequent fits of yawning, ftraitnefs about; the eyes, and: 
an unufual, but not painful fenfation along the fpine, comes 
on, no time is then to be loll ; fmall dofes of the bark muff, 
be frequently repeated, and perfect abftinence obferved, un- 
lefs from copious draughts of cold water. . 

I never dared to venture, or feldom, upon the deluge of 
water, but am convinced it is frequently of great ufe. The 
fecond or third dofe of the bark, if any quantity is fwal- 
Xowed, never fails to purge; and, if this evacuation is copious, 
the patient rarely dies, but, on the contrary, his recovery 
is generally rapid. Moderate purging, then, is for the molt 
part to be adopted ; and rice is a much better food than fruit. 

I know that all this is heterodox in Europe, and contrary 
to the practice, becaufe it is contrary to fy item. For my 
own part, I am content to write faithfully what I carefully 
obferved, leaving every body afterwards to, follow their r 
own way at their peril* . 

Bark, I have been told by Spaniards who have been hi;; 
South America, purges always when taken in their fevers. , 
A different climate, different regimen, and different habit of 
body or exercife, may furely fo far alter the operation of a . 
drug as to make it have a different effect in Africa from 
what it has in Europe. Be that as it may,ftill I fay bark is ; 
a purgative when it is fuccefsful in this fever ; but bleeding;,. , 
at no flage of this diftemper, is of any fervice ; and, indeed, if 
attempted the fecond day, the lancet is feldom followed by 
blood. Ipecacuanha both fatigues the patient and height- 
ens the fever, and lo conducts the patient more fpeedily to his ; 

2L end*. 


end. Black fpots are frequently found on the breaft and 
belly of the dead perfon. The belly fwells, and the flench 
becomes infufferable in three hours after death, if the per- 
fon dies in the day, or if the weather is warm. 

The next common difeafe in the low Country of Arabia, 
the intermediate ifland of Mafuah, and all Abyfftnia, (for the 
difeafes are exactly fimilar in all this tract) is the Tertian 
fever, which is in nothing different from our Tertian, and 
is fuccefsf ully treated here in the fame manner as in Europe. 
As no fpecies of this difeafe (at leaft that I have feen) me- 
naces the patient with death, efpecially in the beginning of 
the diforder, fome time may be allowed for preparation to 
thofe who doubt the effect of the bark in the country. 
But ftill I apprehend the fafeft way is to give fmall dofes 
from the beginning, on the firfl intermiflion, or even 
remiflion, though this fhould be fomewhat obfcure and 
uncertain. To fpeak plainly; when the flomach nau- 
feates, the head akes, yawning becomes frequent, and 
not an exceflive pain in the nape of the neck, when a fhiver- 
ing which goes quickly off, a coldnefs down the fpine, a 
more than ordinary cowardlinefs and inactivity prevails, 
(the heat of the climate gives one always enough of thefe 
laft fenfations) ; I fay, when any number of thefe fymptoms 
unite, have recourfe to the powder of bark infufed in water ; 
fliut your mouth againft every fort of food ; and, at the 
crifis, your difeafe will immediately decide its name among 
the clafs of fevers. 

All fevers end in intermktents ; and if thefe intermittents 
continue long, and the iirfh evacuations by the bark have 
not been copious and conilant, thefe fevers generally end 

E 2 HI 


in dyfenteries,which are always tedious and very frequently 
prove mortal. Bark in fmall quantities, ipecacuanha, too, 
in very fmall quantities fo as not to vomit, water, and 
fruit not over ripe, have been found the moil fuccefsful 

As for the other fpecies of dyfentery, which begins with 
a conftant diarrhoea, when the guts at laft are excoriated,, 
and the mucus voided by the flools, this difeafe is rarely cu- 
red if it begins with the rainy feafon. But if, on the contrary,, 
it happen either in the funny fix months, or the end of the 
rainy ones immediately next to them, fmall dofes of ipeca- 
cuanha either carry it off, or it changes into an intermitting 
fever, which yields afterwards to the bark. And it always 
has feemed to me that there is a great affinity between the 
fevers and dyfenteries in thefe countries, the one ending irk 
the other almoft perpetually.. 

The next difeafe, which we may fay is endemial in the- 
countries before mentioned, is called hanzeer, the hogs or the 
fwlne^ and is a fwelling of the glands of the throat, and un- 
der the arms. This the ignorant inhabitants endeavour to- 
bring to a fuppuration, but in vain; they then open them in? 
feveral places ; a fore and running follows, and a difeafe 
very much refembling what is called in Europe the Evil. 

The next (though not a dangerous complaint) has a very 
terrible appearance. Small tubercules or fwellings appear 
all over the body, but thicker): in the thighs, arms, and legs.. 
Thefe fwellings go and come for weeks together without 
pain ; though the legs often fweil to a monnrous fize as in 
the dropfy. Sometimes the patients have ulcers in their 

. nofes. 


nofes and mouths, not unlike thofe which are one of the 
malignant confequences of the venereal difeafe. The fmall 
fwellings or eruptions, when fqueezed, very often yield 
blood ; in other refpects the patient is generally in good 
health, faving the pain the ulcers give him, and the Hill 
greater uneafinefs of mind which he fuffe'rs from the fpoil- 
ing of the fmoothnefs of his fkin ; for all the nations in 
Africa within the tropics are wonderfully affected at the 
fmallefl eruption or roughnefs of the fkin. A black of Sen- 
naar will hide himfelf in the houfe where dark, and is 
not to be feen by his friends, if he fhould have two or three 
pimples on any part of his body. Nor is there any remedy, 
however violent, that they will not fly to for immediate re- 
lief. Scars and wounds are no blemifhes ; and I have feen; 
them, for three or four pimples on their bracelet arm, fufFer 
the application of a red-hot iron with great refolution and 

These two raft difeafes yielded, the firft flowly, and fome- 
times imperfectly, to mercurials ; and fublimate has by no 
means in thefe climates the quick and decinve effects it has 
in Europe. The fecond is completely and fpeedily cured by 

The next complaint I mall mention, as common in thefe 
countries, is called Farenteit, a corruption of an Arabic word, 
which ilgnifies the worm of Pharaoh ; all bad things being 
by the Arabs attributed to thefe poor kings, who feem to be 
looked upon by pofterity as the evil genii of the country 
which they once governed* 



This extraordinary animal only afflicts thofe who are' in 
conftant habit of drinking ftagnant water, whether that 
water is drawn out from wells, as in the kingdom of Sennaar, 
or found by digging in the fand where it is making its way 
to its proper level the fea, after falling down the fide of the 
mountains after the tropical rains. This plague appears 
indifcriminately in every part of the body, but ofteneft in 
the legs and arms. I never faw it in the face or head ; but, 
far from affecting the flefhy parts of the body, it generally 
comes out where the bone has leaft nefh upon it. 

Upon looking at this worm,, on its firft appearance, a 
fmall black, head is extremely vifible, with a hooked beak 
of a whitifh colour. Its body is feemingly of a white filky 
texture, very like a fmall tendon bared and perfectly clean- 
ed. After its appearance the natives of thefe countries, who 
are ufed to it, feize it gently by the head, and wrap it round 
a thin piece of filk or fmall bird's feather. Every day, or 
feveral times a-day, they try to wind it up upon the quill 
as far as it comes readily ; and, upon the fmallefl refinance, 
they give over for fear of breaking it. I have feen five feet, 
or fomething more of this extraordinary animal, winded 
out with invincible patience in the courfe of three weeks. 
No inflammation then remained, and fcarcely any rednefs 
round the edges of the aperture, only a fmall quantity of 
lymph appeared in the hole or puncture, which fcarcely 
limed out upon preffing. In three days it was commonly 
well, and left no fear or dimple implying lofs of fubftance. 

I myself experienced this complaint. I was reading up- 
on a fofa at Cairo, a few days after my return from Upper 
Egypt, when I felt in the fore part of my leg, upon the 

bone 4 


bone, about feven indies below the center of my knee-pan, - 
an itching refembli^g what follows the bite of a mufcheto. 
Upon Scratching, a fmall tumour appeared very like a 
mufcheto bite. The itching returned in about an hour af- 
terwards ; and, being more intent upon my reading than 
my leg, I Scratched it till the blood came. I foon after ob- 
ferved fomething like a black fpot, which had already rifen 
confiderably above the furface of the fkin. All medicine 
proved ufelefs ; and the difeafe not being known at Cairo, - 
there was nothing for it but to have recourfe to the only 
received manner of treating it in this country. About 
three inches of the worm was winded out upon a piece of- 
raw filk in the firft week, without pain or fever : but it was 
broken afterwards through the carelefmefs and rafhnefs of 
the furgeon when changing a poultice on board the fhip 
in which I returned to France : a violent inflammation fol- 
lowed ; the leg fwelled fo as to fcarce leave appearance of 
knee or ancle ; the fkin, red and diitended, feemed glazed 
like a mirror. The wound was now healed, and difcharged 
nothing; and, there was every appearance of mortification • 
coming on. The great care and attention procured me in 
the lazaretto at Marfeilles, by; a nation always foremoft in 
the acls of humanity to ftrangers, and the attention and 
fkill of the furgeon, recovered, me. from this troublefome 

Fifty-two days had elapfed f nee it firft begun ; thirty-- 
five of which were fpent in the greateft agony. It fuppura- 
ted at laft ; and, by enlarging the orifice, a good quantity of 
matter was difcharged. I had made conflant ufe of bark, , 
bbth in fomentations and inwardly ; but I did not recover 
the flrength of my leg entirely till near a year after, by 



ufing the baths of Poretta, the property of my friend Count 
Ranuzzi, in the mountains above Bologna, which I recom- 
mend, for their efficacy, to all thofe who have wounds, as I 
do to him to have better accommodation, greater abun- 
dance of, and lefs impolition in, the neceilaries of life than 
when I was there, It is but a few hours journey over the 
mountains to Piltoia. 

The laft I fhall mention of thefe endemial difeafes, and 
the moil terrible of all others that can fall to the lot of man, 
is the Elephantiafis, which fome have chofen to call the Le- 
profy, or Lepra Arabum ; though in its appearance, and in 
all its circumftances and ftages, it no more refembles the 
leprofy of Paleftine, (which is, I apprehend, the only le- 
profy that we know) than it does the gout or the dropfy. 
I never faw the beginning of this difeafe. During the courfe 
of it, the face is often healthy to appearance ; the eyes vivid 
and fparkling : thofe affected have fometimes a kind of dry- 
nefs upon the fkin of their backs, which, upon fcratching, 
I have feen leave a mealinefs, or whitenefs ; the only cir- 
cumitance, to the beil of my recollection, in which it re- 
fembled the leprofy, but it has no fcalinefs. The hair, too, 
is of its natural colour ; not white, yellowifh, or thin, as 
in the leprofy, but fo far from it that, though the Abyili- 
nians have very rarely hair upon their chin, I have feen 
people, apparently in the laftftage of the elephantiafis, with 
a, very good beard of its natural colour. 

The appetite is generally good during this difeafe, nor 
does any change of regimen affect the complaint. The 
pulfe is only fubject to the fame variations as in thofe who 
liave no declared nor predominant illnefs ; they have a con- 

4 ftant 


ftant thirit, as the lymph, which continually oozes from their 
wounds, probably demands to be replaced. It is averred by 
the Abymnians that it is not infectious. I have feen the 
wives of thofe who were in a very inveterate ftage of this 
illnefs, who had born them feveral children, who were yet 
perfectly free and found from any contagion. Nay, I do not 
remember to have feen children vifibly infected with this 
difeafe at all ; though, I mufl own, none of them had the 
appearance of health. It is faid this difeafe, though furely 
born with the infant, does not become vifible till the ap- 
proach to manhood, and fometimes it is faid to pafs by a 
whole generation. 

The chief feat of this difeafe is from the bending of the 
knee downwards to the ancle ; the leg is fwelled to a great 
degree, becoming one fize from bottom to top, and gather- 
ed into circular wrinkles, like fmall hoops or plaits ; be- 
tween every one of which there is an opening that feparates 
it all round from the one above, and which is all raw fiefth, 
or perfectly excoriated. From between thefe circular divi- 
iions a great quantity of lymph conftantly oozes. The fwell- 
ing of the leg reaches over the foot, fo as to leave about an 
inch or little more of it feen. It mould feem that the black 
colour of the fkin, the thicknefs of the leg, and its fhapelefs 
form, and the rough tubercules, or excrefcences, very like 
thofe feen upon the elephant, give the name to this difeafe, 
and form a ftriking refemblance between the diftempered 
legs of this unfortunate individual of the human fpecies, 
and thofe of the noble quadruped the elephant, when in 
full vigour. 

Vol.111. F .Aw 


An infirmity, to which the Abyflinians are fubject, of 
much worfe confequence to the community than the ele- 
phantiafis, I mean lying, makes it impoilible to form, from 
their relations, any accurate account of fymptoms that might 
lead the learned to difcover the caufes of this extraordinary 
diftemper, and thence fuggeft fome rational method to cure, 
or diminiffi it. 

It was not from the ignorance of language, nor from* 
want of opportunity, and lefs from want of pains, that I am 
not able to give a more diftinct account of this dreadful dif- 
order. I kept one of thofe infected in a houfe adjoining to 
mine, in my way to the palace, for near two years ; and, 
during that time, I tried every fort of regimen that I could- 
devife. My friend, Dr Ruffel, phyfician at Aleppo, (now in 
the Eall Indies), to whofe care and fkili I was indebted fop 
my life in a dangerous fever which I had in Syria, and whofe 
friendffrip I rnuft always confider as one of the greater! ac- 
quifitions I ever made in travelling, defired me, among other 
medical inquiries, to try the effect of the cicuta upon this 
difeafe • and a confiderable quantity r made according to the 
direction of Dr Storke, phyfician in Vienna, was fent me from* 
Paris, with inftructions how, to ufe. it*. 

Having fi'rft explained the whole matter, both to the. 
king, Ras Michael, and Azage Tecla Haimanout, chief juftice 
of the king's bench in Abyilinia, and told them of the -con- 
fequences of giving too great a dofe, I obtained their joint 
permiffions to go on without fear, and do what I thought 
requifite* It is my opinion, fays the Azage, that no harm 
that may accidentally befal one miferable individual, now 
already cut off from fociety, mould hinder the fecial (ehe 



only one we ever fhall have an opportunity of making) of 
a medicine which may fave multitudes hereafter from a dif- 
eafe fo much worfe than death. 

It was foon feen, by the conftant adminiftration of ma- 
ny ordinary dofes, that nothing was to be expected from 
violent or dangerous ones ; as not the fmalleft degree 
of amendment ever appeared, either outwardly or in- 
wardly, to the fenfation of the patient. Mercury had no 
better effect. Tar-water alfo was tried ; and if there was 
any thing that produced any feeming advantage, it was 
whey made of cow's milk, of which he was exceffively fond, 
and which the king ordered him to be furnifhed with at 
my defire, in any quantity he pleafed, during the experi- 

The troubles of the times prevented further attention. Er 
Storke's cicuta, in feveral inftances, made a perfect cure of the 
hanzeers improperly opened, though, in feveral other cafes, 
without any apparent caufe, it totally mifcarried. I fcarce 
ever obferved mercury fucceedin any complaint. 

It is not for me to attempt to explain what are the caufes 
of thefe diftempers. Thofe whofe ftudies lead them to fuch 
inveftigations will do well to attach themfelves, for firft 
principles, to the difference of climate, and the abufes 
that obtain under them ; after this, to particular circum- 
ftances in the neceffaries of life, to which nature has 
fubjected the people of thefe countries. Under the firft, 
we may rank a feafon of fix months rains, fucceeded, 
without interval, by a cloudlefs fkv and vertical fun ; and 
cold nights which as immediately follow thefe fcorching 

F 2 davs. 


days. The earth, notwithstanding the heat of tftefe days, 
is yet perpetually cold, fo as to feel difagreeably to the foles 
of the feet ; partly owing to the fix months rains, when no 
fun appears, and partly to the perpetual equality of nights 
and days ; the thinnefs of the cloathing in the better fort, 
(a muflin fhirt) while the others are naked, and fleep in this 
manner expofed, without covering in the cold nights, after 
the violent perfpiration during the fultry day. Thefe may 
be reckoned imprudences, while the conftant ufe of ftagnant 
putrid water for four months of the year, and the quantity 
of fait with which the foil of thofe countries is impregnated, 
may be circumftances lefs conducive to health ; to which, 
however, they have been for ever fubject by nature. 

It will be very reafonably expected, that, after this un- 
favourable account of the climate, and the uncertainty of 
remedies for thefe frequent and terrible difeafes, I mould 
fay fomething of the regimen proper to be obferved there, 
in order to prevent what it feems fo doubtful whether we 
can ever cure,. 

My firft general advice to a traveller is this, to remember 
well what was the Hate of his conftitution before he vifit- 
ed thefe countries, and what his complaints were, if he had 
any ; for fear very frequently feizes us upon the firft 
fight of the many and fudden deaths we fee upon our firft 
arrival, and our fpirits are fo lowered by perpetual per- 
fpiration, and our nerves fo relaxed, that we are apt to mif- 
take the ordinary fymptoms of a difeafe, familiar to us in 
our own country, for the approach of one of thefe terrible- 
distempers that are to hurry us in a few hours into etei> 
sky* This has a bad eitect in the very flightefl diibrders j 



£0 that it hath become proverbial — If you think you mail 
die, you mall die. 

If a traveller finds, that he is as well after having been 
fome time in this country as he was before entering it, his 
beft way is to make no innovation in his regimen, further 
than in abating fomething in the quantity. But if he is of 
a tender constitution, he cannot act more wifely than to- 
follow implicitly the regimen of fober, healthy people of 
the country, without arguing upon European notions, or 
fubftituting what we confider as fuccedaneums to what we 
fee ufed on the fpot. All fpirits are to be avoided ; even bark is 
better in Water than in wine. The ftomach, being relaxed 
by profufe perfpiration, needs fomething to Strengthen, but 
not inflame, and enable it to perform digeflion. For this 
reafon (inftincl: we fhould call it, if fpeaking of beafts) the 
natives of all eaftern countries feafon every fpecies of food, 
even the fimpleft, and mildeft, rice, fo much with fpices, es- 
pecially pepper, as abfolutely to blifter a European palate. 

These powerful antifeptics Providence has planted in 
thefe countries for this ufe ; and the natives have, front 
the earlieft times, had recourfe to them in proportion tc* 
the quantity that they can procure. And hence, in thefe 
dangerous climates, the natives are as healthy as we are in 
our northern ones. Travellers in Arabia are difgufted at 
this feemingly inflammatory food; and nothing is more com- 
mon than to hear them fay that they are afraid thefe quan- 
tities of fpices will give them a fever. But did they ever 
feel themfelves heated by ever fo great a quantity of black 
pepper? Spirits they think, fubftituted to this, anfwer the 
£ame purpofe. But does not the heat of your fkin, the 



violent pain in your head, while the fpirits are filtering 
through the vefTels of your brains, (hew the difference ? and 
when did any ever feel a like fenfation from black pepper, 
tdx any pepper ate to excefs in every meal ? 1 

I lay down, then, as a pofitive rule of health, that the 
warmed dimes the natives delight in, are the mofl whole- 
fome flrangers can ufe in the putrid climates of the Lower 
Arabia, Abyflinia, Sennaar, and Egypt itfelf ; and that fpi- 
rits, and all fermented liquors, mould be regarded as poifons, 
and, for fear of temptation, not fo much as be carried along 
with you, unlefs as a menftruum for outward applications. 

Spring, or running water, if you can find it, is to be your 
only drink. You cannot be too nice in procuring this arti- 
cle. But as, on both coails of the Red Sea you fcarcely 
find any but flagnant water, the way I practifed was always 
this, when I was at any place that allowed me time and 
opportunity — I took a quantity of fine fand, warned it from 
the fait quality with which it was impregnated, and fpread 
it upon a Hieet to dry ; I then filled an oil-jar with water, 
and poured into it as much from a boiling kettle as would 
ferve to kill all the animalcula and eggs that were in it. I 
then fifted my dried fand, as flowly as poffible, upon the 
furface of the water in the jar, till the fand flood half a foot 
in the bottom of it ; after letting it fettle a night, we drew it 
off by a hole in the jar with a fpigot in it, about an inch a- 
bove the fand ; then threw the remaining fand out upon 
the cloth, and dried and warned it again. 

This procefs is fooner performed than defcribecL The 
water is as limpid as the purefl fpring, and little in- 

i ferior 


ferior to the fined Spa. Drink largely of this without fear, 
according as your appetite requires. By violent perfpira- 
tion the aqueous part of your blood is thrown oiF ; and it i3 
not fpiritous liquor can reflore this, whatever momentary 
ftrength it may give you from another caufe. When hot, 
and almoft fainting with weaknefs from continual perfpira- 
tion, I have gone into a warm bath, and been immediately 
reftored to ftrength, as upon firft rifing in the morning-. 
Some perhaps will object, that this heat fhould have weak- 
ened and overpowered you ; but the fact is otherwife ; and 
the reafon is, the quantity of water, taken up by your ab- 
forbing vefiels, reftored to your blood that finer fluid which, 
was thrown off, and then the uneafinefs occafioned by that 
want ceafed, for it was the want of that we called uneafinefs.. 

In Nubia never fcruple to throw yourfelf into the coldeft ri*. 
ver or fpring you can find, in whatever degree of heat you are,, 
The reafon of the difference in Europe is> that when by vio- 
lence you have raifed yourfelf to an extraordinary degree 
of heat, the cold water in which you plunge yourfelf checks 
your perfpiration, and fhuts your pores fuddenly. The me- 
dium is itfelf too cold, and you do not ufe force fafflcient to 
bring back the perfpiration, which nought but action occa- 
fioned; whereas, in thefe warm countries, your perfpiration 
is natural and conftant, though no action be ufed, only from 
the temperature of the medium ; therefore, though your 
pores are fhut, the moment you plunge yourfelf in the cold 
water, the fimple condition of the outward air again covers 
you with pearls of fweat the moment you emerge ; and 
you begin the expence of the aqueous part of your blood 
afrefh from the new flock that you have laid in by vouk 



For this reafon, if you are well, deluge yourfelf from 
head to foot, even in the houfe, where water is plenty, by di- 
recting a fervant to throw buckets upon you at leaft once 
a-day when you are hotteft; not from any imagination that 
the water braces you, as it is called, for your bracing will 
lafi you only a very few minutes ; but thefe copious inun- 
dations will carry watery particles into your blood, though 
not equal to bathing in running fireams, where the total 
immerfion, the motion of the water, and the action of the 
limbs, all confpire to the benefit you are in quell of. As to 
cold water bracing in thefe climates, I am perfuaded it is ail 
idea not founded in truth. By obfervation it has appeared 
often to me, that, when heated by violent exercife, I have 
been much more relieved, and my ftrength more complete- 
ly reflored by the life of a tepid bath, than by an equal time 
pafied in a cold one. 

Do not fatigue yourfelf if poflible. Exercife is not ei- 
ther fo necenary or falutary here as in Europe. Ufe fruits 
fparingly, efpecially if too ripe. The mufa, or banana, in 
ArabiaFelix, are always rotten-ripe when they are brought to 
~you. Avoid all fort of fruit expofed for fale in the markets, 
as it has probably been gathered in the fun, and carried 
miles in it, and all its juices are in a ftate of fermentation. 
Lay it firft upon a table covered with a coarfe cloth, and 
throw frequently a quantity of water upon it ; and, if you 
have an opportunity, gather it in the dew of the morning 
before dawn of day, for that is far better. 

Rice and pillaw are the beft food ; fowls are very bad, 
eggs are worfe ; greens are not wholefome. In Arabia the 
mutton is good, and, when roafted, may be eaten warm with 

3 fafety ; 


fafety; perhaps better if cold. All foups or broths are to be 
avoided ; all game is bad. 

I have known many very fcrupulous about eating flip- 
pers, but, I am perfuaded, without reafon. The great perfpi- 
ration which relaxes the ftomach fo much through the day- 
has now ceafed, and the breathing of cooler air has given 
to its operations a much ftronger tone. I always made it 
my raoft liberal meal, if I ate meat at all. While at Jidda, 
my fupper was a piece of cold, roafted mutton, and a large 
glafs of water, with my good friend Captain Thornhill, du- 
ring the dog-days. 

After this, the exceffive heat of the day being part, co- 
vering our heads from the night-air, always blowing at 
that time from the eail and charged with watery particles 
from the Indian Ocean, we had a luxurious walk of two or 
three hours, as free from the heat a? from the noife and 
impertinence of the day, upon a terraffed roof, under a cloud- 
lefs fky, where the fmallefl liar is vilible. Thefe evening 
walks have been looked upon as one of the principal plea- 
fures of the eaft, even though not accompanied with the 
luxuries of aftronomy and meditation. They have been ad- 
hered to from early times to the prefent, and we may there- 
fore be allured they were always wholelbme; they have 
often been mifapplied and mifpent in love. 

It is a cuftom that, from the firft ages, has prevailed in 
the eaft, to fhriek and lament upon the death of a friend or 
relation, and cut their faces upon the temple with their 
nails, about the breadth -fa fixpence, one of which is left 
long for that purpofe. It was always practiied by the Jews, 
Vol. Ill, G and 


and thence adopted by the Abyflmians, though exprefsly 
forbidden both by the law and by the prophets*. At Ma- 
fuah, it feems to be particular to dance upon that occafion. 
The women, friends, and vifitors place themfelves in a ring; 
then dance flowly, figuring in and out as in a country-dance. 
This dance is all to the voice, no inflrument being ufed up- 
on the occafion ; only the drum (the butter-jar before men- 
tioned) is beat adroitly enough, and feems at once necef- 
fary to keep the dance and long in order. In Abyflinia, too, 
this is purfued in a manner more ridiculous. Upon the 
death of an ozoro, or any nobleman, the twelve judges, 
(who are generally between 60 and 70 years of age) fing 
the fong, and dance the figure-dance, in a manner fo truly 
ridiculous, that grief mult have taken fail hold of every 
fpectator who does not laugh upon the occafion. There 
needs no other proof the deceafed was a friencL 

Mahomet Gib be rtt married at Arkeeko. For fifteen days 
afterward, the hufband there is invifible to everybody but 
the female friends of his wife, who in that fultry country 
do everything they can, by hot and fpiced drinks, to throw 
the man, Hewed in a clofe room, into a fever. I do believe 
that Mahomet Gibberci, in the courfe of thefe fifteen days* 
was at leart two {tone lighter. It puts me much in mind of 
forne of our countrymen fweating themfelves for a horfe- 
race with a load of flannel on. I conceive that Mahomet 
Gibberti, had it not been for the fpice, would have made a 
bad figure in the match he was engaged in. One of thefe 
nights of his being fequeitered, when, had I not providen- 

* Levit. chap, xix, ver. 28. Jerem. chap. xvi. ver. 6. 


tiaHy engaged Achmet, his uncle the Naybe would have 
cut our throats. I heard two girls, profeffors hired for fuch 
occafions, fing alternately verfe for verfe in reply to each 
other, in the moll agreeable and melodious manner I ever 
heard in my life. This gave me great hopes that, hi Abyf- 
finia, I mould find mufic in a ftate of perfection little ex- 
pected in Europe. Upon inquiry into particulars I was 
miferably difappointed, by being told thefe muficians were 
all Grangers from Azab, the myrrh country, where all the 
people were natural muficians, and lung in a better fhle 
than that I had heard ; but that nothing of this kind was 
known in Abymnia, a mountainous, barbarous country, 
without inflrument, and without fong; and that it was the 
fame here in Atbara ; a miferable truth, which I afterwards 
completely verified. Thefe fingers were Cufhites, not Shep- 

1, however, made myfelf mailer of two or three of thefe 
alternate fongs upon the guitar, the wretched inflrument of 
that country; and was furprifed to find the words in a lan- 
guage equally flrange to Mafuah and Abyflinia. I had fre- 
quent interviews with thefe muficians in the evening ; they 
were perfectly black and woolly-headed. Being flaves, they 
fpoke both Arabic and 1 igre, but could fing in neither ; and, 
from every pomble inquiry, I found every thing, allied to 
counterpoint, was unknown among them. I have fome- 
times endeavoured to recover fragments of thefe fongs, 
which I once perfectly knew from memory only, but un- 
fortunately I committed none of them to writing. Sorrow, 
and various misfortunes, that every day marked my flay in 
the barbarous country to which I was then going, and the 
neceiTary part I, much againfl my will, was for felf-preler- 

G 2 vation 


vation forced to take in the ruder occupations of "thole 
times, have, to my very great regret, obliterated Jong ago 
the whole from my memory. 

It is a general cuftom in Mafnah for people to burn 
myrrh and incenfe in their houfes before they open the 
doors in the morning; and when they go out at night, 
or early in the day, they have always a fmall piece of 
rag highly fumigated with thefe two perfumes, which 
they fluff into each noilril to keep them from the un whole-- ■ 
fome air. 

The houfes in Mafuah are, in general, built of poles and 
bent grafs, as in the towns of Arabia; but, befides thefe, 
there are about twenty of Hone, fix or eight of which are 
two ftoreys each ; though the fecond feldom conlifls of more, 
than one room, and that one generally not a large one'. 
The ftones are drawn out of the fea as at Dahalac ; and in 
thefe we fee the beds of that curious mmTel, or mell-fhri, 
found to be contained in the folid rock at Mahon, called 
Dattoli da mare, or fea-dates, the fifh of which I never faw in . 
the Ked Sea ; though there is no doubt but they are to b r 
found in the rocky iflands about Mafuah, if they break the 
rocks for them. 

Although Mafuah is lltuated in the very entrance of A- 
byffinia, a very plentiful country, yet all the neceilaries of 
life are fcarce and dear. Their quality, too, is very indif- 
ferent. This is owing to the difficulty, expence, and dan- 
ger of carrying the feveral articles through the defert flat 
country, called Samhar, which lies between Arkeeko and 
the mountains of Abyflinia ; as well as to the extortions 

a_ exercifed ., 



exercifed by the Naybe, who takes, under the name of cuf- 
toms, whatever part he pleafes of the goods and provifions 
brought to that ifland ; by which means the profit of the 
feller is fo fmall, as not to be worth the pains and rifk of 
bringing it r 20 rotol of butter cod a pataka and a half, 3^ 
harf ; or, in one term, 45 \ harf. A goat is half of a pataka ; 
a fheep, two-thirds of a pataka ; the ardep of wheat, 4 pa- 
takas ; Dora, from Arabia, 2 patakas. 

Venit, vilijjima rerum y 

Hie aqua. Horat. lib. 1. Sat. 6. v. 88. 

Water is fold for three diwanis, or paras, the 7 gallons. 
The fame fort of money is in ufe at Mafuah, and the op- 
pofite coaft of Arabia ; and it is indeed owing to the com- 
mercial intercourfe with that coail that any coin is cur- 
rent in this or the weftern fide. It is all valued by the 
Venetian fequin. But glafs beads, called Contaria, of all 
kinds and colours, perfect and broken, pafs for fmall money, 
and are called, in their language, Borjooke. 

Table of the relative value of Money* 

Venetian Sequin, — a 4 Pataka, 

Pataka or Imperial Dollar, 28 Harf. 

1 Harf, — — 4 Diwani 

loKibeer, — 1 Diwani, 

1 iKibeer, ■ — > — '3 Borjooke, or Grains. 

The Harf is like wife called Dahab, a word very equivo- 
cal^ as it means, in Arabic, gold, and frequently a fequin. 
The Harf is 1 20 grains of beads* » 



The zermabub, or fequin of Constantinople, is not current 
here. Thole that have them, can only difpofe of them to 
the women, who hang them about their temples, to their 
necklaces, and round the necks of their children. The 
fraction of the pataka is the half and quarter, which pais 
here like wife. 

There is a confiderable deal of trade carried on at Mafuah 
notwnhftanding thefe inconveniencies, narrow and confin- 
ed as the ifland is, and violent andunjuft as is the govern- 
ment. But it is all done in a flovenly manner, and for 
articles where a fmall capital is inverted. Property here 
is too precarious to rifk a venture in valuable commo- 
dities, where the hand of power enters into every tranfac- 

The goods imported from the Arabian fide are blue cot- 
ton, Surat cloths,and cochineal ditto, called Kermis, fine cloth 
from different markets in India ; coarfe white cotton cloths 
from Yemen ; cotton unfpun from ditto in bales ; Venetian 
beads, chryilal, drinking, and looking- glafTes; and cohol, or 
crude antimony. Thefe three laft articles come in great 
quantities from Cairo, firfl in the coffee mips to Jidda, and 
then in fmall barks over to this port. Old copper too is an 
article on which much is gained, and great quantity is im- 

The Galla, and all the various tribes to the weftward of 
Gondar, wear bracelets of this copper ; and they fay at times, 
that, near the country of Gongas and Guba, it has been 
•fold, weight for weight, with gold. There is -a (hell like- 
wise here, a univalve of the fpecies of volutes, which fells 

4 at 


at a cuba for 10 paras. It is brought from near Hodeida, 
though it is fometimes found at Konfodah and Loheia. 
There are a few alfo at Dahalac, but not efteemed : thefe 
pafs for money among the Djawi and other weflern Galla. 

The cuba is a wooden meafure, containing, very exactly, 
62 cubic inches of rain water. The drachm is called Cafla; 
there is 10 drachms in their wakea. 

Gold, 1 6 patakas per wakea. 

Givet, 1 1 pataka the wakea. 

Elephants teeth, 18 patakas for 35 rotoL 

Wax, 4 patakas the faranzala. 

Myrrh, 3 patakas per ditto.. 

Coffee, 1 pataka the 6 rotol. 

Honey, \ of a pataka the cuba.. 

The Banians were once the principal merchants of Ma~ 
fuah ; but the number is now reduced to fix. They are 
filver-fmiths, that make ear-rings and other ornaments for 
the women in the continent, and are afTayers of gold ; they 
make, however, but a poor livelihood. 

As there is no warer in Mafuah, the number of ani- 
mals belonging to it can be but fmalh The fea-fowl have 
nothing fmgular in them, and are the grey and the white 
gull, and the fmall bird, called the fea-lark, or pickerel. 
The iky- lark is here, but is mute the whole year, till the 
firft rains fall in November; he then mounts very high, and 
fings in the very heat of the day. I faw him in the Teha- 
ma, but he did not fing there ; probably for the reafon 
given above, as there was no rain. 



There are no fparrows to be {etn here, or on the oppofite 
fhore, nor in the iilands. Although there were fcorpions in 
abundance at Loheia, we found none of them at Mafuah. 
Water and greens, especially of the melon and cucumber 
kind, feem to be neceffary to this poifonous infect. Indeed 
it was only after rains we faw them in Loheia, and then the 
young ones appeared in fwarms ; this was in the end of 
Auguft. They are of a dull green colour, bordering upon 
yellow. As far as I could obferve, no perfon apprehended 
any thing from their fling beyond a few minutes pain. 

We left Mafuah the ioth of November, with the foldiers 
and boats belonging to Achmet. We had likewife three 
fervants from Abyffinia, and no longer apprehended the 
Naybe, who feemed, on his part, to think no more of us. 

In the bay between Mafuah and Arkeeko are two iflands, 
Toulahout and Shekh Seide ; the firft on the weft, the other 
on the fouth. They are both uninhabited, and without 
water. Shekh Seide has a marabout, or faint's tomb, on the 
well end. It is not half a mile in length, when not over- 
flowed, but has two large points of fand which run far out 
to the eaft and to the weft. Its weft point runs fo near to 
Toulahout, as, at low- water, fcarce to leave a channel for 
the breadth of a boat to pafs between. 

There is a chart, or map of the ifland of Mafuah, hand- 
ed about with other bad maps and charts of the Red Sea, 
(of which I have already fpoken) among our Engliih cap- 
tains from India. It feems to be of as old date as the firft 
landing of the Portuguefe under Don Roderigo dc Lima, in 
the time of David III. but it is very inaccurate, or rather er- 



roneous, throughout. The map of the ifland, harbour, and 
bay, with the foundings, which I here have given, may 
be 'depended upon, as being done on the fpot with the 
greateft attention. 

Ac h met, though much better, was, however, not well. 
His fever had left him, but he had fome fymptoms of its 
being followed by a dyfentery. In the two days I refted at 
his houfe, I had endeavoured to remove thefe complaints, 
and had fucceeded in part ; for which he teftified the ut- 
moft gratitude, as he was wonderfully afraid to die. 

The Naybe had vifited him feveral times every day ; but 
as I was defirous to fee Achmet well before I left Arkeeko, 
I kept out of the way on thefe occafions, being refolved, 
the firfl interview, to prefs for an immediate departure. 

On the 13th, at four o'clock in the afternoon, I waited 
upon the Naybe at his own houfe. He received me with 
more civility than ufual, or rather, I ihould have faid, with 
lefs brutality ; for a grain of any thing like civility had 
never yet appeared in his behaviour. He had jufl received 
news, that a fervant of his, fent to collect money at Hama- 
zen, had run off with it. As I faw he was bufy, I took my 
leave of him, only afking his commands for Habefli ; to 
which he anfwered, " We have time enough to think of 
that, do you come here to morrow." 

On the 14th, in the morning, I waited upon him accord- 
ing to appointment, having firft ftruck my tent and got all 
my baggage in readinefs. He received me as before, then 
told me with a grave air, " that he was willing to further my 

Vol. Ill, H journey 


journey into Habefh to the utmoft of his power, provided I 
mewed him that confideration which was due to him from 
all paiTengers ; that as, by my tent, baggage, and arms, he 
faw I was a man above the common fort, which the grand 
fignior's firman, and all my letters teftified, lefs than iooo 
patakas offered by me would be putting a great affront up- 
on him ; however, in confideration of the governor of Ti- 
gre, to whom I was going, he would confent to receive 300, 
upon my fwearing not to divulge this, for fear of the fhame 
that would fall upon him abroad. 

To this I anfwered in the fame grave tone, " That I thought 
him very wrong to take 300 patakas with fhame, when re- 
ceiving a thoufand would be more honourable as well as 
more profitable ; therefore he had nothing to do but put 
that into his account- book with the governor of Tigre, and 
fettle his honour and his intereft together. As for myfelf, 
I was fent for by Metical Aga, on account of the king, and 
was proceeding accordingly, and if he oppofed my going 
forward to Metical Aga, I fhould return ; but then again 
I fhould expect ten thoufand patakas from Metical Aga, for 
the trouble and lofs of time I had been at, which he arid 
the Ras would no doubt fettle with him." The Naybe faid 
nothing in reply, but only muttered, doling his teeth, Jha- 
tan afrit, that devil or tormenting fpirit.. 

" Look you, (fays one of the king's fervants, whom I had 
not heard fpeak before) I was ordered to bring this man to 
my mafter; I heard no talk of patakas ; the army is ready- 
to march againfl Waragna Fafil, I muft not lofe my time 
here." Then taking his fhort red cloak under his arm, 
and giving it a make to make- the duft fly from it, he put 



it upon his moulders, and, ftretching out his hand very fa- 
miliarly, faid, " Naybe, within this hour I am for Habefh, 
my companion will flay here with the man ; give me my 
dues for coming here, and I fhall carry any anfwer either 
of you has to fend." The Naybe looked much difconcerted. 
" Befides, faid I, you owe me 300 patakas for faving the life 
of your nephew Achmet." — " Is not his life worth 300 pata- 
kas ?" He looked very filly, and faid, " Achmet's life is worth 
all Mafuah." There was no more talk of patakas after this. 
He ordered the king's fervant not to go that day, but come 
to him to-morrow to receive his letters, and he would ex- 
pedite us for Habefh. 

Those friends that I had made at Arkeeko and Mafuah, 
feeing the Naybe's obflinacy againfl our departure, and, 
knowing the cruelty of his nature, advifed me to abandon 
all thoughts of Abyflinia ; for that, inpafling through Sam- 
har, among the many barbarous people whom he com- 
manded, difficulties would multiply upon us daily, and, 
either by accident, or order of the Naybe, we mould furely 
be cut oiF. 

I was too well convinced of the embarraiTment that lay 
behind me if left alone with the Naybe, and too determined 
upon my journey to heiitate upon going forward. I even 
flattered myfelf, that his flock of flratagems to prevent our 
going, was by this time exhaufted, and that the morrow, 
would fee us in the open fields, free from further tyranny 
and controul. In this conjecture I was warranted by the 
vifible impreffion the declaration of the king's fervant had 
niade upon him. 

H 2 On 


On the 15th, early in the morning, I ftruck my tent again, 
and had my baggage prepared, to mew we were determined 
to flay no longer. At eight o'clock, I went to the Naybe, 
and found him almofl alone, when he received me in a 
manner that, for him, might have paffed for civil. He be- 
gan with a considerable degree of eloquence, or fluency of 
fpeech, a long enumeration of the difficulties of our journey, 
the rivers, precipices, mountains, and woods we were to 
pafs ; the number of wild beads every where to be found ; 
as alfo the wild favage people that inhabited thofe places ; 
the moil of which, he faid, were luckily under his com- 
mand, and he would recommend to them to do us all 
manner of good offices. He commanded two of his fecre- 
taries to write the proper letters, and, in the mean time, 
ordered us coffee ; converfmg naturally enough about the 
king and Ras Michael, their campaign againil Fafil, and 
the great improbability there was, they mould be fuccefs- 

At this time came in a fervant covered with duft and feem- 
ingly fatigued, as having arrived in hafle from afar. The 
Naybe, with a confiderable deal of uneafinefs and confufion, 
opened the letters, which were faid to bring intelligence, 
that the Hazorta, Shiho, and Tora, the three nations who 
poiTefTed that part of Samhar through which our road led 
to Dobarwa, the common paflage from Mafuah to Tigre, had 
revolted, driven away his fervants, and declared themfelves 
independent. He then, (as if all was over) ordered his fecre- 
taries to flop writing; and, lifting up his eyes, began, with 
great feeming devotion, to thank God we were not already 
on our journey ; for, innocent as he was, when we mould 



have been cut off, the fault would have been imputed to 

Angry as I was at fo barefaced a farce, I could not help 
burfting out into a violent fit of loud laughter, when he 
put on the feverefl countenance, and defired to know the 
reafon of my laughing at fuch a time. It is now two 
months, anfwered I, lince you have been throwing various 
objections in my way ; can you wonder that I do not give 
into fo grofs an impofition ? This fame morning, before I 
ftruck my tent, in prefence of your nephew Achmet, I fpoke 
with two Shihojuil arrived from Samhar, who brought let- 
ters to Achmet, which faid all was in peace. Have you 
earlier intelligence than that of this morning ? 

He was for fome time without fpeaking ; then faid, " If 
you are weary of living, you are welcome to go ; but I will 
do my duty in warning thofe that are along with you of 
their and your danger, that, when the mifchief happens, it 
may not be imputed to me." " No number of naked Shi- 
ho," faid I, " unlefs inftrucled by you, can ever be found on 
our road, that will venture to attack us. The Shiho have 
no fire arms ; but if you have fent on purpofe fome of your 
foldiers that have fire arms, thefe mil difcover by what 
authority they come. For our part, we cannot fly ; we 
neither know the country, the language, nor the watering- 
places, and we fliall not attempt it. We have plenty of dif- 
ferent forts of fire-arms, and your fervants have often feen 
at Mafuah we are not ignorant in the ufe of them. We, it 
is true, may lofe our lives, that is in the hand of the Al- 
mighty ; but we fhall not fail to leave enough on the fpot,. 
to give fuflicient indication to the king and Ras Michael, 

3; who 


who it was that were our afiaffins, Janni of Adowa will ex- 
plain the reft." 

I then rofe very abruptly to go away. It is impofnble to 
give one, not converfant with thefe people, any conception 
what perfect matters the moft clownifh and beaflly among 
them are of dimmulation. The countenance of the Naybe 
now changed in a moment. In his turn he burft out into 
a loud fit of laughter, which furprifed me full as much as 
mine, fome time before, had done him. Every feature of 
his treacherous countenance was altered and foftened into 
complacency ; and he, for the firfl time, bore the appearance 
of a man. 

" What I mentioned about the Shiho, he then faid, was 
but to try you ; all is peace. I only wanted to keep you 
here, if poffible, to cure my nephew Achmet, and his uncle 
Emir Mahomet ; but fince you are refolved to go, be not a- 
fraid ; the roads are fafe enough. I will give you a perfon 
to conduct you, that will carry you in fafety, even if there 
was danger ; only go and prepare fuch remedies as may be 
proper for the Emir, and leave them with my nephew Ach- 
met, while I finifh my letters." This I willingly confent- 
ed to do, and at my return I found every thing ready. 

Our guide was a handfome young man, to whom, though 
a Chriftian, the Naybe had married his filler ; his name was 
Saloome. The common price paid for fuch a conductor is 
three pieces of blue Surat cotton cloth. The Naybe, how- 
ever, obliged us to promife thirteen to his brother-in-law, 
with which, to get rid of him with fome degree of good 
grace, we willingly complied. 

i Before 


Before our fetting out I told this to Achmct, who faid, 
that the man was not a bad one naturally, but that his un- 
cle the Naybe made all men as wicked as himfelf. He fur- 
nifhed me with a man to mew me where I fhould pitch my 
tent ; and told me he mould now take my nna.1 deliverance 
upon himfelf, for we were yet far, according to the Naybe's 
intentions, from beginning our journey to Gondar. 

Arkeeko confifts of about 400 houfes, a few of which 
are built of clay, the reft of coarfe grafs like reeds. The 
Naybe's houfe is of thefe laft-named materials, and not dif- 
tinguifhed from any others in the town ; it ftands upon the 
S. W. fide of a large bay. There is water enough for large 
mips clofe to Arkeeko, but the bay being open to the 
N. E. makes it uneafy riding in blowing weather. Bendes, 
you are upon a lee-more ; the bottom is compofed of foft 
land. In ftanding in upon Arkeeko from the fea through 
the canal between Shekh Seide and the main land, it is 
necefTary to range the coaft about a third nearer the main 
than the hland. The point, or Shekh Seide, ftretches far out, 
and has mallow water upon it. 

The Cape that forms the fouth-weft fide of the large bay 
is called Ras Gedem, being the rocky bafe of a high mountain 
of that name, feen a confiderable diftance from fca, and di- 
flinguiflied by its form, which is that of a hog's back. 





yourney from Arkeeko, over the mount ain Taranta^ to Dlxan. 

ACCORDING to Achmet's defire, we left Arkeeko the 
15th, taking our road fouthward, along the plain, 
which is not here above a mile broad, and covered with 
fhort grafs nothing different from ours, only that the blade 
is broader. After an hour's journey I pitched my tent at 
Laberhey, near a pit of rain-water. The mountains of A- 
byflinia have a fmgular afpect from this, as they appear in 
three ridges. The firfc is of no confiderable height, but full 
of gullies and broken ground, thinly covered with fhrubs ; 
the fecond, higher and fteeper, ftill more rugged and bare ; 
the third is a row of fharp, uneven-edged mountains, which 
would be counted high in any country in Europe. Far 
above the top of all, towers that ftupendous mafs, the moun- 
tain of Taranta, I fuppofe one of the higher! in the world, 
the point of which is buried in the clouds, and very rarely 
feen but in the clearer! weather ; at other times abandoned 
to perpetual mift and darknefs, the feat of lightning, thun- 
der, and of floral. 



Taranta is the higheft of a long, deep ridge of moun- 
tains, the boundary between the oppofite feafons. On its eafl 
fide, or towards the Red Sea, the rainy feafon is from October 
to April ; and, on the wertern, or Abyffinian fide, cloudy, 
rainy, and cold weather prevails from May to October. 

In the evening, a mefTenger from the Naybe found u$ 
at our tent at Laberhey, and carried away our guide Sa- 
loome. It was not till the next day that he appeared again, 
and with him Achmet, the Naybe's nephew. Achmet made 
us deliver to him the thirteen pieces of Surat cloth, which 
was promifed Saloome for his hire, and this, apparently, 
with that perfon's good- will. He then changed four of the 
men whom the Naybe had furnifhed us for hire to carry 
our baggage, and put four others in their place ; this, not 
without fome murmuring on their part ; but he perempto- 
rily, and in feeming anger, difpatched them back to Ar- 

Achmet now came into the tent, called for coffee, and, 
while drinking it, faid, '* You are fufneiently perfuaded that 
I am your friend ; if you are not, it is too late now to con- 
vince you. It is neceflary, however, to explain the reafons 
of what you fee. You are not to go to Dobarwa, though it 
is the beft road, the fafeft being preferable to the eafieft. 
Saloome knows the road by Dixan as well as the other. 
You will be apt to curfe me when you are oiling and 
fweating afcending Taranta, the higher! mountain in Abyf- 
fmia, and on this account worthy your notice. You are 
then to confider if the fatigue of body you then fuffer in 
that pafTage is not overpaid by the abfolute fafety you will 
find yourfelves in. Dobarwa belongs to the Naybe, and I 
, Vol. III. I cannot 



cannot anfwer for the orders he may have given to his own 
fervants ; but Dixan is mine, although the people are much 
worfe than thofe of Dobarwa. I have written to nay officers 
there ; they will behave the better to you for this; and, as 
you are lirong and robufl, the bell I can do for you is to 
fend you by a rugged road, and a fafe one, . 

Achmet again gave his orders to Saloome, and we, all 
riling, faid the fedtah, or prayer- of peace-, which being over, 
his fervant gave him a narrow web of muflin, which, with 
his own hands, he wrapped round my head in the manner 
the better fort of Mahometans wear it at Dixan. He then . 
parted, faying, "He that is your enemy is mine alfo; yoit. 
fhall hear of me by Mahomet feii&b£r&? 

This fmifhed a feries of trouble and vexation^ not to fay- 
danger, fuperior to any thing I ever before had. experienced, 
and of which the bare, recital (though perhaps too minute 
a one) will give but an imperfect idea. Thefe wretches 
poffefs talents for tormenting, and alarming, far beyond the. 
power of belief; and, by laying a true fketch of them be- 
fore a traveller, an author does him the moll real fervice, 
In this country the more truely we draw the portrait of man, 
the more we feem to fall into caricarura. 

On the 16th, in the evening, we left Laberhey; and, after, 
continuing about an hour along, the plain, our grafs end- 
ed, the ground becoming dry* firm, and gravelly, and we 
then entered into, a wood, of acacia- trees of confiderable fize; 
\ We now began to afcend gradually, having Gedem, the high 

mountain which forms the bay of Arkecko, on our left, and I 
thefe fame^mountains, which bound the plain of Arkeeko to 


. ■ 




the weft, on our right* We encamped this night on a rifing- 
gvound called Shillokeeb, where there is no water, though 
the mountains were everywhere cut through with gullies 
and water courfes, made by the violent rains that fall here 
in Winter. 

The 17th, we continued along the fame plain, flill cover- 
ed thick with acaeia-trees. They were then in blofTom, had 
a round yellow flower, but we faw no gum upon the trees. 
Our direction had hitherto been fouth. We turned wefter- 
ly through an opening in" the mountains, which here Hand 
fo clofe together as- to leave no valley or plain fpace be- 
tween them but what is made by the torrents, in the rainy 
feafon, forcing their way with great violence to the fea. 

The bed of the torrent was our only road; and, as it 
was all fand, we could not wifh for a better. The moifture 
it had ftrongly imbibed protected it from the fudden effects 
of the fun, and produced, all alongft its courfe, a great de- 
gree of vegetation and verdure. Its banks were full of 
rack-trees, capers, and tamarinds ; the two laft bearing lar- 
ger fruit than I had ever before feen, though not arrived to 
their greateil uze or maturity. 

We continued this winding, according to the courfe of 
the river, among mountains of no great height, but bare, 
ilony, and full of terrible precipices. At half part eight 
o ? clock we halted, to avoid the heat of the fun, under (hade 
of the trees before mentioned, for it was then exceffively 
hot, though in the month of November, from ten in the 
morning till two in the afternoon. We met this day with 
large numbers of Shiho, having their Wives and families 

I 2 along 


along with them, defcending from the tops of the high moun- 
tains of Habeftii with their flocks. to paflure, on the plains, 
below near the fea, upon grafs that grows up in the months 
of October and November, when thty have already confu- 
med what grew in the oppofite feafon on the other fide of 
the mountains.. 

This change of domicil gives them a propenfity to thie-- 
ving and violence, though otherwife a cowardly tribe. Ic 
is a proverb in Abyffinia, "Beware of men that drink two 
" waters," meaning thefe, and all the tribes of Shepherds •, t 
who were in fearch of pafture, and who have lain under, 
the fame imputation from the remoter! antiquity. 

The Shiho were once very numerous ; but, like all thefe < 
nations having communication with Mafuah, have fuffered : 
much by the ravages of the fmall-pox. The Shiho are the 
blackeit of the tribes bordering upon the Red Sea. They 
were all clothed ; their women in coarfe cotton friifts reach- 
ing down to their ancles, girt about the middle with a lea- 
ther belt, and having very large ileeves ; the men in fhort 
cotton breeches reaching to the middle of their thighs, and { 
a goat's fkin crofs their moulders. . They have neither tents 
nor cottages, but either live in caves in the mountains under: 
trees, or in Xniall conical huts built with a thick grafs like 
reeds. \ 

Tins party confided of about fifty men, and, Tfuppofe* . 
not more than' thirty women ; from which it feemed pro- 
bable the Shiho are Monogam, as afterwards, indeed, I 
knew them to be. Each of them had a lance in his hand, 
a^nd.a knife at the girdle which kept up the breeches. They 



Had the fuperiority of the ground, as corning down the 
mountain which we were afcending; yet I obferved them 
to feem rather uneafy at meeting us ; and fo far from any 
appearance of hoftility, that, I believe, had we attacked 
brifkly, they would have fled without much refiftance; 
They were, indeed, incumbered with a prodigious quantity 
of goats and other cattle, fo were not in a fighting trim. I 
faluted the man that feemed to be their chief, and afked 
him if he would fell us a goat. He returned my falute ; 
but either could not fpeak Arabic, or declined further con- 
verfation. However, thofe of our people behind, that were 
of a colour nearer to themfelves, bought us a goat that was 
lame, (dearly they faid) for fome antimony, four large nee- 
dles, and fome beads. Many of them afked us for kifferab, or 
bread. This being an Arabic word, :,., and their having no 
other word in their language fignifying bread, convinces me 
they were Icthyophagi ; as, indeed, hiflory fays all thofe Tro- 
gtydite nations were who lived upon the Red Sea. It could 
not indeed be otherwife : the rich, when trade nOurifhed in 
thefe parts, would probably get corn from Arabia or Abyf. 
finia ; but, in their own country, no corn would grow. . 

At 2 o'clock in the afternoon we refumed our journey 
through a very ftony, uneven road, till 5 o'clock, when we 
pitched our tent at a place called Hamhammou, on the fide 
of a fmall green hill fome hundred yards from the bed of 
the torrent. The weather had been perfectly good fince 
Ave left Mafuah : : this afternoon, however, it feemed to 
threaten rain ; the high mountains were quite hid, and 
great part of the. lower ones covered with thick clouds ; the 
lightning was very frequent, broad, and deep-tinged with 
blue ; and long peals of thunder were heard, but at a dif=> 

LiLiiCw v 



tance. This was the firft fample we had of Abyflinian bad 

The river fcarcely ran at our paffing it ; when, all on a 
fudden, we heard a noife on the mountains above, louder 
than the loudeft thunder. Our guides, upon this, flew to 
the baggage, and removed it to the top of the green hill ; 
which was no fooner done, than we faw the river coming 
down in a ftream about the height of a man, and breadth 
of the whole bed it ufed to occupy. The water was thick 
tinged with red earth, and ran in the form of a deep river, 
and fwelled a little above its banks, but did not reach our 
ftation on the hill. 

An antelope, furprifed by the torrent, and I believe hurt 
by it, was forced over into the peninfula where we were, 
fcemingly in great diftrefs. As foon as my companions faw 
there was no further danger from the river, they furround- 
ed this innocent comrade in misfortune, and put him to 
death with very little trouble to themfelves. The acquifi- 
tion was not great ; it was lean, had a mufky tafte, and was 
worfe meat than the goat we had bought from the Shiho. 
The torrent, though now very fenfibly diminifhed, ftill pre- 
served a current till next morning. 

Betwekn Hamhammou and Shillokeeb we firft faw the 
dung of elephants, full of pretty thick pieces of indigefted 
branches. We likewife, in many places, faw the tracks thro' 
which they hadpaffed; fome trees were thrown down from 
the roots, fome broken in the middle, and branches half- 
aaaten lire wed on the ground. 

2 Hamhammou 


HamhAmmou is a mountain of black ftones, almoft cal- 
eined by the violent heat of the fun. This is the boundary of 
the diftrict; Samhar, inhabited by the Shiho from Ham- 
hammou to Taranta, is called Hadafla ; it belongs to the Ha- 

This nation, though not fd numerous as the Shiho, arc 
yet their neighbours, live in conftant defiance of the Naybe, 
and are of a colour much refembling new copper ; but are 
inferior to the Shiho in fize, though very agile, All their 
fubftance is in cattle ; yet they kill none of them, but live 
entirely upon milk. They, too, want alfo an original word 
for bread in their language, for the fame reafon, I fuppofe, 
as the Shiho. They have been generally fuccefsful againft 
the Naybe, and live either in caves, or in cabannes, like ca- 
ges, juft large enough to hold two peribns, and covered with 
an ox's hide. Some of the better fort of women have cop- 
per bracelets upon their arms, beads in their hair, . and a 
tanned hide wrapt about their Ihoulders. 

The nights are cold here even in fummer, and do not 
allow the inhabitants to go naked as upon the reft of the 
coaft ; however, the children of :the Shiho, whom we met 
firft, were all naked. 

The 1 8th, at half pad five in the .morning, we left our 
flation on the fide of the green hill at Hamhammou : for fome 
time our road lay through a plain fo thick fet with acacia- 
trees that our hands and faces were all torn and bloody;- 
with the ftrokes of their thorny branches. We then re* 
fumed our ancient road in the bed of the torrent, now near- 


ly dry, over Hones which the rain of the preceding night 
had made very flippery. 

At half paft feven we came to the mouth of a narrow 
valley,' through which a ftream of water ran very fwifdy 
over a bed of pebbles. It was the firft clear water we had 
feen fince we left Syria, and gave us then unfpeakable plea- 
fure. It was in tafte excellent. The made of the tamarind- 
tree, and the coolnefs of the air, invited us to reft on this 
delightful fpot, though otherwife, perhaps, it was not ex- 
actly conformable to the rules of prudence, as we faw feve- 
ral huts and families of the Hazorta along the fide of the 
ftream, with their flocks feeding on the branches of trees and 
bufhes, entirely neglectful of the grafs they were treading 
under foot. 

The caper- tree here grows as high as the talleft Englifh 
elm ; its flower is white, and its fruit, though not ripe, was g 
fully as large as an apricot. 

I went fome diftance to a fmalt pool of water in order 
to bathe, and took my firelock with me ; but none of the 
favages ftirred from their huts, nor feemed to regard me 
more than if I had lived among them all their lives, though 
furely I was the moft extraordinary fight they had ever 
feen ; whence I concluded that they are a people of fmall 
talents or genius, having no curiofity. 

At two o'clock we continued our journey, among large 
timber trees,, till half paft three, along the fide of the rivulet, 
when we loft it. At half paft four we pitched our tent at 
Sadoon, by the fide of another ftream, as clear, as fhallow, 

a and 


and as beautiful as the firfl ; but the night here was exceed- 
ingly cold, though the fun had been hot in the day-time. 
Our defire for water was, by this time, confiderably abated. 
We were everywhere furrounded by mountains, bleak, bare, 
black, and covered with loofe ftones, entirely deflitute of 
foil ; and, befides this gloomy profpect, we faw nothing but 
the heavens, 

On the 19th, at half paft fix in the morning, we left Sa- 
doon, our road ftill winding between mountains in the bed, 
or torrent of a river, bordered on each fide ; with rack and 
fycamore trees of a good fize. I thought them equal to the 
largeft trees I had ever feen ; but upon considering, and 
roughly meafuring forne of them, I did not find one 7^ feet 
diameter ; a fmall tree in comparifon of thofe that fome 
travellers have obferved, and much fmaller than I expected ; 
for here every caufe concurred that mould make the 
.growth of thefe large bodies exceffive. 

At half pall eight o'clock, we encamped at a place called 
Tubbo, where the mountains are very fteep, and broken, 
rery abruptly, into cliffs and precipices. Tubbo was by 
much the moll agreeable ftation we had feen ; the trees 
were thick, full of leaves, and gave us abundance of very 
dark fhade. There was a number of many different kinds 
fo clofely planted that they feemed to be intended for na- 
tural arbours. Every tree was full of birds, variegated with 
an infinity of colours, but derlitute of fbng ; others, of a 
more homely and more European appearance, diverted us 
with a variety of wild notes, in a flile of mufic ftill diftincSt 
and peculiar to Africa ; as different in the compofition from 
our linnet and goldfinch, as our Englifh language is to that 

Vol. III. K of 



of Abyffinia : Yet, from very attentive and frequent obfer- 
vation, I found that the fky-lark at Mafuah fang die fame 
notes as in England. It was obfervable, that the greateft 
part of the beautiful painted birds were of the jay, or mag- 
pie kind : nature feemed, by the finenefs of their drefs, to 
have marked them for children of noife and impertinence, 
but never to have intended them for pleafure or medita- 

The reafon of the Hazorta making, as it were, a fixed 
nation here at Tubbo, feems to be the great exuberancy 
of the foliage of thefe large trees. Their principal occupa- 
tion feemed to be to cut down the branches mofl within 
their reach ; and this, in a dry feafon, nearly ftripped every 
tree ; and, upon failure of thefe, they remove their flocks, 
whatever quantity of grafs remained. 

The fycamores conflitute a large proportion of thefe 
trees, and they arc everywhere loaded with figs ; but the 
procefs of caprification being unknown to thefe favages,, 
thefe figs come to nothing, which elfe might be a great re- 
fource for food at times, in a country which feems almoft 
deflitute of the neceffanes of life. 

We left Tubbo at three o'clock in the afternon, and we 
wiflied to leave the neighbourhood of the Hazorta. At four 3 
we encamped at Lila, where we paned the night in a nar- 
row valley, full ofi trees and brufhwood, by the fide of a ri- 
vulet. Thefe fmall, but delightful flreams, which appear 
on the plain between Taranta and the fea, run only after 
October. When thefummer rains in Abyffinia are ceafing, 
they begin again on the eafl fide of the mountains ; at other 

31 times^ 


times, no running water is to be found here, but it remains 
ftagnant in large pools, whilft its own depth, or the made 
of the mountains and trees, prevent it from being exhaled 
by the heat of the fun till they are again replenished with 
frefh fupplies, which are poured into them upon return of 
the rainy feafon. Hitherto we had conflantly afcended 
from our leaving Arkeeko, but it was very gradually, in- 
deed almoft imperceptibly. 

On the 20th, at fix o'clock in the morning, we left our 
ftation at Lila, and about feven we began to afcend the hills, 
or eminences, which ferve as the roots or fkirts of the great 
mountain Taranta. The road was on each fide bordered 
with nabca, or jujeb trees of great beauty, and fycamores 
perfectly deprived of their verdure and branches. 

We faw to-day plenty of game. The country here is 
everywhere deprived of the lliade it would enjoy from thefe 
fine trees, by the barbarous axes of the Hazorta. We found 
everywhere immenfe flocks of antelopes ; as alfo partridges 
of a fmall kind that willingly took refuge upon trees ; nei- 
ther of thefe feemed to confider us as enemies. The ante- 
lopes let us pafs through their flocks, only removing to the 
right or to the left, or Handing ftill and gazing upon us till 
we paffed. But, as we were then on the confines of Tigre, or 
rather on the territory of the Baharnagafh, and as the Ha- 
zorta were in motion everywhere removing towards the 
coaft, far from the dominions of the Abymnians to which 
we were going, a friend of their own. tribe, who had joined 
us for fafety, knowing how little trail was to be put in his 
countrymen when moving in this contrary direction, advi- 
fcd us by no means to fire, or give any unnecefTary indica- 
te 2 tion 


tion of the fpot where we were, till we gained the moun- 
tain of Taranta, at the foot of which we halted at nine in 
the morning. 

At half pail two o'clock in the afternoon we began to 
afcend the mountain, through a mofl rocky, uneven road, if 
it can deferve the name, not only from its incredible fleep- 
nefs, but from the large holes and gullies made by the tor- 
rents, and the huge monflrous fragments of rocks which, 
loofened by the water, had been tumbled down into our 
way. It was with great difficulty we could creep up, each 
man carrying his knapfack and arms ; but it feemed beyond 
the poffibility of human ftrength to carry our baggage and 
inftruments. Our tent, indeed, fullered nothing by its falls-; 
but our telefcopes, time-keeper, and quadrant, were to be 
treated in a more deliberate and tender manner.. 

Our quadrant had hitherto been carried by eight meo,, 
four to relieve each other ; but thefe were ready to give up 
the undertaking upon trial of the firft few hundred yards. 
A number of expedients, fuch as trailing it on the ground, 
(all equally fatal to the inftrument) were propofed. At laft, 
as I was incomparably the ftrongeft of the company, as well 
as the moil interefled, I, and a Granger Moor who had fol- 
lowed us, carried the head of it for about 400 yards over 
the moll difficult and fteepeft part of the mountain, which 

before had been confidered as impracticable by alh, 


Yasine was the name of that Moor, recommended to me 
by Metical Aga, of whom I have already fpoken a little, and 
fhall be obliged to fay much more ; a perfon whom I had 
thicovered to be a. man of a moll fagacious turn of mind, 



firm heart, and flrenuous nerves ; never more diftinguifhed 
for all thefe qualities than in the hour of imminent danger ; 
at other times remarkable for quietnefs and filence, and a 
conftant ftudy of his Koran. 

We carried it fleadily up the fleep, eafed the cafe gently 
over the big ftones on which, from time to time, we refted 
it ; and, to the wonder of them all, placed the head of the 
three- foot quadrant, with its double cafe, in fafety far above 
the ftony parts of the mountain. At Yafine's requefl we 
again undertook, the next molt difficult talk, which was to 
carry the iron foot of the quadrant in a fmgle deal-cafe, not 
fo heavy, indeed, nor fo liable to injury, but Hill what had 
been pronounced impomble to carry up fo iteep and rugged 
a mountain ; and refufing then the faint offers of thofe that 
Hood gazing below, exculing themfelves by foretelling an 
immediate and certain mifcarriage, we placed the fecond 
cafe about ten yards above the firft in perfect good condi- 

Declaring ourfelves now without fear of contradiction, 
and, by the acknowledgment of all, upon fair proof, the two 
bell men in the company, we returned, bearing very vifibly 
the characters of fuch an exertion ; our hands and knees 
were all cut, mangled, and bleeding, with Aiding down and 
clambering over the fharp points of the rocks ; our clothes 
torn to pieces ; yet we profefTed our ability, without any re- 
proaches on our comrades, to carry the two telefcopes and 
time-keeper alfo. Shame, and the proof of fuperior con- 
ilancy, fo much humbled the reft of our companions, that 
one and all put their hands fo brifkly to work, that, with 
infinite toil, and as much pleafure, we advanced fo far as tc* 

i place 


place all our inflruments and baggage, about; two o'clock 
in the afternoon, near half way up this terrible mountain 
of Taranta. 

There were five aiTes, two of which belonged to Yafine 
and thefe were fully as difficult to bring up the mountain 
as any of our burdens. Moll of their loading, the property 
of Yafine, we carried up the length of my inflruments ; and 
it was propofed, as a thing that one man could do, to make 
the unladen light aiTes follow, as they had been well taken 
care of, were vigorous and young, and had not fuffered by 
the fhort journies we had made on plain ground. They no 
fooner, however, found themfelves at liberty, and that a 
man was compelling them with a Hick to afcend the moun- 
tain, than they began to bray, to kick, and to bite each o- 
ther ; and, as it were with one confent, not only ran down 
the part of the hill we had afcended, but, with the fame jo- 
vial cries as before, (fmelling, I fuppofe, fome of their com- 
panions) they continued on at a briik trot ; and, as we fup- 
pofed, would never Hop till they came to Tubbo, and the 
huts of the Hazorta. 

All our little caravan, and efpecially the mailers of thefe 
animals, faw from above, in defpair, all our eagernefs to 
pafs Taranta defeated by the feceffion of the moll obfli- 
nate of the brute creation. But there was no mending this 
by reflection; at the fame time, we were fo tired as to make 
it impoffible for the principals to give any affiftance. Bread 
was to be baked, and fupper to be made ready, after ^ his fa- 
tiguing journey. 



At length four Moors, one of them a fervant of Yafine, 
with one firelock, were fent down after the afTes ; and the 
men were ordered to fire at a diflance, fo as to be heard in 
cafe any thing difhoneft was offered on the part of the Ha- 
zorta. But luckily the appetite of the afTes returning, they 
had fallen to eat the buffies, about half way to Lila, where 
they were found a little before fun-fet. 

The number of hyaenas that are everywhere among the 
bufhes, had, as we fuppofed, been feen by thefe animals, 
and had driven them all into a body. It was probable that 
this, too, made them more docile, fo that they fuffered 
themfelves to be driven on before their mailers. The hyse- 
nas, however, followed them flep by flep, always increafing 
in number ; and, the men, armed only with lances, began to 
be fully as much afraid for themfelves as for the afTes. At lafl 
the hyamas became fo bold, that one of them feized the afs 
belonging to the poor Moor, whofe cargo was yet lying at 
the foot of Taranta, and pulled him down, though the 
man ran to him and relieved him with lances. This 
would have begun a general engagement with the hyamas, 
had not Yafme's man that carried the firelock difcharged 
it amongfl them, but miffed them all. However, it anfwer- 
ed the purpofe ; they difappeared, and left the afTes and afs^ 
drivers to purfue their way. 

The mot, for a moment, alarmed us all upon the moun- 
tain. Every man ran to his arms to prepare for the coming 
of the Hazorta ; but a moment's reflection upon the fliort 
time the men had been away, the diflance between us and 
Tubbo, and the fmall fpace that it feemedto be from where 
the gun was fired, made us all conclude the man had only in^ 



tended by the fliot to let us know they were at hand, tho* 
it was not till near midnight before our long-eared compa- 
nions joined their mailers. 

We found it impomble to pitch our tents, from the ex- 
treme wearinefs in which our laft night's exertion had left 
us : But there was another reafon alfo ; for there was not 
earth enough covering the bare fides of Taranta to hold 
fall a tent-pin ; but there were variety of caves near us, 
and throughout the mountain, which had ferved for houfes 
to the old inhabitants ; and in thefe found a quiet and 
not inconvenient place of repofe, the night of the 20th of 

All this fide of the mountain of Taranta, which we had 
palled, was thick-fet with a fpecies of tree which we had 
never before feen, but which was of uncommon beauty 
and curious compofition of parts ; its name is kol-quall*. 
Though we afterwards met it in feveral places of AbyfTmia, 
it never was in the perfection we now faw it in Taranta. 

On the 2 ill, at half pafl fix in the morning, having en- 
couraged my company with good words, increafe of wages, 
and hopes of reward, we began to encounter the other half 
of the mountain, but, before we fet out, feeing that the afs 
of the flranger Moor, which was bit by the hyaena, was in- 
capable of carrying his loading further, I defired the reft 
every one to bear a proportion of the loading till we mould 


* See the article kol-quall in the appendix. 


arrive at Dixan, where I promifed to procure him another 
which might enable him to continue his journey. 

This propofal gave univerfal fatisfaction to our Mahome- 
tan attendants. Yafine fwore that my conduct was a re- 
proach to them all, for that, though a Chriitian, I had fct 
them an example of charity to their poor brother, highly 
neceffary to procure God's bleffing upon their journey, but 
which mould properly have come firft from themfelves. 
After a great deal of ftrife of kindnefs, it was agreed that I 
fhould pay one-third, that the lame afs mould go for what 
it was worth, and the Moors of the caravan make up the 

This being ended, I foon perceived the good effect. My 
baggage moved much more brifkly than the preceding day. 
The upper part of the mountain was, indeed, fteeper, more 
craggy, rugged, and flippery than the lower, and impeded 
more with trees, but not embarraffed fo much with large 
Hones and holes. Our knees and hands, however, were cut 
to pieces by frequent falls, and our faces torn by the mul- 
titude of thorny bufhes. I twenty times now thought of 
what Achmet had told me at parting, that I mould curfe him 
for the bad road fhewn to me over Taranta ; but blefs him 
for the quiet and fafety attending me in that paffage. 

The middle of the mountain was thinner of trees than 
the two extremes ; they were chiefly wild olives which bear 
no fruit. The upper part was clofe covered with groves 
of the oxy cedrus, the Virginia, or berry-bearing cedar, in 
the language of the country called Arze. At lalt we gamed 
the top of the mountain, upon which is fituated a fmall vil- 

Vol. III. L lage 


lage called Halai, the firft we had feen fince our leaving 
Mafuah. It is chiefly inhabited by poor fervants and fhep-* 
herds keeping the flocks of men of fubftance living in the. 
town of Dixan, 

The people here are not black, but of a dark complexion • 
bordering very much upon yellow. They have their head 
bare; their feet covered with fandals ; a goat's fkin upon 
their moulders ; a cotton cloth about their middle ; their 
hair fhort and curled like that of a negroe's in the weft part 
of Africa ; but this is done by art, not by nature, each man 
having a wooden Hick, with which . he lays hold of the 
lock and twifts it round a fcrew, till it curls in the form he 
defires*. The men carry in their hands two lances and a 
large fhield of bull's hide. A crooked knife, the blade in • 
the lower part about three inches broad, but diminishing to 
a point about fixteen inches long, is ftuck at their right fide, 
in a girdle of coarfe cotton cloth, with which their middle 
is fwathed, going round them fix times. . 

All forts of cattle are here in great plenty ;. cows and bulls 
of exquifite beauty, efpeciaJTy the former ; they are, for the 
inofl part, completely white, with large dewlaps hanging 
down to their knees; their heads, horns, and hoofs per- 
fectly well-turned ; the horns wide like our Lincolnfhire 
kine; and their hair like filk. Their fheep are large, and* 
all black. I never faw one of any other colour in the pro- 
vince of Tigre. Their heads are large ; their ears remarka- 


* I apprehend this is the fame inftrument ufed by the ancients, and cenfured by the pro-.- 
jhets, which, in out tranilation, is rendered erifping-pins. Ifa, chap. iii„ ver. 22. 


bly fhort and fmall ; inftead of the wool they have hair v 
as all the fheep within the tropics have, but this is remark- 
able for its luftre and foftnefs, without any briftly quality, 
fuch as thofe in Beja, or the country of Sennaar ; but they 
are neither fo fat, nor is their nefh fo good, as that of the 
fheep in the warmer country. The goats here, too, are of 
the largeft fize ; but they are not very rough, nor is their 
hair long. 

The plain on the top of the mountain Taranta was, in 
many places, fown with wheat, which was then ready to be 
cut down, though the harvei' was not yet begun. The 
grain was clean, and of a good colour, but inferior in fize 
to that of Egypt. It did not, however, grow thick, nor was 
the ftalk above fourteen inches high. The water is very 
bad on the top of Taranta, being only what remains 
of the rain in the hollows of the rocks, and in pits prepared 
for it. 

Being very tired, we pitched our tent on the top of the 
mountain. The night was remarkably cold, at leaft ap- 
peared fo to us, whofe pores were opened by the exceffive 
heat of Mafuah ; for at mid-day the thermometer flood 61°, 
and at fix in the evening 59 ; the barometer, at the fame 
time, i8t inches French. The dew began to fall ftrongly, 
and fo continued till an hour after fun-fet, though the 
:fky was perfectly clear, and the fmallefl liars difcernible. 

I killed a large eagle here this evening, about fix feet 
ten inches from wing to wing. It feemed very tame till 
iliot. The ball having wounded it but flightly, when on 
the ground it could not be prevented from attacking the 

X 2 men 


men or beafts near it with great force and fiercenefs, fo that 
I was obliged to ftab it with a bayonet. It was of a dirty 
white ; only the head and upper part of its wings were o f 
a light brown. 

On the 22d, at eight in the morning, we left our ftation on 
the top of Taranta, and foon after began to defcend on the 
fide of Tigre through a road the moll broken and uneven 
that ever I had feen, always excepting the afcent of Taran- 
ta. After this we began to mount a fmall hill, from whicht 
we had a diftincT: view of Dixan^ 

The cedar-trees, fo tall and beautiful on the top of Taran-*. 
ta, and alfo on the eaft fide, were greatly degenerated when, 
we came to the weft, and moftly turned into fmall flirubs 
and fcraggy bullies. We pitched our tent near fome marihy 
ground for the fake of water, at three quarters pail ten, but 
it was very bad, having been, for feveral weeks, ftagnant. 
We faw here the people bufy at their wheat harvefl ;• 
others, who had finilhed theirs, were treading it out 
with cows or bullocks. They make no ufe of their ftraw; 
fometimes they burn it, and fometimes leave, it on the fpot ; 
to rot. 

We fet out from this about ten minutes after three, de* 
fcencling gently through a better road than we had hitherto-, 
feen. At half paft four in the evening, on the 22d of No- 
vember, we came to Dixan. Halai was the firft village, fo, 
is this the firfl town in Abyffinia, on the fide of Taranta,. 
Dixau is built on the top of a hill, perfectly in form of a 
fugar loaf ; a deep valley furrounds it every where like a 

trench .; 
... * \ 


trench, and the road winds fpirally up the hill till it ends 
among the houfes. 

This town, with a large diftrict, and a confiderable num- 
ber of villages, belonged formerly to the Baharnagafh, and 
was one of the ftrong places under his command. After- 
wards, when his power came to be weakened, and his office 
in difrepute by his treafonable behaviour in the war of the 
Turks, and civil war that followed it, during the Portuguefe 
fettlement in the reign of Socinios, the Turks pofleffing the 
fea-ports, and being often in intelligence with him, it 
was thought proper to wink at the ufurpations of the gover- 
nors of Tigre, who, little by little, reduced this office to be 
dependent en their power., 

Dixan, prefuming upon its flrength, declared for inde- 
pendence in the time the two parties were contending ; and,, 
as it was inhabited moftly by Mahometans, it was fecretly 
fupported by the Naybe. Michael Suhul, however, governor 
of Tigre, in the reign of king Yafous II. inverted it with a 
large army of horfe and foot; and, as it hadnowater butwhat 
was in the valley below, the general defect of thefe lofty 
fituations, he furrounded the town, encamping upon the 
edge of the valley, and inclofed all the water within his line 
of circumvallation, making ftrong polls at every watering- 
place, defended by fire-arms.. 

He then fent to them a buffoon, or dwarf, defiring them to* 
furrender within two hours. The paffions of the inhabi- 
tants were, however, railed by expectations of fuccour from 
the Naybe ;- and they detelted Michael above every thing 
that. could be imagined. They, therefore, whipt the dwarf,, 



and inflicted other marks of contumely upon him. Michael 
bore this with feeming indifference. He fent no more fum- 
monfes, but ftrengthened his pofts, and ordered them to be 
continually vifited. Several attacks of no confequence were 
made by the befieged following large ftones, which were rol- 
led down into the trench, but all to no purpofe. A gene- 
ral attack, however, from the town, was tried the third day, 
by which one well was carried, and many relieved their 
thirft ; many died there, and the reft were forced back into 
the town. A capitulation was now offered ; but Michael 
anfwered, he waited for the coming of the Naybe. About 
700 people are faid to have died, during thefiege, with thirft ; 
and at laft, there being no profpect of relief, twelve of the 
leaders were delivered and hanged up at the wells. The 
town furrendered at difcretion, and the foldiers finifhed 
thofe whom thirft had fpared. 

Michael then farmed Dixan to the Naybe, who repeo- 
pled it. There was a high and low town, divided from each 
other by a confiderable fpace. In the lower abode Chrif- 
tians, at leaft fo calling themfelves ; on the top of the hill 
were the Naybe's party, who had dug for themfelves a fcan- 
ty well. Saloome, our guide, was ion of the governor for 
the Naybe. Achmet was the perfon the Moors in the low 
town had confided in ; and the Chriftian chief was a depen- 
dent upon Janni, our Greek friend at Adowa, who had di- 
rection of all the cuftom-houfes in Tigre, and of that at 
Dixan among the reft. 

Our baggage had pafTed the trench, and had reached the 
low town through which Saloome had conducted me, 
under pretence of getting a fpeedy fhelter from the heat: 

2 -but 


But he overawed his part ; and Janni, his fervant, who fpokc 
Greek, giving me a hint to go no farther, I turned fhort 
towards the houfe, and fat down with my firelock upon a 
Hone at the door. Our baggage quickly followed, and all 
was put fafe in a kind of a court inclofed with a fufficient 
ffeone-wail; . 

It was not long till Hagi Abdelcader, Achmet's friend, 
came to us, inviting me civilly to his houfe, and declaring to 
me the friendly orders he had received from Achmet concern- 
ing me ; bringing along with him alfo a goar, fome butter 
and honey. I excufed myfelf from leaving Janni's friend, 
the Chriftian, where I had firft alighted ; but I recommend- 
ed Yafine to him, for he had begun to^ihew great attach^ 
ment "o me. In about a quarter of an hour came Saloome, 
with about twenty merij and demanded us, in the name of 
the Naybe, as his ftrangers : he faid we owed him money for 
conducting us, and likewife for the cuftomhoufe dues. In 
a moment near a hundred men were aflembled round Ha- 
gi Abdelcader, all with fhields and lances, and we expected 
to fee a fray of the moll ferious kind. But Abdelcader, with 
a fwitch in his hand, went gravely up to Saloome, and, af- 
ter chiding his party with great authority, he held up his 
flick twice over Saloome' s head, as if to ftrike him; then or- 
dered him, if he had any demands, to come to him in the 
evening; upon, which both parties difperfed, and left us in 

The matter was- fettled in the evening with Saloome in 
an amicable manner. It was proved that thirteen pieces of 
blue cloth were the hire agreed on, and that it had been 
paid by his order to Achmet ; and, though he deferved no- 


thing for his treacherous inclinations towards us, yet, for 
Achmet's fake, and our friend Hagi Abdelcader's, we made 
him a prefent of three pieces more. 

It is true of Dixan as, I believe, of moft frontier towns, 
that the bad people of both contiguous countries refort thi- 
ther. The town, as I before have faid, confifls of Moors 
and Chriitians, and is very well peopled ; yet the only trade 
of either of thefe feels is a very extraordinary one, that of 
felling of children. The Chriflians bring fuch as they have 
ftolen in Abyilinia to Dixan as to a fure depofit ; and the 
Moors receive them there, and carry them to a certain mar- 
ket at Mafuah, whence they are fent over to Arabia or In- 
dia. The priefts of the province of Tigre, efpecially thofe 
near the rock Damo, are openly concerned in this infamous 
practice ; and fome of thefe have been Iicenfed by Michael 
to carry it on as a fair trade, upon paying fo many firelocks 
for each dozen or fcore of flaves. 

Nothing can elucidate the footing upon which this 
trade ftands better than a tranfaction which happened 
while I was in Ethiopia, and which reached Gondar by 
way of complaint from Mafuah, and was told me by Mi- 
chael himfelf. 

Two priefts of Tigre, whofe names I have forgot, had 
been long intimate friends. They dwelt near the rock Da- 
mo. The youngeft was married, and had t^wo children, 
both fons ; the other was old, and had none. The old one 
reproved his friend one day for keeping his children at 
home idle, and not putting them to fome profeflion by 
which they might gain their bread. The married prieft 
4 pleaded 


pleaded his poverty and his want of relations that could af- 
fift him ; on which, the old prieft offered to place his eldeft 
fon with a rich friend of his own, who had no children, 
and where he mould want for nothing. The propofal was 
accepted, and the young lad, about ten years of age, was de- 
livered by his father to the old prieft, to carry him to this 
friend, who fent the boy to Dixan and fold him there. Up- 
on the old prieft's return, after giving the father a fplendid 
account of his fon's reception, treatment, and profpects, he 
gave him a piece of cotton cloth, as a prefent from his 
fon's patron. 

The younger child, about eight years old, hearing the 
good fortune of his elder brother, became fo importunate to 
be allowed to go and vifit him, that the parents were obliged 
to humour him, and confent. But the old prieft had a fcru- 
pie, faying he would not take the charge of fo young a 
boy, unlefs his mother went with him. This being fet- 
tled, the old prieft conveyed them to the market at Dixan, 
where he fold both the mother and the remaining child. 

Returning to the father, the old prieft told him, that his 
wife would ftay only fo long, and expected he would then 
fetch her upon a certain day, which was named. The day 
being come, the two priefts went together to fee this happy 
family ; and, upon their entering Dixan, it was found that 
the old prieft had fold the young one, but not to the fame 
Moor to whom he had fold his family. Soon after, thefe 
two Moors, who had bought the Chriftians, becoming part- 
ners in the venture, the old prieft was to receive forty cot- 
ton-cloths, that is, L. 10 Sterling, for the hufband, wife, and 
Vol. III. M The 


The payment of the money, perhaps the refentment of 
the family trepanned, and the appearance of equity which 
the thing itfelf bore, fuggefted to theMoorifh merchants that 
there was fome more profit, and not more rilk, if they car- 
ried off the old prieil likewife. But as he had come to Dixan, 
as it were under public faith, in a trade that greatly interefted 
the town, they were afraid to attempt any thing againft him 
whilft there. They began then as it were to repent of their 
bargain, from a pretended apprehenfion that they might be 
flopped and queftioned at going out of town, unlefs he 
would accompany them to fome fmall dhtance ; in conn- 
deration of which, they would give him, at parting, two 
pieces of cloth to he added to the other forty, which he was 
to take back to Tigre with him upon his return. 

The beginning of fuch expeditions is in the night. Wherr 
all w6re afleep, they fet out from Dixan ; the buyers, the 
feller, and the family fold ; and, being arrived near the 
mountain where the way turns off to the defert, the whole 
party fell upon the old prieft, threw him down, and bound 
him. The woman infilled that fhe might be allowed to 
cut, or tear off the little beard he had, in order, as fhe faid, 
to make him look younger ; and this demand was reckon- 
ed too juft to be denied her. The whole five were then 
carried to Mafuah ; the woman and her two children were 
fold to Arabia ; the two priefts had not fo ready a market, 
and they were both in the Naybe's houfe when I was at 
Mafuah, though I did not then know it. 

The Naybe, willing to ingratiate himfelf with Ras Mi- 
chael at a fmall expence, wrote to him an account of the 
tranfaclioiij and offered, as they were priefts, to reftore them 



to him. But the Ras returned for arifwer, that the Nabye 
fhould keep them to be his chaplains ; as he hoped, fomc 
day^ he would be converted to the Chriftian faith himfelf ; 
if not, he might fend them to Arabia with the reft ; they 
would ferve to be carriers of wood and drawers of water ; 
and that there ftill remained at Damo enough of their kind 
to carry on the trade with Dixan and Mafuah. 

This ftory I heard from Ras Michael himfelf, at his grand- 
daughter's marriage, when he was feafting, and in great 
fpirits. He, and all the company, laughed heartily ; and al- 
though there were in the room at leaft two dozen of priefts, 
none of them feemed to take this incident more ferioufly 
than the reft of the company. From this we may guefs at 
the truth of what the Catholic writers advance, with regard 
to the refpect and reverence fhown to the prieithood by the 
government and great men in Abyflinia. 

The prieft of Axum, and thofe of the monaftery of Abba 
Garima, are equally infamous with thofe of Damo for this 
practice, which is winked at by Ras Michael, as contribu- 
ting to his greatnefs, by furnifhing fire-arms to his province 
of Tigre, which gives him a fuperiority over all Abyflinia. 
As a return for this article, about five hundred of thefe 
unfortunate people are exported annually from Mafuah to 
Arabia ; of which three hundred are Pagans, and come 
from the market at Gondar ; the other two hundred are 
Chriftian children, kidnapped by fome fuch manner as this 
we have fpoken of, and in times of fcarcity four times that 
number. The Naybe receives fix patakas of duty for each one 
exported. Dixan is in lat. 14 57' 55" North, and long. 40 6 
Y 30'' eaft of the meridian of Greenwich. 

M 2 From - 


From Dixan we difcovered great part of the province of 
Tigre full of high dreadful mountains. We, as yet, had feen 
very little grain, unlefs by the way-fide from Taranta, 
and a fmall flat called Zarai, about four miles S. S. W. of 
she town. 





Journey from Dixan to Ado-wa^ Capital of TigrK 

IT was on Nov. 25th, at ten in the morning, we left Dixan, 
defcending the very fteep hill on which the town is fitu- 
ated. It produces nothing but the Kol-quall tree all around 
it. We palled a miferable village called Hadhadid, and, at 
eleven o'clock, encamped under a daroo tree, one of the fi- 
nefl I have feen in Abyliinia, being 7-5- feet diameter, with a 
head fpreading in proportion, Handing alone by the fide 
of a river which now ran no more, though there is plenty 
of fine water Hill flagnant in its bed. This tree and river is 
the boundary of the territory, which the Naybe farms from 
Tigre, and Hands within the province of Baharnagaih, called 
Midre Bahar. 

Hagi Abdelcader had attended us thus far before he 
left us ; and the noted Saloome came likewifc, to fee if 
fome occalion would oiFer of doing us. further mifchief ; but 
the king's fervants, now upon their own ground, began to 
take upon them a proper confequence. One of them went 



to meet Saloome at the bank of the river, and making a 
mark on the ground with his knife, declared that his pa- 
tience was quite exhaufted by what he had been witnefs to 
at Mafuah and Dixan ; and if now Saloome, or any other 
man belonging to the Naybe, offered to pafs that mark, he 
would bind him hand and foot, and carry him to a place 
where he fliould be left tied to a tree, a prey to the lion and 
hysena. They all returned, and there our perfecution from 
the Naybe ended. But it was very evident, from Achmet's 
behaviour and difcourfe, had we gone by Dobarwa, which 
was the road propofed by the Naybe, our fufferings would 
not have been as yet half fmifhed, unlefs they had ended 
with our lives. 

We remained under this tree the night of the 25th ; it 
will be to me a fration ever memorable, as the firft where 
X recovered a portion of that tranquillity of mind to which 
I had been a ftranger ever fince my arrival at Mafuah. We 
had been joined by about twenty loaded afTes driven by 
Moors, and two loaded bulls ; for there is a fmall fort of 
this kind called Ber, which they make ufe of as beafts of 
burden. I called all thefe together to recommend good 
order to them, defiring every one to leave me that was not 
refolved to obey implicitly the orders I mould give them, 
as to the hours and places of encamping, keeping watch at 
night, and fetting out in the morning. I appointed Yafine 
the judge of all difputes between them ; and, if the differ- 
ence mould be between Yafine and any one of them, or, if 
they fliould not be content with his decifion, then my de- 
termination was to be final. They all confented with great 
marks of approbation. We then repeated the fedtah, and 
fwore to fland by each other till the laft, without confider- 

3 ing 


ing who the enemy might be, or what his religion was, if 
he attacked us. 

The 26th, at feven in the morning, we left our moll plea- 
fant quarters under the daroo-tree, and fet forward with 
great alacrity. About a quarter of a mile from the river 
we crofTed the end of the plain Zarai, already mentioned. 
Though this is but three miles long, and one where broad- 
eft, it was the largeft plain we had feen fince our palling 
Taranta, whofe top was now covered wholly with large, 
black, and very heavy clouds, from which we heard and 
faw frequent peals of thunder, and violent ftreams of light- 
ning. This plain was fown partly with wheat, partly with 
Indian corn ; the firft was cut down, the other not yet ripe. 
Two miles farther we palled Addicota, a village planted up- 
on a high rock ; the fides towards us were as if cut per- 
pendicular like a wall. Here was one refuge of the Jefuits 
when banifhed Tigre by Facilidas, when they fled to the re- 
bel John Akay. We after this palled a variety of fmall vil- 
lages on each fide of us, all on the top of hills ; Darcotta 
and Embabuwhat on the right, Az aria on the left. 

At half an hour paft eleven we encamped under a 
mountain, on the top of which is a village called Hadawi, 
conlifting of no more than eighty houfes, though, for the 
prefent, it is the feat of the Baharnagafh. The prefent Ba^ 
harnagafh had bought the little diflricl: that he command- 
ed, after the" prefent governor of Tigre, Michael Suhul, had 
annexed to his own province what he pleafed of the old 
domains, and farmed the other part to the Naybe for a lar- 
ger revenue than he ever could. get from any other tenant. 



The Nay be had now no longer a naval force to fupport him, 
and the fear of Turkifli conqueft had.ceafed in Tigre. The 
Naybe could be reduced within any bounds that the gover- 
nor of Tigre might pleafe to prefcribe him ; and the Bahar- 
nagafh was a fervant maintained to watch over him, and 
ftarve him into obedience, by intercepting his provifions 
whenever the governor of Tigre commanded him. 

This nobleman paid me a vilit in my tent, and was the 
iiril AbyfTmian I had feen on horfeback ; he had feven 
attendant horfemen with him, and about a dozen of others 
on foot, all of a beggarly appearance, and very ill-armed 
and equipped. He was a little man, of an olive complex- 
ion, or rather darker ; his head was fhaved clofe, with a 
cowl, or covering, upon it ; he had a pair of iliort troufers ; 
his feet and legs were bare ; the ufual coarfe girdle was 
wrapt feveral times about him, in which he ftuckhis knife; 
and the ordinary web of cotton cloth, neither new nor clean, 
was thrown about him. His parts feemed to be much upon 
the level with his appearance. He afkedme, if I had ever feen 
horfes before ? I faid, Very feldom. He then defcribed their 
qualities in fuch a manner as would never have given 
me any idea of the animal if I had feen it feldom. He ex- 
cufed himfelf for not having fent us provifions, becaufe he 
had been upon an expedition againfi fome rebellious villa- 
ges, and was then only jufl returned. 

To judge by his prefent appearance, he was no very re- 
fpectable perfonage ; but in this I was miflaken, as I after- 
wards found. I gave him a prefent in proportion to the 
firft idea, with which he feemed very well content, till he 
obferved a number of fire-arms tied up to the pillar in the 

r middle 


middle of the tent, among which were two large fhip-blun- 
derbufTes. He afked me if there was no danger of their go- 
ing off? I faid, that it happened every now and then, when 
their time was come; A very little after this, he took the cu- 
fhion upon which he fat; went out, and placed himfelf at the 
door of the tent. There the king's fervant got hold of him, 
and told him roundly, he rnuft furnifh us with a goat, a kid, 
and forty loaves, and that immediately, and wrke it ofF in 
his deftar, or account-book, if he pleafed. He then went 
away and fent us a goat and fifty cakes of tefF bread. 

But my views upon him did not end here. His {even 
horfes were all in very bad order, though there was a black 
one among them that had particularly ftruck my fancy. 
In the evening I fent the king's fervants, and Janni's, for a 
check, to try if he would fell that black horfe. The bar- 
gain was immediately made for various pieces of goods, 
part of which I had with me, and part I procured from my 
companions in the caravan. Every thing was fafhionable 
and new from Arabia. The value was about L. 12. Sterling, 
forty millings more than our friend at Dixan had paid for a 
whole family of four perfons. The goods were delivered, 
and the horfe was to be fent in the evening, when he pro- 
ved a brown one, old, and wanting an eye. I immediately 
returned the horfe, infilling on the black one ; but he pro- 
tefted the black horfe was not his own ; that he had returned 
it to its matter ; and, upon a little further difcourfe, faid, 
that it was a horfe he intended as a prefent for the king. 

My friends treated this with great indifference, and de- 
fired their goods back again, which were accordingly deli- 
vered. But they were no fooner in the tent, when the black 
Vol. III. N horfe 


horfe was fent, and refufed. The whole, however, was made 
up, by fending us another goat, which I gave toYaiine, and 
two jars of bouza, which we drank among us, promifmg, 
according tathe Baharnagafh's requeft,.we would reprefeat 
him well &t court. We found, from his fervants, that he 
had been upon no expedition, nor one Jlep from home for; 
three months paft. 

I was exceedingly pleafed' with this firft acquisition.. 
The horfe was then lean, as he flood about fixteen and a, 
half hands high, of the breed of Dongola. Yafine, a good 
horfemart, recommended to me one of his fervants, or com- 
panions, tQc take care of him. He was an Arab, from the- 
neighbourhood of Medina, a fuperior horfeman hinifelf, 
and every thing that concerned the animal. 
I took him immediately into my fervice.^ We called the- 
horfe Mirza, a/name of good fortune.. Indeed, I might fay, 
1- acquired that day a companion that contributed always to 
my pleafure, and more than once to myfafety; and was, 
no flender means of acquiring me the firftattention of the 
king. I had brought my Arab ftirrups, faddle, and bridle: 
with me, fo that I was now as well equipped as a horfe*- 
man could, be. 

On the 27th we left Hadawi, continuing our journey, 
down a very ffceep and narrow path between two ftony .hills; 
then afcended one ftill higher, upon the top of which ftands 
the large village of Goumbubba, whence we have a/profpeel: 
over a considerable plain all fpwn with the different grain 
this country produces, wheat, barley, teff, and tocuffo; fim- 
iim, (or fefame)^ and nook; the laft is ufed for. oil. 



We patted the village of Dergate, then that of Regticat, 
on the top of a very high hill on the left, as the other was 
on our right. We pitched our tent about half a mile off 
the village called Barranda, where we were overtaken by 
our friend the Baharnagafh, who was fo well pleafed with 
our laft interview, efpecially the bargain of the horfe, that 
he fent us three goats, two jars of honey- wine, and fome 
wheat-flour. I invited him to my tent, which he imme- 
diately accepted. He was attended by two fervants on foot, 
with lances and fhields ; he had no arms himfelf, but, by 
way of amends, had two drums beating, and two trumpets 
blowing before him, founding a charge. 

He feemed to be a very frmple, good-natured man, in- 
deed, remarkably fo ; a character rarely found in any degree 
of men in this country. He afked me how I liked my horfe I 
faid, he hoped I did not intend to mount it myfelf ? I an- 
fwered, God forbid ; I kept him as a curionty. He commend- 
ed my prudence very much, and gave me a long detail a- 
bout what horfes had done, and would do., on occafions. 
Some of the people without, however, mewed his fer- 
vants my faddle, bridle, and ftirrups, which they well knew, 
from being neighbours to the Arabs of Sennaar, and prai- 
fed me as a better horfeman by far than any one in 
that country ; this they told to the Baharnagafh, who, no- 
thing offended, laughed heartily at the pretended ignorance 
I had fhewn him, and (hook me very kindly by the hand, 
and told me he was really poor, or he would have taken no 
money from me for the horfe. He fhewed fo much good 
nature, and open honeit behaviour, that I gave him a pre- 
fent better than the nrii, and which was more agreeable, as 
lefs expected. -Razors, knives, fleels for flriking fire, are 

-N 2 the 


the molt valuable prefents in this country, of the hardware 

The Baharnagafh now was in fuch violent good fpirits, 
that he Would not go home till he had feen a good part. of 
his jar of hydromel finifhed ; and he little knew, at that time, 
he was in the tent with a man who was to be his chief cu- 
Aomer for horfes hereafter. I faw him feveral times after 
at court, and did him fome fervices, both with the king and 
Ras Michael. He had a quality which I then did not know: 
With all his fimplicity and buffoonery, no one was braver 
in his own perfon than he; and, together with his youngeft 
fon, he died afterwards in the king's defence, fighting brave- 
ly at the battle of Serbraxos. 

At five o'clock this afternoon we had a violent fhower 
of hailftones. Nothing is more common than aggravation 
about the fize of hail ; but, Hooping to take up one I thought 
as large as a nutmeg, I received a blow from another juft 
under my eye, which I imagined had blinded me, and which 
occafioned a fwelling all the next day.. 

I had gained the B ah arn again' s heart fo entirely that it 
was not pofiible to get away the next day. We were upon 
the very verge of his fmall dominions, and he had ordered 
a quantity of wheat- flour to be made for us, which he fent 
in the evening, with a kid. For my part, the mare I had 
taken yefterday of his hydromel had given me fuch a pain 
in my head that 1 fcarce could raife it the whole day. 

It was the 29th we left our ilation at Barranda, and had 
fearcely advanced a mile when we were overtaken by a 



party of about twenty armed men on horfeback. The 
Shangalla, the ancient Cufhites, are all the way on our 
ri j|it hand, and frequently venture incurfions into the flat 
country that was before us. This was the latt piece of at- 
tention of the Baharnagaih, who fent his party to guard us 
from danger in the plain. It awakened us from our fecuri- 
ty ; we examined carefully the ftate of our fire-arms ; cleaned 
and charged them anew, which we had not done fince the 
day we left Dixan. 

The firft part of our journey to-day was in a deep gully ; 
and,, in half an hour, we entered into averypleafantwoodof 
acacia- trees, then in flower. In it likewife was a tree, in fmell 
likeahoneyfuckle,whofe large white flower nearly refembles 
that of a caper. We came out of this wood into the plain, 
and afcended two eafy hills ; upon the top of thefe were 
two huge rocks, in the holes of which, and within a large 
cave, a number of the blue fork- tailed f wallows had beeun 
their nefts. Thefe, and probably many, if not all the birds of 
pafTage, breed twice in the year, which feems a provifion a- 
gamft the loiTes made by emigration perfectly confonant 
to divine wifdom. 1'hefe rocks are, by fome, laid to be the 
boundaries of the command of the Baharnagaih on this fide ; 
though others extend them to the Balezat. 

We entered again a draggling wood, fo overgrown with 
wild oats that it covered the men and their horfes. The plain 
here is very wide. It reaches down on the weft to Serawe, 
then diftant about twelve miles. It extends from Goum- 
bubba as far fouth as Balezat. The foil is excellent ; 
but fuch flat countries are very rare in Abyflinia. This, 
which is one of the fined and widen, is abandoned without 



culture, and is in a Mate of wafle. The reafon of this is, an in- 
veterate feud between the villages here and thofe of Sera we, 
fo that the whole inhabitants on each fide go armed to 
.plow and to fow in one day ; and it is very feldom either 
of them complete their harvefl without having a battle 
with their enemies and neighbours. 

Before we entered this wood, and, indeed, on the pre- 
ceding day, from the time we left Hadawi, we had feen a 
very extraordinary bird at a diftance, refembling a wild 
turkey, which ran exceedingly fail, and appeared in great 
flocks. It is called Erkoom *, in Amhara ; Abba Gumba, 
in Tigre ; and, towards the frontiers of Sennaar, Tier el Naci- 
ba, or, the Bird of Defliny. 

Our guides aflembled us all in a body, and warned us 
that the river before us was the place of the rendezvous 
of the Sera we horfe, where many caravans had been entire- 
ly cut off. The cavalry is the bell on this fide of Abyffinia. 
They keep up the breed of their horfes by their vicinity to 
Sennaar whence they get fupply. Neverthelefs, they be- 
haved very ill at the battle of Limjour ; and I cannot fay I 
remember them to have diilinguhlied themfelves any 
where elfe. They were on our right at the battle of Ser- 
braxos, and were beat by the horfe of Foggora and the Galla. 

After palling the wood, we came to the river, which 
was then Handing in pools. I here, for the firft time, 
mounted on horfeback, to the great delight of my compa- 

See the article -Erkoom Jn the Appendix, 


nions from Barranda, andalfo of our own, none of whom had 
ever before feen a gun fired from a horfe galloping, except- 
ing Yafme and his fervant, now my groom, but neither of 
thefe had ever feen a double-barrelled gun. We palled the 
plain with all the diligence confident with tlie fpeed. and ca- 
pacity of our long-eared convoy ; and, having now gained 
the hills, we bade defiance to the Serawe horfe, and fent our 
guard back perfectly content, and full of wonder at our fire- 
arms, declaring, that their mailer the Baharnagath, had he 
feen the black horfe behave that day, would have given me, 
another much better.., 

We entered now into a elbfe country covered with bruih- 
wood, wild oats, and high ben t-grafs ; in many places rocky 
and uneven, fo as fcarce to leave a narrow part to pafs. 
juft in the very entrance a lion had killed a very fine ani- 
mal called Agazan. It is of the goat kind ; and, excepting 
a fmall variety in colour, is precifely the fame animal I had 
feen in Barbary near Capfa. It might be about twelve flone 
weight, and of the fize of a large als. (Whenever I mention 
a. ftone weight, I would wiili to be underflood. horfe man's 
weight, fourteen pound to the flone, as moil familiar to 
the generality of thofe who read thefe Travels.) The animal 
was fcarcely dead ; the blood was running ; and the noife of 
my gun had probably frightened its conqueror away : every 
one with their knives cut off a large portion of flem. ; Moors 
and Chriftians did the fame ; yet the-Abyilinians averfion to^ 
any thing that is dead is fiich, unlefs killed regularly by 
the knife, that none of them would lift any bird that was 
fliot, unlefs by the point or extreme feather of. its wing. 
Hunger was not the excufe, for they had been plentifully 
fed alfthis journey ; fo that the diftinction, in this pavtieu- 

3. lar 


lar cafe, is to be found in the manners of the country. 
They fay they may lawfully eat what is killed by the lion, 
but not by the tiger, hyaena, or any other beaft. Where they 
learned this doctrine, I believe, would not be eafy to an- 
fwer;- but it is remarkable, even the Falafha themfelves 
admit this diflinction in favour of the lions. 

At noon we croffed the river Balezat, which rifes at Ade 
Shiho, a place on the S. W. of the province of Tigre ; and, 
after no very long courfe, having been once the boundary 
between Tigre and Midre Bahar, (for fo the country of the 
Baharnagafh was called) it falls into the Mareb, or ancient 
Afcufafpes. It was the firfT river, then actually running, that 
we had feen fince we pafTed Taranta ; indeed, all the fpace is 
but very indifferently watered. This ftream is both clear 
and rapid, and feems to be full of fim. We continued for 
fome time along its banks, the river on our left, and the 
mountains on our right, through a narrow plain, till we 
came to TomumbufTo, a high pyramidal mountain, on the 
top of which is a convent of monks, who do not, however, 
refide there, but only come hither upon certain feafts, when 
they keep open houfe and entertain all that vifit them. 
The mountain itfelf is of porphyry. 

There we encamped by the river's fide, and were obli- 
ged to flay this and the following day, for a duty, or cuftom, 
to be paid by all paffengers. Thefe duties are called Awides, 
which ngnifies gifts ; though they are levied, for the molt 
part, in a very rigorous and rude manner ; but they are e- 
ftablifhed by ufage in particular fpots ; and are, in fact, a 
regality annexed to the eflate. Such places are called Ber, 
pajfes) which are often met with in the names of places 

3 , through- 


throughout Abyfilnia, as Dingleber, Sankraber; and fo 

There are five of thefe Awides which, like turnpikes, are 
to be paid at palling between Mafuah and Adowa ; one at 
Samhar, the iecond at Dixan, the third at Darghat, the 
fourth here at Balezat, and the fifth at Kella^ The fmall 
village of Sebow was diftant from us two miles to the eaft; 
Zarow the fame diflance to the S. S. E. and Noguet, a vil- 
lage before us, were the places of abode of thefe tax-gather- 
ers, who farm it for a fum from their fuperior, and divide 
the profit pro rata of the fums each has advanced. It is 
much of the fame nature as the caphar in the Levant, but le- 
vied in a much more indifcreet, arbitrary manner. The 
farmer of this duty values as he thinks proper what each 
caravan is to pay ; there is no tariff, or reftraint, upon him. 
Some have on this account been detained months ; and o- 
thers, in time of trouble or bad news, have been robbed of 
every thing : this is always the cafe upon the leafl refinance; 
for then the villages around you rife in arms ; you are 
not only ftript of your property, but fure to be ill-treated 
in your perfon. 

As I was fent for by the king, and going to Ras Michael, 
in whofe province they were, I affected to laugh when they 
talked of detaining me ; and declared peremptorily to them, 
that I would leave all my baggage to them with great plea- 
fure, rather than that the king's life mould be in danger 
by my flay. They were now flaggered, and feemed not 
prepared for an incident of this kind. As I kept up a high 
tone, we were quit with being detained a day, by paying 
five pieces of blue Surat cotton cloth, value \ of a pataka 

Vol. III. O each' 


each, and one piece of white, value one pataka. Our com- 
panions, rather than Hay behind, made the bell bargain 
they could ; and we all decamped, and fet forward together. 
I was furprifed to fee, at the fmall village Zarow, feveral 
families as black as perfect negroes, only they were not 
woolly-headed, and had prominent features. I afked if they 
defcended from Haves, or fons of Haves ? They faid, No ; 
their particular families of that and the neighbouring vil- 
lage Sebow> were of that colour from time immemorial ;, 
and that this did not change, though either the father or 
mother were of another colour. 

On the ift of December we departed from Baiezat, an# 
afcended a fteep mountain upon which Hands the village 
Noguet, which we palled about half an hour after. On the 
top of the hill were a few fields of tefl- Harvelt was then 
ended, and they were treading out the tefF with oxen. Ha- 
vingpalTedanother very rugged mountain, we defcended and 
encamped by the fide of a fmall river, called Mai Kol-quall, 
from a number of thefe trees growing about it. This place 
is named the Kella, or Cattle, becaufe, nearly at equal dis- 
tances, the mountains on each fide run for a confiderable: 
extent, flraight and even, in fhape like a wall, with gapes, 
at certain diftances, refembling embrafures and ballions. 
This rock is otherwife called Damo, anciently the prifon 
of the collateral heirs-male of the royal family.. 

The river Kof-quall rifes in the mountains of Tigre r and,, 
after a courfe nearly N. W. falls into the Mareb. It was at 
Kella we faw, for the firft time,, the roofs of the houfes. 
made in form of cones ; a fure proof that the tropical rains 
grow more violent as they proceed weflwarcL 

1 About 


About half a mile on the hill above is the village Kai- 
bara, wholly inhabited by Mahometan Gibbertis ; that is, na- 
tive Abyffinians of that religion. Kella being one of thefe 
bers, or paflages, we were detained there three whole days, 
by the extravagant demands of thefe farmers of the Awide, 
who laughed at all the importance we gave ourfelves. They 
had reafons for our reafons, menaces for our menaces, but no 
civilities to anfwer ours. What increafed the awkwardnefs of 
our fituation was, they would take no money for provifions, 
but only merchandife by way of barter. We were, indeed, 
prepared for this by information ; fo we began to open fhop 
by fpreading a cloth upon the ground, at the fight of which, 
hundreds of young women poured down upon us on every 
lide from villages behind the mountains which we could 
not fee. The country is furprifingly populous, notwith- 
standing the great emigration lately made with Michael. 
Beads and antimony are the Standard in this way-faring 
commerce; but beads are a dangerous fpeculation. You 
lofe fome times every thing, or gain more than honeftly 
you mould do ; for all depends upon f aihion ; and the 
fancies of a brown, or black beauty, there, gives the ton 
\2bS decifively as does the example of the faireft in England, 

To our great difappointment, the perfon employed to 
ouy our beads at Jidda had not received the laft lift of fa- 
ihions from this country ; fo he had bought us a quantity 
beautifully lowered with red and green, and as big as a 
large pea ; alfo fome large oval, green, and yellow ones ; 
whereas the ton now among the beauties of Tigre were 
fmall fky-coloured blue beads, about the fize of fmall 
lead fhot, or feed pearls ; blue bugles, and common 
•white bugles, were then in demand, and large yellow 

O 2 glaf s 


glafs, flat in the fides like the amber- beads formerly ufed" 
by the better fort of the old women- peafants in England. 
All onr beads were then rejected, by fix or feven dozen of 
the fhrilleft tongues I ever heard. They decried our mer- 
chandize in fuch a manner, that I thought they meant to 
condemn them as unfaieable, to be confifcated or deftroyed. 

Let every man, travelling in fuch countries as thefe, re*» 
member, that there is no perfon, however mean, who is* 
in his company, that does not. merit. attention, kindnefs, 
and complacency. Let no man in travelling exalt himfelf 
above the loweft, in a greater degree than he is able to do 
fuperior fervice ; for many that have thought themfelves. 
fafe, and been inattentive to this, have perifhed by the un- 
fufpected machinations of. the loweft and meanefi wretch 
among them. Few have either made fuch long or fuch fre- 
quent journies of this kind as I, and I fcarcely recollect any. 
perfon. fo infignificant that, before the end of a moderate 
journey, had not it in his power to return you like for like, 
for your charity or unkindnefs, be the difference of your. 
quality and condition what it would,. 

Or air the men in our company, none had any flock of 
the true fmall iky- blue beads, and no one had one grain of 
the large yellow- glafs ones, but the poor Moor, whofe afs 
was bit by the hyaena near Lila, and whofe cargo, likely to 
be left behind at the foot of Tar ant a, I had diftributed a^ 
mong the reft of the affes of the caravan ; and, leaving the 
wounded one for the price he would fetch, had next day 
bought him another at Halai, with which, fince that time; 
he continued his journey, . That fellow had felt the obliga- 
iionjn fjlence ; and not one word, but Good-day, and Good* 

e'en j. 


e'en, had patted between us fince conferring the favour. 
TJnderflanding now what was the matter, he called. Yafine,' 
and gave him a large package, which he imprudently open- 
ed, in which was a treafure of all the beads- in fafhion, all* 
but the white and blue bugles, and thefe Yaline himfelf fur- 
niftied us with afterwards. 

A great fliout was fet up by the women - purchafers,- 
and a violent fcramble followed. Twenty or thirty threw 
themfelves upon the parcel, tearing and breaking all the 
firings as if they intended to plunder us. This joke did not 
feem to be reltfhed by the fervants. Their hard- heartednefs 
before, in profefling they would let us ftarve rather than: 
give us a handful of flour for all our unfafhionable beads; 
had quite extinguished the regard we elfe wo|ild have un- 
avoidably fhewn to the fair fex; A dozen of whips and 
flicks were laid unmercifully upon their hands and arms, 
till each dropped her booty. The Abyflinian men that 
came with them feemed to be perfectly unconcerned at the 
fray, and flood laughing without the leaft fign of wifhing 
to interfere in favour of either fide. I believe the reftitution 
would not have been complete, had not Yaline, who knew 
the country well, fired one of the mip-blunderbufFes into 
the air behind their backs. At hearing fo unexpectedly 
this dreadful noife, both men and women fell flat on their 
faces ; the women were immediately dragged off the cloth:, 
and I do not believe there was ftrength left in any hand to 
grafp or carry away afingle bead. My men immediately wrap- 
ped the whole in the cloth, fo for a time our market ended. - 

For my part, at the firft appearance of the combat I 'had 
withdrawn myfelf, and fat a quiet fpectator under a tree. 



Some of the women were really fo difordered with the fright, 
that they made but very feeble efforts in the market after- 
wards. The reft befeeched me to transfer the market to the 
carpet I fat on under the tree. This I confented to ; but, 
growing wife by misfortune, my fervants now produced 
fmall quantities of every thing, .and not without a very 
lharp conteft and difpute, fomewhat fuperior in noife to that 
of our fifh-women. We were, however, plentifully fup- 
plied with honey, butter, flour, and pumpkins of an ex- 
ceeding good tafte, fcarcely inferior to melons. 

Our caravan being fully victualled the firft and fecond 
day, our market was not opened but by private adventurers, 
and feemingly favoured more of gallantry than gain. There 
were three of them the moll diftinguifhed for beauty and 
for tongue, who, by their difcourfe, had entertained me 
greatly. I made each of them a prefent of a few beads, and 
afked them how, many kifTes they would give for each? 
They anfwered very readily, with one accord, " Poh! we 
don't fell kifTes in this country: Who would buy them? 
We will give you as many as you wifh for nothing." And 
there was no appearance but, in that bargain, they meant 
to be very fair and liberal dealers. 

The men feemed to have no talent for marketing ; nor 
do they in this country either buy or fell. But we were 
furprifed to fee the beaux among them come down to the 
tent, the fecond day after our arrival, with each of them a 
fingle firing of thin, white bugles tied about their dirty, 
hlack legs, a little above their ancle ; and of this they feem- 
ed as proud as if the ornament had been gold or jewels. 



I easily faw that fo much poverty, joined to fo much 
avarice and pride, made the poffeffbr a proper fubjedl to be 
employed. My young favourite, who had made fo frank 
an offer of her kindnefs, had brought me her brother, beg- 
ging that I would take him with me to Gondar to Ras Mi- 
chael, and allow him to carry one of my guns, no doubt with 
an intention to run off with it by the way. I told her that was 
a thing eafdy done ; but I mull firft have a trial of his fide- 
lity, which was this, That he would, without fpeaking to 
anybody but me and her, go ftraight to Janni at Adowa, and 
carry the letter I mould give him, and deliver it into his 
own hand, in which cafe I would give him a large parcel 
of each of thefe beads, more than ever fhe thought to pof- 
fefs in her lifetime. She frankly agreed, that my word was 
more to be relied upon than either her own or her brother's ; 
and, therefore, that the beads, once fhewn to them both, 
were to remain a depofit in my hand. However, not to fend 
him away wholly deftitute of the power of charming, I 
prefented him the fmgle firing of white bugles for his ancle. 
Janni's Greek fervant gave him a letter, and he made fuch 
diligence that, on the fourth day, by eight o'clock in the 
morning, he came to my tent without ever having been 
miffed at home. 

At the fame time came an officer from Janni, with a vio- 
lent mandate, in the name of Ras Michael, declaring to the 
perfon that was the caufe of our detention, That, was it not 
for ancient friendfhip,. the prefent meffenger mould have- 
carried him to Ras Michael in irons ; discharging me from 
all awides ; prdering him, as Shum of the place, to furniffi 
me with provifions ; and, in regard to the time he had can- 
fed us to lofe, fixing the awides of the whole caravan as 



eight piafters, not the twentieth part of what he would have 
exacted. One reafon of this feverity was, that, while I was 
in Mafuahjanni had entertained this man at his own houfe ; 
and, knowing the ufual vexations the caravans met with at 
Kella, and the long time they were detained there at confi- 
derable expence, had obtained a promife from the Shum, 
in consideration of favours done him, that he mould let us 
pafs freely, and, not only fo, but mould mew us fome little 
civility. This promife, now broken, was one of the articles 
of delinquency for which he was punilhed. 

Cohol, large needles, goats Ikins, coarfe fchTars, razors, 
and Heels for ftriking fire, are the articles of barter at Kel- 
la. An ordinary goat's fkin is worth a quart of wheat-flour. 
As we expected an order of deliverance, all was ready up- 
on its arrival. The Moors with their afTes, grateful for the 
benefit received, began to blefs the moment they joined us ; 
hoping, in my confideration, upon our arrival at the 
cuftomhoufe of Adowa, they might meet with further fa- 

Yasine, in the four days we had ftaid at Kella, had told 
me his whole hiilory. It feems he had been fettled in a 
province of Abyflinia, near to Sennaar, called Ras el Feel; 
had married Abd el Jilieel, the Shekh's daughter ; but, grow- 
ing more popular than his father-in-law, he had been per- 
secuted by him, and obliged to leave the country. He began 
now to form hopes, that, if I was well received, as he faw, 
in ail appearance, I was to be, he might, by my interest, be 
appointed to his father-in-law's place ; efpecially if there 
was war, as every thing feemed to indicate. Abd el Jilieel 
was a coward, and incapable of making himfelf of perfonal 

4 value 


valued to any party. On the contrary, Yafine was a tried man, 
an excellent horfeman, ftrong, active, and of known courage* 
having been twice with the late king Yafous in his inva- 
fions of Sennaar, and both times much wounded there. It 
was impoffible to difpute his title to preferment ; but I had 
not formed that idea of my own fuccefs that I fhould be 
able to be of any ufe or afliflanGe to him in it. Kella is in 
lat. 1 4° 24/ 34" North. 

It was in the afternoon of the 4th that we fet out from 
Kella ; our road was between two hills covered with thick 
wood. On our right was a cliff, or high rock of granite, 
on the top of which were a few houfes that feemed to hang 
over the cliff rather than (land upon it. A few minutes 
after three o' clock we palled a rivulet, and a quarter of an 
nour afterwards another, both which run into the Mai eb. 
We ftill continued to defcend, furrounded on ail fides with 
mountains covered with high grafs and brufhwood, and a- 
nounding with lions. At four, we arrived at the foot of 
the mountain, and paffed a fmall ftream which runs there. 

We had feen no villages after leaving Kella. At half pad 
four o'clock we came to a confiderable river called An- 
gueah, which we crofTed, and pitched our tent on the far- 
ther fide of it. It was about fifty feet broad and three in 
-depth. It was perfectly clear, and ran rapidly over a bed of 
white pebbles, and was the largefl river we had yet feen in 
Habefh. In fummer there is very little plain ground near 
it but what is occupied by the ftream ; it is full of fmall 
nfh, in great repute for their goodnefs. 

Vol. III. P This 


This river has its name from a beautiful tree, which co- 
vers both its banks. This tree, by the colour of its bark 
and richnefs of its flower, is a great ornament to the banks 
of the river. A variety of other flowers fill the whole level 
plain between the mountain and the river, and even fome 
way up the mountains. In particular, great variety of jefla.- 
min, white, yellow, and party-coloured. The country feem- 
ed now to put on a more favourable afpect ; the air was 
much frefher, and more pleafant, every ftep we advanced af- 
ter leaving Dixan; and one caufe was very evident ; the 
country where we now pafTed was well-watered with clear 
running fireams ; whereas, nearer Dixan,. there were few,, 
and all flagnant,. 

The 5th, we defcended a fmall mountain for about twentyr 
minutes, and pafTed the following villages, Zabangella, about 
a mile N.. W. ; at a quarter of an hour after, Moloxito, half 
a mile furthers. E. ; and Manfuetemen v three quarters of a 
mile E. S. E. Thefe villages are all the property of the A- 
buna ; who has alfo a duty upon all. merchandife palling 
there ; but Ras Michael had confiscated thefe lafl villages 
on account of a quarrel he had with the laft Abuna, Af-Ya~- 

We now began firfl to fee the high mountains of A^- 
dowa, nothing refembling in fhape to thofe of Europe, nor, 
indeed, any other country. Their fides were all perpendicu- 
lar rocks, high like fteeples, or obelifks,. and broken into a 
thoufand different forms. 

Ax half paft eight o'clock we left the deep valley, wherein 
suns theMareb W. N. W. ; at the didance of about nine miles 

4 above 


above it is the mountain, or high hill, on which ftands Zarai, 
now a collection of villages, formerly two convents built 
by Lalibala ; though the monks tell you a ftory of the queen 
of Saba refiding there, which the reader may be perfectly 
fatisfied fhe never did in her life. 

The Mareb is the boundary between Tigre and the Ba- 
harnagafh, on this fide. It runs over a bed of foil ; is large, 
deep, and fmooth ; but, upon rain falling, it is more danger- 
ous to pafs than any river in Abyffinia, on account of 
the frequent holes in its bottom. We then entered the nar- 
row plain of Yeeha, wherein runs the fmall river, which 
either gives its name to, or takes it from it, The Yeeha 
rife? from many fources in the mountains to the weft ; it 
is neither confiderable for fize nor its courfe, and is fwal- 
lowed up in the Mareb. 

The harveft was in great forwardnefs in this place. The 
Wheat was cut, and a confiderable fiiare of the tefF in ano- 
ther part ; they were treading out this laft-mentioned grain 
with oxen. The Dora, and a fmall grain called telba, (of 
which they make oil) was not ripe. 

At eleven o'clock we relied by the lide of the mountain 
whence the river falls. All the villages that had been built 
here bore the marks of the juftice of the governor of Tigre. 
They had been long the moll incorrigible banditti in the 
province. He furrounded them in one night, burnt their, 
houfes, and extirpated the inhabitants ; and would never 
fufFer any one fmce to fettle there. At three o'clock in the 
afternoon we afcended what remained of the mountain of 
Yeeha ; came to the plain upon its top ; and, at a quarter be- 

P 2 fore 


fore four, palled the village of that name, leaving it to the^ 
S. E. and began the moft rugged and dangerous defcent we - 
had met with finceTaranta. 

At half pail five in the evening we pitched our tent at 
the foot of the hill, clofe by a fmall, but rapid and clear 
ftream, which is called Ribieraini. This name was given 
it by the banditti of the villages before mentioned, becaufe- 
from this you fee two roads ; one leading from Gondar, that 
is, from the weftward ; the other from the Red Sea to the 
eaitward. One of the gang that ufed to be upon the out- 
look from this ftation, as foon as any caravan came in fight, , 
cried out, Ribieraini, which in Tigre fignifies they are coming; 
this 'may ; upon which notice every one took his lance and 
Ihield, and Rationed himfelf properly to fall with advan- 
tage upon the unwary merchant; and it was a current report, 
which his prefent greatnefs could not ftifle, that, in his 
younger days, Ras Michael himfelf frequently was on thefe 
expeditions at this place. On our right was the high, fteep, 
and rugged mountain of Sam ay at, which the fame Mi- 
chael, being in rebellion, chofe for his place of itrength,^ 
and was there befieged and taken prifoner by the late king 

The rivulet of Ribieraini is the fource of the fertility of 
the country adjoining, as it is made to overflow every part 
of this plain, and furniihes a perpetual ftore of grafs, which 
.is the reafon of the caravans chufing to flop here. Two or 
three harvefts are alfo obtained by means of this river ; for, 
provided there is water, they fow in Abyffinia in all feafons. 
We perceived that we were now approching fome confider-r 
able town, by the great care with which every piece of fmall 



ground, and even the fleep fides of the mountains, were cul- 
tivated, though they had ever fo little foil. . 

On Wednefday the 6th of December, at eight o'clock in 
the morning, we fet out from Ribieraini ; and in about three 
hours travelling on a very pleafant road, over eafy hills and 
through hedge-rows of jefTamin, honey-fuckle, and many 
kinds of flowering fhrubs we arrived at Adowa, where once 
refided Michael Suhul, governor of Tigre. It was this day 
we faw, for the firft time, the fmall, long-tailed green pa- 
roquet, from the hill of Shillodee, where, as I have already 
mentioned, we firft came in fight of the mountains of A- 

^ i Ts ssl- 1— • ' • - — ==Wg 

v. iii. p CHA P. 


SLJfi » ' r — ■ ■ — Sb $&Ji 


Arrive at Adowa-~~Reception there — Vifit Fremona and Ruins ofAxum*— 

Arrive at Sire. 

A DOW A is fituated on the declivity of a hill, on the weft 
fide of a fmall plain furrounded everywhere by moun- 
tains. Its nutation accounts for its name, which fignifies 
pa/}, or paffage, being placed on the flat ground immediately 
below Ribieraini ; the pafs through which every body muft 
go in their way from Gondar to the Red Sea. 

This plain is watered by three rivulets which are never 
dry in the midfl of fummer > the Afla, which we crofs juft 
below the town when coming from the eaflward ; the Mai 
Gogua, which runs below the hill whereon (lands the vil- 
lage of the fame name formerly, though now it is called 
Fremona, from the monaflery of the Jefuits built there ; and 
the Ribieraini, which, joining with the other two, falls 
into the river Mare b, about 22 miles below Adowa. There 
are nfli in thefe three ftreams, but none of them remarkable 



for their fize, quantity, or goodnefs. The belt are thofe of 
Mai Gogua, a clear and pleafant rivulet, running very vio- 
lently and with great noife. This circumftance, and igno- 
rance of the language, has milled the reverend father Je- 
rome, who fays, that the water of Mai Gogua is called fo 
from the noife that it makes, which, in common language, 
is called guggling. This is a miilake, for Mai Gogua fig^ 
nifies the river of owls. 

There are many agreeable fpots to the fouth-eaft of the 
convent, on the banks of this river, which are thick- fhaded 
with wood and Adowa confifts of about 300 houfes, 
and occupies a much larger fpace than would be thought 
neceiTary for thefe to ftand on, by reafon that each houfe 
has an inclofure round it of hedges and trees; the lafl 
chiefly the wanzey.. The number of thefe trees fo planted 
in all the towns, fcreen them fo, that, at a diftance, they 
appear fo many woods. Adowa was not formerly the capi~ 
talof Tigre, but has accidentally become fo upon the accef- 
lion of this governor, whofe property, or paternal eflate, : 
lay in and about it, His manfion-houfe is not diftinguifhu 
ed from any of the others in the town unlefs by its fize ; v 
it is iituated upon the top of the hill. The perfon who is 
Michael's deputy, in his abfence, lives in it* It refembles a? 
prifon rather than a palace \ for there are in and about it 
above three hundred perfons in irons, fome of whom have 
been there for twenty years, moftly with a view to extort 
money from them ; and, what is the mofl unhappy, even 
when they have paid the fum of money which he afks, do 
not get their deliverance from his mercilefs hands ; moft of 
them are kept in cages like wild beafls, and treated every 
■way in the fame manner. 



But what defervedly interefled us moft was, the appear- 
ance of our kind and hofpitable landlord, Janni. He had 
fent fervants to conduct us from the pafTage of the river, 
and met us himfelf at the outer-door of his houfe. I do 
not remember to have feen a more refpectable figure. He 
had his own fhort white hair, covered with a thin muflin 
turban, a thick well- fhaped beard, as white as fnow, down to 
his waift. He was clothed in the Abyffinian drefs, all of white 
cotton, only he had a red filk fafh, embroidered with gold, 
about his waift, and fandals on his feet ; his upper garment 
reached down to his ancles. He had a number of fervants 
and Haves about him of both fexes ; and, when I approach- 
ed him, feemed difpofed to receive me with marks of hu- 
mility and inferiority, which mortified me much, confider- 
ing the obligations I was under to him, the trouble I had 
given, and was unavoidably llill to give him. 1 embraced 
him with great acknowledgments of kindnefs and grati- 
tude, calling him father; a title I always ufed in fpeaking 
either to him or of him afterwards, when I was in higher 
fortune, which he conflantly remembered with great plea- 

He conducted us through a court yard planted with jef- 
famin, to a very neat, and, at the fame, time, large room, fur- 
nifhed with a filk fofa ; the floor was covered with Perfian car- 
pets and cufhions. All round, flowers and green leaves 
were ftrewed upon the outer yard ; and the windows and 
fides of the room ftuck full of evergreens, in commemora- 
tion of the -Chriftmas fefHval that was at hand. I ftopt at 
the entrance of this room ; my feet were both dirty and 
bloody ; and k is not good-breeding to mow or fpeak of 
jour feet in Abyfiinia, efpccially if any tiling ails them, 

2. and 


and, at all times, they are covered. He immediately per- 
ceived the wounds that were upon mine. Both our cloaths 
and flefli were torn to pieces at Taranta, and fcvcral other 
places ; but he thought we had come on mules furnifhed us 
by the Naybe. For the young man I had fent to him from 
Kella, following the genius of his countrymen, tho' telling 
truth was juft as profitable to him as lying, had chofen the 
latter, and feeing the horfe I had got from the Baharna- 
gafh, had figured in his own imagination, a multitude of 
others, and told Janni that there were with me horfes, afTes, x 
and mules in great plenty ; fo that when Janni faw us 
paffing the water, he took me for a fervant, and expected, 
for feveral minutes, to fee the fplendid company arrive, well 
mounted upon horfes and mules caparifoned* 

He was fo mocked at my faying that I performed this ter- 
rible journey on foot, that he burfl into tears, uttering a 
thoufand reproaches againft the Naybe for his hard heart- 
ednefs and ingratitude, as he had twice, as he faid, hinder- 
ed Michael from going in perfon and fweeping the Naybe 
from the face of the earth. Water was immediately pro- 
cured to wafh our feet. And here began another conten- 
tion, Janni infilled upon doing this himfelf ; which made 
me run out into the yard, and declare I would not fuffer 
it. After this, the like difpute took place among the fer- 
vants. It was always a ceremony in Abyffinia, to wafh the 
feet of thofe that come from Cairo, and who are under- 
stood to have been pilgrims at Jerufalem. 

This was no fooner finifhed, than a great dinner was 
brought, exceedingly well dreffed. But no confideration or 
intreaty could prevail upon my kind landlord to fit down 

Vol. Ill* Q^ and 


and partake with me. He would ft and, all the time, with 
a clean towel in his hand, though lie had plenty of fer- 
vants ; and afterwards dined with fome vifitors, who had 
come out of curiofity, to fee a man arrived from fo far. A- 
mong thefe was a number of priefts ; apart of the company 
which I liked leaft, but who did not fhew any hoftile ap- 
pearance. It was long before I cured my kind landr 
lord of thefe refpec"tful obfervances, which troubled me 
very much ; nor could he wholly ever get rid of them, his 
own kindnefs and good heart, as well as the pointed and 
particular orders of the Greek patriarch, Mark, conftantly 
iuggefting the fame attention.. 

In the afternoon, I had a vifit from the governor, a very- 
graceful man, of about iixty years of age, tall and well fa- 
voured. He had juft then returned from an expedition to the 
Tacazze, againft fome villages of Ayto Tesfos *, which he 
had deftroyed^ flain 120 men, and driven off a number of 
cattle. He had with him about fixty mufquets, to which,. I 
understood, he had owed his advantage. Thefe villages were 
about Tubalaque, juft as you afcend the farther bank of 
the Tacazze. He faid he doubted much if we fhould be 
allowed to pafs through Wbggora, unlefs fome favourable 
news came from Michael ; for Tesfos of Samen, who kept 
his government after Joas's death, and r.efufed to acknow- 
ledge Michael, or to fubmit to the king, in conjunction 
with the people of Woggora, acted now the part of robbers, 
plundering all forts of people, that carried either provifions, 


* A rebel governor of Samen, of which I fhaJl after have occaiion to /peak. 


6r any thing elfe, to Gondar, in order to diftrefs the king 
and Michael's Tigre foldiers, who were then there. 

The church of Mariam is on the hill S. S. W. of the town, 
and eaft of Adowa; on the other fide of the river, is the other 
church, called Kedus Michael. About nine miles north, a 
little inclined to the eaft, is Bet Abba Garima, one of the 
moll celebrated monafteries in Abyflinia. It was once a re- 
fidence of one of their kings ; and it is fuppofed that, from 
this circumftance ill underftood, former travellers *, have 
faidthe metropolis of Abyflinia was called Germe. 

Adowa is the feat of a very valuable manufacture of 
coarfe cotton cloth, which circulates all over Abvffinia in- 
itead of filver money ; each web is fixteen peek long of i|- 
width, their value a pataka ; that is, ten for the ounce of 
gold. The houfes of Adowa are ail of rough rlone, ce- 
mented with mud inflead of morter. That of lime is not 
ufed but at Gondar, where it is very bad. The roofs are in 
the form of cones, and thatched with a reedy fort of grafs, 
fomething thicker than wheat ftraw. The Falafha, or jews, 
^enjoy this profeflion of thatching exclufively ; they begin 
-at the bottom, and finifli at the top. 

Excepting a few fpots taken notice of as we came along 
from Ribieraini to Adowa, this was the onlv part of Tigre 
where there was foil fufncient to yield corn ; the whole of 
the province befides is one entire rock. There are no tim- 
ber trees in this part of Tigre unlefs a daroo or two in 
the valleys, and wanzeys in towns about the houfes. 

Q^2 At 

* Gol. p. 22. proem. 


At Adowa, and all the neighbourhood, they have three 
harvefls annually. Their firft feed time is in July and Au- 
guft ; it is the principal one for wheat, which they then 
fow in the middle of the rains. In the fame feafon they 
fow tocuno, tefF, and barley. From the 20th of November 
they reap firft their barley, then their wheat, and laft of all 
their teff. In room of thefe they fow immediately upon the 
fame ground, without any manure, barley, which they reap 
in February ; and then often fow tefF, but more fre- 
quently a kind of veitch, or pea, called Shimbra ; thefe are 
cut down before the firft rains, which are in April. With 
all thefe advantages of triple harvefts, which coft no fallow- 
ing, weeding, manure, or other expenfive procefles, the far^ 
iner in Abyflinia is always poor and miferable. 

In Tigre it is a goodharveft that produces nine after one, 
it fcarcely ever is known to produce ten ; or more than 
three after one, for peas. The land,, as in Egypt, is fet to the 
higheft bidder yearly ; and like Egypt it receives an addi- 
tional value, depending on the quantity of rain that falls 
and its fituation more or lefs favourable for leading water 
to it. The landlord furnifhes the feed under condition to re- 
ceive half the produce ; but I am told he is a very indul- 
gent mafter that does not take another quarter for the rifk 
he has run ; fo that the quantity that comes to the fliare o£ 
the hufbandman is not more than fufficient to afford fu- 
ftenance for his wretched family. 

The foil is white clay, mixed with fand, and has as good 
appearance as any I have feen. 1 apprehend a deficiency of 
the crop is not from the barrennefs of the foil, but from 
the immenfe quantity of field-rats and mice that over- run 



the whole country, and live in the fifliires of the earth. To 
kill thefe, they fet lire to their fir aw, the only life they 
make of it. 

The cattle roam at discretion through the mountains. 
The herdfmen £et fire to the grafs, bent, and brufhwood, 
before the rains, and an amazing verdure immediately fol- 
lows. As the mountains are very fleep and broken, goats 
are chiefly the flocks that graze upon them. 

The province of Tigre is all mountainous; and it has 
been faid, without any foundation in truth, that the Pyre- 
nees, Alps, and Apennines, are but mole-hills compared to 
them. I believe, however, that one of the Pyrenees above 
St John Pied de Port, is much higher than Lamalmon; and 
that the mountain of St Bernard, one of the Alps, is full as 
high as Taranta, or rather higher. It is not the extreme 
height of the mountains in Abyffinia that occafions fur- 
prife, but the number of them, and the extraordinary forms 
they prefent to the eye. Some of them are flat, thin, and 
fquare, in fhape of a hearth-flone, or flab, that fcarce would 
feem to have bafe fuflicient to refill the action of the winds. 
Some are like pyramids, others like obelifks or prifms, and 
fome, the moll extraordinary of all the reft, pyramids pitch- 
ed upon their points, with their bafe uppermofl, which, if 
it was poflible, as it is not, they could have been fo formed 
in the beginning, would be flrong objections to our recei- 
ved ideas of gravity. 

They tan hides to great perfection in Tigre, but for one 
purpofe only. They take off the hair with the juice of two 
plants, a fpecies of folanum, and the juice of the kohquall ; 

v. hi. (j. both 


both thefe are produced in abundance in the province. They 
are great novices, however, in dyeing ; the plant called Suf 
produces the only colour they have, which is yellow. In ■ 
order to obtain a blue, to weave as a border to their cotton 
clothes, they unravel the blue threads of the Marowt, or 
blue cloth of Surat, and then weave them again with the 
thread which they have dyed with the fuf. 

It was on the ioth of January 1770 I viflted the remains 
of the Jefuits convent of Fremona. It is built upon the even 
ridge of a very high hill, in the middle of a large plain, on 
the oppofite fide of which flands Adowa. It rifes from the 
eaft to the weft, and ends in a precipice on the eaft ; it is 
alfo very fteep to the north, and Hopes gently down to the 
plain on the lbuth. The convent is about a mile in circum- 
ference, built fubftantially with ftones, which are cemented 
with lime-morter. It has towers in the flanks and angles; 
and, notwithftanding the ill-ufage it has fufFered, the 
walls remain ftill entire to the height of twenty- five feet. 
It is divided into three, by crofs walls of equal height. The 
firft divifion feems to have been deftined for the convent, 
the middle for the church, and the third divifion is fepara- 
ted from this by a wall, and flands upon a precipice. It 
feems to me as if it was defigned for a place of arms. All 
the walls have holes for mufkets, and, even now, it is by 
far the moft defenfible place in Abyflinia. It refembles an 
ancient caflle much more than a convent. 

I can fcarce conceive the reafon why thefe reverend fathers 
snifreprefent and mifplace this intended capital of Catholic 
Abyflinia. Jerome Lobo calls this convent a collection of 
,miferable villages.. Others place it fifty miles_, when it is 



but two, from Adowa to the north-caft. Others fay it is on 
ly five miles from the Red Sea, while it is an hundred. It 
is very extraordinary, that thefe errors fhould occur in 
the fituation of a place built by their own hands, and where 
their body long had its refidence; and, what makes it more 
extraordinary ftill, it was the domicil which they firfl occu- 
pied, and quitted laft. 

The kindnefs, hofpitality, and fatherly care of Janni ne- 
ver ceafed a moment. He had already reprefented me in 
the mofl favourable light to the Iteghe, or queen-mother, 
(whofe fervant he had long been) to her daughter Ozoro 
Either, and Ozoro Altafh ; and, above all, to Michael, with 
whom his influence was very great ; and, indeed, to every 
body he had any weight with; his own countrymen, Greeks, 
Abyffinians, and Mahometans ; and, as we found afterwards, 
lie had raifed, their curiofity to a great pitch. 

A kind of calm had fpread itfelf univerfally over the 
country,, without apparent reafon, as it has been in general 
obferved to do immediately before a ftorm. The minds of 
men had been wearied rather than amufed, by 4, con- 
stant feries of new things, none of which had been fore- 
feen, and which generally ended in a manner little expected. 
Tired of guefling, all parties feemed to agree to give it over, 
till the fuccefs of the campaign fhould afford them furer 
grounds to go upon. Nobody loved Michael, but nobody 
neglected their own fafety fo much as to do or fay any thing 
againlt him, till he either fhould lofe or eftablifh his good 
fortune, by the gain or lofs of a battle with Fafil. 



Tins cairn I refolved to take advantage of, and to fet out 
immediately for Gondar. But the 17th of January was 
now at hand, on which the Abyffinians celebrate the feafl 
of the Epiphany with extraordinary rejoicings, and as ex- 
traordinary ceremonies, if we believe what their enemies 
have faid about their yearly repetition of baptifm. This 
I was refolved to verify with my own eyes ; and as Alvarez, 
chaplain to the embalTy from Don Emanuel, king of Portu- 
gal, to king David III. fays he was likewife prefent at it, the 
public will judge between two eye-witnelTes which is like- 
lieft to be true, when I come to give an account of the re- 
ligious rites of this people. Adowa is in lat. 14 7' 57" 

On the 1 7th, we fet out from Adowa, refuming our jour- 
ney to Gondar ; and, after palling two fmall villages Adega 
Net, and Adega Daid, the firft about half a mile on our 
left, the fecond about three miles diilant on our right, we 
decamped at fun fet near a place called Bet Hannes, in 
a narrow valley, at the foot of two hills, by the fide of 
a fmall ftream. 

On the 8th, in the morning, we afcended one of thefe 
hills, through a very rough ftony road, and again came in- 
to the plain, wherein flood Axum, once the capital of Abyf- 
iinia, at lealt as it is fuppofed. For my part, I believe it to 
have been the magnificent metropolis of the trading peo- 
ple, or Troglodyte Ethiopians called properly Cufhites, for 
trie reafon I have already given, as the Abyffinians never 
built any city, nor do the ruins of any exift at this day in 
the whole country. But the black, or Troglodyte part of it, 
called in the language of fcripture Cufh, in many places 

3 have 


have buildings of great ilrength, magnitude, and expence, 
efpecially at Azab, worthy the magnificence and riches of 
a ftate, which was from the iirft ages the emporium of the 
Indian and African trade, whofe fovereign, though a Pagan, 
was thought an example of reproof to the nations, and 
chofen as an inftrument to contribute materially to the 
building of the firft temple which man erected to the true 

The ruins of Axum are very extenfive; but, like the ci- 
ties of ancient times, coniift altogether of public buildings. 
In one fquare, which I apprehend to have been the center 
of the town, there are forty obelifks, none of which have 
any hieroglyphics upon them*. There is one larger than 
the reft ftill Handing, but there are two flill larger than this 
fallen. They are all of one piece of granite ; and on the top 
of that which is {landing there is a patera exceedingly well 
carved in the Greek tafte. Below, there is the door-bolt and 
lock, which Poncet fpeaks of, carved on the obelifk, as if to 
reprefent an entrance through it to fome building be- 
hind. The lock and bolt are precifely the fame as thofe 
ufed at this day in Egypt and Paleftine, but were never feen, 
as far as I know, in Ethiopia, or at any time in ufe there. 

I apprehend this obelifk, and the two larger that are 

fallen, to be the works of Ptolemy Evergetes. There is a 

great deal of carving upon the face of the obeliik in a Go- 

Vol. III. R thic 

* Poncet fays that thefe obelifks are covered with hieroglyphics ; but in this he is wrongs 
he has miftaken the carving, I (hall directly mention, for hieroglyphics. London edit. nmo. 
17 09, j). 106. 


thic.tafte, fomething like metopes, triglyphs, and gutta?, . 
difpofed rudely, and without order, but there are no cha- 
racters or figures. The face of this pyramid looks due 
fouth ; has been placed with great exactnefs, and preferves 
its perpendicular pofition till this day. As this obelifk has 
been otherwife defcribed as to its ornaments, I have given 
a geometrical elevation of it fervilely copied, without ma- 
ding or perfpective, that all kind of readers may under-- - 
ftand it. 

After palling the convent of Abba Pantaleon, called in 
AbyfTinia, Mantilles, and the fmall obelifk fituated on a rock 
above, we proceed fouth by a road cut in a mountain of 
red marble, having on the left a parapet-wall about five feet 
high, folid, and of the fame materials. At equal diftances 
there are hewn in this wall folid pedeftals, upon the tops of 
which we fee the marks where flood the ColofFal ftatues of 
Syrius the Latrator Anubis, or Dog Star. One hundred and 
thirty-three of thefe pedeftals, with the marks of the ftatues 
I juft mentioned, are Hill in their places ; but only two fi- 
gures of the dog remained when I was there, much muti- 
lated, but of a tafte eafily diftinguifhed to be Egyptian.. 
Thefe are compofed of granite, but fome of them appear to » 
have been of metal. Axum, being the capital of Siris, or 
Sire, from this we eafily fee what connection this capital of - 
the province had with the dog-flar, and consequently the. 
abfurdity of fuppofmg that the river derived its name from 
a Hebrew word*, fignifying black. 


* Shihcr. 

L , J 

h m 


a n Tl 

('MrA:>/r a/ . ( /s 


y//// > 

/,, '/i</,m /'///>/////i/ /)c<\ r i:' , /jA\}. />// t'.A'i>/>m.ttw 


There are like wife pedeftals, whereon the figures of the 
Sphinx have been placed. Two magnificent flights of fteps, 
feveral hundred feet long, all of granite, exceedingly well- 
fafhioned, and Hill in their places, are the only remains of 
a magnificent temple. In the angle of this platform where 
that temple flood, is the prefent fmall church of Axum, in 
the place of a former one deflroyed by Mahomet Gragne, 
in the reign of king David III. ; and which was probably 
remains of a temple built by Ptolemy Evergetes, if not the 
work of times more remote. 

The church is a mean, fmall building, very ill kept, and 
full of pigeons dung. In it are fuppofed to be preferved the 
ark of the covenant, and Copy of the law which Menilek fon 
of Solomon is faid, in their fabulous legends, to have flolen 
from his father Solomon in his return to Ethiopia, and thefe 
were reckoned as it were the palladia of this country. 
Some ancient copy of the Old Teftament, I do believe, was 
depofited here, probably that from which the firft verfion 
was made. But whatever this might be, it was deflroyed, 
with the church itfelf, by Mahomet Gragne, though pre- 
tended falfely to fubfift there flill. This I had from the 
king himfelf. 

There was another relique of great importance that hap- 
pened to efcape from being burnt, by having, in time, been 
transferred to a church in one of the iflands in the lake 
Tzana, called Sele Quarat Rafou. It is a picture of Chrifl's 
head crowned with thorns, faid to be painted by St Luke, 
which, upon occafions of the utmoft importance, is brought 
out and carried with the army, efpecially in a war with 
Mahometans and Pagans. We have juft fcen, it was taken, 

R 2 upon 


upon Yafous's defeat at Sennaar, and reftored afterwards up- 
on an embafly fent thither on purpofe, no doubt, for a va- 
luable conlideration. 

Within the outer gate of the church, below the fteps, are 
three fmall fquare inclofures, all of granite, with fmall octa- 
gon pillars in the angles, apparently Egyptian ; on the top 
of which formerly were fmall images of the dog-ftar, proba- 
bly of metal. Upon a ftone, in the middle of one of thefe* 
the king fits, and is crowned, and always has been fince the 
days of Paganifm ; and below it, where he naturally places 
his feet, is a large oblong flab like a hearth, which is not 
of granite, but of free ftone. The infcription, though muchi 
defaced, may fafely be. reflored. 


Poncet has miftaken this laft word for Bafilius ; but he did 
not pretend to be a fcholar, and was ignorant of the hiftor.y 
of this country.. 

Axum- is watered by a fmallftream, which, flows all the 
year from a fountain in the narrow valley, where ftand^ 
the rows of obelifks. The fpring is received into a magni- 
ficent bafon of 150 feet fquare, and. thence it is carried, at 
pleafure, to water the neighbouring gardens, where there 
is little fruit, excepting pomegranates, neither are thefe 
very excellent. 

The prefent town of Axum ftands at the foot of the hill^ 
and may have about fix hundred houfes, There are feveral 



manufactures of coarfe cotton cloth ; and here too the beft 
parchment is made of goats fkins, which is the ordinary em- 
ployment of the monks. Every thing feemed later at Axum, 
and near it, than at Adowa ; the teffwas Handing yet green. 

On the 1.9th of January, by a meridian altitude of the fun r 
and a mean of feveral altitudes of liars by night, I found the 
latitude of Axum. to be 14° 6' 36" north. - 

The reader will have obferved, that I have taken great" 
pains in correcting the geography of this country, and 
illuftrating the accounts given us by travellers, as well an- 
cient as modern, and reconciling them to each other. There 
are, however, in a very late publication, what I muft fup- 
pofe to be errors, at leaft they are abfolutely unintelligi- 
ble to me, whether they are to be placed to the account of 
Jerome Lobo, the original, or to Dr Johnfon the tranflator, 
or to the bookfeller, is what I am not able to fay. But as the 
book itfelf is ufherecL in by a very warm and particular re- 
commendation of fo celebrated an author as Dr Johnfon, 
and as I have in the courfe of this work fpoke very con- 
temptibly of that Jefuit, I muft, in my own vindication, 
make fome obfervations upon the geography of this book, 
which, introduced into the world by fuch authority, might 
elfe bring the little we know of this part of Africa into con- 
fufion,.from which its maps are as yet very far from being 

6axume * is faid to mean Axum, to be a city in Africa, 
capital of the kingdom of Tigre Mahon in Abyflinia. Now,.. 


* Sfe Johnfon's tranflation of Jerome Lobo, p. 29. 


long ago, Mr Ludolf had fhewn, from the teftimony of Gre- 
gory the Abyffinian, that there was no fuch place in Abyf- 
linia as Tigre Mahon. That there was, indeed, a large pro- 
vince called Tigre, of which Axum was the capital ; and 
Le Grande, the firft publiffier of Jerome Lobo, has repeatedly 
faid the fame. And Ludolf has given a very probable con- 
jecture, that the firft Portuguefe, ignorant of the Abyni- 
nian language, heard the officer commanding that province 
called Tigre Mocuonen, which is governor of Tigre, and 
had miftaken the name of his office for that of his province. 
Be that as it will, the reader may reft anured there is no 
fuch kingdom, province, or town in all Abyflinia. 

There ftill remains, however, a difficulty much greater 
than this, and an error much more difficult to be corrected. 
Lobo is faid to have failed from the peninfula of India, and, 
being bound for Zeyla, to have embarked in a vefTel going 
to Caxume, or Axum, capital of Tigre, and to have arrived 
therefafely,and been well accommodated. NowZeyla,he fays, 
is a city in the kingdom of Adel, at the mouth of the Red 
Sea * ; and Axum, being two hundred miles inland, in the 
middle of the kingdom of Tigre, a fhip going to Axum mull 
have pa:flfed Zeyla 300 miles, or been 300 miles to the weft- 
ward of it. Zeyla is not a city, as is faid, but an ifland. It is 
not in the kingdom of Adel, but in the bay of Tajoura, oppo- 
fite to a kingdom of that name ; but the iiland itfelf belongs 
to the Imam of Sana, fovereign of Arabia Felix ; fo that it is 
inexplicable, how a fhip going to Zeyla mould choofe to 
land 300 miles beyond it; and ftill more fo, how, being once 


* S>:e page ^.8. 


arrived at Axum, they fhould feek a fhip to carry them 
back again to Zeyla, 300 miles eaflward, when they were 
then going to Gondar, not much above a hundred miles 
well of Axum. This feems to me abfolutely impoffible to 

Still, however, another difficulty remains ; Tigre is faid, 
by the Jefuits, and by M. Le Grande their hiftorian, to be 
full of mountains, lb high that the Alps and Appenines 
were very inconfiderable in comparifon. And fuppofe it 
was otherwife, there is no navigable river, indeed no river 
at all, that runs through Tigre into the Red Sea, and there 
is the defert of Samhar to pafs, where there is no water at 
all. How is it poilible a fhip from the coail of Malabar 
fhould get up 200 miles from any fea among the moun- 
tains of Tigre ? 1 hope the publifher will compare this with 
any map he pleafes, and correct it in his errata^ otherwife 
his narrative is unintelligible, unlefs all this was intended 
to be placed to the account of miracles — Peter walked upon 
the water, and Lobo the Jefuit failed upon dry land. 

Dr Johnson, or his publifher, involves his reader in 
another ftrange perplexity. " Dancala is a city of Africa in 
Upper Ethiopia, upon the Nile, in the tract of Nubia, of 
which it is the capital ;" and the emperor wrote, " that the 
mimonaries might eafily enter his dominions by the way of 
Dancala*." It is very difficult to underfland how people, in 
a fhip from India, could enter Abyffinia by the way of Dan- 
cala, if that city is upon the Nile ; becaufe no where, that I 

v. hi. r know, 

* Page 28. 


know, is that river in Abyffinia within 300 miles of any 
fea ; and, Hill more fo, how it could be in Nubia, and yet in 
Upper Ethiopia. Dongola is, indeed, the capital of Nubia ; 
it is upon the Nile in 20° north latitude ; but then it cannot 
be in Upper Ethiopia, but certainly in the Lower, and is not 
within a hundred miles of the Red Sea, and certainly not 
the way for a ftiip from India to get to Abyffinia, which, 
failing/iown the Red Sea, it mull have pafled feveral hun- 
dred miles, and gone to the northward : Dongola, befides!, 
is in the heart of the great defert of Beja, and cannot, with 
any degree of propriety, be faid to be eafily accefhble to any, 
no, not even upon camels, but impoflible to fhipping, as it 
is not within 200 miles of any fea. On the other hand, Dan- 
cali, for which it may have been miftaken, is a fmall king- 
dom on the coail of the Red Sea, reaching to the frontiers of 
Abyffinia ; and through it the patriarch Mendes entered A- 
byffinia, as has been faid in myhiftory; but thenDancaliis 
in lat. 1 2 , it is not in Nubia, nor upon the Nile, nor within 
feveral hundred miles of it. 

Again, Lobo has faid, (p. 30. 31.) " that a Portuguefe gal- 
liot was ordered to fet him afhore at Pate, whofe inhabitants 
were man-eaters." This is a very whimfical choice of a place 
to land ftrangers in, among man-eaters. I cannot conceive 
what advantage could be propofed by landing men going 
to Abyffinia fo far to the fouthward, among a people fuch as 
this, who certainly, by their very manners, muft be at war, 
and unconnected with all their neighbours. And many ages 
have paired without this reproach having fallen upon the 
inhabitants of the eafl coaft of the peninfula of Africa from 
any authentic teftimony ; and I am confident, after the few 
fpecimens juft given of the topographical knowledge of this 
4 author, 


author, his prefent teflimony will not weigh much, from 
whatever hand this performance may have come. 

M. de Montesquieu, among all his other .talents a mofl 
excellent and accurate geographer, obferves, that man-eat- 
ers were firfl mentioned when the fouthern parts of the eafl 
coafl of the peninfula of Africa came to be unknown. Travel- 
lers of Jerome Lobo's caft, delighting in the marvellous, o^. 
place^thefe unfociable people beyond the promontory of 
PrafTum, becaufe nobody, at that time, did pafs the promon- 
tory of Praflum. 

Above 1200 years, thefe people were unknown, till 
Vafques de Gama discovered their coaft, and called them the 
civil or kind nation. By fome lucky revolution in that long 
period, when they were left to themfelves, they feem moil 
unaccountably to have changed both their diet and their 
manners. The Portuguefe conquered them, built towns a- 
mong them, and, if they met with confpiracies and treachery, 
thefe all originated in a mixture of Moors fromSpain and Por- 
tugal, Europeans that had fettled among them, and not a- 
mong the natives themfelves. No man-eaters appeared till af- 
ter the difcovery of the Cape of Good Hope, when that of the 
new world, which followed it, made the Portuguefe abandon 
their fettlements in the old ; and this coaft came as unknown 
to them as it had been to the Romans, when they traded on- 
ly to Raptum and Praflum, and made Anthropophagi of all 
the reft. One would be almoft tempted to believe that Je- 
rome Lobo was a man-eater himfelf, and had taught this 
cuftom to thefe favages. They had it not before his coming ; 
they have never had it fmce ; and it muft have been with 
fome finifter intention like this, that a ftranger would vo- 

Vol, III. S luntarily 


luntarily feek a nation of man-eaters. It is nonfenfe to 
fay, that a traveller could propofe, as Lobo did, going into 
a far diftant country, fuch as Abyffinia, under fo very que- 
ilionable a protection as a man-eater. 

I will not take up- my own, or the reader's time, in go~- 
ing through the multitude of errors in geography to be 
found in this book of Lobo's ; I have given the reader my opi- 
nion of the author from the original, before I faw the trans- 
lation. I faid it was a heap of fables, and full of ignorance 
and prefumption ; and I confefs myfelf disappointed that it 
has come from fo celebrated a hand as the translator, fo- 
very little amended, if indeed it can be faid to be amended 
at all. 

- Dr Johnson, in the preface to the book, exprelTes him- 
felf in thefe words : — " The Portuguefe traveller (Jerome La- 
bo, his original) has amufed his reader with no romantic 
abfurdities, or incredible fictions. He feems to have defers- 
bed things as he faw them ; to have copied nature from 
the life ; and to have confulted his fenfes, not his imagina- 
tion. He meets with no bafilifks that deftroy with their eyes ; 
and his cataracts fall from the rock, without deafening, 
the neighbouring inhabitants.'* 

At firft reading this palTage, I confefs I thought it irony. 
As to what regards the cataract, one of the articles Dr John- 
fon has condefcended upon as truths I had already fpokerr, 
while compofing thefe memoirs in Abyffinia, long before 
this new publication faw the light ; and, upon a cool revifal 
of the whole that I have faid, I cannot think of receding 
from any part of it, and therefore recommend it to the 



reader's perufal. What we have now only to note, is the 
fidelity of Jerome Lobo, fo flrongly vouched in the words I 
have jud cited, in the article of bafilifks, or ferpents, which 
Br Johnfon has chofen as one of the inftances of. his au- 
thor's adhering to fact, contrary to the cuftom of other wri- 
ters on fuch fubjects. 

" In crofling a defert, which was two days journey over, 
i{ I was in great danger of my life ; for, as I lay on the 
<( ground, I perceived myfelf feized with a pain which for- 
" ced me to rife, and faw, about four yards from me, one of 
" thofe ferpents that dart their polfon from a dlfianoe. Although 
"I rofe before he came very near me, I yet felt the effects of 
" his poifonous breath ; and, if I had lain a little longer, 
" had certainly died. I had reco.urfe to bezoar, a fovereign 
" remedy againft thofe poifons, which I always earned 
" about me. Thefe ferpents are not long, but have a body 
" lliort and thick, their bellies fpeckled with brown, black, 
" and yellow. They have a wide mouth, with which they 
" draw in a great quantity of air, and, having retained it 
" fome time, eject it with fuch force, that they kill at four 
" yards diflance. I only efcaped by being fonievvhat farther 
a from him." (Chap. xii. p. 124.) 

< Now, as this is warranted, by one of fuch authority as 
Dr Johnfon, to be neither imagination nor falfehood, we 
muft think it a new fyftem of natural philofophy, and con- 
fider it as fuch; and, in the firft place, I would wifh to know 
from the author, who fecms perfectly informed, what fpe- 
cies of ferpent it is that he has quoted as darting their poi- 
fon at a diflance. Again, what fpecies it is that, at the 
diflance of 12 feet, kills a man by breathing on his back; 

v. iii. S 2 alio. 


alfo, what they call that fpecies of ferpent that, drawing in 
the fame outward air which Jerome Lobo breathed, could 
fo far pervert its quality as with it to kill at the diftance of 
four yards. Surely fuch a ferpent, if he had no other cha- 
racteristic in the world, would be defcribed by a naturalifl 
as the ferpent with the foul ftomach. — I never faw a poi- 
fonous ferpent in Abyffinia whofe belly is not white ; fo 
this one being fpeckled, brown, black, and yellow, will be 
a direction when any fuch is found, and ferve as a warning 
not to come near him, at leaft within the diftance of four 

Jerome Lobo continues, " that this danger was not to be 
" much regarded in comparifon of another his negligence 
" brought him into. As he was picking up a fkin that 
" lay upon the ground, he was ftung by a ferpent that left 
"• its fting in his finger ; he picked out an extraneous fub- 
" fiance about the bignefs of an hair, which he imagined 
was the fling. This flight wound he took little notice of> 
till his arm grew inflamed all over ; his blood was infect- 
ed ; he fell into convulfions, which were interpreted* as 
the figns of inevitable death." (Chap. xii. p. 1 25.) 

Now, with all fiibmimon to Jerome Lobo, the firft fer- 
pent had brought him within a near view of death; the 
fecond did no more, for it did not kill him ; how comes it 
that he fays the firft danger was nothing in comparifon to 
the fecond ? The firft would have certainly killed him, by 
blowing upon his back, if he had been nearer than 12 feet.. 
The other had nearly killed him by a fting. Death was 
the end of them both. I cannot fee the difference between 
the two dangers.., 



The firft ferpent was of a new fpecies, that kills a man at 
the ciiitance of 12 feet by breathing upon him. The fecond 
was alfo new, for he killed by a fling. We know of no fuch 
power that any of the ferpent kind have. If Drjohnfon 
believes this, I will not fay that it is the mofl improbable 
thing he ever gave credit to, but this I will fay, that it is 
altogether different from what at this day is taught us by 
natural philofophy. We eafily fee, by the ftrain in which 
thefe flories aie told, that all thefe fables of Lobo would 
have palled for miracles, had the converfion of Abyflinia 
followed. They were preparatory Heps for receiving him 
as confefTor, had his merit not been fufficient to have enti- 
tled him to a higher place in the kalendar. Rainy, miry, 
and cold countries, are not the favourite habitation of fer- 
pents. Abyflinia is deluged with fix months rain every year 
while the fun is palling over it. It only enjoys clear wea- 
ther when the fun is farther! diftant from it in the fouthern 
hemifphere ; the days and nights are always nearly equal. Vi- 
pers are not found in a climate like this. Accordingly, I can 
teflify, I never faw one of the kind in the high country of 
Abyflinia all the time I lived there; and Tigre, where Jerome 
Lobo places the fcene of his adventures, by being one of the 
higher! provinces in the country, is furely not one of the 
moil proper. 

It was the 20th of January, at feven o'clock in the morn- 
ing,we left Axum; our road was at firft fufficiently even, thro' 
fmall vallies and meadows ; we began to afcend gently, but 
through a road exceedingly difficult in itfelf, by reafon of 
large Hones Handing on edge, or heaped one upon another ; 
apparently the remains of an old large caufeway, part of the 
magnificent works about Axum,. 



The laft part of the journey made ample amends for the 
difficulties and fatigue we had fuffered in the beginning. 
For our road, on every fide, was perfumed with variety of 
flowering fhraibs, chiefly different fpecies of jeffamin; one in 
particular of thefe called Agam (a fmall four-leaved flower) 
impregnated the whole air with the moft delicious odour, 
and covered the fmall hills through which we palled, in fuch 
profuiion, that we were, at times, almoft overcome with its 
fragrance. The country all round had now the moll beau- 
tiful appearance, and this was heightened by the fined of 
weather, and a temperature of air neither too hot nor too cold. 

Not long after our loling light of the ruins of this an- 
cient capital of Abyflinia, we overtook three travellers dri- 
ving a cow before them ; they had black goat fkins upon 
their moulders, and lances and fhields in their hands, in o- 
ther refpecls were but thinly cloathed ; they appeared to be 
foldiers. The cow did not feem to be fatted for killing, and 
it occurred to us all that it had been ftolen. This, however, 
was not our bufinefs, nor was fuch an occurrence at all re- 
markable in a country fo long engaged in war. We 
faw that our attendants attached themfelves in a par- 
ticular manner to the three foldiers that were driving the 
cow, and held a fhort converfation with them. Soon after, 
we arrived at the hithermofl bank of the river, where I 
thought we were to pitch our tent. The drivers fuddenly 
tript up the cow, and gave the poor animal a very rude fall 
upon the ground, which was but the beginning of her fuf- 
ferings. One of them fat acrofs her neck, holding down her 
head by the horns, the other twitted the halter about her 
forefeet, while the third, who had a knife in his hand, to my 
very great furprife, in place of taking her by the throat got a- 

i ftride 


ftride upon her belly before her hind-legs, and gave her a 
very deep wound in the upper part of her buttock. 

From the time I hadfeen them throw thebeaft upon the 
ground, I had rejoiced, thinking, that when three people 
were killing a cow, they muft have agreed to fell part of 
her to us ; and I was much difappointed upon hearing the 
Abyffinians fay, that we were to pafs the river to the other 
fide, and not encamp where I intended. Upon my propofing 
they mould bargain for part of the coW, my men anfwered 
what they had already learned in converfation, that they 
were not then to kill her, that fhe was not wholly theirs, and 
they could not fell her. This awakened my curiofity; I let my 
people go forward, and ftaid myfeif, till I faw, with the ut- 
moft aflonifhment, two pieces, thicker, and longer than our 
ordinary beef fteaks, cut out of the higher part of the buttock 
of the beafl. How it was done I cannot positively fay, becaufe 
judging the cow was to be killed from the moment I faw the 
knife drawn^ L was not anxious to view that cataftrophe, 
which was by no means an object of curioiity ; whatever 
way it wa3 done, it furely was adroitly, and the two pieces 
were fpread upon the outfide of one of their fhields. 

One of them ftlll- continued' holding the head, while the 
other two were bulled in curing the wound, This too was done 
not in an ordinary manner; the fkin which had covered the 
fleffi that was taken away was left entire, and flapped over 
the wound", and was fattened to the correfpondiiig part by 
two or more fmall fkewers, orpins. Whether they had put 
any thing under the fkin between that and the wounded rlefli 
I know not, but at the river fide where they were, they hid 
prepared a cat apl ami of clay, with which they covered the 



wound ; they then forced the animal to rife, and drove 
it on before them, to furnifh them with a fuller meal when 
they mould meet their companions in the evening. 

I could not but admire a dinner fo truly foldier-like, 
nor did I ever fee fo commodious a manner of carrying 
proviiions along on the road as this was. I naturally attribu- 
ted this to neceility, and the love of expedition. It was a li- 
berty, to be fure, taken with Chriflianity ; but what tranfgref- 
fion is not warranted to a foldier when diftreffed by his ene- 
my in the field ? I could not as yet conceive that this was 
the ordinary banquet of citizens, and even of priefts, 
throughout all this country. In the hofpitable, humane 
houfe of Janni, thefe living feafls had never appeared. It 
is true we had feen raw meat, but no part of an animal torn 
from it with the blood. The firft mocked us as uncom- 
mon, but the other as impious. 

When firft I mentioned this in England, as one of the 
Angularities which prevailed in this barbarous country, I 
was told by my friends it was not believed. I afked the 
reafon of this difbelief, and was anfwered, that people who 
had never been out of their own country, and others well ac- 
quainted with the mannersof the world,for they had travelled 
as far as France, had agreed the thing was impoffible, and 
therefore it was fo. My friends counfelled me further, that 
as thefe men were infallible, and had each the leading of a 
circle, I mould by all means obliterate this from my jour- 
nal, and not attempt to inculcate in the minds of my read- 
ers the belief of a thing that men who had travelled pro- 
nounced to be impoffible. They fuggefted to me, in the 
moil friendly manner, how rudely a very learned and wor- 

3 th y 


thy traveller had been treated for daring to maintain that 
he had eat part of a lion, a ftory I have already taken no- 
tice of in my introduction. They faid, that, being convin- 
ced by thefe connoifleurs his having eat any part of a lion 
wdLsimpqffible, he had abandoned this afTertion altogether, and 
after only mentioned it in an appendix ; and this was the 
farther! I could poffibly venture. 

Far from being a convert to fuch prudential reafons, I 
inuft for ever profefs openly, that I think them unworthy 
of me. To reprefent as truth a thing I know to be a false- 
hood, not to avow a truth which I know I ought to declare; 
the one is fraud, the other cowardice ; I hope I am equally 
diftant from them both ; and I pledge myfelf never to retract 
the fact here advanced, that the Abyffinians do feed in com- 
mon upon Kveflefh, and that I myfelf have, for feveral years, 
been partaker of that difagreeable and beaftly diet. On the 
contrary, I have no doubt, when time mail be given to read 
this hiftory to an end, there will be very few, if they have 
candour enough to own it, that will not. be aihamed of ever 
having doubted. 

At 1 1 o'clock of the 20th, we pitched our tent in a fmall 
plain, by the banks of a quick clear running flream ; the'fpot 
is called Mai-Shum. There are no villages, at leaft that we 
faw, here. A peafant had made a very neat little garden on 
both fides of the rivulet, in which he had fown abundance 
of onions and garlic, and he had a fpecies of pumpkin, 
which I thought was little inferior to a melon. This man 
guefTed by our arms and horfes that we were hunters, and 
he brought us a prefent of the fruits of his garden, and 
-begged our affiftance againlt a number of wild boars, which 

Vol. III. T carried 


carried havoc and defolation through all his labours, 
marks of which were, indeed, too vifible everywhere. Such 
inftances of induftry are very rare in this country, and de- 
manded encouragement. I paid him, therefore, for his 
greens ; and fent two of my fervants with him into the 
wood, and got on horfeback myfelf. Mirza, my horfe, in- 
deed, as well as his mailer, had recruited greatly during 
our flay at Adowa, under the hofpitable roof of our good 
friend Tanni. 

Amongst us we killed five boars, all large ones, in the 
fpace of about two hours ; one of which meafured fix feet 
nine inches ; and, though he ran at an amazing fpeed near 
two miles, fo as to be with difficulty overtaken by the horfe, 
and was ftruck through and through with two heavy 
lances loaded at the end with iron, no perfon dared to come 
near him on foot, and he defended himfelf above half an 
hour, till, having no other arms left, I fhot him with a horfe- 
piflol. But the misfortune was, that, after our hunting had 
been crowned with fuch fuccefs, we did not dare to partake 
of the excellent venifon we had acquired ; for the Abyffini- 
ans hold pork of all kinds in the utmofl deteflation; and I 
was now become cautious, left I mould give offence, being 
at no great diftance from the capital. 

On the 21ft we left Mai-Shum at feven o'clock in the 
morning, proceeding through an open country, part fown 
with teff, but moflly overgrown with wild oats and high 
grafs. We afterwards travelled among a number of low 
hills, afcending and descending many of them, which occa- 
fioned more pleafure than fatigue. The jefTamin continued 
to increafe upon us, and it was the common bufTi of the 



country. Several new fpecies appeared, with five, nine, eleven 
petals, and plenty of the agam with four, thefe being all 
white. We found alfo large bullies of yellow, and orange 
and yellow jefTamin, befides fine trees of kummel, and the 
boha, both of the largefl fize, beautifully covered with fruit 
and flowers, which we never before had feen. 

We now defcended into a plain called Selech lecha, the 
village of that name being tWo miles eaft of us. The country 
here has an air of gaiety and chearfulnefs fuperior to any 
thing we had ever yet feen. Poncet* was right when he 
compared it to the moft beauteous part of Provence. We 
crofTed the plain through hedge-rows of flowering flirubs, 
among which the honeyfuckle now made a principal figure, 
which is of one fpecies only, the fame known in England ; 
but the flower is larger and perfectly white, not coloured on 
the outfide as our honeyfuckle is. Fine trees of all fizes 
were everywhere interfperfed ; and the vine, with fmall 
black grapes of very good flavour, hung in many places in 
fefloons, joining tree to tree, as if they had been artificially 
twined and intended for arbours. 

After having palled this plain, we again entered a clofe 
country through defiles between mountains, thick covered 
with woodV^nd bullies. We pitched our tent by the water- 
fide judicioufly enough as travellers, being quite furrounded 
with bufhes, which prevented us from being feen in any 

v. iii. T 2. As 

' Poncet's voyage to Ethiopia, p. 9^, 



As the boha was the principal tree here, and in great 
beauty, being then in flower, I let the caravan pafs, and a- 
lighted to make a proper choice for a drawing, when I heard 
a cry from my fervants, " Robbers ! Robbers !" 1 immediately 
got upon my mule to learn what alarm this might be, and 
faw, to my great furprife, part of my baggage ftrewed on 
the ground, the fervants running, fome leading, others on 
foot driving fuch of their mule's as were unloaded before 
them ; in a word, every thing in the greater!: confufion pof- 
fible. Having got to the edge of the wood, they faced a- 
bout, and began to prepare their fire-arms ; but as I faw the 
king's two fervants, and the man that Janni fent with us, 
endeavouring all they could to pitch the tent, and my horfe 
Handing peaceably by them, I forbade our fugitives to fire, 
till they fhould receive orders from me. I now rode 
immediately up to the tent, and in my way was faluted from 
among the bullies with many Hones, one of which gave me 
a violent blow upon the foot. At the fame inftant I received 
another blow with a fmall unripe pumpkin, jufl upon the 
belly, where I was flrongly defended by the coarfe cotton 
cloth wrapped feveral times about me by way of fafTi or 
girdle. As robbers fight with Other arms than pumpkins, 
when I faw this fall at my feet I was no longer under ap- 

Notwithstanding this difagreeable reception, I advan- 
ced towards them, crying out, We were friends, and Ras Mi- 
chael's friends; and defired only to fpeak to them, and would 
give them what they wanted. A few Hones were the only 
anfwer, but they did no hurt. I then gave Yafine my gun, 
thinking that might have given offence. The top of the 
tent being now up, two men came forward making great 
3 complaints, 


complaints, but of what I did not underfland, only that 
they feemed to accufe its of having wronged them. la Ihort, 
we found the matter was this ; one of the Moors had taken 
a heap of ftraw which he was carrying to his afs, but the 
proprietor, at feeing this, had alarmed the village. Every 
body had taken lances and fhields, but, not daring to ap- 
proach for fear of the fire-arms, they had contented them- 
felves with fhowering ftones at us from their hiding-places, 
at a diftance from among the bufhes. We immediately 
told them, however, that though, as the king's gueir, I had 
a. title to be furnifhed with what was neceffary, yet, if they 
were averfe to it, I was very v/ell content to pay for every 
thing they furnifhed, both for my men and beads ; but that 
they muft throw no Hones, otherwife we would defend our- 

Our tent being now pitched, and every thing in order, 
a treaty foo-n followed. They confented to fell us what we 
wanted, but at extravagant prices, which, however, I was 
content to comply with. But a man of the village, acquaint- 
ed with one of the king's fervants, had communicated to 
him, that the pretence of the Moor's taking the itraw was 
not really the reafon of the uproar, for they made no ufe of 
it except to burn ; but that a report had been fpread abroad, 
that an action had happened between Fafil and Ras Michael, 
in. which the latter had been defeated, and the country no. 
longer in fear of the Has, had indulged themfelves in their 
ufual exceffes, and, taking us for a caravan of Mahometans 
with merchandife, had refolved to rob us, 

Welleta Michael, grandfon to Ras Michael, command-" 
ed.this parr of the province ; and being but thirteen years 



of age, was not with his grandfather in the army, nor was 
he then at home, but at Gondar. However, his mother, 
Ozoro Welleta Michael, was at home, and her houfe juft on 
the hill above. One of the king's fervants had ftolen away 
privately, and told her what had happened. The fame 
-evening, a party was fent down to the village, who took 
the ringleaders and carried them away, and left us for the 
night. They brought us a prefent alfo of provifions, and 
excufes for what had happened, warning us to be upon 
our guard the reft of the way, but they gave us pofitive af- 
furance, at the fame time, that no adtion had happened be- 
tween Fafil and Ras Michael; on the contrary, it was con- 
fidently reported, that Fafil had left Bure, and retired to Met- 
chakel, where, probably, he would repafs the Nile into his 
own country, and ftay there till the rains fhould oblige Mi- 
chael to return to Gondar. 

On the 2 2d, we left Selech-lecha at feven o'clock in the 
morning, and, at eight, pafled a village two hundred yards 
on our left, without feeing any one ; but, advancing half a 
mile further, we faw a number of armed men from fixty to 
eighty, and we were told they were refolved to oppofe our 
paflage, unlefs their comrades, taken the night before, were 
releafed. The people that attended us on the part of Welle- 
ta Michael, as our efcort, confidered this as an infult, and 
advifed me by all means to turn to the left to another vil- 
lage immediately under the hill, on which the houfe of 
Welleta Michael, mother to Welleta Gabriel their governor, 
was fituated ; as there we fhould find fufficient afliftance to 
force thefe opponents to reafon. We accordingly turned to 
the left, and marching through thick bullies, came to the 
top of the hill above the village, in fight of the governor's 

4 houfe, 


houfe, juft as about twenty men of the enemy's party reach- 
ed the bottom of it. 

The governor's fervants told us, that now was the time 
if they advanced to fire upon them, in which cafe they 
would inflantly difperfe, or elfe they would cut us off from 
the village. But I could not enter into the force of this 
reafoning, becaufe, if this village was flrong enough to 
protect us, which was the caufe of our turning to the left 
to feek it, thefe twenty men, putting themfelves between us 
and the village, took the moil dangerous ftep for themfelves 
poffible, as they mull unavoidably be deflroyed ; and, if the 
village was not flrong enough to protect us, to begin with 
bloodfhed was the way to lofe our lives before a fuperior 
enemy. I therefore called to the twenty men to ilop where 
they were, and fend only one of their company to me ; and, 
upon their not paying any attention, I ordered Yafine to fire 
a large blunderbufs over their heads, fo as not to touch 
them. Upon the report, they all fled, and a number of people 
nocked to us from other villages ; for my part, I believe 
fome who had appeared againft us came afterwards and 
joined us. We foon feemed to have a little army, and, in 
about half an hour, a party came from the governor's houfe 
with twenty lances and fhields, and fix firelocks, and, pre- 
fently after, the whole multitude difperfed. It was about 
ten o'clock when, under their efcort, we arrived at the town 
of Sire, and pitched our tent in a flrong fituation, in a very- 
deep gulley on the weft extremity of the town. 






Journey from Sire to Addergey^ and Tran/acJions there. 

TH E province of Sire, properly fo called, reaches from 
Axum to the Tacazze. The town of Sire is fituated on 
the brink of a very fteep, narrow valley, and through this 
the road lies which is almofl impailable. In the midft of 
this valley runs a brook bordered with palm-trees, fome of 
which are grown to a considerable fize, but bear no fruit ; 
they were the firfl we had feen in Abyffinia. 

The town of Sire is larger than that of Axum ; it is in 
form of a half-moon fronting the plain, but its greateft 
breadth is at the weft end ; all the houfes are of clay, and 
thatched ; the roofs are in form of cones, as, indeed, are all 
in Abyflinia. Sire is famous for a manufacture of coarfe cot- 
ton cloths, which pafs for current money through all the 
province of Tigre, and are valued at a drachm, the tenth- 
.part of a wakea of gold, or near the value of an imperial 
^dollar each ; their breadth is a yard and quarter. Befides 

& thefe 


thefe, beads, needles, cohol, and incenfe at times only, are 
conudered as money. The articles depend greatly on chance, 
which or whether any are current for the time or not ; but 
the latter is often not demanded ; and, for the nrft, there are 
modes and fafliions among thefe barbarians, and all, except 
thofe of a certain colour and form, are ufelefs. We have 
already fpoken of the fafhions, fuch as we have found them, 
at Kella, and we heard they were the fame here at Sire. But 
thefe people were not of a humour to buy and fell with us. 
They were not perfectly fatisfied that Michael was alive, 
and waited only a confirmation of the news of his defeat, 
to make their own terms with all flrangers unfortunate 
enough to fall into their hands. On the other hand, we 
were in pofTeflion of fuperior force, and, knowing their in- 
clinations, we treated them pretty much in the manner 
they would have done us. 

On the 2 2d of January, at night, I obferved the paiTage of 
many flars over the meridian, and, after that, of the fun on 
the 23d at noon; taking a medium of all obfervations, I de- 
termined the latitude of Sire to be 14 4/ 35" north. The 
fame evening, I obferved an immerfion of the firft fatellite 
of Jupiter, by which I concluded its longitude to be 38° .0' 
15" eafl of the meridian of Greenwich. 

Although Sire is fituated in one of the fineft- countries in 
the world, like other places it has its inconveniencies. Pu- 
trid fevers, of the very worft kind, are almofl conflant here; 
and there did then actually reign a fpecies of thefe that 
fwept away a number of people daily. I did not think the 
behaviour of the inhabitants of this province to me was 
fuch as required my expofing myfelf to the infection for 

Vol. Ill, U the 


the fake of relieving them ; I, therefore, left the fever and 
them to fettle accounts together* without anywife inter- 

At Sire we heard the good news that Ras Michael, on, 
the iorh of this month, had come up with Fafil at Fagitta, 
and entirely difperfed his army, after killing io,ooq men. 
This account, though not confirmed by any authority, ftruck 
all the mutinous of this province with awe ; and every man 
returned to his duty for fear of incurring the difpleafure of 
this fevere governor, which they well knew would in- 
ftantly be followed by more than an adequate portion of 
vengeance, efpecially againfl: thofe that had not accompa- 
nied him to the field.. 

On the 24th, at feven o'clock in the morning, we flruck: 
our tent at Sire, and paifed. through a vaft plain. All this day 
we could difcern no mountains, as far as eye could reach, but 
only fome few detached hills, Handing feparate on the plain,, 
covered with high grafs, which they were then burning, to- 
produce new with the firil rains.. The country to. the 
north is altogether flat, and perfectly open ; and though we 
could not difcover one village this day, yet it feemed to be 
well-inhabited, from the many people we faw on different 
parts of the plain, fome at harveft, and fome herding their 
cattle. The villages were probably concealed from us oil 
the other fide of the hills.. 

At four o'clock, we alighted at Maifbinni at the bottOnn 
of a high, fteep, bare cliff of red marble, bordering on pur- 
ple, and very hard. Behind this is the fmall village of 
Maifbinni; and, on the fouth, another ftill higher hill, 



whofe top runs in an even ridge like a wall. At the bottom 
of this cliff, where our tent was pitched, the fmali rivulet 
Maifbinni rifes, which, gentle and quiet as it then was, runs 
very violently in winter, firft north from its fource, and then 
winding to S, W. it falls in feveral cataracts, near a hundred 
feet high, into a narrow valley, through which it makes its 
way into the Tacazze. Maifbinni, for wild and rude beau- 
ties, may compare with any place we had ever feen. 

This day was the firft cloudy one we had met with, or 
obferved this year. The fun was covered for feveral hours, 
which announced our being near the large riverTacazze. 

On the 25th, at feven in the morning, leaving Maifbinni, 
we continued on our road, fhaded with trees of many diffe- 
rent kinds. At half an hour after eight we paffed the river, 
which at this place runs weft; our road this day was thro' 
the fame plain as yefterday, but broken and full of holes. 
At ten o'clock we refted in a large plain called Dagafhaha ; 
a hill in form of a cone flood fingle about two miles north 
from us ; a thin ftraggling wood was to the S. E ; and the 
water, rifmg in fpungy, boggy, and dirty ground, was very 
indifferent ; it lay to the weft of us. 

"Dagashaha is a bleak and difagreeable quarter ; but the 
■mountain itfelf, being feen far off, was of great ufe to us in 
adjufting our bearings ; the rather that, taking our depar- 
ture from Dagafhaha, we came immediately in fight of the 
high mountain of Samen, where Lamalmon, one of that 
ridge, is by much the moft confpicuous ; and over this lies 
the paffage, or high road, to Gondar. We likewife fee the 
rugged, hilly country of Salent, adjoining to the foot of the 

U 2 mountain 


mountains of Samen. We obferved no villages this day 
from Maifbinni to Dagafhaha ; nor did we difcern, in the 
face of the country, any ligns of culture or marks of great 
population. We were, indeed, upon the frontiers of two 
provinces which had for many years been at war. 

On the 26th> at fix o'clock in the morning, we left Daga- 
fhaha. Our road was through a plain and level country, 
but, to appearance, defolated and uninhabited, being over- 
grown with high bent grafs and bullies, as alfo deftitute 
of water. We paiTed the folitary village Adega, three miles- 
on our left, the only one we had feen. At eight o'clock 
we came to the brink of a prodigious valley, in the bottom 
of which runs the Tacazze, next to the Nile the largeft ri- 
ver in Upper Abyilinia. It rifes in Angot (at leaft its princi-*- 
pal branch) in a plain champain country, about 200 miles^ 
S. E. of Gondar, near a fpot called Souami Midre. It has 
three fpring heads, or fources, like the Nile ; near it is the: 
fmall village Gourri *., 

Angot is now in pofleffion of the Galla, whofe chief, 
Guangoul, is the head of the weflern Galla, once the moll 
formidable invader of Abyilinia. The other branch of the 
Tacazze rifes in the frontiers of Begemder, near Dabuco ; 
whence, running between Gouliou, Lafta, and Beleflen, it 
joins with the Angot branch, and becomes the boundary 
between Tigre and the other great divifion of the country 
called Amhara. This divifion arifes from language only, 
for the Tacazze palfes nowhere near the province of Am- 
hara ; only all to the eaft of the Tacazze is, in this general 
way of dividing the country, called Tigre, and all to the 


It fignifies cold, 


weflward, from the Tacazze to the Nile, Gojam, and the 
Agows, is called Amhara, becaufe the language of that pro* 
vince is there fpoken, and not that of Tigre or Geez. But 
I would have my reader on his guard againft the belief that 
no languages but thefe two are fpoken in thefe divifions ; 
many different dialects are fpoken in little diftrie'ls in 
both, and, in fome of them, neither the language of Tigre 
nor that of Amhara is underftood. 

I have already fumciently dwelt upon the ancient hiflory; 
the names, manners, and people that inhabit the banks of 
this river. It was the Siris (or river of the dog-liar) whilft 
that negro, uncivilized people, the Cufhites of the ifland of 
Meroe, refided upon its banks. It was then called the Tan- 
nufti Abay, or the lefTer of two rivers that fwelled with the 
tropical rains, which was the name thepeafants, or unlearn- 
ed, gave it, from comparifon with the Nile. It was the 
Tacazze in Derkin or the dwelling of the Taka, before 
it joined the Nile in Beja, and it was the Aflaboras of thofe 
of the ancients that took the Nile for the Siris. It is now 
the Atbara, giving its name to that peninfula, which it 
inclofes on the eafl as the Nile does on the weft, and 
which was formerly the ifland of Meroe ; but it never 
was the Tekefel, as authors have called it, deriving 
the name from the Ethiopia word Taka, which undoubt- 
edly fignifies, fear, terror, diftrefs, or fadnefs ; I mean, 
this was never the derivation of its name. Far from this 
idea, our Tacazze is one of the pleafantefl rivers in the 
world, fhaded with fine lofty trees, its banks covered with 
bullies inferior in fragrance to no garden in the univerfe ; 
its flream is the moil limpid, its water excellent, and full of 
good fifh ofgreat variety, as its coverts are of all forts of game.- 

3 ka 


It mull be confefTed, that, during the inundation, thefc 
things wear a contrary face. It carries in its bed near one- 
third of all the water that falls in Abyflinia ; and we faw 
the mark the ftream had reached the preceding year, eigh- 
teen feet above the bottom of the river, which we do not 
know was the higheft point that it arrived at. But three 
fathoms it certainly had rolled in its bed ; and this prodi- 
gious body of water, palling furioully from a high ground 
in a very deep defcent, tearing up rocks and large trees in 
its courfe, and forcing down their broken fragments Scat- 
tered on its ftream, with a noife like thunder echoed from 
a hundred hills, thefe very naturally fuggeft an idea, that, 
from thefe circumftances, it is very rightly called the terrible. 
But then it mull be conlidered, that all rivers in Abyflinia 
at the fame time equally overflow; that every ftream makes 
thefe ravages upon its banks ; and that there is nothing in 
this that peculiarly affects the Tacazze,or fhould give it this 
fpecial name : at leaft, fuch is my opinion ; though it is 
with great willingnefs I leave every reader in poftelEon of 
his own, efpecially in etymology. 

At half an hour pall eight we began a gradual defcent, 
at firft eafily enough, till we crofted the fmall brook called 
Maitemquet, or, the water of baptifm. We then began to de- 
fcend very rapidly in a narrow path, winding along the fide 
of the mountain, all fhaded with lofty timber-trees of great 
beauty. About three miles further we came to the edge of 
the ftream at the principal ford of the Tacazze, which is very 
firm and good ; the bottom confifts of fmall pebbles, without 
either fand or large Hones. The river here at this time was 
fully ' i oc yards broad, the water perfectly clear, and running 
very fwiftly ; it was about three feet deep. This was the dry 

i feafon 


feafon of the year, when mofl rivers in Abyflinia ran now 
no more. 

In the -middle of the ftream we met a deferter from Ras 
Michael's army, with his firelock upon his moulder, driving 
before him two miferable girls about ten years old, ftark- 
naked, and almoft famifhed to death, the part of the booty 
which had fallen to his fhare in laying waile the country 
of Maitfha, after the battle. We afked him of the truth of 
this news, but he would give us no fatisfaclion ; fometimes 
he faid there had been a battle, fometimes none. He 
apparently had fome diftruft, that one or other of the 
facts, being allowed to be true, might determine us as to 
fome delign we might have upon him and his booty. He 
had not, in my eyes, the air of a conqueror, but rather of a 
coward that had fneaked away, and ftolen thefe two mifer- 
able wretches he had with him. I afked where Michael 
was ? If at Bure ? where, upon defeat . of Fafil, he natu- 
rally would be. He faid, No ; he was at Ibaba, the capital of 
Maitfha ; and this gave us no light, it being the place he 
would go to before, while detachments of his army might 
be employed in burning and laying wafte the country of 
the enemy he had determined to ruin, rather than return to 
it fome time after a battle. At laft we were obliged to leave 
him. I gave him fome flour and tobacco, both which he 
took very thankfully ; but further intelligence he would 
not give.. 

The banks of the Tacazze are all covered, at the water's 
edge, with tamarifks ; behind which grow high and flraight 
trees, that feem to have gained additional flrength from 
kaving often refilled the violence of the. river, Few of thefe 



ever lofe their leaves, but are either covered with fruit, 
flower, or foliage the whole year ; indeed, abundantly with 
all three during the fix months fair weather. The Boha- 
bab, indeed, called, in the Amharic language, Dooma, lofes 
its leaf; it is the largefl tree in AbyiTmia; the trunk is ne- 
ver high.; it diminifhes very regularly from the top to the 
bottom, but not beautifully; it has the appearance of a 
large cannon, and puts out a multitude of ftrong branches., 
which do not fall low, or nearly horizontal, but follow a di- 
rection, making all of them fmaller angles than that of 45 . 
The fruit is of the fhape of a melon, rather longer for its 
thicknefs ; within are black feeds in each of the cells, in- 
to which it is divided, and round them a white fubftance, 
very like fine fugar, which is fweet, with a fmall degree of 
very pleafant acid. I never faw it either in leaf or flower ; the 
fruit hang dry upon the branches when they are deprived 
of both. The wood of this tree is foft and fpungy, and of 
no ufe. The wild bees perforate the trunk, and lodge their 
honey in the holes made in it ; and this honey is preferred 
to any other in AbyfTmia. 

Beautiful and pleafant, however, as this river is, like 
every thing created, it has its difadvantages, From the 
falling of the firft rains in March till November it is death 
to ileep in the country adjoining to it, both within and 
without its banks ; the whole inhabitants retire and live in 
villages on the top of the neighbouring mountains ; and 
tbefe are all robbers and anaflins, who defcend from their 
habitations on the heights to lie in wait for, and plunder 
the travellers that pafs. Notwithftanding great pains have 
been taken by Michael, his fon, and grandfon, governors of 



Tigre and Sire, this paffage had never been fo far cleared 
but, every month, people are cut off. 

, The plenty of nm,in this river occafions more than an or- 
dinary number of crocodiles to refort hither. Thefe are fo- 
daring and fearlefs, that when the river fwells, fo as to be 
paffable only by people upon rafts, or fkins blown up with 
wind, they are frequently carried off by thefe voracious and 
vigilant animals. There are alfo many hippopotami, which, 
in this country, are called Gomari. I never faw any of thefe 
in the Tacazze ; but at night we heard them fnort, or groan, 
in many parts of the river near us. There are alfo vail 
multitudes of lions and hyaenas in all thefe thickets. We 
weie very much diflurbed by them all night. The fmell 
of our mules and horfes had drawn them in numbers a- 
bout our tent, but they did us no further harm, except o- 
bliging us to watch. I found the latitude of the ford, by 
many obfervations, the night of the 26th, taking a medium 
of them all, to be if 42' 45" north. 

The river Tacazze is, as I have already faid, the boun*- 
dary of the province of Sire. We now entered that of Sa^- 
men, which was hoftile to us, being commanded by Ayto 
Tesfos, who, fince the murder of Joas, had never laid down 
his arms, nor acknowledged his neighbour, Michael, as Ras, 
nor Hannes the king, laft made, as fovereign. He had re^ 
mained on the top of a high rock called the Jews Rock^ about 
eight miles from the ford. For thefe reafons, as well as that 
it was the moil agreeable fpot we had ever yet feen, we left 
our ftation on the Tacazze with great regret. 

Vol. III. X On 


On me 27th of January, a little pad fix in. the morning, . 
we continued fome fhort way along the river's fide, and, at 
forty minutes paft fix o'clock, came to Ingerohha, a fmall 
rivulet rifing in the plain above, which, after a fhort courfe 
through a deep valley, joins theTacazze. At half pail feven 
we left the river, and began to afcend the mountains, which 
forms the fouth fide of the valley, or banks of that river. 
The path is narrow, winds as much, and is as fteep as the 
other, but not fo woody. What makes it, however, ftill more 
difagreeable is, that every way you turn you have a perpen- 
dicular precipice into a deep valley below you. At half paft 
eight we arrived at the top of the mountain; and, at half 
paft nine, halted at Tabulaque, having alLthe way palled 
among ruined villages, the monuments of Michael's cruelty 
or juftice ; for it is hard to fay whether the cruelty, robber- 
ies, and violence of the former inhabitants did not deferve , 
the fevereft chaftifement. 

We faw many people feeding cattle on the plain, and we 
again opened a market for flour and other provifions, which 
we procured in barter for cohol, incenfe, and beads. None 
but the young women appeared. They were of a lighter 
colour, taller, and in general more beautiful than thofe at 
Kclla. Their nofes feemed flatter than thofe of the Abyf- 
finians we had yet feen. Perhaps the climate here was be- 
ginning that feature fo confpicuous in the negroes in ge- 
neral, and particularly of thofe in this country called Shan- 
galia, from whofe country thefe people are not diftant above 
two days journey. They feemed inclined to be very hard 
in ail bargains but thofe of one kind, in which they were 
moft reafonable and liberal. They all agreed, that thefe 
favours ought, to be given and not fold, and that all coynefs 




and courtfhip was but lofs of time, which always might be 
employed better to the fatisfaction of both. Thefe people 
are lefs gay than thofe at Kella, and their converfation more 
rough and peremptory. They underftood both the Tigre 
language and Amharic, although we fuppofed it was in 
compliance to us that they converfed chiefly in the former. 

Our tent was pitched at the head of Ingerohha, on the 
north of the plain of Tabulaque. This river rifes among 
the rocks at the bottom of a little eminence, in a fmall 
Hream, which, from its fource, runs very fwiftly, and the 
water is warm. The peafants told us, that, in winter, in 
time of the rains, it became hot, and fmoked. It was in 
tafle, however, good ; nor did we perceive any kind of mi- 
neral in it. Tabulaque, AnderafTa, and Mentefegla belong 
to the Shum of Addergey, and the viceroy of Samen, Ayto 
Tesfos. The large town of Hauza is about eight miles 
fouth-and-by-eaft of this. 

On the 28th, at forty minutes paft fix o'clock in the morn* 
ing, we continued our journey ; and, at half pall feven, faw 
the fmall village Motecha on the top of the mountain, half a 
mile fouth from us. At eight, we croiTed the river Aira ; and, 
at half pafl eight, the river Tabul, the -boundary of the di- 
Uriel of Tabulaque thick covered with wood, and efpecially a 
fort of cane, or bamboo, folid within, called there Shemale, 
which is ufed in making (hafts for javelins, or light darts 
-thrown from the hand, cither on foot or on horfeback, at 
hunting or in war. 

We alighted on the fide of AnderafFa, rather a fmall 
ftream, and which had now ceafed running, but which 

X 2 gives 


gives the name to the diftrict through which we were pann- 
ing. Its water is muddy and ill-tafted, and falls into the 
Tacazze, as do all the rivers we had yet patted. Dagafha- 
ha bears N. N. E. from this flation. A great dew fell this 
night ; the firft we had yet obferved. 

The 29th, at fix o'clock in the morning, we continued 
our journey from AnderaiTa, through thick woods of final! 
trees, quite overgrown, and covered with wild oats, reeds, 
and long grafs, fo that it was very difficult to find a path 
through them. We were not without confiderable appre- 
henfion, from our nearnefs to the Shangalla, who were but 
two days journey diflant from us to the W. N. W. and had 
frequently made excurfions to the wild country where we 
now were. Hauza was upon a mountain fouth from us ; 
after travelling along the edge of a hill, with the river on 
our left hand, we crofied it : it is called the Bowiha, and is, 
the largefl we had lately feem 

At nine o'clock we encamped upon the fmall river An- 
gari, that gives its name to a diftrict. which begins at the 
Bowiha where AnderafTa ends. The river Angari is much 
fmaller than the Bowiha : it rifes to the weflward in a plain 
near Montefegla ; after running half a mile, it falls down 
a fleep precipice into a valley, then turns to the N. E. and,, 
after a courfe of two miles and a half farther, joins the Bow- 
iha a little above the ford. 

The fmall village Angari lies about two miles S. S. Wl 
on the top of a hill. Hauza (which feems a large town 
formed by a collection of many villages) is fix miles fouth, 
pleafantly fituated among a variety of mountains, all of dif- 



ferent and extraordinary fhapes ; fome are ftraight like co- 
lumns, and fome fharp in the point, and broad in the bafe, 
like pyramids and obelifks, and fome like cones. All thefe, 
for the moft part inacceflible, unlefs with pain and danger 
to thofe that know the paths, are places of refuge and fafe- 
ty in time of war, and are agreeably feparated from each 
other by fmall plains producing grain. Some of thefe, 
however, have at the top water and fmall flats that can be 
fown, fufHcient to maintain a number of men, independent 
of what is doing below them. Hauza fignifies delight, or 
pleafure, and, probably, fuch a fituation of the country has 
given the name to it. It is chiefly inhabited by Mahome- 
tan merchants, is the entre-pot between Mafuah and Gon- 
dar, and there are. here people of very confiderable fubftance= 

The 30th, at feven in the morning, we left Angari, keep- 
ing along the fide of the river. We then afcended a high 
hill covered with grafs and trees, through a very difficult 
and fleep road ; which ending, we came to a fmall and a- 
greeable plain, with pleafant hills on each fide ; this is cal- 
led Mentefegla. At half paft feven we were in the middle of 
three villages of the fame name, two to the right and one 
on the left, about half a mile diftance. At half pafl nine 
we pailed a fmall river called Daracoy, which fefves as the 
Boundary between Addergey and this fmall diftrict Men- 
tefegla. At a quarter paft ten, we incamped at Addergey y . 
near a fmall rivulet called Mai-Lumi, the river of limes, 
or lemons, in a plain fcarce a mile fquare, furrounded 
on each fide with very thick wood in form of an am- 
phitheatre. Above this wood, are bare, rugged, and bar- 
ren mountains. Midway in the cliff is a miferable vil- 
lage, that feems rather to hang than to ftand there, fcarce 

a yard 


a yard of level ground being before it to hinder its inha- 
bitants from falling down the precipice. The wood is full 
of lemons and wild citrons, from which it acquires its 
name. Before the tent, to the •■weft ward, was a very deep 
valley, which terminated this little plain in a tremendous 

The river Mai-Lumi, riling above the village, falls into 
the wood, and there it divides itfelf in two ; one branch fur- 
rounds the north of the plain, the other the fouth, and falls 
down a rock on each fide of the valley, where they unite, 
and, after having run about a quarter of a mile further, are 
precipitated into a cataract of 150 feet high, and run in a 
direction fouth- weft into the Tacazze. The river Mai-Lumi 
was, at this time, but fmall, although it is violent in winter; 
beyond this valley are five hills, and on the top of each is 
a village. The Shum refides in the one that is in the middle. 
He bade us a feeming hearty welcome, but had malice in 
his heart againft us, and only waited to know for certain- 
ty if it was a proper time to gratify his avarice. A report 
was fpread about with great confidence, that Ras Michael 
had been defeated by Fafil ; that Gondar had rebelled, and 
Woggora was all in arms ; fo that it was certain lofs of life 
to attempt the pafiage of Lamalmon. 

For our part, we conceived this ftory to be without foun- 
dation, and that, on the contrary, the news were true which 
we had heard at Sire and Adowa, viz. That Michael was vic- 
torious, and Fafil beaten ; and we were, therefore, refolved 
to abide by this, as well knowing, that, if the contrary had 
happened, everyplace between the Tacazze and Gondar was 
as fatal to us as any thing we were to meet with onLamal- 

-2 mon 


mon could be ; the change of place made no difference ; the 
difpofitions of the people towards Michael and his friends 
we knew to be the fame throughout the kingdom, and that 
our only fafety remained on certain and good news coming 
from the army, or in the ffnifhing our journey with expe- 
dition, before any thing bad happened,, or was certainly 

The hycenas this night devoured one of the bed of our 
mules. They are here in great plenty, and fo are lions ; the 
roaring and grumbling of the latter, in the part of the wood 
rteareft our tent, greatly difturbed our beafts, and prevented 
them from eating their provender. I lengthened the firings 
of my tent, and placed the beafts between them. The white 
ropes, and the tremulous motion made by the impreilion 
of the wind, frightened the lions from coming near us. I had 
procured from Janni two fmall brafs bells, fuch as the mules- 
carry. I had tied thefe to the fTorm-flrings of the tent, 
■where their noife, no doubt, greatly contributed to our 
beafts fafety from thefe ravenous, yet cautious animals, fo 
that we never faw them ; but the noife they made, and, 
perhaps, their fmell, fo terrified the mules, that, in the morn- 
ing, they were drenched in fweat as if they had been a -long 
journey. . 

The brutifli hyasnawas not fo to be deterred. I mot one 
of them dead on the night of the 31ft of January, and, on 
the 2d of February, 1 fired at another fo near, that I was 
confident of killing him. Whether the balls had fallen out, 
or that I had really miffed him with the firft barrel, I know- 
not, but he gave a fnaii and a kind of bark upon the iirft 
filet, advancing directly upon me. as if unhurt. The fecond 



ihot, r^owever, took place, and laid him without motion on 
the ground. Yafine and his men killed another with a pike; 
and fuch was their determined coolnefs, that they flalked 
round about us with the familiarity of a dog, or any other 
-domeilic animal brought up with man. 

But we were ftill more incommoded by a leffer animal, 
a large, black ant, little lefs than an inch long, which, co- 
ming out from under the ground, demolifhed our carpets, 
which they cut all into fhreds, and part of the lining of our 
tent likewife, and every bag or fack they could find. We 
had firfb feen them in great numbers at Angari, but here 
they were intolerable. Their bite caufes a confiderable in- 
flammation, and the pain is greater than that which arifes 
from the bite of a fcorpion ; they are called gundan. 

On the ift of February the Shum fent his people to value, 
as he faid, our merchandife, that we might pay cuftom. 
Many of the Moors, in our caravan, had left us to go a near 
way to Hauza. We had at moll five or fix afles, including 
thofe belonging to Yafine. I humoured them fo far as to 
open the cafes where were the telefcopes and quadrant, or, 
indeed, rather fhewed them open, as they were not fhut 
from the obfervation I had been making. They could only 
wonder at things they had never before feen. 

On the 2d of February the Shum came himfelf, and a 
-violent altercation enfued. He infilled upon Michael's defeat: 
I told him the contrary news were true, and begged him to 
beware left it mould be told to the Ras upon his return that 
he had propagated fuch a falfehood. I told him alfo we 
had advice that the Ras's fervants were now waiting for us 

4 at 


at Lamalmon, and infilled upon his fuffering us to depart. 
On the other hand, he threatened to fend us to Ayto Tesfos. 
I anfwered, " Ayto Tesfos was a friend to Ayto Aylo, under 
whofe protection I was, and a fervant to the Iteghe, and was 
likelier to punifh him for ufing me ill, than to approve of 
it, but that I would not fuffer him to fend me either to Ayto 
Tesfos, or an inch out of the road in which I was going." 
He faid, " That I was mad ;" and held a confultation with 
his people for about half an hour, after which he came in 
again, feemingly quite another man, and faid, he would 
difpatch us on the morrow, which was the 3d, and would 
fend us that evening fome provifions. And, indeed, we now 
began to be in need, having only flour barely fufficient to 
make bread for one meal next day. The miferable village 
on the clift had nothing to barter with us ; and none from 
the five villages about the Shum had come near us, proba- 
bly by his order. As he had foftened his tone, fo did I mine. 
I gave him a fmall prefent, and he went away repeating his 
promifes. But all that evening palled without provifion, 
and all next day without his coming, fo we got every thing 
ready for our departure. Our fupper did not prevent our 
fleeping, as all our provifion was gone, and we had tailed 
nothing all that day fince our breakfaft. 

The country of the Shangalla lies forty miles N. N. W. 
of this, or rather more wefterly. All this diftrict from the 
Tacazze is called, in the language of Tigre, Salent, and Ta- 
lent in Amharic. This probably arifes from the name being 
originally fpelled with (Tz), which has occafioned the dif- 
ference, the onejanguage omitting the iirfl letter, the other 
the fecond. 

Vol. III. Y Ar 


- At Addergey, the 31ft day of January, at noon, I obferved 
the meridian altitude of the fun, and, at night, the paffage 
of feven different flars over the meridian, by a medium of 
all which,! found that the latitude of Addergey is if 24 56" 
North. And on the morning of the lit of February, at the 
fame place, I obferved an immerfion of the fecond fatellite 
of Jupiter, by which I concluded the longitude of Addergey. 
to be 37 57' eaft of the meridian of Greenwich. 

On the 4th of February, at half paft nineih the mornings 
we left Addergey : hunger prefiing us, we were prepared to 
do it earlier, and for this we had been up fin ce five in the 
morning ;, but our lofs of a mule obliged us, when we 
packed: up our tent, to arrange our baggage differently. 
While employed at making ready for our departure, which- 
was juft in the dawn of day, a hyaena; unfeen by any of us, 
fattened upon one of Yaiine's affes, and had almoft pulled 
his tail away. I was bufied at gathering the tent-pins into 
a lack, and had placed my mufket and: bayonet ready 
againft a tree, as it is at that hour, and the clofe of. the eve- 
ning, you are always to be on guard againft banditti. A 
boy, who was fervant to Yafine, faw the hysena firft, and 
flew to my mufket, Yafine was disjoining the poles of the. 
tent, and, having one half of the largeft in.his hand, he ran. 
to the afiiftance of his afs, and in that moment the mufket 
went off, luckily charged with only one ball, which gave 
Yafine a nefh wound between the thumb and forefinger of 
his left hand. The boy inftantly threw down the mufket,, 
which had terrified the hysena: and; made him let go the 
afs; but lie flood ready to fight Yafine, who, not amu* 
fmg himfeif with, the choice of weapons, gave him fo.- 



rude a blow with the tent-pole upon his head, that it fell* 
ed him to the ground ; others, with pikes, put an end to his 

We were then obliged to turn our cares towards the wound- 
ed. Yafine's wound wasfoonfeen to be a trifle; befides, he was 
a man not eafily alarmed on fuch occalions. But the poor afs 
was not fo eafily comforted. The flump remained, the tail 
hanging by a piece of it, which we were obliged to cut off. 
The next operation was actual cautery ; but, as we had 
made no bread for breakfaft, our fire had been early out. We, 
therefore, were obliged to tie the flump round with whip- 
cord, till we could get fire enough to heat an iron. 

What fufficiently marked the voracity of thefe beafts, the 
hysenas,was, that the bodies of their dead companions, which 
we hauled a long way from us, and left there, were almoft en- 
tirely eaten by the furvivors the next morning ; and I then 
x>bferved, for the firft time, that the hysena of this country 
was a different fpecies from thofe I had feen in Europe, 
which had been brought from Afia or America. 

C H A P, 


- . 

• ■ sM qjft&sa- 



jfourney over Lamalmon to Gondar. 

IT was on account of thefe delays that we did not leaveAd- 
dergey till near ten o'clock in the forenoon of the 4th of 
February. We continued our journey along the fide of a 
hill, through thick wood and high grafs ; then defcended 
into a fteep, narrow valley, the fides of which had been 
ihaded with high trees, but in burning the grafs the trees 
were confumed likswife ; and the fhoots from the roots 
were fome of them above eight feet high fince the tree 
had thus fuiFered that fame year. The river Angueah. 
runs through the middle of this valley; after receiving 
the fmall ftreams, before mentioned, it makes its way 
into the Tacazze. It is a very clear, fwift-running river, 
fomething lefs than the Bowiha. 

When we had juft reached the river- fide, we faw the 
Shum coming from the right hand acrofs us. There were 



nine horfemen in all, and fourteen or fifteen beggarly foot- 
men. He had a well- drefled young man going before him 
carrying his gun, and had only a whip in his own hand ; 
the reft had lances in theirs ; but none of the horfemen 
had fhields. It was univerfally agreed, that this feemed to 
be a party fet for us, and that he probably had others before 
appointed to join him, for we were fure his nine horfe 
would not venture to do any thing. Upon the firft appear- 
ance, we had flopped on this fide of the river; but Welleta 
Michael's men, who were to accompany us to Lamalmon, 
and Janni's fervant, told us to crofs the river, and make 
what fpeed we could, as the bhum's government, ended on . 
this fide.. 

Our people were now all on foot, and the Moors drove : 
the beafls before them. I got immediately upon horfeback, 
when they were then about five hundred yards below, or 
fcarcely fo much.. As foon as they obferved us drive our 
beafts into the river, one of their horfemen came galloping 
up, while the others continued at a fmart walk. When the 
horfeman was within twenty yards diflance of me, I called 
upon him to flop, and* as he valued his life, not approach, 
nearer. On this he made no difficulty to obey, but feemed 
rather inclined to turn back. As I faw the baggage all laid 
on the ground at the foot of a fmall round hill, upon the 
gentle afcent of which my fervants all flood armed, I turn- 
ed about my horfe, and with Yafine, who was by my fide, 
began to crofs the river. The horfeman upon this again 
advanced ; again I cried to him to flop. . He then pointed 
behind him, and faid, " The Shum !" I defired him peremp^ 
torily to flop, or I would fire; upon which he turned 
round, and the others joining him, they held a minute's 



counfel together, and came all forward to the river, where 
they paufed a moment as if counting our number, and 
then began to enter the ftream. Yafine now cried to them 
in Amharic, as I had done before in Tigre, defiring them, as 
they valued their lives, to come no nearer. They flopt, a 
fign of no great refolution ; and, after fome altercation, it 
was agreed the Shum, and his fon with the gun, ihould 
pafs the river. 

The Shum complained violently that we had left Ad- 
dergey without his leave, and now were attacking him in his 
own government upon the high-road. " A pretty fituation," 
faid I, " was ours at Addergey, where the Shum left the 
king's flranger no other alternative but dying with hunger, 
or being ate by the hyama." 

" This is not your government," fays Janni's fervant ; " you 
know my mailer, Ayto Aylo, commands here." — " And who 
is attacking you on the road ?" fays the Sire fervant. " Is it 
like peaceable people, or banditti, to come mounted on 
horfeback and armed as you are ? Would not your mules and 
your foot-fervants have been as proper? and would not you 
have been better employed, with the king and Ras Michael, 
fighting the Galla, as you gave your promife, than here 
molefting pafTengers on the road ?" — " You lie," fays the 
Shum, " I never promifed to go with your Ras ;" and on 
this he lifted up his whip to fTrike Welleta Michael's fer- 
vant ; but that fellow, though quiet enough, was not of 
the kind to be beaten. " By G — d ! Shum," fays he, " offer 
to fTrike me again, and I will lay you dead among your 
horfe's feet, and my mailer will fay I did well. Never call 
for your men ; you Ihould have taken the red flip off your 

:i . gua 


gun before you came from home to-day to follow us. Why> 
if you was to moot, you would be left alone in our hands, 
as all your fellows on the other fide would run at the noife 
even of your own gun. 

" Friends, faid I, you underfland one another's grie- 
vances better than I do. My only bufinefs here is to get to 
Lamalmon as foon as poflible. Now, pray, Shum, tell me 
what is your bufinefs with me ? and why have you follow- 
ed me beyond your government, which is bounded by that 
river ?" — He faid, " That I had flolen away privately, without 
paying cuflom." — " I am no merchant, replied I ; I am the 
king's guefl, and pay no cuflom ; but as far as a piece of 
red SUrat cotton cloth will content you, I will give it you, 
and we mail part friends."— He then anfwered, " That two 
ounces of gold were what- my dues had been rated at, and 
would either have that, or he would follow me to Debra 
Toon." — " Bind him and carry him to Debra Toon, fays 
the Sire fervant, or I mail go and bring the Shum of De- 
bra Toon to do it. By the head of Michael, Shum, it fhall 
not be long before I take you out of your bed for this." 

I now gave orders to my people to load the mules. At 
hearing this, the Shum made a fignal for his company to 
crofs ; but Yafine, who was oppofite to them, again ordered 
them to flop. " Shum, faid I, you intend to follow us, 
apparently with a defign to do us fome harm. Now we 
are going to Debra Toon, and you are going thither. If 
you chufe to go with us, you may in all honour and fafe- 
ty ; but your fervants fhall not be allowed to join you, nor 
you join them ; and if they but attempt to do us harm, we 
will for certain revenge ourfelves on you. There is a piece 

v. iii. y of 


of ordnance," continued I, mewing him a large blunderbufs, 
" a cannon, that will fweep fifty fuch fellows as you to eter- 
nity in a moment. This mall take the care of them, and 
we fhall take the care of you ; but join you mall not till 
we are at Debra Toon." 

The young man that carried the gun, the cafe of which 
had never been off, defired leave to fpeak with his father, 
as they now began to look upon themfelves as prifoners. 
The converfation lafled about five minutes ; and our bag- 
gage was now on the way, when the Shum faid, he would 
make a propofal : — " Since I had no merchandife, and was 
going to Ras Michael, he would accept of the red cloth, its 
value being about a crown, provided we fwore to make 
no complaint of him at Gondar, nor fpeak of what had hap- 
pened at Debra Toon ; while he likewife would fwear, af- 
ter having joined his fervants, that he would not again pafs 
that river." Peace was concluded upon thefe terms. I gave 
him a piece of red Surat cotton cloth, and added fome co- 
hol, incenfe, and beads for his wives. I gave to the young 
man that carried the gun two firings of bugles to adorn 
his legs, for which he feemed mofl wonderfully grateful. 
The Shum returned, not with a very placid countenance ; 
his horfemen joined him in the middle of the flream, and 
away they went foberly together, and in filence. 

Hauza was from this S. E. eight miles diftant. Its moun- 
tains, of fo many uncommon forms, had a very romantic 
appearance. • At one o'clock we alighted at the foot of one 
of the higheft, called Debra Toon, about half way between 
the mountain and village of that name, which was on the 
fide of the hill about a mile N.W. Still further to the N. W. 



is a defert, hilly diftrict, called Adebarea, the country of the 
{laves, as being the neighbourhood of the Shangaila, the 
whole country between being wafte and uninhabited. 

The mountains of Waldubba, refembling thofe of Ade- 
barea, lay north of us about four or five miles. Waldubba, 
which fignifies the Valley of 'the Hyana, is a territory entirely in- 
habited by the monks, who, for mortification's fake, have 
retired to this unwholefome, hot, and dangerous country* 
voluntarily to fpend their lives in penitence, meditation, 
and prayer. This, too, is the only retreat of great men in 
difgrace or in difguft. Thefe firft (have their hair, and put 
on a cowl like the monks, renouncing the world for foli- 
tude, and taking vows which they refolve to keep no longer 
than exigencies require ; after which they return to the 
world again, leaving their cowl and fanctity in Waldubba. 

These monks are held in great veneration ; are believed 
by many to have the gift of prophecy, and fome of them to 
work miracles, and are very active inftruments to ftir up 
the people in time of trouble. Thofe that I have feen out of 
Waldubba in Gondar, and about Kofcam, never mewed any 
great marks of abflinence; they ate and drank every thing 
without fcruple, and in large quantities too. They fay they 
live otherwife in Waldubba, and perhaps it may be fo. There 
are women, alfo, whom we mould call Nuns, who, though 
not refiding in Waldubba, go at times thither, and live in a 
familiarity with thefe faints, that has very little favour of 
fpirituality ; and many of thefe, who think the living in 
community with this holy fraternity has not in it per- 
fection enough to fatisfy their devotion, retire, one of each 
fex, a hermit and a nun, fequeilering themfelves for months* 

Vol. III. Z to 


to cat herbs together in private upon the top of the mou*- 
tains. Thefe, onnheir return, are fhewn as miracles of ho- 
linefs,-— lean, enervated, and exhaufted. Whether this is 
wholly to be laid to the charge of the' herbs, is more than . 
I will take upon, me to decide, never having been at thefe 
retirements of Waldubba. 

Violent. fevers perpetually reign there. The inhabitants 
are all of the colour of a corpfe ; and their neighbours, the 
Shangallajby conftant inroads* deftroy many of them, though 
lately they have been Hopped, as they fay, by the prayers of 
the monks. I fuppofe their partners, the nuns, had their 
ihare in it, as both of them are faid to be equally fuperior 
in holinefs and purity of living to what their predeceffbrs 
formerly were. But, not to derogate from the efficaciouf- 
nefs of their. prayers, the natural caufe why the Shangalla , 
moleft them no more, is the fmall-pox, which has greatly 
reduced their- ftrength and number, and extinguished, to a • 
man, whole tribes of them. :. 

The water is both fcarce and bad at Debra Toon, there 
being but one fpring, or fountain, and it was exceedingly 
ill- tailed. We did not intend, to make this a ftation ; but, 
having fent a, fervant to Hauza xo buy a mule in room of 
that which the hyaena had eaten, we were afraid to leave: 
our man, who was not yet come forward, left he mould fall 
in with the Shum- of Addergey, who might flop, the mule 
for our arrears of cuftoms. 

The pointed mountain of Dagafhaha continued ftill vifible;, 
Ifet it this day by the compafs, and it bore due N.E. We had 
mat feen any cultivated ground fince we pafled the Tacazze, 



'The 5th, at feven o'clock in the morning, we left Debra 
Toon, and came to the edge of a deep valley bordered wnht 
wood, the defcent of which is very fteep. The Anzo, larger 
and more rapid than the Angueah, runs through the middle 
of this valley ; its bed is full of large, fmooth ftones, and 
the fides compofed of hard rock, and difficult to defcend ; the 
ftream is equally clear and rapid with the other. We as- 
cended the valley on the other fide, through the moft diffi- 
cult road we had met with fmce that of the valley of Sire. 
At ten o'clock we found ourfelves in the middle of three 
villages, two to the right, and one on the left ; they are 
called Adamara, from Adama a mountain, on the eaft fide 
of which is Tchober. At eleven o'clock we encamped at the 
foot of the mountain Adama, in a fmall piece of level ground, 
after paffing a pleafant wood of no confiderable extent. 
Adama, in Amharic, fignines pleafant; and nothing can be 
more wildly fo than the view from this ftation. 

Tchober is clofe at the foot of the mountain, furround- 
ed on every fide, except the north, by a deep valley covered 
with wood. On the other fide of this Valley are the broken 
hills which conftitute the rugged banks of the Anzo. On 
the point of one of thefe, moft extravagantly maped, is the 
village Shahagaanah, projecting as it were over the river; 
and, behind thefe, the irregular and broken mountains of 
Salent appear, especially thofe around Hauza, in forms which 
European mountains never wear ; and ftill higher, above 
thefe, is the long ridge of Samen, which run along in an 
even ftretch till they are interrupted by the high conical 
top of Lamalmon, reaching above the clouds, and reckoned 
•to be the higheft hill in Aby'ffinia, over the fteepeft part or 

2* z which 

j8o travels to discover 

which, by fome fatality, the reafon I do not know, the road 
of all caravans to Gondar mull lie. 

As foon as we pafled the Anzo, immediately on our right 
is that part of Waldubba, full of deep valleys and woods, 
in which the monks ufed to hide themfelves from the in- 
curfions of the Shangalla, before they found out the more 
convenient defence by the prayers and fuperior fanctity of 
the prefent faints. Above this is Adamara, where the Ma- 
hometans have confiderable villages, and, by their populouf- 
nefs and ftrength, have greatly added to the fafety of the 
monks, perhaps not altogether completed yet by the purity 
of their lives. Still higher than thefe villages is Tchober ? 
where we now encamped,. 

On the left hand, after palling the Anzo, all is Shahagaa-- 
nah, till you come to the river Zarima. It extends in an ealt 
and weft direction, almoft parallel to the mountains of Sa- 
men, and in this territory are feveral confiderable villages; 
the people are muqh: addicted to robbery, and rebellion, in 
which they were engaged at this time. Above Salent is Ab- 
bergale, and above that Tamben, which is one of the princi- 
pal provinces in Tigre, commanded at prefent by Kefla Ya- 
fous, an officer of the greateil merit and reputation in the 
Abyffinian army,. 

On the 6th, at fix o'clock in the morning, we left Tcho- 
ber, and pafled a wood on the fide of the mountain. At a 
quarter pall eight, we crofTed the river Zarima, a clear 
ilream running over a bottom of flones. It is about as large 
as the Anzo. On the banks of this river, and all this day* 
^e paired under trees larger and more beautiful than any 


we had feen fince leaving the Tacazze. After having crofT- 
ed the Zarima, we entered a narrow defile between two 
mountains, where ran another rivulet i we continued ad- 
vancing along the fide of it, till the valley became fo nar- 
row as to leave no room but in the bed of the' rivulet itfelf. 
It is called Mai-Agam, or the water or brook of jeframin 1 
and falls into the Zarima, at a fmall diftance from the place 
wherein we patted it. It was dry at the mouth, (the water 
being there abforbed and hid under the fand) but above, 
where the ground was firmer, there ran a brifk ftream of 
excellent water, and it has the appearance of being both 
broad, deep, and rapid in winter. At ten o'clock we en- 
camped upon its banks, which are here bordered with high 
trees of cummel, at this time both loaded with, fruit and 
flowers. There are alfo here a variety of other curious 
trees and plants ; in no place, indeed, had we feen more, ex- 
cept on the banks of the Tacazze. Mai-Agam confifts of 
three villages ; one, two miles diftant, eaft- and- by-north, one 
at fame diftance, N. N. W.; ; the third- at one mile diftance, S«- 
E. by fouth.. 

On the 7th, at fix o'clock in the morning, we began r<*» 
afcend the mountain ; at a quaiter paft feven the village Lik 
lay eaft of us. Murafs, a country full of low but broken 
mountains, and deep narrow valleys, bears N.-W. and Wal- 
kayt in the fame direction, but farther off. At a quarter 
pall eight, Gingerohha, diftant from us about a mile S. W. 
it is a village fituated upon a mountain that joins Lamalmon« 
Two miles to the N. E. is the village Taguzait on the moun- 
tain which we were afcending. It is called Guza by the 
Jefuits, who ftrangely fay, that the Alps and Pyreneans are 
inconftderable eminences to it. Yet, with all deference to 



this obfervation,Taguzait, or Guza, though really the bafc. 
of Lamalmon, is not a quarter of a mile high. 

Ten minutes before nine o'clock we pitched our tent 
on a fmall plain called Dippebaha, on the top of the moun- 
tain, above a hundred yards from a fpring, which fcarcely 
was abundant enough to fupply us with water, in quality 
as indifferent as it was fcanty. The plain bore ftrong 
marks of the exceflive heat of the fun, being full of cracks 
and chafms, and the grafs burnt to powder. There arc 
three fmall villages fo near each other that they may be 
faid to compofe one. Near them is the church of St George, 
on the, top of a fmall hill to the eaftward, furrounded with 
large; trees. 

Since pafTmg the Tacazze we had been in a very wild 
country, left fo, for what I know, by nature, at leaft now 
lately rendered more fo by being the theatre of civil war. 
The whole was one wildernefs without inhabitants, unlefs 
at Addergey. The plain of Dippebaha had nothing of this 
appearance ; it was full of grafs, and interfperfed with 
flowering fhrubs, jeiTamin, and rofes, feveral kinds of which 
were beautiful, but only one fragrant. The air was very 
frefh and pleafant ; and a great number of people, palling, 
to and fro, animated the fcene. 

We met this day feveral monks and nuns of Waldubba, I 
mould fay pairs, for they were two and two together. 
They faid they had been at the market of Dobarke on the 
fide of Lamalmon, juil above Dippebaha. Both men and 
women, but especially the latter, had large burdens of 
|)rovi(ions on their moulders, bought that day, as they 



faid, at Dobarkc, which mewed me they did not wholly 
depend upon the herbs of Waldubba for their ■ fupport. 
The women were ftout and young, and did not feem, by 
their complexion, to have been long in the mortifications 
of Waldubba. I rather thought that they had the appear- 
ance of healthy mountaineers, and were, in all probability, 
part of the provifions bought for the convent ; and, by the 
fample, one would think the monks had the firil choice of 
the market, which was but fit, and is a cuftom obferved 
likewife in Catholic countries. The men feemed very rni- 
ferable, and ill-clothed, but had a great air of ferocity and 
pride in their faces. . They are diftinguifhed only from the 
laity by a yellow cowl, or cap, on their head. The ci .th 
they wear round them is likewife yellow, but in winter/ 
they wear fkins dyed of the iaine colour. . 

On the 8th, at three quarters paft fix o'clock in the morn-* 
ing, we lef t Dippebaha, and, at feven, had two fmall villages 
on our left ; one on the 8. E. diftant two miles, the other on 
the fouth, one mile off. They are called Wora, and fo is 
the territory for fome fpace on each fide of them ; but s , 
beyond the valley, all is Shahagaanah to the root of Lamal- 
mon. . At a quarter paft feven, the village of Gingerohha 
was three miles on our right ; and we were now afcending 
Lamalmon, through a very narrow road, or rather path, for 
it fcarcely was two feet wide any where. It was a fpiral- 
winding up the fide of the mountain* always on the very 
brink of a precipice. Torrents of water, which in winter cari- 
ry prodigious flones down the fide of this mauntain, had di- - 
vided this path into fe vera! places, and opened to us a view 
of that dreadful abyfs below, which few heads can (mine - 
atileail could not) bear to look down upon. We were here 

a- obliged 


obliged to unload our baggage, and, by flow degrees, crawl 
up the hill, carrying them little by little upon our moul- 
ders round thefe chafms where the road was interfected. 
The mountains grow fleeper, the paths narrower, and the 
breaches more frequent as we afcend. Scarce were our 
mules, though unloaded, able to fcramble up, but were per- 
petually falling ; and, to increafe our difficulties, which, in 
fuch cafes, feldom come fingle, a large number of cattle 
was defcending, and feemed to threaten to pufh us all in- 
to the gulf below. After two hours of conftant toil, at 
nine o'clock we alighted in a fmall plain called Kedus, or 
St Michael, from a church and village of that name, nei- 
ther beaft nor man being able to go a ftep further. 

The plain of St Michael, where we now were, is at the 
foot of a fteep cliff which terminates the weft fide of La- 
malmon. It is here perpendicular like a wall, and a few 
trees only upon the top of the cliff. Over this precipice 
flow two ftreams of water, which never are dry, but run in 
all feafons. They fall into a wood at the bottom of this 
cliff, and preferve it in continual verdure all the year, tho' 
the plain itfelf below, as I have faid, is all rent into chafms, 
and cracked by the heat of the fun. Thefe two ftreams 
form a confiderable rivulet in the plain of St Michael, and 
are a great relief both to men and cattle in this tedious and 
difficult paffage over the mountain. 

The air on Lamalmon is pleafant and temperate. We 
found here our appetite return, with a chearfulnefs, light- 
nefs of fpirits, and agility of body, which indicated that 
our nerves had again refumed their wonted tone, which 
they had loft in the low, poifonous, and fultry air on the 
4 coaft 


coaft of the Red Sea. The fun here is indeed hot, but in 
the morning a cool breeze never fails, which increafes 
as the fun rifes high. In the made it is always cool. 
The thermometer, in the made, in the plain of St Michael, 
this day, was 76 , wind N. W. 

Lamalmon, as I have faid, is the pafs through which the 
road of all caravans to Gondar lies. It is here they take an ac- 
count of all baggage and merchandife, which they tranfmit 
to the Negade Ras, or chief officer of the cuftoms at Gon- 
dar, by a man whom they fend to accompany the caravan. 
There is alfo a prefent, or awide, due to the private proprie- 
tor of the ground ; and this is levied with great rigour and 
violence, and, for the moll part, with injuilice ; fo that this 
ftation, which, by the eftablimment of the cuflomhoufe, and 
nearnefs to the capital, mould be in a particular manner at- 
tended to by government, is always the place where the firfl 
robberies and murders are committed in unfettled times. 
Though we had nothing with us which could be confider- 
ed as fubjecl; to duty, we fubmitted every thing to the will 
of the robber of the place, and gave him his prefent. If he 
was not fatisfied, he feemed to be fo, which was all we 

We had obtained leave to depart early in the morning of 
the 9th, but it was with great regret we were obliged to 
abandon our Mahometan friends into hands that feemed 
difpofed to fhew them no favour. The king was in Maitfha, 
or Damot, that is to fay, far from Gondar, and various re- 
ports were fpread abroad about the fuccefs of the campaign; 
and thefe people only waited for an unfavourable event to 

Vol. III. A a make 


make a pretence for robbing oar fellow-travellers of every 
thing they had. 

The perfons whofe right it was to levy thefe contribu- 
tions were two, a father and fon ; the old man was drefled 
very decently, fpoke little, but fmoothly, and had a very 
good carriage. He profeffed a violent hatred to all Mahome- 
tans, on account of their religion, a fentiment which feem- 
ed to promife nothing favourable to our friend Yafine and 
his companions : but, in the evening, the fon, who feemed 
to be the active man, came to our tent, and brought us a 
quantity of bread and bouza, which his father had ordered 
before. He feemed to be much taken with our fire-arms, 
and was very inquifitive about them. I gave him every fort 
of fatisf action, and, little by little, faw I might win his heart 
entirely ; which I very much wiihed to do, that I might free 
our companions from bondage. 

The young man it feems was a good foldier ; and, hal- 
ving been in feveral actions under Ras Michael, as a fufileer,, 
he brought his gun, and infilled on mooting at marks. I 
humoured him in this ; but as I ufed a rifle, which he did not 
underftand, he found himfelf overmatched, efpecially by the 
greatnefs of the range, for he fhot ftraight enough. I then 
ihewed him the manner we fhot flying, there being quails 
in abundance, and wild pigeons, of which I killed feveral 
on wing, which left him in the utmoft aftonimment. Ha- 
ving got on horfeback, I next went through the exercife of 
the Arabs, with a long fpear and a fhort javelin. This, was 
more within his comprehenfion, as he had feen fomething 
like it ; but he was wonderfully taken with the fierce and 
fiery appearance of my horfe, and a at the fame time, with 



his docility, the form of his faddle, bridle, and accoutre- 
ments. He threw at laft the fandals off his feet, twilled 
his upper garment into his girdle, and fet off at fo furious 
a rate, that I could not help doubling whether he was in 
his fober underflanding. 

It was not long till he came back, and with him a man-fer- 
vant carrying a fheep and a goat, and a woman carrying a jar 
of honey- wine. I had not yet quitted the horfe ; and when I 
faw what his intention was, I put Mirza to a gallop, and, 
with one of the barrels of the gun, mot a pigeon, and im- 
mediately fired the other into the ground. There was no- 
thing after this that could have furprized him, and it was 
repeated feveral times at his delire ; after which he went in- 
to the tent, where he invited himfelf to my houfe at Gondar. 
There I was to teach him every thing he had feen. We now 
fwore perpetual friendfhip ; and a horn or two of hydromel 
being emptied, I introduced the cafe of our fellow-travel- 
lers, and obtained a promife that we mould have leave to 
fet out together. He would, moreover, take no awide, and 
faid he would be favourable in his report to Gondar. 

Matter? were fo far advanced, when a fervant of Mi- 
chael's arrived, fent by Petros, (Janni's brother) who had ob- 
tained him from Ozoro Either. This put an end to all our 
difficulties. Our young foldier alfo kept his word, and a 
mere trifle of awide was given, rather by the Moor's own de- 
fire than from demand, and the report of our baggage, and 
dues thereon, were as low as could be wifhed. Our friend 
like wife fent his own fervant to Gondar with the billet to 
accompany the caravan. But the news brought by his fer- 
vant were Hill better than all this. Ras Michael had actual- 

A a 2 ly 


ly beaten Fafil, and forced him to retire to the other fide of 
the Nile, and was then in Maitlha, where it was thought he 
would remain with the army all the rainy feafon. This 
was juft what I could have wifhed, as it brought me at 
once to the neighbourhood of the fources of the Nile, with- 
out the fmalleft fhadow of fear or danger.. 

On the 9th of February, at feven o'clock, we toqkleaveof 
the friends whom we had fo newly acquired at Lamalmon, 
all of us equally joyful and happy at the news. We began 
to afcend what Hill remained of the mountain, which, though 
ileep and full of, was much lefs difficult than that 
which we had palled. At a quarter pall feven we arrived 
at the top of Lamalmon, which has, from below, the appear^ 
ance of being fharp-pointed. On the contrary, we were 
much furprifed to find there a large plain, part in pafture, 
but more bearing grain. It is full of fprings, and feems lo 
be the great refervoir from whence arife moil of the rivers 
that water this part of AbylTinia. A multitude of llreams 
lime from the very fummit in all directions ; the fprings boil 
out from the earth in large quantities, capable of turning a 
mill. They plow, fow, and reap here at all feafons ; and 
the hufbandman mull blame his own indolence, and not 
the foil, if he has not three harvells. We faw, in one place, 
people bufy cutting down wheat; immediately next to it, 
others at the plough; and the adjoining field had green corn 
in the car ; a little further, it was not an inch above the 

Lamalmon is on the N. W. part of the mountains of Sa-- 
men. That of Gingerohha, with two pointed tops, joins it 
on the north, and ends thefe mountains here, and is fepara- 



ted from the plain of St Michael by a very deep gully. Nei- 
ther Lamalmon nor Gingerohha, though higher than the 
mountains of Tigre, are equal in height to fome of thofe 
of Samen. I take thofe to the S. E. to be much' higher, and, 
above all, that marp-pointed hill Amba Gideon, the prefent 
refidence of the governor of Samen, Ayto Tesfos. This is 
otherwife called the Jews-Rock, famous in the hiftoryof this 
country for the many revolts of the Jews againft the Abyf- 
finian kings. 

The mountain is everywhere fo fleep and high, that 
it is not enough to fay againft the will, but without the af- 
fiftance of thofe above, no one from below can venture to 
afcend. On the top is a large plain, affording plenty of pas- 
ture, as well as room for plowing and fowing for the main- 
tenance of the army ; and there is water, at all feafons, in 
great plenty, and even fiih in the ftreams upon it ; fo that, 
although the inhabitants of the mountain had been often 
belieged for a confiderable time together, they fufFered little 
inconvenience from it, nor ever were taken unlefs by trea- 
fon ; except by Chriftopher de Gama and his Portuguefe, 
who are faid, by their own hiftorians, to have itormed this 
rock, and jftit the Mahometan garrifon to the fword. No 
mention of this honourable conqueft is made in the annals 
of Abyflinia, though they give the hiftory of this campaign 
of Don Chriftopher in the life of Claudius, or Atzenaf Se- 

On the top of the cliff where we now were, on the left hand 
of the road to Gondar, we filled a tube with quick- filver, and 
purged it perfectly of outward air ; it Hood this day at 2of 
Englifh inches, Dagafhaha bears N.E. by E. from our prefent 

v,- iii, a a flation 


{ration upon Lamalmon. The language of Lamalmon is Am*, 
haric ; but there are many villages where the language of 
the Falafha is fpoken. Thefe are the ancient inhabitants of 
the mountains, who ftill preferve the religion, language, and? 
manners of their ancestors, and live in villages by them-, 
felves. Their number is now confiderably diminifhed, i 
and this has proportionally lowered their power and fpirit v 
They are now wholly addicted to agriculture, hewers o£ 
wood and carriers of water, and the only potters and ma-. 
fons in Abyflinia. In the former profeffion they excel! 
greatly, and, in general, live better than the other AbyfTi- 
nians ; which thefe, in revenge, attribute to a fkill in magic,, 
not to fuperior induftry. Their villages are generally 
ftrongly fituated out of the reach of marching armies, o- 
therwife they would be conllantly rifled, partly from hatred,, 
and partly from hopes of finding money.. 

On the roth, at half pad feven in the morning, we con«- 
tinued along the plain on the top of Lamalmon ; it is calk 
ed Lama ; and a village of the fame name bore about two 
miles eafl from us. At eight o'clock we palled two villages , 
called Mocken, one W. by N, at one mile and a half, the other 
S. E. two miles diftant. At half pafl eight we crofted the river ; 
Macara, a confiderable Itream running with a very great cur-. 
rent, which is the boundary between Woggora.and Lamal-. 
mon. At nine o'clock we encamped at fome fmall villages, 
called Macara, under a church named Yafous. On the ndfe? 
of February, by the meridian altitude of the Am at noon, . 
and that of feveral fixed liars proper for observation, I found? 
the latitude of Macara to be if 6' 8". The ground was every-, 
where burnt up ; and, though the nights were very cold,., 
;wc had; not obferved the imalleft dew fince our firft afcendr 


ing the mountain. The province of Woggora begins at 
Macara ; it is all plain, and reckoned the granary of Gondar 
on this fide, although the name would denote no fuch 
thing, for Woggora fignifies the Jlmy, or rocky province. 

The mountains of Lafta and BelefTen bound our view tc* 
the fouth ; the hills of Gondar on the S. W. ; and all Wog- 
gora lies open before us to the fouth, covered, as I have faid 
before, with grain. But the wheat of Woggora is not good, 
owing probably to the height of that province. It makes 
an indifferent bread, and is much lefs efteemed than that 
of Foggora and Dembea, low, flat provinces, meitered with 
hills, that lie upon the fide of the lake Tzana* 

On the 12th we left Macara at feven in the morning, ftill 
travelling through the plain of Woggora. At half pall 
feven faw two villages called Erba Tenfa, one of them a mile 
diftant, the other half a mile on the N. W. At eight o'clock 
we came to Woken, five villages not two hundred yards di- 
ftant from one another. At a quarter paft eight we faw 
five other villages to the S. W. called Warrar, from one to 
four miles diftant, all between the points of eaft and fouth. 
The country now grows inconceivably populous ; vaft flocks 
of cattle of all kinds feed on every fide, having large and 
beautiful horns, exceedingly wide, and bofTes upon their 
backs like camels ; their colour is moftly black. 

At a quarter paft eight we paiTed Arena, a village on our 
left. At nine we palled the river Girama, which runs N. 
N. W. and terminates the diftrict of Lamalmon, beginning 
that of Giram. At ten the church of St George remained 
on our right, one mile from us ; wc crofted a river called 



Shimbra Zuggan, and encamped about two hundred yards 
from it. The valley of that name is more broken and un- 
even than any part we had met with fince we afcended La- 
malmon. The valley called alfo Shimbra Zuggan, is two 
miles and a half N. by E. on the top of a hill furrounded 
with trees. Two fmall brooks, the one from S. S. E. the 
other from S. E. join here, then fall into the rivulet. 

The 13th, at feven in the morning, we proceeded flill along 
the plain ; at half pall feven came to Arradara ; and after- 
wards faw above twenty other villages on our right and left, 
ruined and deltroyed from the lowefl foundation by Ras Mi- 
chael in his late march to Gondar. At half pall eight the 
church of Mariam was about a hundred yards on our left. 
At ten we encamped under Tamamo. The country here is 
full of people ; the villages are moflly ruined, which, in fome 
places, they are rebuilding. It is wholly fown with grain 
of different kinds, but more efpecially with wheat. For the 
production of this, they have everywhere extirpated the wood, 
and now labour under a great fcarcity of fuel. Since we paff- 
ed Lamalmon, the only fubflitute for this was cows and 
mules dung, which they gather, make into cakes r and dry 
in the fun. From Addergey hither, fait is the current 
money, in large purchafes, fuch as fheep or other cattle ; 
cohol, and pepper, for fmaller articles, fuch as flour, butter, 
fowls, &c. At Shimbra Zuggan they firft began to inquire 
after red Surat cotton cloth for which they offered us thir- 
teen bricks of fait ; four peeks of this red cloth are efleem- 
ed the price of a goat. We began to find the price of pro- 
vifions augment in a great proportion as we approached the 

, 1 . Tins 


This day we met feveral caravans going to Tigre, a cer- 
tain fign of Michael's victory ; alfo vafl flocks of cattle driven 
from the rebellious provinces, which were to pafture on La- 
malmon, and had been purchafed from the army. Not only 
the country was now more cultivated, but the people were 
cleanlier, better drefTed, and apparently better fed, than 
thofe in the other parts we had left behind us. Indeed, from 
Shimbra Zuggan hither, there was not a foot, excepting the 
path on which we trode, that was not fown with fomc grain 
or other. 

On the 14th, at {even o'clock in the morning, we continu- 
ed our journey. At ten minutes pail feven, we had five vil- 
lages of Tamamo three miles on our left ; our road was; 
through gentle rifing hills, all pafture ground. At half pail 
feven, the village of Woggora was three miles on our right; 
and at eight, the church of St George a mile on our left, 
with a village of the fame name near it ; and, ten minutes 
after, Angaba Mariam, a church dedicated to the virgin, fo 
called from the fmall territory Angaba, which we are now 
entering. At fifty minutes pail: eight, we came to five vil- 
lages called Angaba, at fmall diftances from each other. 
At nine o'clock we came to KoiTogue, and entered a fmall 
diftrict of that name. The church is on a hill furrounded 
with trees. On our left are five villages all called Kofib- 
gue, and as it were on a lhie,|the fartheft at 3 miles diftance ; 
near ten we came to the church of Argiff, in the midft of 
many ruined villages. Three miles on our left hand are 
feveral others, called Appano. 

After having fuffered, with infinite patience and perfe- 

verance, the hardihips and danger of this long and painful 

Vol. III. B b journey, 



journey, at forty minutes pall ten we were gratified, at laft,.. 
with the fight of Gondar, according to my. computation about 
ten miles di'lant. The king's palace (at leafl the tower of 
it) is diitinctly feen, but none of the other houfes, which are 
covered by the multitude of wanzey- trees growing in the 
town, fo that it appears one thick, black, wood. . Behind it 
is Azazo, likewife covered with trees. On a hill is the largo* 
church of Tecla Haimanout, and the river below it makes 
it diftinguifhable; flill further on is the great lake Tzana*. 
which terminates our horizon, 

At forty- five minutes pad ten we began to afcend about 
two miles through a broken road, having on our right, in 
the valley below, the river Tehagaffa ; and here begins the 
territory of that name. . At fifty- five minutes pall ten, de- 
fending ftill the hill, we palled a large fpring of water, call- 
ed Bambola, together with feveral plantations of fu gar- canes 
which grow here from the feed. At eleven o'clock the vil-> 
lage Tehagaffa was about half a mile diflant from us on 
our right, on the other fide of the river. It is inhabited by 
Mahometans, as is Waalia, another fmall one near it. At 
twelve o'clock we paned the river Tehagaffa over a bridge of 
three arches, the middle of which is Gothic, the two leffer 
Roman. This bridge, though fmall, is folid and well ce- 
mented, built with Hone by order of Facilidas, who pro- 
bably employed thofe of his fubjecls who had retained the 
arts of the Portuguefe, but not their religion. . 

The Tehagaffa has very fleep, rocky banks : It is fo deep, . 
though narrow, that, without this bridge, it fcarce would 
be payable. We encamped at a fmall diftance from it, but 



nearer Gondar. Here again we met with trees, (fmall ones 
indeed) but the firft we had feen fmce leaving Lamalmon, 
excepting the ufual groves of cedars. It is the Virginia 
cedar, or oxy-cedros, in this country called Arz t with which 
their churches are conftantly furrounded. 

On the 15th, at ten minutes pall feven, we began to af- 
cend the mountain ; and, at twenty minutes after feven, 
paffed a village on our left. At feven and three quarters we 
paffed Tiba and Mariam, two churches, the one on our right, 
the other On our left, about half a mile diflant ; and near 
them feveral fmall villages, inhabited by Falafha, mafons 
and thatchers of houfes, employed at Gondar. At half pall 
eight we came to the village Tocutcho, and, in a quarter 
of an hour, paffed fhe river of that name, and in a few mi- 
nutes refted on the river Angrab, about -half a mile from 

Tchagassa is the laft of the many little diilricts which, 
together, compofe Woggora, generally underflood to be de- 
pendent on Samen, though often, from the turbulent fpirit 
of its chiefs, flruggling for independency, as at the prefent 
time, but fure to pay for it immediately after. In fact, 
though large, it is too near Gondar to be fuffered to conti- 
nue in rebellion ; and, being rich and well cultivated, 
it derives its fupport from the capital, as being the mart of 
its produce. It is certainly one of the fruitfuleft provinces 
in Abyffmia, but the inhabitants are miferably poor, not- 
withftanding their threefold harvefts. Whereas, in Egypt, 
beholden to this country alone for its fertility, one moderate 
haxveft gives plenty everywhere, 

B b 2 Woggora 


' Woggora is full of large ants, and prodigious fwarms- 
of rats and mice, which confume immenfe quantities of 
grain ; to thefe plagues may be added ftill one, the greateft of 
them all, bad government, which fpeedily deftroys all the 
advantages they reap from nature, climate, and fituation. 





Reception at Gondar — Triumphal Entry of the King— -The Author's firjv 


\E were much furprifed at arriving on the Angrab 3 
that no perfon had come to us from Petros, Janni's 
brother. We found afterwards, indeed, that he had taken 
fright upon fome menacing words from the priefts, at hear- 
ing a Frank was on his way to Gondar, and that he had, 
foon after, fet out for Ibaba, where the Ras was, to receive 
his directions concerning us. This was the moil difagreeable 
accident could have happened to me. I had not afmgle perfon 
to whom I could addrefs myfelf for any thing. My letters 
were for the king and Ras Michael, and could be of no ufe, 
as both were abfent; and though I had others for Petros and 
the Greeks, they, too, were out of town. 



Many Mahometans came to the Angrab to meet the ca- 
ravan. They all knew of my coming perfectly, and I foon 
explained myfituation. I had Janni's letters to Negade Ras 
Mahomet, the chief of the Moors at Gondar, and principal 
merchant in Abyfrinia, who was abfent likewife with the 
army. But one of his brethren, a fagacious, open-hearted 
man, defired me not to be difcouraged ; that, as I had not 
put off my Moorifh drefs, I fhould continue it; that a houfe 
was provided for Mahomet Gibber ti, and thofe that were 
with him, and that he would put me immediately into pof- 
fefhon of it, where I might flay, free from any intercourfe 
with thepriefts, till Petros or the Ras mould return to Gon- 
dar. This advice I embraced with great readinefs, as there 
was nothing I was fo much afraid of as an encounter with 
fanatical prieits before I had obtained fome protection from 
government, or the great people in the country. After ha- 
ving concerted thefe meafures, I refigned myfelf to the di- 
rection of my Moorifh friend Hagi Saleh. 

We moved along the Angrab, having Gondar on our 
right fituated upon a hill, and the river on our left, pro- 
ceeding down till its junction with a fmaller ftream, called 
the Kahha, that joins it at the Moorifh town. This fituation, 
near running water, is always chofen by the Mahometans 
on account of their frequent ablutions. The Moorim town 
at Gondar may confift of about 3000 houfcs, fome of them 
fpacious and good. I was put in poneflion of a very neat 
one, deflined for Mahomet Gibberti. Flour, honey, and 
fuch-like food, Mahometans and Chriflians eat promifcu- 
oufly, and fo far I was well fituated. As for flefh, although 
rthere was abundance of it, I could not touch a bit of it, be- 
ing killed by Mahometans, as that communion would have 
2 been 


been looked upon as equal to a renunciation of Chrifti- 

By Janni's fervant, who had accompanied us from 
Adowa, his kind and friendly matter had wrote to Ay to 
Aylo, of whom I have already fpoken. He was the con- 
flant patron of the Greeks, and had -been fo alfo of all 
the Catholics who had ventured into this country, and been 
forced after to leave it. Though no man profeiTed greater ve- 
neration for the priefthood, no one privately deterled more 
thofe of his own country than he did ; and he always pre- 
tended that, if a proper way of going to jerufalem could be 
found, he would leave his large eiiates, and the rank he 
had in Abyiiinia, and, with the little money he could mu- 
iler, live the remaining part of his days among the monks, 
of whom he had now accounted himfelf one, in the convent 
of the holy fepulchre. This perhaps was, great part -of it, 
imagination; but, as he had talked himfelf into a belief 
that he was to end his days either at Jerufalem, which was 
a pretence, or at Rome, which was his -inclination, he will* 
ingly took the charge of white people of all communions 
who had hitherto been unhappy enough to ftray into Abyf. 

_ * 

It was about feven o'clock at night, of the 15th, when Hagi 
Saleh was much alarmed by a number of armed men at his 
door; and his furprife was flill greater upon feeing Ayto Aylo, 
who, as far as I know, was never in the Mooriih town be- 
fore, defcend from his mule, and uncover his head and 
moulders, as if he had been approaching a perfon of the 
firil diftinction. I had been reading the prophet EnGch^ 
which Janni had procured me at Adowa; and Wemmer's 



and Ludolf's dictionaries were lying upon it. Yafme was 
fitting by me, and was telling me what news he had picked 
up, and he was well acquainted with Ay to Aylo, from feve- 
ral comiriimons he had received for his merchants in Ara- 
bia. A contention of civilities immediately followed. I of- 
fered to ftand till Aylo was covered, and he would not fit 
till I was feated. This being got over, the firft curiofity 
was, What my books were ? and he was very much aftonifh- 
ed at feeing one of them was AbyiTmian, and the European 
helps that I had towards understanding it. He underflood 
Tigre and Amharic perfectly, and had a little knowledge of 
Arabic, that is, he underftood it when fpoken, for he could 
neither read nor write it, and fpoke it very ill, being at a 
lofs for words. 

The beginning of our difcourfe was in Arabic, and em- 
barrafTed enough, but we had plenty of interpreters in all 
languages. The firft bafhfulnefs being removed on both 
fides, our converfation began in Tigre, now, lately fince 
Michael had become Ras, the language mofl ufed in Gon- 
dar. Aylo was exceedingly aftonifhed at hearing me fpeak 
the language as I did, and faid after, "The Greeks are poor 
creatures ; Peter does not fpeak Tigre fo well as this man." 
Then, very frequently, to Saieh and the by-flanders, "Come, 
come, he'll do, if he can fpeak ; there is no fear of him, he'll 
make his way." 

He told us that Welled Hawaryat had come from the 
camp ill of a fever, and that they were afraid it was the 
fmall pox : that janni had informed them I had faved many 
young people's lives at Adowa, by a new manner of treat- 
ing them ; and that the Iteghe defired I would come the 
4 next 


next morning, and that he fhould carry me to Kofcam and 
introduce me to her. I told him that I was ready to be di- 
rected by his good advice ; that the abfence of the Greeks, 
and Mahomet Gibberti at the fame time, had very much 
diftrefled me, and efpecially the apprehensions of Petros. 
He faid, fmiling, That neither Petros nor himfelf were bad 
men, but that unfortunately they were great cowards, and 
things were not always fo bad as they apprehended. What 
had frightened Petros, was a converfation of Abba Salama, 
whom they met at Kofcam, exprefling his difpleafure with 
fome warmth, that a Frank, meaning me, was permitted to 
come to Gondar. " But," fays Ayto Aylo, " we mail hear to- 
morrow, or next day. Ras Michael and Abba Salama are 
13 or friends ; and if you could do any good to Welled Ha- 
waryat his fon, I mall anfwer for it, one word of his will 
flop the mouths of a hundred Abba Salamas." I will not 
trouble the reader with much indifferent converfation that 
palTed. He drank capillaire and water, and fat till pafl mid- 

Abba Salama, of whom we mall often fpeak, at that time 
filled the poft of Acab Saat, or guardian of the fire. It is 
the third dignity of the church, and he is the firft religious 
officer in the palace. He had a very large revenue, and flill 
a greater influence. He was a man exceedingly rich, and 
of the very worft life poflible ; though he had taken the 
vows of poverty and chaflity, it was faid he had at that 
time, above feventy miftrefles in Gondar. His way of fe- 
ducing women was as extraordinary as the number fedu- 
ced. It was not by gifts, attendance, or flattery, the ufual 
means employed on fuch occafions ; when he had fixed his 
defires upon a woman, he forced her to comply, under pain 

Vol. III. C c of 


of excommunication. He was exceedingly eloquent and bold, 
a great favourite of the Iteghe's, till taken in to be a 
counfellor with Lubo and Brulhe. He had been very in- 
ltrumental in the murder of Kafmati Efhte, of which he 
vaunted, even in the palace of the queen his filler. He was 
a man of a pleafing countenance, fhort, and of a very fair 
complexion ; indifferent, or rather averfe to wine, but a 
monftrous glutton, nice in what he had to eat, to a degree 
fcarcely before known in Abymnia ; a mortal enemy to all 
white people, whom he clafled under the name of Franks, 
for which the Greeks, uniting their interefts at favourable 
times, had often very nearly overfet him. 

The next morning, about ten o'clock, taking Hagi Saleli 
and Yafme with me, and dreffed in my Moorifh drefs, I 
went to Ayto Aylo, and found him with feveral great plates 
of bread, melted butter, and honey, before him, of one of 
which he and I ate ; the reft were given to the Moors, and 
other people prefent. There was with him a priefl of Kof- 
cam, and we all fet out for that palace as foon as we had. 
ate breakfaft. The reft of the company were on mules. I 
had mounted my own favourite horfe. Aylo, before his 
fright at Sennaar, was one of the firft horfemen in 'Abyffi- 
nia ; he was. fhort, of a good figure, and knew the advantage 
of fuch make for a horfeman ; he had therefore a curiofity 
to fee a tall man ride ; but he was an abfolute ftranger to 
the great advantage of Moorifh furniture, bridles, fpurs, and 
fcirrups, in the management of a violent, flrong, high-met- 
tled horfe. It was with the utmofl fatisfaction, when we 
arrived in the plain called Aylo Meydan, that I fhewed him 
the different paces of the horfe. He cried out with fear 



when he faw him Hand upright upon his legs, and jump 
forward, or afide, with all four feet off the ground. 

We pafled the brook of St Raphael, a fuburb, of Gondar, 
where is the houfe of the Abuna; and upon coming in fight 
of the palace of Kofcam,we all uncovered our heads, and rode 
flowly. As Aylo was all-powerful with the Iteghe, indeed 
her nrfl counfellor and friend, our admittance was eafy and 
immediate. We alighted, and were Aiewn into a low room in 
the palace. Ayto Aylo went immediately to the queen to 
inquire about Welled Hawaryat, and his audience lafted 
two long hours. He returned to us with thefe news, that 
Welled Hawaryat was much better, by a medicine a faint 
from Waldubba had given him, which confifted in fome 
characters written with common ink upon a tin plate, which 
characters were warned off by a medicinal liquor, and then 
given him to drink. It was agreed, however, that the com- 
plaint was the fmall-pox, and the good it had done him 
was, he had ate heartily of brind, or raw beef after it, tho' 
he had not ate before fmce his arrival, but called perpetually 
for drink. Aylo faid he was to remain at Kofcam till towards 
evening, and defired me to meet him at his own houfe 
when it turned dark, and to bring Petros with me, if he was 

Petros was returned when I arrived, and waited for me 
at Hagi Saleh's houfe. Although he mewed all the figns of 
mv being welcome, yet it was eafy to read in his countenance 
he had not fucceeded according to his wifh, in his interview 
with Michael, or that he had met fomething that had ruffled 
and frightened him anew. And, indeed, this laft was the 
cafe, for going to the Ras's tent, he had feen the fluffed fkin 

C c 2 of 


of the unfortunate Woofheka, with whom he was well ac- 
quainted, fwinging upon a tree, and drying in the wind. 
He was fo terrified, and ftruck with fuch horror, at the light, 
that he was in a kind of hyfleric lit, cried, ftarted, laughed 
hideoully, and feemed as if he had in part loll his fenfes. 

I was fatisfied by the flate I faw him in, though he had 
left Ibaba three days, that, as the firft fight of Woolheka's 
Huffed Ikin mull have been immediately before he. went to 
the Ras, he could not have had any diflinct or particular 
converfation with him on my account ; and it turned out 
after, that he had not fpoken one word upon the fubject 
from fear, but had gone to the tent of Negade Ras Maho- 
met, who carried him to Kena Yafous ; that they, too, fee- 
ing the fright he was in, and knowing the caufe, had gone 
without him to the Ras, and told him of my arrival, and of 
the behaviour of Abba Salama,, and my fear thereupon, 
and that I was then in the houfe of Hagi Saleh, in the 
Mooriih town. The Ras's anfwer was,. " Abba Salama is an 
afs, and they that fear him are worfe. Do I command in 
Gondar only when I Hay there ?. My dog is of more confe- in Gondar than Abba Salama." And then, after 
paufing a little, he faid,, " Let Yagoube flay where he is in 
the Moors town ; Saleh will let no priefls trouble him 
there." Negade Ras Mahomet laughed, and faid," We 
will anfwer for that ;" and Petros fet out immediately up* 
on his return, haunted night and day with the ghofl of his 
friend Woofheka, but without having feen Ras Michael.. 

I thought, when we went at night to Ayto Aylo, and he 
Ifmd told the flory diftinetly, that Aylo and he were equally a*. 
fxaid,, for he had not, or pretended he had not, till then 



heard that Woofheka had been flayed alive. Aylo, too, was 
well acquainted with the unfortunate perfon, and only faid, 
" This is Eilher, this is Either ; nobody knew her but I/' 
Then they went on to inquire particulars, and after, they 
would Hop one another, and defire each other to fpeak no 
more ; then they cried again, and fell into the fame conver- 
fation. It was impoffible not to laugh at the ridiculous 
dialogue. " Sirs," faid I, " you have told me all I want ; I 
fhall not flir from the Moors town till Ras Michael arrives ; 
if there was any need of advice, you are neither of you ca- 
pable of giving it ; now I would wifh you would mew me 
you are capable of taking mine. You are both extremely agi- 
tated, and Peter is very tired ; and will befides fee the ghofl 
of Woofheka making to and fro all night with the wind ; 
neither of you ate fupper, as I intend to do ; and I 
think Peter fhould flay here all night, but you fhould not 
lie both of you in the fame room, where Woofheka's black 
fkin, fo ftrongly imprefTed on your mind, will not fail to 
keep you talking all night in place of fleeping. Boil about 
a quart of gruel, I will put a few drops into it ; go then to 
bed, and this unufual operation of Michael will not have 
power to keep you awake.. 

The gruel was made, and a good large doze of lauda- 
num put into it. I took my leave, and returned with Saleh ; 
but before I went to the door Aylo told me he had forgot 
Welled Hawaryat was very bad, and the Iteghe, Ozoro Al- 
tafh, his wife, and Ozoro Either, defired I would come and 
fee him to-morrow. One of his daughters, by Ozoro Altam, 
had been ill fome time before his arrival, and fhe too was 
thought in great danger. " Look," faid I, " Ay to Aylo, the 
fmall-pox is a difeafe that will have its courfe ; and, during 



the long time the patient is under it, if people feed them 
and treat them according to their own ignorant prejudices, 
my feeing him, or advifing him, is in vain. This morning 
you faid a man had cured him by writing upon a tin plate ; 
and to try if he was well, they crammed him with raw beef. 
I do not think the letters that he fwallowed will do him 
any harm, neither will they do him any good ; but I mail 
not be furprifed if the raw beef kills him, and his daughter 
Welleta Selaffe, too, before I fee him to-morrow. 

On the morrow Petros was really taken ill, and feverifli, 
from a cold and fatigue, and fright. Aylo and i went to 
Kofcam, and, for a frefh amufement to him, I mewed him 
the manner in which the Arabs ufe their firelocks on horfe- 
back ; but with this advantage of a double-barrelled gun, 
which he had never before feen. I mot alfo feveral birds 
from the horfe ; all which things he would have pronoun- 
ced impomble if they had been only told him. He arrived 
at Kofcam full of wonder, and ready to believe I was car 
pable of doing every thing I undertook. 

We were juft entering into the palace-door, when we faw 
a large proceffion of monks, with the priefls of Kofcam at 
their head, a large crofs and a picture carried with them, 
the laft in a very dirty, gilt frame. Aylo turned afide when 
he faw thefe ; and, going into the chamberlain's apartment, 
called Ayto Heikel, afterwards a great friend and compa- 
nion of mine. He informed us, that three great faints from 
"Waldubba, one of whom had neither ate nor drank for 
twenty years of his life, had promifed to come and cure 
Welled Hawaryat, by laying a picture of the Virgin Mary 
and the crofs upon him, and therefore they would not wifh 

i me 



me to be feen, or meddle in the affair. " I affure you, Ayto 
Aylo," faid I, " I mall ftrictly obey you. lhere is no fort of 
reafon for my meddling in this affair with fuch affociates. 
If they can cure him by a miracle, I am fure it is the eafiefl 
kind of cure of any, and will not do his conftitution the leafl 
harm afterwards, which is more than I will promife for me- 
dicines in general ; but, remember what I fay to you, it will, 
indeed, be a miracle, if both the father and the daughter are 
not dead before to-morrow night." We feemed all of us 
fatisfied in one point, that it was better he mould die, than 
I come to trouble by interfering. 

After the proceflion was gone, Aylo went to the Iteghe, 
and, I fuppofe, told her all that happened iince he had feen 
her laft. I was called in, and, as ufual, proftrated myfelf 
upon the ground. She received that token of refpect with- 
out offering to excufe or to decline it. Aylo then faid, " This 
is our gracious miflrefs, who always gives us her amflance 
and protection. You may fafely fay before her whatever 
is in your heart." 

Our firft difcourfe was about Jerufalem, the Holy Sepul- 
chre, Calvary, the City of David, and the Mountain of Olives, 
with the fituations of which me was perfectly well acquaint- 
ed. She then alked me to tell her truly if I was not a Frank I 
" Madam," faid I, " if I was a Catholic, which you mean by 
Frank, there could be no greater folly than my concealing 
this from you in the beginning, after the affurance Ayto 
Aylo has juft now given ; and, m confirmation of the truth 
I am now telling, (fhe had a large bible lying on the table 
before her, upon which I laid my hand), I declare to you, by 
all thofe truths contained in this book, that my religion is 



more different from the Catholic religion than your's is : 
that there has been more blood Ihed between the Catholics 
and us, on account of the difference of religion, than ever 
was between you and the Catholics in this country ; even at 
this day, when men are become wifer and cooler in many 
parts of the world, it would be full as fafe for a Jefuit to 
preach in the market-place of Gondar, as for any prieft of 
my religion to prefent hjmfelf as a teacher in the moft civi- 
lized of Frank or Catholic countries." — " How is it then," 
fays Ihe, " that you don't believe in miracles ?" 

" I fee, Madam," faid I, " Ay to Aylo has informed you of 
a few words that fome time ago dropt from me. I do cer- 
tainly believe the miracles of Chrift and his apoftles, other- 
wife I am no Chriftian ; but I do not believe thefe miracles 
of latter times, wrought upon trifling occafions, like fports, 
and jugglers tricks. v — "And yet," fays fhe, " our books are 
full of them." — " I know they are," faid I, " and fo are thofe 
of the Catholics : but I never can believe that a faint con- 
verted the devil, who lived, forty years after, a holy life as 
a monk ; nor the flory of another faint, who, being fick and 
hungry, caufed a brace of party.' iges, ready-roafted, to fly 
upon his plate that he might cat them." — " He has been 
reading the Synaxar," fays Ayto Aylo. " I believe fo," fays 
Ihe, fmiling ; " but is there any harm in believing too much, 
and is not there great danger in believing too little ?" — " Cer- 
tainly," continued I; "but what I meant to fay to Ayto Aylo 
was, that I did not believe laying a picture upon Welled 
Hawaryat would recover him when delirious in a fever." 
She anfwered, " There was nothing impoiflble with God." 
I made a bow of aflfent, wifhing heartily the converfation 
might end there. 



I returned to the Moors town, leaving Aylo with the 
queen. In the afternoon I heard Welleta Selaffe was dead ; 
and at night died her father, Welled Hawaryat. The con- 
tagion from Mafuah and Adowa had fpread itfelf all over 
Gondar. Ozoro Ayabdar, daughter of Ozoro Altafh, was 
now lick, and a violent fever had fallen upon Kofcam. The 
next morning Aylo came to me and told me, the faith in 
the faint who did not eat or drink for twenty years was 
perfectly abandoned fince Welled Hawaryat's death : That 
it was the defire of the queen, and Ozoro Efther, that I mould 
tranfport myfelf to Kofcam to the Iteghe's palace, where 
all. their children and grandchildren, by the different men 
the queen's daughters had married, were under her care. 
I told him, " I had fome difficulty to obey them, from the 
pofitive orders I had received from Petros to flay in the 
Moors town with Hagi Saleh till the Ras mould arrive ; that 
Kofcam was full of prielts, and Abba Salama there every 
day; notwithftanding which, if Petros and hefo advifed me, 
I would certainly go to do any pomble fervice to the Iteghe, 
jor Ozoro Efther." 

He defired half an hour's abfence before he gave me an 
anfwer, but did not return till about three hours after- 
wards, and, without alighting, cried, out at fome diftance, 
" Aya,come, youmuft go immediately." "I told him, that new 
and clean clothes in the Gondar fafhion had been procured 
for me by Petros, and that I wiflied they might be fent to 
hjs houfe, where I would put them on, and then go to Kof- 
cam, with a certainty that I carried no infection with me, 
for I had attended a number of Moorifh children, while at 
Hagi Saleh's houfe, moll of whom happily went on doing 
well, but that there was no doubt there would be infection 

Vol, III. J) d in 


in my clothes.'* He praifed me up to the fides for this pre- 
caution, and the whole was executed in the manner propo- 
fed. My hair was cut round, curled, and perfumed, in the 
Amharic fafhion, and I was thenceforward, in all outward, 
appearance, a perfect Abyflinian. 

My firft advice, when arrived at Kofcam* was, that Ozoro 
Efther, and her fon by Mariarn Barea, and a fon by Ras Mi- 
chael, fhould remove from the palace,, and take up their 
lodging in a houfe formerly belonging to her uncle Bafha 
Eufebius, and give the part of the family that were yet well 
a chance of efcaping the difeafe. Her young fon by Ma- 
riana Barea, however, complaining, the Iteghe would not: 
fuffer him to remove, and the refolution was taken to abide 
the hTue all in the palace together. 

Before I entered upon my charge, I defired Petros (now- 
recovered) Aylo, Abba Chriftophorus, a Greek prieft who ac- 
ted as phyfician before I came to Gondar, and Armaxikos 
prieft of Kofcam, and favourite of the Iteghe, to be all pre- 
fent. I Hated to them the difagreeable tafk. now impofed 
upon me, a ilranger without acquaintance or protection, ha- 
ving the language but imperfectly, and without power or 
controul among, them* I profefifed my intention of doing 
my utmoft, although the difeafe was much more ferious and! 
fatal in this country than in mine, but I infilled one condi- 
tion ihould be granted me, which was, that no directions as 
to regimen or management, even of the moil trifling kind., 
as they might think, mould be fuffered, without my permif- 
fion and fuperintendence, otherwife I wafhed my hands of the 
confequcnce, which I told before them would be fatal. They 
all aflented to this ? and Armaxikos declared thofe excommu- 


nicated that broke this promife ; and I faw that, the more 
fcrupulous and particular I was, the more the confidence of 
the ladies increafed. Armaxikos promifed me the afilftance 
•of his prayers, and thofe of the whole monks, morning and 
evening ; and Aylo faid lowly to me, " You'll have no ob- 
jection to this faint, I allure you he eats and drinks heartily, 
as I mall mew you when once thefe troubles are over." 

I set the fervants all to work. There were apartments 
enough. I opened all the doors and windows, fumigating 
them with incenfe and myrrh, in abundance, warned them 
with warm water and vinegar, and adhered ftrictly to the 
rules which my worthy and fkilful friend Doctor Ruffel had 
given me at Aleppo. 

The common and fatal regimen in this country, and in 
moll parts in the eaft, has been to keep their patient from 
feeling the fmalleft breath of air ; hot drink, a fire, and a 
quantity of covering are added in Abyflinia, and the doors 
flint fo clofe as even to keep the room in darknefs, whillt 
this heat is further an emented by the conftant burning of 
candles. - - : " - , 

Ayabdar, Ozoro Altaih's remaining daughter, and the 
fon of Mariam Barea, were both taken ill at the fame time, 
and happily recovered. A daughter of Kafmati Boro, by a 
daughter of Kafmati Efhtes, died, and her mother, though 
fhe furvived, was a long time ill afterwards. Ayabdar was 
very much marked, fo was Mariam Barea's fon. 

At this time, Ay'to Confu, fon of Kafmati Netcho by 
Ozoro Either, had arrived from Tcherkin, a lad of very 

D d 2 g r ^at 


great hopes, though not then fourteen. He came to fee his 
mother without my knowledge or her's, and was infected 
like wife. Laft of all the infant child of Michael, the child 
of his old age, took the difeafe, and though the weakeftj of 
all the children, recovered bell. I tell thefe actions for bre- 
vity's fake altogether, not directly in the order they hap- 
pened, to fatisfy the reader about the reafon of the remark- 
able attention and favour fhewed to me afterwards uporL 
fo fhort an acquaintance^ 

The fear and anxiety of Ozoro Either, upon fmallerocca- 
fions, was exceflive, and fully in proportion in the great- 
er that now exifled ; many promifes of Michael's fa- 
vour, of riches, greatnefs, and protection, followed every in- 
fiance of my care and attention towards my patients. She 
did not eat or fleep herfelf ; and the ends of her fingers 
were all broke out into puftules, from touching the feveral 
fick perfons. Gonfu, the favourite of all the queen's rela- 
tions, and the hopes of their family, had fymptoms which 
all feared would be fatal, as he had violent convulfions, 
which were looked upon as forerunners of immediate death; 
they ceafed, however, immediately on the eruption. The 
attention 1 fhewed to this young man, which was more 
than overpaid by the return he himfelf made on many oc- 
caiions afterwards, was greatly owing to a prepoffeirion in 
his favour, which I took upon his firfl appearance. Policy,, 
as may be imagined, as well as charity, alike influenced 
me in the care of my other patients; but an attachment, 
which providence feemed to have infpired me with for my 
own prefervation, had the greateft fhare in my care for Ay-. 
tp, Gonfu,. 



Though it is not the place, I muft not forget to tell the 
reader, that, the third day after I had come to Kofcam, a 
horfeman and a letter had arrived from Michael to Hagi 
Saleh, ordering him to carry me to Kofcam, and likewife a 
fliort letter written to me by Negade Ras Mahomet, in Arabic, 
as from Ras Michael, very civil, but containing pofitive or- 
ders and command^ as if to a fervant, that I mould repair to 
the Iteghe's palace, and not fhir from thence till future or- 
ders, upon any pretence whatever.. 

I cannot fay but this pofitive, peremptory dealing, did" 
very much ihock and difpleafe me. I mewed the letter to 
Petros, who approved of it much; faid he was glad to fee 
it in that ftile, as it was a fign the Ras was in- earned. I 
fhewed it to Ay to Aylo, who faid not much to it either the one 
way or the other, only he was glad that I had gone to Kof- 
cam before it came ; but he taxed Ozoro Either with being 
the caufe of a proceeding which might have been proper to 
a Greek or Have, but was not fo to a free man like me, who 
came recommended to their protection, and had, as yet, re- 
ceived no favour, or even civility. Ozoro Either laughed : 
heartily at all this, for the firit time fhje had {hewn any in- 
clination to mirth ; me confefled me had fent a mefTenger 
every day, fometimes two, and fometimes three, ever lince 
Welled Hawaryat had died, and by every one of them fhe 
had prefTed the Ras to enjoin me not to leave Kofcam, the 
confcquence of. which, was the order above mentioned ; 
and, in the evening, there was a letter to Petros from An- 
thule, Janni's fon-in-law, a Greek, and treafurer to the 
king, pretty much to the fame purpofe as the firlt, and in 
no fofter terms, with direction, however, to furnifh me 
with every thing I mould want, on the king's account. 



One morning Aylo, in prefence of the queen, fpeaking 
to Ozoro Either of the ftile of the Ras's letter to me, fhe 
confefled her own anxiety was the caufe, but added, " You 
have often upbraided me with being, what you call, an un- 
chriftian enemy, in the advices you fuppofe I frequently 
give Michael ; but now, if I am not as good a friend to Ya- 
goube, who has faved my children, as I am a fteady enemy 
to the Galla, who murdered my hufband, fay then Efther is 
not a Chriftian, and I forgive you." Many converfations of 
this kind paned between her and me, during the illnefs of 
Ayto Confu. I removed my bed to the outer door of Confu's 
chamber, to be ready whenever he mould call, but his mo- 
ther's anxiety kept her awake in his room all night, and 
propriety did not permit me to go to bed. From this fre- 
quent communication began a friendfhip between Ozoro 
Efther -and me, which ever after fubfifted without any inter- 

Our patients, being all likely to do well, were removed 
•to a large houfe of Kafmati Efhte, which flood ftill within 
the boundaries of Kofcam, while the rooms underwent an- 
other luftration and fumigation, after which they all re- 
turned ; and I got, as my fee, a prefent of the neat and con- 
venient houfe formerly belonging to Bafha Eufebius, which 
had a feparate entry, without going through the palace. 
Still I thought it better to obey Ras Michael's orders to the 
letter, and not ftir out of Kofcam, not even to Hagi Saleh's 
or Ayto Aylo's, though both of them frequently endeavour- 
ed to perfuade me that the order had no fuch Uriel: mean- 
ing. But my folitude was in no way difagreeable to me. I 
had a great deal to do. I mounted my inftruments, my 
thermometer and barometer, telefcopes and quadrant. 

2 Again 



Again all was wonder. It occafioned me many idle hours 
Before the curiofity of the palace was fatisficd. I faw che 
queen once every day at her levee, fometimcs in the even- 
ing, where many priefts were always prefent. I was, for 
the mod part, twice a-day, morning and evening, with Ozo-- 
ro Efther, where I feldom met with any. 

One day, when I went early to the queen, that I might 
get away in time, having fome other engagements about 
noon, juft as I was taking my leave, in came Abba Salama. 
At firft he did not know me from the change of drefs ; but, 
foon after recollecting me, he faid, as it were, paffing, " Are 
you here? I thought you was with Ras Michael." I made 
him no anfwer, but bowed, and took my leave, when he 
called ouc, with an air of authority, Come back, and beckon-^ 
ed me with his hand. 

Several people entered the room at that inftant, and I 
flood Hill in the fame place where I was, ready to receive^ 
the Iteghe's orders : me faid, " Come back, and fpeak to 
Abba Salama." I then advanced a few paces forward, and 
faid, looking to the Iteghe, " What has Abba Salama to 
fay to me?" He began directing his difcourfe to the queen, 
**■ Is he a prielt ? Is he a prieft?" The Iteghe anfweredvery 
gravely, "Every good man is a prieft tohimfelf ; in that fenfe, 
and no other, Yagoube is a prieft."- — "Will you anfwer aque- 
ftion that I will afk you ?" fays he to me, with a very pert 
tone of voice. " I do not know but I may, if it is a difcreet" 
one," faid I, in Tigre. " Why don't you fpeak Amharic ?" 
fays he to me in great hafte, or feeming impatience. " Be- 
caafe I cannot fpeak it well," faid I. " Why don't you, en 
the other hand, fpeak Tigre to me ? it is the iungua^e 




the holy fcriptures are written in, and you, a prieft, mould 
underftand it." — " That is Geez," fays he ; "I underftand it, 
though I don't fpeak it."—" Then," replied I, " Ayto Heikcl," 
the queen's chamberlain, who flood behind me, " fliall in- 
terpret for us ; he underftands all languages." 

" Ask him, Heikel," fays he, " how many Natures there 
are in Chriit." Which being repeated to me, I faid, " I 
thought the quellion to be put was fomething relating to 
my country, travels, or profemon, in which I pombly could 
inftrucl; him ; and not belonging to his, in which he mould 
inftrucl: me. I am a phyfician in the town, a horfeman and 
foldier in the field. Phyfic is my ftudy in the one, and ma- 
naging my horfe and arms in the other. This I was bred 
to ; as for difputes and matters of religion, they are the 
province of priefts and fchoolmen. I profefs myfelf much 
more ignorant in thefe than I ought to be. Therefore, when 
I have doubts I propofe-them to fome holy man like you, 
Abba Salama, (he bowed for the firft time) whofe profemon 
thefe things are. He gives me a rule and I implicitly fol- 
low it." " Truth ! truth!" fays he; " by St Michael, prince 
of angels, that is right ; it is anfwered well ; by St George ! 
he is a clever fellow. They told me he was a Jefuit. Will 
you come to fee me ? Will you come to fee me ? You need 
not be afraid when you come to me" " I trull," faid I, bow- 
ing, " I mall do no ill, in that cafe mall haye no reafon to 
fear." Upon this I withdrew from among the crowd, and 
went away, as an exprefs then arrived from Ras Michael. 

It was on the 8th or 9th of March I met him at Azazo. 
He was dreiled in a coarfe dirty cloth, wrapt about him like 
$ blanket, and another like a table-cloth folded about his 

4. head: 


head : He was lean, old, and apparently much fatigued ; fat 
ilooping upon an excellent mule, that carried him fpeedily 
without making him ; he had alfo fore eyes. As we faw 
the place where he was to light by four crofs lances, and a 
cloth thrown over them like a temporary tent, upon an 
eminence, we did not fpeak to him till he alighted. Petros 
and the Greek prieft, befides fervants, were the only people 
with me, Francis * had joined us upon our meeting the 

We alighted at the fame time he did, and afterwards, 
with anxiety enough we deputed the Greek prieft, who was 
a friend of Michael, to tell him who I was, and that I was 
come to meet him. The foldiers made way, and I came up, 
took him by the hand, and kifFed it. He looked me broad 
in the face for a fecond, repeated the ordinary falutation in 
Tigre. " How do you do ? I hope you are well;" and pointed 
to a place where I was to£t down. A thoufand complaints, 
and a thoufand orders came immediately before him, from 
a thoufand mouths, and we were nearly fmothered; but he 
took no notice of me, nor did he afk for one of his family. 
In fome minutes after came the king, who paffed at fome 
diftance to the left of him ; and Michael was then -led out 
of the Ihelter of his tent to the door, where he was fupport- 
ed on foot till the king paffed by, having nrft pulled off the 
towel that was upon his head, after which lie returned to 
;his feat in the tent again. 

Vol. Ill, E e Tije 

* A man much attached to Michael, and had been preferred by him to many commands* 
and cenfequently was the enly Greek that could be Called a good fo'dier. 


The king had been pail about a quarter of a mile, when 
Kefla Yafous came from him with orders to the Ras, or ra- 
ther, as I believe, to receive orders from him. He brought 
with him a young nobleman, Ayto Engedan, who, by his 
drefs, having his upper garment twifled in a particular 
manner about his waifl, mewed that he was carrier of a 
fpccial meffage from the king. The crowd by this time 
had fhut us quite out, and made a circle round the Ras, in 
which we were not included. We were upon the point of 
going away, when Kefla Yafous, who had feen Francis, faid 
to him, " I think Engedan has the king's command for you, 
you mull not depart without leave." And, foon after, we 
underflood that the king's orders were to obtain leave from 
the Ras, to bring me, with Engedan, near, and in fight of 
him, without letting me know, or introducing me to him. 
In anfwer to this, the Ras had faid, " I dont know him; 
will people like him think this right ? Afk Petros ; or why 
mould not the king call upon him and fpeak to him ; he 
has letters to him as well as to me, and he will be obliged to 
fee him to-morrow." 

Engedan went away on a gallop to join the king, and we 
proceeded after him, nor did we receive any other meffage 
either from the king or the Ras. We returned to Kofcam, 
very little pleafed with the reception we had met with. All 
the town was in a hurry and confufion ; 30,000 men were 
encamped upon the Kahha ; and the firffc horrid fcene Mi- 
chael exhibited there, was caufing the eyes of twelve of the 
chiefs of the Galla, whom he had taken prifoners, to be 
pulled out, and the unfortunate fufferers turned out to the 
fields, to be devoured at night by the hyaena, Two of thefe 

3. I took 


I took under my care, who both recovered, and from them 
I. learned many particulars of their country and manners. 

The next day, which was the 10th, the army marched in- 
to the town in triumph, and the Ras at the head of the 
troops of Tigre. He was bareheaded ; over his moulders, 
and down to his back, hung a pallium, or cloak, of black 
velvet, with a filver fringe. A boy, by his right ftirrup, held 
a filver wand of about five feet and a half long, much like 
the Haves of our great officers at court. Behind him all the 
foldiers, who had flain an enemy and taken the fpoils from 
them, had their lances and firelocks ornamented with fmall 
Ihreds of fcarlet cloth, one piece for every man he had 

Remarkable among all this multitude was Hagos, door- 
keeper of the Ras, whom we have mentioned in the war of 
Begemder. This man, always well-armed and well-mount- 
ed, had followed the wars of the Ras from his infancy, and 
had been fo fortunate in this kind of fingle combat, that his 
whole lance and javelin, horfe and perfon, were covered over 
with the fhreds of fcarlet cloth. At this lafl battle of Fagitta, 
Hagos is faid to have flain eleven men with his own hand. 
Indeed there is nothing more fallacious than judging of a 
man's courage by thefe marks of conquefls. A good horfe- 
man, armed with a coat of mail, upon a ftrong, well-fed, 
well- winded horfe, may, after a defeat, kill as many of thefe 
wretched, weary, naked fugitives, as he pleafes, confining 
himfelf to thofe that are weakly, mounted upon tired horfes, 
and covered only with goat's-fkins, or that are flying on 

Ee2 Behind 


Behind came Gufho of Amhara, and PowufTen, lately 
made governor of Begemder for his behaviour at the battle 
of Fagitta, where, as I have faid, he purfued Fafil and his 
army for two days. The Ras had given him alfo a farther 
reward, his grand-daughter Ayabdar, lately recovered from 
the fmall-pox, and the only one of my patients that, neither 
by herfelf, her mother, nor her hufband, ever made me the 
leafl return. PowufTen was one of the twelve officers who, 
after being delivered to Lubo by the Galla, together with 
Mariam Barea, had fled to Michael's tent, and were protec- 
ted by him. 

One thing remarkable in this cavalcade, which lobferved, 
was the head-drefs of the governors of provinces. A large 
broad fillet was bound upon their forehead, and tied be- 
hind their head. In the middle of this was a horn, or a* 
conical piece offilver, gilt, about four inches long, much in 
the fhape of our common candle extinguifhers. This is 
called kirn, or horn, and is only worn in reviews or parades 
after victory. This I apprehend, like all other of their ufages, 
is taken from the Hebrews, and the feveral allufions made 
in fcripture to it arife from this practice : — " I faid unto 
fools, Deal not foolifhly ; and to the wicked, Lift not up the 
horn — " Lift not up your horn on high ; fpeak not with a 
ilifF neck*" — " For promotion cometh," &c. — " But my horn 
flialt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn" — " And the 


* The crooked manner in which they hold their neck when this ornament is on their fore- 
bead, for fear it (hould fail forward, perfectly fhews the meaning of fpeaking with afliffneok 
"wlien you koli the horn on high, or ereel like the horn of the unicorn.. 


horn of the righteous mall be exalted with honour." And 
fo in many other places throughout the Pfalms. 

Next to thefe came the king, with a fillet of white muffin 
about three inches broad, binding his forehead, tied with 
a large double knot behind, and hanging down about two 
feet on his back. About him were the great officers of 
flate,fuch of the young n- x dity as were without command ; 
and after thefe, the hoi _,. hold troops. 

Then followed the Kanitz Kitzera, or executioner of the 
camp, and his attendants ; and, laft of all, amidfl the King's 
and the Ras's baggage, came a man bearing the Huffed 
fkin of the unfortunate Woofheka upon a pole, which he 
hung upon a branch of the tree before the king's palace 
appropriated for public executions. 

Upon their arrival at Gondar, all the great men had 
waited both upon the Ras and the King. Aylo had been 
with them, and Ozoro Either was removed to Gondar ; but, 
by my advice, had left the child at Kofcam. Her fon Con- 
fu, though recovered of the fmall-pox, had evident figns of 
a dyfentery, and took no care of himfelf in point of regimen,, 
or avoiding cold. 

It was now the 1 3th of March, and I had heard no v/ord from 
Ozoro Efther, or the Ras, though removed to a houfc in Gon- 
dar near to Petros. I had gone every day once to fee the 
children of Kofcam ; at all which times I had b.een received 
with the greatefl cordiality and marks of kindnefs by the 
Iteghe, and orders given for my free' admittance upon all 
occasions like an officer of her houfehold. As to the reft 1 ,; 

I liefer 


I never was in appearance more neglected, than in this pre- 
fent moment, by all but the Moors. Thefe were very grate- 
ful for the fuccefsful attention I had fhewed their children, 
and very defirous to have me again among them. Hagi 
Saleh, in particular, could not fatiate himfelf with curfing 
the ingratitude of thefe cafers, and infidels, the Chriflians. 
He knew what had pafTed at Kofcam, he faw what he 
thought likely to happen now, and his anger was that of 
an honed man, and which perhaps many former inftances 
which he had been witnefs of might have juflified, but in 
the prefent one he was miltaken. 

In the evening, Negade Ras Mahoment came to my 
houfe ; he faid Mahomet Gibberti was arrived, had been 
twice on private bufmefs with the Ras, but had not yet de- 
livered him his prefents ; and he had not informed me of 
this, as he thought I was flill at Kofcam, and that Saleh 
his brother knew nothing of it, as he had not feen him 
fince he came home. He alfo informed me that Ayto Aylo 
was with the Ras twice the day after he entered Gondar, 
and once with Mahomet Gibberti : all this was about me ; 
and that, at Ayto Aylo's propofal, it was agreed that I mould 
be appointed Palambaras, which is mailer of the king's 
horfe. It is a very great office, both for rank, and revenue, 
but has no bufinefs attending it; the young Armenian had 
before enjoyed it. I told Mahomet, that, far from being 
any kindnefs to me, this would make me the moll unhappy 
of all creatures ; that my extreme defire was to fee the coun- 
try, and its difFerent natural productions ; to converfe with the 
people as a ftranger, but to be nobody's mailer nor fervant ; 
to fee their books ; and, above all, to vifit the fources of the 
Nile ; to live as privately in my own houfe, and have as 



much time to myfelf as poffible ; and what I was moft an- 
xious about at prefent, was to know when it would be c ;n- 
venient for them to admit me to fee the Ras, and deliver 
my letters as a ftranger. 

Mahomet went away, and returned, bringing Mahomet 
Gibberti, who told me, that, bcfides the letter I carried to 
Ras Michael from Metical Aga his mafler, he had been 
charged with a particular one, out of the ordinary form, 
dictated by the Engliih at Jidda, who, all of them, and par- 
ticularly my friends Captain Thornhill, and Capt. i nomas 
Price of the Lyon, had agreed to make a point with Metical 
Aga, devoted to them for his own profit, that his utmofl 
exertion of friendfliip and intereft, fhould be fo employed 
in my recommendation, as to engage the attention of Ras 
Michael to provide in earnefl for my fafety and fatis fac- 
tion in every point. 

This letter I had myfelf read at Jidda ; it informed Mi- 
chael of the power and riches of our nation, and that they 
were abfolute mailers of the trade on the Red Sea, and 
flrictly connected with the Sherriffe, and in a very particular 
manner with him, Metical Aga ; that any accident happen- 
ing to me would be an infamy and difgrace to him, and 
worfe than death itfelf, becaufe, that knowing Michael's 
power, and relying on his friendfliip, he had become fecurity 
for my fafety, after I arrived in his hands ; that I was a man 
of confideration in my own country, fervant to the king of 
it, who, though himfelf a Chriitian, governed his fubjects 
Muimlmen and Pagans, with the fame impartiality andjuf- 
tice as he did Chriftians. That all my defire was to examine 
fprings and rivers, trees and flowers, and the itars in the 



heavens, from which I drew knowledge very ufeful to pre- 
ferve man's health and life ; that I was no merchant, and 
had no dealings whatever in any fort of mercantile matters ; 
and that I had no need of any man's money, as he had told 
Mahomet Gibberti to provide for any call I might have in that 
country, and for which he would anfwer, let the fum be 
what it would, as he had the word of my countrymen to 
repay it, which he confidered better than the written fecurity 
of any other people in the world. He then repeated very nearly 
the fame words ufed in the beginning of the letter; and, 
upon this particular rcqueft, Metical Aga had fent him a 
diftinct prefent, not to confound it with other political 
and commercial affairs, in which they were concerned to- 

Upon reading this letter, Michael exclaimed, " Metical 
Aga does not know the fituation of this country. Safety ! 
where is that to be found ? I am obliged to fight for my 
own life every day. Will Metical call this fafety ? Who 
knows, at this moment, if the king is in fafety, or how long 
I mall be fo ? All I can do is to keep him with me. If I 
lofemy own life, and the king's, Metical Aga can never think 
it was in my power to preferve that of his itranger." — " No, 
no," fays Ayto Aylo, who was then prefent, " you don't know 
the man ; he is a devil on horfeback ; he rides better, and 
fhoots better, than any man that ever came into Abyilinia ; 
lofe no time, put him about the king, and there is no fear 
of him. He is very fober and religious ; he will do the king 
good. " Shoot!" fays Michael, " he won't ihoot at me as the 
Armenian did ; will he ? will he?" " Oh," continued Aylo, 
" you know thefe days are over. What is the Armenian ? a 
boy, a Have to the Turk. When you fee this man, you'll not 

2 think 



think of the Armenian." It was finally agreed, that the let- 
ters the Greeks had received fhould be read to the king ; 
that the letters I had from Metical Aga to the Ras fhould 
be given to Mahomet Gibberti, and that I fhould be intro- 
duced to the King and the Ras immediately after they were 

The reader may remember that, when I was at Cairo, I 
obtained letters from Mark, theGreekpatriarch, to the Greeks 
at Gondar ; and particularly One, in form of a bull, or refcript, 
to all the Greeks in Abymnia. In this, after a great deal of pa£ 
toral admonition, the patriarch faid, that, knowing their pro- 
penfity to lying and vanity, and not being at hand to impofe 
proper penances upon them for thefe fins, he exacted from 
them, as a proof of their obedience, that they would, with 
a good grace, undergo this mortification, than which there 
could be no gentler impofed, as it was only to fpeak the truth. 
He ordered them in a body to go to the king, in the man- 
ner and time they knew be ft, and to inform him that I was 
not to be confounded with the reft of white men, fuch as 
Greeks, who were all fubject to the Turks, and flaves ; but 
that I was a free man, of a free nation ; and the beft of them 
would be happy in being my fervant, as one of their bre- 
thren, Michael, then actually was. I will not fay but this 
was a bitter pill ; for they were high in office, all except 
Petros, who had declined all employment after the murder 
of Joas his matter, whofe chamberlain he was. The order 
of the patriarch, however, was fairly and punctually per- 
formed ; Petros was their fpokefman ; he was originally 
a fhoemaker at Rhodes, clever, and handfome in his perfon, 
but a great coward, though, on fuch an occafion as the pre- 
fent, forward and capable enough. 

Vol. III. Ff I think 


I think, it was about the 14th that thefe letters were to- 
be all read. I expected at the ordinary hour, about five in 
the afternoon, to be fent for, and had. rode out to Kofcam 
with Ayto Heikel, the queen's chamberlain, to fee the child, 
who was pretty well recovered of all its complaints, but very 
weak. In the interim I was fent for to the Ras, with orders 
to difpatch a man with the king's prefent, to wait for me at 
the palace, whither I was to go after leaving; Michael. It was 
anfwered, That I was at Kofcam, and the errand I had gone 
on mentioned; which difappointment, and the caufe, did 
no way prejudice me, with the Ras., . Five in the evening 
was fixed as the hour, and notice fent to Kofcam. I earner 
a little before the time, and met Ayto Aylo at the door. He 
fqueezed me by the hand, and faid, " Refufe nothing,~it can 
be all altered afterwards ; but it is very necefiary, on account 
of the priefts and the populace, you have a place of fo me au- 
thority* otherwife you will ,be robbed and murdered the firft 
time you go half a mile from home : fifty people have told 
me you have chefts filled with gold, and that you can make 
gold, or, bring. what quantity you pleafe from the Indies; 
and the reafon of all this is, becaufe you refufed the queen 
and Ozoro Efiher's offer of gold at Kofcam, and which )ou 
muft never dp again," 

We went : in and .faw the old man fitting upon a fofa ; 
his white hair was drefTed in many lhort curls. He ap- 
peared to be thoughtful, but not difpleafed ; his face was , 
lean, his eyes quick and vivid, but feemed to be a little fore, 
from expofure to the weather. , He feemed to be about fix , 
feet high, though his lamenefs made it difficult to guefs , 
with accuracy. His air was perfectly free from conftraint, ... 
what the French call degagee, . In face and perfon he was 

liker r 


liker my learned and worthy friend, the Count de Buiron, 
than any two men I ever faw in the world. They muft have 
been bad phynognomifts that did not difcern his capacity 
and underftanding by his very countenance. Every look 
conveyed a fentiment with it : he feemed to have no occa- 
fion for other language, and indeed hejpoke little. I of- 
fered, as ufual, to kifs the ground before him ; and of this 
he feemed to take little notice, ftretching out his hand and 
ihaking mine upon my rifing. 

I sat down with Aylo, three or four of the judges, Petros, 
Heikel the queen's chamberlain, and an Azage from the 
king's houfe, who whifpered fomething in his ear, and 
went out ; which interruption prevented me from fpeak- 
ing as I was prepared to do, or give him my prefect, which 
a man held behind me. He began gravely, " Yagoube, I 
think that is your name, hear what I fay to you, and mark 
what I recommend to yon. You are a man, I am told, who 
make it your bufmefs to wander in the fields in fearch after 
trees and grafs in folitary places, and to fit up all night a- 
lone looking at the ftars of the heavens : Other countries 
are not like this, though this was never fo bad as it is now. 
Thefe wretches here are enemies to flrangers ; if they faw 
you alone in your own parlour, their frrfl thought would be 
how to murder you ; though they knew they were to get 
nothing by it, they would murder you for mere mifchief." 
" The devil is ftrong in them," fays a. voice from a corner 
of the room, which appeared to be that of a prieft. " There- 
fore," fays the Ras, " after a long converfation with your 
friend Aylo, whofe advice I hear you happily take, as in*. 
deed we all do, I have thought that fituation bell which 
leaves you at liberty to follow your own deligns, at the 

F £ z fame 


fame time that it puts your perfon in fafety ; that you will 
not be troubled with monks about their religious matters, 
or in danger from thefe rafcals that may feek to murder 
you for money." 

" What are the monks?" fays the fame voice from the 
corner ; " the monks will never meddle with fuch a man as 
this." — " Therefore the king," continued the Ras, with- 
out taking any notice of the interruption, " has ap- 
pointed you Baalomaal, and to command the Koccob horfe, 
which I thought to have given to Francis, an old foldier of 
mine ; but he is poor, and we will provide for him better, for 
thefe appointments have honour, but little profit." "Sir," fays 
Francis, who was in prefence, but behind," it is in much more 
honourable hands than either mine or the Armenian's, or 
any other white man's, fince the days of Hatze Menas, and 
fo I told the king to-day." " Very well, Francis," fays the 
Ras ; " it becomes a foldier to fpeak the truth, whether it 
makes for or againft himfelf. Go then to the king, and kifs 
the ground upon your appointment. I fee you have already 
learned this ceremony of our's ; Aylo and Heikel are very 
proper perfons to go with you. The king exprelfed his fur- 
prife to me laft night he had not feen you ; and there too is 
Tecla Mariam, the king's fecretary, who came with your 
appointment from the palace to-day." The man in the cor- 
ner, that I took for a prieft, was this Tecla Mariam, a fcribe. 
Out of the king's prefence men of this order cover their 
heads, as do the priefts, which was the reafon. of my mif^ 

I then gave him a prefent, which he fcarce lookecl at, as; 
^number of people were. prefling in at the door from cu- 



riofity or bufinefs, Among thefe I difcerned Abba Salama. 
Every body then went out but myfelf, and thefe people were 
turning in behind me, and had divided me from my com- 
pany. The Ras, however, feeing me Handing alone, cried, 
*' Shut the door ;" and afked me, in a low tone of voice, " Have 
you any thing private to fay ?" " I fee you are bufy, Sir," faid 
I ; " but I will fpeak to Ozoro Either." His anxious coun- 
tenance brightened up in a moment. " That is true," fays 
he, " Yagoube, it will require a long day to fettle that ac- 
count with you : Will the boy live ?" " The life of man is in 
the hand of God," faid I, " but I fhould. hope the worft is 
over j" upon which he called to one of his fervants, " Carry 
Yagoube to Ozoro Either." 

It is needlefs for me to take up the reader's time with 
any thing but what illuftrates my travels ; he may there- 
fore guefs the converfation that flowed from a grateful 
heart on that occalion. I ordered her child to be brought 
to her every forenoon, upon condition me returned him 
foon after mid- day* I then took a fpeedy leave of Ozoro 
Either, the reafon of which I told her when ihe was fol- 
lowing me to the door. She faid, " When mall I lay my hands 
upon that idiot Aylo ? The Ras would have done any thing ; 
he had appointed you Palambaras, but, upon converting 
with Aylo, he had changed his mind. He fays it will 
create envy, and take up your time. What fignifies their 
envy ? Do not they envy Ras Michael ? and where can you 
pafs your time better than at court, with a command un- 
der the king." I faid, " All is for the bell, Aylo did well ;; 
all is for the beft." I then left her unconvinced, and fay- 
ing, " I will not forgive this to. Ayto Aylo thefe feven: 

4 Ay.lo> 


Aylo and Heikel had gone on to the palace, wondering, 
as did the whole company, what could be my private con- 
ference with Michael, which, after playing abundantly 
with their curiofity, I explained to them next day. 

I went afterwards to the king's palace, and met Aylo 
and Heikel at the door of the prefence-chamber. Tecla 
Mariam walked before us to the foot of the throne ; after 
which I advanced and proftrated myfelf upon the ground. 
** I have brought you a fervant," fays he to the king, " from 
fo diftant a country, that if you ever let him efcape, we fhall 
never be able to follow him, or know where to feek him." 
This was faid facetioufly by an old familiar fervant ; but 
the king made no reply, as far as we could guefs, for his 
mouth was covered, nor did he mew any alteration of 
countenance. Five people were {landing on each fide of the 
throne, all young men, three on his left, and two on his 
right. One of thefe, the fon of Tecla Mariam, (afterwards 
my great friend) who flood uppermoft on the left hand, 
came up, and taking hold of me by the hand, placed me 
immediately above him ; when feeing I had no knife in 
my girdle, he pulled out his own and gave it to me. Upon 
being placed, I again killed the ground. 

The king was in an alcove ; the reft went out of fight from 
where the throne was, and fat down. The ufual queilions 
now began about Jerufa-lem and the holy places — where my 
country was ? which it was impoffible to defcribe, as they 
knew the fituation of no country but their own — why I came 
fo far? — whether the moon and the liars, but efpecially the 
moon, was the fame in my country as in theirs? — and a great 
many fuch idle and tirefomc queilions. I had feveral times 

z offered 


offered to take my prefent from the man who held it, that 
I might offer it to his Majefty and go away; but the king 
always made a lign to put it ofF, till, being tired to death 
with Handing, I leaned againft the wall. Aylo was fail afleep, 
«md Ayto Heikel and the Greeks curling their mailer in 
their heart for fpoiling the good dipper that Anthule his 
treafurer had prepared for us. This, as we afterwards 
found out, the king very well knew, and refolved to try 
ourpatience to the utmoft. At laft, Ayto Aylo Hole away to 
bed, and every body elfe after him, except thofe who had 
accompanied me, who were ready to die with thirft, and 
drop down with wearinefs. . It was agreed by thofe that 
were out of fight, to fend Tecla Mariam to whifper in the 
king's ear,, that I had not been well, which he did, but no 
notice was taken of it. It was now pail ten o'clock* and fie 
Shewed no inclination to go to bed; 

Hitherto,, while. there were ftrangers in the room, he 
Had fpoken to us by an officer called Kal Hatze, the voice or- 
word of the king; but now, when there were nine or ten of 
us, his menial fervants, only prefent, he uncovered his face 
and mouth, and fpoke himfelf. Sometimes it was about Je- 
rufalem, fometimes about horfes, at other times about moot- 
ing ; again about the Indies ; how far I could look into the 
heavens with my telefcopes : and all theie were deliberately 
and circumftantially repeated, if they were not pointedly an-- 
fwered. I was abfolutely in defpair, and fcarcely able to 
fpeak a word, inwardly mourning the hardnefs of -my lot 
in this my firff preferment, and fincerely praying it might 
be my laft promotion in this court. At laft all the Greeks 
began to be impatient, and got out of the corner of the 
room behind the alcove, and Hood immediately before the 



throne. The king feemed to be aftonifhed at feeing them, 
and told them he thought they had all been at home long 
ago. They faid, however, they would not go without me ; 
which the king faid could not be, for one of the duties of 
my employment was to be charged with the door of his 
bed-chamber that night. 

I think I could almoft have killed him in that inflant. 
At laft Ayto Heikel, taking courage, came forward to him, 
pretending a mefTage from the queen, and whifpered him 
fomething in the ear, probably that the Ras would take it 
ill. He then laughed, faid he thought we had fupped, 
and difmhTed us. 







'Tranfadlions at Gondar* 

"E went all to Authule's houfe to fupper in violent rage, 
fuch anger as is ufual with hungry men. We brought 
with us from the palace three of my brother Baalomaals, 
and one who had flood to make up the number, though he 
was not in office ; his name was Guebra Mafcal; he was a 
filler's fon of the Ras, and commanded one third of the troops 
of Tigre, which carried fire-arms, that is about 2000 men. 
He was reputed the befl officer of that kind that the Ras 
had, and was a man about 30 years of age, ffiort, fquare, and 
well made, with a very unpromifing countenance ; fiat nofe, 
wide mouth, of a very yellow complexion, and much pit- 
ted with the fmall-pox ; he had a mofl uncommon pre- 
emption upon the merit of pafl fervices, and had the great- 
efl opinion of his own knowledge in the ufe of fire-arms, 
to which he did not fcruple to fay Ras Michael owed all 
his victories. Indeed it was to the good opinion that the Ras 
Voi. HI. G g had 


had of him as a foldier that he owed his being fuffered to 
continue at Gondar ; for he was fufpected to have been 
familiar with one of his uncle's wives in Tigre, by whom it 
was thought he had a child, at leaft the Ras put away his 
wife, and never owned the child to be his. 

This man flipped with us that night, and thence began 
one of the mofl ferious affairs I ever had in Abyffinia. 
Guebra Mafcal, as ufual, vaunted incefTantly his fkill in 
fire-arms, the wonderful gun that he had, and feats he had 
done with it. Petros faid, laughing, to him, " You have a 
genius for fhooting, but you have had no opportunity to 
learn. Now, Yagoube is come, he will teach you fome- 
thing worth talking off." They had all drank abundantly, 
and Guebra Mafcal had uttered words that I thought were 
in contempt of me. I believe, replied I peevifhly enough, 
Guebra Mafcal, I fhould fufpedt, from your difcourfe, you 
neither knew men nor guns ; every gun of mine in the 
hands of my fervants mail kill twice as far as yours, for 
my own, it is not worth my while to put a ball in it : When 
Icompare with you, the end of a tallow-candle in my gun 
lhall do more execution than an iron ball in the belt of 
yours, with all the fkill and experience you pretend to. 

He faid I was a Frank, and a liar, and, upon my im- 
mediately riling up, he gave me a kick with his foot. I was 
quite blind with paffion, feized him by the throat, and 
threw him on the ground flout as he was. The Abyffinians 
know nothing of either wreftling or boxing. He drew his 
knife as he was falling, attempted to cut me in the face, 
but his arm not being at freedom, all he could do was to 
give me a very trifling flab, or wound, near the crown of the. 



head, fo that the blood trickled down over my face. I had 
tript him up, but till then had never ftruck him. I now 
wrefled the knife from him with a full intention to kill him; 
but Providence directed better. Inftead of the point, I ftruck 
fo violently with the handle upon his face as to leave fears, 
which would be diflinguiflied even among the deep marks 
of the fmall-pox. An adventure fo new, and fo unexpected, 
prefently overcame the effects of wine. It was too late to dif- 
turb anybody either in the palace or at the houfe of the Ras. 
A hundred opinions were immediately ftarted ; fome were 
for fending us up to the king, as we were actually in the pre- 
cincts of the palace, where lifting a hand is death. Ayto 
Heikel advifed that I mould go, late as it was, to Kofcam ; 
and Petros, that I fliould repair immediately to the houfe of 
Ayto Aylo, while the two Baalomaals were for taking me to 
fleep in the palace. Anthule, in whofe houfe I was, and who 
was therefore raoft mocked at the outrage, wifhed me to 
ftay in his houfe, where I was, from a fuppofition that I was 
ferioufly wounded, which all of them, feeing the blood fall 
over my eyes, feemed to think was the cafe, and he, in the 
morning, at the king's riling, was to ftate the matter as it 
happened. All thefe advices appeared good when they were 
propofed ; for my part, I thought they only tended to make 
bad worfe, and bore the appearance of guilt, of which I was 
not confeious. 

I now determined to go home, and to bed in my own 
houfe. With that intention, I waflied my face and wound 
with vinegar, and found the blood to be already ftaunched. 
I then wrapt myfelf up in my cloak, and returned home 
without accident, and went to bed. But this would neither 
fatisfy Ayto Heikel nor Petros, who went to the houfe of 

G g 2 Ayto 


Ayto Aylo, then pall midnight, fo that early in the morn- 
ing, when fcarce light, I faw him come into my chamber. 
Guebra Mafcal had fled to the houfe of Kefla Yafous his re- 
lation ;. and the firft news we heard in the morning, after 
Ayto Aylo arrived, were,, that Guebra. Mafcal was in irons 
at the Ras's houfe. 

Every perfon that came afterwards brought up fome new- 
account ; the whole people prefent had been examined, 
and had given,, without variation, the true particulars of my 
forbearance, and his infolent behaviour, Every body trem* 
bled for fome violent refolution the Ras was to take on my 
firft complaint. The town was full of Tigre foldiers, and 
nobody faw clearer than I did, however favourable a turn 
this had taken for me in the beginning, it might be my 
deftruction in the end, . 

I asked Ayto Aylo his opinion. He feemed at a lofs to? 
give it me ; but faid, in an uncertain tone of voice, he 
could with that I would not complain of Guebra Mafcal' 
while I was angry, or while the Ras was fo inveterate a* 
gainft him, till fome of his friends had fpoken, and appea* 
fed, at leaft, his firft refentment. I anfwered, " That I was 
of a contrary opinion, and that no time was to be loft : re± 
member the letter of Mahomet Gibberti ; remember his; 
confidence yefterday of my being fafe where he was ; re- 
member the influence of Ozoro Efther, and do not let us; 
lofe a moment." " What, fays Aylo to me in great furprife, 
are you mad ? Would you have him cut to pieces in the 
midft of 20,000 of his countrymen? Would you be dim* 
menia, that is, guilty of the blood of all the province of 
Tigre, through which you muft go in your way home ?.** 




Juft the contrary, faid I, nobody has fo great a right over 
the Ras's anger as I have, being the perfon injured ; and, as 
you and I can get accefs to Ozoro Either when we pleafe, 
let us go immediately thither, and flop the progrefs of this 
affair while it is not yet generally known. People that 
talk of my being wounded expecl: to fee me, I fuppofe, with- 
out a leg or an arm. When they fee me fo early riding 
in the flreet, all will pafs for a ftory as it ftiould do; 
Would you wiih to pardon him entirely ?" — " That goes a- 
gainft my heart, too, fays Aylo, he is a bad man." — " My 
good friend, faid I, be in this guided by me, I. know we 
both think the fame thing. If he is a bad man, he was a bad 
man before I knew him. You know what you told me your- 
felf of the Ras's jealoufy of him. What if he was to revenge 
his own wrongs, under pretence of giving me fatisfaclion 
for mine ? Come, lofe no time, get upon your mule, go with 
me to Ozoro Either, I will anfwer for the confequences," 

We arrived there ; the Ras was not fitting in judgment, 
he had drank hard the night before, on occafion of Powuk 
fen's marriage, and was not in bed when the ftory of the fray 
reached him. We found, Ozoro Either in a violent anger 
and agitation, which was much alleviated by my laughing. 
On her afking me about my wound, which had been repre- 
sented to her as dangerous, " I am afraid, faid I, poor Gue- 
bra Mafcal is worfe wounded than I." "Is he wounded too ? 
fays fhe ; I hope it is in his heart." " Indeed, replied I, Ma* 
dam, there are no wounds on either fide. He was very 
drunk, and I gave him feveral blows upon the face as he 
deferved, and he has already goc all the chaftifement he 
ought to have ; it was all a piece of folly." " Prodigious ! 
fays fhe ; is this fo ?" " It is fo, fays Aylo, and you fliall 



hear it all by-and-by, only let us flop the propagation of this 
foolifh ftory." 

The Ras in the inftant fent for us. He was naked, fitting 
on a ftool, and a flave fwathing up his lame leg with a broad 
belt or bandage. I afked him calmly and pleafantly if I 
could be of any fervice to him ? He looked at me with a 
grin, the mofl ghaflly I ever faw, as half difpleafed. " What ! 
fays he, are you all mad? Aylo, what is the matter between 
him and that mifcreant Guebra Mafcal ?" — " Why, faid I, I 
am come to tell you that myfelf ; why do you afk Ay to Ay- 
lo ? Guebra Mafcal got drunk, was infolent, and ftruck me, 
Iwas fober, and beat him, as you will fee by his face ; and I 
have now come to you to fay I am forry that I lifted my 
hand againfl your nephew ; but he was in the wrong, and 
drunk ; and I thought it was better to chaftife him on the 
fpot, than trufl him to you, who perhaps might take the 
affair to heart, for we all know your juflice, and that being 
your relation is no excufe when you judge between man 
and man. " I order you, Aylo, fays Michael, as you efteem 
my friendfhip, to tell me the truth, really as it was, and 
without difguife or concealment." 

Aylo began accordingly to relate the whole hiftory, 
when a fervant called me out to Ozoro Efther. I found with 
her another nephew of the Ras, a much better man, called 
Welleta Selaffe, who came from Kefla Yafous, and Guebra 
Mafcal himfelf, defiring I would forgive and intercede for 
him, for it was a drunken quarrel without malice. Ozoro 
Efther had told him part. " Come in with me, faid I, and 
you mail feel never will leave the Ras till he forgive him." 
** Let him punifh him, fays Welleta Selaffe, he is a bad man, 



but don't let the Ras either kill or maim him." " Come t 
laid I, let us go to the Ras, and he mall neither kill, maim, 
nor punifh him, if I can help it. It is my firft requeft ; if 
he refufes me I will return to Jidda ; come and hear." 

Aylo had urged the thing home to the Ras in the proper 
light — that of my fafety. " You are a wife man, fays Mi- 
chael, now perfectly cool, as foon as he faw me and Welletai 
Selaffe. It is a man like you that goes far in fafety, which 
is the end we all aim at. I feel the affront offered you more 
than you do, but will not have the punifhment attributed 
to you ; this affair mail turn to your honour and fecurity, 
and in that light only I can pafs over his infolence." " Wel- 
leta Selaffe, fays he, falling into a violent paflion in an in- 
ftant, What fort of behaviour is this my men have adop*. 
ted with ftrangers ? and myjlranger^ too, and in the king's 
palace, and the king's fervant ? What ! am I dead ? or be- 
come incapable of governing longer ?" Welleta Selaffe bow- 
ed, but was afraid to fpeak, and indeed the Ras looked like 
a fiend* 

xx Come, fays the Ras, let me fee your head." I fhewed 
him where the blood was already hardened, and faid it was 
a very flight cut. " A cut, continued Michael, over that 
part, with one of our knives, is mortal." " You fee, Sir, 
faid I, I have not even dipt the hair about the wound ; it 
is nothing. Now give me your promife you will fet Guebra 
Mafcal at liberty ; and not only that, but you are not to re- 
proach him with the affair further than that he was drunk, 
not a crime in this country." " No, truly, fays he, it is 
not; but that is, becaufe it is very rare that people fight with 
knives when they are drunk. I fcarce ever heard of it, even 

v. iii. g g in 


in the camp." " I fancy, faid I, endeavouring to give a light 
turn to the converfation, they have not often wherewithal 
to get drunk in your camp." " Not this laft year, fays he, 
laughing, there were no houfes in the country." " But let 
me only merit, faid I, Welleta Selafle's friendmip, by ma- 
king him the mefTenger of good news to Guebra Mafcal, 
that he is at liberty, and you have forgiven him." " At li- 
berty ! fays he, Where is he ?" " In your houfe, faid I, fome- 
where, in irons." " That is Either' s intelligence, continued 
the Ras ; thefe women tell you all their fecrets, but when I 
remember your behaviour to them I do not wonder at it, 
and that conlideration likewife obliges me to grant what 
you afk. Go, Welleta SelaiTe, and free that dog from his col- 
lar, and direct him to go to Welleta Michael, who will 
give him his orders to levy the meery in Woggora; let him 
not fee my face till he returns. 

Ozoro Esther gave us breakfafl, to which feveral of the 
Greeks came. After which I went to Kofcam, where I heard 
a thoufand curfes upon Guebra Mafcal. The whole affair 
was now made up, and the king was acquainted with the 
iffue of it. I flood in my place, where he fhewed me very 
great marks of favour ; he was grave, however, and forrow- 
ful, as if mortified with what had happened. The king order- 
ed me to flay and dine at the palace, and he would fend me 
my dinner. I there faw the fons of Kafmati Efhte, Aylo, 
and Engedan, and two Welleta SelafTes ;. one the fon of Te- 
cla Mariam, the other the fon of a great nobleman in Go- 
Jam, all young men, with whom I lived ever after in perfect 
familiarity and friendfliip. The two lafl were my brethren 
Baalomaa], or gentlemen of the king's bed-chamber.. 



They all feemed to have taken my caufe to heart more 
than I wifhed them, to do, for fear it mould be productive of 
fome new quarrel. For my own part, I never was fo deject- 
ed in my life. The troublefome profpect before me pre- 
fented itfelf day and night. I more than twenty times re- 
folved to return by Tigre, to which I was more inclined by 
the lofs of a young man who accompanied me through Bar- 
bary, and affifted me in the drawings of architecture which 
I made for the king there, part of which he was flill advan- 
cing here, when a dyfentery, which had attacked him in 
Arabia Felix, put an end to his life* at Gondar. A confider- 
able difturbance was apprehended upon burying him in a 
church-yard. Abba Salama ufed his utmoft endeavours to 
raife the populace and take him out of his grave ; but fome 
exertions of the Ras quieted both Abba Salama and the tu- 

I began, however, to look upon every thing now as full 
of difficulty and danger ; and, from this conilant fretting 
and defpondency, I found my health much impaired, and 
that I was upon the point of becoming ferioufly ill. There 
was one thing that contributed in fome meafure to diffipate 
thefe melancholy thoughts, which was, that all Gondar was 
in one fcene of feftivity. Ozoro Ayabdar, daughter of the 
late Welled Hawaryat, by Ozoro Altalh, Ozoro Eflher's filter, 
and the Iteghe's youngeft daughter, consequently grand- 
daughter to Michael, was married to Powuflen, now gover- 
nor of Begemder. The king gave her large dillricts of land 
in that province, and Ras Michael a large portion of gold, 

Vol. III. H h mufkets, 

* See Introduction, 

3.4 : 


mufkets, cattk, and horfes. All the town, that wifhed to be 
well-looked upon by either party, brought, fomething con- 
fiderable as a prefent. 1 he Ras, Ozoro Either, and Ozoro 
Altaih, entertained all Gondar. A vaft number of cattle was 
flaughtered every day, and. the whole town looked like one 
great market ; the common people, in every ftreet, appear- 
ing loaded with pieces of raw beef, while drink circulated 
in the fame proportion. The Ras infilled upon .my dining 
with him every day, when he was fure to give me a head- 
ach with the quantity of mead, or hydromel, he forced me 
to fwallow, a liquor that never agreed with me from the 
firjft day to the laft. 

After dinner we fli'pt away to parties of ladies, where 
anarchy prevailed as complete as at the houfe of the Ras. 
Ail the married women ate, drank, and fmoaked like the 
men ; and it is impoffible to convey to the reader any idea 
of this bacchanalian fcene in terms of common decency. 
I found it necefTary to quit this riot for afhort time, and 
get leave to breathe the freih air of the country, at fuch a 
diilance as that, once a day, or once in two days, I might be 
at the palace, and avoid theconftant fucceffion of thofe vio- 
lent fcenes of debauchery of which no European can form 
any idea, and which . it was. impomble to efcape, even at 

Although the king's- favour, the protection of the Ras, 
and my obliging, attentive, and lowly behaviour to every 
body, had made me as popular as I could wifh at Gondar, 
and among, the Ti grans fully as much as thofe of Amhara, 
yet it was eafy to perceive, that the caufe of my quarrel- 
with Guebra Mafcal was not yet forgot. . 


One day, when I was Handing by the king in the palace, 
he afked, in difcourfe, " Whether I, too, was not drunk in 
the quarrel with Guebra Mafcal, before we came to blows?" 
and, upon my faying that T was perfectly fober, both before 
and after, becaufe Anthule's red wine was finimed, and I 
never willingly drank hydromel, or mead, he afked with a 
degree of keennefs, " Did. you then foberly fay to Guebra 
Mafcal, that an end of a tallow candle, in a gun in your 
hand, would do more execution than an iron bullet in his?" 
— " Certainly, Sir, I did fo." — " And why did you fay this ?" 
fays the king dryly enough, and in a manner I had not be- 
fore obferved, " Becaufe, replied I, it was truth/ and a pro- 
per reproof to a vain man, who, whatever eminence he 
might have obtained in a country like this, has not know- 
ledge enough to entitle him to the truft of cleaning a gun 
in mine."™-" O ! ho ! continued the king ; as for his know- 
ledge I am not fpeaking of that, but about his gun. You 
will not perfuade me that, with a tallow candle, you can 
kill a man or a horfe." — " Pardon me, Sir, faid I, bowing 
very refpectfully, I will attempt to .perfuade you of nothing 
but what you pleafe to be convinced of: Guebra Mafcal is 
my equal no more, yon are my mailer, and, while I am at 
your court, under your .protection, you are in place of my 
fovereign, it would be great prefumption in me to argue 
with you, or lead to a cbnverfation againft an opinion that 
you profefs you are already fixed in."- — " No, no, fays he, 
with an air of great kindnefs, by no means, I was only a- 
fraid you would expofe yourfelf before bad people ; what 
you fay to me is nothing."— 4 ' And what I fay to you, Sir, 
has always been as fcrupuloufly true as if I had been fpeak* 
mg to the king my native fovereign and mailer. Whether 

H h 2 I can 



I can kill a man with a candle, or not, is an experiment that 
fhould not be made, Tell me, however, what I mall do be- 
fore you that you may deem an equivalent ? Will piercing 
the table, upon which your dinner is ferved, (it was of fyca- 
more, about three quarters of an inch thick), at the length of 
this room, be deemed a fufficient proof of what I advanced?'* 

" Ah, Yagoube, Yagoube,- fays the king, take care what 
you fay. That is indeed more than Guebra Mafcal wilt 
do at that diftance ; but take great care; you don't know 
thefe people; they will lie themfelves all day; nay, their 
whole life is one lie; but of you they expect better, or 
would be glad to find worfe ; take care." Ayto Engedan, 
who was then prefent, faid, " I am fure if Yagoube fays he 
can do it, he will do it ; but how, I don't know. Can you 
moot through my mield with a tallow candle ?" — " To you,, 
Ayto Engedan, faid I, I can fpeak freely; I could moot thro* 
your mield if it was the ftrongeft in the army, and kill the 
ftrongefl man in the army that held it before him. When 
will you fee this tried ?" — 9 Why now, fays the king ; there 
is nobody here." — " The fooner the better, faid I ; 1 would not 
wiih to remain for a moment longer under fo difagreeable 
an imputation as that of lying, an infamous one in my 
country, whatever it may be in this. Let me fend for my 
gun ; the king will look out at the window." — " Nobody, fays, 
he, knows any thing of it ; nobody will come." 

The king appeared to be very anxious, and, I faw plain- 
ly, incredulous. The gun was brought; Engedan's fhield was 
produced, which was of aftrong buffalo's hide. I faid to him, 
tt This is a weak one, give me one flronger." He fhook his 

4 head ft 


head, and faid, " Ah, Yagoube, you'll find it ftrong enough ; 
Engedan's fhield is known to be no toy." Tecla Mariam 
brought fuch a fhield, and the Billetana Gueta Tecla an- 
other, both of which were molt excellent in their kind. I 
loaded the gun before them, firft with powder, then up- 
on it Hid down one half of what we call a farthing can- 
dle ; and, having beat off the handles of three fhields, I put 
them clofe in contact with each other, and fet them all 
three againft a poft. 

Now, Engedan, faid I, when you pleafe fay — Fire ! but 
mind you have taken leave of your good fhield for ever.'*' 
The word was given, and the gun fired. It ftruck the three 
fhields, neither in the moll difficult nor the eafieft place 
for perforation, fomething lefs than half way between the 
rim and the bofs. The candle went through the three fhields 
with fuch violence that it dallied itfelf to a thoufand pieces 
againft a ftone-wall behind it. I turned to Engedan, faying 
very lowly, gravely, and without exultation or triumph, on 
the contrary with abfolute indifference^ " Did not I tell you 
your fhield was naught ?" A great fhout of appiaufe fol- 
lowed from about a thoufand people that were gathered 
together.. The three fhields were carried to the king, who 
exclaimed in great tranfport, I did not believe it before I 
faw it, and I can fcarce believe it now I have feen k. Where 
is Guebra Mafcal's confidence now ? But what do either 
he or we know ?. We know nothing." I thought he looked 

" Ayto Engedan, faid I, we mull have a touch at that 
table. It was faid^ the piercing that was more than Guebra, 



Mafcal could do. We have one half of the candle left ftill; 
it is the thinned, weakeft half, and I fhall put the wick fore- 
moft, becaufe the cotton is fofteft." The table being now 
properly placed, to Engedan's utmoft aftonifhment the can- 
dle, with the wick foremoft, went through the table, as the 
other had gone through the three fhields. " By St Michael! 
fays Engedan, Yagoube, hereafter fay to me you can raife 
my father Efhte from the grave, and 1 will believe you.'* 
Some priefts who were there, though furprifed at firft, feem- 
ed afterward to treat it rather lightly, becaufe they thought 
it below their dignity to be furprifed at any thing. They 
faid it was done (mucktoub) by writing, by which they 
meant magic. Every body embraced that opinion as an 
evident and rational one, and fo the wonder with them 
ceafed. But it was not fo with the king : It made the mod 
favourable and lafling impreffion upon his mind ; nor did 
I ever after fee, in his countenance, any marks either of 
doubt or diffidence, but always, on the contrary, the moft 
decilive proofs of friendfhip, confidence, and attention, and 
the moft implicit belief of every thing I advanced upon any 
fubject from my own knowledge. 

The experiment was twice tried afterwards in prefencc 
of Ras Michael. But he would not rilk his good iliields, 
and always produced the table, faying, " Engedan and 
thofe foolifh boys were rightly ferved ; they thought Ya- 
goube was a liar like themfelves, and they loft their fhields; 
but I believed him, and gave him my table for curiofity only, 
-and fo I faved mine." , 

As I may now fay I was fettled in this country, and had 
J8.ii opportunity of being informed of tire manners, govern- 

2 ment. 


merit, and prefent ftate of it, I mall here inform the reader 
of what I think moll worthy his attention, whether ancient 
or modern, while we are yet in peace, before we are called 
out to a campaign or war, attended with every difadvantage, 
danger, and fource of confuiion. 





Geographical Divifion of Abyjfmia into Provinces* 

AT Mafuah, that is, on the coaft of the Red Sea, begins 
an imaginary divifion of Abyflinia into two, which is 
rather a divifion of language than ftricHy to be underflood 
as territorial. The firft divifion is called Tigr^ between the 
Red Sea and the river Tacazze. Between that river and the 
Nile, weflward, where it bounds the Galla, it is called Am- 

Whatever convenience there may be from this divifion, 
there is neither geographical nor hiflorical precifion in it, 
for there are many little provinces included in the firft that 
do not belong to Tigre ; and, in the fecond divifion, which 
is Amhara, that which gives the name is but a very fmall 
part of it. 



Again, in point of language, there is a variety of tongues 
fpoken in the fecond divifion befides thatof Amhara. InTigre, 
however, the feparation as to languages holds true, as there 
is no tongue known there hut Geez, or that of the Shepherds. 

Masuah, in ancient times, was one of the principal places 
of refidence of the Baharnagafh, who, when he was not there 
himfelf, conftantly left his deputy, or lieutenant. In fum- 
mer he relided for feveral months in the ifland of Dahalac, 
then -accounted part of his territory. He was, after the King 
and Betwudet, the perfon of the greateft confider^tion in 
the kingdom, and was inverted with fendick and nagareet, 
the kettle-drum, and colours, marks of fupreme command. 

Masuah was taken, and a hafha eftablifhed there foon 
after, as we have feen in the hiftory, in the reign of Menas., 
when the Baharnagafh, named Ifaac, confederated with the 
Turkifh bafha, and ceded to him a great territory, part of 
his own government, and witli it Dobarwa, the capital of 
his province, divided only by the river Mareb from Tigre. 
From this time this office fell into difrepute in the king- 
dom. The fendick and nagareet, the marks of fupreme 
power, were taken from him, and he never was allowed a 
place in council, unlefs fpecially called on by the king. He 
preferves his privilege of being crowned with gold ; but, 
when appointed, has a cloak thrown over him, the one fide 
white, the other a dark blue, and the officer who crowns 
him admonifhes him of what will befal him if he preferves 
his allegiance, which is lignified by the white lide of the 
cloak ; and the difgrace and punifliment that is to attend 
his treafon, and which has fallen upon his predccefTors, which 
he figures to him by turning up the colour of mourning. 

Vol. III. i i Besides 


Besides the dignity attending this office, it was alfb one 
of the moil lucrative. Frankincenfe, myrrh, and a fpecies 
of cinnamon, called by the Italians Cannella, with feveral 
kinds of gums and dyes, all very precious, from Cape 
Gardefan to Bilur, were the valuable produce of this coun- 
try : but this territory, though confiderable in length, is not 
of any great breadth ; for, from fouth of Hadea to Mafuah, 
it confilts in a belt feldom above forty miles from the fea, 
which is bounded by a ridge of very high mountains, run- 
ning parallel to the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea, as far 
as Mafuah. 

4 After Azab begin the mines of foffile fait, which, cut 
into fquare, folid bricks of about a foot long, ferve in ; 
place of the filver currency in Abyffinia ; and from this, 
as from a kind of mint, great benefit accrues alfo.. 

From Mafuah the fame narrow belt continues to Suakem ; 
nay, indeed, though the rains do not reach fo far, the 
mountains continue to the Ifthmus of Suez. This northern 
province of the Baharnagaih is called the Habab, or the 
land of the Agaazi, or Shepherds ; they fpeak one language, 
which they call Geez, or the language of the Agaazi. From 
the earlieft times, they have had letters and writing among 
them ; and no t other has ever been introduced into Abyffinia, 
to this day, as we have already obferved. . 

Since the expulfion of the Turks from Dobarwa and the 
continent of Abyffinia, Mafuah has been governed by a 
Naybe, himfelf one of the Shepherds, but Mahometan. A 
treaty formerly fubfifted,that the king mould receive half of. 



the revenue of the cuftomhoufe in Mafuah ; in return 
for which he was fuffered to enjoy that fmall ftripe 
of barren, dry country called Samhar, inhabited by black 
fhepherds called Shiho, reaching from Kamazen on the 
north to the foot of the mountain Taranta on the fouth ; but, 
by the favour of Michael, that is, by bribery and corruption, 
he has poiTefTed himfelf of two large frontier towns, Dixan 
and Dobarwa, by leafe, for a trifling fum, which he pays the 
king yearly ; this muft neceffarily very much weaken this 
ftate, if it ihould ever again have war with the Turks, of 
which indeed there is no great probability. 

The next province in AbyfTinia, as well for greatnefs as 
riches, power, and dignity, and neareft Mafuah, is Tigre. It 
is bounded by the territory of the Baharnagaih, that is, by 
the river Mareb on the eaft, and the Tacazze upon the weft. 
It is about one hundred and twenty miles broad from E. to 
W. and two hundred from N. to S. This is its prefent fitu- 
ation. The hand of ufurping power has aboliihed all dis- 
tinction on the weft-fide of the Tacazze ; befides, many 
large governments, fuch as Enderta and Antalow, and great 
part of the Baharnagaih, were fwallowed up in this province 
to the eaft. 

What, in a fpecial manner, makes the riches of Tigre, is, 
that it lies neareft the market, which is Arabia ; and all the 
merchandife deftined to crofs the Red Sea muft pafs through 
this province, fo that the governor has the choice of all 
commodities wherewith to make his market. The ftrong- 
eft male, the moft beautiful female flaves, the pureft gold, 
the largeft teeth of ivory, all muft pafs through his hand. 
Fire-arms, moreover, which for many years have decided 

I i 2 who 


who is the molt powerful in Abyffinia, all thefe come from- 
Arabia, and not one can be purchased without his knowing 
to whom it goes, ancLafter.. his haying had. the firft refufaL 
of it, , 

Sire, a province about twenty-five miles broad, and not 
much more in length, is part of Tigre alfo, buc 
this is not a new ufurpation. It loft the rank' of a province, 
and was united to Tigre fomhemifbehaviourof its gover- 
nor Kafmati Claudius, in an expedition againft the Shangalla- 
in the reign of Yafous the Great. In my time, it began 
again to get into reputation, and was by Ras Michael's own 
confent disjoined' from his province, and given firft to his 
fon Welled Hawaryat, together with Samen, and, after hisr 
death, to Ayto Tesfos, a very amiable man, gallant foldier, 
and good officer; who, fighting bravely in the king's fervice 
at the battle of is Serbraxos, was there wounded and taken, 
prifoner, and died of his wounds afterwards, . 

After paffing the Tacazze, the boundary between Sire 
and Samen, we come to that mountainous provincec ailed 
by the laft name. A large: chain of rugged mountains,- 
where is the Jews Rock, (which I . mall often mention a& 
the higheft), reaches from the fouth of Tigre down near to 
Waldubba, the low, hot country that bounds Abyffinia on 
the north. It is about 80 miles in lengthy in few places 
30 broad, and in feme much lefs. It is in great part 
pofTeffied by Jews, and "there Gideon and Judith, king and* 
queen of that nation, and, as they fay, of the houfe of Judah, 
maintain ftill their ancient fovereignty and religion from* 
very. early times, 



On the N. E. of Tigre lies the province of Begemder. 
It borders upon Angot, whofe governor is called Angot Ras ; 
but the whole province now, excepting a few villages, is 
conquered by the Galla. 

It has Amhara, which runs parallel to it, on the fouth, 
and is feparated from it by the river Balhilo. Both thefe 
provinces are bounded by the river Nile on the-weft. Begem- 
der is about 1 80 miles in its greateft length, and 60 in 
breadth, comprehending Lafta,., a. mountainous province, 
fometimes depending on Begemder, but often in rebellion. 
The inhabitants are efteemed the bell foldiers in Abyflinia, 
men of great ftrength and flature, but cruel and uncivilized; 
fo that they are called, in common converfation and writing, 
the peafants, or barbarians, of. Laita; they pay to the king 
moo ounces of gold. ... 

Several fmall provinces are now difmembered from Be- 
gemder, fuch as Foggora, a fmall ftripe reaching S. and N. 
about 35 miles between . Emfras and Dara, and about 12 
miles broad from E. to W. from the mountains of Begem- 
der to the lake Tzana. On the north end of this are two 
fmall governments, Dreeda and Karoota, the only territory 
in Abyflinia that produces wine, the merchants trade to 
CafFa and Narea, in the country^ of the Galla. We fpeak-of 
thefe territories as they are in point of right; but when a 
nobleman of great power is governor of the province of 
Begemder, he. values not lefTer rights, but unites them all 
to his province. \ 

Begemder is the ftrength of Abyflinia in horfemen. It jV 
faid, that, with Lalla, it -can bring out 45,00^ men; bat 



this, as far as ever I could inform myfelf, is a great exagger- 
ation. They are exceeding good foldiers when they are 
pleafed with their general, and the caufe for which they 
fight; other wife, they are eafily divided, great many private 
interefts being continually kept alive, as it is thought induf- 
trioufly, by government itfelf. It is well (locked with cattle 
of every kind, all very beautiful. The mountains are full 
of iron-mines ; they are not fo fteep and rocky nor fo fre- 
quent, as in other provinces, if we except only Lafta, and 
abound in all fort of wild fowl and game. 

The fouth end of the province near Nefas Mufa is cut 
into prodigious gullies apparently by floods, of which we 
have no hiftory. It is the great barrier againft the en- 
croachments of the Galla; and, by many attempts, they 
have tried to make a fettlement in it, but all in vain. Whole 
tribes of them have been extinguifhed in this their endea- 

In many provinces of Abymnia, favour is the only necef- 
fary to procure the government ; others are given to poor no- 
blemen, that, by fleecing the people, they may grow rich, 
and repair their fortune. But the confequence of Begem- 
der is fo well known to the ftate, as reaching fo near the 
metropolis, and fupplying it fo conftantly with all forts of 
provifions, that none but noblemen of rank, family, and 
character, able to maintain a large number of troops always 
on foot, and in good order, are trufted with its govern- 

Immediately next to this is Amhara, between the two 
rivers Bafhilo and Gefhen. The length of this country 

3 from 


from E. to W. is about 120 miles, and its breadth fome thing 
more than 40. It is a very mountainous country, full 
of nobility ; the men are reckoned the handfomeft in Abyf- 
linia, as well as the braveft. With the ordinary arms, 
the lance and (hield, they are thought to be fuperior to 
double the number of any other foldiers in the kingdom. 
What, beiides, added to the dignity of this province, was the 
high mountain of Geftien, or the grafly mountain, where- 
on the king's fons were formerly imprifoned, till furprifed 
and murdered there in the. Adelan war. 

Between the two rivers Gefhen and Samba, is a low, un- 
wholefome, though fertile province, called Walaka ; and 
fouthward of that is Upper Shoa. This province, or king- 
dom, was famous for the retreat it gave to the only remain- 
ing prince of the houfe of Solomon, who fled from the 
malTacre of his brethren by Judith, about the year 900, up- 
on the rock of Damo. Here the royal family remained in 
fecurity, and increafed in number, for near 400 years, till 
they were reftored.. From thenceforward, as long as the 
king refided in the fouth of his dominions, great tender- 
nefs and diftinction was fhewn to the inhabitants of this pro- 
vince ; and when the king returned again to Tigre, he a- 
bandoned them tacitly to their own government. 

Amha Yasous, prince at this day, and lineal defcendant 
of the governor who firft acknowledged the king, is now 
by connivance fovereign of that province. In order to keep 
himfelf as independent and feparate from the reft of Abyf- 
finia as poffible, he has facrificed the province of Walaka, 
which belonged to him, to the Galla, who, by his own de- 
fire, have furrounded Slioa on every fide. But it is full of 



the braveft, belt horfemen, and befl accoutred beyond all com- 
panion of any in Abyffinia, and, when they pleafe, they can 
difpofTefs the Galla. Safe and independent as the prince of 
Shoanowis,heisftill the loyalift, and thefriend to monarchy 
he ever was ; and, upon any fignal diftrefs happening to the 
king, he never failed to fuccour him powerfully with gold 
and troops, far beyond the quota formerly due from his 
province. This Shoa boafts, likewife, the honour of being 
the native country of Teela Haimanout, reftorer of the line 
of Solomon, the founder of the monaftery and Order of the 
monks of Debra Libanos, and of the power and wealth of 
the Abuna, and the clergy in general, of Abyffinia. 

Gojam, from north-eaft to fouth-eaft, is about 80 miles 
in length, and 40 in breadth. It is a very flat country, and 
all in pafture ; has few mountains, but thefe are very high 
ones, and are chiefly on the banks of the Nile, to the fouth, 
which river furrounds the province ; fo that, to a perfon who 
mould walk round Gojam, the Nile would be always on his 
left hand, from where it went fouth, falling out of the lake 
Tzana, till it turns north *h rough Fazuclo into the country 
of Sennaar and Egypt. 

Gojam is full of great "herds of cattle, the largeft in the 
high parts of Abyffinia. The men are in the loweft efteem 
as foldiers, but the country is very populous. The Jefuits 
were fettled in many convents throughout the province, 
and are no where half fo much detefted. The monks of 
Gojam are thofe of St Euflathius, which may be called the 
Low Church of Abyffinia. They are much inclined to tur- 
•bulence in religious matters, and are, therefore, always made 
-tools by difcomcntcd people, who -have no religion at all. 

i On 


On the fouth-eaft of the kingdom of Gojam is Damot. 
It is bounded by the Temci on the eaft, by the Gult on the 
weft, by the Nile on the fouth, and by the high mountains 
of Amid Amid on the north. It is about 40 miles in length 
from north to fouth, and fomething more than 20 in breadth 
from eaft to weft. But all this peninfula, furrounded with 
the river, is called Gojam, in general terms, from a line 
down through the fouth end of the lake to Mine, the paff- 
age of the Nile in the way to Narea. 

It is furpriiing the Jefuits, notwithstanding their long 
abode in Gojam, have not known where this neighbouring 
country of Damot was fituated, but have placed it fouth of 
the Nile. They were often, however, in Damot, when Sela 
Chriftos was attempting the conqueft and conversion of the 

On the other fide of Amid Amid is the province of the 
Agows, bounded by thofe mountains on the eaft ; by Bure 
and Umbarma, and the country of the Gongas, on the weft ; 
by Damot and Gafat upon the fouth, and Dingleber on the 

All thofe countries from Abbo, fuch as Goutto, Aroofi, 
and Wainadega, were formerly inhabited by Agows ; but, 
partly by the war with the Galla beyond the Nile, partly 
by their own conftant rebellions, this territory, called Ma- 
itfha, which is the flat country on both fides of the Nile, 
is quite uninhabited, an'd-atdaft hath been given to colonies 
©f -peaceable Galla, chiefly Djawi, who fill the whole low 
country to the foot of the mountains Aformafha, in place 
-of the Agows, the "-firft occupiers. 

Vol. III. Kk Maitsha, 


Maits-ha, from the flatnefs of the country, not draining 
jfoon after the rains, is in all places wet, but ini many, miry 
and marfhy ; it produces little or no corn, but depends en- 
tirely upon a plant called Enfete*, which furniihes the 
people both with wholefome and delicate food throughout 
t-he year. For the reft, this province abounds in large fine 
Cattle, and breeds fome indifferent horfes. 

Upon the mountains, above Maitfha, is the country of 
the Agows, the richer! province flill in Abyflinia, not- 
withftanding the multitude of devaftations it has fuffered. 
They lie round the country above defcribed, from Aforrna- 
flia to Quaquera, where are the heads of two large rivers, 
the Kelti and Brand. Thefe are called the Agows of Damot, 
from their nearnefs to that province, in contradiftinction to 
the Agows of Lafta, who are called Tcheratz-Agow, from 
Tchera, a principal town, tribe, and diilricl near Lafta and 

The Gafats, inhabiting a fmall diftrict adjoining to the 
Galla, have alfo diftinct languages, fo have the Galla. them- 
felves, of whom we have often fpoken ; they are a large na^ 



FROMDingleber all along the lake, below the mountains 
bounding Guefgue and Kuara, is called Dembea. This low 
province on the fouth of Gondar, and Woggora the fmall 
high province on the eaft, are all fown with wheat, and are 
the granaries of Abyflinia. Dembea feems once to have 


* See the article enfete in the appendix. 


been occupied entirely by the lake, and we fee all over it 
marks that cannot be miftaken, fo that this large extent of 
water is vifibly upon the decreafe ; and this agrees with 
what is obferved of ftagnant pools in general throughout the 
world. Dembea is called Atte-Kolla, the kings fiod^ or main- 
tenance, its produce being affigned for the fupplying of 
the king's houfehold. It is governed by an officer called 
Gantiba ; it is a lucrative poll ; but he is not reckoned one 
of the great officers of the empire, and has no place in 

South from Dembea is Kuara, a very mountainous pro- 
vince confining upon the Pagan blacks, or Shangalla, called 
Gongas and Guba, the Macrobii of the ancients. It is a 
very unwholefome province, but abounding in gold, not of 
its own produce, but that of its neighbourhood, thefe Pa- 
gans — Guba, Nuba, and Shangalla. Kuara fignifies the 
fun, and Beja (that is Atbara, and the low parts of Sennaar, 
the country of the Shepherds, adjoining) fignifies the moon y 
in the language of thefe Shangalla. Thefe names are fome 
remains of their ancient fuperflitions. Kuara was the 
native country of the Iteghe, or queen-regent, of Kafmati 
Efhte, Welled de l'Oul, Gueta, Eufebius, and Palambaras 

. In the low country of Kuara, near to Sennaar, there is a 
fettlement of Pagan blacks called Ganjar. They are moflly 
cavalry, and live entirely by hunting and plundering the 
Arabs of Atbara and Fazuclo. Their origin is this : Upon 
the invafion of the Arabs after the coming of Mahomet, the 
black Haves defertedfrom their mailers, the Shepherds, and 
.-took up their habitation, where they have not considerably 

K'k 2 multiplied, 


jnultiplied, otherwifethan by the acceflion of vagrants antf 
fugitives, whom they get from both, kingdoms. They are 
generally under the commandiof thegovernor of Kuara, and 
were fo when; I was in Abyflinia, though they refufed 
to follow their governor: Goque Abou Barea to fight m 
gainft Michael, but whether from. fear or afFe&ionl know;, 
not ; .1 believe the former,. . 

The governor of- Kuara is one of the great officers c£ : 
flate, and, being the king's lieutenant-general, has abfoluto 
power in his province, and carries fendlck and nagared. His . 
kettle-drums are filver^ and his- privilege . is; to beat; thefe 
drums even in marching; through the capital, which no- 
governor of a province is permitted to - do, none but the 
king's nag areets or kettle-drums being fufFered to be beat 
there, or any where in a town where the king is ; but the 
governor of Kuara is intkled to continue beating his drums 
till he comes to the: foot of -the outer flair of the king's 
palace. This privilege, from fome good- behaviour of. the 
firft officer to whom the command was given, was- confer^ 
red upon the poll by David II. called Degami Daid, what * 
conquered the province from the Shepherds^ its old inhabi- 

Nara, and Ras el Feel, Tchelga, and On to Tcherkin, is a » 
frontier wholly inhabited by Mahometans. Its government 
is generally given to a flranger, often to a Mahometan, but 
one of that faith is always deputy-governor. The ufe o£ 
keeping troops here is to defend the friendly Arabs and 
Shepherds, who remain in their allegiance to Abyflinia, from? 
the refentment of the Arabs of Sennaar, their neighbours g 
and, by means, of ihefe friendly Arabs and Shepherds, feeura 



a conflant fupply of horfcs for the king's troops. It is a 
barren llripe of a very hot, unwholefome country, full of 
thick woods, and fit only for hunting. The inhabitants, 
fugitives from all nations, are chiefly Mahometans, but. very 
bold and expert horfemen, ufing no other weapon but the 
broad fword, with which they attack the elephant and . 

There are many other fmall provinces, which occafion- - 
ally are annexed, and fometimes are feparated, fuch as Guef- 
gue, to the eaftward of Kuara ; Waldubbai, between the rivers 
Guangue and Angrab ; Tzegade and Walkayt on the weft 
fide of Waldubba ; Abergale andSefawa in the neighbour- 
hood of Begemder; Temben, Dobas, Giannamora, Bur, and 
Engana, in the neighbourhood of Tigre, and many 'others : : 
Such at leaft was the ftate -of the country in my time, very 
different in all refpects from what it has been reprefented. 
As to the precedency of thefe provinces we mall further 
fpeak, when we come to mention the officers of ilate and* 
internal government in this country; . 


G H A P. 


■ 3 I " •■ 

C H A P. XI. 

Various Cujioms in Abyjfinia fimilar to thofe in Per/ia, &C.- 1 "— A- bloody 

Banquet defcribed^ &c. 

FOR the fake of regularity, I ".{hall here notice what 
might clearly be inferred from what is gone before. 
The crown of Abyffinia is hereditaryj and has always been 
fo, in one particular family, fuppofed to be that of Solomon 
by the queen of Saba, Negcfta Azab, or queen of the fouth. 
It is neverthelefs elective in this line ; and there is no law 
of the land, nor cuitom, which gives the eldeft fon an ex- 
clulive title to fucceed to his father. 

The practice has indeed been quite the contrary: when, 
at the death of a king, his fons are old enough to govern, 
and, by fome accident, not yet fent prifoners to the moun- 
tain, then the eldeft, or he that is next, and not confined, ge- 
nerally takes pofTemon of the throne by theftrength of his 
father's friends ; but if no heir is. then in the low country, 

3 the 


£fre Choice of the king is always according to the' will of the 
miiilfter, which pafles for that of the people J and, his incli- 
nation andiiitereft being to 1 govern, he never fails to choofe 
an infant -w horn thereafter he directs, ruling the kingdom 
abfolutely during the minority, which generally exhaufts, 
or is equal to the term of his life. 

From this flow all the misfortunes of this unhappy coun- 
try. This v^r'y defect arifes from a defire to inftitute a more 
than ordinary perfect form of government ; for the Abyf- 
finians firft pofition was, " Woe be to the kingdom whofe 
king is a child;" and this they know mull often happen 
when fucceflion is left to the courfe of nature. But when 
there was a choice to be made Out of two hundred perfons 
all of the faille family, all capable of reigning, it was their 
own" fault, they thought, if they had not always a prince of 
proper age and qualification to rule the kingdom, according 
to the neceffities of the times, and to preferve the fucceflion 
of the family in the houfe of Solomon, agreeable to the 
laws of the land. And indeed it has been this manner of 
"reafoning, good at firft view, though found afterwards but 
too fallacious, which has ruined their kingdom in part, and 
often brought the whole into the utmoft hazard and jeo- 

The king is anointed with plain oil of olives, which, be- 
ing poured upon the crown of his head, he rubs into his 
long hair indecently enough with both his hands, pretty 
much as his foldiers do with theirs when they get accefs to 
plenty of butter, 



The crown is made in the fhape of apriefTs mitre, or 
head-piece ; it is a kind of helmet, covering the king's fore- 
head, cheeks, and neck. It is lined with blue taffety ; the 
putfide is half gold and half filver, of the.moft beautiful fil- 
ligrane work. 

The crown, in Joas's time, was burnt, with part of the pa- 
lace, on that day when Ras Michael's dwarf was fhot in his 
own houfe before. him. The prefent was fince made by 
the Greeks from Smyrna, who have large appointments 
here, and work with very great tafte and elegance, though 
they have, not near fo much encouragement as formerly. 

Upon the top of the crown was a ball of red glafs, or 
chryftal, with feveral bells of different colours within it. It 
feems to me to have formerly been no better than part of 
the Hopper of a glafs-decanter. Be that as it may, it was 
loft in Yafous's time at the defeat of Sennaar, It was found, 
however, by a Mahometan, and brought by Guangoul, chief 
of the Bejtuma Galla, to the frontiers of Tigre, where Mi- 
chael, governor of that province, went with an army in great 
ceremony to receive it, and, returning with it, gave it to 
king Yafous, making thereby a great advance towards the 
king's favour. 

Some people *, among the other unwarranted things they 

have advanced, have faid, That, at the king's coronation, a 

gold ear-ring is put into his ears, and a drawn fword into 

Jiis hand, and that all the people fall down and worihip 

2 him ; 

* Vid. Le Grande's Hid. of Abyffinia. 

1 Cronm, 

2 Sfatu/arc/ 
5 Shu/d cufoiWe 

5 .fapf/in* 

OmameriZ tr/fcr vtefory of a// JTajnta*** 
y Stiver Dzfi wern en Fc/hrrr/.f cy 

t /?>/<//(■ /\r of ' (?///r //?//. 

London .Puilis/id Dec f tf£jdg,$y GJtobinson X' (l\ 


him ; but there is no fuch ceremony in ufe, and exhibi- 
tions of this kind, made by the king in public, at no period 
feem to have fuited the genius of this people. Formerly his 
face was never feen, nor any part of him, excepting fome- 
times his foot. He fits in a kind of balcony, with lattice- 
windows and curtains before him. Even yet he covers his 
face on audiences or public occafions, and when in judg- 
ment. On cafes of treafon, he fits within his balcony, and 
fpeaks through a hole in the fide of it, to an officer called 
Kal-Hatze, the " voice or word of the king," by whom he 
fends his queflions, or any thing elfe that occurs, to the 
judges who are feated at the council- table. 

The king goes to church regularly, his guards taking 
pofTeflion of every avenue and door through which he is to 
pafs, and nobody is allowed to enter with him, becaufe he 
is then oh foot, excepting two officers of his bed-chamber 
who fupport him. He kifies the threfhold and fide-pofls 
of the church- door, the fleps before the altar, and then re- 
turns home: fometimes there is fervice in the church, 
fometimes there is not ; but he takes no notice of the dif- 
ference. He rides up flairs into the prefence- chamber on 
a mule, and lights immediately on the carpet before his 
throne ; and I have fometimes feen great indecencies com- 
mitted by the faid mule in the prefence-chamber, upon a 
Perfian carpet. 

An officer called Serach MafTery, with a long whip, be- 
gins cracking and making a noife, worfe than twenty 
French poflillions, at the door of the palace before the dawn 
of day. This chafes away the hyaena and other wild beafts; 
this, too, is the fignal for the king's rifing, who fits in judg- 

Yol. III. L 1 ment 


ment every morning fafting, and after that, about eight 
o'clock, he goes to breakfaft* 

There are fix noblemen of the king's own choofing,, 
who are called Baalomaal*, or gentlemen of his bed-cham- 
ber ; four of thefe are always with him. There is a fe- 
venth, who is the chief of thefe, called Azeleffael Camifha^ 
groom of the robe, or ftole. He is keeper of the king's 
wardrobe, and the firfh officer of the bed-chamber. Thefe 
officers, the black flaves, and fome others, ferve him as me- 
nial fervants, and are in a degree of familiarity with him 
unknown to the reft of the fubjects.. 

When the king fits to confult upon civil matters of confe- 
quence, he is Ihut up in a kind of box oppofite to the head of 
the council table. The perfons that deliberate fit at the table, 
and, according to their rank, give their voices, the younger! or 
lowefl officer always fpeaking fi'rft. The firft that give their 
votes are the Shalaka, or colonels of the houfehold-troops. 
The fecond are the great butlers, men that have the charge 
of the king's drink. The third is the Badjerund, or keeper 
of that apartment in the palace called the lions boufe ; and 
after thefe the keeper of the banqueting-houfe. The next 
is called Lika Magwafs, an officer that always goes before 
the king to hinder the preffure of the crowd. In war, when: 
the king is marching, he rides conftantly round him at a 
certain diftance, and carries his fhield, and his lance ; at 
lead he carries a filver fhield, and a lance pointed with the 
fame metal, before fuch kings as do not choofe to expofe 
their perfon. That, however, was not the cafe in my time, 
as the king carried the mield himfelf, black and unadorn- 

* Baalomaal, whi„h, literally tranflated, is, Mafter of his efie&s, or goods.. 


ed, of good buffalo's hide, and his fpear fharp-pointcd with 
iron. His filver ornaments were only ufed when the cam- 
paign was over, when thefe were carried by this officer. 
Great was the refpect mewed formerly to this king in war, 
and even when engaged in battle with rebels, his own fub- 

No prince ever loft his life in battle till the coming of 
the Europeans into Abyflinia, when both the excommuni- 
cating and murdering of their fovereigns feem to have 
been introduced at the fame time. The reader will fee, in 
the courfe of this hiflory, two inflances of this refpecl being 
ftill kept up : the one at the battle of Limjour, where Fafil, 
pretending that he was immediately to attack Ras Michael, 
defired that the king might be dreffed in his infignia, left, 
not being known, he might be flain by the ftranger Galla. 
The next was after the battle of Serbraxos, where the king 
was thrice in one day engaged with the Begemder troops 
for a confiderable fpace of time. Thefe infignia, or marks 
of royalty, are a white" horfe, with fmall filver bells at his 
head, a fhield of filver, and a white fillet of fine filk or muf- 
lin, but generally the latter, fome inches broad, which is 
tied round the upper part of the head over his hair, with a 
large double or bow-knot behind, the ends hanging down 
to the fmall of his back, or elfe flying in the air. 

After the Lika Magwafs comes thePalambaras ; after him 
the Fit- Auraris ; then the Gera Kafmati, and the Kanya Kafma* 
ti, their names being derived from their rank or order in en- 
camping, the one on the right, the other on the left of the 
king's tent; Kanya and Gera fignifying the right and the 
left ; after them the Dakakin Billetana Gueta, or the under 

L 1 2 chamberlain. 


chamberlain ; then the fecretary * for the king's com- 
mands; after him the right and left Azages, or generals ; 
after them Rak Maffery, after him the bafha, after him 
Kafmati of Damot, then of Samen, then Amhara, and, laft 
of all, Tigre, before whom ftands a golden cup upon a cu- 
fhion, and he is called Nebrit, as being governor of Axum, 
or keeper of the book of the law fuppofed to be there. 

After the governor of Tigre comes the Acab Saat, or- 
guardian of the fire, and the chief ecclefiaftical officer of 
the kine's houfehold. Some have faid that this officer was 


appointed to attend the king at the time of eating, and that 
it was his province to order both meat and drink to be with- 
drawn whenever he faw the king inclined to excefs. If this 
was really his office, he never ufed it in my time, nor, as 
far as I could learn, for feveral reigns before. Befides, no 
king eats in public, or before any perfon but Haves; and he 
never would chufe that time to commit excefs, in which he 
might be controuled by a fubjeet, even if it was that fub- 
ject-'s right to be prefent when the king eats, as it is not. 

After the Acab Saat comes the firft mailer of the houfe^- 
hold ; then the Betwudet, or Ras ; laft of all the king gives 
his fentence, which is final, and fends it to the table, from 
the balcony where he is then fitting, by the officer called, as 
aforementioned, Kal-Hatze. 

We meet in Abyffinia with various ufages, which many 
have hitherto thought to be peculiar to thofe ancient na- 

* Hatze Azaze.. 


tions in which rhey were fifft obferved; others, not fo learn- 
ed, have thought they originated in Abyflinia. I fhall fir A 
take notice of thofe that regard the king and court. 

The kings of Perfia*, like thefe we are fpeaking of, were 
eligible in one family only, that of the Arfacidx, and it was 
not till that race failed they chofe Darius. The title of the 
king of Abyflinia is, King of Kings; and fuch Daniel f tells us 
was that of Nebuchadnezzar. The right of primogeniture 
does not fo prevail in Abyflinia as to exclude election in the 
perfon of the younger brothers, and this was like wife the 
cafe in Perfia %. 

In Perfia § a preference was underftood to be due to the 
king's lawful children ; but there were inftances of the na*- 
tural child being preferred to the lawful one. Darius, tho' 
a baftard, was preferred to Ifogius, Xerxes's lawful fon, and 
that merely by the election of the people. The fame has 
always obtained in- Abyflinia. A very great part of their 
kings are adulterous baftards ; others are the iiTue of con- 
cubines, as we fhall fee hereafter, but they have been pre- 
ferred to the crown by the influence of a party, always un- 
der name of the Voice of the People. 

Although the Perfian kings || had various palaces to 
which they removed at different times in the year, Pafag 11- 
da, the metropolis of their ancient kings, was obferved as 


* Strabo, lib. xv. p. 783. Jofeph. lib. xviii. cap. 3. Procop. lib. i. de Bel Pers 
f Dan. chap. ii. % Procop. lib. i. cap. u. § Arrian, lib. if. cap. 14. || Phi 
in Artax. Ji6. xv. p. 730. 


the only place for their coronation ; and this, too, was the 
cafe of Abyffinia with their metropolis of Axum. 

The next remarkable ceremony in which thefe two na- 
tions agreed, is that of adoration, inviolably obferved in A- 
byffinia to this day, as often as you enter the fovereign's 
prefence. This is not only kneeling*, but an abfolute pro- 
ftration. You firft fall upon your knees, then upon the 
palms of your hands, then incline your head and body till 
your forehead touch the earth ; and, in cafe you have an 
anfwer to expect, you lie in that pofture till the king, or 
fomebody from him, defires you to rife. This, too, was the 
cuftom of Perlia ; Arrian f fays this was firft inftituted by 
Cyrus, and this was precifely the pofture in which they a- 
dored God, mentioned in the book of Exodus. 

Though the refufal of this ceremony would, in Abyfllnia 
and Perfia, be looked upon as rebellion or infult, yet it feems 
in both nations to have met with a mitigation with regard 
to ftrangers, who have refufed it without giving any of- 
fence. I remember a Mahometan being twice fent by the 
prince of Mecca into Abyffinia during my ftay there, who, 
neither time, would go farther than to put his hands acrofs 
upon his breaft, with no very great inclination of his head ; 
and this I faw was not thought fo extraordinary as to give 
offence, as it was all he did to his own fovereign and mafter. 

We read, indeed, of a very remarkable inftance of the 
difpenfing with that ceremony being indirectly, yet plain- 

4 l Y* 

* Lucretius, lib. v. Ovid. Metam. lib. i. Lucian, in Navig. 
f Arrian, lib. iv. cap. 1 1 . Exod. chap. 4. Matth. chap. 2. 


Iy, refufed in Perfia to ilrangers. Conon *, the Athe- 
nian, had occafion for an interview with Artaxerxes, 
king of Perfia, upon matters of great concern to both 
Hates ; " You mall be introduced to the king by me, fays 
the Perfian minifter to Conon, without any delay ; do 
you only firft confider with yourfelf, whether it is real- 
ly of any confequence that you mould fpeak with the 
king yourfelf, or whether it would not be as well for you 
to convey to him, by letter, any thing you have to fay ; for 
it is abfolutely necefTary,. if you are introduced into the 
king's prefence, that you fall down upon your face and 
worfhip him. If this is difagreeable or offenfive to you y 
your bufinefs fhall neverthelefs be equally well and quick- 
ly done by me." To which Conon very fenfibly replied, 
*' For my part, it never can be offenfive to me to mew every 
degree of refpect pomble to the perfon of a king. I only 
am afraid that this falutation may be milinterpreted by my 
citizens, who, being themfelves a fovereign ftate, may look 
upon this fubmiflion of their ambaffador as a reproach to 
themfelves,andinconfillent with their independency." Conon, 
therefore, defired to wave his introduction, and that his bu*. 
finefs might be done by letters, which was complied with: 

Ihave already mentioned tranfiently the eircumflance of 
the king not being feen when fitting in council. The man- 
ner of it is this : When he had bufinefs formerly, he fat 
eonftantly in a room of his palace, which communicated 
with the audience and council by two folding doors or 

«=- large 

* Juftin, lib. vi. Omll. Erob*. 


large windows, the bottom of which were about three fteps 
from the ground. Thefe doors, or windows, were latticed 
with crofs bars of wood like a cage, and a thin curtain, or 
veil of taffety filk was hung within it ; fo that, upon darken- 
ing the inner chamber, the king faw every perfon in the 
chamber without, while he himfelf was not feen at all. 
Juftin * tells us, that the perfon of the king of Perfia was 
hid to give a greater idea of his majefty ; and under Deioces, 
king of the Medes, a law was made t&at nobody might look 
upon the king ; but the conflant wars in which Abyilinia 
has been engaged, frnce the Mahometans took pofTemon of 
Adel, have occafioned this troublefome cuftom to be wholly 
laid afide, unlefs on particular public occafions, and at coun- 
cil, when they are ftill obferved with the ancient ftriclnefs. 
And we find, in the hiftory of Abyilinia, that the army and 
kingdom have often owed their fafety to the perfonal behavi- 
our and cipcumftance of the king diftinguifhing and expo- 
fing himfelf in battle, which advantage they mull have loll 
had the ancient cuftom been obferved. However, to this 
day, when he is abroad riding, or fitting in any of his 
apartments at home where people are admitted, his head 
and forehead are perfectly covered, and one of his hands 
covers his mouth, fo that nothing but his eyes are feen ; 
his feet, too, are always covered. 

We learn from Apuleus, that this was a cuftom in Perfia 5 
and this gave an opportunity to the magi to place Oropaf- 
tus, the brother of Cambyfes, upon the throne, inftead of 
Merdis who mould have fucceeded ; but the covering of the 
face made the difference pafs unperceived. 

i It 

* Juftin, lib. 2. 


It is the conftant practice in Abyflinia to befet the king's 
doors and windows within his hearing, and there, from 
early morning to night, to cry for juftice as loud as pofliblc, 
in a diltrefled and complaining tone, and in all the different 
languages they are mailers of, in order to their being ad- 
mitted to have their fuppofed grievances heard. In a coun- 
try fo ill governed as Abyflinia is, and fo perpetually invol- 
ved in war, it may be eafily fuppofed there is no want of 
people, who have real injuries and violence to complain of: 
But if it were not fo, this is fo much the conftant ufage, 
that when it happens (as in the midft of the rainy feafon) 
that few people can approach the capital, or ftand without 
in fuch bad weather, a fet of vagrants are provided, main- 
tained, and paid, whofe fole bufinefs it is to cry and lament, 
as if they had been really very much injured and oppreffed ; 
and this they tell you is for the king's honour, that he may 
not be lonely by the palace being too quiet. This, of all their 
abfurd cuftoms, was the moll grievous and troublefome to 
me ; and, from a knowledge that it was fa, the king, when 
he was private, often permitted himfelf a piece of rather 
odd diverfion to be a royal one. 

There would fometimes, while I was bufy in my room in 
the rainy feafon, be four or five hundred people, who all at 
once would begin, fome roaring and crying, as if they were 
in pain, others demanding juflice, as if they were that mo- 
ment fuffering, or if in the inftant to be put to death ; and 
fome groaning and fobbing as if jiift expiring ; and this 
horrid fymphony was fo artfully performed that no ear 
could diftinguifh but that it proceeded from real diflrefs. 
I was often fo furprifed as to fend the foldiers at the door to 
bring in one of them, thinking him come from the country, 

Vol. III. M m to 



to examine who had injured him ; many a time he was a 
fervant of my own, or fome other equally known; or, if he 
was a ftranger, upon afking him what misfortune had be- 
fallen him, he would anfwer very compofedly, Nothing was 
the matter with him ; that he had been fleeping all day 
with the horfes ; that hearing from the foldiers at the door 
I was retired to my apartment, he and his companions had 
come to cry and make a noife under my window, to do me 
honour before the people, for fear I fhould be melancholy, 
by being too quiet when alone ; and therefore hoped that 
I would order them drink, that they might continue with 
a little more fpirit. The violent anger which this did often 
put me into did not fail to be punctually reported to the 
king, at which he would laugh heartily ; and he himfelf 
was often hid not far off, for the fake of being a fpectator 
of my heavy difpleafure. 

These complaints, whether real or feigned, have always 
for their burden, Rete Jan boi> which, repeated quick, very 
much refembles Prete Janni, the name that was given to 
this prince, of which we never yet knew the derivation; 
its ngnification is, " Do me jullice, O my king!" 

Herodotus * tells us, that in Periia, the people, in great 
crowds and of both fexes, come roaring and crying to the 
doors of the palace ; and Intaphernes is alfo faid to come 
to the door of the king making great lamentations. 


* Herod, lib. iii.. 


I have mentioned a council of flate held in Abyffinia in 
time of danger or difficulty, where the king fitting invifible, 
though prefent, gives his opinion by an officer called Kal- 
Hatze. Upon his delivering the fentence from the king 
the whole aflembly rife, and fland upon their feet; and this 
they mull have done the whole time the council lafted had 
the king appeared there in perfon. According to the cir- 
cumftances of the time, the king goes with the majority, or 
not; and if, upon a divifion, there is a majority againll him, 
he often punilhes the majority on the other fide, by fending 
them to prifon for voting againft his fentiments ; for tho' 
it is underftood, by calling of the meeting, that the majori- 
ty is to determine as to the eligibility of the meafure, the 
king, by his prerogative, fuperfedes any majority on the 
other fide, and fo far, I fuppofe, has been an encroachment 
upon the original conftitution. This I underltand was the 
fame in Perfia. 

Xerxes *, being about to declare war againft the Greeks, 
aflembled all the principal chiefs of Alia in council. " That 
I may not, fays he, be thought to a5t only by my own judg- 
ment, I have called you together. At the fame time, I 
think proper to intimate to you, that it is your duty to 
obey my will, rather than enter into any deliberation or re- 
monftrances of your own." 

We will now compare fome particulars, the drefs and 
ornaments of the two kings. The king of Abyffinia wears 
his hair long ; fo did the ancient kings of Perfia. We learn 

M m 2 this 

* Herod, lib. vi. 


this circumftance from Suetonius and Aurelius Victor*. A 
comet had appeared in the war with Perfia, and was looked 
upon by the Romans as a bad omen. Vefpafian laughed at 
it, and laid, if it portended any ill it was to the king of Per- 
fia, becaufe, like him, it wore long hair. 

The dtadem was, with the Perfians, a mark of royalty, as 
with the Abyfllnians, being compofed of the- fame mate- 
rials, and worn in the fame manner. The king of Abyfllnia 
wears it, while marching, as a mark of fbvereignty, that 
does not impede or incommode him,, as any other heavier 
ornament would do, efpecially in hot weather. This fillet 
furrounds his head above the hair, leaving the crown per- 
fectly uncovered. It is an offence of the firfl magnitude for 
any perfon, at this time, to wear any thing upon his head, 
efpecially white, unlefs for Mahometans, who wear caps, 
and over them a large white turban ; or for. priefts, who 
wear large turbans of muflin alfo, . 

This was the diadem of the Perfians, as appears from 
Lucian f, who calls it a white fillet about the forehead. In 
the dialogue between Diogenes and Alexander, the head is 
faid to be tied round with a white fillet X 5 and Favorinus, 
fpeaking of Pompey, whofe leg was wound round with a 
white bandage, fays, It is no matter on what part of the 
body he wears a diadem. We read in Juflin j|, that Alexan- 
der, leaping from his horfe,by accident wounded Lyfimachus 
in the forehead with the point of his fpear, and the blood 


* Suet. Vefpas. cap. 25, Sex. Aurel. Vi&or, cap. 23. f Lucian. de Votis ceu in Na« 

vigio., Efdras, lib* iii. % Valer. Maxim, lib. ti. cap. 2. || Juftin lib. xv. 



gufhed out fo violently that it could not be ftanched, till 
the king took the diadem from his head, and with it 
bound up the wound ; which at that time was looked 
upon as an omen that Lyfimachus was to be kingj and fo 
it foon after happened. 

The kings of Abyffinia anciently far upon a gold throne; 
which is a large, convenient, oblong, fquare feat, like a fmail 
bed-Head, covered with Perfian carpets, damafk, and cloth of 
gold, with fteps leading up to it. It is Hill richly gilded ; 
but the many revolutions and wars have much abridged 
their ancient magnificence. The portable throne was a gold 
ftbol, like that curule flool or chair ufed by the Romans, 
which we fee on medals. It was, in the Begemder war, 
changed to a very beautiful one of the fame form inlaid 
with gold. Xerxes is faid to have been fpedtator of a naval 
fight fitting upon a gold ilool *. . 

It is, in AbyfTmia, high-treafon to fit upon' any feat of 
the king's ; and he that prefumed to do this would be in- 
flantly hewtt to pieces, if there was not fome other collater- 
al proof of his being a madman. 'I he reader will find, in 
the courfe of .my hiitory, a very ridiculous accident on this 
fubject, in the king's tent, with Guangpul, king of the Ber- 
tuma Galla.. 

It is probable that Alexander had heard of this law in 
Perfia, and difapproved of it ; for one day, it being extreme- 
ly cold, the king, fitting in his chair before the fire, warm- 

*'Hu'loflraW-lib. ii, 


ing and chaffing his legs, faw a foldier, probably a Perfian, 
who had loft his feeling by extreme numbnefs. The king 
immediately leaped from his chair, and ordered the foldier 
to be fet down upon it. The fire foon brought him to his 
fenfes, but he had almoft loft them again with fear, by find- 
ing himfelf in the king's feat. To whom Alexander faid, 
" Remember, and diftinguifh, how much more advantage- 
" ous to man my government is than that of the kings 
" of Perfia*. By fitting down on my feat, you have faved 
" your life ; by fitting on theirs, you would infallibly have 
" loft it." 

In Abyflinia it is considered as a fundamental law of the 
land, that none of the royal family, who has any deformity 
or bodily defect, fhall be allowed to fucceed to the crown ; 
and, for this purpofe, any of the princes, who may have 
efcaped from the mountain of Wechne, and who are after- 
wards taken, are mutilated in fome of their members, that 
thus they may be difqualified from ever fucceeding. In 
Perfia the fame was obferved. Procopius f tells us, that Za- 
mes, the fon of Cabades, was excluded from the throne be- 
caufe he was blind of one eye, the law of Perfia prohibit- 
ing any perfon that had a bodily defect to be elected king. 

The kings of Abyflinia were feldom feen by their fub- 
jects. Juftin J fays, the Perfians hid the perfon of their king 
to increafe their reverence for his majefty. And it was a 
law of Deioces §, king of the Medes, that nobody mould be 


* Val. Max. lib. v, cap 16. — Q^Curt. lib. yiii. f Procop. lib. i. cap. n. 

^ Juflir. lib. i. $ Herod, lib. i. 


permitted to fee the king ; which regulation was as ancient 
as the time of Semiramis, whofe fon, Ninyas, is faid to have 
grown old in the palace, without ever having been known 
by being feen out of it. 

This abfurd ufage gave rife to many abufes. In Perfia* 
it produced two officers, who were called the king's eyes, 
and the king's ear, and who had the dangerous employ- 
ment, I mean dangerous for the fubject, of feeing and hear- 
ing for their fovereign. In Abyflinia, as I have juft laid, it 
created an officer called the king's mouth, or voice, for, being 
feen by nobody, he fpoke of courfe in the third perfon, 
" Hear what the king fays to you, which is the ufual form of all 
regal mandates in Abyflinia; and what follows has the force 
of law. In the fame ftile, Jofephus thus begins an edict 
of Cyrus king of Perfia, " Cyrus the king faysf," — And fpeak- 
ing of Cambyfes's refcript, " Cambyfes the king fays thus" — 
And Efdras alfo, " Thus faith Cyrus king of Perfia £," — 
And Nebuchadnezzar fays to Holofernes, " Thus faith the 
Great King, Lord of the whole earth §;" — and this was pro- 
bably the origin of editls, when writing was little ufed by 
fovereign s, and little underftood by the fubjecl:.. 

Solemn hunting-matches were always in life both with 
the kings of Abyflinia and thofe of Perfia ||. In both king- 
doms it was a crime for a fubject to flrike the game till 
fuch time as the king had thrown his lance at it. This ab- 
furd cuitom was repealed by Artaxerxes Longimanus in one 

kingdom j 

*Dio. Chryfoft. Oat. 3. pro regno. f Jofeph. lib. xi. cap. 1. % Efdras, cap. 5. . 

§ Judith, cap. 2. || Ctefias in Perficis. Xenephon, lib. ,i>. 


kingdom*, and by Yafous the Great in the other, fo late as 
the beginning of the lafl century. 

The kings of Abyflinia are above all laws. They are 
fupreme in all caufes ecclefiaflical and civil ; the land and 
perfons of their fubjedts are equally their property, and 
every inhabitant of their kingdom is born their nave ; if 
he bears a higher rank it is by the king's gift; for his near- 
eft relations are accounted nothing better. The fame ob- 
tained in Perfia. Ariftotle calls the Perfian generals and 
nobles, flaves of the great kingf. Xerxes, reproving Pytheus 
the Lydian when feeking to excufe one of his fons from 
going to war, fays, "You that are my flave, and bound to 
follow me with your wife and all your family^." — And Go- 
bryas§ fays to Cyrus, " I deliver myfelf to you, at once your 
.companion and your flave." 

There are feveral kinds of bread in Abyflinia, fome of 
•different forts of teff, and fome of tocuflb, which alfo vary 
in quality. The king of Abyflinia eats of wheat bread, 
though not of every wheat, but of that only that grows in 
the province of Bembea, therefore called the king's food. It 
was fo with the kings of Perfia, who ate wheat bread, He- 
rodotus fays, but only of a particular kind, as we learn from 
JStrabo ||. ( 

I have fhewn, in the courfe of the foregoing hiflory, that 
it always has been, and Hill is the cuilora of the kings of 

2 Abyflinia 

.Plutarch, in Apothegmat. f De Mundo. J.Heiodlib. vii. § XenopVu lib. iv. || Strabo lib. xv. 


Abymnia, to marry what number of wives they choofe ; 
that thefe were not, therefore, all queens ; but that among 
them there was one who was confidered particularly as 
queen, and upon her head was placed the crown, and me 
was called Iteghe. 

Thus, in Perfia, we read that Ahafuerus loved Eflher*, 
who had found grace in his fight more than the other vir- 
gins, and he had placed a golden crown upon her head, 
And Jofephus f informs us, that, when Either X was brought 
before the king, he was exceedingly delighted with her, 
and made her his lawful wife, and when me came into the 
palace he put a crown upon her head : whether placing 
the crown upon the queen's head had any civil effect 
as to regency in Perfia as it had in Abyffinia, is what hiftory 
jdoes not inform us. 

I have already obferved, that there is an officer called 
Serach MafTery, who watches before the king's gate all 
night, and at the dawn of day cracks a whip to chace the 
wild beafls out of the town. This, too, is the fignal for 
the king to rife, and fit down in his judgment-feat. The 
fame cultom was obferved in Perfia. Early in the morning 
an officer entered the king's chamber, and faid to him " A- 
rife, O king ! and take charge of thofe matters which Oro- 
mafdes has appointed you to the care of." 

Vol. III. N n The 

* Efther, chap. ii. f Jofeph. lib. xi. cap. 6. 

J IF I remember right, it is D. Prideaux'that fays Either is a Perfian word, of no fig. 
nJfication. I rather think it is Abyffinian, becaufe it has a fignification in that language. 
Efhte, the mafculine, fignifies an agreeable prefent, and is a proper name, of which Either 
is the feminine. 


The king of Abyilinia never is feen to walk, nor to fet 
his foot upon the ground, out of his palace ; and when he 
would difmount from the horfe or mule on which he rides, 
he has a fervant with a ftool, who places it properly for 
him for that purpofe. He rides into the anti-chamber to the 
foot of his throne, or to the ftool placed in the alcove of his 
tent. We are told by Athenaeus *, fuch was the practice in 
Perfia, whofe king never fet his foot upon the ground out of. 
his palace. 

The king of Abyffinia very often judges capital crimes 
himfelf. It is reckoned a favourable judicature, fuch as, 
Claudian fays, that of a king in perfon ihould be, " Piger ad 
pcenas, aJprtsmia veloxT No man is condemned by the king in 
perfon to die for the flrft fault, unlefs the crime be of a 
horrid nature, fuch as parricide or facrilege. And, in general, 
the life and merits of the prifoner are weighed againft his 
immediate guilt ; fo that if his firfl behaviour has had more 
merit towards the ftate than his prefent delinquency is 
thought to have injured it, the one is placed fairly againft 
the other, and the accufed is generally abfolved when the 
fovereign judges alone. 

Herodotus f praifes this as a maxim of the kings of Per- 
fia in capital judgments, almoft in the very words that I 
have juft now ufed ; and he gives an inftance of it : — Darius 
had condemned Sandoces, one of the king's judges, to be 
crucified for corruption, that is, for having given falfe judg- 
ment for a bribe. The man was already hung up on the 
crofs, when the king, confidering with himfelf how many 


. ...i i .... -i. 1 1 a 

* Athen,, Jib. xii. cap. 2. f Herod, lib. via. 


good fervices he had done, previous to this, the only offence 
which he had committed, ordered him to be pardoned. 

The Perfian king, in all expeditions, was attended by 
judges. We find in Herodotus *, that, in the expedition of 
Cambyfes, ten of the principal Egyptians were condemned 
to die by thefe judges for every Perfian that had been flain by 
the people of Memphis. Six judges always attend the king 
of Abyflinia to the camp, and, before them, rebels taken on 
the field are tried and punifhed on the fpot. 

People that the king diftinguifhed by favour, or for any 
public action, were in both kingdoms prefented with gold 
chains, fwords, and bracelets f . Thefe in Abyflinia are un- 
derflood to be chiefly rewards of military fervice ; yet Poncet 
received a gold chain from Yafous the Great. The day 
before the battle of Serbraxos, Ayto Engedan received a 
filver bridle and faddle, covered with filver plates, from 
Ras Michael ; and the night after that battle I was myfelf 
honoured with a gold chain from the king upon my re- 
conciliation with Guebra Mafcal, who, for his behaviour 
that day, had a large revenue moft defervedly afligned to 
him, and a confiderable territory, confifling of a number 
of rich villages, a prefent known to be more agreeable to 

him than a mere mark of honour. 

A stranger of fafhion, particularly recommended as I 
was, not needy in point of money, nor depending from day 
to day upon government for fubfiflence, is generally provi- 

N112 ded 

* Herod, lib. iii. f Xenoph. lib. i. Xenoph. lib. viii> 


dtd with one or more villages to furnifli him with whas 
articles he may need, without being obliged to have recourfe 
to the king or his minifters for every neceflary. Amha 
Yafous, prince of Shoa, had a large and a royal village, Em- 
fras, given him to fupply him with food for his table ; he 
had another village in Karoota for wine; a village in Dem- 
bea, the king's own province, for his wheat ; and another in 
Begemder for cotton cloths for his fervants ; and fo of the 
reft. After 1 was in the king's fervice I had the villages' 
that belonged to the pods I occupied; and one called Geefh, 
in which arifes the fources of the Nile, a village of about 
18 houfes, given me by the king at my own requeft ; for I 
might have had a better to f urniili me with honey, and con* 
firmed to me by the rebel Waragna Fafil, who never fufTer- 
ed me to grow rich by my rents, having never allowed me 
to receive but two large jars, fo bitter with lupines that 
they were of no fort of ufe to me. I was a gentle mafter, nor 
ever likely to be opulent from the revenues of that coun- 
try ; and more efpecially fo, as I had under me, as my lieu- 
tenant*, an officer commanding the horfe, whofe thoughts 
were much more upon Jerufalem and the holy fepulchre 
than any gains he could get in Abyflinia by his employ- 

Thucydides f informs us, that Themiftocles had received 
great gifts from Artaxerxes king of Perfia, when fettled at 
Magneiia ; the king had given him that city for bread, Lamp- 


* Ammonios, Billetana Gueta to Ayto Confu. 
f Thucyd, lib. i. Strabo, Ub. iiiv. Theod..Sic..iib..xi, 


facus for wine, and Myuns to furnifh him with victuals. 
To thefe Athenaeus adds two more, Palaefcepfis and Percope ? 
to yield him clothing and furniture. This precifely, to this 
day, is the Abyffinian idea, when they conceive they are en- 
tertaining men of rank ; for Grangers, that come naked and 
vagabond among them, without name and character, or 
means of fubfiftence, fuch as the Greeks in Abyffinia, are 
always received as beggars, and neglected as fuch, till hun- 
ger fets their wits to work to provide for the prefent exi- 
gency, and low intrigues and practices are employed after- 
wards to maintain them in the little advancements which 
they have acquired, but no honour or confidence follows, 
or very rarely, 

Ik Abyffinia, when the prifoner is condemned in capital 
cafes, he is not again remitted to prifon, which is thought 
cruel, but he is immediately carried away, and the fen- 
tence executed upon him. I have given feveral inftances of 
this in the annals of the country. Abba Salama, the Acab 
Saat, was condemned by the king the morning he entered 
Gondar, on his return from Tigre, and immediately hanged, 
in the garment of a prieft v on*a tree at the door of the king's 
palace. Chremation, brother to the ufurper Socinios, was 
executed that fame morning; Guebra Denghel, Ras Michael's 
fon-In-law, was like wife executed that fame day, immediate- 
ly after judgment ; and fo were feveral others. The fams 
was the practice in Periia, as we learn from Xenophon*. 
and more plainly from Diodorus f. 


■* Xenoph. lib-i, f Diod. lib. xii, 


The capital punifhments in Abyffinia are the crofs. So- 
cinios * firft ordered Arzo, his competitor, who had fled 
for afliftance and refuge to Phineas king of the Falafha, to 
be crucified without the camp. We find the fame punifh- 
ment inflicted byArtaxerxes upon Hamanf , who was ordered 
to be affixed to the crofs till he died. And Polycrates of 
Samos, Cicero tells us J, was crucified by order of Oralis, 
praetor of Darius. 

The next capital punifhment is flaying alive. That this 
barbarous execution ftill prevails in AbyfTmia is already 
proved by the fate of the unfortunate Woofheka, taken 
prifoner in the campaign of 1769 while I was in Abyffinia; 
a facrifice made to the vengeance of the beautiful Ozoro 
Eflher, who, kind and humane as fhe was in other refpects, 
could receive no atonement for the death of her hufband. 
Socrates § fays, that Manes the heretic was flayed alive by 
order of the king of Perfia, and his fldn made into a bottle. 
And Procopius || informs us, that Pacurius ordered Baficius 
to be flayed alive, and his fldn made into a bottle and hung 
upon a high tree. And Agathias # mentions, that the fame 
punifhment was inflicted upon Nachorages more majorum, ac- 
cording to ancient cuftom. 

Lapidation, or Honing to death, is the next capital pu- 
nifhment in Abyffinia. This is chiefly inflicted upon 
flrangers called Franks, for religious caufes. The Catholic 


* Vide annals of Abyffinia, life of Socinios. ' f Efther, chap, vii, and viii. 

% Cicero, lib. v. de Finib. $ Ecclefiaft. Hiftor. chap. xxii. 

.|| Procop. lib. i. cap. 5. de Bell. Pers. * Agath. lib. iii. 


priefts in Abyilinia that have been detected there, in thcfe 
latter days, have been Honed to death, and their bodies lie 
Hill in the ftreets of Gondar, in the fquares or walte- places, 
covered with the heaps of (tones which occafioned their 
death by being thrown at them. There are three of thcfe 
heaps at the church of Abbo, all covering Francifcan friars; 
and, befides them, a fmall pyramid over a boy who was 
ftoned to death with them, about the firft year of the reign 
of David the IV. * This boy was one of four fons that 
one of the Francifcan friars had had by an AbyiFmian 
woman in the reign of Ouftas. In Perfia we find, that Pa- 
gorafus (according to Ctefias f) was ftoned to death by the 
order of the king ; and the fame author fays, that Pharna- 
cyas, one of the murderers of Xerxes, was ftoned to death 

Among capital punifhments may be reckoned likewife 
the plucking out of the eyes* a cruelty which I have but too 
often feen« committed in the fhort ftay that I made in Abyf- 
fmia. This is generally inflicted upon rebels. I have al- 
ready mentioned, that, after the flaughter of the battle of 
Fagitta, twelve chiefs of the Pagan Galla, taken prifoners by 
Ras Michael, had their eyes torn out, and were afterwards a- 
bandoned to ftarve in the valleys below the town. Several pri- 
foners of another rank, noblemen of Tigre, underwent the 
fame misfortune ; and, what is wonderful, not one of them 
died in the operation, nor its confequences, though perform- 
ed in the coarfeft manner with an iron forceps, or pincers, 

3 Xenophon 

*-See this hiftory of Abyilinia in vit, David IV. f Vide Ctefiani Kockeril. 


Xenophon * tells us, that this was one of the punifhments 
uied by Cyrus. And Ammianus Marcellinus f mentions, 
that Sapor king of Perfia banifhed Arfaces, whom he had 
taken prifoner to a certain caftle, after having pulled out 
his eyes. 

The dead bodies of criminals (lain for treafon, murder, 
and violence, on the high-way at certain times, are feldoni 
buried in Abyffinia. The ftreets of Gondar are ftrewed with 
pieces of their carcafes, which bring the wild beafts in mul- 
titudes into the city as foon as it becomes dark, fo that it 
is fcarcely poffible for any to walk in the night. Too many 
inftances of this kind will be found throughout my narra- 
tive. The dogs ufed to bring pieces of human bodies into 
the houfe, and court-yard, to eat them in greater fecurity. 
This was mofl difguftful to me, but fo often repeated, that 
I was obliged to leave them in pofFemon of fuch fragments. 
We learn from Quintus Curtius J, that Darius having order- 
ed Charidamus to be put to death, and finding afterwards 
that he was innocent, endeavoured to flop the executioner, 
though it was too late, as they had already cut his throat ; 
but, in token of repentance, the king allowed him the liber- 
ty of burial 

I have taken notice, up and down throughout my hiftory, 
that the Abyffinians never fight in the night. This too was 
a rule among the Perfians ||. 

i Notwithstanding 

Xenoph. lib. i, f Amm. Mar, lib. vii. % Qj Curt. lib. iii, 2, f 9, 

II Q. Curt. y. 1 2. 


Notwithstanding the Abyflinians were fo anciently 
and nearly connected with Egypt, they never feem to have 
made ufe of paper, or papyrus, but imitated the practice of 
the Periians, who wrote upon fkins, and they do fo this day. 
This arifes from their having early been Jews. In Parthia* 
likewife, Pliny * informs us, the ufe of papyrus was ab- 
folutely unknown ; and though it was difcovered that papy- 
rus grew in the Euphrates, near Babylon, of which they 
could make paper, they obftinately rather chofe to adhere 
to their ancient cuftom of weaving their letters on cloth of 
which they made their garments. The Periians, moreover, 
made ufe of parchment for their records f, to which all their 
remarkable tranfactions were trufted ; and to this it is pro- 
bably owing we have fo many of their cuftoms preferved 
to this day. Diodorus Siculus -|, fpeaking of Cteiias,fays, he 
verified every thing from the royal parchments themfelves, 
which, in obedience to a certain law, are all placed in or- 
der, and afterwards were communicated to the Greeks. 

From this great refemblance in cuftoms between the Per- 
iians and Abyflinians following the fafhionable way of 
judging about the origin of nations, I mould boldly con* 
elude that the Abyflinians were a colony of Periians, but 
this is very well known to be without foundation. The 
cuftoms, mentioned as only peculiar to Perfia, were common 
to all the eaft ; and they were loft when thole countries were 
over-run and conquered by thofe who introduced barbarous 
cuftoms of their own. The reafon why we have fo much 

Vol. III. O o left 

* Plin. Hift. Nat. lib. xiii. cap. II. f P!in. lib, xiii,, cap. u. J Diod. Sic. 


left of the Perfian cuftoms is, that they were written, and 
fo not liable to alteration ; and, being on parchment, did al- 
fo contribute to their prefervation. The hiftory which 
treats of thofe ancient and polifhed nations has preferved 
few fragments of their manners entire from the ruins of 
time ; while Abymnia, at war with nobody, or at war with 
itfelf only, has preferved the ancient cuftoms which it enjoy- 
ed in common with all the eaft, and which were only loft 
in other kingdoms by the invafion of ftrangers,. a misfor- 
tune Abymnia has never fuffered fince the introduction of 

Before I finim what I have to fay upon the manners of 
this nation* having fhewn that they are the fame people 
with the ancient Egyptians, I would inquire, whether there 
is the fame conformity of rules in the dietetique regimen, 
between them and Egypt, that we mould expect to find from; 
fuch relation ? This is a much furer way of judging than 
by refemblance of external cuftoms.. 

The old Egyptians, as we are told by facred fcripture, did 
not eat with ftrangers ; but I believe the obfervation is ex- 
tended farther than ever fcripture meant. The inftance 
given of Jofeph's brethren not being allowed to eat with the 
Egyptians was, becaufe Jofeph had told Pharaoh that his 
brethren *, and Jacob his father,, were fhepherds, that he 
might get from, the Egyptians the land of Gofhen, a land, 
as the name imports, of pafturage and grafs, which the Nile 
never overflowed, and it was therefore in pofleflion of the 


* Genefis, chap, xlvii., ver. 4> 


fhepherds. Now thelhepherds, we are told, were the direct 
natural enemies of the Egyptians who lived in towns. 
The fhepherds alfo facrriiced the god whom the Egyptians 
worfhipped. We cannot (fays Mofes *) facrifice in this land 
the abomination of the Egyptians, left they ftone us. If the 
Egyptians did not eat with them, fo neither would they with 
the Egyptians ; but it is a miftake that the Egyptians did not 
eat nefti as well as the fhepherds, it was only the flefh of cer- 
tain animals they differed on, and did not eat. 

The Egyptians wor (hipped the cow f, and the fhepherds 
lived upon her flefh, which made them a feparate people, 
that could not eat nor communicate together ; and the very 
knowledge of this was, as we are informed by fcripture* 
the reafon why Jofeph told Pharaoh, when he afked him 
what profeflion his brethren were of, " Your fervants, fays 
Jofeph, are fhepherds, and their employment the feeding of 
cattle ;" and this was given out, that the land of Gofhen 
might be allotted to them, and fo they and their defcendents 
be kept feparate from the Egyptians, and not expofed to 
mingle in their abominations. Or, though they had abftain- 
ed from thefe abominations, they could not kill cattle for 
facrifice or for food. They would have raifed ill-will a- 
gainfl themfelves, and, as Mofes fays, would have been 
ftoned, and fo the end of bringing them to Gofhen would 
have been fruftrated, which was to nurfe them in a plen- 
tiful land, in peace and fecurity, till they mould attain to 
be a mighty people, capable of fubduing and filling the 
land to which, at the end of their captivity, God was to 
lead them. 

O o 2 The 

*Exod. chap. viii. ver. 26. f Herod, lib, ii. p. 104. fee. 40* 


•29 2 


The Abyfilnians neither eat nor drink with • ft rangers, . 
though- they have no reafon for this ; and it is now a mere 
prejudice, beeaufe the old occafion for: this regulation is left. 
They break, or purify, however, every veflel a ftranger of 
any kind-mail have ate or drank in. The cuitom then is 
copied from the Egyptians, and they have preferved it, ino' 
the Egyptian reafon does no longer hold. . 

Some hiftorians fay, the Egyptian women anciently en- 
joyed a full liberty of intercourfe with the males* which, 
was not the cafe in the generality of eallern. nations ; and ! 
we mufl, therefore, think it was derived from Abyffinia; for 
there the women live, as it were, in common, and their en- 
joyments and gratification have no other bounds but their 
own will. They, however, pretend to have a principle, that, 
if they marry, they mould be wives of one hufband; and yet 
this principle does not bind, but, like moil of the other du- 
ties, ferves to reafon upon, and to laugh at, in converfation. . 
Herodotus tells it was the fame. with the Egyptians*. 

The Egyptians made no account of the mother what her- 
niate was ; if the father was free, the child followed the con-r 
dition of the father. . This is flrictly Abyilinia. The/ 
king's child by a negro- flave,. bought with money, or taken t 
in war, is as near in fuceeeding to the crown, as any one- 
of twenty children that he has older than that one, and . 
born of the noblefl: women of the country. 


* Herodot. p. iai. fefl,<j2* 


The men in Egypt* did neither buy nor fell ; the fame is 
the cafe in Abyffinia at this day. It is infamy for a man to 
go to market to buy any thing. He cannot carry water 
or bake bread; but he mufl wafh the cloaths belonging to 
both fexes, and, in this function, the women cannot help 
him. In Abyffinia the men carried their burdens on their 
heads, the women on their fhoulders r and this difference, 
we are told, obtained inEgyptf. . It is plain, that this buying, 
in the public market, by women^ mull have ended whenever 
jealoufyor fequeftration of that fex began ; for this reafon 
it ended early in Egypt, but; for the oppoute reafon, it fuh- 
fifts; in Abyffinia to this day. . 

It was a fort of impiety iri Egypt to eat a calf ; and tile 
reafon was plain, they worshipped the cow. In Abyffinia, to 
this day, no man eats veal, although every one very willing- 
ly eats a cow. The Egyptian:}: reafon no longer fubfifts as 
in the 'former cafe, but the prejudice, remains, though they 
have forgot: the reafon.- 

The Abyffinians eat no wild or water- fowl, not even the 
goofe, which was a great delicacy in Egypt. The reafon of 
this is, that, upon their: converfion to Judaifm^ they were 
forced to Telinquifh their ancient municipal cuftoms, as far 
as they were contrary to the Mofaical law ; and the -animals, 
in their country, not correfponding in form, kind, nor name, 
with thofe mentioned in the Septuagint, or original Hebrew, 


*-Herodot. lib. ii. p. ioj. fefl. 35. f Herodot. lib. ii. p. 101. fexfr. 3 5. 

X Herodot. lib. ii. p. 104. fe&. 41. 



it has followed, that there are many of each clafs * that 
know not whether they are clean or not; and a wonderful 
confufion and uncertainty has followed through ignorance 
or miftake, being unwilling to violate the law in any one 
inftance through not underflanding it. 

The abhorrence of the old Egyptians for the bean is well 
known, and many filly reafons have been affigned for it ; 
but that which has moft met the approbation of the moil 
learned men is, in my humble opinion, the weakefl of them 
all. They fay, the averfion to the, bean arofe from its re- 
fembling the phallus ; but the crux anfata, or the crofs 
with the handle to it, which is put in the hand of every 
Egyptian hieroglyphic of His, Ofiris, or whatever the priefts 
have called them, is like wife agreed by the learned to re- 
prefent the phallus ; and the figure of thefe nudities, with- 
out vail or concealment, is plain in all their ftatues. Now, 
I would afk, What is the reafon why they abhor a bean be- 
caufe it reprefents thefe parts which, at the fame time, 
by their own option or choice, are expofed in the hand or 
perfon of every figure which they exhibit to public view ? 
The bean, however, is not cultivated in Abyflinia, neither is 
it in Egypt ; lupines grow up in both, and lupines in both 
are eradicated like a weed, and lupines were what is called 
faba JEgyptiaca. 

Though I cannot pretend to know the true reafon of 
this, yet I will venture to give a guefs : — The origin of great 
part of religious obfervances of Egypt began with the wor- 
fhip of the Nile, and probably at the head of it. The coun- 
try of the Agows, as well where the Nile rifes as in parts 
more diilant, is all a honey country ; not only their whole 



fuftenance, but their trade, their tribute to the king, and 
the maintenance of a great part of the capital, depends up- 
on honey and butter, the common food of the better fort 
of people when they do not eat flefh ; it compofes their 
drink alfo in mead or hydromel. Now, this country, when 
uncultivated, naturally produces lupines, and the blofToms 
of thefe becoming food for the bees, gives the honey fuch 
a bitternefs that no perfon will eat it, or ufe it any way in 
food or for drink, — After the king had bellowed the village 
of Geefli upon me, though with the confent of Fafil its go- 
vernor, that egregious muffler, to make the prefent of no 
ufe to me, fent me, indeed, the tribute of the honey in very 
large jars, but it all tailed fo much of the lupines that it 
was of no earthly ufe whatever. Their conflant attention 
is to weed out this bitter plant ; and, when any of thofe coun- 
tries are defolated by war, we may expect a large crop of 
lupines immediately to follow,, and r for a time, plenty of 
bad honey in confequence. It is, then, this deflruclive bean 
that Pythagoras,, who, it is faid, ate no flefh, regarded as an 
object of deteftation ;„ it was equally fo among the Abyffini- 
afis and Egyptians for the fame reafon. Both nations, more- 
over, have an averfion to hogs flefh, and both avoid the touch, 
of dogs.. 

It. is here Ipropofe to take notice of an unnatural cuftom 
which prevails univerfally in Abyffinia, and which in early 
ages feems to have been common to the whole world. I did 
not think that any perfon of moderate knowledge in profane 
learning could have been ignorant of this remarkable cuf- 
tom among the nations of the eafl. But what Hill more 
furprifed me, and is the leafl pardonable part of the whole,, 
was the ignorance of part of the law o£ God, the earliefl 

# that; 


that was given to man, the mod frequently noted, infifled 
upon, and prohibited. I have faid, in the courfe of the nar- 
rative of my journey from Mafuah, that, a fmall diftance 
from Axum, I overtook on the way three travellers, who 
feemed to be foldiers, driving a cow before them. They halt- 
ed at a brook, threw down the beaft, and one of them cut a 
pretty large collop of nefhfromits buttocks, after which they 
drove the cow gently on as before. A violent outcry was raifed 
in England at hearing this circumftance, which the) did not 
hefitate to pronounce impoJfMc, when the manners and cuf- 
toms of Abymnia were to them utterly unknown. The Je- 
fuits, eftablimed in Abymnia for above a hundred years, 
had told them of that people eating, what they call raw 
meat, in every page, .and yet they were ignorant of this. 
Poncet, too, had done the fame, but Poncet they had not read; 
and if any writer upon Ethiopia had omitted to mention it, 
it was becaufe it was one of thofe fads too notorious to be 
repeated to fwell a volume, 

It mnft be from prejudice alone we condemn the eating 
of raw nefh ; no precept, divine or human, that I know, for- 
bids it ; and if it is true, as later travellers have difcovered, 
that there are nations ignorant of the ufe of fire, any law 
againft eating raw fleih could never have been intended by 
God as obligatory upon mankind in general. At any rate, 
it is certainly not clearly known, whether the eating raw 
flem was not an earlier and more general practice than by 
preparing; it with fire ; I think it was. 

Many wife and learned men have doubted whether it 
was at firft permitted to man to eat animal food at all. I 
do not pretend to give any opinion upon the fubje<5t, but 

2 many 


many topics have been maintained fuccefsfully upon much 
more flender grounds. God, the author of life, and the bed 
judge of what was proper to maintain it, gave this regimen 
to our firfl parents — " Behold, I have given you every herb 
" bearing feed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and e- 
" very tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding feed : to 
" you it mall be for meat * " And though, immediately after, 
he mentions both beads and fowls, and every thing that 
creepeth upon the earth, he does not fay that he has defign- 
ed any of thefe as meat for man. On the contrary, he 
feems to have intended the vegetable creation as food for 
both man and beail — " And to every beaft of the earth 
" and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that 
" creepeth • upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given 
" every green herb for meat : and it was fo f .-" After the 
flood, when mankind began to repoffefs the earth, God gave 
Noah a much more extenfive permifiion — " Every moving 
'" thing that liveth mall be meat for you ; even as the green 
'" herb have I given you all things J." 

As the criterion of judging of their aptitude for food 
"was declared to be their moving and having life, a danger ap- 
peared of mifmterpretation, and that thefe creatures mould 
be ufed living ; a thing which God by no means intended, 
and therefore, immediately after, it is faid, " But fleili with 
" the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, mail you not 
" eat §;" or, as it is rendered by the bell interpreters, ' Flefh, or 
members, torn from living animals having the blood in 
them, thou (halt not eat.' We fee then, by this prohibition, that 

Vol. ILL P p this 

Gen. chap. i. yer. 20. f Gen. chap. i. vcr. 30, :£-Gen. chap, ix. ver. 3. § Gen. chap.ix. v. 4. 


this abufe of eating living meat, or part of animals while yet 
alive, was known in the days of Noah, and forbidden after 
being fo known, and it is precifely what is practifed in Abyfli- 
nia to this day. This law, then, was prior to that of Mofes, but 
it came from the fame legislator. It was given to Noah, 
and confequently obligatory upon the whole world. Mofes, 
however, infills upon it throughout his whole law ; which 
not only fhews that this abufe was common, but that it was 
deeply rooted in, and interwoven with, the manners of the 
Hebrews. He politively prohibits it four times in one 
chapter in Deuteronomy *, and thrice in one of the chapters 
of Leviticus j — " Thou malt not eat the blood, for the blood 
" is the life ; thou malt pour it upon the earth like water." 

Although the many inftances of God's tendernefs to the 
brute creation, that conftantly occur in the Mofaical precepts, 
and are a very beautiful part of them, and tho' the barbari- 
ty of the cuftom itfelf might reafonably lead us to think that 
humanity alone was a fufncient motive for the prohibition 
of eating animals alive, yet nothing can be more certain, 
than that greater confequences were annexed to the indul- 
ging in this crime than what was apprehended from a 
mere depravity of manners. One J of the moil learned 
and fenfible men that ever wrote upon the facred fcrip- 
tures obferves, that God, in forbidding this practice, ufes 
more fevere certification, and more threatening language, 
than againfl any other fin, excepting idolatry, with which 
it is conftantly joined. God declares, " I will fet my face 
" againft him that eateth blood, in the fame manner as I 
" will againft him that facrificeth his fon to Moloch ; I will 

" fet 

* Deur> chap. xii. f Levit. chap. xvii. J Maimon. more. Nebochim, 


" fet my face againft him that eateth flefli with blood, till I 
" cut him off from the people." 

We have an inftance in the life of Saul* that mews the 
propenfity of the Israelites to this crime. Saul's army, after 
a battle, flew^ that is, fell voracioufly upon the cattle they had 
taken, and threw them upon the ground to cut off their 
nem, and eat them raw, fo that the army was defiled by eat- 
ing blood, or living animals. To prevent this, Saul caufed 
roll to him a great ftone, and ordered thofe that killed their 
oxen to cut their throats upon that ftone. This was the only 
lawful way of killing animals for food ; the tying of the ox 
and throwing it upon the ground was not permitted as e- 
quivalent. The Ifraelites did probably in that cafe as the 
Abyilinians do at this day ; they cut a part of its throat, fo 
that blood might be feen upon the ground, but nothing mor- 
tal to the animal followed from that wound. But, after lay- 
ing his head upon a large ftone, and cutting his throat, the 
blood fell from on high, or was poured on the ground like 
water, and fufficient evidence appeared the creature was 
dead before it was attempted to eat it. We have feen that 
the Abyffinians came from Paleftine a very few years after 
this; and we are not to doubt that they then carried with 
them this, with many other Jewifh cuftoms, which they 
have continued to this day. 

The author I laft quoted fays, that it is plain, from all the 
books of the eaftern nations, that their motive for eating 
nefh with the life, or limbs of living animals cut off with 

v. iii. P p 2 the 

* 1 Sam. chap. xiv. ver. 32. 33. 


the blood, was from motives of religion, and for the pur- 
pofes of idolatry, and fo it probably had been among the 
Jews ; for one of the reafons given in Leviticus for the pro- 
hibition of eating blood, or living fiefh, is, that the people 
may no longer offer facrifices to devils, after whom they 
have gone a- whoring * If the reader choofes to be further 
informed how very common this practice was, he need only 
read the Halacoth Gedaloth, or its tranflation, where the 
whole chapter is taken up with inftances of this kind. 

That this practice like wife prevailed in Europe, as well 
as in Afia and Africa, may be collected from various authors. 
The Greeks had their bloody feafts and facrifices where 
they ate living nefh ; thefe were called Omophagia. Ar- 
nobius f fays, " Let us pafs over the horrid fcenes prefenred 
at the Baccahanlian feaft, wherein, with a counterfeited fury, 
though with a truly depraved heart, you twine a number 
of ferpents around you, andj pretending to be pofTefTed with 
fome god, or fpirit, you tear to pieces, with bloody mouths, 
the bowels of living goats, which cry all the time from the 
torture they fuffer." From all this it appears, that the prac- 
tice of the Abyflinians eating live animals at this day, was 
very far from being new, or, what was nonfenfically faid, 
impojible. And I fhall only further obferve, that thofe of my 
readers that wifh to indulge a fpirit of criticifm upon the 
great variety of cufloms, men and manners, related in this 
hiftory, or have thofe criticifms attended to, fhould furnifh 
themfelves with a more decent flock of reading than, in 


* Levit. chap. xvii. ver. 7. 
f Arnob. adv. Gent. Clem. Alexan. Sextus Impiricus, . lib. iii. cap. 25. and Jur. 
satdr. and Gent. cap. i.lib. yii. > v 


this inftance, they feem to have pofTefled ; or, when ano- 
ther example occurs of that kind, which they call imprjffible, 
that they would take the truth of it upon my word, and be- 
lieve what they are not fufficiently qualified to inveftigate. 

Consistent with the plan of this work, which is to de- 
fcribe the manners of the feveral nations through which I 
palTed, good and bad, as I obferved them, I cannot avoid 
giving fome account of this Polyphemus banquet, as far as 
decency will permit me ; it is part of the hiftory of a bar- 
barous people ; whatever I might wifli, I cannot decline it. 

In the capital, where one is fafe from furprife at all times, 
or in the country or villages, when the rains have become fa 
conflant that the valleys will not bear a horfe to pafs them, 
or that men cannot venture far from home through fear 
of being furrounded and fwept away by temporary torrents, 
occafioned by fudden mowers on the mountains ; in a word, 
when a man can fay he is fafe at home, and the fpear and 
fliield is hung up in the hall, a number of people of the 
beft fafhion in the villages, of bothfexes, courtiers in the pa- 
lace, or citizens in the town, meet together jlo dine between 
twelve and one o'clock. 

A long table is fet in the middle of a large room, and 
benches befide it for a number of guefts who are invited. 
Tables and benches the Portugueze introduced anion o-ft 
them; but bull hides, fpread upon the ground, ferved thero 
before, as they do in the camp and country now. A cow or 
bull, one or more, as the company is numerous, is brought: 
clofe to the door, and his feet ftrongly tied. The fkin th&s 
hangs down under his chin and throat, which I think wc 



call the dew-lap in England, is cut only fo deep as to. ar- 
rive at the fat, of which it totally confifls, and, by the fepa- 
- ration of a few fmall blood-veffels, fix or feven drops of 
blood only fall upon the ground. They have no none, 
bench, nor altar upon which thefe cruel affanins lay the a- 
nimal's head in this operation. I mould beg his pardon in- 
deed for calling him an aflamn, as he is not fo merciful as 
to aim at the life, but, on the contrary, to keep the beaft alive 
till he be totally eat up. Having fatisfied the Mofaical law, 
according to his conception, by pouring thefe fix or feven 
drops upon the ground, two or more of them fall to work ; 
on the back of the beafl, and on each fide of the fpine 
they cut fkin-deep ; then putting their fingers between the 
nefh and the fkin, they begin to ftrip the hide of the animal 
half way down his ribs, and fo on to the buttock, cutting 
the fkin wherever it hinders them commodioufly to flrip 
the poor animal bare. All the neih on the buttocks is cut 
off then, and in folid, fquare pieces, without bones, or much 
effufion of blood ; and the prodigious noife the animal 
.makes is a fignal for the company to fit down to table. 

There are then laid before every guefl, inftead of plates* 
round cakes, if I may fo call them, about twice as big as a 
a pan-cake, and fomething thicker and tougher. It is un- 
leavened bread of a fourifh tafte, far from being difagreea- 
ble, and very eafily digefted, made of a grain called tern It 
is of different colours, from black to the colour of the whi- 
teft wheat-bread. Three or four of thefe cakes are generally 
put uppermoft, for the food of the perfon oppofite to whofe 
feat they are placed. Beneath thefe are four or five of ordi- 
nary bread, and of a blackifh kind. Thefe ferve the mailer to 



wipe his fingers upon ; and afterwards the fervant, for bread 
to his dinner. 

Two or three fervants then come, each with a fquare 
piece of beef in their bare hands, laying it upon the cakes 
of teff, placed like dimes down the table, without cloth or 
any thing elfe beneath them. By this time all the guefts 
have knives in their hands, and their men have the large 
crooked ones, which they put to all forts of ufes during the 
time of war. The women have fmall clafped knives, fuch 
as the worfh of the kind made at Birmingham, fold for a 
penny each. 

The company are fo ranged that one man fits between 
two women ; the man with his long knife cuts a thin piece, 
which would be thought a good beef-fteak in England, 
while you fee the motion of the fibres yet perfectly diftincl, 
and alive in the nefh. No man in Abyffinia, of any fafhion 
whatever, feeds himfelf, or touches his own meat. The 
women take the (teak and cut it length-ways like firings, 
about the thicknefs of your little finger, then crofsways into 
fquare pieces, fomething fmaller than dice. This they lay 
upon a piece of the teff bread, flrongly powdered with black 
pepper, or Cayenne pepper, and foffile-falt, they then wrap 
it up in the teff bread like a cartridge. 

In the mean time, the man having put up his knife, with 
each hand refling upon his neighbour's knee, his body 
Hooping, his head low and forward, and mouth open very 
like an idiot, turns to the one whofe cartridge is firft ready, 
who fcuffs the whole of it into his mouth, which is £0 full 
that he is in conftant danger of being choked. This is a 

% . mark. 



mark of grandeur. The greater the man would feem to 
be, the larger piece he takes in his mouth ; and the more 
noife he makes in chewing it, the more polite he is thought 
to be. They have, indeed, a proverb that fays, " Beggars 
" and thieves only eat fmall pieces, or without making a 
" noife." Having difpatched this morfel, which he docs 
very expeditioufly, his next female neighbour holds forth 
another cartridge, which goes the fame way, and fo on till 
he is fatisfied. He never drinks till he has finifhed eating ; 
and, before he begins, in gratitude to the fair ones that fed 
him, he makes up two fmall rolls of the fame kind and 
form; each of his neighbours open their mouths at the 
fame time, while with each hand he puts their portion into 
their mouths. He then falls to drinking out of a large 
handfome horn ; the ladies eat till they are fatisfied, and 
then all drink together, " Vive la Joye et la Jeuneffe !" 
A great deal of mirth and joke goes round, very feldom with 
any mixture of acrimony or ill-humour. 

All this time, the unfortunate victim at the door is 
bleeding indeed, but bleeding little. As long as they can 
cut off the flefh from his bones, they do not meddle with 
the thighs, or the parts where the great arteries are. At laft 
they fall upon the thighs likewife ; and foon after the ani- 
mal, bleeding to death, becomes fo tough that the canibals, 
who have the reft of it to eat, find very hard work to fepa- 
rate the nefh from the bones with their teeth like dogs. 

In the mean time, thofe within are very much elevated ; 
love lights all its iires, and every thing is permitted with 
abfolute freedom. There is no coynefs, no delays, no need 
of appointments or retirement to gratify their wifhes ; 

i there 


there are no rooms but one, in which they facrificc both to 
Bacchus and to Venus *. The two men neareft the vacuum 
a pair have made on. the bench by leaving their feats, hold 
their upper garment like a fkreen before the two that have 
left the bench ; and, if we may judge by found, they fee.m 
to think it as great a fhame to make love in filence as to 
eat. — Replaced in their feats again, the company drink the 
happy couple's health ; and their example is followed at dif- 
ferent ends of the table, as each couple is difpofed. All this • 
pafTcs without remark or fcandal, not a licentious word is 
uttered, nor the moil diflant joke upon the tranfactiom 

These ladies are, for the moil part, women of family and 
character, and they and their gallants are reciprocally diftin- 
guiihed by the name JVoodage, which anfwers to what in Italy 
they call Cicifbey ; and, indeed, I believe that the name itfelf, 
as well as the practice, is Hebrew; febnscbis beiim, fignifies aU 
tendants or companions of the bride, or bride s man r 2.s we call it in 
England. The only difference is, that in Europe the inti- 
macy and attendance continues during the marriage, while, 
among the Jews, it was permitted only the few days of the 
marriage ceremony. The averfionto judaifm, in the ladies 
of Europe, has probably led them to the prolongation of the 

It was a cuftom of the ancient Egyptians to purge them- 
felves monthly for three days ; and the fame is ftill in prac- 
tice in Abyflinia* We mall (peak more of the reafon of this 
Vol. III. Qjl practice • 

* In this particular they refemble the Cyriics of old, of whom it was faid, " Omnia quse ad 
• Sacchum et Venetem pei-tiuuerint in publico facere." Diogenes Lae-rtius in Vit» Diogen. 


practice in the botanical part of our work, where a draw- 
ing of a mofl beautiful tree *, ufed for this purpofe, is 

Although we read from the Jefuits a great deal about 
marriage and polygamy, yet there is nothing which may be 
averred more truly than that there is no fuch thing as mar- 
riage in Abyffinia, unlefs that which is contracted by mu- 
tual confent, without other form, fubfifting only till difTol- 
ved by difTent of one or other, and to be renewed or repeat- 
ed as often as it is agreeable to both parties, who, when 
they pleafe, cohabit together again as man and wife, after 
having been divorced, had children by others, or whether 
they have been married, or had children with others or not. 
I remember to have once been at Kofcam in prefence of the 
Iteghe, when, in the circle, there was a woman of great qua- 
lity, and feven men who had all been her hufbands, none 
of whom was the happy fpoufe at that time. 

Upon feparation they divide the children. The eldeftfon 
falls to the mother's firft choice, and the eldeft daughter to 
the father. If there is but one daughter, and all the reft 
fons, flie is affigned to the father. If there is but one fon, 
and all the reft daughters, he is the right of the mother. If 
the numbers are unequal after the firft election, the reft are 
divided by lot. There is no fuch diftinction as legitimate 
and illegitimate children from the king to the beggar ; for 
fuppofing any one of their marriages valid, all the ifTue of 
the reft muft be adulterous baftards. 


* Vide appendix, article CulTo, 


One day Ras Michael afked me, before Abba Salama, (the 
Acab Saat) Whether fuch things as thefe promifcuous mar- 
riages and divorces were permitted and practifcd in my 
country ? I excufed myfelf till I was no longer able ; and, 
upon his infifting, I was obliged to anfwer, That even if 
fcripture had not forbid to us as Chriflians, as Englifhmen 
the law reftrained us from fuch practices, by declaring 
polygamy felony, or punifhable by death. 

The king in his marriage ufes no other ceremony than 
this : — He fends an Azage to the houfe where the lady lives, 
where the officer announces to her, It is the king's pleafure 
that fhe mould remove inftantly to the palace. She then 
drefTes herfelf in the bell manner, and immediately obeys. 
Thenceforward he afligns her an apartment in the palace, 
and gives her a houfe elfewhere in any part fhe chufes. 
Then when he makes her Iteghe, it feems to be the nearer! 
refemblance to marriage ; for, whether in the court or the 
camp, he orders one of the judges to pronounce in his pre- 
sence, That he, the king, has chofen his hand-maid, na- 
ming her for his queen ; upon which the crown is put up- 
on her head, but flie is not anointed,. 

The crown being hereditary in one family, but elective 
in the perfon, and polygamy being permitted, mufl have 
multiplied thefe heirs very much, and produced conftant 
difputes, fo that it was found necefTary to provide a remedy 
for the anarchy and effufion of royal blood, which was 
otherwife inevitably to follow. The remedy was a humane 
and gentle one, they were confined in a good climate upon 
a high mountain, and maintained there at the public ex- 
pence. They are there taught to read and write, but no- 


thing elfe ; 750 cloths for wrapping round them, 3000 oun- 
ces of gold, which is 30,000 dollars, or crowns, are allowed 
by the ftate for their maintenance. Thefc princes are hard- 
ly ufed, and, in troublefome times, often put to death upon 
the fmallefl mifinformation. While I was in Abyffinia their 
revenue was fo grofsly mifapplied, that forae of them were 
faid to have died with hunger and of cold by the avarice 
and hard-heartednefs of Michael neglecting to furnim them 
nece Maries. Nor had the king, as far as ever I could difcern. 
that fellow-feeling one would have expected from a prince 
refcued from that very fituation himielf ; perhaps this was 
owing to his fear of Ras Michael, 

However that be, and however diftrefling the fituation of 
thofe princes, we cannot but be fatisfied with it when we 
look to the neighbouring kingdom of Sennaar, or Nubia. 
There no mountain is trailed with the confinement of their 
princes, but, as foon as the father dies, the throats of all 
the collaterals, and all their defcendents that can be laid hold 
of, are cut ; and this is the cafe with all the black Hates in 
the defert weft of Sennaar, Dar Fowr, Sele, and Bagirma. 

Great exaggerations have been ufed in fpeaking of the 
military force of this kingdom. The larger! army that ever 
was in the field (as far as I could be informed from the old- 
ell officers) was that in the rebellion before the battle of 
Serbraxos. I believe, when they firft encamped upon the 
lake Tzana, the rebel army altogether might amount to a- 
bout 50,000 men. In about a fortnight afterwards, many 
had deferted ; and I do not think (I only fpeak by hearfay) 
that, when the king marched out of Gondar, they were then 
above 30,000. I believe when Gojam joined, and it was 

2 known 


lenown that Michael and his army were to be made prifon- 
ers, that the rebel army increafed to above 60,000 men : 
cowards and brave, old and young, veteran foldiers and 
blackguards, all came to be fpectators of that defirable e- 
vent, which many of the wifefl had defpaired of living to 
fee. I believe the king's army never amounted to 26,000 
men ; and, by defertion and other caufes, when we retreated 
to Gondar, I do not fuppofe the army was 16,000, moftly 
from the province ofTigre. Fafil, indeed, had not joined ; and 
putting his army of 12,000 men, (1 make no account of the 
wild Galla beyond the Nile) I do not imagine that any king 
of Abyffinia ever commanded 40,000 effective men at any 
time, or upon any caufe whatever, exclufive of his houfe- 
hold troops. 

Their ftandards are large ftaves, furmounted at the top 
with a hollow ball ; below this is a tube in which the flaff 
is fixed ; and immediately below the ball, a narrow ftripe 
of filk made forked, or fwallow-tailed, like a vane, and fel- 
dom much broader. In the war of Begemder we firft faw co- 
lours like a flag hoifled for king Theodorus. They were red, 
about eight feet long and near three feet broad ; but they 
never appeared but two days ; and the fuccefs that attended 
their firft appearance was fuch that did not bid fair to bring 
them into fafhion. 

The ftandards of the infantry have their flags painted 
two colours crofsways-— yellow, white, red, or green. The 
horfe have all a lion upon their flag % fome a red, fome a 


* The firfl invention is attributed to the Portuguefe* 


green, and fome a white lion. The black horfe have a yel- 
low lion, and over it a white flar upon a red flag, alluding 
to two prophecies, the one, " Judah is a young lion," and 
the other, " There lhall come a flar out of Judah." This 
had been difcontinued for want of cloth till the war of Be- 
gemder, when a large piece was found in Joas's wardrobe, 
and was thought a certain omen of his victory, and of a 
long and vigorous reign. This piece of cloth was faid to 
have been brought from Cairo by Yafous II. for the cam- 
paign of Sennaar, and, with the other flandards and colours, 
was furrendered to the rebels when the king was made 

The king's houfehold troops mould confift of about 8000, 
infantry, 2000 of which carry firelocks, and fupply the place 
of archers ; bows have been laid afide for near a hundred 
years, and are only now ufed by the Waito Shangalla, and. 
fome other barbarous inconfiderable nations.. 

These troops are divided into four companies, each un*- 
der an officer called Shalaka, which anfwers to our colo- 
nel. Every twenty men have an officer, every fifty a fecond, 
and every hundred a third; that is, every twenty have one offi- 
cer who commands them, but is commanded likewife by an 
officer who commands the fifty ; fo that there are three of- 
ficers who command fifty men, fix command a hundred,, 
and thirty command five hundred, over whom is the Sha- 
laka ; and this body they call Bet, which fignifies. a boufe, or 
apartment^ becaufe each of them goes by the name of one of 
the king's apartments. For example, there is an apartment. 
called Anbafa Bet, or the lion's houfe, and a regiment carrying 
that name has the charge of it, and their duty is at that apart- 

4 meet; 


ment, or that part of the palace where it is ; there is another 
called Jan Bet, or the elephant's houfe^ that gives the name to 
another regiment ; another called Werk Sacala, or the gold 
houfe^ which gives its name to another corps ; and fo on with 
the reft ; as for the horfe, I have fpoken of them already. 

There are four regiments, that feldom, if ever, a- 
mounted to 1600 men, which depend alone upon the king, 
and are all foreigners, at leaft the officers ; thefe have the 
charge of his perfon while in the field. In times when the 
king is out of leading-itrings, they amount to four or five 
thoufand, and then opprefs the country, for they have great 
privileges. At times when the king's hands are weak, they 
are kept incomplete out of fear and jealoufy, which was 
the cafe in my time ; — thefe have been already fufficiently 

Three proclamations are made before the king marches. 
The firit is, " Buy your mules, get ready your provifion, 
and pay your fervants, for, after fuch a day, they that feek 
me here mall not find me." The fecond is about a week 
after, or according as the exigency is preffing ; this is, " Cut 
down the kantuffa in the four quarters of the world, for 
I do not know where I am going." This kantuffa is a ter- 
rible thorn which very much molefls the king and nobility 
in their march, by taking hold of their long hair, and the 
cotton cloth they are wrapped in. The third and lafl pro- 
clamation is, " 1 am encamped upon the Angrab, or Kahha ; 
" he that does not join me there, I will chaflife him for 
" feven years." I was long in doubt what this term of fe- 
ven years meant, till I recolle&ed the jubilee-year of the Jews, 




with whom feven years was a prefcription of offences, debts, 
and all trefpaifes. 

The rains generally ceafe the eighth of September"; a 
iickly feafon follows till they begin again about the 20th of. 
October ; they then continue pretty conflant, but moderate 
in quantity, till Hedar St. Michael, the eighth of November. . 
All epidemic difeafes ceafe with the end of thefe rains, and': 
it is then the armies begin to march. 





State of 'Religion— -Circumcifion, Excijion, &c. 

THERE is no country in the world where there are fo 
many churches as in Abyflinia. Though the country 
is v^ry mountainous, and confequently the view much ob- 
ftructed,it is very feldom you fee lefs than five or fix churches, 
and, if you are on a commanding ground, five times that 
number. Every great man that dies thinks he has atoned 
for all his wickednefs if he leaves a fund to build a church, 
or has built one in his lifetime. The king builds many. 
Wherever a victory is gained, there a church is erected in 
the very field flinking with the putrid bodies of the flain. 
Formerly this was only the cafe when the enemy was Pa- 
gan or Infidel ; now the fame is obferved when the victories 
are over Chriflians. 

The fituation of a church is always chofen near running 
water, for the convenience of their purifications and ablu- 
tions, in which they obferve flrictly the Levitical law. They 
are always placed upon the top of fome beautiful, round 
Vol III. R r hill, 


hill, which is furrounded entirely with rows of the oxy- 
cedrus, or Virginia cedar, which grows here in great beau- 
ty and perfection, and is called Arz *. There is nothing 
adds fo much to the beauty of the country as thefe churches 
and the plantations about them. 

In the middle of this plantation of cedars is interfperfed, 
at proper diftances, a number of thofe beautiful trees called 
CufTo, which grow very high, and are all extremely pictu- 
re fque. 

All the churches are round, with thatched roofs ; their 
fummits are perfect cones ; the outfide is furrounded by a 
number of wooden pillars, which are nothing elfe than the 
trunks of the cedar- tree, and are placed to fupport the edi- 
fice, about eight feet of the roof projecting beyond the wall 
of the church, which forms an agreeable walk, or colonade, 
around it in hot weather, or in rain. The infide of the church 
is in feveral divifions, according as is prescribed by the law 
of Mofes. The firft is a circle fomewhat wider than the 
inner one ; here the congregation fit and pray. Within this 
is a fquare> and that fquare is divided by a veil or curtain, 
in which is another very fmall divifion anfwering to the 
holy of holies. This is fo narrow that none but the priefls 
can go into it. You are bare- footed whenever you enter the 
church, and, if bare-footed,youmay go through every part 


* Ludolf, in his diclionary, fays, this word, in Hebrew, fignifies any tall tree. In this, how- 
ever, he is mifiaken. The tranflators did not, indeed, know what tree it was, and fo have faid 
this to cover their ignorance ; but Arz is as exclufively the oxy-cedrus, as is an oak or an elm 
whenjb named. Arz is indeed a tall tree, bat every tall tree is not Arz., which is the. Vir- 
ginia, berry-bearing cedar. . 


of it, if you have any fuch curiofity, provided you are 
pure, i. e. have not been concerned with women for 
twenty-four hours before, or touched carrion or dead bodies, 
(a curious aflemblage of ideas) for in that cafe you are not 
to go within the precincts, or outer circumference of the 
church, but Hand and fay your prayers at an awful diflance 
among the cedars. 

All perfons of both fexes, under Jewifli difqualifications, 
are obliged to obferve this diflance ; and this is always a 
place belonging to the church, where, unlefs in Lent, you 
fee the greater! part of the congregation ; but this is left to 
your own confcience, and, if there was either great incon- 
venience in the one fituation, or great fatisfaction in the 
other, the cafe would be otherwife. 

When you go to the church you put off your moes before 
your firft entering the outer precinct ; but you muft leave a 
fervant there with them, or elfe they will be ftolen, if good 
for any thing, by the priefts and monks before you come out 
of the church. At entry you kifs the threihold, and two door- 
pofts, go in and fay what prayer you pleafe, that finifhed, you 
come out again, and your duty is over. The churches are full 
of pictures, painted on parchment, and nailed upon the walls, 
in a manner little lefs llovenly than you fee paltry prints in 
beggarly country ale-houfes. There has been always a fort of 
painting known among the fcribes, a daubing much infe- 
rior to the worft of our fign-painters. Sometimes, for a par- 
ticular church, they get a number of pictures of faints, 
on fkins of parchment, ready finifhed from Cairo, in a ftile 
very little fuperior to thefe performances of their own. They 
are placed like a frize, and hung in the upper part of the 

R r 2 wall 


wall. St George is generally there with his dragon, and St 
Demetrius fighting a lion. There is no choice in their 
faints, they are both of the Old and New leftament, and 
thofe that might be difpenfed with from both. There is 
St Pontius Pilate and his wife ; there is St Balaam and his 
afs ; Samfon and his jaw-bone ; and fo of the reft. But the 
thing that furprifed me mod was a kind of fqu are-minia- 
ture upon the front of the head-piece, or mitre, of the prieft, 
adminiftring the facrament at Adowa, representing Pharaoh 
on a white horfe plunging in the Red Sea, with many guns 
and piftols fwimming upon the furface of it around him. . 

Nothing embofled, nor in relief, ever appears in any of 
their churches ; all this would be reckoned idolatry, fo much 
fo that they do not wear a crofs, as has been reprefented, on 
the top of the ball of the fendick, or ftandard, becaufe it cafts 
a made ; but there is no doubt that pictures have been 
ufed in their churches from the very earlieft age of Chri- 

The Abuna is looked upon as the patriarch of the Abyf- 
fmian church, for they have little knowledge of the Coptic 
patriarch of Alexandria. We are perfectly ignorant of the. 
hiftory of thefe prelates for many years after their appoint- 
ment. The firft of thefe mentioned is Abuna Tecla Haima- 
nout, who diftinguifhed himfelf by the reftoration of the 
royal family, and the regulations he made both in church 
and ilate, as we have feen in the hiftory of thofe times : a 
very remarkable, but wife regulation was then made, that 
the Abyfhnians mould not have it in their power to choofe. 
on<2 of their own countrymen as Abuna. 



Wise men faw the fallen ftate of literature among them; 
and unlefs opportunity was given, from time to time, for 
their priefls to go abroad to Jerufalem for their inftruction, 
and for the purpofe of bringing the Abuna, Tecla Haima- 
nout knew that very foon no fet of people would, be more 
fhamefully ignorant than thofe priefts, even in the mofl 
common dogmas of their profeffion. He hoped therefore, by a 
confiderable ftipend, to tempt fome men of learning to ac- 
cept of this place, to give his countenance to learning and 
religion among them. 

The Arabic canon*, which is preferved by the Abymnian 
church, and faid to be of the council of Nice, mould certain- 
ly be attributed to this Abuna, and is a forgery in, or very 
foon after, his time ; for it is plain this canon took place 
about the year 1300, that it was lawful to elect an Abuna, 
who was a native of Abyffinia before this prohibition, other- 
wife it would not have applied. Abuna Tecla Haimanout 
was an Abyfiinian by birth, and he was Abuna ; the prohi- 
bition therefore had not then taken place: but, as no A- 
byffinian was afterwards chofen, it mufl certainly be a work 
of his time, for it is impoffible a canon mould be made by 
the council of Nice, fettling the rank of a bifhop in a na- 
tion which, for above 200 years after that general council,, 
were not Chriftians. 

As the Abuna very feldom underftands the language, he 
has no mare of the government, but goes to the palace on 
days of ceremony, or when he has any favour to afk or com- 

* See Ludolf, lib. iii. cap. 2. N°. 17.,. 


plaint to make. He is much fallen in efteem from what 
he was formerly, chiefly from his own little intrigues, his 
ignorance, avarice, and want of firmnefs. His greateft em- 
ployment is in ordinations. A number of men and chil- 
dren prefent themfelves at a diftance, and there (land, from 
humility, not daring to approach him. He then afks who 
thefe are ? and they tell him that they want to be deacons. 
On this, with a fmall iron crofs in his hand, after making 
two or three figns, he blows with his mouth twice or thrice 
upon them, faying, " Let them be deacons." I faw once all the 
army of Begemder made deacons, j uft returned from fhedding 
the blood of 10,000 men, thus drawn up in Aylo Meidan, and 
the Abuna Handing at the church of St Raphael, about a 
quarter of a mile diftant from them. With thefe were min- 
gled about 1000 women, who confequently, having part of 
the fame blaft and brandiiliment of the crofs, were as good 
deacons as the reft. 

The fame with regard to monks. A crowd of people, 
when he is riding, will alTemble within 500 yards of him, 
and there begin a melancholy fong. He afks who thefe 
men with beards are ? they tell him they want to be ordain- 
ed monks. After the fame figns of the crofs, and three 
blafts with his mouth, he orders them to be monks. But 
in ordaining priefls, they mufl be able to read a chapter of 
St Mark, which they do in a language he does not under- 
ftand a word of. They then give the Abuna a brick of fait, 
to the value of perhaps fixpence, for their ordination ; 
which, from this prefent given, the Jefuits maintained to be 

* The 


The Itchegue is the chief of the monks in general, efpe- 
cially thofe of Debra Libanos. The head of the other 
monks, called thofe of St Euflathius, is the fuperior of the 
convent of Mahebar SelaiTe, on the N. W. corner of Abyf- 
finia, near Kuara, and the Shangalla, towards Sennaar 
and the river Dender. All this tribe is grofsly ignorant, 
and through time, I believe, will lofe the ufe of letters en- 

The Itchegue is ordained by two chief priefls holding a 
white cloth, or veil, over him, while another fays a prayer; 
and they then lay all their hands on his head, and 
join in pfalms together, He is a man, in troublefome times y 
of much greater confequence than the Abulia. There are,, 
after thefe, chief priefls and fcribes, as in the Jewifh 
church : the lafl of thefe, the ignorant, carelefs copiers of 
the holy fcriptures. 

The monks here do not live in convents, as in Europe, 
but in feparate houfes round their church, and each culti- 
vates a part of the property they have in land. The priefls 
have their maintenance affigned to them in kind, and do 
not labour. A fleward, being a layman, is placed among 
them by the king, who receives all the rents belonging to 
the churches, and gives to the priefls the portion that is 
their due ; but neither the Abuna,. nor any other church- 
man, has any bufinefs w r ith the revenues of churches, non 
can touch them. 

The articles of the faith of the Abyflinians have been in- 
quired into and difcmTed with fo much keennefs in the 
beginning of this century, that I fear I mould difoblige 

3, fome 


feme of my readers were 1 to pafs this fubject without 

Their firft bifhop, Frumcntius, being ordained about the 
year 333, and inftructed in the religion of the Greeks of the 
church of Alexandria by St Athanafms, then fitting in the 
chair of St Mark, it follows that the true religion of the 
Abyflinians, which they received on their converfion to 
Chriltianity, is that of the Greek church ; and every rite or 
ceremony in the Abyflinian church may be found and tra- 
ced up to its origin in the Greek church while both of them 
were orthodox. 

Frumentius preferved Abyflinia untainted with herefy 
till the day of his death. We find, from a letter preferved 
in the works of St Athanafms ,that Conftantius, the heretical 
Greek emperor, wiihed St Athanafms to deliver him up, 
which that patriarch refufed to do : indeed at that time it 
was not in his power. 

Soon after this, Arianifm, and a number of other here- 
fies, each in their turn, were brought by the monks from 
Egypt, and infected the church of Abyffinia. A great part 
of thefe herefies, in the beginning, were certainly owing to 
the difference of the languages in thofe times, and efpecial- 
ly the two words Nature and Perfon, than which no two 
words were evermore equivocal in every language in which 
they have been translated. Either of thefe words, in our 
own language, is a mfflcient example of what I have faid ; 
and in fact we have adopted them from the Latin. If we 
had adopted the fignification of thefe words in religion from 
the Greek, and applied the Latin words of Perfon and Na- 

3 ture 


ture to common and material cafes, perhaps we had done 
better. Neither of them hath ever yet been tranflated into 
the Abymnian, fo as to be underflood to mean rhe fame 
thing in different places. This for a time was, in a certain 
degree, remedied, or underflood, by the free accefsthey had, 
for feveral ages, both to Cairo and Jerufalem, where their 
books were revifed and corrected, and many of the princi- 
pal orthodox opinions inculcated. But, flnce the conqueft 
of Arabia and Egypt by Sultan Selim, in 15 16, the commu- 
nication between Abymnia and thefe two countries hath 
been very precarious and dangerous, if not entirely cut off; 
and now as to doctrine, I am perfectly convinced they are 
in every refpeft to the full as great heretics as ever the Je- 
fuits reprefented, them. And I am confident, if any Catholic 
mimonaries attempt to inflruct them again, they will foon 
lofe the life of letters, and the little knowledge they yet have 
of religion, from prejudice only, and fear of incurring a 
danger they are not fufficiently acquainted with to follow 
the means of avoiding it. 

The two natures in Chrift, the two perfons, their unity, 
their equality, the inferiority of the manhood, doctrines, and 
definitions of the time of St Athanafius, are all wrapt up in 
tenfold darknefs, and inextricable from amidfl the thick 
clouds of herefy and ignorance of language. Nature is of- 
ten miftaken for perfon, and perfon for nature ; the fame of 
the human fubftancc. It is monflrous to hear their reafon- 
ing upon it. One would think, that every different monk, 
every time he talks, purpofely broached ibme new herefy. 
Scarce one of them that ever I converted with, and thofe of 
-the very bell of them, would fuffer it to be faid, that ChrnTs 
body was perfectly like our's. Nay, it was cafily feen that, 

Vol. Ill, S f in 


in their hearts, they went ftill further, and were very loth 
to believe, if they did believe it at all, that the body of the 
Virgin Mary and St Anne were perfectly human. 

Not to trouble the reader further with thefe uninterefting - 
particulars and diftinctions, I fhall only add, that the Jefuits, 
in the account they give of the herefies, ignorance, and ob- 
itinacy of the Abyffinian clergy, have not mifreprefented 
thenij in the imputations made againft them, either in point 
of faith or of morals-. -Whether, this being the cafe, the 
million they undertook, of themfelves into that country, 
gave them authority to deftroy the many with a view to 
convert the few, is a queftion to be refolved hereafter ; I 
believe it did not ; and that the tares and the wheat mould 
have been fuffered to grow together till a hand of more 
authority, guided by unerring judgment, pulled them, with 
that portion of fafety he had pre-ordained for both. 

The Proteft-ant writers again unfairly triumph over their 
adverfaries the Catholics, by aiking, Why all that noife a- 
bout the two natures in Chrift ?.It is plain, fay they, from 
paflages in the Haimanout Abou, and their other tracts up- 
on orthodox belief, that they acknowledge that Chrift was 
perfect God and perfect man, of a rational foul and human 
ilelli fubfifting, and that all the confc (lions of unity, co- 
equality, and inferiority, are there cxpicllcd in the clearer! 
manner as received in the Greek church. What neceflity 
was there for more ; and what need of difputing upon thefe 
points already fo fully fettled? 

Tins, I beg leave to fay, is unfair ; for though it is true 
lliii.t, at the time of collecting the Haimanout Abou, and at 



the time St Athanafius, St Cyril, and St Chryfoftom wrote, the 
explanation of thefe points was uniform in favour of ortho- 
doxy, and that while accefs could easily be had to Jerufalem 
or Alexandria, then Greek and Chriftian cities, difficulties, if 
any arofe, were eafily refolved ; yet, at the time the Jefuits 
came, thofe books were very rare in the country, and the 
contents of them fo far from being underftood, that they 
were applied to the ftipport of the grofTeit hercfics, from 
the mifinterpretation of the ignorant monks of thefc lat- 
ter times. That the Abymuians had been orthodox availed 
nothing : they tuere then become as ignorant of the doc- 
trines of St Athanafius and St Cyril, as if thofe fathers had 
never wrote ; and it is their religion at this period which the 
Jefuits condemn, not that of the church of Alexandria, when 
in its purity under the fir it patriarchs; and, to complete 
all their misfortunes, no accefs to Jerufalem is any long- 
er open to them, and very rarely communication with Cairo. 

On the other hand, the jefuits, who found that the Abyf, 
finians were often wrong in fome things, were refolved to 
deny that they could be right in any thing ; and, from at- 
tacking their tenets, they fell upon their ceremonies re- 
ceived in the Greek church at the fame time with Chrifti- 
anity ; and in this difpurc they iliewed great ignorance and 
malevolence, which they fuppcrted by the help of falfe- 
hood and invention. I mall take notice of oniv one in- 
fiance in many, becaufe it has been infilled upon by both 
parties with unufual vehemence, and very little candour. 

It was fettled by the flrfl general council, that one bap- 
tifm only was necefTary for the regeneration of man, for 
freeing him from the fin of our firit parents, and filling 

S f 2 him 


him under the banner of Chrift, — " I confefs one baptifm-- 
for the rcmiflion of fins," fays the Symbol.' Now it was-* 
maintained by the Jefuits, that in Abyfiinia, once every year, 
they baptifed all grown people, or adults. I mall, as briefly' 
as poflible, fet down what I myfelf faw. while on the fpot. 

The fm all river, running between the- town of Adowa: 
and the church, had been dammed up for feveral days ; 
the ftream was fcanty, fo that it fcarcely overflowed.- 
It was in places three feet deep, in feme, perhaps, four,; 
or little more. Three large tents were pitched the morn-c 
ing before the feafl of the Epiphany ; one on the north- fori 
the priefts to repofe in during intervals of the.fervice, and 
befide this one to communicate in : on. the fouth there was 
a- third tent for. the monks and priefts of another church; 
to reft themfelves in their turn.. About twelve o'clock at 
night the. monks and- priefts met together, and began then* 
prayers and pfalms at the water-fide, one party relieving 
each other. At dawn of day the governor, Welleta Michael, 
came thither with fome foldiers to. for k as Mi-; 
chael, then on his march againft Waragna Fafil, and fat 
down on a fmall hill by the water- fide, the troops all fkir-j. 
mifhing on foot and on horfeback around them. 

As foon as the fun began to appear, three large crofTes of 
wood were carried by three priefts drefTcd in their facerdo* 
tal veftments, and who, coming to the fide of the river, dipt 
the crofs into the water, and all this time the firing, fkir-* 
miming, and praying went on together. The priefts 
with the crofTes returned,' one of their number before 
them carrying fomething iefs than an Engliih quart of 
water, in a filver cup or- chalice; when, they were about 



fifty yards from Welleta Michael, that general flood up, and< 
the prieft took as much water as he could hold in his hands 
and fprinkled it upon his head, holding the cup at the fame- 
time to Welleta Michael's mouth to tafte ; after which the- 
prieft received it back again, faying, at the fame time, " Gzier 
y'barak," which is fimply, " May God blefs you." Each of 
the three crofTes were then brought forward to Welleta Mi- 
chael, and he kilTed them. The ceremony of fprinkling 
the water was then repeated to all the great men in the tent, 
all cleanly drefTed as in gala. Some of them.,, not contented 
with afperfion, received the water in the palms of their 
hands joined, and drank it there; more water was brought for 
thofe that had not partaken of the firft ; and, after the whola 
of the governor's company was fprinkled, the crofTes return- 
ed to the river, their bearers finging hallelujahs,, and th& 
lkirmifliing, and firing .continuing,, , 

Janni, my-Greek friend, had recommended "me to the 
prieft of Adowa ; and, as the governor had placed me by 
him, I had an opportunity, for both thefe reafons, of being 
ferved among the firft. My friend the prieft fprinkled wa- 
ter upon my head, and gave me his bleiling. in the fame 
words he had ufed to the others ; but, as I law it was not 
xreceiTary to drink, 1 declined putting the cup to -my lips, 
for two reafons ; one, becaufe I knew the Abyflinians have 
a Temple to eat' or drink after fcrangers ; the other, becaufe 
I apprehended the water was not perfectly clean; for no 
fooner had the crofTes firft touched the pool, and the enp 
filled from the clean part for the governor, than two or 
three hundred boys, calling themfel-vcs deacons^ plunged iri 
with only a white cloth, or rag, tied round their middle; in all 
other re fp eels they were perfectly naked. All their friends and 



relations (indeed everybody) went clofe down to the edge 
of the pool, where water was thrown upon them, and iirft 
decently enough by boys of the town, and thofe brought 
on purpofe as deacons ; but, after the better fort of people 
had received the afperfion, the whole was turned into a riot, 
the boys, muddying the water, threw it round them upon 
every one they faw well-drefTed or clean. The governor re- 
treated nrft, then the monks, and then the croffes, and left 
the brook in poiTefTion of the boys and blackguards, who 
rioted there till two o'clock in the afternoon. 

I must, however, obferve, that, a very little time after the 
governor had been fprinkled, two horfes and two mules, be- 
longing to Ras Michael and Ozoro Either, came and were 
watlied. Afterwards the foldiers went in and bathed their 
horfes and guns: thofe who had wounds bathed them alfo. 
I law no women in the bath uncovered, even to the knee; 
nor did I fee any perfon of the rank of decent fervants go 
into the water at all except with the horfes. Heaps of plat- 
ters and pocs, that had been ufed by Mahometans or Jews, 
were brought thither likewifc to be purified; and thus the 
whole ended, 

I saw this ceremony performed afterwards at Kahha, 
near Gondar, in prefence of the king, who drank fome of 
the water, and was fprinkled by the priefts; then took the 
cup in his hand, and threw the reft that was left upon Am- 
ha Yafous*, faying, " I will be your deacon;" and this was 
thought a high compliment, the prieft giving him his blef- 
. g- at :he fame time, biu offering him no more water. 

* .Prince of Shoa, often fpoken of in the fequel. 



I' shall now ftate, in his own words, the account given 
of this by Alvarez, chaplain to the Portuguefe embafTy, 
under Don Roderigo de Lima. 

The king had invited Don Roderigo de Lima, the Portu- 
guefe ambafTador, to be prefent at the celebration of the 
feftival of the Epiphany. They went about a mile and a 
half from their former ftation, and encamped upon the fide 
of a pond which had been prepared for the occafion. Al- 
varez fays, that, in their way, they were often afked by 
thofe they met or overtook, " Whether or not they were go- 
ing to be baptized ?" to which the chaplain and his com- 
pany anfwered in the negative, as having been already 
once baptized in their childhood. 

" In the night, fays he, a great number of priefls afTem- 
feled about the pond, roaring and finging with a view of 
bleffing the water. After midnight the baptifm began. The 
Abuna Mark, the king and queen, were the nrft that went 
into the lake ; they had each a piece of cotton cloth about 
their middle, which was juft fo much more than the refc 
of the people had. At the fun-rifing the baptifm was moll 
thronged ; after which, when Alvarez* came, the lake was 
full of holy water, into which they had poured oil." 

It fhould feem, from this outfet of his narrative, that he 
was not at tiie lake till the ceremony was half over, and did 
not fee the benediction of the water at all, nor the curious . 

4 exhibition 

* Vide Alvarez's narrative in his account of the embafTy of Don Roderigo de Limn, pgg&-l££» 


.exhibition of the King, Queen, and Abuna, and their cotton 
cloths. As for the circumflance of the oil being poured in- 
to the water, I will not pofitively contradict it, for, though I 
was early there, it might have efcaped me if it was done in 
the dark. However, I never heard if mentioned as part of 
the ceremony; and it is probable I mould, if any men thing 
was really praetifed ; neither was I in time to have feen it 
at Kahha. 

" Before the pond a fcafrold was built, covered round 
u with planks, within which fat the king looking towards 
" the pond, his face covered with blue taffeta, while an old 
■" man, who was the king's tutor, was Handing in the water 
" up to the moulders, naked as he was born, and half dead 
" with cold, for it had frozen violently in the night. All 
" thofe that came near him he took by the head and plun- 
" ged them in the water, whether men or women, faying, in 
" his own language, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, 
" Son, and Holy Ghofl." 

Now Shoa, where the king was then, is in lat. &° N. and 
the fun was in 22 fouth declination, advancing northward, 
fo the fun was, on the day of the Epiphany, within 30 of the 
zenith of the bathing-place. The thermometer of Fahren- 
heit rifes at Gondar about that time to 68°, fo in Shoa it can- 
not rife to lefs than 70 , for Gondar is in lat. 12 N. that is 4 
farther northward, fo it is not poilible water mould freeze, 
nor did I ever fee ice in Abyflinia, not even on the highefl 
or coldeft mountains. January is one of the hottefl month's 
in the year, day and night the fky is perfectly ferene, nor is 
there there a long difproportioned winter night. At Shoa the 

2 davs 


days are equal to the nights, at leaft as to fenfe, even in the 
month of January. 

The baptifm, Alvarez fays, began at midnight, and the 
old tutor dipt every perfon under water, taking him by the 
head, faying, ' I baptife thee in the name of the Father, of the 
Son, and of the Holy GhofU It was mod thronged at fan- 
rife, and ended about nine o'clock ; a long time for an old 
man to Hand in frozen water. 

The number (as women were promifcuouily admitted) 
could not be lefs than 40,000 ; fo that even the nine hours 
this b ap till - general officiated, he mufl have had exercife 
enough to keep him warm, if 40,000, (many of them naked 
beauties) palled through his hands. 

The women were (lark naked before the men, not even 
a rag about them. Without fome fuch proper medium as 
frozen water, I fear it would not have contributed much to 
the interefts of religion to have trufted a pried (even an old 
one) among fo many bold and naked beauties, efpecially 
as he had the firft fix hours of them in the dark. 

The Abuna, the king, and queen, were the thj-ee flrf! bap- 
tifed, all three being absolutely naked, having only a cotton 
cloth round their middle. I am fure there never could be 
a greater deviation from the manners of any kingdom, than 
this is from thofe of Abyffinia. The king is always cover- 
ed ; you feldom fee any part of him but his eyes. The 
queen and every woman in Abyffinia, in public and private,, 
(I mean where nothing is intended but converfation) are 
covered to the chin. It is a difgrace to them to have even 

Vol. Ill, T t their 


their feet feen by ftrangers ; and their arms and hands are 
concealed even to their nails. A curious circumftance there- 
fore it would have been for the king to be fo liberal of his 
queen's charms, while he covers his own face with blue taf- 
feta ; but to imagine that the Abuna, a coptiih monk bred in 
the defert of St Macarius, would expofe himfelf naked a- 
mong naked women, contrary to the ufual cuftom of the 
celebration he obferves in his own church, is monftrous, and 
mull exceed all belief whatever. As the Abuna Mark too 
was of the reafonable age of no years, he might, I think, 
have difpenfed at that time of life with a bathing gown, 
efpecially as it vm&froft. 

The old man in the pond repeated the formula, " I bap- 
tife you in the name of the Father, of the Son, and of the 
Holy Ghoit," in his own language; and Alvarez, it is plain, 
underftood not one word of Abyllinian. Yet, on the other 
hand, he fpeaks Latin to the king, who wonderfully undem 
Itands him, and anfwers as decifively on the merits of 
the difpute as if he had been educated in the Sorbonne. 
" Confiteor unum baptizma" fays Alvarez *, was a conflitu- 
tion of the Nicene council under Pope Leo. Right, fays the 
king, whofe church, however, anathematized Leo and the 
council he prefided at, which both the king and Alvarez 
mould have known was not the Nicene council, though. 
the words of the fymbol quoted are thought to be part of a,. 
confellion framed by that aiTcmbly., 

" Qui 

* Vid, Alvarez, hoc Iogo,. 


" Qui creclidcrit ct baptizatus fuerit falvus erit," fays Al- 
varez. " You fay right, anfwers the king, as to baptifm ; 
thefe are the words of our Saviour ; but this prefent ce- 
remony was lately invented by a grandfather of mine, in 
favour of fuch as have turned Moors, and arc defirous a- 
gain of becoming Chriflians." 

I should think, in the firft place, this anfwer of the king, 
fiiould have let Alvarez fee no baptifm was intended there ; 
or, if it was a re-baptifm, it only took place in favour of 
thofe who had turned Moors, and mull therefore have been 
but partial. If this was really the cafe, what had the king, 
queen, and Abuna to do in it ? Sure they had neither apof- 
tatized nor was the company of apoftates a very creditable 
fociety for them. 

Alvarez, to perfuade us this is real baptifm, fays that 
oil was thrown into the pond before he came. He will not 
charge himfelf with having feen this, and it is probably a 
falfehood. But he knew it was an eflential in baptifm in 
all the churches in the eaft ; fo indeed is fait, which he 
mould have faid was here ufed likewife : then he would 
have had all the materials of Greek baptifm, and this fait 
might have contributed to cooling the water, that had 
frozen under the rays of a burning fun. 

Alvarez muft have feen, that not only men and women 
go to be warned in the pool, but horfes, cows, mules, and 
a prodigious number of alfes. Are thefe baptifed ? I would 
wifli to know the formula the reverend baptilt-general ufed 
on their occafion. 

T t 2 There 


There is but one church where I ever faw facred rites, or 
fomething like baptifm, conferred upon affes ; it is, I think, 
at Rome on St Andrew's or St Patrick's day. It fhould be 
St Balaam's, if he was in the Roman kalendar as high as he is 
in the Abyffinian. In that church (it is I think on Monte 
Cavallo) all forts of alles, about and within Rome, are gather- 
ed together, and mowers of holy water and blefiings rained 
by a prieft upon them. What is the formula I do not know; 
although it is a joke put upon flrangers, efpecially of one 
nation, to affemble them there ; or whether the two church- 
es of Rome and Abyffinia differ fo much in this as in other 
points of difcipline, I am not informed ; but the rationality 
and decency of fuch a ceremony being the fame in all 
churches, the fervice performed at the time mould be the- 
fame like wife., 

I will not then have any feruple to fay, that this whole ac- 
count of Alvarez is a grofs fiction ; that no baptifm, or any 
thing like baptifm, is meant by the ceremony ; that a man is 
no more baptifed by keeping the anniverfary of our Saviour's 
baptifm, than he is crucified by keeping his crucifixion. The 
commemoration of our Saviour's baptifm on the epiphany, 
and the bleffing the waters that day, is an old obfervance of 
the caflern church, formerly performed in public in Egypt as 
now in Ethiopia. Since that of Alexandria fell into the hands 
of Mahometans, the fear of infult and profanation has obliged 
them to -confine this ceremony, and all other proceflions, , 
within the walls of their churches, in each of which there 
is conflantly a place devoted to this ufe. Thofe that cannot 
attend the ceremony of afperfion in the church, efpecially 
fick or infirm people, have the water fent to them, and as 
Ifirge contribution is made for the patriarch, or biihop ; yet. 

4v aobpdy.- 


nobody ever took it into their heads to tax either Greek or 
Armenian with a repetition of baptifm. 

Monsieur de Tournefort*, in his travels through the 
Levant, gives you a figure of the Greek prieft, who blefTes 
the water in a peculiar habit, with a pailoral ftaff in his 

But, befides this, various falfehoods have likewife been 
propagated about the manner of baptifm praclifed in Abyf- 
finia, all in order to impugn the validity of it, and to ex- 
eufe the rafli conduct of the Jefuits for re-baptifmg all the 
Abymnians, as if they had been a Jewifh and Pagan people 
that never had been baptifed at all. The violation of this 
article of the creed, or confemon of Nice, was a caufe of 
great offence to the Abymnians, and of the misfortunes 
that happened afterwards. The whole of the Abyffinian 
fervice of baptifm is in their liturgy. The Jefuits had plenty 
of copies in their hands, and could have pointed out the 
part of the fervice that was heretical, if they had pleafed ;; 
they did not pretend, however, to do this, and their filence 
condemns them. . 

As for the idle flories that are told of the words pronoun- 
ced, fuch as, — " I baptize you in the name of the Holy Tri- 
nity," — " In the name of Peter and Paul,"- — " I baptize you 
in the water of Jordan," — " May God baptife you,"' — " May 
God walh you," and many others, they are all invented by 
the Jefuits, to excufe the repetition of baptifm in Abyflinia, 


Tournef, torn, i. p.iii.. 


which there was no fort of occafion for, as they might have 
examined the words and form in the liturgies, which are in 
every church ; and I muft here only obferve, that if, as the 
chaplain of Alvarez fays, the prieft in the pool, on the festi- 
val of the Epiphany, was fo fond of the proper words as even, 
at that time, to fay, " I baptife you in the name of the ta- 
" ther, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghoft," the words he 
quotes to {hew this immerfion in water on the Epiphany, 
is a real baptifm, I cannot comprehend why they fhouid 
vary them to other words, when nothing but baptifm is 
meant. But this I can bear evidence of, that, in no time 
when I was prcfent, as I have above a hundred times been 
at the baptifm both of adults and infants, aye, and of apo- 
ftates too, I never heard other words pronounced than the 
orthodox baptifmal ones, " I baptize thee in the name of 
" the Father, of the Son, and of the Holy Ghofl," immer- 
ging the child in pure water, into which they nrft pour a 
imall quantity of oil of olives, in the form of a crofs. 

The Abyflinians receive the holy facrament in both kinds 
in unleavened bread, and in the grape bruifed with the 
liufk together as it grows, fo that it is a kind of marmal- 
ade, and is given in a flat fpoon : whatever they may pre- 
tend, fome mixture feems neceffary to keep it from fermen- 
tation in the ilate that it is in, unlefs the dried duller is frefh 
bruifed juft before it is ufed, for it is little more fluid than 
the common marmalade of confectioners ; but it is perfectly 
the grape as it grew, bruifed Hones and fkin together. Some 
means, however, have been ufed, as I fuppofe, to prevent 
fermentation, and make it keep ; and, though this is con- 
ftantly denied, I have often thought I tailed a flavour that 
was not natural to the grape itfelf. 

i It 


It is a miftake that there is no wine in Abyflinia, for a 
quantity of excellent ftrong wine is made at Dreeda, fouth- 
weft from Gondar about thirty miles, which would more 
than fupply the quantity necefTary for the celebration of 
the euchariil in all Abyflinia twenty times over. The people 
themfelves are not fond of wine, and plant the vine in one 
place only ; and in this they have been imitated by the E- 
gyptians, their colony ; but a fmall black grape, of an ex- 
cellent flavour, grows plentifully wild in every wood in 

Large pieces of bread are given to the communicants 
in proportion to their quality ; and I have feen great men, 
who, though they open their mouths as wide as convenient- 
ly a man can do, yet from the refpect the prieft bore him, 
fuch a portion of the loaf was put into his mouth that wa- 
ter ran from his eyes, from the incapacity of chewing it, 
which,however, he does as indecently, and with full as much 
noife, as he eats at table* 

After receiving the facrament of the eucharift in both 
kinds, a pitcher of water is brought, of which the commu- 
nicant drinks a large draught ; and well he needs it to wafh 
down the quantity of bread he has juft fwallowed. He 
then retires from the fteps of the inner divilion upon which 
the adminiftering prieft ftands, and, turning his face to the 
wall of the church, in private fays fouie prayer with feem- 
ing decency and attention. 

The Romanifts doubt of the validity of the Abymnian 
confecration of the elements, becaufe in their liturgy it is 
plainly faid, " Lord, put thy hand upon this cup, and blefs 

" K 


" it, and fanctify it, and purify it, that in it may be made 
" thy holy blood ;" and of the bread they fay, " Blefs this 
" faucer, or plate, that in it may be made thy holy body." 
And in their prayer they fay, " Change this bread that it 
" may be made thy pure body which is joined with this 
" cup of thy precious blood." The Jefuits doubt of the va- 
lidity of this confecration, becaufe it is faid, " this bread is 
my body," and over the wine, " this cap is my blood ;" where- 
as, to operate a true tranfubftantiation, they fliould fay over 
the bread, " this is my body." 

For my own part, I leave it to the reverend fathers, who 
are the belt judges, what is necelTary to operate this miracle 
of tranfubftantiation. The reality of the thing itfelf is de- 
nied by all Proteftant churches, has been often doubted by 
others, has been ridiculed by lay- writers, and can never be 
a matter, 1 believe,of thorough conviction, much lefs of proof 
to any. The dignity of the fubjeel:, on which it touches 
nearly, as well as tendernefs for our brethren on the con- 
tinent, an article of whofe faith it is, mould always fcreen it 
from being treated with pleafantry, whatever we believe, or 
whether we believe it or not. 

M. LuDOLr thinks, that the words I have fet down are a 
proof the Abyflinians do not believe in tranfubllantiation. 
For my part, from thofe very words, I cannot think any thing 
is clearer than that they do ; the bread is upon the plate; 
they pray that that plate may be bleiled, " That in it the 
bread may be made God's holy body*;" and of the wine they 


. *s 

See the Ethiopic liturgies pafiim. Ludolf. lib. iii. cap. 5. 


fay, "That it may be made thy holy blood:" and in their 
prayer they fay, " Change this bread that it may be made 
thy body ;" and again, " May the Holy Ghofl mine upon 
this bread, that it may be made the body of Chrifc our God, 
and that this cup may be changed and become the blood, 
not the Jymbol, of the blood of Chrift our God." With all 
refpect to Mr Ludolf 's opinion, I muft think that, though 
the benediction prayed upon the patine, fpoon, and chalice, is 
but an auk ward expreffion, yet, if I underftand the language, 
" convene" and " immutetur" are literal tranflations of the 
Ethiopic, and feem to pray for a tranfubftantiation as direct- 
ly as words will admit, whether they believe in it or not; 
nor, as far as I know, can any flronger or more expreiTive be 
found to fubftitute in their place. 

I shall fmiih this fubject (which is not of my province, 
and which I have mentioned, becaufe I know it is a matter 
which fome of my readers defire information upon) by an 
anecdote that happened a few months before my coming 
into Abyflinia, as it was accidentally told me by the prieft 
of Adowa the very day of the Epiphany, and which Janni 
vouched to be true, and to have feen. 

The Sunday before Ras Michael's departure for Gondar 
from Adowa, he went to church in great pomp, and there 
received the facrament. There happened to be fuch a crowd 
to fee him, that the wine, part of the confecrated elements, 
was thrown down and fpiit upon the Heps whereon the 
communicants flood at receiving. Some ftraw or hay was 
inftantly gathered and fprinkled upon it to cover it, and the 
communicants continued the fervice till the end, treading 
that grafs under foot. 

Vol. 111. U u This 


This giving great offence to Janni, and.fomc few priefti 
that lived with him, it was told Michael, who, without ex- 
plaining himfelf, faid only, " As to the fact of throwing the 
hay, they are a parcel of hogs, and know no better." Thefe 
few words had ftuck in the ftomach of the prieft of Adowa, , 
who, with great fecrecy, and as a mark of friendfhip, begged I ; 
would give him my opinion what he mould have, done, or 
rather, what would have been done in my country ?. I told', 
him, " That the anfwer to his queftion depended: upon two i 
things, which,being known^his difficulties would very eafdy 
be folved* If you do believe that the wine fpilt by the mob > 
upon the fleps, and trod under foot afterwards, was really, 
the blood of Jems Ghrift, then you was guilty of a moft hor- 
rid crime, and you fhould cry upon the mountains to cover: 
you ; and ages of atonement are not fufficient to expiate it.. 
You mould, in the mean time, have railed the place round k 
with iron, or built it round with ftone, that no foot, or any 
thing elfe but the dew of heaven, could have fallen upon; 
it, or you fhould have brought in the- river upon the place 
that would have warned it all to the fea, and covered it ever 
after from facrilegious profanation. But if, on the contrary,, 
you believe, (as many Chriftian churches do) that the wine, 
(notwithftanding confecration) remained in the cup nothing- 
more than wine, but was Only the fymbol,:or type, of ChriftV 
blood of the New Teitament/then the fpilling it upon the 
fteps, and the treading upon it afterwards, having been 
merely accidental, and out of your power to prevent, being: 
fo far from your with that you are heartily forry that it hap*- 
pened, I do not reckon that you are further liable in the 
crime of facrilege, than if the wine had not been confecra- 
ted at all. You are to humble yourfelf, andnncerely regret 
that fo irreverent an accident happened in your hands, and 



in your time, but as you did not intend it, and could not 
prevent it ; the confequence of an accident, where inatten- 
tion is exceedingly culpable, will be imputed to you, and 
nothing further." 

The prieil declared to me, with great earneflnefs, that he 
never did believe that the elements in the eueharift were 
converted by confecration into the real body and blood of 
Chrift. He faid, however, that he believed this to be the 
Roman Catholic faith, but it never was his ; and that 
lie conceived the bread was bread, and the wine was wine, 
even after confecration. From this example, which occur- 
red merely accidentally, and was not the fruit of interroga- 
tion or curiofity, it appears to me, whatever the Jefuits fay, 
fome at leaft among the Abyffinians do not believe the real 
iprefence in the eueharift ; but further I am not enough 
informed to give a pofitive opinion. To follow this inves- 
tigation more curiouily would have been attended with a 
confiderable degree of danger ; and therefore I have ftated 
my only means of knowledge, and leave my readers entire- 
ly to the freedom of their own opinion, and to after inqui- 
ry and information. 

The Abymnians are not all agreed about the ftate of fouls 
before the refurrection of the body. The opinion which 
generally prevails is, that there is no third ftate; but that, 
after the example of the thief, the fouls of good men enjoy 
the beatific viiion immediately upon the reparation- from the 
body. But I mult here obferve, that their practice and books 
•.'do both contradict this ; for, as often as any perfon dies, alms 
are given, and prayers are offered for the fouls of thofe de- 
parted, which would be vain did they believe they yute 

U u 2 already 


already in the prefence of God, and in pofTeflion of the 
greateft blefs poffible, wanting nothing to complete it. " Re- 
member, (fays their liturgy) O Lord! the fouls of thy fervants, 
our father Abba Matthias, and the reft of our faints, Abba 
Salama, and Abba Jacob." In another place, "Remember, 
O Lord ! the kings of Ethiopia, Abreha, and Atzbeha, Caleb, 
and Guebra Mafcal." And again, " Releafe, O Lord ! our fa- 
ther Antonius, and Abba Macarius.' If this is not directly ac- 
knowledging a feparate ftate, it can have no meaning at all. 

I have already faid, that the Agaazi, the predecefTbrs of 
thofe people that fettled in Tigre from the mountains of the 
Habab, were ihepherds adjoining to the Red Sea; that they 
fpeak the language Geez, and are the only people in Abyffi- 
nia in porTeflion of letters ; that thefe are all circumcifed, 
both men and women. The former term, as applied to 
men, is commonly known to every one the leaft acquaint- 
ed with the Jewifh hiftory. The latter is, as far as I know, 
a rite merely Gentile, although in Africa, at leaft that part ad- 
joining to Egypt and the Red Sea, it is much more known and 
more univerfally practifed than the other. This I lTiall call 
cxclfion, that I may exprefs this uncommon operation by as 
decent a word as poflible. The Falafha likewife fubmit to; 

These nations, however they agree in their rite, differ in; 
their accounts of rhe time they received this ceremony, as 
well as the manner of performing it. The Abyfhnians of 
Tigre fay, that they received it from Ifhrnael's family and 
his defcendants, with whom they were early connected in 
their trading voyages. They fay alfo, that the queen of Sa- 
ba, and all the women of that coaft, had fuffered excifion at 
the ufual time of life, before puberty, and before her jour- 


ney to Jerufalem. The Faladia again declare, that their cir- 
cumcifion was that commonly practifed at Jerusalem in the 
time of Solomon, and in ufe among them when they left 
Paleitine, and came into Abyffinia. 

The circumcifion of the Abyfnnians is performed with a 
fharp knife, or razor. There is no laceration with the nails, 
no formula or repetition of words, nor any religious ceremony 
at the time of the operation, nor is it done at any particular 
age, and generally it is a woman that is the furgeon. The 
Falalha fay, they perform it fometimes with the edge of a 
fharp ftone ; fometimes with a knife or razor, and at other 
times with the nails of their fingers ; and for this purpofe 
they have the nails of their little fingers of an immoderate 
length: at the time of the operation the prieil chants a hymn, 
or verfe, importing, " BlefTed art thou, O Lord, who hall or- 
dained circumcifion !" This is performed on the eighth day, 
and is a religious rite, according to the firll inflitution by 
God to Abraham. 

The Abyflinians pretend theirs is not fo ; and, being prefix- 
ed for the reafon, they tell you it is becaufe Chrift and the 
apofiles were circumcifed, though they do not hold it ne- 
cefTary to falvation. But it is the objection they conftantly 
make againfl eating out of the fame plate, or drinking out 
of the fame cup with ftrangers, that they are uncircumci- 
fed, while, with the Egyptians or the Cophts, though equal- 
ly ftrangers, they make no fuch difficulty. In the time of 
the Jefuits, when the Roman Catholic religion was abolish- 
ed, and liberty given them to return to their old wormip, . 
their priefls proclaimed a general circumcifion ; and the 
populace, in the firll days of their fury, or triumph, mur- 
dered many Catholics, by ftabbing them, with a lance in that 

3- £^ 



part, as they met them, repeating in derifion the Jewifh hymn, 
or ejaculation, " BleiTed is the Lord that hath ordained cir- 
-cumcifion !" fo that, I believe, their indifference in this ar- 
ticle is rather owing to not being contradicted ; jufl as they 
are carelefs about every other parts of religion, unlefs fuch 
: as have been revived in their minds by difputes with the 
Jefuits, and kept up fmce in part among their clergy. But 
none of them pretend that circumcifion arifes from necef- 
fity of any kind, or from any obfcrtLcticn or impediment to 
procreation, or that it becomes neceiTary for cleanlinefs, or 
■from the heat of climate. 

None of thefe reafons, conftanfly alledged in Europe, 
are ever to be heard of here, nor do 1 believe they have the 
fmalleft foundation any where ; and this, I think, mould 
weigh flrongly in favour of the account fcripture gives of 
it. Examining the origin of this ceremony, independent of 
this revelation, I will never believe that man, or nations of 
men, rafhly fubmitted to a diigraceful, fometimes danger- 
ous, and always painful operation, unlefs there had been 
propoied, as a confequence, fome reward for fubmitting to, 
or fome punifhment for refufmg it, which balanced in their 
minds the pain and danger, as well as difgrace, of that ope- 
' -ration. 

All the inhabitants of the globe agree in confidering it 
ihameful to expofe that part of their body, even to men ; 
and in the call, where, from climate, you are allowed, and 
from refpect to your fuperiors, the -generality of men are 
forced to go naked, all agree in covering their waift, which 
is called their nakednefs\ though, it is really the only part of 
■•their body that is covered. We fee even that there was a 

■ * jcurfe 


curfe* attended the mere feeing that part of the body of 
a<parent,and not inflantly throwing a covering over it. 

I do not propofe difcufling at large the arguments for 
or againft the time of the beginning to circumcife. The 
fcripture has given fueh an account of it, that, when weigh- 
ed with the promife fo exaclly kept to the end, feems to me 
to be a very rational one. But, confidering all revelation 
©ut of the queftion, I think there is no room to inftitute 
any free or fair inquiry. I give no pre-eminence to Mofes 
nor his writing's. I fuppofe him a profane author ; but, till 
thofe that argue againft his account, and maintain circum- 
cifion was earlier than Abraham* mall fliew me another 
profane writer as old as Mofes, as-near the time they fay it 
began as Mofes was to the time of Abraham, I will not 
argue with them in fupport of Mofes againft Herodotus, 
nor difcufs who Herodotus's Phenicians, and who his Egyp- 
tians were, that circumcifed. Herodotus knew-' not Abra- 
ham nor Mofes, and, compared to their days, he is but as 
yefterdayo , Thofe Phenicians and Egyptians might, for any 
thing he knew at his time, have received circumcifion from 
Abraham or Ifhmael* or fome of their pofterity, as the A-i 
bymnians or Ethiopians, whom he refers to, actually fay* 
they did, which Herodotus did not know, it is plain, though - 
he mentions they were circumcifed.. This tradition of the 
AbyiTmians merits fome confederation from what they fcjf 
of it themfelves, that they were, in the. earlieft tirnc^ circum- 
cifed before they left their narive country, and fettled m 
Tigre. From this they derive no honour, nor. do they pre- 

*■ Gen. chap, ix. m. %%,. 



tend to any. It would have been othcrwife, if the ccra fixed 
upon had been the reign of Menilek, fon of Solomon, when 
they nrfT embraced Judaifm under a monarch. This 
would have made a much more brilliant epoch in their hi- 
ftory, whilft it was probable that they adopted circumcifion 
under the countenance of Azarias, the fon of Zadok, the 
high prieft, and the reprefentatives of the twelve tribes 
who came with him at that time from Jerufalem. 

It feems to me very extraordinary, that, if circumcilon 
was originally a Jewiili invention, all thofe nations to the 
fouth mould be abfolutely ignorant of it, while others to 
the northward were fo early acquainted with it ; for none 
of thpfe nations up the Nile (excepting the Shepherds) either 
know or practife it to this day ; though, ever fince the 
1400th year before Chrift, they have been in the clofefl con- 
nection with the Jews. This would rather make me believe, 
that the rite of circumcifion went northward from the plain 
of Mamre, for it certainly made no progrefs fouth ward from 
Egypt. We fee it obtained in Arabia, by Zipporah*, Mofes's 
wife, circumcifmg her fon upon their return to Egypt. Her 
great anxiety to have that operation immediately perform- 
ed, fliews that her's was a Judaical circumcifion ; there was 
no fin that attended the omiffion of this operation in Egypt, 
but God had laid to Abraham f, " The foul that is not cir- 
cumcifed lhall be cut off from Ifrael." 

The Tcheratz Agows, 1 who live between Lafta and Be- 
gemder, in an exceedingly fertile country, are not circum- 

cifed ; 

* JLxod. chap. iv. ver f 25. . f Geru chap. xvii. ver. 14* 


cifed ; and, therefore, if this nation left Paleftinc upon Jo- 
fhua paffing Jordan, circumcifion was not known there, for 
the Agows to this day are uncircumcifed. The fame may he 
faid of the Agows of Damot, who are fettled at the head of 
the Nile. It will be feen by the two fpecimens of their dif- 
ferent languages that they are different nations, as 1 have 
alledged. Next to thefe are the Gafat, in a plain open coun- 
try, who do not ufe circumcifion; none of them were ever 
converted to Judaifm, and but few of them to Chriftianky. 
The next are the people of Amhara who did not ufe circum- 
cifion, at leaft few of them, till after the maflacre of the 
princes by Judith in the year 900, when the remaining prin- 
ces of the line of Solomon fled to Shoa, and the court was 
eftablifhed there. The lafl of thefe nations that I mall 
'mention are the Galla, who are not circumcifed ; of this na- 
tion we have faid enough. 

On the north, a black, woolly-headed nation, called the 
Shangalla, already often mentioned, bounds Abyflinia, and 
ferves like a firing to the bow made by thefe nations of Gal- 
la. Who they are we know perfectly, being the Cufhite 
Troglodytes of Sofala, Saba, Axum and Meroe ; fhut up, as I 
have already mentioned, in thofe caves, the firft habitations 
of their more polifhed anceflors. Neither do thefe circum- 
cife, though they immediately bordered upon b'gypt, while 
the Cufhite, adjoining to the peninfula of Africa certainly 
did. As then fo many nations contiguous to Egypt never 
received circumcifion from it, it feems an invincible argu- 
ment, that this was no endemial rite or cuftom among the 
Egyptians, and I have before obferved, that it was of no ufe 
to this nation, as the reafons mentioned by Pbilo, and the 
reft, of cleanlinefs and climate, are abfolute dreams, and 

Vol. III. X x now 


now, exploded ; and that they are fo is plain, becaufe, other- 
wife, the nations more to the fouthward would have adopt- 
ed it, as they have univerfally done another cuitom, which 
1 mall prefently fpeak of. 

Circumcision, then, having no natural caufe or ad- 
vantage, being in itfelf repugnant to man's nature, and ex- 
tremely painful, if not dangerous, it could never originate 
in man's mind wantonly and out of free-will. It might 
have done fo indeed from imitation, but with Abraham it 
had a caufe, as God was to make his private family in a few 
years numerous, like the fands of the fea. This mark, which 
feparated them from all the world, was an eafy way to fhew 
whether the promife was fulfilled or not. They were go- 
ing to take poflenlon of a land where circumcifion was not 
known, and this mewed them their enemy diftinet from 
their own people. And it would be the groffeft abfurdity to 
fend Samfon to bring, as tokens of the flain,. fo many fore- 
ikins or prepuces of the Philiftines, if, as Herodotus fays., 
the Philiflines had cut off their prepuces, a thoufand years 

I must here take notice that this cuftom, filthy and bai> 
barous as it is, has been adopted by the Abyffinians of Tigre, 
who have always been circumcifed, from a knowledge that 
the nations about them were not circumcifed at all. It is 
true they do not content themfelves with the forefkin, and 
I doubt very much if this was not the cafe with the Jews 
likewife. On the contrary, in place of the forefkin they 
cut the whole away, fcrotum and all, and bring this to 
their fuperiors, as a token they have killed an enemy. 



Although it then appears that the. nations which had 
Egypt between Abraham and them, that is, were to the 
fouthward, did not follow the Egyptians in the rite of cir- 
cumcifion, yet in another, of excifion, they all concurred. 
Strabo* fays, the Egyptians circumcifed both men and wo- 
men, like the Jews. I will not pretend to fay that any fuch 
operation ever did obtain among the Jewifh women, as 
fcripture is filent upon it ; and indeed it is nowhere ever 
pretended to have been a religious rite, but to be introdu- 
ced from neceflity, to avoid a deformity which nature has 
fubjected particular people to, in particular climates and: 

We perceive among the brutes, that nature, creating the 
animal with the fame limbs or members all the world o- 
ver, does yet indulge itfelf in a variety, in the proportion of 
fuch limbs or members. Some are remarkable for the fize 
of their heads, fome for the breadth and bignefs of the tail, 
fbme for the length of their legs, and fome for the fize of 
their horns. There is a diftricl: in Abymnia, within the per- 
petual rains, where cows, of no greater fize than ours, have 
horns, each of which would contain as much water as the 
ordinary water-pail ufed in England does ; and I remem- 
ber on the frontiers of Sennaar, near the river Dender, to 
have feen a herd of many hundred cows, every one of which 
had the apparent conuruction of their parts almoft fimilar 
with that of the bull ; fo that, for a confiderable time, I 
was perfuaded that thefe were oxen, their udders being 
very fmall, until I had feen them milked. 

v. iii. X x 2. This 

* Lib, xyii. p. 9 jo. 


This particular appearance, or unnecefTary appendage, at 
jlrfl made me believe that I had found the real caufe of cir- 
cumcifion from analogy, but, upon information, this did not 
hold. It is however otherwife in the excilion of women. 
Irom climate, or fome other caufe, a certain difproportion 
is found generally to prevail among them. And, as the po- 
pulation of a country has in every age been confidered as an 
object worthy of attention, men have endeavoured to re-, 
medy this deformity by the amputation of that redundancy. 
All the Egyptians, therefore, the Arabians, and nations to 
the fouth of Africa, the Abyflinians, Gallas, Agows, Ga- 
fats, and Gongas, make their children undergo this opera- 
tion, at no fixed time indeed, but always before they are 

When the Roman Catholic priefls firft fettled in Egypt, 
they did not neglect fupporting their miflion by temporal 
advantages, and fmall prefents given to needy people their 
profelytes ; but millaking this excifion of the Coptifh wo- 
men for a ceremony performed upon Judaical principle, 
they forbade, upon pain of excommunication, that excifion 
mould be performed upon the children of parents who 
had become Catholics. The converts obeyed, the children 
grew up, and arrived at puberty ; but the confequences of 
having obeyed the interdict were, that the man found, 
by chufing a wife among Catholic Cophts, he fubjectvd 
himfelf to a very difagreeable inconveniency, to which he 
had conceived an unconquerable averfion, and therefore 
he married a heretical wife, free from this objection, and 
with her he relapfed into herefy. 

i The 


The miffionaries therefore finding it impoflible that ever 
their congregation could increafe, and that this accident did 
fruftrate all their labours, laid their cafe before the College 
of Cardinals de propaganda jide, at Rome. Thefe took it up as 
a matter of moment, which it. really was, and fent over 
viators fkilled in furgery, fairly to report upon the cafe as 
it flood ; and they, on their return, declared, that the heat 
of the climate, or fome other natural caufe, did, in that par- 
ticular nation, invariably alter the formation fo as to make 
a difference from what was ordinary in the fex in other 
countries, and that this difference did occafion a difgufl, 
which muft impede the confequences for which matrimony 
was inflituted. The college, upon this report, ordered that 
a declaration, being firft made by the patient and her pa- 
rents that it was not done from Judaical intention, but be- 
caufe it disappointed the ends of marriage, " Si modo 
" matrimonii fructus impediret id omnino tollendum ef- 
" fet :" that the imperfection was, by all manner of means, 
to be removed ; fo that the Catholics, as well as the Cophts, 
in Egypt, undergo excifion ever fmce. This is done with a 
knife, or razor, by women generally when the child is about 
eight years old *. 

There is another ceremony with whichlfhall clofe, and 
this regards the women alfo, and I mall call it incifiotu This 


* The reader will obferve, by the obfeurity of this paflage, that it is -with reluctance I 
have been determined to mention it at all ; but as it is an hiftorical fact, which has had 
material confequences, I have thought it not allowable to omit it altogether. Any naturahit, 
wifhing for more particular information, may confult the French copy. 


is an ufage frequent, and ftill retained among the Jews, 
though pofitively prohibited by the law : " Thou (halt not 
cut thy face for the fake of, or on account of the dead *." 
As foon as a near relation dies in Abyffinia, a brother or pa- 
rent, coufin german or lover, every woman in that relation, 
with the nail of her little finger, which fhe leaves long on 
purpofe, cuts the fkin of both her temples, about the lize of 
a fixpence ; and therefore you fee either a wound or a lcar 
in every fair face in Abyffinia ; and in the dry feafon, when 
the camp is out, from the lofs of friends they feldom 
have liberty to heal till peace and the army return with, 
the rains. 

- The Abyffinians, like the ancient Egyptians, their firft co- 
lony, in computing their time, have continued the ufe of the 
folar year. Diodorus Siculus fays, " They do not reckon 
their time by the moon, but according to the fun ; that thir- 
ty days constitute their month, to which they add five days 
and the fourth part of a day, and this completes their 

These five days were, by the Fgyptians, called Nici, and, 
by the Greeks, Epagomeni, which fignifies, days added, or 
fuperinduced, to complete a fum. The Abyffinians add five 
days, which they call Quagomi, a corruption from the Greek 
Epagomeni, to the month of Auguft, which is their Naha- 
afTe. Every fourth year they add a fixth day. They begin 
the year, like all the eaflern nations, with the 29th or 30th 
day of Auguft, that is the kalends of September, the 29th of 
Auguft being the firft of their month Mafcaram. 


* Deur. chap. xiv. ver. i. 


It is uncertain whence they derived the names of their 
months ; they have no Signification in any of the languages 
of Abyflinia. The name of the firft month among the old 
Egyptians has continued to this day. It is Tot, probably fo 
called from the firft divifion of time among the Egyptians, 
from observation of the helaical riling of the dog- liar. The 
names of the months retained in Abyflinia are poffibly in 
antiquity prior to this ; they are probably thofe given them 
by the Cufhite, before the Kalendars at Thebes and Meroe, 
their colony, were formed. 

The common epoch which the Abyflinians make ufe of 
is from the creation of the world ; but in the quantity of 
this period they do not agree with the Greeks, nor with 
other eaflern nations, who reckon 5508 years from the crea- 
tion to the birth of Chriftv The Abyflinians adopt the even 
number of 5500 years, calling away the odd eight years ; 
but whether this was firffc done for eafe of calculation, or 
fome better reafon, there is neither book nor tradition that 
now can teach us. They have, belides this, many other e- 
pochs, fuch as from the council of Nice and Ephefus. There 
is likewife to be met with in their books a portion of time, 
which is certainly a cycle ; the Ethiopic word is kamar, 
which, literally interpreted^ is an arch, or circle. It is not 
now in ufe in civil life among the Abyfiinians y and there- 
fore was mentioned as containing various quantities from 
100 years to 19 ; and there are places in their hiflory where 
neither of thefe will apply, nor any even number what- 

They make ufe of the golden number and epacl cou- 
ftantly in all their ecclefiaftic computations : the firft they 



call Matque, the other Abaclc. Scaliger, who has taken 
great pains upon this confufed fubject, the computation of 
time in the church of Abyflinia, without having fucceed- 
ed in making it much clearer, tells us, that the iirft ufe or 
invention of epacts was not earlier than the time of Diocle- 
fian ; but this is contrary to the pofitive evidence of Abyf- 
finian hiftory, which fays exprefsly, that the epact was in- 
vented by Demetrius *, patriarch of Alexandria. " Unlefs, 
fays the poet in their liturgy, Demetrius had made this 
revelation by the immediate influence of the Holy Ghoft, 
how, I pray you, was it poilible that the computation of 
time, called Epacts, could ever have been known ?" And, 
again, " When you meet, fays he, you mail learn the com- 
putation by epacts, which was taught by the Holy Ghoft to 
father Demetrius, and by him revealed to you." Now De- 
metrius was the twelfth patriarch of Alexandria, who was 
elected about the 190th year of Chrift, or in the reign of 
the emperor Severus, consequently long before the time of 

It feems the reputation the Egyptians had from very old 
time for their fkill in computation and the divifion of time, 
remained with them late in the days of Chriftianity. Pope 
Leo the Great, writing to the emperor Marcian, confefles 
that the fixing the time of the moveable feafts was always 
an exclufrve privilege of the church of Alexandria ; and 
therefore, fays he, in his letter about reforming the kalen- 
dar, the holy fathers endeavoured to take away the occa- 
fion of this error, by delegating the whole care of this to 


* Encora. 12th Odober, Od. 3. torn. 1. Ann. Alexan. p. m. 363, 


the bifhop of Alexandria, becaufe the Egyptians, from old 
times, feem to have had this gift of computation given them-; 
and when thefe had fignified to the apoftolic See the days 
upon which the moveable feafls were to happen, the church 
of Rome then notified this by writing to churches at a great- 
er diftance. 

We are. not to doubt that this privilege, which the church 
of Alexandria had been fo long in poiTemon of, contributed 
much to inflame the minds of the Abyffinians againft the 
Roman Catholic priefts, for altering the time of keeping 
Eafter, by appointing days of their own ; for we fee violent 
commotions to have arifen every year upon the celebration 
of this feftivaL. 

The Abyffinians have another way of defcribing time 
peculiar to themfelves ; they read the whole of the four 
evangelilts every year in their churches. They begin with 
Matthew, then proceed to Mark, Luke, and John, in order; 
and, when they fpeakof an event, they-write and. fay it hap- 
pened in the days of Matthew, that is, in the firft quarter of 
the year, while the gpfpeL of St Matthew was yet reading 
in the churches. . 

They compute the time of the day in a very arbitrary, ir- 
regular manner. , The twilight, as I have before obferved, 
is very fhort, almofl imperceptible, and was Hill more fo 
when the court was removed farther to the fouthward in 
Shoa. As foon as the fun falls below the horizon, night 
comes on, and all the ft-ars appear. This term, then, the 
twilight, they choofe for rhe beginning of their day, and 
call it Nagge, which is the very time the twilight of the 

Vol. III. Y. y . morning 


morning Lifts. The fame is obferved at night, and Mefet 
is meant to fignify the inftant of beginning the cwilight, 
between die fun's falling below the horizon and the fears 
appearing. Mid-day is by them called Katcr, a very old word, 
winch iig'iifies culmination, or a tiling's being arrived or pla- 
ced ar the middle or higher! part of an arch. All the r$ft 
of times, in converfation, they defcribe by pointing ar the 
place in the heavens where the fun then was, when what 
they are defcribing happened. 

I shall conclude what further I have to fay on this 
fubjecl:, by obferving, that nothing can be more inaccu Jte 
than all Abyffinian calculations. Beiides their abfolutc ig- 
norance in arithmetic, their exceflive idlenefs and averiion 
to ftudy, and a number of fanciful, whimncal combina- 
tions, by which every particular fcribe or monk diftinguifhes 
himfelf, there are obvious reafons why there fhould be a 
variation between their chronology and ours. I have al- 
ready obferved, that the beginning of our years are differ- 
ent ; ours begin on the ift of January, and theirs on 
the ill day of September, fo that there are 8 months dif- 
ference between us. The laft day of Auguft may be the 
year 1 780 with us, and 1779 only with the Abyffinians. Aid 
in the reign of their kings they very feldom mention either 
month or day beyond an even number of years. Suppo- 
fing, then, it is known that the reign of ten kings extended 
from fuch to f ;ch a period, where all the months and days 
are comprehended, when we come to affign to each of 
thefe an equal number of years, without the correfpondent 
months and days, it is plain that, when all thefe fepar.ite 
reigns come to oe added together, the one fum-total will 
not agree with the other, but will be more or lefs than the 

4 juft 


juft time which that prince reigned. This, indeed, as errors 
compenfate full as frequently as they accumulate, will fel- 
dom amount to a difference above three years ; a fpace of 
time too trivial to be of any confequence in the hiflory of 
barbarous nations. 

However, it will occur that even this agreement is no 
pofitive evidence of the exaclnefs of the time, for it may fo 
happen that the fum-totals may agree, and yet every parti- 
cular fum conftituting the whole may be falfe, that is, if the 
quantity of errors which are too much exactly correfpond 
with the quantity of errors that are too little ; to obviate 
this as much as poflible, I have confidered three eclipfes of 
the fun as recorded in the Abyflinian annals. The fi-rft was 
in the reign of David III. the year before the king marched 
out to his firft campaign againft MafFudi the Moor, in, the 
unfortunate war with Adel. The year that the king march- 
ed into Dawaro was the 1526, after having difpatched the 
Portuguefe ambaflador Don Roderigo de Lima, who em- 
barked at Mafuah on the 26th of April on board the fleet 
commanded by Don Hector de Silveyra, who had come from 
India on purpofe to fetch him ; and the Abyflinian annals 
fay, that, the year before the king marched, a remarkable 
eclipfe of the fun had happened in the Ethiopic month 
Ter. Now, in confulting our European accounts, we find 
that, on the fecond of January, anfwering to the 18th day of 
Ter, there did happen an eclipfe of the fun, which, as it 
was in the time of the year when the iky is cloudlefs both 
night and day, mufl have been vifible all the time of its du- 
ration. So here our accounts do agree precifely. 

Yyj The 



The fecond happened on the 13th year of the reign of 
Claudius, as the Abyffinian account ftates it. Claudius fuc- 
ceeded to the crown in the 1540, and the 13th year of his 
reign will fall to be on the 1553. Now we find this eclipfe 
did happen in the fame clear feafon of the year, that is, on 
the 24th of January 1553, fo in this fecond inftance our 
chronology is perfectly correct. 

The third eclipfe of the fun happened in the 7th year of 
the reign of Yafous II. in Magabit, the feventh month of the 
Abyflinians. Now Yafous came to the crown in 1729, fo 
that the 7th year of his reign will be in 1736, and on the 
4th day of October, anfwering to the 8th day of the month 
Tekemt, N. S. in that year, we fee this eclipfe obferved in 

As a further confirmation of this, we have ftated the par- 
ticulars of a comet which, the Abyffinian annals fay, ap- 
peared at Gondar in the month of November, in the 9th 
year of the reign of Yafous I. and as this comet was ob- 
ferved in Europe to have come to its perihelion in Decem- 
ber 1 689, and as that year, according to our account, was 
really the 9th of that king's reign, no further proof of the 
exactnefs of our chronology can poffibly be required. By 
means of thefe obfervations, counting backward to the time 
of Icon Amlac, and again forward to the death of Joas, 
which happened in 1768, and affigning to each prince the 
number of years that "his own hiftorians fay he reigned, I 
have, in the molt unexceptionable manner that I can devife, 
fettled the chronology of this country; and the exaclr agree- 
ment it hath with all the remarkable events, regularly and 
Efficiently vouched, plainly {hews the accuracy of this me- 

■2 thod. 


thod. If, therefore, in a few cafes, I differ two or three years 
from the Jefuits in their nrft account of this country, I do 
not in any Ihape believe the fault to be mine, becaufe there 
are, at all thefe periods, errors in point of fa<ft, both in Alva- 
rez and Teilez, much more material and unaccountable than 
the miflake of a few years ; and thefe errors have been adop- 
ted with great confidence in the Hifpania Illuftrata, and fome 
of the beft books of Portuguefe hiflory which have made 
mention of this country. 


C H A P. 









The Author made Governor of Ras el Feel. 

I SOON received an inftance of kindnefs from Ayto Confu 
which gave me great pleamre on feveral accouncs. On 
the fouth part of Abyflinia, on the frontiers of Sennaar, 
is a hot, unwholefome, low {tripe of country, inhabited 
entirely by Mahometans, divided into feveral fmall di- 
stricts, known by the general name of Mazaga. Of this I 



have often before fpoken, and mall have further oecafion in 
the fequel. 

The Ar^bs of Sennaar that are on bad terms with the. 
governor of Atbara, fly hither acrofs the defert to avoid the 
rapine and violence of that cruel tyrant. The arrival of 
thefe produces in an inftant the greater! plenty at Ras el 
Peel ; markets are held everywhere ; cattle of all kinds, milk, 
butter, elephants teeth, hides, and Teveral other commodi- 
ties, are fold to a great amount, . 

The Arabs are of many different tribes ; the chief are the 
Daveina, then the Nile. Thefe, befldes getting a good mar- 
ket, and food for their cattle and protection for themfelves, 
have this great additional advantage, they efcape the Fly, 
and confequently are not pillaged, as the reft of the Arabs 
in Atbara are, when changing abodes to avoid the havock 
made by that infect. In return for this, they conftantly 
bring horfes from Atbara, below Sennaar, for the king's 
own ufe, and. for fuch of his cavalry who are armed with 
coats of mail, no Abyffinian horfe, or very few at leaft, be- 
ing capable of. that burden, . 

Ayto Confu had many diftricts of land from his father: 
Kafmati Netcho, as well as fome belonging to his mother 
Ozoro Either, which lay upon that frontier ; it was called 
Ras el Feel, and had a fendick and nagareet, but, as it was 
governed always by a deputy who was a Mahometan, it 
had no rank among the great governments of the ftate. 
Beiides thefe lands, the patrimony of Confu, Ras Michael" 
had given him more, and with them this government, 
young as he was, from favour to his mother Ozoro Efther. 



This Mahometan deputy was named Abdel Jelleel, a great 
coward, who had refufed to bring out his men, tho' fum- 
moned, to join the king when marching againft Fafil. He 
had alfo quarrelled with the Daveina, and robbed them, fo 
that they traded no more with Ras el Feel, brought no more 
horfes, and the diftridl was confequently nearly ruined, 
whilft a great outcry was raifed againft Abdel Jelleel by the 
merchants who ufed to trade at that market, not having 
now money enough to pay the meery. 

Ammonios, his Billetana Gueta, was the perfon Ayto Conf'u 
had deftined to go to Ras el Feel to reduce it to order, and 
difplace Abdel Jelleel ; but Ras Michael had put him as a 
man of trull over the black horfe under me, fo he was em- 
ployed otherwife. Confu himfelf was now preparing to go 
thither to fettle another deputy in the place of Abdel Jelleel, 
and he had afked the affiflance of troops from the king, by 
which this came to my knowledge. 

The firft time I faw Ozoro Efther, I told her, that, unlefs 
fhe had a mind to have her fon die fpeedily, me fliould, by 
every means in her power, dilhiade him from his journey 
to Ras el Feel, being a place where the bloody flux never 
ceafed to rage ; and this complaint had never perfectly left 
him fince he had had the fmall-pox, but had wore him to a 
fhadow. There could be no furer way therefore of deftroy- 
ing him than letting him go thither as he propofed. He 
had been for fome time indeed taking bark, which had 
done him great fervice. His mother Ozoro Efther, the Iteghe, 
whofe firft favourite he was, and all his friends, now took 
the alarm, upon which the Ras forbade him pofitively to 

-, Vol. III. Z z Negade 


Negade F.AS Mahomet, of whom we have already fpoken 9 , 
brother to Hagi Saleh, who had procured me myfirft lodg- 
ing at Gondar, was head of all the Mahometans in that ca- 
pital, nay, I may fay, in Abyflinia; He, too, was a favourite 
of the Ras, and mewed the fame attachment to me, on ac- 
count of Metical Aga, as had his brother Saleh. This man 
came to me one morning, and told me, that Yafine, whom 
I had brought with me to Abyflinia, and was recommended 
to me by Metical Aga, had married Abdel Jelleel's daughter, . 
and that a fon of Saleh had married a daughter of Yaline's. 
He faid there was not a man in Abyflinia that was a braver 
foldier and better horfeman than Yafine ; that he had no 
love for money, but was a man of probity and honour, as 
indeed I had always found him ; that the people of Ras el 
Feel, to a man, wiihed to have him for. their governor in the 
room of Abdel Jelleel; and that all the Arabs, as well as 
Shekh Fidele, governor of Atbara, for Sennaar, wiihed the 

Mahomet did not dare to fpeak for fear of Ozoro Eflher,;, 
who was thought to favour Abdel Jelleel, but he promifed, , 
that, if AytoConfu would appoint him inftead of Abdel Jeb- 
leel, he would give him 50 ounces of gold, befides what Ya-> 
fine fhould allow upon his fettlement, and would manage 
the affair with Michael when he had leave fo to do. He - 
added, that his brother Saleh fhould furnifh. Yafine with; 
200 men from the Mahometans at Gondar, completely arm- 
ed with their firelocks, and commanded by young Saleh in: 

I was not at this time any judge of the expediency of. 
the meafure ; but one refolution I had made, and deter- 


mined to keep, that I never would accept a poll or employ- 
ment for myfelf, or folicit any fuch for others. My reader will 
fee, that, for my own fafety, moft unwillingly I had been 
obliged to break the firft of thefe refolutions almoft as foon 
as it was formed, and I was now deliberating whether it 
was not better that I mould break the other for the fame 
reafon. Two things weighed with me extremely, the ex- 
perience of Yafine's prudence and attachment to me during 
the whole journey, and my determination to return by 
Sennaar, and never truft myfelf more in the hands of that 
bloody aiTaffin the Naybe of Mafuah, who I underftood had, 
at feveral times, manifefled his bad intentions towards me 
when I mould return by that ifland. 

I flattered myfelf, that great advantage would accrue 
■to me by Yafine's friendfhip with the Arabs and the Shekh 
of Atbara; and, having confulted Ay to Aylo firft, I made him 
propofe it to Ozoro Efther. I found, upon fpeaking to that 
princefs, that there was fomething embroiled in the affair. 
She did not anfwer directly, as ufual, and I apprehended 
that the objection was to Yafine. I was no longer in doubt 
of this, when Ozoro Efther told me AJ)ba Salama had 
ftrongly efpoufed the caufe of Abdel Jelleel, who had bri- 
bed him. Notwithftanding this, I refolved to mention it 
myfelf to Confu, that I might have it in my power to 
know where the objection lay, and give a direct anfwer to 

I saw Confu foon after at Kofcam. His bark being ex- 
haufted, I brought him more, and he feemed to be much 
better, and in great fpirits. The time was favourable in all 
its circumftances, and I entered into the matter directly. I 

Z z 2 was 


was very much furprifed to hear him fay gravely, and with- 
out hefitation, " I have as good an opinion of Yafine as 
you can have ; and I have as bad a one of Abdel Jelleel as 
any man in Gondar, for which, too, I have fufficient rea- 
fon, as it is but lately the king told me peevifhly enough, I 
did not look to my affairs, (which is true) as he underftood 
that the diftrict was ruined by having been neglected. But 
I am no longer governor of Ras el Feel, I have refigned it. I 
hope they will appoint a wifer and better man; let him 
choofe for his deputy Yaiine, or who elfe he pleafes, for I 
have fworn by the head of the Tteghe, I will not meddle or 
make with the government of Ras el Feel more. 

Tecla Mariam, the king's fecretary, came in at that in- 
flant with a number of other people. I wanted to take 
Confu afide to afk him further if he knew who this gover- 
nor was, but he muffled among the crowd, faying, " My 
mother will tell you all ; the man who is appointed is your 
friend, and I think Yafine may be the- deputy." I now loll 
no time in going to Ozoro Either to intercede for the go- 
vernment of Ras el Feel for Yafine.. 

Among the crowd I met firft Tecla Mariam, the king's 
fecretary, who taking me by the hand, faid, with a laughing 
countenance, "Oho, I wifh you joy; this is like a man; you 
are now no ft ranger, but one of us ; why was not you at 
court ?" I faid I had no particular bufinefs there, but that 
I came hither to fee Ayto Confu, that he might fpeak in fa- 
vour of Yafine to get him appointed deputy of Ras el Feel. 
44 Why don't you appoint him yourfelf ? fays he ; what has 
Confu to do with the affair now ? You don't intend always 
to be in leading firings ? You may thank the king for your- 


felf, but I would never advife you to fpeak one word of Ya- 
fine to him ; it is not the cuftom ; you may, if you pleafe, to 
Confu, he knows him already. His eitate lies all around 
you, and he will enforce your orders if there fliould be any 

" Pardon me, Tecla Mariam, faid T, if I do not understand 
you. I came here to folicit for Yafine, that Confu or his 
fucceiTor would appoint him their deputy, and you anfwer 
that you advife me to appoint him myfelf." — " And fo I do, 
replies Tecla Mariam : Who is to appoint him but you ? 
You are governor of Ras el Feel ; are you not ?" I flood mo- 
tionlefs with aftonifhment. " It is no great affair, fays he, 
and I hope you will never fee it. It is a hot, unwholefome 
country, full of Mahometans ; but its gold is as good as any 
Chriftian gold whatever. I wifh it had been Begemder 
with all my heart, but there is a good time coming," 

After having recovered myfelf a little from my furprife, 
I went to Ayto Confu to kifs his hand as my fuperior, but 
this he would by no means fuffer me to do. A great din- 
ner was provided us by trie Iteghe ; and Yafine being fent 
for, wa.^ appointed, cloathed,thatis invefted, and ordered im- 
mediately to Ras el Feel to his government, to make peace 
with the Daveina, and bring all the horfes he could get with 
him from thence, or from Atbara. I fent there alfo that poor 
man who had given us the fmall blue beads on the road, as I 
have already mentioned. The having thus provided for 
thofe two men, and fecured, as I thought, a retreat toSen- 
naar for myfelf, gave me the firfl real pleafure that I had re- 
ceived iince landing at Mafuah ; and that day, in company 
with. Heikel, Tecla Mariam, Engedan, Aylo, and Guebra 



Denghel, all my great friends and the hopes of this coun- 
try, I for the firft time, fince my arrival in Abyilinia, aban- 
doned myfelf to joy. 

My conflitution was, however, too much weakened to 
bear any cxcefTes. The day after, when I went home to 
Emfras, I found myfelf attacked with a flow fever, and, 
thinking that it was the prelude of an ague, with which I 
was often tormented, I fell to taking bark, without any remif- 
lion, or, where the remiillon was very obfeure, I fliut my- 
felf up in the houfe,upon my conftant regimen of boiled rice, 
with abundant draughts of cold water. 

I was at this time told that there was a great commotion 
atGondar; that a monk of Debra Libanos, a favourite of the 
Iteghe and of the king too, had excommunicated Abba Sa- 
lama in a difpute about religion at the Itchegue's houfe ; and, 
the day after, Hagi Mahomet, one of Ras Michael's tent-ma- 
kers, who lived in the town below, through which the high 
road from Gojam pafTes, came to tell me, that many monks 
from Gojarn had palled through the low town, and exprelT- 
ed thernfelves very much diflatisfied by hearing that a 
frank (meaning me) was in the town above. He faid that 
when they came in fixes and fevens at a time, there was no 
fear; but when they returned altogether (as Michael fome- 
times made them do) they were like fo many madmen ; 
therefore, if I refolved to flay at Emfras, he wimed I would 
-order him fend me fome Mahometan foldiers, who would 
itrictly act as I commanded them. 

At the fame time I received news that my great friend, 
Tecla Mariam, and his daughter of the fame name, the 


moft beautiful woman iu Abymnia after Ozoro Either, 
were both ill at Gondar. There needed no more for me to 
repair inftantly thither. I muifled my head up as great of- 
ficers generally do when riding near, the capital I pafled at 
different times above twenty of thefe fanatics on the road, fix 
and feven together ; but either they did not know me, or 
at leaft, if they did, they did not fay any thing ; I came to Ay~ 
to Aylo's, who was fitting, complaining of. fore eyes, with. 
the queen's chamberlain,, Ayto HeikeL- 

ArTER the ufual faiutation, I afked Aylo what was the mat- 
ter in town ? and if it was true that Sebaat Gzier had excom- 
municated Abba Salama ? and rold him that I had conceived 
thefe difputes about faith had been long ago fettled. He an- 
fwered with an affected gravity, "That it was not fo ; that, 
this was of fuch importance that he doubted it would 
throw the country into great convulfions ; and he would 
not advife me to-be feen in the ftreet." — " Tell me, I befeech' 
you, faid I, what it is about. I hope not the old ftory of the 
Franks ?" — " No, no, fays he, a great dealworfe than that, it 
is about Nebuchadnezzar :" — and he broke out in a great fit 
of laughter. " The monk, of Debra Libanos fays, that Ne- 
buchadnezzar is a faint ; and Abba Salama fays that he was- 
a Pagan, Idolater, and a Turk, and that he is burning in 
hell fire with Dathan and Abiram. 5 ' — *• Very well; faid I, I 
cannot think he was a Mahometan if he was a Pagan and 
Idolater; but I am fure I mall make no enemies upon this 
difpute." — " You are deceived, fays he ; unlefs you tell your 
opinion in this country you are reckoned an enemy to both 
parties. Stay, therefore, all night, and do not appear on the 
llreets ;" and, upon my telling them I was going to Tecla^ 
Mariana's,, who was ill, they role with me to go thither*, 



for the flriifleft friendfhip fubfiiled between them. We met 
there with Ozoro Either, who was viliting the beautiful Te- 
cla Mariam in her indifpofition. Seeing Aylo, Heikel, and 
me together at that time of night, fhe infifted that the 
young lady and I ihould be married, and fhe declared 
roundly fhe would fee it done before fhe left the houfe. As 
neither of my patients were very ill, a great deal of mirth 
followed. Ozoro Either fat late; there was no occafion for 
the compliment of feeing her home, fhe had above three 
hundred men with her. 

After fhe was gone the whole difcourfe turned upon 
religion, what we believed or did not believe in our coun- 
try, and this continued till day-light, when we all agreed 
to take a little fleep, then breakfaft, and go to court. We 
did fo, but Aylo went to Kofcam, and Tecla Mariam to the 
Ras, fo I met none of them with the king. When I went 
in he was hearing a pleading upon a caufe of fome confe- 
quence, and paying great attention. One of the parties had 
finiihed, the other was replying with a great deal of grace- 
ful action, and much energy and eloquence. — They were 
bare down to their very girdle, and would feem rather pre- 
pared for boxing than for fpeaking. 

This being over, the room was cleared, and I made my 
proftration. " I do demand of you, fays the king abruptly, 
Whether Nebuchadnezzar is a faint or no ?" 1 bowed, fay- 
ing, " Your majefcy knows I am no judge of thefe matters, 
and it makes me enemies to fpeak about them." — " I know, 
fays he gravely, that you will anfwer my queftion when I 
aik it ; let me take care of the reft." — " I never thought, faid 
I, Sir, that Nebuchadnezzar had any preteniions to be a 

3 faint. 


Taint. He was a fcourge in God's hand, as is famine or the 
"plague, but that does not make either of them a Wholefome 
;vifitation."— " What! fays he, Does not God call him his fer- 
vant ? Does he not fay that he did his bidding about Tyre, 
and that he gave him Egypt to plunder for his recompence > 
Was not it by God's command he led his people into capti- 
vity ? and did not he believe in God, when Shadrach, Me- 
^liech, and Abednego efcaped from the fiery furnace ? Sure- 
ly he mult be a faint." — " I am perfectly fatisfied, faid I, and 
give my confent to his canonization, rather than either 
your majefty, or Abba Salama, mould excommunicate me 
upon the queflion." He now laughed out, and feemed great- 
ly diverted, and was going to fpeak, when Tecla Mariam, 
and a number of others, came in. I withdrew -to the fide 
with refpecVas the fecretary had a fmall piece of paper in 
•his hand. He ftaid about two minutes with the king, 
when the room filled, and the levee began. I w-iflied Fecla 
Mariam might not be the worfe for lafl night's fitting up. 
•" The better, the better, fays lie, much the better. You fee 
we are becoming all good, day and night we are bufy about 
religion." — " Are you upon Nebuchadnezzar to-day, friend? 
faid I ; the king fays to me he is a faint." — " Juft fuch a faint, 
I fuppofe, fays he, as our Ras Michael, who, I believe, is jea- 
lous of him, for he is going himfeif to decide this difpute 
immediately. Go to the Afhoa* and you will hear it." 

There was a number of people in the outer court of the 
king's houfe, crying very tumultuoufly for a convocation of 
the church. At twelve o'clock there was no word of Mi- 

Vol. III. 3 A chael 

# The largeft court, or outer fpace, furrounding the king's haufe. 


chael at the palace ; but I faw the members of the council 
there, and expected he was coming. Inftead of this, the 
large kettle-drum, or nagareet, called the lion, was carried to 
the king's gate, which occafioned great fpeculation. But 
prefently proclamation was made in thefe words, given me 
by Tecla Mariam himfelf: — "Hear! hearf hear! they that 
pretend they do not hear this, will not be the laft punifhed: 
for difobeying : — Whereas many diforderly and idle perfons 
Have nocked to this capital for fome days paft, and brought 
no provifions for themfelves or others, and have frightened 
the country people from coming to market, whereby all 
degrees of men, in this capital, are threatened with famine, 
and fcarcity is already begun ; this is, therefore, to give no- 
tice, That if any fuch people, after twelve o'clock to-morrow,, 
be found in this city, or in the roads adjoining thereto, they 
ihall be punifhed like rebels and robbers, and their fault 
not prefcribed for feven years." 

And, in about ten minutes aftewards, another proclama^ 
tion was made :— " The king orders four hundred Galla of 
his troops to patrole the flreets all the night, and difperfe 
fummarily all forts of people that they fhall find gathered to- 
gether; commands thirty horfe to patrole between DebraTzai 
and Kolla, thirty on the road to Woggora, and thirty on that to 
Emfras, to protect our fubjects coming to market, and going 
about their other lawful bufinefs : They that are wile will" 
keep themfelves well when they are fo." There was no need 
of a fecond proclamation. The 'monks were all wife, and. 
returned in an inilant every man to his home. The Galla 
were mentioned to terrify only, for they did not exilt, 
Ozoro Either having cleared the palace of that nation ; but 
the monks knew there would be found people in their place 

4 every 


every bit as bad as Galla, and did not choofe to rifk the trial 
of the difference. 

At this time a piece of bad news was circulated at Gon- 
dar, that Kaimati Boro, whom the Ras had left governor at 
Damot, had been beaten by Fafil, and obliged to retire to 
his own country in Gojam, to Stadis Amba, near the paffage 
of the Nile, at Mine ; and that Fafil, with a larger army of 
flranger Galla than that he had brought to Fagitta, had ta- 
ken pofTemon of Bure, the ufual place of his refidence. This 
being privately talked of as true, I afked Keila Yafous in 
confidence what he knew of it. Upon its being confirmed, 
I could not difguife my forrow, as [ conceived that unex- 
pected turn of affairs to be an invincible obftacle to my 
reaching the fource of the Nile. " You are miftaken, 
fays Kefla Yafous to me, it is the belt thing can hap- 
pen to you. Why you defire to fee thofe places I do not 
know, but this I am fure of, you never will arrive there with 
any degree of fafety while Fafil commands. He is as per- 
fect a Galla as ever forded the Nile ; he has neither word, nor 
oath, nor faith that can bind him ; he does mifchief for 
mifchief's fake, and then laughs at it," 

" Michael, after the battle of Fagitta, propofed to his 
army to pafs the rainy feafon at Bure, and quarter the 
troops in the towns and villages about. He would have 
ftaid a year with them, to fhew that Fafil could not help 
them, but he was over- ruled. At Hydar Michael (that is, in 
November next) all Abyflinia will march againlt him, and 
he will not ftay for us, and this time We mall not leave his 
country till we have eaten it bare ; and then, at your eafe, 
you will fee every thing, defend yourfelf by your own 

3 A 2 force> 



force, and be beholden to nobody ; and remember what h 
fay, peace with Fafil there never will be, for' he does notde- 
fire it ; nor, till you fee his head upon a pole, or Michael's 
army encamped at Burcywill you (if you are wife) ever at- 
tempt to pafs Maitfha." Memorable words! often after* 
wards reflected upon, though they were not flrictly verified, 
in the. eyaent they were meant when fppken. 

t .*i^^^ i ¥g^^gpy^^-vl| 






Btittle of Banja-—Confplracy agalnjl Michael — 'The Author retires to- 
Kmfras — Defcriptlon of Gondar ^ Emfras i and Lake Tzana* 

AFTER FanTs defeat atFagitta, and the affront he recei- 
ved at Aflba in the heart of his own country, he. had 
continued his route to Bure, a diftric"fcx>f the Ago ws, where 
was his confiant refidence. After this he had crofled the 
Nile into the country of Bizamo, and Boro do. Gagq had ta- 
ken up his refidence at Bure, when Michael returned to- 
Gondar ; burno fooner had he heard of his arrival in thofe- 
parts than he marched with a number- of horfe, and forced 
his rival to retire to Gojam. . 

The Agows were all loyalists in their hearts, had been 
forced to join Fafil, but, immediately after his defeat, had de- 
clared for Michael/ The firfl thing, therefore, Fafil did, when 
returned to Bure, was to attack the Agows on every fide ; a 
double advantage was fure to follow this victory, the fa- 
mifhing his enemies at Gondar, and converting fo rich a 
territory to his own ufe, by extirpating the Agows, and lay- 


ing it open to be poffeiTed by his countrymen, the Galla, 
from Bizamo. 

A very obftinate battle was fought at Banja, one of their 
principal fettlements, in which the Agows were entirely 
defeated, feven of their chiefs killed, all men of great confe- 
quence, among whom was Ayamico, a very near relation 
of the king. The news were nrfl brought by a fon of 
Nanna Georgis, chief of the Agows, who efcaped from the 
battle. Michael was at dinner, and I was prefent. It was 
one of his caroufals for the marriage of PowmTen, when 
young Georgis came into the room, in a torn and dirty 
habit, unattended, and almoft unperceived, and prefented 
himfelf at the foot of the table. Michael had then in his 
hand a cup of gold, it being the exclufive privilege of the 
governor of the province of J igre to drink out of fuch a 
cup ; it was full of wine ; before a word was fpoke, and, upon 
the firfl: appearance of the man, he threw the cup and wine 
upon the ground, and cried out, I am guilty of the death of 
thefe people. Every one arofe, the table was removed, and 
Georgis told his misfortune, that Nanna Georgis his father, 
Zeegam Georgis, the next in rank among them, Ayamico the 
king's relation, and four other chiefs, were flain at Banja, and 
their race nearly extirpated by a victory gained with much 
bloodfhed, and after cruelly purfued in retaliation for that 
of Fagitta. 

A council was immediately called, where it was refol- 
ved, that, though the rainy feafon was at hand, the utmofl 
expedition mould be made to take the field ; thatGufho and 
Powufien mould return to their provinces, and increafe 
their army to the utmoit of their power; that the king 



£hould take the low road by Foggora and Dara, there to join 
the troops of Begemder and Amhara, crofs the Nile at the 
mouth of the lake, above the fecond cataract, as it is called, 
and march thence flraight to Bure, which, by fpeedy march- 
es, might be done in five or fix days. No refolution was ever 
embraced with more alacrity ; the caufe of the Agows 
was the caufe of Gondar, or famine would elfe immediate- 
ly follow. The king's troops and thofe of Michael were all 
ready, and had juft refrefhed themfelves by a week's feftivity. 

Gusho and PowufTen, after having fworn to Michael that 
they never would return without Fafii's head, decamped next 
morning with very different intentions in their hearts ; for 
no fooner had they reached Begemder than they entered 
into a confpiracy in form againfl Michael, which they had 
long meditated ; they had refolved to make peace with Fafil, 
and fwear with him a foiemn league, that they were but to 
have one caufe, one council, and one intereft, till they had 
deprived Michael of his life and dignity. The plan was,,, 
that, in hopes to join with them, the army mould pafs by 
Dara and the mouth of the lake, as aforefaid, between that 
lake, called the lake of Dembea, on the north fide, and an- 
other fmall lake, .which 1 - feems formerly to have been part 
of the great one, and is called Court-ohha ; on the fouth is 
the village of Derdera, and the church of St Michael. Here 
was to be the fee ne of action ; as foon as Michael advanced: 
to Derdera, Guflio and PowufTen were to clofe him behind 
on the north ; Fafil, from Maitfha,. was to appear on his 
front from the fouth, whilft,. between Court-ohha and the 
lake, in the midft of thefe three armies, Michael was to lofe 
his liberty or his life. The fecret was profoundly kept, 
though known by many ; but every one. was employed in 



preparations for the campaign on the king's part* and no 
fufpicion entertained, for nothing cofts an Abymnian lefs 
than to diffemble. 

It had been agreed by Gufho and Powuflen before part- 
ing, in order to deceive Michael, that, fhould Fafil retire 
"from Bure at their approach, and pafs the Nile into his own 
-country, the King, Ras Michael, and part of the army mould 
remain at Bure all the rainy feafon ; that, upon the return 
of the fair weather, they were all again to aflemble at Bu- 
re, crofs the Nile into Bizamo, and lay wafte the country of 
the Gaila , that the veflige of habitation fhould not be feeE. 
upon it. 

^All this time I found myfelf declining in health, to 
which the irregularities of the laft week had greatly con- 
tributed. The King and Ras had fufficiently provided tents 
and conveniencies for me, yet I wanted to conftruct for my- 
felf a tent, with a large flit in the roof, that I might have 
an opportunity of taking obfervations with my quadrant, 
without being inquieted by t-roublefome or curious vifitors. 
I therefore obtained leave from the king to go to Emfras, 
a town about twenty miles fouth from Gondar, where a 
number of Mahometan tent-makers lived. Gufho had a 
houfe there, and a pleafant garden, which he very willing- 
ly gave me the ufe of, with this advice, however, which at 
the time I did not underftand, rather to go on to Amhara 
with him, for I fhould there fooner recover my health, and 
be more in quiet than with the King or Michael. As the 
king was to pafs immediately under this town, and as moft 
p£ thofe that loaded and unloaded his tents and baggage 

2 were 


were Mahometans, and lived at Emfras, I could not be bet- 
ter ntuated, or more at my liberty and eafe, than there. 

After having taken my leave of the king and the Ras, 
I paid the fame compliment to the Iteghe at Kofcam : I had 
not for feveral days been able to wait upon her, on account 
of the riots during the marriage, where the Ras required my 
attendance, and would admit of no excufe. That excellent 
princefs endeavoured much to difiuade me from leaving 
Gondar. She treated the intention of going to the fource 
of the Nile as a fantaftical folly, unworthy of any man of 
fenfe or underftanding, and very earneftly advifed me to 
jftay under her protection at Kofcam, till I faw whether Ras 
Michael and the king would return, and then take the firft 
good opportunity of returning to my own country through 
Tigre, the way that I came, before any evil fhould overtake 

I excused myfelf the befl I could. It was not eafy to do 
it with any degree of conviction, to people utterly unlearn- 
ed, and who knew nothing of the prejudice of ages in fa- 
vour of the attempt I was engaged in. I therefore turned 
the difcourfe to profeflions of gratitude for benefits that I 
had every day received from her, and for the very great ho- 
nour that flie then did me, when flie condefcended to tefcify 
her anxiety concerning the fate of a poor unknown travel- 
ler like me, who could not poffibly have any merit bat 
what arofe from her own gracious and generous fentiments, 
and univerfal charity, that extended to every object in pro- 
portion as they were helplefs. " See, fee, fays flie, how 
every day of our life punifhes us with proofs of the per- 
verfenefs and contradiction of human nature ; you are 

Vol. Ill, 3 B come 


come from Jerufalem, through vile Turkifh governments, 
and hot, unwholefome climates, to fee a river and a bog, 
no part of which you can carry away were it ever fo valua- 
ble, and of which you have in your own country a thou- 
fand larger, better, and cleaner, and you take it ill when I 
difcourage you from the purfuit of this fancy, in which you 
are likely to perifh, without your friends at home ever hear- 
ing when or where the accident happened. While I, on 
the other hand, the mother of kings who have fat upon 
the throne of this country more than thirty years, have for 
my only wifh, night and day, that, after giving up every 
thing in the world, I could be conveyed to the church of 
the Holy Sepulchre in Jerufalem, and beg alms for my fub- 
fiflence all my life after, if I could only be buried in the 
ftreet within fight of the gate of that temple where our 
bleffed Saviour once lay." This was faid in the moll me- 
lancholy tone poflible, an unufual gloom hanging upon her 
countenance. Her deflring me, however, to flay at Kofcam, 
till I knew whether the king and Michael would return or 
not, confidering the large army they were to lead to the 
field, and the feebienefs of the fo-often defeated Fafil, made 
me from that inflant apprehend that there was fomething 
behind with which I was yet unacquainted. 

Gold, and orders for cattle and provilions while at Em>- 
fras, followed this converfation with the queen ; this, in- 
deed, had never failed at other times, which, byAyto Aylo's 
advice, I never more refufed. Here I cannot help obferving 
the different manner in which three people did the fame 
thing. When I received gold from Michael, it was openly 
from his hand to mine, without compliment, as he paid the 
reft of the king's feivants. When I received it from the 




king, it was likewife from his own hand ; it was always 
when alone, with a fear exprefled that I fuffered myfelf to 
be flraitened rather than afk, and that I did not levy, with 
fufficient feverity, the money the feveral places allotted to 
me were bound to pay, which, indeed, was always the cafe. 
The queen, on the other hand, from whom I received con- 
flan t donations, never either produced gold herfelf, nor 
fpoke of it before or after, but fent it by a fervant of hers 
to a fervant of mine, to employ it for the neceflaries of my 

I confess I left the queen very much affected with the 
■difpofition I had found her in, and, if I had been of a tem- 
per to give credit to prognoflics, and a fafe way had been 
opened through Tigre, I mould at that time, perhaps, have 
taken the queen's advice, and returned without feeing the 
fountains of the Nile, in the fame manner that all the tra- 
vellers of antiquity, who had ever as yet endeavoured to 
explore them, had been forced to do ; but the prodigious 
buftle and preparation which I found was daily making in 
Gondar, and the aflurances everybody gave me that, fafe 
in the middle of a victorious army, I mould fee, at my lei- 
lure, that famous fpot, made me refume my former refolu- 
tions, awakened my ambition, and made me look upon it 
as a kind of treafon done to my country, in which fuch 
efforts were then making for discoveries, to renounce, now 
it was in my power, the putting them in poffemon of that 
one which had baffled the courage and perfeverance of the 
braved men in all ages. The pleamre, too, of herborifmg 
in an unknown country, fuch as Ernfras was, of continuing 
to do To in fafety, and the approaching every day to the end 
of my wifhes, chafed away all thofe gloomy apprehenfions 

3 B 2 which 


which I imbibed from the appearance and difcourfe of the 
queen, and of which I now began to be afhamed. 

Gondar, the metropolis of Abyflinia, is fituated upon a 
hill of confiderable height, the top of it nearly plain, on 
which the town is placed. It confifts of about ten thoufand 
families in times of peace ; the houfes are chiefly of clay, 
the roofs thatched in the form of cones, which is always 
the conftruction within the tropical rains. On the weft end 
of the town is the king's houfe, formerly a ftrueture of con- 
fiderable confequence ; it was a fquare building, flanked 
with fquare towers ; it was formerly four ftoreys high, and, 
from the top of it, had a magnificent view of all the coun- 
try fouthward to the lake Tzana. Great part of this houfe 
is now in ruins, having been burnt at different times ; but 
there is ftill ample lodging in the two loweft floors of it, 
the audience- chamber being above one hundred and twenty- 
feet long, 

A succession of kings have built apartments by the fide 
of it of clay only, in the manner and fafhion of their own- 
country ; for the palace itfelf was built by mafons from In- 
dia, in the time of Facilidas, and by fuch Abyllinians as 
had been inftructed in architecture by the Jefuits without 
embracing their religion, and after remained in the coun- 
try, unconnected with the expulfion of the Portuguefe, du- 
ring this prince's reign., 

The palace, and all its contiguous buildings, are furround- 
ed by a fubftantial ftone wall thirty feec high, with battle- 
ments upon the outer wall, and a parapet roof between the 
outer and inner, by which you can go along the whole and 



look into the ftreet. There appears to have never been any 
embrafures for cannon, and the four fides of this wall are 
above an Englifh mile and a half in length. 

The mountain, or hill, on which the town is fituated, is 
furrounded on every fide by a deep valley, which has three 
outlets ; the one to the fouth to Dembea, Maitfha, and the 
Agows ; the fecond to the north-well towards Sennaar, over 
the high mountain Debra Tzai, or the Mountain of the Sun,, 
at the root of which Kofcam, the palace of the Iteghe, is 
fituated, and the low countries of Walkayt and Waldubba ; 
the third is to the north to Woggora> over the high moun- 
tain Lamalmon, and fo on through Tigre to the Red Sea. The 
river Kahha, coming from the Mountain of the Sun, or De- 
bra Tzai, runs through the valley, and covers all the fouth 
of the town ; the Angrab, falling from Woggora, furrounds 
it on the N. N. E. Thefe rivers join at the bottom of the 
hill, about a quarter of a mile fouth of the town. 

Immediately upon the bank oppofite to Gondar, on the 
other fide of the river, is a large town of Mahometans of a- 
bout a thoufand houfes. Thefe are all active and laborious 
people ; great part of them are employed in taking care of 
the king's and nobility's baggage and field-equipage, both 
when they take the field and when they return from it. 
They pitch and flrike their tents with furprifmg facility 
and expedition ; they load and conduct the mules and the 
baggage, and are formed into a body under proper offi- 
cers, but never fufrered, nor do they chufe, to fight on 
cither fide. 



Gondar, by a number of obfervations of the fun and 
liars made by day and night, in the courfe of three years, 
with an aflronomical quadrant of three feet radius, and two 
excellent telefcopes, and by a mean of all their fmall differ- 
ences, is in lat. 1 2 34' 30" ; and by many obfervations of 
the fatellites of Jupiter, efpecially the firft, both in their im- 
merfions and emerfions during that period, I concluded 
its longitude to be 37 t,^' o' eafl from the meridian of 

It was the 4th of April 1770, at eight o'clock in the 
morning, when I fet out from Gondar. We palled the Kah- 
lia, and the Mahometan town, and, about ten in the morn- 
ing, we came to a confiderable river called the Mogetch, 
which runs in a deep, rugged bed of flakey blue Hones. We 
crolled it upon a very folid, good bridge of four arches, a 
convenience feldom to be met with in palling Abyflinian ri- 
vers, but very neceffary on this, as, contrary to moil of their 
ilreams, which become dry, or Hand in pools, on the ap- 
proach of the fun, the Mogetch runs conftantly, by rea- 
fon that its fources are in the higheft hills of Woggora, 
where clouds break plentifully at all feafons of the year. 
In the rainy months it rolls a prodigious quantity of water 
into the lake Tzana, and would be abfolutely unpayable 
to people bringing provifion to the market, were it not for 
this bridge built by Facilidas ; yet it is not judicioufly pla- 
ed, being clofe to the mountain's foot, in the face of a tor- 
rent, where it runs ftrongeil, and carries alohg with it flones 
of a prodigious fize, which luckily, as yet, have injured no 
part of the bridge. The water of the river Mogetch is not 
wholefome, probably from the minerals, or ftony particles 
it carries along with it, and the flatey ftrata over which it 

1 runs. 


runs. We have many rivers of this quality in the Alps, e- 
fpecially between mount Cenis and Grenoble.' 

Delivered now from theftrait and rugged country on the 
banks of the Mogetch, we entered into a very extenfive plain^. 
bounded on the eaft fide by the mountains, and on the weft by 
the large lake of Dembea, otherwife called the lake Tzana, 
or Bahar Tzana, the Sea of Tzana, which geographers have 
corrupted into the word Barcena. Rejoiced at laft that I 
had elbow-room, I began the moll laborious fearch for 
fhrubs and herbs all over the plain, my fervants on one 
fide and I on the other, fearching the country on each fide 
of the road. I; appeared to our warm imaginations, that 
the neighbourhood of fuch a lake, in fo remote a part of 
the world, ought infallibly to produce fomething perfectly 
beautiful, or altogether new. In this, however, we were 
difappointed, as indeed we always were in meadows, and 
where grafs grew fo exuberantly as it did all over this 

At eleven o'clock we croffed the river Tedda ; here the 
road divides : that branch to the eaft leads to Wechne, in, 
the wild, uncultivated territory of BelefTen, famous for no 
production but that of honey. 

We continued along the other branch of the road, which 
led fouth to Emfras. One mile diftant on our left is the 
church of St George. About one o'clock we halted at the 
church Zingetch Mariam ; and a few minutes after, we 
palTed the river Gomara, a confiderable ftream rifing in Be- 
leifen, which fcands in pools during the dry weather, but 




had now begun to run ; its courfe N. E. and S. W. acrofs the 
plain, after which it falls into the lake Tzana. 

At two we halted at Correva, a fmall village, beautifully 
fituated on a gentle-riling ground, through which the road 
panes in view of the lake, and then again divides ; one 
branch continuing fouth to Emfras, and fo on to Foggora 
and Dara ; the other to Mitraha, two fmall iilands in the 
lake, lying S. W. from this at the diftance of about four 
hours journey. The road from Correva to Emfras, for the 
firft hour, is all in the plain ; for the fecond, along the gentle 
Hope of a mountain of no conliderable height ; and the re- 
mainder is upon a perfect flat, or along the lake Tzana. 

The 5th of April, at five in the morning, we left our pre- 
fent flation at Correva, where, though we had employed fe- 
veral hours in the fearch, we found very little remarkable 
of either plants or tr,ees, being moilly of the kind we had 
already feen. We continued our road chiefly to the fouth, 
through the fame fort of country, till we came to the foot 
of a mountain, or rather a hill, covered with bullies and 
thorny trees, chiefly the common acacia, but of nofize, and 
feeming not to thrive. I pitched my tent here to fearch 
what that cover would produce. There were a great quan- 
tity of hares, which I could make no ufe of, the Abyinnians 
holding them in abhorrence, as thinking them unclean ; 
but, to make amends, I found great flore of Guinea fowls, 
of the common grey kind we have in Europe, of which I 
fhot, in a little time, above a fcore ; and thefe, being perfectly 
lawful food, proved a very agreeable variety from the raw 
beef, butter, and honey, which we had lived upon hitherto, 

3 and 


and which was to be our diet (it is not an unpleafant one, at 
leafl a part of it) till we reached Emfras. 

At eight in the morning I paffed through Tangouri, a 
considerable village. About a hundred yards on the right 
from this we have a finer profpecl: of the lake than even 
from Correva itfelf. This village is chiefly inhabited by 
Mahometans, whofe occupation it is to go in caravans far to 
the fouth, on the other fide of the Nile, through the feveral 
districts of Galla, to whom they carry beads and large 
needles, cohol, or Stibium, myrrh, coarfe cloths made in 
Begemder, and pieces of blue cotton cloths from Surat, call- 
ed Marowti. They are generally nearly a year abfent, and 
bring in return flaves, civet, wax, hides, and cardomum in 
large beautiful pods ; they bring likewife a great quantity 
of ginger, but that is from farther fouth, nearer Narea. It 
appears to me to be a poor trade, as far as I could compute 
it, considering the lofs of time employed in it, the many ac- 
cidents, extortions, and robberies thefe merchants meet with. 
Whether it would be ever worth while to follow it on an- 
other footing, and under another government, is what I am 
not qualified enough to fay. 

On the left of Tangouri, divided from it by a plain of 
about a mile in breadth, ftands a high rock called Amba 
Mariam, with a church upon the very fummit of it. There 
is no poflibility of climbing this rock but at one place, and 
there it is very difficult and rugged ; here the inhabitants 
of the neighbouring villages retreat upon any fudden alarm 
or inroad of an enemy. 

Vol, III. 3 G At 


At nine o'clock, after pairing a plain, with the lake Tzana' 
all the way on our right, in length about three miles, we 
came to the banks of the river Gorno, a fmall but clear 
ftream ; it rifes near Wechne, and has a bridge of one arch 
over it about half a mile above the ford. Its courfe is north 
and fouth nearly, and lofes itfelf in the lake between 
Mitraha and Lamgue. A mile farther we arrived at Em- 
fras, after a very pleafant, though not interefting excur- 

The town is fituated on a fleep hill, and the way up to it 
is almolt perpendicular like the afcent of a ladder. The 
houfes are all placed about the middle of the hill, fronting 
the weft, in number about 300. Above thefe houfes are 
gardens, or rather fields, full of trees and bufhes, without 
any fort of order, up to the very top. Emfras commands a- 
view of the whole lake, and part of the country on the 
other fide. It was once a royal refidence. On a fmall hill 
is a houfe of Hatze Hannes, in form, of a fquare tower, now. 
going faft to ruin.. 

Emfras is in lat. 12 12' 38" N. and long. 3 7 38' 30" 
E. of the meridian of Greenwich. The diltances and direc- 
tions of this journey from Gondar were carefully obferved 
by a compafs, and computed by a watch of Ellicot's^ after 
which thefe fituations were checked by aftronomical ob- 
servations of latitude and longitude in every way that they 
could be taken, and it was very feldom in a day's journey 
that we erred a male in our computation. 

The lake of Tzana is by much the largeft expanfe of wa- 
ter known in that country. Its extent, however^ has been 

4 greatly 


greatly exaggerated. Its greateft breadth is from Dinglcber 
to Lamgue, which, in a line nearly eaft and weft, is 35 
miles ; but it decreafes greatly at each extremity, where it 
is not fometimes above ten miles broad. Its greatcft length 
is from Bab Baha to a little S. W. and by W. of that parr, 
where the Nile, after having crofTed the end of it by a cur- 
rent always vifible, turns towards Dara in the territory of 
Alata, which is 49 miles from north to fouth, and which 
extent this lake has in length. In the dry months, from 
October to March, the lake Ihrinks greatly in fize ; but 
after that all thofe rivers are full which are on every fide of 
it, and fall into the lake, like radii drawn to a center, then 
it fwells, and extends itfelf into the plain country, and has 
of courfe a much larger furl ace. 

There are forty-five inhabited iflands in the lake, if you 
believe the Abyffinians, who, in every thing, are very great 
liars. I conceive the number may be about eleven : the 
principal is Dek, or Daka, or Daga *, nearly in the middle 
of the lake; its true extent I cannot fpecify, never having 
been there. Befides Dek, the other iflands are Halimoon, 
nearer Gondar; Briguida, nearer Gorgora, and flill farther 
in Galila. All thefe iflands were formerly ufed as prifons 
for the great people, or for a voluntary retreat, on account of 
fome difgufl or great misfortune, or as places of fecurity to 
depofit their valuable effects during troublefome times. 
When I was in Abyflinia, a few weeks after what I have been 
relating, 1300 ounces of gold, confided by the queen to Wel- 

3C2 leta 

* -It figniiies the hill, or high ground. 


leta Chriftos, her governor of Dek, a man of extraordi- 
nary fan&ity, who had failed for forty years, was ftolen 
away by that prieft, who fled and hid himfelf ; nor would 
the queen ever fuffer him to be fearched after or appre- 




r ■ wu«»\w i es^< &2%3 ^m i nri>r!3sa* 


The King encamps at Lamgue—Tranfafitions there — Paffes the Nile, and 
encamps at Derdera^-The Author follows the King, 

ON the 1 2th of May we heard the king had marched to 
Tedda. MefTengers from Begemder, and from Gufho of 
Amhara, had been conftantly palling to and from his maje- 
fly, prefling Ras Michael to take the field as foon as pof- 
fible, to prevent the utter deftruction of the Agows, which 
Fafil every day was ftriving to accomplish. They put him, 
moreover, in mind, that the rains were begun ; that, in Fafil's 
country, they were already fufficient to fwell the many ri- 
vers they had to pafs before they arrived at Bure ; they de- 
fired him to reflect, that, with the armies they were bring- 
ing to his affiftance, it was more neceflary to fave time than 
flay for a number of troops ; laftly, that it was abfoluteiy 
ufelefs to wait for any reinforcement from Tigre, but that 
he mould rather march by hmfras, Foggora, and Dara, crofs 
the Nile where it comes out of the lake; while they, with 



their united armies, patted at the bridge near the fecond ca- 
taract, fixteen miles below, burnt and laid wafte Woodage, 
Afahel's country, and joined him at Derdera, between Court- 
ohha and the lake. This was precifely what Ras Michael 
himfelf had planned ; it embraced the whole country of his 
enemy, and made his fcheme of vengeance complete ; hi- 
therto not a word had tranfpired that could raife the fmall- 
eil fufpicion of treachery. 

The 13th, by day-break, Netcho, Fit-Auraris to Ras Mi- 
chael, patted in great haile below the town towards Foggora. 
The kin? had made a forced march from Tedda, and was 
that night to encamp at a houfe of Gufho's, near Lamgue. 
This was great expedition, and fufficiently marked the 
^agernefs with which it was undertaken. The effects of 
the approach of the army were foon feen. Every one hid 
what was belt in his houfe, or fled to the mountains with it. 
Emfras in a few hours was left quite empty : Ras Michael, 
advancing at the head of an army, fpread as much ter- 
ror as would the approach of the day of judgment. It was 

j Deflruction in a monarch's voice 

Cried havock, and let flip the dogs of war. 

For, ftrict and juft as he was in time of peace, or in prefer- 
ving the police, the fecurity of the ways, and the poor from 
the tyranny of the rich, he was molt licentious and cruel 
the moment he took the field, efpecially if that country 
which he entered had ever fhewn the leafl tincture of en- 
mity againfl him. 



About ii o'clock in the morning the king's Fit-Auraris 
paired. He was a near relation of Ayamico, one of the chiefs 
of the Agows who was a relation of the king, as I have be- 
fore mentioned, and flain by Fafil at the battle of Ban] a. With 
him I had contracted a great degree of friendfhip ; he had 
about 50 horfe and 200 foot: as he pafTed at feveral places he 
made proclamation in name of the king, That nobody mould 
leave their houfes, but remain quiet in them without fear, 
and that every houfe found empty mould be burnt. He fent 
a fervant as he palled, telling me the king was that night to 
lie at Lamgue, and defiring me to fend him what fpirits I 
could fpare, which I accordingly did, upon his providing a. 
man who could protect the houfes adjoining mine from, 
the robbery and the violence of which the inhabitants were 
in hourly fear. . 

About the clofe of the evening we heard the king's, 
kettle-drums. Forty-five of thefe inftruments constantly? 
go before him, beating all the way while he is on his 
march. The Mahometan town near the water was plun- 
dered in a minute ; but the inhabitants had long before re- 
moved every thing valuable. Twenty different parties of 
ftragglers came up the hill to do the fame by Emfras. Some 
of the inhabitants were known, others not fo, but their 
houfes had nothing in them ; at lafl thefe plunderers all uni- 
ted in mine, demanding meat and drink, and all fort of ac- 
commodation. Our friend, left with us by the Fit-Auraris, re- 
filled as much as one man could do with flicks and whips* 
and it was a fcuffie till mid-night ; at lavl, having cleared 
coirfelves of them, luckily without their letting lire to the 
town, we, remained quiet lor the reit of the night. 


!9 2 


On the 14th, at day- break, I mounted my horfe, with all 
my men-fervants, leaving the women-fervants and an old 
man to take care of the houfe. It was very unfafe to tra- 
vel in fuch company at fuch an hour. We crofted the river 
Arno, a little below Emfras, before we got into the plain ; 
after which we went at a fmart gallop, and arrived at Lam- 
gue between eight and nine o'clock. 

Early as it was, the king was then in council, and 
Ras Michael, who had his advifers afTembled alfo in his 
tent, had juft left it to go to the king's. There was a- 
bout 500 yards between their tents, and a free avenue is 
conftantly left, in which it is a crime to ftand, or even to 
crofs, unlefs for meflengers fent from the one to the other. 
The old general difmounted at the door of the tent ; and 
though I faw he perceived us, and was always at other times 
moft courteous, he pafted us without taking the leaft no- 
tice, and entered the tent of the king. 

Although my place in the houfehold gave me free ac- 
cefs to wherever the king was, I did not choofe, at that time, 
to enter the back tent, and place myfelf behind his chair, as 
I might have done ; I rather thought it better to go to the 
tent of Ozoro Efther, where 1 was fure at leaft of getting a 
good breakfaft : Nor was I difappointed. As foon as I (hew- 
ed myfelf at the door of the tent of that princefs, who was 
lying upon a fofa, the moment fhe call her eyes upon me, 
cried out, There is Yagoube ! there is the man I wanted! 
The tent was cleared of all but her women, and fhe then 
began to enumerate of feveral complaints which me thought, 
before the end of the campaign, would carry her to her 
grave. It was eafy to fee they were of the flighted kind, 

2 though 


though it would not have been agreeable to have told her 
fo, for fhe loved to be thought ill, to be attended, and flat- 
tered ; fhe was, however, in thefe circumftances, fo perfect- 
ly g°°d, f° converfable, fo elegant in all her manners, that 
her phyfician would have been tempted to wifh never to fee 
her well. 

She was then with child by Ras Michael ; and the late 
feftival, upon her niece's marriage with PowufTen of Begem- 
der, had been much too hard for her conftitution, always 
weak and delicate fmce her firfl misfortunes, and the death 
of Mariam Barea. After giving her my advice, and direct- 
ing her women how to adminifter what I was to fend her, 
the doors of the tent were thrown open ; all our friends 
came flocking round us, when we prefently faw that the 
interval employed in confultation had not been fpent ufe- 
lefsly, for a molt abundant breakfaft was produced in wood- 
en platters upon the carpet. There were excellent flewed 
fowls, but fo inflamed with Cayenne pepper as almoft to 
blilter the mouth ; fowls drefTed with boiled wheat, jufl 
once broken in the middle, in the manner they are prepa- 
red in India, with rice called pillaw, this, too, abundantly 
charged with pepper; Guinea hens, roafted hard without 
butter, or any fort of fauce, very white, but as tough as lea- 
ther ; above all, the never-failing brind, for fo they call the 
collops of raw beef, without which nobody could have been 
fatisfied; but, what was more agreeable to me, a large quan- 
tity of wheat-bread, of Dembea flour, equal in all its quali- 
ties to the beft in London or Paris, 

The Abyflinians fay, you mull plant firft and then water; 

nobody, therefore, drinks till they have flnifhed eating ;. 

Vol. III.. 3 D after 




after this the glafs went chearfully about ; there was ex- 
cellent red wine, but ftrong, of the nature of cote-roti, 
brought from Karoota, which is the wine country, about lix 
miles fouth-eaft from the place where we then were ; good 
new brandy ; honey- wine, or hydromel, and a fpecies of beer 
called Bouza, both of which were fermented with herbs, 
or leaves of trees, and made very heady ; they are difagree- 
able liquors to ftrangers. Our kind landlady, who never had 
quitted her fofa, prefled about the glafs in the very brifkeft 
manner, reminding us that our time was ftiort, and that the 
drum would prefently give the (ignal for ftriking the tents. 
For my part, this weighed exceedingly with me the contrary 
way to her intentions, for I began to fear I ihould not be 
able to go home, and I was not prepared to go on with the 
army ; befides, it was indifpenfibly neceflary to fee both 
the king and Ras Michael, and that I by no means chofe 
to do when my prefence of mind had left me ; I therefore 
made my apology to Ozoro Either, by a meffage delivered 
by one of her women, and flipt out of the tent to wait upon 
the king. 

I thought to put on my moft fedate appearance, that 
none of my companions in the king's tent mould fee that I 
was affected with liquor ; tho' intoxication in Abymnia is 
neither uncommon nor a reproach, when you are not en- 
gaged in bufinefs or attendance. I therefore went on as 
compofedly as poflible, without recollecting that I had al- 
ready advanced near a hundred yards, walking on that for- 
bidden precinct or avenue between the king's tent and Ras 
Michael's, where nobody interrupted me. The eafe with 
which I proceeded, among fuch a crowd and bufile, foon 



brought my tranfgreffion to my mind, and I hurried out of 
the forbidden place in an inilant. 

I met feveral of my acquaintance, who accompanied me 
to the king's tent. It was now noon ; a plentiful dinner or 
breakfaft was waiting, whicli I had abfolutely refufed to 
partake of till I had feen the king. Thinking all was a fecret 
that had palled at Ozoro Efther's, I lifted the curtain behind 
the king's chair, and coming round till nearly oppofite to~ 
him, I was about to perform the ufual proflration, when in 
the very inflant the young prince George, who was Handing 
oppofite to me on the king his brother's right hand, flept for- 
ward and laid his hand acrofs my breaft as if to prevent 
me from kneeling ; then turning to the king, who was 
fitting as ufual in his chair in the alcove, Sir, fays he, be- 
fore you allow Yagoube to kneel, you mould firft provide 
two men to lift him up again, for Ozoro Either has given 
him fo much wine that he will never be able to do it him* 

Though it was almolt impoflible to avoid laughing, it 
was vifible the king conftrained himfelf, and was not plea- 
fed* The drink had really this good effect', that it made me 
lefs abafhed than I otherwife mould have been at this un- 
expected fally of the young prince. I was, however, fome- 
what difconcerted, and made my proltration perhaps lefs 
gracefully than at another time, and this raifed the merri- 
ment of thofe in waiting, as attributing it to intoxication.. 
Upon riling, the king moll gracioufly ftretched out his hand- 
for me to kifs. While I was holding his hand, he faid to 
his brother, coldly, Surely if you thought him drunk, you 
z&uit have expected a reply; in that cafe, it would have 

3D % beerr 


been more prudent in you, and more civil, not to have made 
your obfcrvation. 

The prince was much abafhed. I haftened acrofs the 
carpet, and took both his hands and killed them ; the laugh- 
ers did not feem much at their eafe, cfpecially when I turn- 
ed and flood before the king. He was kind, fenfible, com- 
pofed, and condefcending ; he complained that I had aban-. 
doned him ; afked if I had been well-ufed at Emfras, and 
doubted that I had wanted every thing ; but I fent you no- 
thing on purpofe, fays he, becaufe you faid fading would 
do you good after too much feafting at Gondar, and I knew 
that hunger would bring you foon back again to us. If 
your majefly, faid I, takes the prince's word, I have been 
caroufing to-day in your camp more than ever I did at 
Gondar ; and, I do allure your majefty, prince George's re- 
flections were not without foundation. 

Come, come, fays the king, Georgis is your firm and fail 
friend, and fo he ought, he owes it to you that he is fo able a 
horfeman and fo good a markfman, without which he could 
never be more than a common foldier. He has commanded a 
divifion of the army to-day ; — " Of 500 horfe, cries out the 
prince in extacy; and, when the king my brother to-morrow 
leads the van, you mail be my Fit-Auraris, if you pleafe, when 
we pafs the Nile, and with my party I mall fcour Maitfha." I 
fhouldbe very unhappy, prince, faid I, to have a charge of that 
importance, for which I know myfelf to be totally unquali- 
fied ; there are many brave men who have a title to that of- 
fice, and who will fill it with honour to themfelves and 
fafety to your perfon. So you will not trull yourfelf, fays 
.the prince, with me and my party when we mail crofs the 

. * , Nile? 



Nile ? Are you angry with me, Yagoube, or are you afraid of 
Woodage Afahel ? Were you in earned, prince, in what you 
now fay, replied I, you fuppofe two things, both greater re- 
proaches than that of being overtaken with wine. Affure 
yourfelf I am, and always mall be, your mod affectionate and 
moft faithful fervant ; and that I mail think it an honour 
to follow you in Maitfha, or elfewhere, even as a common 
horfeman, though, inilead of one, there were in it ten thou- 
fand Woodage Afahels. O ho ! fays the king, then you are 
all friends ; and I mult tell you one thing, Georgis is more 
drunk with the thoughts of his command to-day than any 
foldier in my camp will be to-night with bouza. And this, 
indeed, feemed to be the cafe, for he was elfe a prince ra- 
ther referved and fparing of words, efpecially before his 

Tell me, Yagoube, continues the king, and tell me truly — 
at that very inftant came in a meffenger from Ras Michael, 
who, going round the chair without fainting, fpoke to the 
king, upon which the room was cleared ; but I after learn- 
ed, that news were received from Begemder, that Powuffen 
and his troops were ready to march, but that two of Guiho's 
nephews had rebelled, whom it had taken fome time to 
fubdue ; that another meffenger was left behind, but had 
fallen fick at Aringo, who, however, would come forward 
as foon as pomble with his mailer's meflage, and would 
be probably at the camp that night. He brought alfo as 
undoubted intelligence, that Fafil, upon hearing Ras Mi- 
chael's march, was preparing to repafs the Nile into the 
country of the Galla. This occafioned very great doubts, 
becaufe difpatches had arrived from Nanna Georgis's fon, 
the day before at Tedda, which declared that Fafil had de- 

t - 


camped from Bure that very day the mefTenger came away, 
advancing northward towards Gondar, but with what in- 
tention he could not fay ; and this was well known to be in- 
telligence that might be itrictly and certainly relied upon. 

On the 15th, the king decamped early in the morning, 
and, as prince George had faid the night before, led the van 
in perfon ; a flattering mark of confidence that Ras Michael 
had put in him now for the firil time, of which the king was~ 
very fenfible. The Ras, however, had given him a dry nurfe*, 
as it is called, in Billetana Gueta Welleta Michael, an old 
and approved officer, trained to war from his infancy, and 
furrounded with the moft tried of the troops of Tigre. The 
king halted at the river Gomara, but. advanced that fame 
night to the pafTage where the Nile comes out of the lake 
Tzana, and refumes again the appearance of a river. 

The king remained the 15th and 16th encamped mporj 
the Nile. Several things that fhould have given umbrage^ 
and begot fufpicion, happened while they were in this fitua- 
tion. Aylo, governor of Gojam, had been fummoned to af~ 
fill Ras Michael when PowufTen and- Gufho mould march 
to join him with their forces of Begemder and Amhara, and 
his mother Ozoro Welleta Ifrael, then at Gondar, had pro- 
mifed he (haul d- not fail. This lady was younger niter to> 
©2oro Eflher; both were daughters of the Iteghe. She was, 
as beautiful as Ozoro Either, but very much her inferior in 
behaviour, character, and conduct : Ihe had refufed the old 
Ras, who aiked her in marriage before he was called from. 


* Maguzet. 


Tigre to Gondar, and a mortal hatred had followed her re- 
fufal. It was therefore reported, that he was heard to fay, 
he would order the eyes of Welleta Ifrael to be pulled out, 
if Aylo her fon did not join him. It muft have been a man 
fuch as Ras Michael that could form fuch a refolution, for 
Welleta Ifrael's eyes were moll captivating. She was then 
in the camp with her fifter. 

A single fmall tent had appeared the evening of the i5"h 
on the other fide of the Nile, and, on the morning of the 
16th, Welleta Ifrael and the tent were miffing : fhe boldly 
made her efcape in the night. The tent had probably con- 
cealed her fon Aylo, or fome of his friends, to mow her the 
pafTage ; for the Nile there was both broad and deep, roll- 
ing along a prodigious mafs of water, with large, blade, flip- 
pery Hones at the bottom. It was therefore a very arduous, 
bold undertaking for foldiers and men accuflomed to pafs 
rivers in the day-time ; but for a woman, and in the night, 
too, with all the hurry that the fear of being intercepted 
muft have occafioned, it was fo extraordinary as to exceed all 
belief. But fhe was conducted by an intrepid leader, for 
with her deferted Ay to Engedan fon of Kafmati Efhte, and 
<:onfequently nephew to Ozoro Welleta Ifrael ; but their 
•own inclinations had given them Hill a nearer relation than 
the degree received from their parents, or decency mould 
have permitted. All the camp had trembled for Welleta 
Ifrael ; and every one now rejoiced that fo bold an attempt 
had been attended with the fuccefs it merited. It was ne- 
ceiTary, however, to dilTemble before Michael, who, intent 
upon avenging the Agows againfl Fafil, carried his reflec- 
tions at that time no further ; for Aylo's not coming was 
attributed to the influence of Fafil, whofe government of 

z Damot 



Da-mot joins Gojam, and it was even faid, that Welleta Ifrael, 
his mother, had been the occafion of this, from her hatred 
to Michael and her attachment to Fafil ; the firfl caufe 
was fufficiently apparent, the laft had formerly been no 
lefs fo» 

On the 17th, after fun-rife, the king paiTed the Nile, and 
encamped at a fmall village on the other fide, called Tfoom- 
wa, where his Fit-Auraris had taken poll early in the morn- 
ing. I have often mentioned this officer without explana* 
tion, and perhaps it may now be right to Hate his duty. 
The Fit-Auraris is an officer depending immediately upon 
the commander in chief, and correfponding with him di^ 
rectly, without receiving orders from any other perfon. . 
He is always one of the bravefl, moil robufl, and moil expe- 
rienced men in the fervice ; he knows, with the utmofl ex- 
actnefs, the diflance of places, the depth of rivers, the (late 
of the fords, the thicknefs of the woods, and the extent of 
them ; in a word, the whole face of the country in detail. 
His party is always adapted to the country in which the 
war is ; fometimes it is entirely compofed of horfe, fome- 
times of foot, but generally of a mixture of both. He has 
the management of the intelligence and direction of the 
fpies. He is like wife limited to no number of troops ; 
fometimes he has 1000 men, fometimes 200. In time of 
real danger he has generally about 300, all picked from the 
whole army at his pleafure ; he had not now about 50 horfe, 
as it was not yet thought to be the time of real bufinefs or. 

As the pofl of Fit-Auraris is a place of great trull, fo it 
is endowed with proportionable emoluments. The king's 



^Fit-Auraris has territories affigned him in every province 
that he ever panes through, i'o has that of the Ras, if he 
commands in chief. Every governor of a province has alfo 
an officer of this name, who has a revenue allowed him 
within his own province. It is a place of great fatigue. 
Their poll is at different dillances from the van of the army, 
according to the circumftances of the war ; fome times a 
day's march, fometimes four or fix hours. As he panes on 
he fixes a lance, with a flag upon it, in the place where the 
king's tent is to be pitched that night, or where he is to halt 
that day. He has couriers, or light runners, through which 
he conftantly correfponds with the army ; whenever he fees 
the enemy, he fends immediate advice, and falls back him- 
felf, or advances farther, according as his orders are. 

From Tfoomwa the king marched on, a fhort day's march, 
to Derdera, and encamped near the church of St Michael. 
Derdera, was a collection of fmall villages, between the lake 
Dembea and Court-ohha, where, it will be remembered, the 
agreement was the confederates mould inclofe Michael, and 
give him battle; but he had now loft all patience, as there was 
no appearance of either Gufho or Powuffen ; and being, be- 
fides, in an enemy's country, he began to proceed in his u- 
fual manner, by giving orders to lay wafte the whole adja- 
cent territory with fire and fword. The whole line of march, 
two day's journey in breadth from the lake, was fet on fire; 
the people who could not efcape were flain, and every wan- 
ton barbarity permitted. 

The king's pafTage of the Nile was the fignal given for 
me to let out to join him. It was the 18th of May, at noon, I 
left Emfras, my courfe being fouthward whilft in the plain 

Vol. III. 3 E of 


of Mitraha. At three o'clock we entered among a few 
hills of no confideration, and, foon after, began to coaft 
clofe along the fide of the lake Tzana ; we faw this day a 
great number of hippopotami ; fome fwimming in the lake 
at a fmall diftance, fome riling from feeding on the high 
grafs in the meadows, and walking, feemingly at great lei- 
fure, till they plunged themfelves out of fight. They are 
exceeding cautious and my while on land, and not to be ap- 
proached near enough to do execution with the beft rifle-gun.. 
At four in the afternoon we halted, and pafTed the night at 
Lamgue, a village fituated a few pacesfrom the fide of the lake. 

On, the 19th of May we left Lamgue about fix in the 
morning, our courfe fouth and by weft, and at eight we 
found ourfelves in the middle of twenty-five or thirty vil- 
lages called Nabca, flretching for the length of feven or 
eight miles ; a few minutes afterwards we came to the ri- 
ver Reb, which falls into, the lake a little north- weft of the 
place where we now were. Clofe by where the Reb joins 
the lake is a fmall village of Pagans, called Waito, who live 
quite feparate from the Abyflinians, and are held by them 
in utter abhorrence, fo that to touch them,, or any thing 
that belongs to them, makes a man unclean all that day till 
the evening, feparates Ivim from his family and friends, 
and excludes him from the church and all divine fervice,, 
till he is warned and purified on the following day. Part 
of this averfion is certainly owing to their manner of feed- 
ing ; for their only profeffion is killing the crocodile and 
hippopotamus, which they make their daily fuftenance. They 
have a moil abominable ftench, are exceedingly wan, or ill- 
qolourcd, very lean, and die often, as is faid, of the loufy 
4;feafe.. There are 5 indeed, no crocodiles in the lake Tzana, 



owing, as it is faid, to the cataracts, which they cannot get 
up. However, as they are amphibious animals, and walk 
very well on more, I think they might furmount this diffi- 
culty as eafily as the hippopotamus ; I rather think the caufe 
is the coldnefs of the water and climate, which does not 
agree with the crocodile, but much with the river-horfe. 

The Waito fpeak a language radically different from any 
of thofe in Abymnia ; but though I have often endeavoured 
to get fome infight into this, their religion, and cuftoms, I 
could never fo far fucceed as to be able to give the public 
any certain information. A falfe account in fuch cafes is 
certainly worfe than no account at all. I once delired the 
king to order that one of them might be brought to Gon- 
dar. Two men, an old and a young one, were accordingly 
brought from the lake, but they would neither anfwer nor 
underftand any queftions ; partly, I believe, through fear* 
partly from obftinacy. The king at this became fo angry 
that he ordered them both to be hanged ; they feemed per- 
fectly unconcerned, and it was with fome difficulty I pro- 
cured their releafe ; I never therefore made an experiment 
of that kind afterwards. The Abyffinians believe they are 
forcerers, can bewitch with their eyes, and occafion death 
by their charms even at a confiderable diflance. It is like- 
ly, if that had been fo, thefe two would have tried their 
power upon me, of which I do not recollect to have ever 
been fenfible. 

We palTed the Reb at nine' o'clock in the morning. It 
rifes high in the mountains of Begemder, and is one of 
thofe rivers that continue running the whole year, and has 
a tolerable ford, although it was vilibly increafed by rain. 

3 E 2 We 


We continued our journey in fight of many villages till} , 
three quarters after twelve, we came to- the river Gomaraj 
where we ftaid in fearch of trees and lierbs the reft of the 
day. At night we received a melTage from Ayto Adigoj 
Shum, or governor, of Karoota. He was an officer of con- 
fidence of the Iteghe's ; had been a great friend of Mariam 
Barea's, one of whofe vafTals he was, and in his heart an in- 
veterate enemy to Ras Michael and the new fuccemon. 
Ever iince the murder of Joas he had not ventured to Gon* 
dar. When I firft came there the Ras had given his houfe, 
as that of an outlaw, tome. Afterwards, as foon as he 
returned, I offered immediately to Surrender it to him; 
but he would not by any -means accept it^ but afked leave 
to pitch his tent in one of the courts fur-rounded with walls, 
for it was a fpacious building* Perhaps it wa& the beft &- 
tuation he could have chofen,for we did him great fervice 
by the means of Ozoro Efther, as he was but very ill-looked 
upon, and Was rich enough to be conlidered as an object 
of Ras Michael's rapacity and avarice. Our neighbourhood 
occafioned us to pafs many evenings together, and we con- 
tracted a friendfhip, the rather becaufe he was a fervant of 
the Iteghe, and we were known favourites of Ozoro Efther.j 


?48wr - 



g y « =^g 


Piijs- the River Gomara — Remarkable Accident there — Arrive at Da- 
ra — Vlfit the great Cataracl of Alata — Leave Dara, and refume our 

ON the 20th of May, between fix and feven in the morn- 
ing, as -Adigo was not arrived, I fent the baggage and 
tents that we had with us forward with Strates, a Greek, 
who was an avowed enemy to all learned inquiries or bo- 
tanical refearches. My orders were to encamp at Dara, in 
fome convenient place near the houfeof Negade R as Mahomet. 
In the mean time I ftaid expecting Ay to Adigo's arrival ; he 
came near eleven o'clock. As a temporary fhelter from the 
fun, a cloak upon crofs fticks was fet up, inftead of a tent, to 
fave time. We fat down together to fuch fare as* Adigo had 
brought along with him; it was a foldier's dinner, coarfe and 
plentiful. Adigo told me Kafmati Ayabdar, an uncle of 
Gufho, had left his houfe the night before, accompanied 
by the men of Foggora, the country where we then were 



of which he was governor, and had taken the high road to 
join the forces ofBegemder. 

Netcho, a near relatioruof the old queen, arrived from 
Kuara juft as we were fitting down to dinner. He had 
about 50 horfe and 200 foot, all bad troops, and ill armed ; 
he was, however, a refpe&able, tried veteran, who having 
had many opportunities of becoming rich, gave the whole 
to his foldiers, and thofe of his dependents that lived with 
him ; on which account he was extremely beloved, and it 
was hoped that, if the ifTue of this campaign was favourable, 
Ras Michael would make him governor of Kuara, in room 
of Coque Abou Barea, a man of a very different character, 
who had intruded himfelf into that province by the power 
of Fafil, and after maintained himfelf in it by open rebellion. 

The mules that had hitherto carried my quadrant and te- 
lefcopes being bad, I had luckily kept them behind, in 
hopes that either Adigo or Netcho would fupply me with 
better ; and I had now placed them upon the frefh mules I 
had obtained, and had not fent them on with the fervants, 
and we were then taking a friendly glafs. It was, I fuppofe, 
about noon, when we faw our fervants coming back, and 
Strates alfo among the reft, ftript of every thing that he had, 
except a cotton night-cap, which he wore on his head. 
The fervants fwam over the Gomara immediately, nor 
was Strates interrupted, but paffed at the ford. They told 
Uo that Guflio and PowufTen were in rebellion againft the 
king, and confederated with Fafil, that they were advancing 
fail to cut off the Ras's retreat to Gondar, and that Guebra 
Mehedin, and Confu, Powuilen's Fit-Auraris, had fallen in 
4 with 


with our fervants ; and plundered them, as belonging to 
the king and the Ras. 

I was, for fome minutes, in the utmofl aflonifhment at 
this torrent of bad news. Whether the others knew more 
than I, it is impoffible to fay ; diffimulation, in all ranks of 
thefe people, is as natural as breathing. Guebra Mehedin 
and Confu were the Iteghe's two nephews, fons of Bafha 
Eufebius her brother, a worthlefs man, and his fons no bet- 
ter. They were young men, however, whom I faw conti- 
nually at the queen's palace, and to whom I mould have 
gone immediately without fear, if I had known their houfes 
had been in my way, and they happened to be near Lebec 
at the hot wells ; notwithflanding their rank, they were of 
fuch diflipated manners, that they were of no account, but 
treated as caftaways in the houfe of the queen their aunt, 
and never, as far as I knew, had entered into the pre- 
fence of the king. I had often ate and drank with them,, 
however, in the houfe of Ayto Engedan, their coufin- 
german, who was gone off with Welleta Ifrael his aunt, at 
the paffage of the Nile as before mentioned. They had beat 
Strates, who was their intimate acquaintance, violently ; as 
alfo two others of my fervants, to make them confefs in 
what package the gold was. They had taken from them 
alfo a large blunderbufs, given me by the Swediili conful, 
Brander, at Algiers ; a pair of piftols, a double-barrelled 
gun, and a Turkifh fword mounted with filver, which, as 
there was then no profpect of their being immediately 
needed, were fen t forward with the baggage. 

Netcho and Adigo, and all prefent, agreed that the 
whole was a fiction, and that, fuppofing the account to be 



true that Begemder and Amhara were in rebellion, young,, 
wild, and worthlefs people, like Guebra Mehedin and 
Confu, could never be thofe pitched upon for the refpecta- 
ble office of Fit-Auraris. The worft that could be, as they 
conceived, was, that fome mifundcrilanding might fubfift 
between Ras Michael and the governors above named, but 
Fafil was undoubtedly the enemy of them all. They ima- 
gined therefore that this difguft, if any, would be foon got 
over, and concluded that it was highly abfurd, in any cafe, 
to attack me, as they certainly knew that the queen, Powuften, 
and Gufho, would be full as ill-pleafed with it as the king 
or Ras Michael. It therefore appeared to them, as it alfo 
did to me, that thefe wild, young men, had taken the firft 
furmife of a rebellion, as a pretence for robbing all that 
came in their way, and that I, unfortunately, had been the 

We were in the middle of this converfation when the 
parties appeared. They had, perhaps, an hundred horfe, and 
were fcattered about a large plain, fkirmifhing, playing, 
purfuing one another, fhrieking and hooping like fo many 
f i antic people. They ftopt, however, upon coming nearer, 
feeing the refpectable figure that we made, juft ready 
to pals the ford, which alone divided us. Our fervants had 
neither feen Netcho nor Adigo, when they went in the mor- 
ning, though they knew Adigo was expected, and thefe 
marauders hoped to have intercepted me, thinly accom- 
panied, as they had done my baggage. 

Guebra Mehedin and his brother approached nearer the 

banks than the reft, and a fervant was fent from them, who 

crofted the river to us, upbraiding Ay to Adigo with pro- 

2 teeming 


tecting a Frank profcribed by the laws of their country, 
and alfo with marching to the amftance of Ras Michael, 
the murderer of his fovereign, offering at the fame time to 
divide the fpoil with him if he would furrender me and 
mine to him. Servants here, who carry meflages in time 
of war between the contending parties, are held facred like 
heralds. They are fent even with infults and defiances ; but 
it is conflantly underflood that their errand protects them 
from fuffering any harm, whether on the road, or when in 
words they perform thefe foolifh, ufelefs commiflions. 

Adigo and Netcho were above obferving this punctilio 
with robbers. Some were for cutting the fervant's ears off, 
and fome for carrying him bound to Ras Michael ; I begged 
they would let him go : and Netcho fent word by him to 
Guebra Mehedin to get the goods and mules he had robbed 
us of together, for he was coming over to fhare them with 
him. The fervants having given the meflenger a fevere 
drubbing with flicks, torn the cloth from about his middle, 
and twilled it about his neck like a cord, in that plight fent 
him back to Guebra Mehedin, and we all prepared to take the 
ford acrofs the river. Guebra Mehedin, who faw his fer- 
vant thus difgraced returning towards him, and a confider- 
able motion among the troops, advanced a few fleps with 
two or threed more of his company, ftretching forth his 
hand and crying out, but ftill at a diflance that we could 
not hear. He was diftinguifhed by a red fafh of filk twill- 
ed about his head. I, with my fervants and attendants, firfl 
paffed the river at the ford, and I had no fooner got up the 
bank, and flood upon firm ground, than I fired two mots 
at him ; the one, from a Turkifh rifle, feemed to have given 
him great apprehenfions, or elfe to have wounded him, for, 

Vol. Ill, 3 F after 


after four or five of his people had flocked about him, 
they galloped all off acrols the plain of Foggora towards 

Netcho had pafTed the Gomara clofe after me, crying up- 
on me to let him go firft, but Adigo declared his refolutiorr 
to go no farther. He hated Ras Michael ; was a companion 
of PowufTen and Gufho, as well as a neighbour, and wifh- 
e.d for a revolution with all his heart. He, therefore, re- 
turned to Emfras and Karoota, and with him I fent five of 
my fervants, defiring him to efcort my quadrant, clock, and 
telefcopes into the ifland of Mitraha, and deliver them to 
Tecla Georgis, the king's fervant, governor of that ifland. 
Adigo, being left alone by the fervants, could not be per- 
fuaded but fome great treafure was hid in thofe boxes. He r 
therefore, carried them to his houfe, and ufed the fervants 
well, but opened and examined every one of the packages. . 
Surprifed to find nothing but iron and nifty brafs, he clofed 
them again, and delivered them fafely to Tecla Georgis 5 . 
there to be kept for that campaign. 

Delivered now from the embarraflment of my baggage- 
by the induflry of Guebra Mehedin, and of my cafes and 
boxes by my own inclination, we fet out with Netcho to 
take up our quarters with Negade Ras Mahomet at Da- 
ra, where we arrived in the afternoon, having picked up* 
one of our mules in the way, with a couple of carpets and 
fome kitchen furniture upon it, all the reft being carried 

The object which now flrit prefented irfelf, and called our 
attention, was Strates in a night-cap, in other reipects perfect- 


ly naked,with a long gun upon his moulder, without powder 
or Ihot, but prancing and capering about in a great paffion, 
and fwearing a number of Greek oaths, which nobody there 
underitood a word of but myfelf. This fpeclacle was ra- 
ther diverting for fome minutes ; at laft Netcho, though I 
believe he was not over-well provided, gave him an upper 
cloak to wrap round him. It was not then warm, indeed, 
but it was not very cold. After recovering the mule, he got 
on between the panniers, and I advifed him to put the fmall- 
eft carpet about him, which he foon after did ; he had not 
yet fpoke a word to me from fullennefs. 

*' Strates, faid I, my good friend, lay afide that long 
gun, for you will fall and break it, befides, it hath not 
been charged fmce it was fired at Guebra Mehedin. If you 
carry it to ftrike terror, it is altogether unneceflary ; for, if 
"we had drefTed you as you are now accoutred, when we 
fent you forward with the baggage to Dara, there is not a 
thief in all Begemder would have ventured to come near 
you." He looked at me with a countenance full of anger 
and contempt, though he faid nothing ; but, in Greek, pro- 
nounced anathemas againft the father of Guebra Mehedin, 
according to the Greek form of curfmg. " Curfe himfelf 
and his brother, faid I, and not his father, for he has been 
dead thefe twenty years." — " I will curfe whom I pleafe, 
[fays he, in a great paffion, I curfe his father, himfelf, and 
;his brother, the Ras, and the king, and everybody that has 
•brought me into fuch a fcrape as I have been to-day. I 
have been ftripped naked, and within an inch of having my 
throat cut, beiides being gelded ; and well may you laugh 
now at the figure I make. If you had feen thole damned 
crooked knives, with their black hands, all begging, as if it 

3 F 2 had 


had been for charity, to be allowed to do my bufinefs, you 
would have been glad for my making no worfe figure to- 
night than 1 do with this carpet upon my head." 

" My dear Strates, faid I, it is the fortune of war, and 
many princes and great men, who, at this moment I am 
f peaking to you, live in the enjoyment of every thing they 
can defire, before a month expires, perhaps, will be ftretch- 
ed on the cold ground, a prey to the birds and wild beafts of 
the field, without fo much as a carpet to cover them fuch as 
you have. You as yet are only frightened ; though, it is 
true, a man may be as well killed as frightened to death." 
" Sir, fays he, in a violent rage, that I deny, it is not the 
fame? a man that is killed feels no more, but he that is 
frightened to death, as I have been to-day, fufFers ten thou- 
sand times more than if he had been killed outright." — 
" Well, faid I, Strates, I will not difpute with you ; I believe 
they fuffer much the fame after they are dead ; but you, 
I thank God, have only loft your cloaths, and you are now 
molt comfortably, though not ornamentally, wrapped up 
in my carpet ;.as foon as we get to Dara, you fliall be drell- 
ed from head to foot, by Negade Ras Mahomet, at the ex* 
pence of the king, in better cloaths than you ever wore in 
your life, at leaf! fince I knew you ; only give me your gun 
till your paffion is allayed ; you know it is a valuable one 
which I never quit." 

He then gave me the gun fullenly enough ; and Icon- 
tinued, " I will this very night prefent you with one of the 
handfomeft Turkifh fames that Mahomet has to fell. I faw 
him in the king's houfe, with many new ones that he had 
procured, a. little before I went. to Emfras." I cannot pre*- 

tend 1 


rend to fay whether his vifage cleared up, for he was dill 
perfectly hid with the carpet, as it began to grow cool as 
well as dark ; but the fight of the lights in the houfes of Da- 
ra, and the promife of the new cloaths and the fafh, had 
very much foftened his voice and expreflions. 

" Sir, fays he, bringing his mule clofe up to mine, now, 
you are not in a pajfion, one may fpeak to you. Do you not think 
that it is tempting Providence to come fo far from your 
own country to feek thefe d — n'd weeds and flowers, at the 
rifk of having your throat cut every hour of the day, and, 
what is worfe, my throat cut too, and of being gelded into the 
bargain? Are there no weeds, and bogs, and rivers in your 
own country ? what have you to do with that d — n'd Nile, 
where he rifes, or whether he rifes at all, or not ? What 
will all thofe trees and branches do for you when thefe 
horrid blacks have done your bufinefs, as they were near do- 
ing mine ? He then made a fign towards his girdle with his 
fingers, which made me underftand what he meant — " Nile, 
fays he, curfe upon his father's head the day that he was. 

" Strates, replied I gravely, he has no father, and was 
never born. Ferturfine tejle creatus, fays the poet." — " There's 
your Latin again ; the poet is an afs and a blockhead, let 
him be who he will, continued Strates ; and I do maintain, 
whether you be angry or not, that at Stanchio and Scio 
there are finer trees than ever you faw, or will fee in Abyf- 
finia. There is a tree, fays he, that fifty men like you, 
fpreading all your hands round about, would not be able to 
grafp it. Nay, it is not a tree, it is but half a tree ; it is as 
old, I believe, as Methufelah : Did you ever fee it ?" — " 1 tell 


you, friend Strates, faid I, I never was at Scio in my life, 
and, therefore, could not fee it." — " Nor at Stanchio ?" — Yes, 
I have been at Stanchio, and have feen the large plane- 
tree there. I believe it may be about eightceen or twenty 
feet in circumference." — *' Galen and Hippocrates lived, 
adds he, there together, 2000 years before our Saviour: Did 
you ever hear that r" — " 1 have read, faid I, Strates, that, a- 
bout 500 years before Chrift, Hippocrates did live there ; but 
Galen was not born till 200 years after Chrift. I do not re- 
collect if he was ever at Stanchio ; but, furely, never lived 
there with Hippocrates. 

Strates was in the middle of a declaration, that thofc 
were all falfehoods of Latins and Papifts ; and we were af- 
cending, compofedly enough, through a narrow, rocky road, 
thick-covered with high trees and bullies, when, jufl before 
our entrance into the village of Dara, a gun was fired, and 
the ball diilinctly heard palling through the leaves among 
the branches. This occafioned a great alarm to our difpu- 
tant, who immediately fuppofed thatGuebra Mehedin, and 
all his robbers, were there exprefsly waiting for us ; nor 
was he the only perfon that felt uneafily. Netcho, myfelf, 
and the generality of his officers, thought this was more 
than probable ; we all therefore difmounted, loaded our 
fire-arms, halted till all our ftragglers came up, and con- 
fulted what we were to do. 

Strates, though tired and naked, found it was better to 
go back under his carpet, and, if poflible, overtake Ayto 
Adigo, than take poiTeffion of his new cloaths from Negade 
Ras Mahomet, with the riik of meeting Guebra Mehe- 
din there. In vain I remonflrated to him, that he, of all 

1 others, 


others, had nothing to lofc but Ncicho's old cloak and the 
carpet. His fears, however, made him think otherwifc, nor 
could he banifh his apprehenfions of the crooked knives, 
and, what he called, the operation. Netcho having ordered 
and converfed with his men in his own language!, which I 
did not underftand, faid after, with great compofure and firm 
tone of voice, That he had come to lodge in the market-place 
of Dara that night, and would not be put out of his quarters* 
by boys of the character of Mehedin and Gonfu ; that, in his 
prefent circumftances, with the few troops he had, he did 
not feek to fight, but even with this force, fuch as it was, 
if attacked, he would not decline it. — Whatever country, or 
whatever difiance of time and place heroes live at, their 
hearts are always in unifon, and fpeak the fame language 
on limilar and great occafions. There old Netcho, without 
having ever heard of Shakefpeare, repeated the very words 
that, 300 years ago, our great king Henry V. did before the 
battle of Agincourt :— 

The fum of all my anfwer is but this,, 
We would not feek a battle as we are; 
Yet, as we are, we fay we will, not Ihun ir. 

So tell your mailer- — 


We had not advanced but a few paces, before two of the 
town came to us ; the noife of our approach had been 
heard, and all the dogs had been barking for half an hour. 
Soon after, arrived a fon of Negadc Ras Mahomet, who af- 
fured us all was in peace; that they had been expecting us 
and Ayto Adigo with us; that he heard nothing of Gucbra 
Mehedin, only that he had retreated with great precipitation 



homewards acrofs the plain, as they apprehended, from fear 
of the approach of our party. He had, indeed, for fome days, 
been guilty of great irregularities ; had flain two men, and 
wounded the fon of Mahomet, the Shum, or chief of Alata, 
in attempting to take from him the revenue due from that 
territory to the king ; after which they had been beat back 
by Mahomet without their booty, and nothing more was 
known of them. 

This brought us to Negade Ras Mahomet's houfe, who 
killed a cow for Netcho, or rather allowed him to kill one 
for himfelf ; for it is equal to a renunciation of Chriftianity 
to eat meat when the beaft is flaughtered by a Mahometan. 
Strates, who from his infancy, in his own country, had fared 
on nothing elfe, was not fo fcrupulous, though he conceal- 
ed it ; he therefore had a very hearty fupper privately with 
Negade Ras Mahomet and his family, who very willingly 
promifed to get his new cloaths ready by the next morn- 

As I was myfelf, however, full of thoughts upon the dif- 
ficulties and dangers I was already engaged in, and of the 
profpecl of flill greater before me, I had no ftomach for 
either of their fuppers, but ordered fome coffee, and went 
to bed. After I lay down I defired Negade Ras Mahomet to 
come to me, and, when we were alone, I interrogated him 
if he knew any thing of the rebellion in Begemder. At 
firft. he declared he did not; he laughed at the no- 
tion of Guebra Mehedin and Confu being Fit-Auraris to 
Gufho and PowufTen, and faid, that either of thefe generals 
would hang them the firft time they came into their hands. 
He told me, however, that Woodage Afahel had been afTem- 

3 blin g 


Ming troops, and had committed fome cruelties upon the 
king's fervants in Maitfha ; but this, he imagined, was at 
the inftigation of Fafil, for he never was known to have 
been connected either with Powuflen or Gufho. He told 
me after, under the feal of fecrecy, that Ras Michael had 
halted two days at Derdera ; that, upon a meflage he had 
received from Begemder, he had broke out into violent paf- 
fions againft Gufho and Powuflen, calling them liars and 
traitors, in the openefl manner; that a council had been 
held at Derdera, in prefence of the king, where it was in 
deliberation whether the army mould not turn fhort into 
Begemder, to force that province to join them ; but that it 
was carried, for the fake of the Agows, to fend Powuflen a 
fummons to join him for the laft time : that, in the mean 
while, they fhould march ftraight with the greatefl dili- 
gence to meet Fafil, and give him battle, then return, 
and reduce to proper fubordination both Begemder and 

This was the very worft news I could poflibly receive ac- 
cording to the refolutions that I had then taken, for I was 
within about fourteen miles of the great cataract, and it 
was probable I never again fhould be fo near, were it even 
always acceflible ; to pafs, therefore, without feeing it, was 
worfe, in my own thoughts, than any danger that could 
threaten me. 

Negade Ras Mahomet was a fober plain man, of excel- 
lent underftanding, and univerfal good character for truth 
and integrity ; and, as fuch, very much in the favour both 
of the King and Ras Michael. I therefore opened my in- 
tentions to him without referve, de-firing his advice how to 

Vol. III. 3 G manage 


manage this excurfioh to the cataract. " Unlefs you had 
told me you was refolved, fays he, with a grave air, though 
full of opennefs and candour, I would, in the firft place, have 
advifed you not to think of fuch an undertaking ; thefe are 
unfettled times; all the country is bufhy, wild, and uninha- 
bited, quite to Alata ; and though Mahomet, the Shum, is a 
good man, my friend and relation, and the king repofes 
trull in him, as he does in me, yet Alata itfelf is at any 
time but a bad, ftraggling place, there are now many ftran- 
gers, and wild people there, whom Mahomet has brought to 
his affiftance, fince Guebra Mehedin made the attack upon 
him. If, then, any thing was to befal you, what mould I 
anfwer to the king and the Iteghe ? it would be faid, the 
Turk has betrayed him ; though, God knows, I was never 
capable of betraying your dog, and rather would be poor 
all my life, than the richeft man of the province by do- 
ing the like wrong, even if the bad action was never to be 
revealed, or known, unlefs to my own heart.. 

" Mahomet, faid I, you need not dwell on thefe profef- 
fions ; I have lived twelve years with people of your religion, 
my life always in their power, and I am now in your houfe, 
in preference to being in a tent out of doors with Netcho 
and his Chriftians. I do notafkyou whether I am to go or 
not, for that is refolved on ; and, tho' you are a Mahome- 
tan, and I a Chriftian, no religion teaches a man to do evil. 
We both agree in this, that God, who has protected me thus- 
far, is" capable to protect me likewife at the cataract, and 
farther, if he has not determined otherwife, for my good * 
I only afk you as a man who knows the country, to give 
me your belt advice, how I may fatisfy my curicfity in 
this point, with as little danger, and as much expedition as 

poflible fc 


poilible, leaving the reft to heaven." — " Well, fays he, I 
mall do fo. I think, likewife, for your comfort, that, barring 
unforeseen accidents, you may do it at this time, without 
great danger. Guebra Mehedin will not come between this 
town and Alata,becaufe we are all one people, and the killing 
two men, and wounding Mahomet's fon, makes him a dim- 
mema*. At Alata he knows the Shum is ready to receive 
him as he deferves, and he is himfelf afraid of Kafmati 
Ayabdar, with whom he is as deep in guilt as with us, and 
here he well knows he dare not venture for many reafons." 
" Ayabdar, faid I, palled the Karoota three days ago." 
" Well, well, replied Mahomet, fo much the better. Ayabdar 
has the leprofy, and goes every year once, fometimes twice, 
to the .hot wells at Lebec ; they mull pafs near one another, 
and that is the reafon Guebra Mehedin has aiTembled all 
thefe banditti of horfe about him. He is a beggar, and a 
fpendthrift ; a fortnight ago he fent to me to borrow twen- 
ty ounces of gold. You may be fure I did not lend it him; 
he is too much in my debt already ; and I hope Ras Michael 
will give you his head in your hand before winter, for the 
fhameful action he has been guilty of to you and yours 
this day. 

" Woodage Asahel, faid I, what fay you of him ?" — 
Why, you know, replied Mahomet, nobody can inform 
you about his motions, as he is perpetually on horfeback, 
and never refts night nor day ; however, he has no bufinefs 
on this lide of the water, the rather that he muft be fure 
Ras Michael, when he palfed here, took with him all the 

3 G 2 king's 

* Guilty of our blood, and fubjeft to the laws of retaliation. 



king's money that I had in my hands. When day-light i»- 
fairly come, for we do not know the changes a night may 
produce in this country, take half a dozen of your fervants; 
I will fend with you my fon and four of my fervants ; you 
will call at Alata, go down and fee the cataract, but do 
not (lay, return immediately, and, Ullah Kerim, God is merci- 

I thanked my kind landlord, and let him go ; but recollec- 
ting, called him again, and afked, " What mall 1 do withNet- 
cho ? how lliall 1 rejoin him ? my company is too fmall to pais 
Maitfha without him." — " Sleep in peace, fays he, I 'will 'pro- 
vide for that. I tell you in confidence, the king's money is 
in my hands, and was not ready when the Ras palled ; my 
fon is but Juft arrived with the laft of it this evening, tired 
to death ; I fend the money by Netcho, and my fon too, 
with forty flout fellows well armed, who will die in your 
fervice, and not run away like thofe vagabond Chrhtians, 
in whom you muft place no confidence if danger prefents 
itfelf, but immediately throw yourfelf among the Maho- 
metans. Befides, there are about fifty foldiers, moft of them 
from Tigre, Michael's men, that have been loitering here 
thefe two days. It was one of thefe that fired the gun juft 
before you. came, which alarmed Netcho ; fo that, when 
you are come back in fafety from the. cataract, they mall 
be, by that time, all on their march to the paffage. My 
fon fhall mount with you; I fear the Nile will be too deep', 
but when once you are at Tfoomwa, you may fet your mind 
at refty and bid defiance to Woodage Afahel, who knows 
his enemy always before he engages him, and at this time 
wirl not venture to interrupt your march." 



As I have mentioned the name of this pcrfon fo often, it 
will be necefTary to take notice, that he was by origin a 
Galla, but born in Damot, of the clan Elmana, or Denfa, two 
tribes fettled there in the time of Yafous I. that he was the 
mofl intrepid and active partizan in his time, and had an 
invincible hatred to Ras Michael, nor was there any love 
loft betwixt them. It is impoffible to conceive with what 
velocity he moved, fometimes with 200 horfe, fometimes 
with half that number. He was conftantly falling upon 
fome part of Michael's army, whether marching or en- 
camped ; the blow once {truck, he difappeared in a minute. 
When he wanted to attempt fomething great, he had only 
to fummon his friends and acquaintance in the country* 
and he had then a little army, which difperfed as foon as 
the bufinefs was done; It was Ras Michael's firft queftion 
to the fpies ; Where was Woodage Afahel laft night? a 
queflion they very feldom could anfwer with certainty. He 
was in his perfon too tall for a good horfeman, yet he was 
expert in this qualification by conflant practice. His face 
was yellow, as if he had the jaundice, and much pitted with 
the fmall-pox ; his eyes flaring, but fiery; his nofe as it were 
broken, his mouth large, his chin long and turned up at the 
end; he fpoke very faff, but not much, and had a very fhy, 
but ill-delTgning look. In his character, he was avaricious, 
treacherous, inexorable, and cruel to a proverb; in fhort, he 
was allowed to be the moft mercilefs robber and murderer, 
that age had produced in allAbyflinia, 

Wearied with thinking, and better reconciled to myex^ 
pedition, I fell into a found ileep. I was awakened by Strates 
in the morning, (the 21ft of May) who, from the next room, 
had heard alLthe converfation between me and Negade Ras\ 



and began now to think there was no fafety but in the camp 
of the king. I will not repeat his wife expoflulations againfl 
going to the cataract. We were rather late, and I paid little 
regard to. them. After coffee, I mounted my horfe, with 
iive fervants on horfeback, all refolute, active, young fellows, 
armed with lances in the fafhion of their country. I was 
joined that moment by a fon of Mahomet, on a good horfe, 
armed with a Ihort gun, and piftols at his belt, with four 
of his fervants, Mahometans, flout men, each having his 
gun, and p idols at his girdle, and a fword hung over his 
moulder, mounted upon four good mulea, fwifter and ftrong- 
er than ordinary horfes. We galloped all the way, and were 
out of fight in a fhort time. We then purfued our journey 
with diligence, but not in a hurry; we went firft to a hilly 
and rocky country, full of trees, moftly of unknown kinds, 
and all of the greateft beauty pofhble, having flowers of a 
hundred different colours and forms upon them, many 
of the trees were loaded with fruit, and many with both 
fruit and flowers. I was truly forry to be obliged to pafs 
them without more diftinct notice ; but we had no time, as 
the diflance to the cataract was not abfolutely certain, and 
the cataract then was our only object. 

After pafling the plain, we came to a brifk flream which 
rifes in Begemder, paffes Alata, and throws itfelf into the 
Nile below the cataract. They told me it was called Mariam 
Ohha ; and, a little farther, on the fide of a green hill, ha- 
ving the rock appearing in fome parts of it, ftands Alata, a 
confiderable village, with feveral fmaller, to the fouth and 
weft. Mahomet, our guide, rode immediately up to the 
,<ufe where he knew the governor, or Shum, refided, for 
cr of alarming him ; but we had already been feen at a 
4 confiderable 


confiderable diftance, and Mahomet and his fervants known. 
All the people of the village furrounded the mules directly, 
paying each their compliments to the mafter and the fer- 
vants ; the fame was immediately obferved towards us ; and, 
as I faluted the Shum in Arabic, his own language, we 
fpeedily became acquainted. Having overfhot the cataract,, 
the noife of which we had a long time diftinctly heard, I re- 
filled every entreaty that could be made to me to enter the 
houfe to refreffi myfelf. I had imbibed part of Strates's 
fears about the unfettlednefs of the times, and all the kind 
invitations were to no purpofe \ I was, as it were, forced to> 
comply to refrelli our horfes.. 

I happened to be upon a very fteep part of the hill full; 
of buihes \ and one of the fervants, dreiled in the Arabian 
fafhion, in a burnoofe, and turban ftriped white and green, 
led my horfe, for fear of his flipping, till it got into the path 
leading to the Shum's door. I heard the fellow exclaiming 
in Arabic, as he led the horfe, " Good Lord ! to fee you here ! 
Good God ! to fee you here !" — " I afked him who he was 
fpeaking of, and what reafon he had to wonder to fee me 
there." — " What ! do you not know me !" " Ifaid I did not." — * 
** Why, replied he, I was feveral times with you at Jidda. 
I faw you often with Capt. Price and Capt. Scott, with the 
Moor Yafine, and Mahomet Gibberti. I was the man that 
brought your letters from Metical Aga at Mecca, and was to* 
come over with you to Mafuah, if you had gone directly 
there, and had not proceeded to Yemen or Arabia Felix. I 
was on board the Lion, with the Indian nokeda (fo they call 
the captain of a country fhip) when your little veffel, all co- 
vered with fail, palled with fuch brifknefs through the Eng- 
lifh mips, which all fired their cannon ; and everybody faid,, 



there is a poor man making great hade to be anailinated 
among thofe wild people in Habefh ; and fo we all thought. 
He concluded, Drink ! no force! Englifhman! very good! 
G~ ,d damn, drink !" We had jufl arrived, while my friend 
was uttering thefe exclamations, at the place where theShum 
and the reft were Handing. The man continued repeating 
the fame words, crying as loud as he could, with an air 
of triumph, while I was reflecting how ihameful it was 
for us to make thefe profligate exprefhons by frequent re- 
petition, fo eafily acquired by ftrangers that knew nothing 
clfe.of our language. 

The Shum, and all about him, were in equal aflonifh- 
ment at feeing the man, to all appearance, in a paflion, bawl- 
ing out words they did not underfland ; but he, holding a 
horn in his hand, began louder than before, drink! very 
good ! Englifliman ! making the horn in the Shum his ma- 
iler's face. Mahomet of Alata was a very grave, compofed 
man ; " I do declare, fays he, AH is become mad : Does any- 
body know what he fays or means ?"— " That I do, faid I, and 
will tell you by-and-bye ; he is an old acquaintance of mine, 
and is fpeaking Engliih ; let us make a hafly meal, how- 
jever, with any thing you have to give us." 

Our horfes were immediately fed ; bread, honey, and 
butter ferved : Ali had no occafion to cry, drink j, went a- 
bout plentifully, and I would flay no longer, but mounted 
my horfe, thinking every minute that I tarried might be 
better fpent at the cataract. The firft thing they carried us 
xo was the bridge, which confifls of one arch of about twen- 
ty-five feet broad, the extremities of which were flrongly let 
into, and : jfled on the folid rock on both fides ; but frag- 
2 ments 


rnents of the parapets remained, and the bridge itfelf fcem- 
ed to bear the appearance of frequent repairs, and many at- 
tempts to ruin it ; otherwife, in its conftruction, it was ex- 
ceedingly commodious. The Nile here is confined between 
two rocks, and runs in a deep trough, with great roaring and 
impetuous velocity. We were told no crocodiles were ever 
feen fo high, and were obliged to remount the flream above 
half a mile before we came to the cataract, through trees 
and bufhes of the fame beautiful and delightful appearance 
with thofe we had feen near Dara. 

The cataract itfelf was the moft magnificent light that 
ever I beheld. The height has been rather exaggerated. 
The miffionaries fay the fall is about fixteen ells, or fifty 
feet. The meafuring is, indeed, very difficult, but, by the 
pofition of long Hicks, and poles of different lengths, at dif- 
ferent heights of the rock, from the water's edge, I may 
venture to fay that it is nearer forty feet than any other 
meafure. The river had been confiderably increafed by 
rains, and fell in one meet of water, without any interval, 
above half an Englifh mile in breadth, with a force and 
noife that was truly terrible, and which ftunned and made 
me, for a time, perfectly dizzy. A thick fume, or haze, co- 
hered the fall all round, and hung over the courfe of the 
ftream both above and below, marking its track, though 
the water was not feen. The river, though fwelled with 
rain, preferved its natural ciearnefs, and fell, as far as I could 
difcern, into a deep pool, or bafon, in the iblid rock, which 
was full, and in twenty different eddies to the very foot of 
the precipice, the ftream, when it fell, feeming part of it 
to run back with great fury upon the rock, as well as for- 

Vol. III. 3 H ward 


ward in the line of its courfe, railing a wave, or violent 
ebullition, by chaffing againil each other. 

Jerome Lobo pretends, that he has fat under the curve, 
or arch, made by the projectile force of the water rufhing 
over the precipice. He fays he fat calmly at the foot of it, 
and looking through the curve of the ftream, as it was fall- 
ing, faw a number of rainbows of inconceivable beauty in 
this extraordinary prifm. This however I, without hefita- 
tion, aver to be a downright falfehood. A deep pool of wa- 
ter, as I mentioned, reaches to the very foot of the rock, and 
is in perpetual agitation. Now, allowing that there was a 
feat, or bench, which there is not, in the middle of the. 
pool, I do believe it abfolutely impoffible, by any exertion 
of human flrength, to have arrived at it. Although a very 
robuft man, in the prime and vigour of life, and a hardy, 
practifed, indefatigable fwimmer, lam perfectly confident I 
could not have got to that feat from the more through the 
quieteft part of that bafon. And, fuppofing the friar placed 
in his imaginary feat under the curve of that immenfe arch 
of water, he muft have had a portion of firmnefs, more than 
falls to the ihare of ordinary men, and which is not likely 
to be acquired in a monaftic life, to philofophife upon op- 
lics in fuch a fituation, where every thing would feem to 
his dazzled eyes to be in motion, and the ftream, in a noife 
like the loudeft thunder, to make the folid rock (at leaft as- 
to fenfe) make to its very foundation, and threaten to tear 
every nerve to pieces, and to deprive one of other fenfes be- 
fides that of hearing. It was a mofl magnificent fight, that 
ages, added to the greateft length of human life, would not 
deface or eradicate from my memory; it ft ruck me with a 
kind of ftupor, and a total oblivion of where I was, and of 

3 every 


every other fublunary concern. It was one of the moll 
magnificent, ftup^ndous lights in the creation, though de- 
graded and vilified by the lies of a groveling, fanatic pea- 

I was awakened from one of the mod profound reveries 
that ever I fell into, by Mahomet, and by my friend Drink, 
who now put to me a thoufand impertinent queftions. It 
was after this I meafured the fall, and believe, within a few 
feet, it was the height I have mentioned ; but I confefs I 
could at no time in my life lefs promife upon precifion ; 
my reflection was fufpended, or fubdued, and while in 
fight of the fall I think I was under a temporary alienation 
of mind ; it feemed to me as if one element had broke loofe 
from, and become fuperior to all laws of fubordination; that 
the fountains of the great deep were extraordinarily opened, 
and the deftruction of a world was again begun by the agen- 
cy of water. 

It was now half an hour pall one o'clock, the weather per- 
fectly good ; it had rained very little that day, but threatened a 
(howery evening ; I peremptorily refufed returning back to 
Alata, which our landlord importuned us to. He gave us a 
reafon that he thought would have weight with us, that 
he, too, had his meery, or money, to fend to the king, 
which would be ready the next morning as early as we 
pleafed. The mention of to-morrow morning brought all 
my engagements and their confequences into my mind, 
and made me give a flat refufal, with fome degree of pee- 
vifhnefs and ill-humour. I had foon after found, that he 
had otherwife made up this affair with Mahomet our guide; 
but being refolute, and, a moment after, taking leave of 

3 H 2 our 


our kind Shum, we were joined by Seide his eldeft ion, and 
our Englifi friend Drink, each upon a mule, with two fervants 
on foot, his father, as he faid, being unwilling to fpare 
more people, as the whole inhabitants of Alata, their 
neighbours and friends, intended foon to furprife Guebra 
Mehedin, if a feafible opportunity offered. 

Though we went brifkly, it was pafl five before we ar- 
rived at Dara. Netcho had not flirred, and had procured 
another cow from Mahomet, of which all the Grangers, and 
foldiers who remained, partook. Mahomet, I believe, out of 
kindnefs to me, had convinced them of the necemty of ta- 
king along with them the Shum of Alata's money ; and 
Netcho well knew that thofe who brought any part of the 
revenue to Ras Michael were always received kindly ; and 
he was not interefted enough in the caufe to make more 
hafle than neceflary to join the king. 

Strates was completely cloathed, and received his faflx 
upon my arrival. He feigned to be wonderfully hurt at my 
having left him behind in my excurfion to the cataract. 
At fapper I began to queftion him, for the firfl time, what 
had happened to him with -Guebra Mehedin. " Sure, Strates, 
faid I, you two were once friends ; I have dined with you 
together many a time at Ayto Engedan's, and often feen 
you with him in Gondar." — " Gondar! fays he, I have known 
him thefe fourteen years, when he was a child in his father 
Bafha Eufebius's houfe ; he was always playing amongil 
us at his uncle Kafmati Efhtc's ; he was juft one of us ; nay,, 
lie is not now twenty-fix.. 




Strates proceeded — " We were crofting the plain below 
Dara, and not being inclined to go into the town without 
you, we made to a large daroo-tree, and fat dov/n to refl 
ourfelves till you mould come up. As the ground was 
fomewhat elevated, we faw feveral horfes in the bed of a 
torrent where there was no water running, and, when thefc 
were pulled up the bank, their matters got immediately 
upon them. I conceived the one with the red fafh upon 
his head was Guebra Mehedin, and prefendy eight or ten 
naked people, armed with lances and fhields, came out of 
the hole neareft me. I was furprifed, and thought they 
might be robbers, and, kneeling down upon one knee, I 
prefented the large blunderbufs at them. On this they all 
ran back to their hole, and fell flat on their faces ; and they 
did well ; I mould have given them a confounded pepper- 
ing." — " Certainly, faid I, there is little doubt of that."— • 
" You may laugh, continued Strates, but the firft thing I 
£aw near me was Confu and Guebra Mehedin, the one with 
a red, the other a kind of white fillet tied round his fore- 
head. O ho ! friend, fays Guebra Mehedin, where are you 
going ? and held out his hand to me as kindly, familiarly, 
and chearfully as pomble. I immediately laid down my 
blunderbufs, and went to kifs his hand. You know they 
are the good old queen's nephews ; and I thought if their 
houfe was near we mould have good entertainment, and 
fome merriment that night. I then faw one of their 
fervants lift the blunderbufs from the ground, but ap- 
parently with fear, and the reft took poilefiion of the 
mules and baggage. I began to afk Guebra Mehedin what 
this meant ? and faid accidentally, ente you ! inftead of fpeak- 
ing it entail), as you know they pronounce it to great people. 
Without further provocation he gave me a lam with his 



■whip acrofs the eyes, another behind took hold of your 
fword that was flung upon my moulders, and would have 
ftrangledme with the cord if I had not fallen backwards ; they 
all began then to ftrip me. I was naked in a minute as I was 
the hour I was born, having only this night-cap ; when one 
of them, a tall black fellow, drew a crooked knife, and propo- 
fed to pay me a compliment that has made me fhudder every 
time I have fince thought of it. I don't know what would 
have been the end of it, if Confu had not faid, Poh ! he is a 
white man, and not worth xhzfearifying: Let us feek his mailer, 
fays GuebraMehedin, he will by this have palled the Gomara; 
he has always plenty of gold both from the king and Iteghe, 
and is a real Frank, on which account it would be a fin to 
fpare him. On this away they went fkirmifhing about the 
plain. Horfemen came to join them from all parts, and 
every one that palled me gave me a blow of fome kind or 
other. None of them hurt me very much, but, no matter ; 
I may have my turn : we fhall fee what figure he will make 
before the Iteghe fome of thefe days, or, what is better, be- 
fore Ras Michael." 

" That you fhall never fee, fays Negade Ras Mahomet, 
who entered the room in the inflant, for there is a man 
now without who informs us that GuebraMehedin is either 
dead or jufl a- dying. A fhot fired at him, by one of you at 
the Gomara, cut off part of his cheek-bone; the next morn- 
ing he heard that Kaimati Ayabdar was going to the hot wa- 
ters at Lebec with fervants only, and the devil to whom he be- 
longed would not quit him; he would perfifT, ill as he was, to 
attack Ayabdar, who having, unknown to him, brought a 
number of flout fellows along with him, without difficulty 
cut his fervants to pieces. In the fray, Tecla Georgis, a fer- 



vant who takes care of Ayabdar's horfe, coming up with 
Guebra Mehedin himfelf, hurt as he was, ftruck him over 
the fkull with a large crooked knife like a hatchet, and 
left him mortally wounded on the field, whence he was 
carried to a church, where he is now lying a miserable 
fpectacle, and can never recover." htrates could hold no 
longer. He got up and danced as if he had been frantic, 
fometimes finging Greek fongs, at another time pronoun- 
cing ten thoufand curfes, which he wiihed might overtake 
him in the other world. For my part, I felt very differently, 
for I had much rather, confidering whofe nephew he was, 
that he mould have lived, than to have it faid that he re- 
ceived his firft wound, not a mortal one, but intended as fuch, 
from my hand. 

— ^55£&— 





3?afs the Nile and encamp at Tfoomzva — Arrive at Derdera — Alarm cm 
approaching the Army — Jjfioin the King at Karcagna. 

k N the 2 2d of May we were all equally defirous to re- 
fume our journey. We fee out accordingly at fix 
o'clock in the morning, afcending fome hills covered, as 
the former ones, with trees and fhrubs, utterly unknown to 
me, but of inexpremble beauty, and many of extraordinary 
fragrance. We continued afcending about three miles, till 
we came to the top of the ridge within fight of the lake. As 
we rofe, the hills became more bare and lefs beautiful. We af- 
terwards defcended towards the paflage, partly over fteep 
banks which had been covered with bufhes, all trodden down 
by the army, and which had made the accefs to the river ex- 
ceedingly fiippery. Here we faw the ufe of Mahomet's fervants, 
three of whom, each with a lance in one hand, holding 
that of his companion in the other, waded acrofs the vio- 
lent flream, founding with the end of their lances every 

j Hep 


ftep they took. The river was very deep, the current, I fup- 
pofe, fifty yards broader than it was at the cataract ; but 
the banks were, for a great way on each fide, almoil perfect- 
ly level, though much obilruCted with black flones. In the 
middle it was very deep, and the flream fmooth, fo that it 
was apparent our horfes muil fwim. For my part I did 
not like the fmooth flones at the bottom, as a fall there 
would have been irrecoverable ; and my horfe was mod 
with iron, which is not ufual in Abyflinia. I therefore re- 
folved to fwim where I could not wade, and, wrapping my 
cloaths in a bundle, I gave them to a fervant, who carried 
them over on his head. I then waded in, and found the water 
unexpectedly cold. Mahomet rode on a mule by my fide, 
fometimes fwimming, fometimes walking. I attempted to 
found up towards the lake, and found it deeper there. I re- 
turned, therefore, being unwilling to try experiments, and, 
committing myfelf to the flream, fwam to the other fide, 
much comforted by the afifurance that no crocodile paned 
the cataract. 

The beafls having got over, the men followed much 
quicker; many women, going to join the army, fwamover^, 
holding the tails of the horfes, and we were all en the other 
fide before twelve o'clock, the beafls a good deal tired 
with the paffage, the fteepnefs of the accefs to it, and the 
Hill greater depth on the other fide. For my part, I thought 
we could not have gone on to Tfoomwa, but it was carried 
againfl me. Tfoomwa is about twelve miles diilant ; and I 
fuppofe it was not much pafl three o'clock when we arri- 
ved there,which was very fortunate, as we had fcarccly pitch*- 
ed our tents before a moft terrible florin of rain, wind, and 
thunder overtook us. My tent was happily placed in one 

Vol. III. 3 I refpect 


refpect, being on a flat on the lee-fide of a hill, and fhelter- 
ed from the ftorm; but, on the other hand, the water ran fo 
plentifully from above as quite to overflow it on the infide 
till a trench was dug to carry it off. 

Ras Michael had burnt nothing at Tfoomwa, though 
there was a houfe of Powuuen's in the place, built by his fa- 
ther. But that diflembler, to prevent the worft, and carry on 
the farce to the uttermoft, had fent many bags of flour for 
the ufe" of the King and the Ras, which were to be diftributed 
to the army in cafe they wanted. 

From the pafTage to Tfoomwa, all the country was for- 
faken ; the houfes uninhabited, the grafs trodden down, 
and the fields without cattle.. Every thing that had life 
and flrength fled before that terrible leader, and his no lefs 
terrible army; a profound filence was in the fields around 
us, but no marks as yet of defolation. We kept Uriel: watch 
in this folitude all that night. I took my turn till twelve, 
as I was the leaft fatigued of any. Netcho had picquets 
about a quarter of a mile on every fide of us, with fire-arms ; 
to give the alarm.. 

On the 23d, about three in the morning, a gun was heard 7 
on the fide towards the pafTage. This did not much alarm 
us, though we all turned out. In a few minutes came Ayto 
Adigo, (not the Shum of Karoota, already mentioned, who 
left us at the Gomara,) but a young nobleman of Begem- 
der of great hopes, one of the gentlemen of the king's bed- 
chamber, and confequently my colleague. He intended to- 
have brought four horfes to the king, one of which he had 
drowned,, or rather, as I afterwards underftood, throttled in 

paflin & 


pafling the Nile at the mouth of the lake ; and two men, the 
king's fervants, had perifhed there likewife. He came in 
great hurry, full of the news from Begemder, and of the 
particulars of the confpiracy, fuch as have been already 
ftated. With Ayto Adigo came the king's cook, Sebaflos, 
an old Greek, near feventy, who had fallen lick with fa- 
tigue. After having fatisfied his inquiries, and given him 
what refrefhment we could fpare, he left Sebaftos with us, 
and purfued his journey to the camp. 

On the 24th, at our ordinary time, when the iun began 
to be hot, we continued our route due fouth, through a very 
plain, flat country, which, by the conllant rains that now 
fell, began to ftand in large pools, and threatened to turn all 
into a lake. We had hitherto lofl none of our beafls of car- 
riage, but we now were fo impeded by ftreams, brooks, and 
quagmires, that we defpaired of ever bringing one of them 
to join the camp. The horfes, and beafts of burthen that car- 
ried the baggage of the army, and which had paned before 
us, had fpoiled every ford, and we faw to-day a number of 
dead mules lying about the fields, the houfes all reduced 
.'to ruins, and fmoking like fo many kilns; even the grafs, or 
wild oats, which were grown very high, were burnt in large 
plots of a hundred acres together; every thing bore the 
marks that Ras MichaeHvas gone before, whilft not a living 
creature appeared in thofe extenfive, fruitful, and once well- 
inhabited plains. An awful filence reigned everywhere a- 
round, interrupted only at times by thunder, now become 
daily, and the rolling of torrents produced by local mowers 
in the hills, which ceafed with the rain, and were but the 
children of an hour, Amidft this univerfal filence that pre- 
vailed all over this fcene of extenfive defolation, I could not 

3 I 2 help 


h;lp- remembering how finely Mr Gray paints the paiTage 
of fuch an army, under a leader like Ras Michael — 

Confufion in his van with flight combin'd, 
And Sorrow's faded form, and. bolkude behind. , 

At Derderawe faw the church of St Michael, the only 
building which, in favour of his own name, the Ras had 
fpared. It ferved us then for a very convenient lodging, as 
much rain had fallen in the night, and the priefts had all 
fled or been murdered. We had this evening, when it was 
clear, feen the mountain of Samfeen. Our next ft age from 
Derdera was Karcagna, a fmall village near the banks of the 
Jemma, about two miles from Samfeeu. We knew the 
king had refolved to burn it, and we expected to have feen 
the clouds of fmoke anting from its ruins, but all was per- 
fectly cool and clear, and this very much furpri fed us, con-- 
fidering the time he had to do this, and the great punctu- 
ality and expedition with which his army ufed to execute 
orders of this kind. As we- advanced, we had feen a great 
number of dead mules and horfes, and the hyaenas fo bold 
as only to leave the carcafe for a moment, and iharl as if 
they had regretted at feeing any of us pafs alive. . 

Since pafling the Nile I found myfelf more than ordi- 
narily deprefled ; my fpirits were funk almoft to a degree of 
defpondency, and yet nothing had happened fince that pe- 
riod more than was expected before; This difagreeable 
fituation of mind continued at night while I was in bed. 
The rafhnefs and imprudence with which. I had engaged 
myfelf in fo many dangers without any neceffity for fo do- 
ing ; the little profpect of my being ever able to extricate 



myfelf out of them, or, even if I loft my life, of the account 
being conveyed to my friends at home ; the great and un- 
reafonable prefumption which had led me to think that, 
after every one that had attempted this voyage had mifcar- 
ried in it, I was the only perfon that was to fucceed ; all 
thefe reflections upon my mind, when relaxed, dozing, and 
half opprefled with fleep, filled any imagination with what I 
have heard other people call the horrors, the mod difagreca- 
ble fenfation I ever was confeious of, and which I then felt 
for the firil time. Impatient of fullering any longer, I leap- 
ed out of bed, and went to the door of the tent, where the 
outward air perfectly awakened me, and redored my drength 
and courage. All was dill, and: at a didance I faw feveral 
bright fires, but; lower down, and more to the right than I 
expected, which made me think I was midaken in the lit ut 
ation of Karcagna.. It was then near four in the morninp - 
of the 25th. I called up my companions, happily- buried in i 
deep lleep, as I was defirous,* if poffible, to join the king 
that day. We accordingly were three or four miles from 
Derdera when the fun rofe ; there had been little rain that 
night, and we found very few torrents on our way ; but it 
was flippery, and uneafy walking, the. rich foil being trod* 
den into a confidence like. parte. . 

About feven o'clock we entered upon the broad plain of: 
Martina, and were fad leaving the lake. Here the country 
is, at lead a great part of tillage, and had been, in ap- 
pearance, covered with plentiful crops, but all was cut down 
by the army, for their horfes, or trodden under foot, from 
carelefTnefs or vengeance, fo that a green blade could fcarce^ 
ly be feen. We faw a number of people this day, chiedy 
ftraggling foldiers, who, in. parties of threes and fours, had 

been • 


been feeking, in all the bullies and concealed parts of the 
river, for the'miferable natives, who had hid themfelves 
thereabouts ; in this they had many of them been fuccefsful. 
They had fome of them three, fome of them four women, 
boys and girls, who, though Chrifiians like themfelves, they 
neverthelefs were, carrying away into flavery to fell them to 
the Turks for a very fmall price. 

A little before nine we heard a gun fired that gave us 
fome joy, as the army feemed not to be far ofF; a few mi- 
nutes after, we heard feveral dropping fhots, and, in lefs than 
a quarter of an hour's time, a general firing began from 
right to left, which ceafed for an inftant, and then was heard 
again as fmart as ever, about the occafion of which we were 
divided in opinion. 

'Netci-io was fatisfied thatWoodage Afahel, from Samfeeia, 
had fallen upon Ras Michael at Karcagna, to prevent his 
burning it, and that Fafil had ftrongly reinforced him that 
he might be able to retard the army's march. On the other 
hand, having been informed by Ayto Adigo, that news were 
come to Gondar that Fafil had left Bure, and that Derdera 
was the place agreed on by Gufho and PowufTen to fhut up 
Michael on the rear, I thought that it was Fafil, to make 
good his part of his promife, who had crofTed the Nile at 
Goutto, and attacked Ras Michael before he fufTered him to 
burn Samfeen. Indeed we all agreed that both opinions 
were likely to be true, and that Fafil and Woodage Afahel 
would both attack the king at the fame time. The firing 
continued much in the fame way, rather flacker, but ap- 
parently advancing nearer us ; a fure fign that our army 
was beaten and retreating. We, therefore, made ourfelves 
4 ready, 


ready, and mounted on horfeback, that we might join them. 
Yet it was a thing appeared to us fcarcely poflible, that Fa- 
fil mould beat Ras Michael fo eafily, and with fo fhort a re- 

We had not gone far in the plain before we had a fight 
of the enemy, to our very great furprife and no fmall 
comfort. A multitude of deer, buffaloes, boars, and va- 
rious other wild beafls, had been alarmed by the noife 
and daily advancing of the army, and gradually driven be- 
fore them. The country was all overgrown with wild oats, 
a great many of the villages having been burnt the year be- 
fore the inhabitants had abandoned them ; in this fhelter 
the wild beafls had taken up their abodes in very great num- 
bers. When the army pointed towards Karcagna to the 
left, the filence and folitude on the pppofite fide made them 
turn to the right to where the Nile makes a femi-circle, the 
Jemma being behind them, and much overflowed. When 
the army, therefore, inftead of marching fouth and by eaft 
towards Samfeen, had turned their courfe north- weft, their 
faces towards Gondar, they had fallen in with thefe innu- 
merable herds of deer and other beafts, who, confined be- 
tween the Nile, the Jemma, and the lake, had no way to re- 
turn but that by which they had come. Thefe animals,, 
finding men in every direction in which they attempted 
to pafs, became defperate with fear, and, not knowing what 
courfe to take, fell a prey to the troops. The foldiers, hap- 
py in an occafion of procuring animal food, prefently fell 
to firing wherever the beafls appeared ; every loaded gun 
was discharged upon them, and this continued for very near 
an hour. A numerous flock of the largefl deer met us juffc 
in the face, and feemed fo defperate, that they had every 



appearance of running us down ; and part of them forced 
themfelves through, regardlefs of us all, whilfl others turn- 
ed fouth to efcape acrofs the plain. 

The king and Ras Michael were in the moft violent agi- 
tation of mind : though the caufe was before their eyes, yet 
the word went about that Woodage Afahel had attacked the 
army ; and this occasioned a great panic and diforder, for 
everybody was convinced with reafon that he was not far 
off. The firing, however, continued, the balls new about in 
every direction^ fome few were killed, and many people and 
horfes were hurt ; ftill they fired, and Ras Michael, at the 
•door of his tent, crying, threatening, and tearing his grey 
locks, found, for a few minutes, the army was not under 
-his command. At this inftant, Kafmati Netcho, whofe Fit- 
Auraris had fallen back on his front, ordered his kettle- 
drums, to be beat before he arrived in the king's pre- 
fence; and this being heard, without it being known ge- 
nerally who we were, occafioned another panic; great part 
of the army believed that PowufTen and Guflio were now 
.at hand to keep their appointment with Fafil, and that Net- 
cho and I were his Fit-Auraris. The king ordered his tent 
to be pitched, his Standard to be fet up, his drums to beat, 
(the fignal for encamping) and the firing immediately cea- 
fed. But it was a long while before all the army could 
believe that Woodage Afahel had not been engaged with 
fome part of it that day. Happily, if near at hand, he did 
not lay hold of this favourable opportunity ; for I am con- 
vinced, if, juft before our arrival, he had attacked Michael on 
'the Samfeen fide, with 500 horfe, our whole army had fled 
without refiftance, and difperfed all over the country. 

2 Here 


Here I left Kafmati Netcho, and was making my way 
towards the king's tent, when I was met by a fervant of 
confidence of Kefla Yafous, who had that day commanded 
the rear in the retreat, a very experienced officer, brave 
even to a fault, but full of mildnefs and humanity, and the 
moll fenfible and affable man in the army. He fent to de- 
fire that I would come to him alone, or that I would fend 
one of the Greeks that followed me. I promifed to do fo, 
after having anfwered molt of the queflions that he bade 
his fervant afk of me. After this I fearched for Strates and 
Sebaflos, who had been fick upon the road. 

I soon came up with them, and was more furprifed than 
I had been for feveral days, to fee them both lie extended 
on the ground ; Strates bleeding at a large wound in his 
forehead, fpeaking Greek to himfelf, and crying out his leg 
was broken, whilfl he preiTed it with both his hands below 
the knee, feemingly regardlefs of the gafh in his head, 
which appeared to me a very ugly one, fo that I, of courfe, 
thought his leg was ftill worfe. Sebaflos was lying flretch- 
ed along the ground, fcarcely faying, any thing, but lighing 
loudly. Upon my afking him whether his arm was broken ? 
he anfwered feebly, that he was a dying man, and that his 
legs, his arms, and his ribs were broken to pieces. I could 
not for my life conceive how this calamity had happened 
fo fuddenly, for I had not been half an hour abfent talking 
to Kefla Yafous's fervant ; and, what feemed to me flill 
flianger, every body around them were burfling out into fits 
of laughter. 

Ali Mahomet'? fervant, who was the only perfon that I 

faw concerned, upon my afking, told me that it was all ow- 

Vol. III. 3 K ing 


ing to prince George, who had frightened their mules. I have 
already hinted that this prince was fond of horfemanihip, 
and rode with faddle, bridle, and ftirrups, like an Arab ; and, 
though young, was become an excellent horfeman, fuperior 
to any in Abyflinia. The manner that two Arabs falute one 
another, when they meet, is, the perfon inferior in rank, or 
age, prefents his gun at the other, about 500 yards diftance, 
charged with powder only; he then, keeping his gun always 
prefented, gallops thefe 500 yards as faft as he can, and, be- 
ing arrived ciofe, lowers the muzzle of his gun, and pours 
the explofion juft under the other's ftirrups, or horfe's belly. 
This they do, fometimes twenty at a time, and you would 
often think it was impofliblefomebody fhould efcape being 
bruifed or burnt. 

The prince had learned this exercife from me, and was 
very perfect at the performance of it. We had procured 
him a fliort gun, with a lock and nint inflead of a match, 
and he mot not only juftly,, but gracefully on horfeback. Re 
had been out after the deer all the morning ; and hearing 
that I was arrived, and feeing the two Greeks riding on their 
mules, he came galloping furioufly with his gun prefented, 
and, not feeing me, he fired a lhot under the belly of Stra- 
tes's mule, upon the ground, and wheeling as quick as light- 
ning to the left, regardlefs of the mifchief he had occafion- 
ed, was out of fight in a moment, before he knew the con- 

Never was compliment worfe timed or relimed. Strates 
had two panniers upon his mule, containing two great 
earthen jars of hydromei for the king; Sebaftos had alfo 
fome jars and pots, and three or four dozen of drinking- 



glalTcs, likewife for the king ; each of the mules was covered 
with a carpet, and alfo the panniers ; and upon the pack-fad- 
dle, between thefe panniers, did Strates and Sebaftos ride. The 
mules as well as the loading belonged to the king, and they 
only were permitted to ride them becaufe they were lick. 
Strates went firft, and, to fave trouble, the halter of Seba- 
ftos's mule was tied to Strates's faddle, fo the mules were 
fattened to and followed one another. Upon firing the gun 
fo near it, Strates's mule, not ufed to compliments of this 
kind, ftarted, and threw him to the ground ; it then tram- 
pled upon him, began to run off, and wound the halter a- 
round Sebaftos behind, who fell to the ground likewife a- 
mongft fome ftones. Both the mules then began kicking 
at each other, till they had thrown off the panniers and 
pack-faddles, and broke every thing that was brittle in them. 
The mifchief did not end here, for, in ftruggling to get 
loofe, they fell foul of the mule of old Azage Tecla Haim- 
anout, one of the king's criminal judges, a very old, feeble 
man, and threw him upon the ground, and broke his foot, 
fo that he could not walk alone for feveral months after- 
wards. As foon as I had pitched a tent for the wounded, 
and likewife drelled Tecla Haimanout's foot, I went to Kefla 
Yafous, while the two Mahomets proceeded to the Ras with 
iheir money. 

The moment I came into the tent, Kefla Yafous role up 
-and embraced me. He was fitting alone, but with rather a 
chearful than a dejected countenance ; he told me they 
were all in great concern, till Ayto Adigo'.s arrival, at a re- 
port which came from Gondar that we had fought with 
Gnebra Mehedin, and had all been flain. I informed him 
-every thing I knew, or had heard, but he had better intel- 

3 K 2 ligence 



ligcnce than I in every article but this Ian, frefh news ha- 
ving arrived the night before by way of Delakus. He faid, 
the rebellion of Gufho and Powuffen was certain ; that the 
King and Ras knew every circumftance of it, and that 
Court-ohha was the place appointed with Fafil to meet and 
cut them off ; he had not heard of Woodage Afahel's march, 
but feemed to give full credit to it ; he faid it was certain, 
likewife, that Fafil had advanced towards Maitfha; but 
where his quarters were he did not know, probably they 
were not at a great diftance, He complained violently of 
his march, and of the number of beafts which they had loft; 
he wifhed alfo that Fafil would be induced to give battle 
where they were encamped, as his horfe would probably be 
of little ufe to him among fo many torrents and rivers, and 
mufl fufFer confiderably in their advancing hither. 

I asked him whither they were now marching? He faid, 
that, as foon as the news of the confpiracy were known, a 
council was held, where it was the general opinion they 
fhould proceed brifkly forward, and attack Fafil alone at 
Bure, then turn to Gondar to meet the other two ; but then 
they had it upon the very bell authority that great rain had 
fallen to the fouthward ; that the rivers, which were fo 
frequent in that part of the country, were moftly impaiTable, 
fo there would be great danger in meeting Fafil with an 
army fpent and fatigued with the difficulty of the roads. It 
was, therefore, determined, and the Ras was decidedly of 
that opinion, that they fhould keep their army entire for a 
better day, and immediately crofs the Nile, and march back 
to Gondar ; that they had accordingly wheeled about, and 
that day was the firft of their proceeding, which had been in- 
terrupted by the accident of the firing. Kefla Yafous of- 


fered me all forts of refrefhments, and I dined with him ; 
he fent alfo great abundance for my fervants to my tent, 
left I mould not have yet got my appointments from 
the king. I then went directly to my own tent, where I 
found all that belonged to me had arrived fafe, under the 
care of Francifco ; and having now procured clothes, inftead 
of thofe taken from me by Guebra Mehedin, I waited up- 
on the king, and ftaid a confiderable time with him, alking 
much the fame queftions Kefla Yafous had done. I would 
have paid my refpects to the Ras alfo, but miffed him, for 
he was at council. 




y ■ ' --*g 


King's Army retreats towards Gondar — Memorable Paffage of the Nth 
Dangerous Situation of the Army — Retreat of Kef a Tafous — Battle 
of Limjour — Unexpected Peace with Fafil — Arrival at Gondar, 

IT was on the 26th of May, early in the morning, that 
the army marched towards the Nile. In the after- 
noon we encamped, between two and three, on the banks 
of the river Coga, the church Abbo being fomething more 
than half a mile to the north-well of us. 

Next morning, the 27th, we left the river Coga, march- 
ing down upon the Nile ; we palled the church of Mariam- 
Net, as they call the church of St Anne. Here the fupe- 
rior, attended by about fifty of his monks, came in proceffion 
to welcome Ras Michael ; but he, it feems, had received 
fome intelligence of ill-offices the people of this quarter 
had done to the Agows by Falil's direction ; he therefore 
1 ordered 



ordered the church to be plundered, and took the fupcrior, 
and two of the leading men of the monks, away with him 
to Gondar; feveral of the others were killed and wounded, 
without provocation, by the foldicrs, and the reft difperfed 
through the country. 

Prince George had fent immediately in the morning to 
put me in mind that I had promifed, in the king's tent at 
Lamgue, under Emfras, to ride with him in his party when 
in Maitfha. He commanded about two hundred and fifty 
chofen horfe, and kept at about half a mile's diftance on the 
right flank of the army. I told the king the prince's defire; 
who only anfwered, dryly enough, " Not till we pafs the 
Nile ; we do not yet know the ftate of this country." Imme- 
diately after this, he detached the horfe of Sire and Se- 
rawe, and commanded me with his own guards to take pof- 
feflion of the ford where the Fit-Auraris had crofTed, and to 
fufFer no mule or horfe to pafs till their arrival. 

There were two fords propofed for our pafTage ; one op- 
pofite to the church Bohkon Abbo, between the two rivers 
Kelti and Arooffi, (on the weft of the Nile,) and the Koga 
and Amlac Ohha from the eafl ; it was faid to be deep, but 
paffable, though the bottom was of clay r and very foft ; the 
other ford propofed was higher up, at the fecond cataract of 
Kerr. It was thought of confequence to chufe this ford, as 
the Kelti, (itfelf a large and deep river) joined by the Branti, 
which conies from the weftward of Quaquera, brings, in the 
rainy feafon, a prodigious accemonof water to the Nile ; yet, 
below this, the guides had advifed the kas to pafs, and many 
found it afterwards a found bottom, very little deeper, with 
level ground on both fides. We arrived about four -on the 



banks of the Nile, and took pofTeilion in a line of about 600 
yards of ground. 

From the time we decamped from Coga it poured incef- 
fantly the moft continued rain we ever had yet feen, violent 
claps of thunder followed clofe one upon another, almoft 
without interval, accompanied with meets of lightning, 
which ran on the ground like water ; the day was more 
than commonly dark, as in an eclipfe; and every hollow, or 
foot-path, collected a quantity of rain, which fell into the 
Nile in torrents. It would have brought into the dulled 
mind Mr Hume's ftriking lines on my native Carron-— < 

Red ran the river down, and loud and oft 
The angry fpirit of the water ihriek'd. 


The Abyffinian armies pafs the Nile at all feafons. It rolls 
with it no trees, Hones, nor impediments ; yet the fight of 
fuch a monftrous mafs of water terrified me, and made me 
think the idea of croffing would be laid afide. It was plain 
in the face of every one, that they gave themfelves over 
for loft ; an univerfal dejection had taken place, and it was. 
but 100 vifible that the army was defeated by the weather, 
without having feen an enemy. The Greeks crowded a- 
round me, all forlorn and defpairing, curfmg the hour they 
had firft entered that country, and following thefe curies 
with fervent prayers, where fear held the place of devotion. 
A cold and brifk gale now fprung up at N. W. with a clear 
fun; and ibon after four, when the army arrived on the banks 
of the Nile, thefe temporary torrents were all fubfided, the 
3 fun 


fun was hot, and the ground ,again beginning to become 

Netcho, Ras Michael's Fit-Auraris, with about 400 men, 
had palled in the morning, and taken his nation above us 
in little huts like bee-hives, which the foldiers, who carry 
no tents, make very fpeedily and artificially for themfelves, 
of the long, wild oats, each flraw of which is at leaft eight 
feet long, and near as thick as an ordinary man's little fing- 
er. He had fent back word to the king, that his men had 
palTed fwirnming, and with very great difficulty ; that he 
doubted whether the horfes, or loaded mules, could crofs at 
any rate ; but, if it was refolved to make the trial, they fhould 
do it immediately, without Haying till the increafe of the 
river. He faid both banks were compofed of black earth, flip- 
pery and miry, which would become more fo when horfes 
had puddled it; he advifed, above all, the turning to the right 
immediately after coming afhore, in the direction in which 
he had fixed poles, as the earth there was hard and firm, be- 
fides having the advantage of fome round ftones which 
hindered the hearts from flipping or finking. . Inftead, 
therefore, of retting there that night, it was refolved that the 
horfe mould crofs immediately. 

The firft who paned was a young man, a relation of the 
king, brother to Ayamico killed at the battle of Banja ; he 
walked in with great caution, marking a track for the king 
to pafs. He had gone upon rather folid ground, about 
twice the length of his horfe, when he plunged out of his 
depth, and fwam to the other fide. The king followed him 
immediately with a great degree of hafte, Ras Michael call- 
ing to him to proceed with caution, but without iucce fs„ 

Vol. 111. 3 L Afterwards 


Afterwards came the old Ras on his mule, with feveral of 
his friends fwimming both with and without their horfes 
on each iide of him, in a manner truly wonderful. He feem- 
ed to have loft his accuftorned calmnefs, and appeared a good 
deal agitated ; forbade, upon pain of death, any one to fol- 
low him directly, or to fwim over, as their cuftom is, hold- 
ing their mules by the tail. As foon as thefe were fafely 
afhore, the king's houfehold and black troops, and I with, 
them, advanced cautioufly into the river, and fwam happily 
over, in a deep ftream of reddifh- coloured water, which rant 
without violence almoft upon a leveL. 

Each horfeman had a mule in his hand, which fwam 
after him, or by his fide, with his coat of mail and head- 
piece tied upon it. My horfe was a very ftrong one, and in 
good condition, and a fervant took charge of my mule and 
coat of mail, fo that, being unembarrafTed, I had the hap- 
pinefs to get fafe and foon over, and up the path to the right 
without great difficulty, fo had raoft others of the cavalry^ 
who fwam along with us ; but the ground now began to be 
broken on both fides of the paiTagc, and it was almoft as dif- 
ficult to get in, as it was to fcramble up the bank after-, 

§£uis cladem Hints noSlis^ quis funera fando^ 

'H'emperet a lachrymis* \ < ■ 


It is impoffible to defcribe the confufion that followed £. 
night was hard upon us, and, though it increafed our lofs, it 
in great meafure concealed it ; a thoufand men had not yet 
jpafied, though on mules and horfes; many mired in the 



muddy landing-place, fell back into the ftream, and were 
carried away and drowned. Of the horfe belonging to the 
king's houfehold, one hundred and eighty in number, feven 
only were miffing ; with them Ayto Aylo, vice-chamberlain 
to the queen, and Tecla Mariam the king's uncle* a great 
friend of Ras Michael's, both old men. 

The ground on the weft fide was quite of another con- 
fiftence than was that upon the caft, it was firm, covered 
with fhort grafs, and rofe in fmall hills like the downs in 
England, all floping into little valleys which carried off the 
tvater, the declivity being always towards the Nile. There 
was no baggage (the tent of the Ras and that of the king 
excepted) which had as yet come over, and thefe were wet, 
being drenched in the river. The Fit-Auraris had left, ready 
made, two rafts for Ozoro Either, and the other two la- 
dies, with which fhe might have eafily been conducted 
over, and without much danger ; but the Ras had made 
Ozoro Efther pafs over in the fame manner he had crof- 
fed himfelf, many fwimming on each fide of her mule. 
She would have fain ftaid on the eaft fide, but it was 
in vain to remonftrate. She was with child, and had 
fainted feveral times ; but yet nothing could prevail with 
the Ras to truft her on the other bank till morning. She 
crofTed, however, fafely, though almoft dead with fright. It 
was faid he had determined to put her to death if fhe did 
not pafs, from jealoufy of her falling into the hands of Fa- 
fil ; but this I will by no means vouch, nor do I believe it. 
The night was cold and clear, and a ftrong wind at north- 
weft had blown all the afternoon. Guebra Mafcal, and fe- 
veral of Ras Michael's officers, had purpofely tarried behind 
for gathering in the ftragglers. The river had abated to- 

3 L ^2 wards 


wards mid night, when, whether from this caufe, or, as 
they alledged, that they found a more, favourable ford, all 
the Tigre infantry, and many mules lightly loaded, palled 
with lefs difficulty than any of tire reft had done, and with 
them feveral loads of Hour; luckily alfo my two tents and 
mules, to my great confolation, came fafely over when it 
was near morning. Still the army continued to pafs, and 
thofe that could fwim feemed belt off. I was in the great- 
ell diftrefs for the good Ammonios,. my lieutenant, who was 
milling, and did not join us till late in the morning, having 
been all night bufy in feeking Ay to Aylo, the queen's cham- 
berlain, and Tecla Mariam, who were his great companions^ 
drowned probably at the firft attempt to pafs, as they were 
never after heard of. 

The greateft part of the foot, however, crofTed in the 
night ; and many were of opinion that we had miftaken 
the pafTage altogether, by going too high, and being in too 
great a hafte ; the banks, indeed, were fo fteep, it was very 
plain that this could never have been an accuilomed ford 
for cavalry. Before day -light the van and the center had 
all joined the king; the number, I believe, that had perifhed 
was never distinctly known, for thofe that were miffing were 
thought to have remained on the other fide with Ken* a Yat- 
fous, at leaft for that day. Kefla Yafous, indeed, with the 
rear and all the baggage of the army, had remained on the 
other fiae, and, with very few tents pitched, waited the dawa. 
of the morning. 

It happened that the. priefls of the church of Mariam 
Net, in the confufion, had been left unheeded, chained arm 
to ajm.j in the rear with Keila Yafous, and they had began 



interceding with him to proture their pardon and difmiS- 
iion. He was a man, as I faid, of the greateft affability and 
complacency, and heard every one fpeak with the mm oft pa- 
tience. Thefe priefts, terrified to death left Michael fhould 
pull their eyes out, or exercife fome of his ufual cruelties 
upon them, which was certainly his intention by bringing 
shem with him to Gondar, frankly declared to. Kefla Yafous 
What they apprehended. They faid that they had never 
known a ford there before, though they had lived many 
years in the neighbourhood, nor had ever heard of one at 
Kerr, the firft cataracl, .which the guides had perfuaded .he 
rather of the two ; .they did believe, therefore, that Michael's 
guides had deceived him on purpofe, and that they intend- 
ed the fame thing by him to-morrow, if he attempted to 
pafs at Kerr. They told him further, that, about three 
days before Michael had arrived in the neighbourhood of 
Samfeen, they had. heard a nagareet beat regularly every 
evening at fun-fet, behind the high woody hill in front, 
whereon was the church of Bofkon Abbo ; that they had 
feen alfo a man the day before who had left Welleta Ya- 
fous, Tarn's principal officer and confident, at Goutto, wait- 
ing the arrival of fome more troops to pafs the Nile there, 
whence they doubted not that there was treachery intends 

The fagacious and prudent Kefla Yafous weighed every 
word of this in his mind, and, combining all the circuni- 
ftances together, was immediately convinced that there had 
been a fnare laid by Fafil for them. Entering further in- 
to converfation with the priefts; and encouraging them with 
afTurances of reward inftead of punimment, he inquired if 
they certainly knew any better ford below. They anfwer- 



ed him they knew of no ford but the common one of De- 
lakus, about eight miles below ; that it was true it was not 
good, and it was deeper than ordinary, as the rainy feafon 
had begun early, but that it was fo perfectly fordable that 
all the country people had gone with afTes loaded with but- 
ter and honey, and other provifions, for the market of Gon- 
dar laft week ; from whence they inferred that he could 
eafily ford it, and fafely, even with loaded mules. They 
advifed him farther, as the night was dry, and the rain fell 
generally in the day, to lofe no time, but to collect his 
troops, weary as they were, as foon as poffible, and fend 
the heavy baggage before ; that there was no river or tor- 
rent in their way, but Amlac Ohha, which, at that time of 
night, was at its loweft, and they might then pafs it at their 
leifure, while he covered them with his troops behind ; 
'that in fuch cafe they might all be fafe over the ford by 
the time the fun became to be hot in the morning, about 
which hour they did not doubt he would be attacked by 
"Welleta Yafous. They faid farther, that, though they could 
claim little merit, being prifoners, by offering to be his 
guides, yet he might perhaps find his ufe in the meafure, 
and would thereby prove their faith and loyalty to the king. 

Although all this bore the greateft mew of probability, 
and the lives of the informers were in his hands, that cau- 
tious general would not undertake a ftep of fo much con- 
fequence, as to feparate the rear of the army from the king, 
without further inquiry. There was then in his camp, 
waiting the event of next day, two of the guides who had 
brought them to this ford ; a third had gone over the ri- 
ver with Ras Michael. There was likewife in his camp a 
fervant of Nanna Georgis, who had arrived fome days be- 
4 fore 


fare with information to Ras Michael. The two guides 
pretended to be Agows, confequently friends to the king. 
He called thefe into his prefence, and ordered them to be 
put in irons, and then fent for the fervant of Nanna Geor- 
gis. This man immediately knew the one to be his coun- 
tryman, but declared the other was a Galla, both of them 
fervants of Fafil, and then living in Maitfha. 

Kefla Yasous immediately ordered the Kanitz Kitzera 
(the executioner of the camp) to attend, and having exhort- 
ed them to declare the truth for fear of what would fpeedi- 
ly follow, and no fatis factory anfwer being given, he direct- 
ed the eyes of the eldeft, the Galla, to be plucked out ; and 
he continuing ftill obftinate, he delivered him to the fol- 
diers, who hewed him to pieces with their large knives in 
prefence of his companion. In the mean time the priefts 
had been very earneft with the young one, the Agow, to 
confefs, with better fuccefs ; but this execution, to which 
he had been witnefs, was more prevailing than all their ar- 
guments. Upon promife of life, liberty, and reward, he de- 
clared that he had left Fafil behind a hill, which he then 
mewed, about three miles diftant, in front of the king's 
army, and had gone down to Welleta Yafous, who was wait- 
ing at Goutto ready to pafs the Nile : that they were fent 
forward to decoy the king to that pafTage, under the name 
©f a ford, where they expected great part of the army would 
perifh if they attempted to pafs : that Fafil was to attack 
fuch part of the king's army as mould have pafTed as foon ; 
as it appeared upon the heights above the river, but not till,, 
by the firing on the ealt fide, he knew that Welleta Yafous 
was engaged with the rear, or part of the army, which mould 
ftili remain on that fide feparated by the river : that they did 



not imagine Ras Michael could have paffed that night, but 
that to-morrow he would cercainly be attacked by Fafil, as 
his companion, who had croffcd with Ras Michael, was to go 
directly to Fafil and inform him of the Situation of the King, 
the Ras, and the army. 

Kefla Yasous fent two of his principal officers, with a 
diflincl: detail of this whole affair, to the king. It being now 
dark, they fwam the river on horfeback, with much more 
difficulty and danger than we had done, and they found 
Ras Michael and the king in council, to whom they told 
their meiTage with every circumflance, adding, that Kefla 
Yafous, as the only way to preferve the army, quite fpent 
with fatigue, and encumbered with fuch a quantity of bag- 
gage, had flruck his tent, and would, by that time, be on 
his march for the ford of Delakus, which he mould crofs, 
and, after leaving a party to guard the baggage and fick, he 
mould with the frefheft of his men join the army. The fpy 
that had paffed with Michael and the king was now fought 
for, but he had loft no time, and was gone off to Fafil at Bo£- 
kon Abbo. Kefla Yafous, having feen all the baggage on their 
way before him, did, as his lafl act, perhaps not flridly con- 
fident with jufHce, hang the poor unfortunate informer, the 
Agow, upon one of the trees at the ford, that Welleta Yafous, 
when he paffed in the morning, might fee how certainly 
his fecret was discovered, and that consequently he was on 
his guard. 

On the 28th he croffed Amlac Ohha with fome degree of 

difficulty, and was obliged to abandon feveral baggage- 

mifles. He advanced after this with as great diligence as 

poffible to Delakus, and found the ford, though deep, much 

2 better 


better than he expected. He had pitched his tent on the 
high road to Gondar, before Welleta Yafbus knew he was 
decamped, and of this pafTage he immediately advifed Mi- 
chael refrefhing his troops for any emergency. 

About two in the afternoon Welleta Yafous appeared 
with his horfe on the other fide of the Nile, but it was then 
too late. Kefla Yafous was fo ftrongly polled, and the banks 
of the river fo guarded with fire-arms, down to the water- 
edge, that Fafil and all his army would not have dared 
to attempt the pafTage, or even approach the banks of the 

As foOn as Ras Michael received the intelligence, he dif- 
patched the Fit-Auraris, Netcho, to take poll upon the ford 
of the Kelti, a large river, but rather broad than deep, about 
three miles off. He himfelf followed early in the morning, 
and pafled the Kelti juft at fun-rife, without halting ; he 
then advanced to meet Kefla Yafous, as the army began to 
want provifions, the little flour that had been brought over, 
or which the foldiers had taken with them, being nearly ex- 
haufted during that night and the morning after. It was 
found, too, that the men had but little powder, none of 
them having recruited their quantity fince the hunting of the 
/deer ; but what they had was in perfect good order, being 
kept in horns and fmall wooden bottles, corked in fuch a 
manner as to be fecured from w T ater of any kind. Kefia 
Yafous, therefore, being in poirefllon of the baggage, the 
powder, and the provifions, a junction with him was abfo- 
lutely necefTary, and they expected to effect this at Waina- 
dega, about twenty miles from their lafl night's quarters. 

Vol. III. 3 M . The 


The ground was all firm and level between Kelti and the 
Avoley, a fpace of about 15 miles. 

Ras Michael halted after pafling the Kelti, and fent on 
the Fit-Auraris about five miles before him ; he then ordered 
what ^quantity of flour, or provifions of any kind could be 
found, to bejdiftributed among the men, and directed them 
to refrefh themfelves for an hour before they again be- 
gan their march, becaufe they might expect foon to engage 
with Fafil. The day being clear, and the fun hot, thofe 
that the cold affected, from the pafTage of laft night, began 
to recover their former health and agility; their clothes were 
now all dry, clean warned, and comfortable ; and had it not 
been for the fatigue that remained from the two laft days, 
and the fhort allowance to which they were reduced, per- 
haps there were few occafions wherein the army was fitter 
for an engagement. Being now difembarrafTed from dan- 
gerous rivers, they were on dry folid ground, which they 
had often marched over before in triumph, and where all 
the villages around them, lying in ruins, put them in mind 
of many victorious campaigns, and efpecially the recent 
one at Fagitta over this fame. Fafil. Add to all this, they were 
on their way home to Gondar, and that alone made them 
march with a tenfold alacrity. Gondar, they thought, was 
to be the end of all their cares, a place. of relaxation and 
eafe for the reft of the rainy feafon. 

It was between twelve and One we heard the Fit-Auraris 
engaged, and there was fharp firing on both fides, which 
foon ccafed. Michael ordered his army immediately to halt; 
he and the king, and Biiletana GuetaTecla, commanded the 
van; WelletaMichael,andAytoTesfos of Sire, the rear. Having. 



marched a little farther, he changed his order of battle ; he 
drew up the body of troops which he commanded, toge- 
ther with the king, on a flat, large hill, with two valleys 
running parallel to the fides of it like trenches. Beyond 
thefe trenches were two higher ridges of hills that ran along 
the fide of them, about half a mufket-fhot from him ; the 
valleys were foft ground which yet could bear horfes, and 
thefe hills, on his right and on his left, advanced about 100 
yards on each fide farther than the line of his front. The 
grofs of thefe fide-divifions occupied the height ; but a line 
of foldiers from them came down to the edge of the valleys 
like wings. In the plain ground, about three hundred yards 
directly in his front, he had placed all the cavalry 5 -except 
the king's body-guards drawn up before him, commanded 
by an old officer of Mariam Barea. As prince George was 
in the cavalry, he ftrongly folicited the Ras at leaft to let 
him remain with them, and fee them engage ; but the Ras, 
confidering his extreme youth and natural raftmefs, called 
him back, and placed him belide me before the king. It 
was not long before the Fit-Auraris's two meffengers arri- 
ved, running like deer along the plain, which was not abfo- 
lutely flat, but floped gently down towards us, declining, as 
i fhould guefs, not a fathom in fifteen. 

Their account was, that they had fallen in with FafiTs 
Fit-Auraris ; that they had attacked him fmartly, and, though 
the enemy were greatly fuperior, being all horfe, except a few 
-mufqueteers, had killed four of them. The Ras having firfl 
heard the meflage of the Fit-Auraris alone, he fent a man 
to report it to the king ; and, immediately after this, he or- 
dered two horfemen to go full gallop along the eafl fide of 
the hill, the low road to Wainadega, to warn KeflaYafous 

3M2 of 


of Fafil's being near at hand ; he likewife directed the Fit— 
Auraris to advance cautioufly till he had feen Fafil, and to- 
purfue no party that ihould retreat before him. 

The King, the Ras, and the whole army, began to be in^ 
pain for Keila Yafous ; and we mould have changed our 
ground, and marched forward immediately, had we not 
heard the alarm-guns fired by Fit-Auraris Netcho, and pre- 
fently he and his party came in, the men running, and the 
horfes at full gallop. Ras Michael had given his orders, 
and returned to the prefence of the king on his mule ; he 
could not venture among horfe, being wounded in the 
middle of the thigh, and lame in that leg, but always char- 
ged on a mule among the mufquetry. He faid fhortly to the 
king, " No fear, Sir, ftand firm ; Fafil is loll if he fights to- 
day on this ground J' 

Fasil appeared at the top of the hill. I have no guefs about 
the number of fuch large bodies of troops, but, by thofe more 
iifed to fuch computations, it is faid he had about 3000 
horfe. It was a fine fight, but the evening was beginning- 
to be overcalh After having taken a full view of the army, 
they all began to move flowly down the hill, beating their 
kettle-drums. There were two trees a little before the ca- 
valry, that were advanced beyond our front. Fafil fent down 
a party to fkirmifh wkh thefe, and he himfelf halted after 
having made a few paces down the hill; The two bodies 
of horfe met juft halfway at the two trees, and mingled 
together, as appeared at leafi,, with very decifive intention ; 
but whether it was by orders or from fear, (for they were 
not overmatched in numbers) our horfe turned their backs 
and came precipitately down, fo that we were afraid they 
1 would 


would break in upon the foot. Several fhots were fired from 
the center at them by order of the Ras,who cried out aloud 
in derifion, " Take away thefe horfes and fend them to the 
mill." They divided, however, to the right and left, into 
the two grafly valleys under cover of the mufquetry, and a 
very few horfe of Fafil's were carried in along with them, 
and flain by the foldiers on the fide of the hill. On the 
king's fide no man of note was miffing but Welleta Michael, 
nephew of Ras Michael, whofe horfe falling, he was taken, 
prifoner and carried off by Fafil.. 

A few minutes after this, arrived a meflenger from Fafil, 
a dwarf, named Doho, a- man- always employed on errands 
of this kind ; it is an intercourfe which is permitted, and 
the mefTenger not only protected, but rewarded, as I have 
before obferved ; it is a lingular cuftom, and none but 
fhrewd fellows are fent, very capable of making obferva- 
tions, and Doho was one of thefe. He told the Ras to pre- 
pare immediately, for Fafil intended to attack him as foon 
as he had brought his foot up : Doho further added a 
requeft from his mailer, as a' mark of his duty, that the king 
might not change his drefs that day, left he might fall in- 
to the hands of fome of the ftranger troops of Galla, who 
might not know him otherwife, or mew the proper refpect 
to his perfon. The Ras, I was told afterwards, for he was 
too far before us to hear him, laughed violently at this com- 
pliment. '' Tell Fafil, fays he, to wait but a few minutes 
where he now is, and Ipromife him that the king mail drefs 
in anyway he pleafes." When Doho's menage was told to 
the king, he fent back anfwer to Ras Michael, "Let Doho 
tell Fafil from me, that, if I had known thofe two trees had 
been where they are, I would have brought Welleta Ga- 


briel, Ozoro Either' s fteward, to him; by which he very arch- 
ly alluded to the battle of Fagitta, where that drunkard, 
mooting from behind a tree, and killing one Galla, made 
all the reft fly for fear of the zibib. 

Do ho being thus difmhTed, the whole army advanced im- 
mediately at a very brifk pace, hooping and fcreaming, as is 
their cuftom, in a moll harfh and barbarous manner, crying 
out Hatze Ali ! Michael Ali ! But Fafil, who faw the forward 
countenance of the king's troops, and that a few minutes 
would lay him under neceflity of rifking a battle, which he 
did not intend, withdrew his troops at a fmart trot over the 
fmooth downs, returning towards iBofkon Abbo. It feems, 
as we heard afterwards, he was in as great anxiety about 
the fate of Welleta Yafous, of whom he had no intelligence, 
as we had been for that of Kefla Yafous; and he had got as 
yet no intelligence till he had taken Welleta Michael prifon- 
er ; he had heard no firing, nor did he confequently know 
whether Kefla Yafous had paned the Nile with the Ras or 
not ; he had, therefore, left his camp, and marched with his 
horfe only to take a view of Michael, but had no fort of in- 
tention to give him battle ; and he was now very much ex- 
afperated againfl both Gufho and PowufTen, by whom he 
faw plainly that he had been betrayed. 

This is what was called the battle of Limjour, from a 
village burnt by Ras Michael laft campaign, which Hood 
where the two trees are ; the name of a battle is furely 
more than it deferves. Had Fafil been half as willing as the 
Ras, it could not have failed being a decifive one. The Ras, 
who faw that Fafil would not fight, eafily penetrated his rea- 
fons, and no fooner was he gone, and his own drums filent, 
3 . than 


than he heard a nagareet beat, and knew it to be that of Kefla 
Yafous. This general encamped upon the river Avoley, lea- 
ving his tents and baggage under a proper guard, and had 
marched with the befl and frefheft of his troops to join Mi- 
chael before the engagement. All was joy at meeting, every 
rank of men joined in extolling the merit and conduct of 
their leaders ; and, indeed, it may be fairly faid, the filia- 
tion of the king and the army was defperate at that inftant, 
when the troops were feparated on different fides of the Nile ; 
nor could they have been favcd but by the fpeedy refolu- 
tion taken by Kefla Yafous to march without lofs of time 
and pafs at the ford of Delakus, and the diligence and acti- 
vity with which he executed that refolution. 

Although a- good part of Kefla Yafous's foldiers were 
left at the Avoley, the Ras, as a mark of confidence, gave 
him the command of the rear. We were retreating before 
an enemy, and it was, therefore, the poft of honour, where 
the Ras would have been himfelf, had not Kefla Yafous join- 
ed us. We foon marched the five miles, or thereabout, that 
remained to the Avoley, and arrived juft as the fun was fet- 
ting, and there heard from the fpies that Welleta Yafous 
with his troops had retired again to Goutto, after having 
been joined by Woodage Afahel. There again were freffi re- 
joicings, as every one recovered their baggage and provi-- 
fions, many rejoined their friends they had given over as 
loft at the pafTage, and the whole army prepared their flip- 
per. All but Ras Michael feemed to have their thoughts 
bent upon fleep and reft ; whilft he, the moil infirm and 
aged of the army, no fooner was under cover of his tent 
than he ordered the drum to beat for afTembling a coun- 
cil. What pafTed there I did not know; I believe nothing 



but a repetition of the circumflances that induced Kefla Ya- 
fous to advance to Delakus, for, after fupper, jufl before the 
king went to bed in the evening, a man from Kefla Yafous 
brought the four priefts of Maria-m Net, who had been the 
guides to the ford at Delakus. The king ordered meat to 
be let before them, but they had done very well already 
with Kefla Yafous, and, therefore, only took a fmall piece 
of bread and a cup of bouza, the eating and drinking in 
prefence of the king being an afTurance that their life was 
fafe and pardon real. They had then five ounces of gold, 
and feveral changes of clothes given to each of them, and 
the king took them to Gondar with him, to provide for 
them there, out of the reach of the revenge of Fafd, and 
placed them in the church of Hamar.Noh*. 

The army marched next day to Dingleber, a high hill, or 
rock, approaching fo clofe to the lake as fcarcely to leave a 
paffage between. Upon the top of this rock is the king's 
houfe. As we arrived very early there, and were now out 
of Fafd's government, the king infilled upon treating K as 
Michael and all the people of confederation. A great quan- 
tity of cattle had been fent thither from Dembea by thofe 
who had eflates in the neighbourhood, out of which he 
gave ten oxen to Ras Michael, ten to Kefla Yafous, the fame 
•number to feveral others, and one to myfelf, with two oun- 
ces of gold for Strates and Sebaftos to buy mules ; but they 
had already provided themfelves ; for, befides the two they 
rode upon of mine, they and my fervants had picked up 
four others in very good condition, whofe mailers had pro- 
bably pe rimed in the river, for they w^re never claimed af- 


* This is a large church belonging to the palace, called by this extraordinary name, Noah' 's Ark. 


Just as the king fat down to dinner an accident happen- 
ed that occafioned great trepidation among all his fervants. 
A black eagle* was chafed into the king's tent by fome of 
the birds of prey that hover about the camp ; and it was 
after in the mouth of every one the king would be dethro- 
ned by a man of inferior birth and condition. Every body 
at that time looked to Fafil : the event proved the applica- 
tion falfe, though the omen was true. PowulTen of Begem- 
der was as low-born as Fafil, as great a traitor, but more fuc- 
cefsful, to whom the ominous prefage pointed ; and, though 
we cannot but look upon the whole as accident, it was but 
too foon fulfilled. 

In the evening of the 29th arrived at Dingleber two horfe- 
inen from Fafil, clad in habits of peace, and without arms ; 
they were known to be two of his principal fervants, were 
grave, genteel, middle-aged men ; this meflage had nothing- 
of Doho's buffoonery. They had an audience early after 
their coming, firft of the Ras, then of the King. They faid, 
and faid truly, that Fafil had repaffed the Keiti, was encamp- 
ed on the oppofite fide, and was not yet joined by Welleta 
Yafous. Their errand was, to defire that the Ras might not 
fatigue his men by unnecefTarily hurrying on to Gondar, 
becaufe he might reft fecured of receiving no further mo- 
leftation from Fafil their mafter, as he was on his march to 
Bure. They told the Ras the whole of the confpiracy, as far 
as it regarded him, and the agreement that PowulTen and Gu- 
iho had made with their mafter to f unround him at Defdc- 
ra: they mentioned, moreover, how fenfible Falil was of their 
Vol. III. 3 N treafon 

* See a figure of this bird in the Appendix. 


treafon towards him; that, inftead of keeping their word,, 
they had left him to engage the King and the Ras's whole 
force at a time when they knew the greateft part of his 
Galla troops were retired to the other fide of the Nile, and 
could be afTembled with difficulty : That if the Ras by 
chance had croffed at Delakus, as Kefla Yafous had done, in- 
ftead of embarralling his army among the rivers of Man- 
illa, and crofling the Nile at that molt dangerous place near 
Amlac-Ohha, (a palfage never before attempted in the rainy 
feafon) the confequence would have been, that he muft have 
either fought at great difadvantage with an inferior army 
againfl the Ras, or have retired to Metchakel, leaving his 
whole country to the mercy of his enemies. Fafil decla- 
red his refolution never again to appear in arms againfl the 
king, but that he would hold his government under him, 
and pay the accuilomed taxes punctually : he promifed al- 
io, that he would renounce all manner of connection with 
Gufho and Powuffen, as he had already done, and he would 
take the field againfl them next feafon with his whole force, 
whenever the king ordered him. . The meflengers conclu- 
ded, with defiring the Ras to give Fafil his grand-daughter,^ 
Welleta Selafie, in marriage, and that he would then come, 
to Gondar without diflruft. 

At the audience they had of the king the- fame night,, 
they added, That Fafil could not truil Ras Michael, he broke 
his word fo often, and had fo many refervations and eva-- 
fions in his promifes. 

The Ras, though he did not believe all this, made no dif- 
ficulty in agreeing to every thing that they defired. He 
gromifed the grand- daughter; and, as an earnefl of his be- 


lieving the reft, the king's two nagareets were brought to 
the door of the tent, where, to our very great furprife, we 
heard it proclaimed, " Fafil is governor of the Agow, Maitfha, 
Gojam, andDamot; profperity to him, and long may he live 
a faithful fervant to the king our matter !" — This was an 
extraordinary revolution in fo fmall a fpace of time. It was 
icarce 43 hours fmce Fafil had laid a fcheme for drowning 
the greater part of the army in the Nile, and cutting the 
throats of the refidue on both fides of it; it was not twenty- 
four hours, fince he had met us to fight in open field, and 
now he was become the king's lieutenant-general in four 
of the mod opulent provinces of Abyffinia. This was pro- 
duced, however, by the necefiity of the times, and both par- 
ties were playing at the fame game who mould over-reach 
the other. FafiTs meffengers were magnificently cloathed, 
and it was firfl intended they mould have gone back to him ; 
but, after reflection, another perfon was fent, thefe two chu- 
fing to go to Gondar with the king to remain hoftages for 
FafiTs word, and to bring back his inveftiture from thence 
to Bure. The whole camp abandoned itfelf to joy. 

Late in the evening Ozoro Either came to the king's tent. 
5he had been ill, and alarmed, as fhe well might, at the 
pafTage of the Nile, which had given her a more delicate 
look than ordinary; fhe was drefled all in white, and I 
thought I feldom had feen fo hand feme a woman. The 
king, as I have mentioned, had fent ten oxen to Ras Michael, 
but he had given twenty to Ozoro Either ; and it was to 
thank him for this extraordinary mark of favour that fhe 
had come to vifit him in his tent. I had for fome time paft, 
indeed, thought they were not infenfible to the merit of 
each other. Upon her thanking the king for the diftinclion 

3 N 2 he 


he had fhewn her, Madam, faid he, your hufband Ras MU- 
chael is intent upon<employing,.in the bed way poffible fou 
my fervice, thofe of the army that are ftrong and vigorous;.. 
you, I am told, beftow your care on the lick and difabled, and, 
by your attention, they are rcflored to their former health 
and activity ; the ftrong active foldier eats the cows that I . 
have fent to. the Ras ; the enfeebled and fick.. recover upon . 
yours, for which reafon I fent you a double portion, that you 
may have it in your power to do double good. . After this 
the room was cleared,; and (he had an audience, alone for 
half an hour. I doubt very much whether Ras Michael had 
any (hare' in the converfation ; the king was in the very 
gayeft humour, and went to reft about twelve The Ras . 
loved Ozoro Efther, but, was not jealous, ... 

I had- violent threatenings of the ague, and had gone to » 
bed full of reflections on extraordinary- events that, in a, 
few hours, had as it were crowded upon one another. I had 
appointed Paul's fervants to. come to my tent in the evening, 
I nnderftood a council had been- called, to which Welleta 
Kyrillos, the king's hiftoriographer, had been fent for, and i 
inftructed how to give an account of this campaign of Mait- 
fha, the pafTage of the Nile,, and. the. meeting with Fafil at 
Limjour. Kefla Yafous'st march to Delakus, and, pafTage 
there, were ordered to be written in gold letters, and fo was 
Fafil's appointment to Damot.and Maitfha* From this au- 
thentic copy, and what I myfelf heard or obfeived,, I formed ! 
thefe notes of the campaign. . 

On the 30th of May: nothing material "happened, and, hi 1 
a few days, we arrived at Gondar. The day before we en- 
tered, being encamped, on the river Kemona, came two mek- 



fengers from GufhoandPowufTen, with various cxcufcs why 
they had not joined. They were very ill received by the 
Ras, and refufed an audience of the king. Their prefent, 
which is always new clothes to fome value, was a imall 
piece of dark-blue Surat cloth, value about half-a-crown, 
intended as an affront; they were not fuffered tofleep in the 
camp, but forwarded to Fafil where they were going. 

The 3d of Jane the army encamped on the river Kahha ? 
under Gondar. From the time we left Dingleber, fome one 
or other of the Ras's confidential friends had arrived every 
day. Several of the great officers of ftate reached us at the 
Kemona, many others met us at Abba Samuel. I did not per- 
ceive the news they brought increafed the fpirits either of' 
the King or the Ras ; the foldiers, however, were all con- 
tented, becaufe they were at home ; but the officers, who 
faw farther* wore very different countenances, efpecially 
thofe that were of Amhara. .. 

9 ' 

I, in particular,- had very little reafon to be pleafed 
for, after having undergone a conftant feries of fatigues 9 
dangers, and expences,I was returned to Gondar difappoint- 
ed of my views in arriving at the fource of the Nile* with- 
out any other acquifition than a violent ague. The place 
where that river: rifes remained ftill as great a fecret as it 
had been ever iince the cataftrophe of Phaeton :^~ 

Nilus in extremum fugh ' pert err it us orbem, 
Qcculuitque caput y quod adhuc latet.- • 

Ovid. Metam. lib. ii, • 






King and Army retreat to Tigre — Interejiing Events following that Re- 
treat — The Body of yoas is found — Favourable Turn of the King's 
Affairs — SocinioSy a new King , proclaimed at Gondar. 

TH E king had heard that Gufho and Powuflen, with 
Gojam under Ay to Aylo, and all the troops of BeleiTen 
and Lafta, were ready to fall upon him in Gondar as foon 
as the rains ihould have fwelled the Tacazze, fo that the 
army could not retire into Tigre ; and it was now thought 
to be the inftant this might happen, as the king's procla- 
mation in favour of Fafil, efpecially the giving him Gojam, 
it was not doubted, would haflen the motion of the rebels. 
Accordingly that very morning, after the king arrived, the 
proclamation was made at Gondar, giving Fafil Gojam, Da- 
mot, the Agow, and Maitlha ; after which his two fervants 
were again magnificently cloathed, and fent back with ho- 

4 As 


As I had never defpaired, fome way or other, of arriving 
at the fountains of the Nile, from which we were not fifty 
miles diflant when we turned back at Karcagna, fo I never 
neglected to improve every means that held out to me the 
leafl probability of accomplishing this end. I had been very 
attentive and ferviceable to Fanl's fervants while in the 
camp. I fpoke greatly of their mailer, and, when they went 
away, gave each of them a fmall prefent for himfelf, and 
a trifle alfo for Fafil. They had, on the other hand, been 
very importunate with me as a phyfician to prefcribe fome- 
thing for a cancer on the lip, as I underflood it to be, with 
which Welleta Yafous, Fafil's principal general, was afflic- 

I had been advifed, by fome of my medical friends, to 
carry along with me a preparation of hemlock, or cicuta, 
recommended by Dr Stork, a phyfician at Vienna. A confi- 
derable quantity had been fent me from France by commif- 
fion, with directions how to ufe it. To keep on the fafe 
fide, I prefcribed fmall dofes to Welleta Yafous, being much 
more anxious to preferve myfelf from reproach than warm- 
ly folicitous about the cure of my unknown patient. I gave 
him pofitive advice to avoid eating raw meat ; to keep to a 
milk diet, and drink plentifully of whey when he ufed this 
medicine. They were overjoyed at having fucceeded fo 
well in their commifTion, and declared before the king, That 
Fafil their matter would be more pleafed with receiving a 
medicine that would reflore Welleta Yafous to health, than 
with the magnificent appointments the king's goodnefs had 
bellowed upon him. " If it is fo, faid I, in this day of grace, 
I -will afk two favours." — " And that's a rarity, fays the king ; 
come, out with. them ; I don't believe anybody is defirous • 



you mould be refufed ; I certainly am not ; only I bar one 
of them, you are not to relapfe into your ufual defpondency, 
and talk of going home." — " Well, Sir, faid I, I obey, and 
that is not one of them. - They are thefe — You fhall give 
me, and oblige Fafil to ratify it, the village Geefh, and the 
fource where the Nile rifes, that I may be from thence fur- 
nifhed with honey for myfelf and fervants ; it fhall Hand 
me inftead of Tangouri, near Emfras, and, in value, it is 
not worth fo much. The fecond is, That, when I fhall fee 
that it is in his power to carry me to Geefh, and fhew me 
thofe fources, Fafil fhall do it upon my requeit, without fee 
©r reward, and without excufe or evafion. 

They all laughed at the eafinefs of the requeu ; all de- 
clared that this was nothing, and wiflied to do ten times as 
much. The king faid, " Tell Fafil I do give the village 
of Geefh, and thofe fountains he is fo fond of, to Yagoube 
and his poflerity for ever, never to appear under another's 
name in the deftar, and never to be taken from him, or 
exchanged, either in peace or war. Do you fwear this to 
him in the name of your malter." Upon which they took 
the two fore fingers of my right hand, and, one after the 
other, laid the two fore fingers of their right hand acrofs 
them, then killed them ; a form of fwearing ufed there, at 
leaft among thofe that .call -themfelves Chriflians. And as. 
Azage Kyrillos, the king's fecretary and hiflorian, was then 
prefent, the king ordered him to enter the gift in the def- 
tar, or revenue-book, where the taxes and revenue of the 
king's lands are regiftered. " I will write it, fays the old 
man, in letters of gold, and, poor as I am, will give him a 
village four times better than either Geefh or Tangouri, if 
fee will take a wife and flay amongft us, at ^eaft till my eyes 
a are 


are clofed." It will be eafily guefled this rendered the con- 
verfation a chearful one. Fafil's fervants retired to fet out 
the next day, gratified to their utmoft wifh, and, as foon as 
the king was in bed, I went to my apartment likewife. 

But very different thoughts were then occupying Mi- 
chael and his officers. They could not truft Fafil, and, be- 
fides, he could do them no fervice ; the rain was fet in, and 
he was gone home ; the weftern part of the kingdom was 
ready to rife upon them ; Woggora, to the north, immedi- 
ately in his way, was all in arms, and impatient to re- 
venge the feverities they had fuffered when Michael firfl 
marched to Gondar. The Tacazze, which feparates Tigre 
from Woggora, and runs at the foot of the high mountains 
of Samen, was one of the largefl and moil rapid rivers in 
Abyflinia, and, though not the firft to overflow, was, when 
fwelled to its height, impaflable by horfe or foot, rolling 
down prodigious flones and trees with its current. Danger- 
ous as the pafTage was, however, there was no fafety but in 
attempting it : Michael, therefore, and every foldier with 
him, were of opinion that, if they mufl perifh, they mould 
rather meet death in the river, on the confines of their own 
country, than fall alive into the hands of their enemies in 
Amhara. For this, preparation had been making night 
and day, fince Ras Michael entered Gondar, and probably 
before it. 

There was in BelefTen, on the nearefl and eafieft way to 
a ford of the Tacazze, a man of quality called Adero, and 
his fon Zor Woldo. To thefe two Ras Michael ufed to trufl 
the care of the police of Gondar when he was abfent upon 
any expedition ; they were very active and capable, but had 

Vol. III. . 3 O fallen 


fallen from their allegiance, and joined PowufTen and Gufho, 
at lead in councils. The Ras, immediately upon arriving at 
Gondar, difTembling what he knew of their treafon, had fern 
to them to prepare a quantity of flour for the troops that 
were to pafs their way ; to get together what horfes they 
could as quietly as poffible ; to fend him word what flate 
the ford was in ; and alfo, if PowufTen had made any move- 
ment forward ; or if Ayto Tesfos, governor of Samen, had 
Ihewn any difpofition to difpute the paflage through Wog- 
gora into Tigre. Word was immediately returned by the 
traitor Adero, that the ford was as yet very paffable ; that it 
was faid PowufTen was marching towards Maitfha ; that Ay- 
to Tesfos was at home upon his high rock, the feat of his 
government, and that no time was to be loft, as he believed 
he had already flour enough to fuffice ; he added alfo, that 
it would be dangerous to collect more, for it would give the 
alarm. This was all received as truth, and a meffenger fent 
back with orders, that ZorWoldo mould leave the flour in fmalL 
bags at Ebenaat, and that he fliould himfelf and his father, 
wait the Ras at the ford, with what horfe they had, the 
fourth day from that, in the evening., 

The next morning the whole army was in motion. I 
had the evening before taken leave of the king in an in^ 
terview which coft me more than almoft any one in my 
life. The fubflance was, That I was ill in my health, and 
quite unprepared to attend him into Tigre ; that my heart 
was fet upon completing the only purpofe of my comrng 
into Abyflinia, without which I fhould return into my own 
country with difgrace % that I hoped, through his majefty's 
influence, Fafil might find fome way for me to accomplifh 
it ; if not, I trufled foon to fee him return, when I hoped it 



would be eafy ; but, if I then went to Tigre, I was fully 
perfuaded I mould never have the refolution to come again 
to Gondar, 

He feemed to take heart at the confidence with which 1 
fpoke of his return. " You, Yagoube, fays he, in a humble, 
complaining tone, could tell me, if you pleafed, whether 
I fhall or not, and what is to befal me ; thofe inftruments 
and thofe wheels, with which you are conftantly looking 
at the ftars, cannot be for any ufe unlefs for prying into 
futurity." — " Indeed, faid I, prince, thefe are things by 
which we guide fhips at fea, and by thefe we mark down 
the ways that we travel by land ; teach them to people that 
never palled them before, and, being once traced, keep them 
thus to be known by all men for ever. But of the decrees 
of Providence, whether they regard you or myfelf, I know 
no more than the mule upon which you ride." — " Tell me 
then, I pray, tell me, what is the reafon you fpeak of my re- 
turn as certain ?" — " I fpeak, faid I, from obfervation, from 
reflections that I have made, much more certain than pro- 
phecies and divinations by liars. The firft campaign of your 
reign at Fagitta, when you was relying upon the difpofitions 
that the Ras had moll ably and fkillfully made, a drunk- 
ard, with a fingle mot, defeated a numerous army of your 
enemies. PowufTen and Gufho were your friends, as you 
thought, when you marched out laft, yet they had, at that 
very inftant, made a league to deltroy you at Derdera ; and 
nothing but a miracle could have faved you, fliut up be- 
tween two lakes and three armies. It was neither you nor 
Michael that difordered their councils, and made them fail 
in what they had concerted. You was for burning Sam- 
feen, whilft Woodage Afahel was there in ambufli with a 

3 O 2 large 


large force, with a knowledge of all the fords, and mailer 
of all the inhabitants of the country. Remember how you 
palled thofe rivers, holding hand in hand, and drawing one 
another over. Could you have- done this with an ene- 
my behind you, and fuch an enemy as Woodage Afahel ? 
He would have followed and harrafled you till you took 
the ford at Goutto, and there was Welleta Yafous waiting 
to oppofe you with 6000 men on the oppofite bank. When 
Ras Michael marched by Mariam Net, he found the priens 
at their homes. Was that the cafe in any of the other 
churches we pafTed ? No ; all were fled for fear of Michael ; 
yet thefe were more guilty than any by their connections 
with Fafil; notwkhftanding which, they alone, of all others, 
ftaid, though they knew not why ; an invifible hand held 
them that they might operate your prefervation. Nothing 
could have faved the army but the defperate paffage, fo 
tremendous that it will exceed the belief of man, crofling 
the Nile that night. Yet if the priefts had crofTed before 
this, not a man would have proceeded to the ford. The 
priefts would have been Ras Michael's prifoners, and, on 
the other fide, they never would have fpoken a word whilft. 
in the prefence of Michael. Providence, therefore, kept 
them with Kefla Yafous ; all was discovered, and the army 
faved by the retreat, and his fpeedy paning at the ford of 

What would have happened to Kefla Yafous, had Fafil 
marched down to Delakus either before or after the pafTage ? 
Kefla Yafous would have been cut off before Ras Michael 
had palled the Kelti ; inftead of which, an unknown caufe 
detained him, moft infatuated-like, beating his kettle-drums 
behind Bofkon Abbo, while our army under the Ras was 



fwimming that dangerous river, and mod of us parting the 
night, naked, without tents, provifion, or powder. Nor did 
he ever think of prefenting himfelf till we had warmed 
ourfelves by an eafy march in a fine day, when we were 
every way his fuperiors, and Kefla Yafous in his rear. From 
all thefe fpecial marks of the favour of an over ruling Pro- 
vidence, I do believe ftedfaftly that God will not leave his 
work half fmiihed. " He it is who, governing the whole 
univerfe, has yet referved fpecially to himfelf the depart- 
ment of war; he it is who has ftiled himfelf the God of 
Battles." The king was very much moved, and, as I con- 
ceived, perfuaded. He faid, " O Yagoube, go but with me 
to Tigre, and I will do for you whatever you delire me." — 
" You do, Sir, faid I, whatever I defire you, and more. I have 
told you rny reafons why that cannot be ; let me flay here 
a few months, and wait your return." The king then ad- 
vifed me to live entirely at Kofcam with the Iteghe, with- 
out going out unlefs Faiil came to Gondar, and to fend 
him punctually word how I was treated. Upon this we 
parted with inexpreflible reluctance. He was a king wor- 
thy to reign over a better people ; my heart was deeply pe- 
netrated with thofe marks of favour and cOndefcenfion 
which I had uniformly received from him ever fmce I enter- 
ed his palace. 

On the ctri of June, while PowmTen, Adero, and the con^- 
fpirators were waiting his pafTage through Beleflen, (that is 
to the S. W.) the king's army 'marched towards Kofcam, 
over the mountain Debra Tzai towards Walkayt, and 
the low, hot provinces of Abyfiinia which lie to the N. E. 
£0 that the di fiance between them increafed every day hi 
the greater! proportion poflible. 



The -queen ordered her gates at Kofcam to be fliut. A 
little before the Ras mounted his mule, Ozoro Efther and 
her fervants took refuge with her mother the Iteghe; Gon- 
dar was like a town which had been taken by an enemy ; 
everyone that had arms in his hands did juft whathepleafed* 

Two very remarkable things were faid to have happened 
the night before Michael left the city. He had always pre- 
tended, that, before he undertook an expedition, a perfon, 
or fpirit, appeared to him, who told him the ifTiie and con- 
fequence of the meafures he was then taking ; this he ima- 
gined to be St Michael the archangel, and he prefumed very 
much upon this intercourfe. In a council that night, where 
none but friends were prefent, he had told them that his 
fpirit had appeared fome nights before, and ordered him, in 
his retreat, to furprife the mountain of Wechne, and either 
flay or carry with him to Tigre the princes fequeftered 
there. Nebidt Tecla, 'governor of Axum, with his two fons, 
(all concerned in the late king's murder) were, it is faid, 
ilrong advifers of this meafure ; but Ras Michael, (probably 
fatiated with royal blood already) Kefla Yafous, and all the 
more worthy men of any confequenee, acting on principle, 
abfolutely refufed to confent to it. It was upon this the 
paflage by Beleflen was fubftituted inftead of the attempt on 
Wechne, and it was determined to conceal it. 

The next advice which, the Ras faid, this devil, or angel, 
gave him, was, that they mould fet fire to the town of Gon- 
dar, and burn it to the ground, otherwife his good fortune 
•was to leave him there for ever ; and for this there was a 
great number of advocates, Michael feeming to lean that 
way himfelf. But, when it was reported to the king, that 
i young 


young prince put a direct negative upon it, by declaring 
that he would rather flay in Gondar, and fall by the hands 
of his enemies, than either conquer them, or efcape from 
them, by the comraiffion of fo enormous a crime. When 
this was publicly known, it procured the king univerfal 
good- will, as was experienced afterwards, when he and Mi- 
chael were finally defeated, and taken prifoners, upon their 
march in return to Gondar^ 

The army advanced rapidly towards Walkayt. Being' 
near the Tacazze, they turned fhort upon Mai-Lumi, (the 
River of Limes) the governor of which, as I have already 
faid, in our journey frpm Mafuah, detained us feveral days 
at Addergey with a view to rob us, upon a report prevailing 
that Ras Michael was defeated at Fagitta. This thief the 
king furprifed and made prifoner, fet fire to his houfe after 
having plundered it, and tarried him as hoftage to Tigre, for 
the payment of a fum which lie laid upon every village to 
fave them from being fet on fire.. 

Being now fafely arrived on the banks of the Tacazze, 
the firft province beyond which is that of Sire, Michael fent 
before him Ayto Tesfos the governor, a man exceedingly be- 
loved, to alTemble all fort of afliftance for palling the river. 
Every one flocked to the ftream with the utmoft alacrity ; 
the water was deep, and the baggage wet in crofting, but the 
bottom was good and hard ; they pafifed both expeditioufly 
and fafely, and were received in Sire, and then in Tigre, with 
every demonuration of joy. 

Michael, now arrived in his government, fet himfelf fe~ 
rioufly to unite every part under his own jurisdiction. It was 
now the rainy feafon ; there was no pofFibility of taking the 



field, and a rebellion prevailed in two different diftricts of his 
province. 1 The fonsof Kafmati Woldo, whofe father Ras Mi- 
chael put to death, had declared for themfelves, in their pa- 
ternal government of Enderta, and Netcho who married Ras 
Michael's daughter, had taken profTeflion of the mountain 
Aromata, commonly called Haramat, an ancient ftrong-hold 
of his father's, of which Michael had made himfelf mailer, 
while yet a young man, after befieging it fifteen years. Netcho 
had alfo united himfelf with ZaMenfus Kedus, aman of great 
property in that and the neighbouring country. Enderta is a 
flat, fertile territory, in the very fouth-eaftof Abyfllnia, de- 
pending on Tigre, and the mountain Aromata is fituated near 
the middle of that province ; before taking the field, Michael 
had directed the tw r o Woldos to be affaflinated during afeaftat 
Enderta, andtheirpartydifperfedofitfelfwithoutfarthereffort. 

The mountain fhewed a better countenance, and feemed 
to promife employment for a long time ; it was garrifoned 
by old and veteran troops who had ferved under Ras Mi- 
chael. Netcho was the fon of his hereditary enemy, ancient- 
ly governor of that mountain, whom he had reconciled by 
giving him his daughter in marriage ; notwithflanding 
which he had now rebelled, juft as the Ras marched to 
Maitfha againft Fafil, by the perfuafion of Gufho and Powuf- 
fen, purpofely that he might form a diverfion in Tigre, and 
for this reafon he had little hopes of mercy, if ever he fell 
into the hands of Ras Michael. I had feen him often, 
and knew him ; he was a tall, thin, dull man, of a foft tem- 
per, and eafily impofed upon. Za Menfus, the other chief 
in the mountain, was a very active, refolute, enterprifing 
man, of whom Michael was afraid. He had a large pro- 
perty all around the mountain ; had been put in irons by 
Michael, and had efcaped ; befides, on his return to Tigre, he 
3 nac ^ 


had ilain the father of Guebra Mafcal, Michael's nephew 
by marriage, who was commander in chief of all the muf- 
quetry Michael had brought from Tigre, fo that he feared 
nothing fo much as falling into Ras Michael's hands. 

Ras Michael faw the danger of leaving an enemy fo 
prepared and fo fituated behind him ; he therefore, before 
the rainy feafon was yet finifhed, ordered the whole moun- 
tain to be furrounded with barracks, or huts, for his fol- 
diers ; he alfo erected three houfes for himfelf, the principal 
officers, and the king. The country people were called in 
to plow and fow the ground in the neighbourhood, fo 
that his intention was plainly never to rife from thence till 
he had reduced the mountain of Aromata for the fecond 
time, after having once before fucceeded in taking it, after 
fifteen years fiege, from Netcho's father. There we mall 
leave him at this* liege, and return to Gondar. 

It was on the 10th of June that Gufho and PowufTen 
entered Gondar, and next day, the nth, waited upon the 
queen ; they both befeeched her to return from Kofcam to 
the capital, and take into her hands the reins of government 
for the interim : this fhe pofltively refufed, unlefs peace 
was firft made with Fafil. She faid, that Fafil was the only 
perfon who had endeavoured to avenge his mailer Joas's 
death; that he had continued till that day in arms in that 
quarrel ; and, notwithstanding all the offers that could be 
made her, lire never would come to Gondar, nor take 
any part in public bufmefs, without this condition. Faiil, 
moreover, informed her by a meflenger, that there was no 
truft to be put either in Gumo or Powuflen ; that they had 
failed in their engagement of following and fighting Ras 

Vol. III. 3 P Michael 


Michael in Maitfha, and had purpofely (laid at home till a 
fuperior army mould fall upon him fingly,, and ravage his 
country : That they had broken their word a fecond time by 
entering into Gondar without him ; whereas the agree- 
ment was, that they all three mould have done this at once, 
to fettle the form of government by their joint delibera- 
tion. Many days paffed in thefe negociations ; Fafil always 
promifing to come upon fome condition or other, but never 
keeping his word, or ftirring from Bure, 

On the 20th, the queen's fervants, who had gone to offer 
terms of reconciliation to Fafil on the part of Gufho and 
Powuflen, returned to their homes. The fame day he or- 
dered it to be proclaimed in the market-place, That Ay to 
Tesfos mould be governor of Samen, and that whoever 
ihould rob on that road, or commit any violence, mould fuf- 
fer death. This was an act of power, purpofely intended 
to affront Powuflen and Gufho, and feemed to be opening 
a road for a correfpondence with Ras Michael; but, above 
all, it mewed contempt for their party and their caufe, and 
that he confidered his own as very diftincl: from theirs ; for 
Tesfos had taken arms in the late king's lifetime, at the. 
fame time, and upon the fame principles and provocation, 
as Fafil, and had never laid down his arms, or made peace 
with Ras Michael, but kept his government in defiance of- 

On the 24th, for fear of giving umbrage, I waited upon 
Gufho and Powuflen at Gondar. I faw them in the fame 
room where Ras Michael ufed to fit. They were both ly- 
ing on the floor playing at draughts, with the figure of 3? 
draught-table drawn with, chalk upon the carpet; they of- 


Fered no other civility or falutation, but, fhaking mc each by 
the hand, they played on,without lifting their heads, or look- 
ing me in the face. 

Gusho began by afking me, " Would it not have been 
better if you had gone with me to Amhara, as I dcfired you, 
when I faw you laft at Gondar ? you would have faved your- 
felf a great deal of fatigue and trouble in that dangerous 
march through Maitfha." To this I anfwered, " It is hard 
for me, who am a ftranger, to know what is bell to be done 
in fuch a country as this, I was, as you may have heard, 
the king's gueft, and was favoured by him ; it was my duty 
therefore to attend him, efpecially when he defired it; and 
fuch I am informed has always been the cuilom of the coun- 
try; befides, Ras Michael laid his commands upon me." On 
this, fays Powuffenj making his head, " You fee he cannot 
forget Michael and the Tigre yet." — " Very naturally, added 
Gufho, they were good to him ; he was a great man in their 
time ; they gave him confiderable funis of money, and he 
fpent it all among his own foldiers, the king's guard, which 
they had given him to command after the Armenian. Ya- 
goube taught him and his brother George to ride on horfe- 
back like the Franks, and play tricks with guns and pikes 
on horfeback ; folly, all of it to be fure, but I never heard 
he meddled in affairs, or that he fpoke ill of any one, much 
lefs did any harm, like thofe rafcals the Greeks when they 
were in favour in Joas's time, for it was not their fault they 
did not direct every thing." — " I hope I never did, faid I; fure 
I am I never fo intended, nor had I any provocation. I have 
received much good ufage from every one ; and the honour, 
if I do not forget, of a great many profeffions and afTurances 
of friendfhip from you, faid I, turning to Gufho. He hefi- 

3 P 2 tated 


rated a little, and then added very fupercilioufly, "Aye, aye,, 
we were, as I think, always friends,": — "You have had, fays 
Powuflen, a devilifli many hungry bellies fmcewe left G on* 
dar." — "You will excufe me, Sir, replied I, as to that ar- 
ticle ; I at no time ever found any difference whether you 
was in Gondar or not." — "There, fays Gufho, by St Deme- 
trius, there is a, truth for you, and you don't often hear that 
in Begemder. May I fufFer death if ever you gave a jar of 
honey to any white man in your life."- — " But I, fays Powuf- 
len, fitting upright on the floor,, and leaving off play, will 
give you, Yagoube, a prefent better than Gufho's paultry 
jars of hoBey... I have brought with me, addrefTing himfelf 
to me, your double-barrelled gun, and your fword, which, 
I took from that fon of a.wh--e Cue-bra Mehedin : by St Mi- 
chael, continued PowufTen, if I had got hold of that infidel 
I would have hanged him upon the nrft tree in the way for. 
daring to fay that he was one of. my army when he com- 
mitted that unmanly robbery upon your people. The he- 
ghe, your friend, would yefterday have given me ten loads 
of wheat for your gun, for fhe believes I am to carry it back 
to Begemder again, and do not mean to give it you, but. 
come to my tent to-morrow and you fhall have it." I very 
well underftood his meaning, and that he wanted a prefent; ; 
but was happy to recover my gun at any rate. . 

I arose to get away, as what had pafTed did not pleafe 
me ; for before the king's retreat to Tigre, Gufho had fat in 
my prefence uncovered to the waifl, in token of humilityj , 
and many a cow, many a fheep, and jar of honey he had 
fent me ; but my importance was now gone with the king ; 
I was fallen ! and they were refolved, I faw, to make me fenfi- 
oie or', it. I. told the queen, on my return, what had parTed* 



They are both brutes, faid me ; but Guflio fhould have 
known better. 

The next morning, being the 25th, about eight- o'clock 
I went to PowufTen's tent. His camp was on the Kahha, 
near the church of Ledata, or the Nativity. After waiting 
near an hour, I was admitted ; two women fat by him, nei- 
ther handfome nor cleanly dreffed ; and he returned me 
my gun and fword, which was followed by a fmall prefent 
on my part. This, fays he, turning to the women, is a man 
who knows every thing that is to come ; who is to die, and 
who is to live ; who is to go to the devil, and who not; 
who loves her hufband, and who cuckolds him." — " Tell me 
then, Yagoube, fays one of the women, will Tecla Haima- 
nout and Michael ever come to Gondar again ?" — " I do nor 
know who you mean, Madam, faid I; is it the king and the 
Ras you mean ?" — " Call him the King, fays the other wo- 
man in half a whifper; he loves the king." — " Well, aye,, 
come, let it be the king then, fays fhe ; will the King and' 
Ras Michael ever come to Gondar ?" — " Surely, faid I, the 
king is king, and will go to any part of his dominions he- 
pleafes,and when he pleafes ; do you not hear he is already on- 
his way?" — " Aye, aye, by G-d, fays PowuiTen, no fear he'll,' , 
come with a vengeance, therefore I think it is high time that 
I:was in Begemder." He then fhrugged up his moulders,, 
and rofe, upon which I took my leave. He had kept me' 
landing all the time ; and when I came to Kofcam I made 
my report as ufual to the Iteghe, who laughed very hearti- 
ly, though the king's arrival, which was prophecied, was 
likely to be a very ferious affair to her. . 



That very day, in the evening, came a fervant from 
Ras Michael, with taunts and fevere threats to the queen, 
to Powuilen, and Guflio ; he faid he was very quickly bring- 
ing the king back to Gondar, and being now old, intended 
to pafs the reft of his life in Tigre ; he, therefore, hoped 
they would await the king's coming to Gondar, and chufe 
a Ras for his fucceflbr from among themfelves, as he un- 
derftood they were all friends, and would eafily agree, efpe- 
cially as it was to oblige him. 

On the 27th, Guflio and Powuffen waited upon the queen 
to take their leave. They declared it was not their inten- 
tion to flay at Gondar, merely to be alternately the fubject 
of merriment and fcofhng to Michael and to Fafil, and up- 
on this they immediately fet out on their way home, with- 
out drum or trumpet, or any parade whatever. 

Immediately after, arrived another fervant from Fafil to 
the queen, defiring that Powuilen and Gufho might halt at 
Emfras, adding, that he had juft then begun his march 
from Eure, and would be at Gondar in a few days.. Gufho 
and PovvufTen did accordingly halt there, and were detain- 
ed for the (pace of fix weeks, amufed by falfe pretences 
and meflagcs, in very uncomfortable quarters, till their ar- 
mies diibanded, the foldiers, from hunger and conftant rains, 
deferred their leaders, and went every man to his home. 

the beginning of Auguft the queen came to Gondar, 
it on the throne all day. She had not been there thefe 
years, and I fincerely wifhed fhe had not gone then. 
5 in meditation that day to chufe a new king; me was 
lit at that deliberation, and her intention was known 



to place a fon of Aylo, Joas's brother, a mere infant, upon 
the throne. All thofe that were in fear of Michael, and it 
was very general at that time, cried out againft an infant 
king at fuch a critical period ; but, old as that princefs was,, 
the defire of reigning had again returned. 

Upon the return of the Iteghe that night to Kofcam, Sa- 
nuda held a council of the principal officers that had re- 
mained at Gondar, and fixed upon one VVelleta Girgis, a 
young man of about 24 years of age, who had, indeed, been 
reputed Yafous's fon, but his low life and manners had 
procured him fafety and liberty by the contempt they had 
raifed in Ras Michael. His mother, indeed, was of a noble 
origin, but fo reduced in fortune as to have been obliged to 
gain her livelihood by carrying jars of water for hire. The 
mother fwore this fon was begot by Yafous, and as that prince 
was known not to have been very nice in his choice of mif- 
treffes, or limited in their number, it was, perhaps, as likely 
to be true as not, that Welleta Girgis was his fon. He took 
the name of Socinios. On the morning after, the new 
king came to Kofcam, attended by Sanuda and his 
party, with guards, and all the enfigns of royalty. He 
threw himfelf at the Iteghe's feet, and begged her forgiven- 
nefs if he had vindicated the rights of his birth, without 
her leave or participation ; he declared his refolution to 
govern entirely by her advice, and begged her to grant his 
requeft and come to Gondar, and again take pofTemon of 
her place as Iteghe, or regent of the kingdom. 

It was about the iothof Auguft that an accident happen- 
edj which ic was generally thought would have determined 
Eaul to come to Gondar. A common woman, wife of a 



Galla atTchelga, a town upon the frontiers of Sennaar, being 
at variance with her hufband, upbraided him with being the 
perfon that, with his own hand, had affaffinated the late 
king Joas. This Galla was immediately feized and fent to 
Gondar, and was examined before the queen, where 1 was 
prefent. He, with very little hefitation, declared, That, on a 
night immediately after the battle of Azazo, he was fent for 
to Ras Michael, who gave him fome money and large pro- 
mifes, on condition that he would undertake to murder the 
king that night. The perfons prefent were Laeca Netcho, 
and his two fons, Nebrit Tecla and his two fons, Shalaka 
Becro relation to the prefent king, and Woldo Hawaryat a 
monk of Tigre. The prifoner faid, he was afraid, if he mould 
refufe, they would murder him for the fake of fecrecy. Ke 
further faid, that they had given him fpirits to. drink till he 
was intoxicated, and then delivered to him the keys of the 
apartments where Joas was confined, and they all went with 
him to the palace; they found the unfortunate king alone, 
walking in his apartment, very penfive, and, though at the 
late hour of twelve at night, dreffed in his ufual habit. Two 
of Laeca Netcho's fons attempted to put a cord round his 
neck, but the king, being young and fcrong, mewed a difpo- 
fition to defend himfelf, and wrefted the cord out of the 
murderers hands ; upon which Zor Woldo (the name of 
the Galla) ftruck him a violent blow with a bludgeon on 
the head, which felled him to the ground : The others 
then, with a ihort cord, flrangled him, the monk, Woldo 
Hawaryat, crying, difpatch him quickly ; after this they 
carried the body to the neighbouring church of St Raphael, 
where a grave, or rather hole, was ready, into which they 
threw it with the clothes juft as he was. The prifoner faid, 
That, when they were carrying the king's body out of the 
2 palace 


palace into the church-yard, over a breach in the church* 
yard wall, they were challenged by a perfon, who afked 
them what they were about? to which they replied, Bury- 
ing a ftranger who died that day of a peftilential fever. 

Immediately upon this confeffion, the Galla was carried 
out and hanged upon the daroo-tree before the king's gate. 
Many condemned this hafty execution, but many likewife 
thought it prudent; for he had already named a great part 
of the people about the queen as acceflary to the death of 
her fon. 

I have faid his name was Zor Woldo; he was of the race 
of Galla, called Toluma, on the borders of Amhara; he had 
been formerly a fervant to Kafmati Becro ; was of fmall fta- 
ture, thin and lightly made; his complexion a yellowifh 
black, and Angularly ill-favoured. When under the tree, 
he acknowledged the murder of the king with abfolute in- 
difference; nor did he defire any favour, or mew any fear 
of death. Zor Woldo's examination and declaration were 
fent immediately to Fafil, who, as ufual, promifed to come to 
Gondar quickly. The body of Joas was raifed alfo, and laid 
in the church .(in his clothes, juft as he was dug up) upon 
a little ftraw ; his features were eafily diftinguifhable, but 
ibme animal had ate part of his cheek. 

The day after, I went from Kofcam to Gondar without 
acquainting the Iteghe, and took a Greek called Petros with 
■me ; he had been chamberlain to Joas. We went about 
•eleven o'clock in the forenoon to the church of St Raphael, 
•expecting to have feen many as curious as ourfelves, but, 
by reafon of the atrocioufnefs of the act, now for the firit 

Vol. III. 3 Q^ time 


time known to be true, and the fear of Ras Michael threat- 
ening Gondar every day, not a living foul was there but a 
monk belonging to the church itfelf, who kept the key. 
It was thought criminal to know what it was apparent 
Michael had wifhed to conceal. Petros no fooner faw his 
mailer's face than, faying, It is he ! he ran off with all the 
fpeed pofiible : for my part, I was mocked at the indecent 
manner in which the body was expofed ; it affected me 
more than the murder itfelf, for it appeared as if it had 
been thrown down upon the ground, the head, arms, and 
legs lying in all forts of directions, and great part of his 
haunch and thigh bare. I defired the monk to lock the 
door, and come along with me to Petros's houfe. Petros was 
a merchant who fold carpets, and fuch fort of goods ufed 
in the country, which he brought from Cairo. It was full 
an hour before we could make him behave fenfibly, or de- 
liver me a fmall Periian carpet, fuch as Mahometans ufe to 
pray upon, that is about feven feet long and four feet 
broad, and a web of coarfe muffin, which I bought of him. 
I told the priefl (for Petros abfolutely refufed to return to 
the church) how to lay the body decently upon the carpet, 
and to cover his face and every part with the muilin cloth, 
which might be lifted when any body came to fee the 

The priefl received the carpet with great marks of fatif- 
f action, and told me it was he who had challenged the 
murderers when carrying the body over the wall ; that he 
knew them well, and fufpected they had been about fome 
mifchief ; and, upon hearing the king was miffing the next 
day, he was firmly convinced it was his body that had been 
buried. Upon going alfo to the place early in the morn- 

3 kig, 


iiig, he had found one of the king's toes, and part of his 
foot, not quite covered with earth, from the hade the mur- 
derers were in when they buried him ; thefe he had put pro- 
perly out of fight, and conitantly ever after, as he faid, had 
watched the place in order to hinder the grave from being 
diflurbed, or any other perfon being buried there. 

About the beginning of October, Guebra Selafle, a fer- 
vant of the king and one of the porters in the palace, came 
on a mefTage to the queen. It was a laconic one, but very 
eafily underftood. — " Bury 1 your boy, now you have got him ; 
or, when I come, I will bury him, and fome of his relations 
with him." Joas, upon this, was privately buried. As this 
Selafle was a favourite of mine, who took care of my (hoes 
when I pulled them off to go into the audience-room, I 
waited impatiently for this meftenger's coming to my apart- 
ment, which he did late in the evening. I was alone, and 
he advanced fo foftly that I did not at firfl hear or know 
him ; but, when the door was fhut, he began to give two or 
three capers ; and, pulling out a very large horn, " Drink ! 
drink! G — d d — n! repeating this two or three times, and 
brandilhing his horn over his head. Selafle, faid I, have you 
loft your fenfes, or are you drunk ? you ufed to be a fober 
man."—" And fo I am yet, fays he, I have not tailed a mor- 
fel fince noon ; and, being tired of running about on my 
affairs, I am now come to you for my fupper, as I am fure 
you'll not poifon me for my mailer's fake, nor for my own 
either, and I have now enemies enough in Gondar." — "I 
then afked, How is the king ?" — " Did not you hear, faid he — 
Drink ! — the king told me to fay this to you that you might 
know me to be a true meflenger." And an Iriih fervant 
of mine, opening the door in the inflant, thinking it was 

3 Qj2 I that 


I that called drink! Selafle adroitly continued, "He knows 
you are curious in horns, and fent you this, defiring me firft 
to get it filled at the Iteghe's with good red wine, which 
I have done ; and now, Hallo ! Drink ! Engliftiman !" He 
then added in a whifper, when the fervant had fhut the 
door, " I'll tell it you all after fupper, when the houfe is quiet, 
for I fleep here all night, and go to Tigre to-morrow morn- 

The time being come, he^mformed me Ras Michael and 
Fafil had made peace ; Welleta Michael, the Ras's nephew^, 
taken by Fafil at the battle of Limjour, had been the medi- 
ator; that? the king and Michael, by their wife behaviour;, 
had reconciled Tigre as one man, and that the Ras had 
iffued a proclamation, remitting to the province of Tigre 
their whole taxes from the day they pafled the Tacazze till 
that time next year, in confideration of their fidelity and 
Cervices ; and this had been folemnly proclaimed: in feveral 
places by beat of drum. The Ras declared, at the fame- 
time,, that he would, out of his own private fortune, with- 
out other affiftance, bear the expence of the campaign till 
he feated the king on his throne in Gondar. A kind of 
madnefs, he faid, had feized; all ranks of people to follow* 
their fovereign to the capital ; that the mountain Haramat 
fiill held out; but that all the principal friends, both of Zar. 
Menfus and Netcho,.had. been up with the governors of that 
fortrefs offering terms of peace and forgivennefs 1 , and de- 
firing they would not be anobftacle in the king's way, and 
a-hinderance to his return, but that all terms had been as 
yet refufed ; however,, fays he, you know the Ras as well as 
I,, he will play them a; trick fome of thefe days, winking 
with, his eye,, and. then crying out, Drink ! 



I asked him if any notice had been taken of the carpet 
I had procured to cover the body of Joas, and hoped it had 
given no umbrage. He faid, "No; none at all; on the con* 
trary, the king had faid twenty kind things upon it ; that 
he was prefent alfo when a prieft told it to Ras Michael; 
who only obferved, Yagoube, who is a ftranger in this coun* 
try, is mocked to fee a man taken out of his grave, and 
thrown like a dog upon the bare floor. This was all Mi- 
chael faid, and he never mentioned a word on the fubject: 
afterwards ;* nor did he, or the king, ever fpeak of it to me 
upon their return toGondar. 

The Iteghe, too, had much commended me, fo did all 
the nobility, more than the thing deferved ; for furely com- 
mon humanity dictated thus much, and the fear of Michael, 
which I had not, was the only caufe that fo proper an ac^ 
tion was left in a Granger's power. Even Ozoro Efther, 
enemy to Joas on account of the death of her hufband Ma^ 
riam Barea, after I had attended her one Sunday from church 
to the houfe of the Iteghe, and when fhe was fet down at 
the head of a circle of all thofe- that were of diftinction at 
the court, called out aloud to me, as I was palling behind; 
and pointing to one of the moll honourable feats in the 
room, faid, Sit down there, Yagoube ; God has exalted you 
above all in this country, when he has put it in your power, 
though but a ftranger, to confer charity upon the king of 
it. AIL was now acclamation, efpecially from the ladies ; 
and, I believe, I may fafely fay, I had never in my life been. 
a. favourite of fo many at one: time.. 

I dispatched Guebra Selafle with a meiTage to the king,, 
that L was refolved now to try once more a journey to the. 



he^-d of the Nile ; that I thought I fhould have time to be 
there, and return to Gondar, before the Tacazze was ford- 
able, foon after which I expected he would crofs it, and that 
nothing but want of health would prevent me from join- 
ing him in Beleflen, or fooner, if any opportunity fhould 

Before I took my laft refolutions I waited upon the 
queen. She was exceedingly averfe to the attempt; ihe 
bade me remember what the laft trial had coft me; and beg- 
ged me to defer any further thoughts of it till Fafil arrived 
in Gondar; that fhe would then deliver me into his hands, 
and procure from him fure guides, together with a fafe con- 
duel. She bad me beware alfo of troops of Pagan Galla 
which were paffing and >epaffing to and from his army, 
who, if they fell in with me, would murder me without 
mercy. She added, that the priefts of Gojam and Damot 
were mortal enemies to all men of my colour, and, with a 
word, would raife the peafants againft me. This was all 
true; but then many reafons, which 1 had weighed well, con- 
curred to fhew that this opportunity, dangerous as it was, 
might be the only time in which my enterprife could be 
practicable ; for I was confident a fpeedy rupture between 
Fafil and Michael would follow upon the king's return to 
Gondar. I determined therefore to fet out immediately 
without farther lofs of time. 

£fc Jiaj .t— i ■ ^ - -■' .-r-^ ^ 



<£&**=== ' — = «sgg 


Second yourney to di/cover the Source of the Nile — Favourable Turn of 
the King's Affairs in Tfigr'e — We fall in with Fa/iis Army at Bamba. 

THOUGH the queen fhewed very great diflike to my at- 
tempting this journey at fuch a time, yet fhe did not 
pofitiveiy command the contrary; I was prepared, therefore, 
to leave Gondar the 27th of October 1770, and thought to 
get a few miles clear of the town, and then make a long 
ftretch the next day. I had received my quadrant, time- 
keeper, and telefcopes from the ifland of Mitraha, where I 
had placed them after the affair of Guebra Mehedin, and 
had now put them in the very bed order. 

But, about twelve o'clock, I was told a melTage from Ras 
Michael had arrived with great news from Tigre. 1 went 
immediately to Kofcam as fafc as I could gallop, and found 
there Guebra Chriftos, a man ufed to bring the jars of bou- 



?.& to Ras Michael at his dinner and fupper: low men are al- 
ways employed on fuch errands, that they may not, from 
their confequence excite a defire of vengeance. The mef- 
fage that he brought was to order bread and beer to be rea- 
dy for 30,000 men who were coming with the king, as he 
had juft decamped from before the mountain Haramat, 
which he had taken, and put Za Menfus to the fword, 
with every man that was in it : this melfage flruck the 
queen with fuch a terror that flie was not vifible the whole 

After afking the meflenger if he had any word from 
the king to me, he faid, " Very little ;" that the king had 
called him to tell me he mould foon begin his march by 
BelefTen ; and that he would fend for me to meet him when, 
he mould arrive at Mariam-Ohha ; he told me befides, that 
the king had got .a ftone for me with writing upon it of 
old times, which he was bringing to me ; that it had been 
dug up at Axum, and was {landing at the foot of his bed, 
but that he did not order him to tell me this, and had only 
learned it from the fervants. My curiofity was very much 
raifed to know what this ftone could be, but I foon faw it 
was in vain to endeavour to learn any thing from Guebra 
Chriftos ; he anfwered in the affirmative to every inquiry : 
when I afked if it was blue, it was blue; and if black, it was 
black; it was round, and fquare, and oblong, juft as I put 
my queition to him : all he knew about it at laft, he faid, was, 
■that it cured all fort of ficknefs ; and, if a man ufed it pro- 
perly, it made him invulnerable and immortal: he did not, 
however, pretend to warrant this himfelf, but fwore he had 
the account from a prieft of Axum who knew it. I was 
perfectly fatisficd all further inquiry was unneceffary ; he 

1 had 


had got a very plentiful portion of bouza from his friends, 
and was, I faw, fair engaged in the purfuit of more, fo I gave 
him a fmall prefent for his good news, and took my leave, 
my mind being full of reflections upon the king's goodnefs, 
who, after fuch an abfence, and in fo critical a fituation as he 
then was, Hill remembered the trifling purfuits in which he 
had feen me often engaged. 

In the afternoon I received a meflage from Ozoro Eflher, 
as brought to her by a fervant of Ras Michael. It feems 
the giving up the king's revenue due from Tigre, and 
all fort of taxes upon the inhabitants, had interefled the 
whole province fo ftrongly, that all of them, as one man, 
endeavoured to remove the obftacle which flood m the way 
of the king's return : Michael, moreover, offered peace and 
pardon to the rebels, certain compenfations, and an amnefty 
of all that was pafl. All the friends, both of Netcho and Za 
Menfus, and the other leaders upon the mountain, endea- 
voured to perfuade them to accept the terms offered, whilft 
all the priefts and hermits, eminent for fanctity, became as 
mediators between them and Ras Michael : this intercourfe, 
though it had no effect upon Za Menfus, had feduced Net- 
cho, and opened a large field for treachery. 

In the midfl of this treaty, Kefla Yafous, with a detach- 
ment of chofen men, in a very ftormy night, was appointed 
to afcend up a private path to that part of the mountain 
where Netcho kept the principal guard, and being admitted, 
found the garrifon moftly afleep ; he furprifed and obliged 
them to furrender, with very little bloodfhed ; Za Menfus was 
taken prifoner, and/while Kefla Yafous conducted him to the 
camp, was met by Guebra Mafcal, who thrufl him through 

Vol. III. .3 R with 


with, a lance, as a retaliation for his father's death. Netcho 1 
and the reft, of the garrifon being pardoned, all joined Ras 
Michael's army- I looked upon theie news as a good omen, 
and experienced a degree of confidence and compofure of 
mind to which I. for a, long time had been a.ftranger.. I flept 
found, that night,. and it was not till' half after nine in the 
morning that I was ready for my journey*. 

In the evening before,-.! had endeavoured to engage my 
old companion Strates to accompany me on this attempt as 
he had done on. the former ; but the recollection of paft dan- 
gers and fufferings was not yet baniflied from his mind.; 
and upon my afking him to go and fee the head of this 
famous river, he coarfely, according to his ftile, anfwered* 
Might the devil fetch him if ever he fought either his head 
or his tail again... 

It was on the 2$th of October, at half paft nine in the 
morning,, that we left Gondar, and palTed the river Kahha 
at the foot of the town ; our route was W..S. W. the road, a 
little rugged upon the fide of a hill, but the day was fair, 
with funfhine ; and a fmall breeze from the north had 
rifen with the fun, and made the temperature of the air per- 
fectly agreeable. We left the church of Ledeta about a 
mile on the right, and palled by feveral poor villages called 
Abba Samuel ; thence we came to the fmall river Shimfa, 
then to the Dumaza, fomething larger. Upon the banks of 
this river, very pleafantly fituated, is Azazo, a country- houie 
built by the late king Yafous, who often retired here to re- 
lax himfelf with his friends. It is furrounded, I may fay 
-covered, with orange- trees, fo as to be fcarcely feen ; the 
trees are grown very large and high ; they are planted 



without order, the only benefit expected from them being 
the made. At fome fmall diftance is the village Azazo, ori- 
ginally built for the accommodation of the king's fervants 
while he refided there, but now chiefly occupied by monks 
belonging to the large church of Tecla Haimanout, which 
is on a little hill adjoining. Azazo, though little, is one 
of the moft chearful and pleafant villages in the neighbour- 
hood of Gondar. The lemon-tree feems to thrive better 
and grow higher than the orange ; but the houfe itfelf 
is going faft to ruin, as the kings of this country have 
a fixed averfion to houfes built by their predeeellbrs* 

The Dumaza is a very clear and pleafant ftream, run- 
ing brifkly over a fmall bed of pebbles : both this river and 
the Shimfa come from Woggora on the N. W. they pafs the 
hill of Kofcam, called Debra Tzai, join below Azazo, and, 
traverfing the flat country of Dembea,they meet the Angrab, 
which paffes by Gondar, and with it fall into the Tacazze, 
or Atbara. 

At noon we pafTed a fmall rivulet called Azzargiha, and, 
foon after, the Chergue, where there began a moil violent 
ftorm of rain, which forced us, much againfl our will, into 
the village, one of the moil miferable I ever entered ; it con- 
fided of fmall hovels built with branches of trees, and co- 
vered with thatch of ftraw. Thefe rains that fall in the lat- 
ter feafon are what the natives very much depend upon, 
and without which they could not fow the latter crops ; 
for, though it rains violently every day from May to the 
beginning of September, by the end of October the' 
ground is fo burnt that the country would be unfit for 
culture. 3R2 



Our quarters here were fo bad that we were impatient 
to depart, but came to a water juft below Chergue, which 
quickly made us wifh ourfelves back in the village ; this 
is a torrent that has no fprings in the hills, but only great 
bafons, or refervoirs, of ft one ; and, though it is dry all the 
year elfe, yet, upon a fudden, violent fhower, as this was, it 
fwells in an inftant, fo that it is impafTable for man or horfe 
by any device whatever. This violence is of fhort duration; 
we waited above half an hour, and then the peafants fhewed 
US a place, fome hundred yards above, where it was fhallow- 
er ; but even here we pafTed with the utmoft difficulty, from 
the impetuofity of the flream, after getting all poffible affifl- 
ance from four people of the village ; but we flood very 
much in need of fome check to our impatience, fo eager 
were we to get forward and finifh our journey before fome 
revolution happened* 

, We had not many minutes been delivered from this; 
torrent, before we pafTed two other rivers, the one larger, 
the other fmaller. All thefe rivers come from the north- 
welt, and have their fources in the mountains a few miles 
above, towards Woggora, from which, after a fhort courfe 
on the fide of the hills, they enter the low, flat country 
©f Dembea, and are fwallowed up in the Tzana* 

We continued along the fide of the hill in a country very 
thinly inhabited ; for, it being directly in the march of 
the army, the peafants naturally avoided it, or were 
driven from it. Our road was conftantly interfered by 
rivers, which abound, in the fame fpace, more than in any 
ether country in the world. We then came to the river 
Derma,, the largeft and mofl rapid we had yet met with* 



and foon after a fmaller, called Ghelghel Derma. In the 
afternoon, at a quarter paft three, we pafled another river, 
called Gavi-Corra ; thefe, like the others, all point as radii 
to the center of the lake, in which they empty themfelves. 
A little before four o'clock we encamped on the fide of the 
river Kemona. Upon the hill, on the other fide of the river, 
ftands the village of that name ; it was full of cattle, very 
few of which we had feen during the fore-part of the jour- 
ney ; we had all that day travelled fix hours and a quarter, 
which we computed not to exceed 14 miles : the reafon of 
this flownefs was the weight of my quadrant, which, though 
divided into two, required four men to carry it, tied upon 
bamboo, as upon two chair-poles. The time- keeper and 
two telefcopes employed two men more. We pitched our 
tent on the fide of the river, oppofite to the village, and there 
palled the night. 

On the 29th of October, at feven in the morning, we left 
our flation, the river Kemona ; our direction was W. S. W. 
after, about an hour, we came to a church called Abba 
Abraham, and a village that goes by the fame name ; it is 
immediately upon the road on the left hand. At the diftance 
of about a mile are ten or twelve villages, all belonging to 
the Abuna, and called Ghendi, where many of his predecef- 
fors have been buried. The low, hot, unwholefome, woody 
part of the Abyffinian Kolla, and the feverifh, barren pro- 
vince of Walkayt, lay at the diltance of about fourteen or 
fixteen miles on our right. We had been hitherto afcend- 
ing a gentle rifing- ground in a very indifferent country, 
the fides of the hill beingikirted with little rugged wood, and 
full of fprings, which join as they run down to the low coun- 
try of Walkayt. We faw before us a fmall hill called Guarre* 




which is to the fouth-weft. At half paft ten we refted un- 
der the before-mentioned hill ; it ftaiids alone in the plain^ 
in fhape like a fugar-loaf, and feems almoft as regular as if 
it had been a work of art. At a quarter paft eleven we re- 
fumed our journey, our courfe always nearly weft fouth- 
weft ; we pafTed the fmall village of Bowiha, at the diftance 
of about a mile ; and, on the left, about fix miles, is Gorgora, 
a peninfula that runs into the lake Tzana for feveral miles. 

There was one of the firft and moil magnificent church- 
es and monafteries of the Portuguefe Jefuits, in the time of 
their minion to convert this country : Socinios, then king, 
gave them the grounds, with money for the expence ; they 
built it with their own hands, and lined it elegantly with 
cedar. The king, who was a zealous Roman Catholic, chofe 
afterwards a country- houfe for himfelf there, and encou- 
raged them much by his prefents and by his charity ; it is 
Gne of the pleafanteft fituations in the world ; the vaft ex- 
panfe of the lake is before you ; Dembea, Gojam, and Man- 
illa, flat and rich countries all round, are in view ; and the 
tops of the high hills of Begemder and Woggora clofe the 

The lake here, I am told, has plenty of fifh, which is 
•more than can be faid for many of the other parts of it ; 
the fiih are of two kinds, both of them feemingly a fpecies of 
what the Englim call br-ccun. I never could make them to 
agree with me, which I attribute to the drug with 'which 
they are taken ; it is of the nature of mx vomica, pounded in 
a morter, and thrown into ftrcams, where they run into the 
lake ; the fifh, feeding there, are thus intoxicated and taken; 
however, it would admit of a doubt of this being the rea- 
2 fon, 


£bn, becaufe the queen and all the great people in Gondar 
eat them in Lent without any bad confequences. 

The great elevation of the peninfula of Gorgora makes 
it one of the healthieft, as well as beautiful parts of the 
country; for, out of this neck of land* at feveral different 
feafons of the year, the inhabitants of the flat country fuf- 
fer from malignant fevers. From Gondar hither we had 
always been edging down to the lake.. 

At a quarter before noon we halted to reft upon the 
banks of a fmall river-called Baha; the country was rich, 
and cultivated; great part of it, too, was laid our in pafture, 
and flocked with an immenfe quantity of cattle. At one 
o'clock we refumed our journey,, going weft fouth-weft as 
before ; we were apparently turning the north end of the 
lake as fhort as poilible, to fet our face due fouth to the 
country- of the Agows. At a quarter before three we pitch- 
ed our tents at Bab Baha,. afrer having travelled five hours 
and three quarters, which we computed to be equal to twelve 
miles. The firft part of our journey this day was not like 
that of the day before; the road was, indeed, rough, but led 
through very agreeable valleys and gentle-rifmg hills ; it 
appeared, on the whole, however, that we had afcended con^ 
fiderably fince we left. Gondar... 

The country about Bab Baha is the richeft in Abymnia; 
this on the fouth, and Woggora on the north, are the two 
granaries that fupply the reft of the kingdom.. Bab Baha is 
a parcel of fmall villages, more confiderable in number and 
ftrength than.thofe at Kemona,,and is near the lake Tzr> 
na. The queen and many of her relations have here their 



houfes and poflefiions, and thefe, therefore, being refpected 
by Michael, had not been involved in the devaitation of the 
late war. The villages are all furrounded with Kol- quail 
trees, as large at the trunk as thofe we met on the fide of 
the mountain of Taranta, when we afcendedit on our journey 
from Mafuah to enter into the province of Tigre ; but the 
tree wants much of the beauty of thofe of Tigre ; the 
branches are fewer in number, lefs thorny, arid lefs in- 
dented, which feems to prove that this is not the cli» 
mate for them. 

The 30th of October, at fix in the morning, we continued 
our journey from Bab Bahaftill rounding the lake at W. S. 
W. and on the very brink of it : the country here is all laid 
out in large meadows of a deep, black, rich foil, bearing 
very high grafs, through the midft of which runs the ri- 
ver Sar-Ohha, which, in Englifh, is the GralTy River ; it is a- 
bout forty yards broad and not two feet deep, has a foft 
clay bottom, and runs from north to fouth into the lake 

We turned out of the road to the left at Bab Baha, and 
were obliged to go up the hill ; in a quarter of an hour we 
reached the high road to Mefcala Chriftos. At feven o'clock 
we began to turn more to the fouthward, our courfe being 
S. W. ; three miles and a half on our right remained the vil- 
lage of Tenkel ; and four miles and a half that of Tmem- 
mera to the N. N. W. ; we were now clofe to the border of 
the lake, whofe bottom here is a fine fand. Neither the 
fear of crocodiles, nor other monfters in this large lake, 
could hinder me from fwimming in it for a few minutes, 
4 Though 


Though the fun was very warm, the water was intenfe- 
ly cold, owing to the many frefh ftreams that pour them- 
felves continually into the lake Tzana from the mountains. 
The country here is fown with dora, which is maize, or 
millet; and another plant, not to be diftinguifhed from our 
marigold either in fize, fhape, or foliage ; it is called 
Nook *, and furnifhes all Abyilinia with oil for the kitchen, 
and other ufes. 

At a quarter paft nine we refted a little at Delghi Mariam ; 
the village called limply Delghi, adjoining to it, is but fmall, 
and on the S. W. is the hill of Gov Mariam, where the 
queen- mother has a houfe. All the habitations in this 
country were burnt by Ras Michael in his return to Gondar 
after the battle of Fagitta. The mountain Debra Tzai above 
Kofcam, was feen this day at N. E. and by E. from us. 

At a quarter paft ten we again fet out, our route being 
S. W. at eleven we left the fmall village Arrico, about two 
miles on our right. At a quarter paft eleven we halted to reft 
our men ; we palTed the church of St Michael on our right, 
and at a quarter paft one we palled two fmall iflands in the 
lake, called Kedami Aret ; and, half an hour after, we paiTed 
a fmall river, and came to Mefcala Chriftos, a large village 
upon a high mountain, the fummit of which it occupies en- 
tirely ; it is furrounded on both fides by a river, and the de- 
scent is fteep and dangerous. We thought to have ftaid here 
all night ; but, after mounting the hill with great fatigue and 
trouble, we found the whole village abandoned, on intelli- 
gence that Waragna Fafil was on his march to Gondar, and 
not far diftant. 

Vol. III. 3 S Tht$ 

* Polymnia frondofa. 


This intelligence, which came all at once upon us, made 
us lay afide the thoughts of fleeping that night; wedefcended 
the hill of Mefcala Chriftos in great hafle, and with much 
difficulty, and came to the river Kemon below it, clear and 
limpid, but having little water, running over a bed of very 
large nones. This river, too, comes from the north- weft, and 
falls into the lake a little below ; we refted on its banks half 
an hour, the weather being very fultry; from this place we 
had a diftincl view of the Nile, where, after crofting the lake, 
it iftues out near Dara, the fcene of our former misfor- 
tunes ; we fet it carefully by the compafs, bore nearly 
S. W. 

We began our journey again at three quarters after two, 
and at half after three we pafted a river, very clear, with little 
water, the name of which I have forgot ; by the largenefs 
of its bed it feemed to be a very considerable ftream in win- 
ter ; at prefent it had very little water, but a- fine gravelly 
bottom ; here we met multitudes of peafants flying before 
the army of Fafil, many of whom, feeing us, turned out of 
the way ; one of thefe was a fervant of Guebra Ehud, brother 
to Ayto Aylo, my nioft intimate friend : he told us it was 
very poftlble that Fafil would pafs us that night, advifed us 
not to linger in the front of fuch an army, but fall in as 
foon as poflible with his Fit-Auraris, rather than any other of 
his advanced pofts; he was carrying a mefiage to his mailer's 
brother at Gondar. I told him I had rather linger in the 
front of fuch an army than in the rear of it, and ihould 
be very forry to be detained long, even in the middle of it; 
that I only wiilied to falute Fafil, and procure a pafs and re- 
commendations from him to Agow Midre. 



Ayto Aylo's fervant, who was with me, prefently made 
acquaintance with this man, and I trufted him to learn from 
him as much as he knew about Fafil ; the refult was, that 
Fafil pretended to be in a violent hurry, from what motive 
was not known; but that he, at the fame time, inarched 
very flowly, contrary to his ufual cuftom ; that his fpecch 
and behaviour promifed peace, and that he had hurt no- 
body on the way, but proclaimed conftantly, that all people 
mould keep their houfes without fear ; that Ayto Woldo of 
Maitfha, a great robber, was his Fit-Auraris, and never diftant 
from him more than three miles ; that the troops of A- 
gow, Maitflia, and Damot, were with him, and with fome 
Galla of Gojam and Metchakel compofed the van and cen- 
ter of his army, whilft his rear confifted of wild lawlefs 
Galla, whom he had brought from the other fide of the Nile 
from Bizamo, his own country, and were commanded by 
Ayto Welleta Yafous, his great confident ; that thefe Gal- 
la were half a day generally behind him, and there was 
fome talk that, the fame day, or the next, he was to fend 
thefe invaders home ; that he marched as if he was in fear ; 
always took flrong polls, but had received every body that 
came to him, either from the country or Gondar, affably 
and kindly enough, but no one knew any thing of his in- 

About half paft four o'clock we fell in with Woldo, his 
Fit-Auraris, whom i did not know. Ayto Aylo's fervant, 
however, was acquainted with him ; we afked him fome 
queflions about his mafcer, which he anfwered very candid- 
ly anddifcreetly ; on his part he made no inquiry, and feem- 
ed to have little curiofity about us ; he had taken his pott, 
and was advancing no farther that night. 1 made him a 

3 S 2 little 


little prefent at taking my leave, which he feemed furprifed 
at ; and, very much contrary to my expectations, had fomc 
difficulty about receiving, faying, he was aftiamed that he 
had not any return for us ; that he was a foldier, and had 
nothing but the lance|in his hand and the goat's fkin on his 
moulders, neither of which he could be fure to poflefs for 
twenty-four hours ; he then told us that Fafil had, by that 
time, pitched his tent at Bamba, within a mile of us, and 
was to difpatch the wild Galla from thence to their own 
country : he gave us a man who, he faid, would take care 
of us, and defired us not to difmifs him till we had feen 
Fafil, and not to pitch our tent, but rather to go into one of 
the empty houfes of Bamba, as all the people had fled. 
We now parted equally contented with each other ; at the 
fame time I faw he fent off another man, who went fwiftly 
on, probably to carry advice of us to Falil : we had ftaid 
with him fomething lefs than half an hour. 






Interview with Fafil — TranfaBions in the Camp. 

WE found Bamba a collection of villages, in a valley 
now filled with foldiers. We went to the left with 
our guide, and got a tolerable houfe, but the door had been 
carried away. Fafil's tent was pitched a little below us, 
larger than the others, but without further diftinction : it 
was eafily known, however, by the lights about it, and by 
the nagareet, which ftill continued beating : he was then 
juft alighting from his horfe. I immediately fent Ayto 
Aylo's fervant, whom I had with me, to prefent my compli- 
ments, and acquaint him of my being on the road to vifit 
him. I thought now all my difficulties were over : for 
I knew it was in his power to forward us to our journey's 
end ; and his fervants, whom I faw at the palace near the 
king, when Fafil was inverted with his command, had ami- 
red me, not only of an effectual protection, but alfo of a mag- 
nificent reception if I chanced to find him in Maitfha. 



It was now, however, near eight at night of the 30th be- 
fore I received a meflage to attend him. I repaired imme- 
diately to his tent. After announcing myfelf, I waited about 
a quarter of an hour before I was admitted ; he was fitting 
upon a cufhion with a lion's fkin upon it, and another 
ftretched like a carpet before his feet, and had a cotton cloth, 
fomething like a dirty towel, wrapped about his head; his 
upper cloak, or garment, was drawn tight about him over 
his neck and moulders, fo as to cover his hands ; I bowed, 
and went forward to kifs one of them, but it was fo entan- 
gled in the cloth that I was obliged to kifs the cloth inftead 
of the hand. This was done either as not expecting I mould 
pay him that compliment, (as I certainly mould not have 
done, being one of the king's fervants, if the king had been 
at Gondar) or elfe it was intended for a mark of difrefpect, 
which was very much of a-piece with the reft of his beha- 
viour afterwards. 

There was no carpet or cumions in the tent, and only 
a little ftraw, as if accidentally, thrown thinly about it. I fat 
down upon the ground, thinking him fick not knowing 
what all this meant; he looked fledfaftly at me, faying, half 
under his breath, Endett nawi ? bogo nawi ? which, in Am- 
haric, is, How do you do ? Are you very well? I made the 
ufual anfwer, Well, thank God. He again ftopt, as for me 
to fpeak'; there was only one old man prefent, who was fit- 
ting on the floor mending a mule's bridle. I took him at 
firft for an attendant, but obferving that a fervant unco- 
vered held a candle to him, 1 thought he was one of his 
Galla, but then I faw a blue filk thread, which he had about 
his neck, which is a badge of Chriftianity all over Abyf- 
iinia, and which a Galla would not wear. What he was I 
1 could 


Gould not make out; he feemed, however, to be a very bad 
eobler, and took no notice of us- 

Ayto Aylo's fervant, who flood behind me, pufhed me 
with his knee, as a fign that I mould fpeak, which I ac- 
cordingly began to do with fome difficulty. " I am come, 
faid I, by your invitation, and the king's leave, to pay my 
refpects to you in your own government, begging that you 
would favour my curiofity fo far as to fuffer me to fee the 
country of the Agows, and the fource of the Abay, or Nile, 
part of which I have feen in Egypt." " The fource of the 
Abay! exclaimed he, with a pretended furprife, do you know 
what you are faying ? Why, it is, God knows where, in the 
country of the Galla, wild, terrible people. The fource of 
the Abay! Are you raving! repeats he again: Are you to get 
there, do you think, in a twelvemonth, or more, or when ?" 
" Sir, faid I, the king told me it was near Sacala, and flill 
nearer Geefh; both villages of the Agows, and both in your 
government." " And fo you know Sacala and Geefh ? fays he„ 
whittling and half angry*." " I can repeat the names that I 
hear, faid I ; all Abymnia knows the head of the Nile." — 
" Aye, fays he, imitating my voice and manner, but all 
Abyflinia won't carry you there, that I promife you." " If 
you are refolved to the contrary, faid I, they will not; I wifli 
you had told the king fo in time, then I lliould not have at- 
tempted it; it was relying upon you alone I came fo far, con- 
fident, if all the reft of Abymnia could not protect me there, 
that your word fingly could, dp it." 


* This afFefted ignorance was probably intended to bring me to mention the donation 
the king had grven me of Geelh, which he never much reliihed v and made elfeclually ufelels 
to me. 


He now put on a look of more complacency. "Look you, 
Yagoube, fays he, it is true I can do it ; and, for the king's 
fake who recommended it to me, I would do it ; but the 
Acab Saat, Abba Salama, has fent to me, to defire me not to 
let you pafs further; he fays it is againft the law of the land 
to permit Franks like you to go about the country, and that 
he has dreamed fomething ill will befal me if you go into 
Maitfha." 1 was as much irritated as I thought it pofTible for 
me to be. " So fo,faid I,the time of priefts,prophets,and dream- 
ers is coming on again." " I underftand you, fays he laugh- 
ing for the nrft time ; I care as little for priefts as Michael 
does, and for prophets too, but I would have you confider 
the men of this country are not like yours ; a boy of thefe 
Galla would think nothing of killing a man of your coun- 
try. You white people are all effeminate ; you are like fo 
many women ; you are not fit for going into a province 
where all is war, and inhabited by men, warriors from their 

I saw he intended to provoke me; and he had fucceeded 
fo effectually that I fhould have died, I believe, imprudent 
as it was, if I had not told him my mind in reply. " Sir, 
faid I, I have palled through many of the moft barbarous 
nations in the world ; all of them, excepting this clan of 
yours, have fome great men among them above ufing a de- 
fenceless ftranger ill. But the woril and loweft individual 
among the moft uncivilized people never treated me as you 
have done to-day under your own roof, where 1 have come fo 
far for protection." He afked, " How?" " You have, in the firfl 
place, faid I, publicly called me Frank, the moft odious 
name in this country, and fufheient to occafion me to be 
ftoned to death without further ceremony, by any fet of 
3 men 


men wherever I may prefent myfelf. By Frank you mean one 
of the Romifh religion, to which my nation is as adverfe as 
yours ; and again, without having ever feen any of my 
countrymen but myfelf, you have difcovered, from that fpe- 
cimen, that we are all cowards and effeminate people, like, 
or inferior to, your boys or women. Look you, Sir, you ne- 
ver heard that I gave myfelf out as more than an ordinary 
man in my own country, far lefs to be a pattern of what is 
excellent in it. I am no foldier, though I know enough of 
war to fee yours are poor proficients in that trade. But 
there are foldiers, friends and countrymen of mine, (one 
prefents himfelf to my mind at this inftant*,) who would not 
think it an action in his life to vaunt of, that with 50c men 
he had trampled all yon naked favages into duft. On this 
Fafil made a feigned laugh, and feemed rather to take my 
freedom amifs. It was, doubdefs, a paffionate and raffi 
fpeech. As to myfelf, continued I, unfkilled in war as I 
am, could it be now without further confequence, let me 
but be armed in my own country-faihion on horfeback, as 
I was yefterday,I mould, without thinking myfelf overmatch- 
ed, fight the two beil horfemen you fliall choofe from this 
your army of famous men, who are warriors from their 
cradle; and if, when the king arrives, you are not returned 
to your duty, and we meet again, as we did at Limjour, 
I will pledge myfelf, with his permi/Tion, to put you in 
mind of this promife. This did not make things better. 

He repeated the word duty after me, and would have re- 
plied, but my nofe burft out in a ftream of blood ; and, that 
Vol. III. 3 T inftant, 

* It is with pleafure I confefs the m;in 'then ir« Ti>y mind was my brave friend Sir William 


inflant, Aylo's fervant took hold of me by the moulder to- 
hurry me out of the tent. Fafil feemed to be a good deal 
concerned, for the blood dreamed out upon my clothes. 
The old man likewife amlted me when out of the tent ; I 
found he was Guebra Ehud, Ayto Aylo's brother, whofe 
fervant we had met on the road. I returned then to my 
tent, and the blood was foon {launched by warning my face 
with cold water. I fat down to recollect myfelf, and the 
more I calmed, the more I was difratisned at being put 
off my guard ; but it is impoffible to conceive the provoca- 
tion without having proved it. I have felt but too often how 
much the love of our native foil increafes by our abfence 
from it; and how jealous we are of comparifons made to 
the difadvantage of our countrymen by people who, all pro- 
per allowances being made, are generally not their equals, 
when they would boaft themfelves their fuperiors. I will: 
confefs further, in gratification to my critics, that I was, from 
my infancy, of a fanguine, paffionate difpofition ; very fen- 
fible of injuries that I had neither provoked nor deferved; 
but much reflection, from very early life, continual habits 
of flittering in long and dangerous travels, where nothing- 
but patience would do, had, I nattered myfelf, abundantly 
fubdued my natural pronenefs to feel offences, which, com- 
mon fenfe might teach me, I could only revenge upon my- 

However, upon further confultingmy own breafl, I found 
there was another caufe had co-operated ftrongly with the 
former in making me lofe my temper at this time, which, 
upon much greater provocation, I had never done before. 
1 found now, as I thought, that it was decreed deciiively my 
hopes of arriving at the fcnirce of the Nile were for ever 

ended ; 


ended ; all my trouble, all my expences, all my time, and all 
my fufTerings for fo many years were thrown away, from no 
greater obftacle than the whimfies of one barbarian, whofe 
good inclinations, I thought, I had long before fumciently 
fecured ; and, what was worfe, I was now got within lefs 
than forty miles of the place I fo much wifhed to fee ; and 
my hopes were fhipwrecked upon the laft, as well as the 
molt unexpected, difficulty I had to encounter. 

I was juft going to bed when Ayto Welleta Michael, Ras 
Michael's nephew, taken at Limjoui% and a prifoner with 
Fafil, though now at large, came into the tent. I need not 
repeat the difcourfe that palled between us, it was all con- 
dolence upon the ill-ufage I had met with. He curfed Fafil, 
called him a thoufand opprobrious names, and faid, Ras 
Michael one day would fhew me his head upon a pole : he 
hinted, that he thought Fafil expected a prefent, and ima- 
gined that I intended to pafs the king's recommendation 
on him in the place of it. I have a prefent, faid I, and a 
very handfome one, but I never thought that, while his na- 
gareet was ftill beating, and when he had fcarcely pitched 
his tent when he was tired, and I no lefs fo, that it was then 
a time to open baggage for this purpofe ; if he had waited till 
to-morrow, he mould have had a gratification which would 
have contented him. 

Well, well, faid Welleta Michael, as for your journey I 
mall undertake for that, for I heard him giving orders 
about it when I came away, even though he expects no 
prefent ; what does the gratifying your curiofity coft him ? 
he would be afhamed to refufeyou permifllon; his own va- 
nity would hinder him. This amirance, more than all the 

3 T 2 quieting 


quieting draughts in the world, compofed my mind, and 
brought me to myfelf. I went to bed, and falling into a 
found fleep, was. waked near mid-night by two of FanTs fer- 
vants, who brought each of them a lean live fheep ; they 
faid they had brought the fheep, and were come to afk how 
I was, and to ftay all night to watch the houfe for fear of 
the thieves in the army ; they likewife brought their mat- 
ter's order for me to come early in the morning to him, as 
he wanted to difpatch me on my journey before he gave 
the Galla liberty to return. This difpelled every doubt, but* 
it raifed my fpirits fo much, that, out of impatience for 
morning, I flept very little more that, night.. 

It was a time of year when it is not broad day till after 
fix o'clock ; I went to the camp and faw Guebra Ehud, who 
confirmed what Welleta Michael had faid, and that Fafil had 
given orders for bringing feveral of his own horfes for me,, 
to choofe which he was to prefent me with; in effect, there 
were about twelve horfes all faddled and bridled, which 
were led by a matter-groom. I. was very indifferent about 
thefe horfes, having a good one of my own, and there was 
none of thefe that would in this country have brought 7I.. 
at a market; thefervant, who feemed very officious, pitched 
upon a bright-bay poney, the fattefl of the whole, but not 
flrong enough in appearance to carry me ; he, . 
however, the horfe had excellent paces, was a great favour- 
ite of Fafil's, but too tfW7 and quiet for him, and defired me 
to mount him, though he had no other furniture but the 
wooden part of a faddie covered with thin, brown leather^ 
and, iuflead of ftirrups, iron rings. All the Abyffinians, in* 
deed, ride bare- footed and legged,, and put only their great 
toe into the iron ring, holding it betwixt their great and 



fecond toe, as they are afraid of being entangled by the 
ftirrup if their horfe falls, fhould they put their foot into 

I consented to try him very willingly. A long experience 
with the Moors in Barbary put me above fear of any horfe, . 
however vicious, which I had no reafon to think this was; 
befides, I rode always with a Barbary bridle, broad ftirrups, 
and fhort flirrup-leathers, after their fafhion ; the bridle is 
known to every fcholar in horfemanfhip, and fhould be ufed 
by every light-horfeman or dragoon, for the moll vicious 
horfe cannot advance a yard againfl this bridle, when in a 
ftrong hand. I ordered the feis, or groom, to change the 
faddle and bridle for mine, and I had on a pair of fpurs with 
very long and fharp rowels.. I faw prefently the horfe did 
not like the bit, but that I did not wonder at; my faddle was 
what is called a war faddle, high behind and before, fo,un- 
lefs the horfe fell, it was impoffible to throw the rider. I 
had alfo a thick, knotty Hick, or truncheon, of about three 
feet long, inftead of a whip, and well was it for me I was fo> 
prepared for him* 

For the firft two minutes after I mounted I do not 
know whether I was mofl on the earth or in the air ; he 
kicked behind, reared before, leaped like a deer, all four off 
the ground, and it was fome time before I recollected my- 
felf ; he then attempted to gallop, taking the bridle in his 
teeth, but got a check which ftaggered him ; he, however^ 
continued to gallop; and, finding I flacked the bridle on his 
neck, and that he was at eafe, he fet off and ran away 
as hard as he could, flinging out behind every ten yards ; 
th^; ground was very favourable, fmooth, foft, and up-hill. 



We pafTecl the poll of the Fit- Auraris like lightning, leaving 
iiim exceedingly furprifed at feeing me make off wirh his 
mailer's horfe. He was then going to the head-quarters, 
but faid nothing at palling; we went down one hill awk- 
wardly enough ; and, when we got to a fmall plain and a 
brook below, the horfe would have gone eaiily enough ei- 
ther a trot or walk up the other, but Iliad only to fhake 
■my ilirrups to make him fet off again at a violent gallop, 
and when he ilopt he trembled all over. I was now refol- 
ved to gain a victory, and hung my upper cloak upon a 
tree, the attempting which occafioned a new battle ; but he 
was obliged to fubmit. I then between the two hills, half up 
the one and half up the other, wrought him fo that he 
had no longer either breath or ftrength, and I began to 
think he would fcarce carry me to the camp. 

I now found that he would walk very quietly-; that 
a gentle touch of the fpur would quicken him, but that he 
had not itrength or inclination to gallop ; and there was no 
more rearing or kicking up behind. I put my cloak, there- 
fore, about me in the bell manner poilible, juft as if it 
had never been ruffled or difcompofed by motion, and in 
this manner repairing the Fit-Auraris' quarters, came in light 
of the camp, where a large field fown with teff, and much 
watered, was in front. I went out of the road into this field, 
which I knew was very foft and deep, and therefore favour- 
able for me. Coming near Fafil's tent, the horfe ilopt upon 
gently ilraitening the bridle, as a horfe properly broke 
would have done, on which my fervant took the faddle and 
bridle, and returned the groom his own, 

2 T^JE 


The poor beafl made a fad figure, cut in the fides to pieces, 
and bleeding at the jaws ; and the feis, the rafcal that put 
me upon him, being there when I difmounted, he held up 
his hand5 upon feeing the horfe fo mangled, and began to 
teftify great furprife upon the fuppofed harm I had done. 
I took no notice of this, only faid, Garry that horfc to your 
mailer ; -he may venture to ride him now, which is more 
than either he or you dared to have done in. the morn- 

As my own horfe was bridled and faddled, and I found 
myfelf violently irritated, I refolved to ride to compofe my- 
felf a little before another interview, for I thought this lafl 
piece of treachery, that might have cofl me my legs and 
arms, was worfe than what paffed in the tent the night be- 
fore ; it feemed to be aimed at my life, and to put a very ef- 
fectual flop to the continuing my journey. My fervant had 
in his hand a ihort double-barrelled gun loaded with fhot 
for killing any uncommon bird we. might fee by the way; 
I- took the gun and my horfe,- and went up the fide of the* 
green hill about half way, in fair view of the camp, and. 
confiderably above it, I galloped, trotted, and made nay horfe 
perform everything he was capable of. He was excellent 
in his movements, and very fufficiently trained ; this the 
Galla beheld at once with aflonifhment and pleafure ; they 
are naturally fond of horfes, fufficiently perfect: in the ufe- 
ful part of horfemanfhip, to be fenfible.of the beauty of the: 

There was then, as there always is, a vaft number of kites 
following the camp, which are quite familiar and live up- 
on the carrion; choonng two gliding near me, I fhot firfl 



one on the right, then one on the left ; they both fell dead 
on the ground ; a great fhout immediately followed from 
the fpectators below, to which I feemingly paid no attention, 
pretending abfolute indifference, as if nothing extraordinary 
had been done. I then difmounted from my horfe, giving 
him and my gun to my fervant, and, fitting down on a 
large flone, I began to apply fome white paper to ftaunch 
a fmall fcratch the iiril horfe had given me on the leg, by 
rubbing it againlt a thorn tree : as my trowfers, indeed, 
were all flained with the blood of the firft horfe, much cut 
by the fpur, it was generally thought I was wounded. 

Pa stl on this fent for me to come immediately to him, 
having juft got up from a fleep after a whole night's de- 
bauch. He was at the door of the tent when I began ri- 
ding my own horfe, and, having feen the mots, ordered the 
kites immediately to be brought him: his fervants had la- 
boured in vain to find the hole where the ball, with which 
I had killed the birds, had entered ; for none of them had 
.ever feen fmall-mot, and I did not undeceive them. I had 
no fooner entered his tent than he afked me, with great 
earneitnefs, to fhew him where the ball had gone through. 
I gave him no explanation ; but, if you have really an in- 
clination to kill me, faid I, you had better do it here, where 
I have fervants that will bury me, and tell the King and the 
Iteghe the kind reception you have given ftrangers whom 
they have recommended. He afked what I meant ? What was 
the matter now ? and I was going to anfwer, when Welleta 
Michael told him the whole flory, greatly in my favour, in- 
deed, but truly and plainly as to the trick about the horfe. 
The Fit-Auraris Woldo faid fomething to him in Galla, 
which plainly made the matter worfe, Fafil now fcemed in 
4 a ter- 


a terrible fury, and faid three words to the Fit-Auraris in 
Galla, who immediately went out ; and, as my fervants told 
me afterwards, after fending for the feis, or groom, who 
had brought me the horfe, the firft falutation that he gave 
him was a blow over the head with a bludgeon, which 
felled him to the ground, then a dozen more flrokes, and 
ordered him to be put in irons, after which he returned in- 
to the tent. 

Fasil, who heard I was hurt, and faw the quantity of 
blood upon my trowfers, held up his hands with a fhew of 
horror and concern, which plainly was not counterfeited : 
he protefled, by every oath he could devife, that he knew no- 
thing about the matter, and was afleep at the time; that he 
had no horfes with him worth my acceptance, except the 
one that he rode, but that any horfe known to be his, driven 
before me, would be a pafTport, and procure me refpect a- 
mong all the wild people whom I might meet, and for that 
reafon only he had thought of giving me a horfe. He repeat- 
ed his proteftations that he was innocent, and heartily forry 
for the accident, which, indeed, he appeared to be: he told 
me the groom was in irons, and that, before many hours 
palled, he would put him to death. I was perfectly fatisfied 
with his fincerity. I wifhed to put an end to this difagree- 
able converfation: " Sir, faid I, as this man has attempted my 
life, according to the laws of the country, it is I that mould 
name the punimment." " It is very true, replied Fafil,take him, 
Yagoube, and cut him in a thoufand pieces, if you pleafe, 
and give his body to the kites." " Are you really fincere in 
what you fay, faid I, and will you have no after excufes." He 
fworefolemniy he would not. "Then, faid I, I am a Chriftian: 
the way my religion teaches me to punifh my enemies is 
^Vol.III. , 3.U by 


by doing good for evil; and therefore I keep you to the oath 
you have fworn, and defire my friend the Fit-Auraris to fet 
the man at liberty, and put him in the place he held before, 
for he has not been undutiful to you." 

I need not fay what were the fentiments of the company 
upon the occalion; they feemed to be moll favourable to me; 
old Gucbra Ehud could not contain himfelf, but got out of 
the dark corner, and fqueezed both of my hands in his; and 
turning to Fafil, faid, " Did not I tell you what my brother 
Aylo thought about this man?" Welleta Michael faidj 
"He was juft the fame all through Tigre." Fafd, in a low 
voice, replied, " A man that behaves as he does may go thro' 
any country." They then all begged that I would take care 
of my wound, looking at the blood upon my trowfers. I told 
them it was already ftaunched; and turning to Fafd, faid, "Wo 
white people; you fee, are not fo terrified at feeing our own 
blood as you fuppofed we were." He then deiired that the 
tent might be cleared for a. Ihort time, and we all went 

About ten minutes after, I was called in to partake of a 
great brcakfaft; honeyandbutter,and raw beef in abundance, 
as alfo fome Hewed dimes that were very good. I was very 
hungry, having tailed nothing fmce dinner the day before; 
and I had had much exercife of body as well as of mind. We 
were all very chearful, every one faying fomething about 
the Agows, or of the Nile ; and Fafil declaring, if it was 
peace, he would carry me to his country acrofs the Nile as 
far as the kingdom of Narea. I thanked him. "You are at 
jpeace, faid I, with the King and the Ras, and going to 
mcetthemat.Gondar." — "At Gondar^fays he, no ; I hope not 



this time ; the Ras has work enough on his hands for the reft 
of his life." "What work ? faid I." " Why, the mountain," re- 
plies he." "The mountain Aromata!" "The fame, fays he; you 
never faw fuch a place; Lamalmon, and all the mountains of 
Abyflinia, are nothing to it : he was, when at the prime of 
life,fifteen years in taking it from this Netcho's father." " But 
he has been luckier this time, replied I, by fourteen years." 
" How !" fays he, with fome amafement." " Pardon me, faid I, 
if I have unawares told you unwelcome news ; but the moun- 
tain is taken, the garrifon put to the fword, and Za Menfus, 
after furrendering, flain, in cold blood by Guebra Mafcal, 
in revenge for the death of his father." Fafil had in his 
hand a blue cut-glafs goblet, gilt round the edges with gold. 
I had bought it at Cairo, with feveral other articles of the 
fame kind, from a merchant who procured them from 
Triefte. I had given it to the king, who drank out of it 
himfelf, and had fent it as an honourable token to Fafil 
from Dingleber, the day when they made peace, after the 
battle of Limjour. Upon hearing what I faid, he threw it 
violently upon the ground, and broke it into a thoufand 
pieces. " Take care what you fay, Yagoube, fays he, take care 
this be not a lie; tell it me again." I told him the whole 7 cir- 
cumftances from beginning to end; how the news had come 
to the Iteghe — who had brought the intelligence — how it had 
Gome from the Ras to Ozoro Either — and how Kefla Yafbus 
had furprifed the mountain by treachery, having firft lulled 
the befieged afleep by a negociation, and a propofed media- 
tion of the prielts and hermits. OnthisFafilobferved,itwas the 
very way Michael took it lafl time; and, putting his forefinger 
in his mouth, bit it very hard, crying, Fool, fool, was he not 
warned ? We all were again difmified from the tent, and ftaid 

3 U 2 out 


out about a quarter of an hour, when we were again call- 
ed in. 

I cannot fay but I enjoyed heartily the fright I had vi- 
fibly given him ; it feemed to me that Aylo's brother, Gue- 
bra Ehud, was the only perfon whom he confulted, for it 
was he alone that remained with him in his tent when we 
entered ; he had changed his drefs ; a man was combing 
his hair, and perfuming it ; and he had a new, white, fine 
cotton cloth thrown about his middle loofely, which cover- 
ed his legs and feet, his breafts, neck, and moulders, being 
quite naked ; he rofe half up from his feat when I came in, 
made me fit down on a cufhion befide him, and was going 
to fpeak, when I refolved to have the firft word, for fear he 
fhould engage me in more difcuffions. "Your continual 
hurry, faid I, all the times I have feen you, has put it out of 
my power till now to make you the acknowledgment it is 
ordinary for ftrangers to prefent when they vilit great men 
in their own country, and afk favours of them." I then took 
a napkin, and opened it before him ; he feemed to have for- 
got the prefent altogether, but from that moment I faw his 
countenance changed, he was like another man. "OYagoube, 
fays he, a prefent to me ! you mould be fenfible that is per- 
fectly needlefs ; you were recommended to me by the King 
and the Ras ; you know, fays he, we are friends, and I 
would do twenty times as much for yourfelf, without re- 
commendation from either ; belides, I have not behaved to 
you like a great man." 

It was not a very hard thing to conquer thefe fcruples ; 
he took the feveral pieces of the prefent one by one in his 
hands, and examined them ; there was a crimfon fdk faih, 

3 made 


made at Tunis, about five yards long, with a filk fringe of 
the fame colour; it was as beautiful a web of (ilk. as ever 
I iaw ; it had a fmall waved pattern wrougiit in it ; the 
nexr was a yellow, with a red narrow border, or ilripe, and 
a lilver wrought fringe, but neither fo long nor fo thick as 
the other; the next were two Cyprus manufactured fames,, 
filk. and cotton, with a fattin {tripe, the one broader than the 
other, but five yards long each ; the next was a Perfian pipe, 
with a long pliable tube, or worm, covered wit h Turkey lea- 
ther, with an amber mouth-piece, and a chryital vafe for 
fmoking tobacco through water, a great luxury in the east- 
ern countries ; the next were two blue bowls, as fine as the 
one he had jufl then broken, and of the fame fort. He moved 
them from him, laughing, and faid, " 1 will not take them 
from you, Yagoube ; this is downright robbery ; I have done 
nothing for this, which is a prefent for a king." — "It is a 
prefent to a friend, laid I, often of more confequence to a 
Stranger than a king ; I always except your king, who is the 
Stranger's belt friend." — •" Though he was not eafily discon- 
certed, he feemed, at this time, to be very nearly fo."— " If 
you will not receive them, continued I, fuch as they are of- 
fered, it is the greater!: affront ever was put upon me; I can; 
never, you know, receive them again." 

By this he was convinced. More feeble arguments would' 
indeed have Satisfied him, and he folded up the napkin with 
ail the articles, and gave them to an officer ; after which 
the tent was again cleared for confultation ; and, during this 
time, he had called his man of confidence, whom he was 
to fend with us, and instructed him properly. I faw plainly 
that I had gained the afcendant ; and, in the expectation of 
Ras Michael's Speedily coming to Gondar, he was as willing 



to be on his journey the one way, as I was the other. I had 
ordered my fervants and baggage to fet out on the road to 
Dingleber before me, fending Ay to Aylo's fervant along with 
them, leaving me only my horfe and a common Abyflinian 
fervant to follow them : all had been ready fince early in 
the morning, and they had fet out accordingly with very 
great alacrity. 

It was about one o'clock, or after it, when I was admitted 
toFafil: he received me with great complacency, and would 
have had me fit down on the fame cufhion with himfelf, 
which I declined. " Friend Yagoube, fays he, I am heartily 
forry that you did not meet me at Bure before I fet out; there 
I could have received you as I ought, but I have been tor- 
mented with a multitude of barbarous people, who have 
turned my head, and whom I am now about to difmifs. I go 
to Gondar in peace, and to keep peace there, for the king 
on this fide the Tacazze has no other friend than me ; 
PowuiTen and Guflio are both traitors, and fo Ras Michael 
knows them to be. I have nothing to return you for the 
prefent you have given me, for I did not expect to meet a 
man like you here in the fields ; but you will quickly be 
back ; we mail meet on better terms at Gondar ; the head 
of the Nile is near at hand ; a horfeman, exprefs, will arrive 
there in a day. I have given you a good man, well known 
in this country to be my fervant ; he will go to Geefh with 
you, and return you to a friend of Ayto Aylo's and mine, 
Shalaka Welled Amlac ; he has the dangerous part of the 
country wholly in his hands, and will carry you fafe to 
Gondar; my wife is at prefent in his houfe : fear nothing, 
I mall anfwer for your fafety ; When will you fet out ? to- 
morrow ?" 

i I replied 


I replied, with many thanks for his kindnefs, that I 
wifhed to proceed immediately, and that my fervants were 
already far off, on the way. You are going to difmifs thole 
wild people, I would with to be as clear of them as pof- 
fible ; I intend to travel long journies, till we part (as I un- 
derfland we fhall do) from the rout that they are taking. 

You are very much in the right, fays Fafil, it was only in 
the idea that you was hurt with that accurfed horfe that 
I would have wifhed you to ftay till to-morrow ; but throw 
off thefe bloody clothes, they are not decent, I mud give 
you new ones, you are my vaffal. I bowed. The king has 
granted you Geefh, where you are going, and I muft in*- 
veft you. A number of his fervants hurried me out ; Guebra 
Ehud, Welleta Michael, and the Fit-Auraris, attended me. I 
prefently threwoff my trowfers, and my two upper garments, 
and remained in my waiftcoat ; thefe were prefently re- 
placed by new ones, and I was brought back in a mi>- 
nute to FafiFs tent, with only a fine loofe muilin under gar- 
ment or cloth round me, which reached to my feet. Upon 
my coming back to the tent, Fafil took off the one that he 
had put on himfelf new in the morning, and put it about 
my moulders with his own hand, his fervants throwing an- 
other immediately over him, faying at the fame time to the 
people, " Bear witnefs, I give to you, Yagoube, the Agow 
Geefh, as fully and freely as the king has given it me." I 
bowed and kiffed his hand, as is cuftomary for feudatories, 
and he then pointed to me to fit down. 

" Hear w T hat I fay to you, continued Fafil ; I think it 
right for you to make the beft of your way now, for you 
will be the fooner back at Gondar. You need cot be alarmed 



at the wild people you fpeak of, who are going after you, tho' 
it is better to meet them coming this way, than when they 
are going to their homes ; they are commanded by Welleta 
Yafous, who is your friend, and is very grateful for the medi- 
cines you fent him at Gondar : he has not been able to fee you, 
being fo much bufied with thofe wild people ; but he loves 
you, and will take care of you, and you muft give me more of 
that phylic when we met at Gondar." I again bowed, and he 
continued, — " Hear me what I fay ; you fee thofe feven people 
(I never faw more thief-like fellows in my life), — thefe are 
all leaders and chiefs of the Galla — favages, if you pleafe ; 
they are all your brethren." I bowed. " You may go through 
their country as if it were your own, without a man hurting 
you : you will be foon related to them all ; for it is their 
cuftom that a flranger of diftinclion, like you, when he is 
their guefc, fleeps with the filler, daughter, or near relation 
of the principal men among them. I dare fay, fays he 
archly, you will not think the cuftoms of the Galla contain 
greater hardfhips than thofe of Amhara." I bowed, but 
thought to myfelf I mall not put them to the trial. He then 
jabbered fomething to them in Galla which I did not under- 
ftand. They all anfwered by the wildeft howl I ever heard, 
and {truck themfelves upon the breaft, apparently affenting. 
" When Ras Michael, continued he, came from the battle 
of Fagitta, the eyes of forty- four, brethren and relations of 
thefe people prefent, were pulled out at Gondar, the day af- 
ter he arrived, and they were expofed upon the banks 
of the river Angrab to ftarve, where moft, I believe, were 
.devoured by the hyasna ; you took three of them up to 
your houfe ; nourifhed, cloathed, protected, and kindly treat- 
ed them." " They are now in good health, faid I, and want 



nothing : the Iteghe will deliver them to you. The only 
other thing I have done to them was, I got them baptifed : 
I do not know if that will difpleafe them ; I did it as an 
additional protection to them, and to give them a title to 
the charity of the people of Gondar." " As for that, fays he, 
they don't care the leaft about baptifm ; it will neither do 
them good nor harm ; they don't trouble themielves about 
thefe matters ; give them meat and drink, and you will be 
very welcome to baptife them all from morning to night ; 
after fuch good care thefe Galla are all your brethren, 
they will die for you before they fee you hurt." He then faid 
fomething to them in Galla again, and they all gave ano* 
ther aiTent, and made a mew of killing my hand. 

They fat down ; and, Imuft own, if they entertained any 
good-will to me, it was not difcernible in their counte- 
nances. " Befides this, continued Fafil, you was very kind and 
courteous to my fervants while at Gondar, and faid many 
favourable things of me before the king ; you fent me a pre- 
fent alfo, and above all, when Joas my mailer's body was 
dug up from the church-yard of St Raphael, and all Gon- 
dar were afraid to fhew it the leaft refpec~t, dreading the 
vengeance of Ras Michael, you, a ftranger, who had never 
feen him, nor received benefit from him, at your own ex- 
pence paid that attention to his remains which would have 
better become many at Gondar, and me in particular, had 
I been within reach, or had intelligence of the matter : now, 
before all thefe men, all?: me any thing you have at heart, 
and, be it what it may, they know I cannot deny it you." He 
delivered this in a tone and gracefulnefs of manner, fuperior, 
I think, to any thing I had ever before feen, although the A- 
byilinians are all orators, as, indeed, are mod barbarians. 

Vol.IIT. 3 X " Why 


"Why then, faid I, by all thofe obligations you are pleafed to* 
mention, of which you have made a recital fo truly honour- 
able to me, I afk you the greateft favour that man can be- 
ftow upon me — fend me, as' conveniently as poffible, to 
the head of the Nile, and return me and my attendants 
in fafety, after having difpatched me quickly, and put 
me under no conftraint that may prevent me from fatisfy— 
ing my curiofity in my own way." "This, fays he, is nore- 
queft, I have granted it already ; befides,! owe it to the com- 
mands of the king, whofe fervant I am. Since, however, it 
is fo much at your heart, go in peace, , I will provide you 
with all neceffaries. If I am alive, and governor of Damot, 
as you are, we all know, a prudent and fenfible man, un- 
fettled as the Hate of the country is, nothing difagreeable: 
can befal you.. 

He then turned again to his feven chiefs, who all got 
up, himfelf and I, Guebra Ehud, Welleta Michael* and the 
Eit-Auraris ; we all flood round in a circle, and raifed the 
palm of our hands,, while he andhis Galla together repeat- 
ed a prayer about a minute long; the Galla feemingly with 
great devotion. Now, fays Fafil, go in peace, you are a Galla.; 
this is a curfe upon them, and their children,- their corn, 
prafs, and cattle, if ever they lift their hand againft you or 
yours, or do not defend you to the utmoft, if attacked by 
others, or endeavour to defeat any defign they may hear is 
intended againft you.'* Upon this I offered to kifs his hand 
before I took my leave, and we all. went to the door of the 
tent, where there was a very handfome grey horfe bridled 
and faddled. " Take this horfe, fays Fafil, as a prefent from 
me; it is not fo good as your own, but, depend upon it, it is 
not of the kind that, rafcal gave you in the morning ; it is 



the horfe which I rode upon yefterclay, when I came here 
to encamp; but do not mount it yourfelf, drive it before you 
faddled and bridled as it is ; no man of Maitfha will touch 
you when he fees that horfe ; it is the people of Maitfha 
whofe houfes Michael has burnt that you have to fear, and 
not your friends the Galla. 

I then took the moft humble and refpeclful leave of 
liim poflible, and alfo of my new-acquired brethren the 
Galla, praying inwardly I might never fee them again. I re- 
commended myfelf familiarly and affectionately to the re- 
membrance of Welle ta Michael, the Ras's nephew, as well 
as GuebraEhud; and turning to Fafil, according to the cuf- 
tom of the country to fuperiors, afked him leave to mount 
on horfeback before him, and was fpeedily out of fight. 
Shalaka Woldp (the name of my guide) did not fet out 
with me, being employed about fome affairs of his own, 
hut he prefently after followed, driving Fafil's horfe before 

g& " rt ' -"" VBg 

3X2 CHAP. 



&& «* ■ ■■ M. Hfl g 


Leave Bamba y and continue our yburney fouthward — Fall in with Fa*~ 
fit's Pagan Galla—JLncamp on the Kelti, 

AT Bamba begins a valley full of fmall hills and trees* 
all bruih-wood, none of them high enough for tim- 
ber. On the right hand of the valley the hills Hope gently 
up, the ground is firm, and grafs ihort like fheep pafture ;, 
the hills on the left are iteeper and more craggy, the low- 
er part of the valley had been cleared of wood, and fowri 
with different forts of grain, by the induftry of the inhabi- 
tants of the village of that name — induftry that had ferved 
them to very little purpofe, as the encampment of this 
wild army deftroyed in one night every veltige of culture 
they had beflowed upon it. 

Shalaka Woldo was not, to all appearance, a man to pro* 
Sect a granger in the middle of a retreating army, difband- 



ed as this was, and returning to very difl-ant countries, per- 
haps never to be afiernbled again; yet this man was cho- 
fen by one that perfectly knew he was above all others ca- 
pable of the truft he had repofed in him ; he was about 55 
years of age, was by birth an Agow, and had ferved Fafil's 
father from his infancy, when Kafmau Efhte fucceedeci to 
the government of Damot, upon old Fafil's death * ; he had 
been his fervant likewife, as had young Fafd, fo they were 
both atone time fellow-domeltics of Kafmati Efhte. 

When Fafd had flain this nobleman, and fucceeded to 
his father's government of Damot, Shalaka Woldo was 
taken into his fervice as an old fervant of his father ; it 
feemed his merit had not entitled him to further advance- 
ment ; he had no covering on his head, except long, bufhy, 
black hair, which jufl began to be mingled with grey, but 
no beard, the defect of all his countrymen. He had a cot- 
ton cloth thrown about his moulders in many different 
forms, occafionally as his fancy fuggefled to -him 1 ; but, un- 
lefs at night, laid it generally upon one of the mules, and 
walked himfelf, his body naked, his moulders only covered 
with a goat's fkin in form of what the women call a tippet ; 
he had alfo a pair of coarfe cotton trowfers that reached to 
the middle of his thigh, and thefe were -fattened at the 
waiitband by a coarfe cotton fa (h, or girdle, which went fix: 
or feven times about his waift, and in which he ftuck a 
crooked knife, the blade about ten inches long, and three 
inches where broadeft, which was the only weapon he wore, 
and ferved him to cut his meat, rather than for any wea- 

v. hi, 3 x pom 

5"Theperfon here calkd aid Fafil, is Kafmati Wajragna, in the timer of Yafpus EI. 


pon of offence or defence ; for a man of confequence, as he 
was, could not fuppofe a poffibility of danger while he was 
in the territory of his matter. Sometimes he had a long 
pipe in his hand, being a great fmoker ; at other times, a 
flick of about three feet long, fomething thicker than one's 
thumb, with which he dealt about him very liberally, either 
to man, woman, or bead, upon the flighted provocation ; he 
was bare-legged and footed, and without any mule, but kept 
up with us eafily at whatever pace we went. With all this 
he was exceedingly fagacious and cunning, and feemed to 
penetrate the meaning of our difcourfe, though fpoke in a 
language of which he did not underftand a fyllable. 

As for Shalaka Welled Amlac, he was a man whom I 
mall hereafter mention as having been recommended to 
me by Ayto Aylo foon after my coming to Gondar. I did 
not, however, choofe to let Fanl know of this connection, 
for fear he might lead him to fome gainful impoiition for 
his own account in the courfe of my journey through 

At a quarter paft two o'clock of the 31ft of October we 
halted for a little on the banks of the river Chergue, a 
fmall and not very rapid ftream, which coming from the 
fouth-weft, runs N. E. and lofes itfelf in the lake Tzana. At 
three o'clock in the afternoon we palled the fmall river of 
Dingleber, and in a quarter of an hour after came to a vil- 
lage of that name fituated upon the top of a rock, which we 
afcended ; here the road comes clofe to the end of the lake, 
and between it and the rock is a very narrow pafs through 
which all proviiions from the Agows and Maitfha mufl go ; 
when, therefore, there is any disturbance in the fouth part 
4 of 



of the kingdom, this pafs is always occupied to reduce Gon- 
darto famine. 

The village itfelf belongs to •the office of Betwudet, and, 
fince that office has been difcontinued, it makes part of the 
revenue of the Ras ; the language here is Falafha, though 
only ufed now by the Jews who go by that name : it was 
anciently the language of all the province of Dembea, which 
has here its fouthern^ boundary. The air of Dinglebcr is 
excellent, and the profpect one of the raoft beautiful in 
Abyflinia ; on the one fide you have a diftincl: view of the 
lake Tzana and all its rflands ;. on the north, the peninfula 
of Gorgora, the former refidence of the Jefuits, where too are 
the ruins of the king's palace. On the north of the lake 
you have a diflant profpecl of Dara, and of the Nile cro fling 
that lake, preferving diftinclly the tract of its ftream un- 
mixed with. the reft of the water, and iffuing out to form 
what is called the fecond cataract at Alata, all places fixed 
in our mind by the memory of former diflreiTes. On the 
fouttueaft,. we have a diflant view of the flat country of 
Maitfha, for the moft part covered with thick trees, and black 
like a forefl ; farther on the territory of Sacala, one of the 
diftricts of the Agows, near which are the fountains- of the 
Nile, the object of all my wifhes ; and clofe behind this, the 
high mountains of Amid. Amid, which furrounded them 
in two femicircles like a. new moon, or amphitheatre, and 
feem by their fhape to deferve the name of mountains of 
the moon, fuch as was given by antiquity to mountains*. 
in the neighbourhood of which the Nile was fuppofed to» 



At Dingleber I overtook my fervants, who were difpofed 
to flop there for that night. They had been very much op- 
preiTed by troops of wild Galla, who never having feen 
white men, could not refrain indulging a troublefome cu- 
riofity, without indeed doing any harm, or fhewing any 
figns of infolence ; this, however, did not hinder my fer- 
vants from being terrified, as neither I nor any protector 
was near them. I refolved to avoid the like inconvenience, 
by proceeding further, as I knew the next day the main 
body of thefe favages would be up with us at Dingleber ; 
and I rather wifhed to be at the point where our two roads 
feparated, than pafs a whole day in fuch company. It is true, 
I was under no fort of apprehenfion, for I perceived FafiTs 
horfe driven before us commanded all neceflary refpect, 
and Zor Woldo had no occafion to exert himfelf at all. 

At four o'clock in the afternoon we left Dingleber, and 
at feven pafTed a great river ; at eight in the evening we 
crofled two inconfiderable ftreams, and came to a collection 
of fmall villages, called Degwafla : here we entered into fome 
narrow defiles between mountains, covered to the very top 
with herbage, and brufhwood ; it was a delightful night, 
and we were refolved to make the moft of it. On every fide 
of us we heard Guinea fowls, of which the woods here are 
full. At half pail nine we halted a little, jufl leaving the 
narrow pafifes, and entering upon the plain. The diflrict is 
called Sankraber. I found myfelf exceedingly fatigued, and 
flept a good half hour upon the ground. 

At half pad ten we began our journey anew, pafling im- 
mediately the fmall village of Wainadega, famous for the 
decifive battle fought between king Claudius and the Moor 
4 Gragne, 


Gragne, where the latter was flain, and an end, for a time, 
put to the moft dilaltrous war that ever Abyfiinia was en- 
gaged in. At half after eleven we palled Guanguera on our 
left hand ; it is a collection of many villages, at about ten 
miles diftance ; and at mid-night we had DegwalTa on our 
right, and Guanguera on our left. At half pail twelve we 
again refted at the fide of a fmall river, of which I know not 
the name: we were now in the flat country of Maitlha, de- 
fending very gently fouthward. At three quarters pad one 
in the morning of the nrft of November I alighted at two 
fmall villages, whofe huts were but jufl nnifhed, about 500 
yards from the two trees that were in the front of our army, 
when, after palling the Nile at that dangerous ford near the 
Jemma, we offered Fafil battle at Limjour, which was the 
place we were now again come to, but in better health and 
fpirits than before. 

Shalaka Woldo, upon my obferving to him that I was 
happy to fee the people again railing their houfes which. 
Michael had deftroyed, faid, with a barbarous kind of fmile, 
" Aye, and fo am I too ; for if thofe two villages had not been 
built, we mould have had no fire- wood at Kelti to-night ;" by 
which he meant, that the Galla, who were behind him, and 
whofe next flation was the banks of the river Kelti, would, 
pull down all the new-built houfes, in order to carry fire- 
wood along with them ; and indeed we faw traces of fome 
houfes which had been newly built, and flill as newly de- 
ftroyed, the wood of which, partly kindled, and partly lying 
on the ground, ferved us for our fire that night at Kelti. I 
found myfelf exceedingly indifpofed, and could fcarcely 
force on a couple of hours further, when we came to the 

Vol,. IIT, 3 Y banks. 


banks of the river Kelti, at a quarter after fix in the morn- 

The Kelti here is a large river; at the ford it was four feet 
deep, though now the dry feafon : it is here called -the Kel- 
ti Brand, becaufe fome miles higher up it is joined by a con- 
siderable river called the Branti, which rifes to the weftward 
in the high lands of the Agow's Ouaquera, and both thefe 
ilrcams, when united, fall into the Nile a little below. The 
banks of this river are exceedingly deep and dangerous, 
the earth loole, falling in great lumps down into the ftream; 
it is a red bole of a foapy quality; the bottom, too, and the 
afcent on the other fide are foft ; the water, though trou- 
bled and muddy, is fweet and well - tailed. We faw 
lights and fires on the oppofite bank, and had begun 
to unloofe the tent, when we received a menage by two 
Galla on foot, armed with lances and fhields, that we 
mould not encamp there, as our horfes and mules would 
probably be itolen, but defiring us to pafs the river forth- 
with, and pitch our tent among them. 

I asked Shalaka Woldo who thefe were ? He faid, they 
were an advanced poft of Welleta Yafous, who had takea 
up that ground for the head-quarters to-morrow ; that they 
were all Galla, under a famous partifan, a robber, called the 
Jumper ; and, by the bye, he added, fpeaking foftly in my 
ear, that there was not a greater thief or murderer in all 
the country of the Galla. 1 paid him my compliments up- 
on the judicious choice he had made of a companion and 
a protector for us ; to which he anfwered, laughing, 
The better^ the better ; you fhall fee how it is the bet- 
ter. As it was neceffary to load the mules again, the tent 



and baggage having been taken off before we could pafs 
the river, we all fet to work with very ill will, being excef- 
fively fatigued with a long journey and want of fleep. No 
■foonerhad ShalakaWoldo perceived this, than by two whittles 
upon his fingers, and a yell, he brought above fifty people to 
our ailiftance ; the baggage was palled in one moment, and 
in another my two tents were pitched ; which is a work thefe 
people are very dexterous at, and well acquaintedwith. 

As foon as we had encamped, we found that the reafon 
we were not left' alone on the other fide of the river was, 
that thofe of the Galla who returned pulled down all the 
villages for fire-wood, and plundered the houfe% though 
they were Galla like themfelves, and of Fafil's party ; and 
thefe again, driven from their houfes, robbed of all they 
had except their lance and fhield, followed the flragglers, 
and wreaked their vengenance upon thofe whom they 
could furprife, or were not too numerous for them. 

I was fcarcely laid down to fleep, when a fervant, and 
^with him Zor Woldo, were fent to me from the Jumper : 
they brought .us a bull of an enormous fize, but not very 
fat ; though we were all pretty keen in point of appetite, 
the flock of provifion fent us feemed to defy our utmofl 
-endeavours, but we were fure of affiflants enough ; fo the 
•bull was immediately killed and fkinned. In the mean 
time, I took a fhort, but very refrefliing ileep, being refol- 
ded to refume my journey with the fame diligence till we 
-had got to the point where we niight feparate from the ar- 
my, which is at a place called Roo, where a large market is 
kept by the Agows, in whofe country it is, and reforted 
to by all the neighbouring inhabitants. 

3 Y 2 About 



About ten o'clock I waited upon our commander in 
chief the Jumper; he feemed very much embarraikd at 
the vifit, was quite naked, having only a towel about his 
loins, and had been warning himfelf in the Kelti, to very 1 le 
purpofe as I thought, for he was then rubbing his arm; and 
body over with melted tallow ; his hair had been abun- 
dantly anointed before, and a man was then finiming his 
head-drefs by plaiting it with fome of the long and fmr.ll 
guts of an ox, which I did not perceive had ever been clean- 
ed ; and he had already put about his neck two rounds of 
the fame, in the manner of a necklace, or rather a fohtaire, 
one end of them hanging down to the pic of his flomach, 
Our converfation was neither long nor interefting ; I was 
overcome with the difagreeable fmell of blood and carrion : 
he did not underftand one word of Amharic, Geez, or any 
other language but Galla; he afkedno queflions, and {hew- 
ed no fort of curiofity. Woldo, on the other hand, informed 
himfelf from him of every thing he wanted to know. 

This Jumper was tall and lean, very fharp faced, with a 
long nofe, fmall eyes and prodigious large ears ; he never 
looked you in the face, but was rolling his eyes conftantly 
round and round, and never fixing them upon any thing : 
lie refembled very much a lean keen greyhound ; there was 
no lternnefs nor command in his countenance, but a cer- 
tain look that feemed to exprefs a vacancy of mind, like 
that of an idiot. With this he was allowed on all hands 
to be the molt cruel, mercilefs murderer and fpoiler of all 
the Galla. He was very active on horfeback, and very in- 
different about food or fleep. I made him a fmall prefent, 
which he took with great indifference ; only told Woldo, 
that if. I meant it to pay for the bull he had fent me, m 



was needleis, for it was given me by Faid's order, and cofl 
him nothing. 

There we learned, that on our way we mould meet a 
party of about 200 men, who had been lent by Faiil to take 
pofleilion of a poll before we came to Roo, left, having in* 
telligence of us, fome of the Maitfha people, whofe houfes 
had been deftroyed, might follow us when we were parted 
from the army. The jumper told us that his brother had the 
command of that party, that they were all Galla of Fafil's 
own nation, under his brother, who was called the lamb, and 
who was juft fuch a murderer and robber as himielf. I 
was juft riling to go out of his tent when Zor Woldo, who 
was fitting behind me, informed me, there were news 
from Gondar. I allied him how he knew thai ? He faid, he 
heard the people fay fo from without. A fudden trepida- 
tion now feized me, as I was afraid of fome new trick, or 
obflacle, which might impede the journey, the accompliih- 
ment of which I fo much longed for. 

Upon going towards my tent I was met by Strates, and 
another Greek, with a fervant of Ozoro Either, with wit m 
I was well acquainted : they had left Fafil at Bamba, whole 
wild Galla were not yet all difmilTed, and he himfelf feemed 
not determined whether he fhould go to Gondar or not. 
They told me that all was in confufion at Gondar; that Gufho 
of Amhara, and PowufFen of Begemder, had been there, and 
brought fome trifle of money, for a mere pretence, to that 
wretch Socinios, whom the Iteghe unadvifedly had confent- 
ed to make king; having called Fafil, Guflio, and PowufFen 
together to reconcile them, that, united, they might attack. 
Michael. The aueen herfelf had been reconciled to Socinios, 



who led the life of a drunkard, a ruffian, and a profligate, 
but her chief fears were that Michael mould return, the 
probability of which increafed daily. 

As for Fafil, he had hitherto anfwered the queen's invi- 
tation to Gondar evafively, fometimes by complaining that 
Gufho and Powuflen had come to Gondar before him, and 
that Gufho was made Ras ; at other times fending peremp- 
torily to them to leave Gondar, and return to their provin- 
ces, or he would burn the town about their ears : and the 
laft melTage, the day before they left the capital was, that 
he was then on his march towards Gondar, and confented 
to Gufho and PowuiTen's flaying ; but as thefe two chiefs 
had great reafon to fufpecl; that he was in correfpondence 
with the king and Ras Michael in Tigre, as it was known 
to them that he had fomented difturbances both in Begem- 
der and Amhara, they had gone with Socinios to Kofcam, 
without drums beating, or any fort of parade whatever, and, 
after taking leave, had the next day fet out to their refpec- 
tive provinces. Upon another meiTage from Fafil, they had 
-agreed to return to Gondar, and leave their army at Emfras; 
but their troops, finding themfelves fo near, had difbanded, 
and returned to their homes, leaving Gufho and PowmTen at- 
tended only by their houfehold fervants, who, finding them- 
felves in danger, and that Fafil was actually advancing fe- 
cretly, left Gondar and feparated. 

Ozoro Esther's fervant (Guebra Mariam) likewife told 
me, that Michael, as he believed, waited for nothing but 
forne arrangement with Fafil, for that he had no enemy re- 
maining on the eaft of the Tacazze; that his intention was 
■to return by the way of Lafta, not willing to rifk the many 
i difficult 


difficult paflages in Woggora, a country full of hardy troops, 
inveterate enemies to the Ras, and where Ayto Tesfos of 
Samen had occupied all the defiles, and was refolved to dis- 
pute every pod with him ; it was well known, however, that 
the panes through the mountain of Lafta, were more dan- 
gerous and difficult than thofe of Woggora and Lamalmon ; 
in a word, Guigarr, chief of the clan of Lafta (called Waag) 
poiTefTed a ftrong-hold in thofe mountains, where many an 
Abyffinian army had perifhed, and where it was abfolutely 
impoffible to proceed but with the confent and connivance of 
that clan, or tribe ; and tho' this Guigarr had been Michael's 
enemy ever iince the war of Mariam Barea, peace was now 
concluded between them, the Ras having fetGuigarr's bro- 
ther at liberty, who had been fome time a prifoner, and 
was taken in an incurfion which the people of Waag had 
made into Tigre : excepting this pafs in the mountains of 
Lafta, all the ground was even from thence to Tigre ; the 
territory of Gouliou^ indeed, through which the army was 
to march for four days, was very ill-provided with water; 
it was inhabited by Galla, whom Michael had fuffered to 
fettle there, to he as a barrier between Tigre, Lafta, and Be- 
gemder ; but this clan was perfectly at his command, fo all 
was eafy and fecure if. Guigarr. only remained faithful, 

After giving time to Guebra Mariam to refrefh himfelf, 
L took him alone into the tent to hear Ozoro Efther's mef- 
fage : flie had been, ailing after my leaving Gondar, had 
had a flow fever, which very much affected her nerves, and 
was now alarmed at a fymptom which- was but the effect of 
weaknefs, flartling, or involuntary contraction of her legs 
and arms, or a kind of convulfion, which frequently a- 
wakened her. out of her flcep. This Ihe thought was a fure 



forerunner of death; and adjured me, by every claim of 
friendfhip that me had upon me, to return ere it would be 
too late, She, moreover, pledged herfelf that her nephew, 
Aylo of Gojam, fhould immediately carry me to the head 
of the Nile the moment fhe was recovered. Upon clofer inter- 
rogation, I found that, being abandoned as it were entirely 
to Fafii's difcretion, by the retreat of Gufho and PowufTen her 
friends, and the abfence of her hufband Ras Michael, fhe 
dreaded falling into the hands of Fafil, who, (lie well knew, 
was acquainted how active me had been in inftigating Mi- 
chael to avenge the blood of her late hufband Mariam Barea, 
by the effufion of that of every Galla unfortunate enough 
to fall into his hands. Befides, the part her mother the 
Iteghe had acted in fettling that wretch Socinios upon the 
throne, gave her the very bell-founded apprehenfions that 
Michael's refentment would have no bounds ; and he had de- 
clared fo by frequent meffages, (the laft a very brutal one) 
that he would hang Socinios, and her mother the Iteghe, with 
their heads downmoft, upon the fame tree, before the king's 
houfe, the very day that he entered Gondar. It was well 
known, befides, to his wife Ozoro Either, and to the whole 
kingdom, that his performance upon thefe occalions never 
fell fhort of his threatnings. From all this, and a great fen- 
fibility of mind, Ozoro Eflher, worn out by her late ficknefs, 
and by want of fleep, exercife, and nourifhment, had fallen 
into a very dangerous fituation, and of a very difficult cure, 
even though the caufe was perfectly known. 

I shall not trouble the reader with what palled in my 

mind at this juncture. I do believe the purfuit I was then 

engaged in was the only one which I would not have in- 

flantly abandoned upon fuch a fummons. Befides the fin- 

3 cere 


cere attachment I had myfelf to her, as one of the moil 
lovely and amiable women in the world ; fhe was the mo- 
ther of my moll intimate friend Ayto Confu, and the wife of 
Ras Michael, over whom fhe had every day more and more 
influence, and I had long fufpected that the young king, 
my conflant benefactor, had contracted a decided tender- 
nefs for her. To have returned, would have beea nothing 
had the danger or trouble been much greater ; but it was 
ohvioufly impofnble another opportunity mould offer : the 
country was now on the point of being plunged into a de- 
gree of diforder greater than that which had occafioned 
the retreat of the king to Tigre. I therefore refolved to run 
the rifle of continuing for a time under the imputation of 
the fouler! and bafefl of all . fins, that of ingratitude to 
r :::y benefactors ; and I am confident, had it been the will 
of heaven that I had died in. that journey, the confideration 
c ?ny lying with apparent reafon under that imputation 
w aid have been one of the moll bitter reflections of my 
lait moments. Having, therefore, taken my refolution, I 
acquainted Guebra Mariana that an immediate return was 
abfolutely impoffible; but that I mould endeavour, with 
the utmofl of my power, to make a fpeedy one ; in the 
mean time, I fen t word to the Greek priefl (who was a fort 
of phyfician) how he was to proceed in the interim during 
my ab fence. 

We had now left Maitfha by cro fling the river Kelti. I 
Ihall only add, to what I have' already faid, that it is a very 
fruitful country, but fo flat that the water with difficulty 
runs off after the tropical rains, and this occafions its being 
for feveral months unhealthy. Several tribes ofGalla, from 
the fouth of the Nile, were fettled here by Yafous the Great, 

Vol. Ill, 3 Z and 


and his fon David, as a defence for the rich countries of 
the Agows, Damot, Gojam, and Dembea, againft the defol- 
iations and inroads of the wildGalla their countrymen, from 
whom they had revolted ; they confifl of ninety- nine fami- 
lies ; and it is a common faying among them,, that the de- 
vil holds the hundreth part for his own family, as there is 
nowhere elfe to be found a family of men equal to any of 
the ninety-nine. It has been fometimes connected with 
Gojam, oftener with Damot and the Agows, .who were at 
this time under the .government of FafiL. 

The houfes in Maitilia are of a very fihgular conftruG-- 
tion : the fifft proprietor has a fields which he divides into 
three or four, as he pleafes, (fuppofe four) by two hedges 
made of -the* thorny branches of the acacia-tree. . In the 
corner, or interfeclion of the two hedges, he begins his low 
hut, and occupies as much of the angle as he pleafes. Three 
other brothers, perhaps,oecupy each of the three other angles; 
behind thefe their children place -their houfe, and inclofethe 
end of their father's by another, which they make generally 
morter than the firfT, becaufe broader. After they have raifect i 
as many houfes as they pleafe, they furrountl the whole with * 
a thick and almoft impenetrable abbatis, or thorny hedge, , 
and all the family are under one roof,, ready to afliit each ■. 
other on the nrfV alarm ;, for they have nothing to do but 
every man to look out at his own door, and they are clofe in i 
a body together, facing every point that danger can pofli- 
bly come from. They arej however, fpeedily deftroyed by. 
a flronger enemy, as we eafily found, for we had only to fet ' 
the dry hedge, and the canes that grew round it, on fire, , 
which communicated at once to the houfes, chiefly conniv- 
ing of dry ftraw. Such is their terror of the fmall-pox^ , 

which j 


which comes here feldom more frequently than once in fif- 
teen or twenty years; that when one of thefe houfes is taint- 
ed with the difeafe, their neighbours, who know it will 
infect the whole colony, furround it in the night, and 
fet fire to it, which is confumed in a minute, whilft 
the unfortunate people belonging to it (who would endea- 
vour to efcape) are unmercifully thruft back, with lan- 
ces and forks into the flames by the hands of their own 
neighbours and relations, without an inftance of one ever 
being fuffered to furvive. This to us will appear a barba- 
rity fcarcely credible : it would be quite otherwife if we 
faw the fituation of the country under that dreadful vifita- 
tionof the fmall-pox ; the plague has nothing in it fo ter- 

The river Kelti has excellent nfh, though the Abymnians 
care not for food of this kind ; the better people eat fome 
fpecies in the time of Lent, but the generality of the com- 
mon fort are deterred bypaxTages of icripture, and diftinc- 
tions in the Mofaic law, concerning fuch animals as are 
clean and unclean, ill undcrftood,; they are, befides, exceed- 
ingly lazy, and know nothing of nets ; neither have they 
the ingenuity we fee in other favages of making hooks or 
lines : in all the time I flaid, I never faw one Abyffinian 
fifher engaged in the employment in any river or lake. 

At Kelti begins the territory of Aroofii : it is in fact the 
fouthmofl divifion of Maitfha, on the weft-fide of the Nile : 
it is not inhabited, however, by Galla, but by Abyflini- 
ans, a kindred of the Agow. When therefore we pafTed 
the river Kelti, we entered into the territory of Arociii, 
bounded on the north by that river, as it is on the fouth 

3 2 2 by 


by the Affar, the Aroofli running through the midft of that 

My anxiety to lofe no time in this journey had determi- 
ned me to fet out this afternoon. I had for this purpofe dif- 
patched Ozoro Either' s fervant, but when we began to ftrike 
our tents, we were told neither beaft nor man was capable 
of going farther that day ; in a word, the forced march that 
we had made of 29 miles without reft, and with but little 
food, had quite jaded our mules ; our men, too, who carried 
the quadrant, declared, that, without a night's- reft, they could 
proceed no farther ; we were then obliged to make a virtue 
of neceffity, and to confefs, that, fince we could go no farther,, 
we were in the nioft convenient halting place poflible, ha- 
ving plenty of both food and water, and as to protection, we 
had every reafon to be fatisfied that we were mafters of the 
country in which we were encamped. It was generally 
agreed therefore to relax that day. I fet alide an hour to put 
thefe memoirs in order, and then joined our fervants, who, 
on fuch occafions, are always our companions, and who 
had provided a fmall horn full of fpirits, and a jar full of 
beer, or bouza, by offering fome trifling prefent to our com- 
mandant the Jumper, who was much more tenacious of his 
drink than his meat: we fwam and dabbled with great delight 
in the Kelci, where are neither crocodiles nor gomari ; flept 
a little afterwards, and retired into the tent to a fupper, which 
would- have been a chearful one could I have forgot that 
Ozoro Efther was fuffering. 

We now began to difcufs the motive that had induced; 
our friend Strates again to tempt the danger of the ways.. 
This lingular fellow, as we learned from Guebra Mariam, 



as well as from his own confeflion, repented of his rcfolution 
as foon as we were gone, and had determined on foot to fol- 
low us, when he heard of this opportunity of Ozoro Efther's 
fervant being fent on a mefTage, and that prince fs was fo 
well pleafed with his anxiety that ihe gave him a mule that 
lie might not retard her fervant. 

This Greek had known Fafil intimately, both when he 
was a private man in Kafmati Efhte's time, and afterwards, 
when he was governor of Damot, for he was a fervant in 
the palace when Joas was king, as all the Greeks were; had 
a company of fufileers, and one or two other fmall appoint- 
ments, all of which were taken from him, and from moll of 
the other Greeks, upon the death of the dwarf, who, I be- 
fore mentioned, was fhot on the fide of Ras Michael by an 
unknown hand upon his firft arrival at Gondar. Fie now 
lived upon the charity of the queen- mother, and what he 
picked up by his buffoonery among the great men at court, 
We found that in Shalaka Woldo we had got a man of more 
underftanding than our friend Strates, but much about his 
equal in mimicry and buffoonery. 

.■^ttggg ^ . ^-ux& q sp 

■«. iii. 3 z 'CHAP. 




Continue our Journey — Fall in with a Party of Galla — Prove our 
Friends — Pafs the Nile — Arrive at Goutto, and vifit thcjirft Cataracl. 

lN the fecond of November, at feven in the morning we 
purfued our journey in a direction fouthward, and 
palled the church of Bolkon Abbo; ever memorable to us as 
being the ftation of Fafd in May, when he intended to cut 
us off after our pafTage of the Nile. This brought on a con- 
verfation with our guide Woldo, who had been prefent with 
Fafil at his camp behind this church, and afterwards when 
Michael offered him battle at Limjour, he was there attend- 
ing his mailer.. He faid, that the army of "Welleta Yafous 
was above 12,000 ftrong; that they were intending to attack 
the king at the ford, and had no doubt of doing it fuccefs- 
fully, as they imagined the King and Ras Michael, with part 
of both horfe and foot, would pafs early, but the reft with dif- 
ficulty and danger; it was at that inftant Welleta Yafous was 
to fall upon thofe that remained with Kefla Yafous, on the 
other fide of the Nile, in that confufion in which they necef-. 



farily muft be. Fafil then, with above 3000 horfe, and a 
large body of foot, was ready to inciofe both Ras Michael 
and the King, and to have taken them prifoners ; nothing 
could fall out more exactly, as it was planned* than this did; 
the king's black horfe, and the other horfe of his houfehold* 
had taken poflemon of the ford, till the King, the Ras, and 
the greateft part of the Tigre mufqueteers, under Guebra 
Mafcal, had paired* 

On the other hand, Kefla Yafous; who had the charge of 
the rear, and the pafling the mules, tents, and baggage, find- 
ing fo many ftragglers conftantly coming in, had determin- 
ed to wait on that fide till day-light : this was the moment 
that would have decided the fate of our army; ail was fa- 
tigue and defpondency; but Welleta Yafous having lin- 
gered with the army of" execution, and in the mean time 
the priefts having been examined, and the fpies detected, 
the moment Kefla Yafous began his march to Delakus, the 
favourable inftant was loft to Fafil, and all that followed 
was extremely dangerous to him ;.for, before Welleta > Ya»- 
fous arrived, Kefla Yafous had paflfed the Nile, .and was 
ftrongly polled with his mufquetry, fo that Welleta Yafous 
dtirft not approach him; and this gave Kefla Yafous an op- 
portunity of detaching.the bell or freflieft of his troops to 
reinforce Michael, whom Fafil found already an overmatch 
for him at Limjour, when he was forced < to retreat before 
the king, wrho very willingly offered him battle : add to this^ 
that Welleta Yafous was not acquainted how near this junc- 
tion of Kefla Yafous with Ras Michael might be,, nor where 
Eafil was,- or whether or not he had been beaten. Woldo 
pretended to know nothing of the fpy whom we had left 
hanging on the tree at the ford. when Kefla Yafous march- - 


o -■ 



ed; but he laid all the blame upon the priefts, of whofe 
information he was perfectly inflructed. 

At three quarters after ten in the morning we patted 
the fmall river Arooffi, which either gives its name to, or 
receives it from the diftrict through which it pailes : it 
falls into the Nile about four miles below ; is a clear, fmall, 
brifk ftream ; its banks covered with verdure not to be de- 
• fcribed. At half an hour before noon we came to Roo ; it is 
a level fpace, fhaded round with trees in a fmall plain, 
where the neighbouring people of Goutto, Agow, and 
Maitfha hold a market for hides, honey, butter, and all 
kinds of cattle. Gold too is brought by the Agows from 
the neighbouring Shangalla ; all the markets in Abyffinia 
are held in fuch places as this in the open fields, and un- 
der the made of trees ; every body, while he is there, is fafe 
under the protection of the government where that mar- 
ket is kept, and no feuds or private animofities muft be re- 
fented there ; but they that have enemies muft take care of 
themfelves in coming and going^ for then they are at their 
own riik. 

In the dry bed of a river, at the foot of a fmall wood 
before you afcend the market-place at Roo, we found the 
'Lamb, our friend the Jumper s brother, concealed very much 
like a thief in a hole, where we might eafily have palled 
him unnoticed ; we gave him fome tobacco, of which he 
was very fond, and a few trifles. We afked him what ques- 
tions we pleafed about the roads, which he anfwered plain- 
ly, fhortly, and difcreetly ; he afhired us no Maitfha peo- 
ple had paffed, not even to the market, and this we found 
afterwards was ftrictly true ; for fuch as had intelligence 
4 that 


that he and his party were on that road, did not venture 
-from home with their goods, fo that the day before, which 
had been that of the market, no one chofe to run the rifk 
of attending it. 

Woldo was very eloquent in praife of this officer the 
Lamb ; he faid he had a great deal more humanity than his 
brother, and when he made an inroad into Gojam, or any 
part of Abyflinia, he never murdered any women, not even 
thofe that were with child ; a contrary cuftom it feems pre- 
vailing among all the Galla. I congratulated him upon 
this great inftance of his humanity, which he took very 
gravely, as if really intended; he told me that it was he 
that attacked Michael's horfe at Limjour ; and added, that, 
had it been any other, Ay to Welleta Michael's life would 
not have been fpared when he was taken prifoner. That 
want of curiolity, inattention, and abfolute indifference for 
new objects, which was remarkable in the Jumper, was 
-very plainly difcernible in this chieftain likewife, and feems 
to be a cha.racleriftic of the nation. 

I asked Woldo what became of thofe 44 Galla who had 
their eyes pulled out, after the battle of Fagitta, by Michael, 
on his return to Gondar. Not one of them, faid he, ever 
came into his own country. It was reported the hycena ate 
them upon the Angrab, where they were turned out to 
flarve. I laved three of them, faid I. Yes, anfwered he, and 
others might have been faved too: and then added, in a low 
voice, the hyaenas eating them at the Angrab was a ftory 
contrived for the Galla ; but we that are Fafil's fervants 
know they were made away with by his order in Maitfha 
and the Agow country, that none of them might be feen in 

Vol. Iil. 4 A their 


their own provinces to terrify the reft of their clans by the 
mangled appearance they then bore ; for this was Ras Mi- 
chael's intention in disfiguring them, and yet leaving 
them alive ; to prevent therefore the fucccfs of this fcheme, 
Fafil put them to death in their way before they reached 
their own country. I confefs I was ftruck at the finefle 
which completed Waragna Fafil's character in my mind. 
What, faid I, kill his own people taken prifoners whilil 
fighting for him, merely becaufe their enemies had cruel- 
ly deprived them of their fight ! indeed,Woldo, that is 
not credible. O ho, fays he, but it is true; your Galla 
are not like other men, they do not talk about what is 
cruel and what is not; they do jufl what is for their 
own good, what is reafonable, and think no more of 
the matter. Ras Michael, fays he, would make an excellent 
Galla ; and do not you believe that he would do any cruel 
action which my mailer Fafil would not perpetrate on the 
fame provocation, and to anfwer the fame purpofe ? 

It now occurred to me why the three Galla, whom I had 
maintained at Gondar, had conftantly refufed to return in- 
to their own country with the many fafe opportunities 
which at times had prefented to them, efpecially fince 
the king's retreat to Tigre;. neither had I obferved any de- 
fire in Fafil's fervants, who occafionally came to Gondar, 
of helping to reftore thefe unfortunate men to their coun- 
try, becaufe they knew the fate that awaited them. 

Although the Lamb, and the other Galla his foldiers, paid 
very little attention, as I have faid, to us, it was remarkable 
to fee the refpect they mewed Fafil's horfe ; the greateft 
part of them, one by one, gave him handfuls of barley, and 



the Lamb himfelf had a long and ferious converfation with 
him; Woldo told me it was all fpent in regretting the horfe's 
ill-fortune, and Fahl's cruelty, in having beftowed him up- 
on a white man, who would not feed him, or ever let him 
return to Bizamo. Bizamo is a country of Galla fouth of 
the Nile, after it makes its fouthmoft turn, and has fur- 
rounded the kingdom of Gojam. I was better pleafed with 
this genuine mark of kindnefs to the horfe, than all the 
proofs of humanity Woldo had attributed to his chieftain 
for not frequently putting to death pregnant women. When 
I remarked this, Bad men ! bad men! all of them, fays Wol- 
do ; but your Ras Michael will be among them one of thefe 
days, and pull all their eyes out again; and fo much the better* 

At Roo we left the direct road which leads to Bure, the 
refidence of the governor of Damot, towards which place 
the route of the army was directed; fo 1 took leave, as I hoped, 
for ever of my brethren the Galla, but ftill continued to 
drive the horfe before me. We turned our face now directly 
upon the fountains of the Nile, which lay S. E. by S. ac- 
cording to the compafs. At a quarter before noon we faw 
the high fharp-pointed mountain of Temhua, Handing 
fingle in the form of a cone, at about 18 miles diftance, and 
behind this the mountain of Banja, the place where Fafil 
almoft exterminated the Agows in a battle foon after his 
return to Bure, and to revenge which the king's laft fatal 
campaign was undertaken in Maitfha, terminated by his 
retreat to Tigre. 

Here Strates,whilft amufing himfelf in the wood in fearch 
of new birds and beafts for our collection of natural hif- 
tory, fired his gun at one of the former, diftinguifhed by 

4 A z the 


the beauty and variety of its plumage. I ftopt to make »' 
rough fketch of it,, which might be finifhed at more leifure r 
this was fcarcely done, and we again moving forwards on> 
our journey, when we heard a confufion of Ihrill, barbarous ; 
cries, and prefently faw a number of horfemen pouring 
down upon us, with their lances lifted up in a poflure* 
ready to attack us immediately. The ground was woody 
and uneven, fo they could not make the fpeed they feemed 
to defire, and we had juft time to put ourfelves upon our 
defence with our firelocks, mufquets, and blunderbufles in 
our hands, behind our baggage. WolHo ran feveral paces 
towards them, knowing them by the cry to be friends, even 
before he had feen them, which was, Haul ali, Fafil ali — 
there is none but Fafil that commands here. Upon feeing us with- 
out any marks of difcompofure, they all ftopt with Woldo,, 
and by him we learned that this was the party we had', 
palled commanded by the Lamb, who,, after we had left him,, 
had heard that five Agow horfemen had palled between the 
army and his party, and from the. fhot he had feared they, 
might have attempted fomething againft us,, and he had; 
thereupon come to our afliitance with all the. fpeed po£~ 

Thus did we fee that this man, who, according to our* 
ideas, feemed in underftanding inferior to mofl of the brute" 
creation, had yet, in executing his orders, a difcernment,, 
punctuality,, activity,, and. fenfe: of duty, equal to any Chrif- 
tian officer who mould have had a like commiffion ; he 
now appeared to us in a quite different light than when 
we firft had met him; and his inattention, when we were 
with him, was the more agreeable, as it left us at our entire- 
liberty,, without teazing or molefiing. us,, when he could be 



of* no real fervice, as every Amharic foldier would have 
done. On the other hand, his alacrity and refolution, in 
the moment he thought us in clanger, exhibited him to our 
view as having on both occafions juft the qualities we could 
have defired. We now, therefore, mewed him the utmofl 
civility, fpread a table-cloth on the ground by the brook, 
mixed our honey and liquid butter together in a plate, and 
laid plenty of teff bread befide it. We invited the Lamb to 
fit down and breakfafl with us, which he did, each of us 
dipping our hand with pieces of bread alternately into the 
diih which contained the honey ; but Strates, whofe heart 
was open, for he felt very gratefully the Lamb's attention 
to fave him from being murdered by the Agows, pulled out 
a large piece of raw beef, part of the bullock we killed at 
Kelti, which he had perfectly cleared from all incumbrance 
of bones, this he gave to the Lamb, denring him to divide 
it among his men, which he did, keeping a very fmall pro- 
portion to himfelf, and which he ate before us. Drink we' 
had none, but the water of the brook that ran by, for my 
people had nnifhed all our other liquors at Kelti after I was 
in bed, when they were taking their leave of Guebra Ma- 
riam, Ozoro Eilher's fervant. 

It was now time topurfue our journey ; and', to mew our 
gratitude for the real fervice this Lamb intended to have 
rendered us, I gave him four times the quantity of tobacco- 
he had got before, andfo in proportion of every other trifle;; 
all thefe he took with abfolute indifference' as formerly, 
much as if it had been all his own ; he exprefled no fort of 
thanks either in his words or in his countenance ; only whiler 
at breakfaft faid, that he was very much grieved that it had. 
Been but a falfe alarm, for he heartily defired that fome rob- 


bers really had attacked us, that he might have fhewn us how 
quickly and dexteroufly he would have cut them to pieces 
though ? there had been a hundred of them. I mention- 
ed to Woldo my obligations to the Lamb for his good, 
but that things were quite as well as they were ; that I had 
no fort of curiofity for fuch exhibitions, which I did not how- 
ever doubt he would have performed molt dexteroufly. 

We were now taking leave to proceed on our journey, 
and my fervant folding up the table-cloth, when the Lamb 
defired to fpeak to Woldo, and for the firft time ventured to 
make a requeit, which was a very extraordinary one ; he 
begged that I would give him the table-cloth to cover his 
head, and keep his face from the fun. I could not help 
laughing within myfelf at the idea of preferving that beau- 
tiful complexion from fun-burning ; but I gave him the 
cloth very readily, which he accordingly fpread upon his 
head, till it covered half his face ; he then got upon his horfe 
and rode quietly away. Before he went, he detached fifteen 
men, Woldo faid he did not know where, but by what he 
had gathered, and the route they had taken, he was fure 
that detachment was meant for our fervice, and to protect 
us on the right of our route, not having yet fufflciently 
quieted his own mind about the five Agows that pafled be- 
tween the army and his poflthe night we were at Kelti; thefe, 
however, being poorly mounted and armed, would not have 
found their account in meddling with us, though we had no 
willies to fhew our dexterity in deflroying them, as our friend 
the Lamb was fo defirous of doing, and we after discovered 
they were not quite fodefpicable as they were represented, nor 
were they Agows. All this palled in much lefs time than it is 
told. We were on horfeback again in little more than half 
3 an 


an hour ; our friends were, like us, willing to meet and will- 
ing to part, only I ordered Strates to fufpend his firing for 
that day, left it mould procure us another interview, which 
we by no means courted. 

We had halted by the fide of a fmall river which falls 
into the Aflar ; and a little before one o'clock we came to 
the Aflar itfelf. The Aflar, as I have already faid, is the 
fouthern boundary of Aroofli, as Kelti is the northern ; and 
as Aroofli is the fouthern diftrict of Maitfha on the weft fide 
of the Nile, it follows that the Aflar is the fouthern bounda- 
ry of Maitfha. 

On the other fide of this river begins the province of 
Goutto, which, according to the ancient rules of govern-^ 
ment before Ras Michael deftroyed all diftinctions, depend- 
ed on the province of Damot ; whereas Maitfha belonged to - 
the office of Betwudet fince Fafil had appropriated both to him- 
felf by force, as well as the whole country of the Agows, 
which he had poflefled by the fame title ever fince the battle 
of Banja: the inhabitants of Goutto are the ancient natives of 
that country ; they are not Galla as thofe of Maitfha, but 
much more civilized and better governed. The language of 
the Agowand the Amharic are the two chiefly fpoken in Gout- 
to, though there are diflant places towards the Jemma on the 
fide of the Nile, where they fpeak that of the Falafha likewife. 
The people in Goutto are richer and better lodged than 
thofe of the neighbouring Maitfha ; their whole country 
is full of cattle of the largeftfize, exceedingly beautiful, and 
of all the different colours ; there are fome places likewife 
where their honey is excellent, equal to any in the country 
of the Agows, but the greateft quantity of it is of low price 



and of little efteem, owing to the lupine flowers on which the 
bees feed, and of which a great quantity covers the whole 
face of the country; this gives abitternefs to the grcateft part 
of the honey, and occafions, as they believe, vertigo's, or diz- 
zinefles, to thofe that eat it : the fame would happen with 
the Agows, did they not take care to eradicate the lupines 
throughout their whole country. 

All this little territory of Arooffi is by much the moft 
pleafant that we had feen in Abyflinia, perhaps it is equal 
to any thing the eaft can produce.; the whole is finely fhaded 
with acacia-trees, I mean the acacia vera, or the Egyptian 
thorn, the tree which, in the fultry parts of Africa, produces 
the gum-arabic. Thefe trees grow feldom above fifteen or 
Sixteen feet high, then flatten and fpread wide at the top, 
and touch each other, while the trunks are far afunder, and 
under a vertical fun, leave you, many miles together, a free 
fpace to walk in a cool, delicious fhade. There is fcarce 
any tree but this in Maitfha ; all Guanguera and Wainade- 
ga are full of them ; but in thefe laft-mentioned places, 
near the capital, where the country grows narrower, being 
confined between the lake and the mountains, thefe trees 
are more in the way of the march of armies, and are 
thinner, as being conftantly cut down for fuel, and never 
replanted, or fuffered to replace themfelves, which they o- 
therwife woLild do, and cover the whole face of the coun- 
try, as once apparently they did. The ground below thofe 
trees, all throughout Aroofli, is thick covered with lupines, 
almoft to the exclufion of every other flower ; wild oats alfo 
grow up here fpontaneoufly to a prodigious height and 
iize, capable often of concealing both the horfe and his 
rider, and fome of the ftalks being little lefs than an inch 


dn circumference. They have, when ripe, the appearance 
of fmall canes. The inhabitants make no fort of ufe of 
this grain in any period of its growth : the uppermoft thin 
hufk of it is beautifully variegated with a changeable pur- 
ple colour ; the tafte is perfectly good. I often made the 
meal into cakes in remembrance of Scotland. 

The Abymnians never could relifh thefe cakes, which they 
faid were bitter, and burnt their ftomachs, as alfo made them 
thirfly. I do, however, believe this is the oat in its original 
flate, and that it is degenerated everywhere with us. The 
foil of this country is a fine black mould, in appearance like 
to that which compofes our gardens. The oat feems to de- 
light in a moift, watery foil ; and, as no underwood grows 
under the Ihadow of the trees, the plough paffes without 
interruption. As there is likewife no iron in their plough, 
(for is it all compofed of wood) the furrow is a very flight 
one, nor does the plough reach deep enough to be entang- 
led with the roots of trees ; but it is the north part of Mait- 
flia, however, that is chiefly in culture ; fouth of the Kelti 
all is paflure ; a large number of horfes is bred here yearly, 
for it is the cuflom among the Galla to be all horfemen or 

All Aroofli is finely watered with fmall ftreams, though the 
Aflar is the largeft river we had feen except the Nile; it was 
about 170 yards broad and two feet deep, running over a bed 
of large flones ; though generally through a flat and level 
country, it is very rapid, and after much rain fcarcely paffc 
able, owing to the height of its fource in the mountains 
of the Agows ; its courfe, where we forded it, is from fouth 

Vol. III. 4 B to 


to north, but it foon turns to the north- eaft, and, after flowing 
five or fix miles, joins the Nile and lofes itfelf in that river. 

Immediately below this ford of the AfTar is a magnificent 
cafcade, or cataract. I computed the perpendicular height 
of the fall to be above 20 feet, and. the breadth of the ftream 
to be fomething more than 8© ; but it is fo clofely covered 
with trees or bufhes,and the ground fo uneven, that it needs- 
great perfeverance and attention to approach it nearly with 
fafety ; the ftream covers the rock without leaving any 
part of it vifible, and the whole river falls uninterrupted 
down with an incredible violence and noife, without being 
anyway broken or divided ; below this cataract it becomes 
confiderably narrower* and, as we have faid, in. this flate runs- 
on to join the Nile. 

The ftrength of vegetation which the moifture of this^ 
river produces, fupported by the action of a very warm fun,, 
is fuch as one might naturally expect from theory, though 
we cannot help being furprifed at the effects when we fee 
them before us, trees and fhrubs covered with flowers of 
every colour, all new arid extraordinary in their ffiapes, 
crowded with birds of many uncouth forms, all of them 
richly adorned with variety of plumage,. and feeming to fix. 
their refidence upon the banks of this river, without a de- 
fire of wandering to any diftance in the neighbouring fields :.. 
But as there is nothing, though ever fo beautiful, that has 
not fome defect or imperfection, among all thefe feathered 
beauties there is not one fongfter; and, unlefs of the rofe, 
or jelTamin kind, none of their flowers have any fmell ; we 
hear indeed many fqualling noify birds of the jay kind, and 
we find two varieties of wild rofes, white and yellow, to which. 

I may 


I may add jefTamin (called Leham) which becomes a large 
tree; but all the reft of the birds or flowers may be con- 
sidered as liable to the general obfervation, that the flowers 
are deftitute of odour, and the birds of fong. 

After pafling the Aflar, and feveral villages belonging 
to Goutto, our courfe being S. E. we had, for the firfl time, a 
diftincl; view of the high mountain of Gecfli, the long-wifhed- 
for end of our dangerous and troublefome journey. Under 
this mountain are the fountains of the Nile; it bore from us 
S. E. by S. about thirty miles, as near as we could conjecture, 
in a flraight line, without counting the deviations or crook- 
ednefs of the road. 

Ever fince we had paffed the AfTar we had been defend- 
ing gently through very uneven ground, covered thick with 
trees, and torn up by the gullies and courfes of torrents. 
At two o'clock in the afternoon of the fecond of November 
we came to the banks of the Nile ; the pafTage is very diffi- 
cult and dangerous, the bottom being full of holes made by 
confiderable fprings, light finking fand, and, at every little 
diflance, large rocky flones; the eaflern fide was muddy and 
full of pits, the ground of clay: the Nile here is about 260 
feet broad, and very rapid; its depth about four feet in the 
middle of the river, and the fides not above two. Its banks 
are of a very gentle, eafy defcent ; the weftern fide is chief- 
ly ornamented with high trees of the falix, or willow tribe, 
growing flraight, without joints or knots, and bearing long 
pointed pods full of a kind of cotton, This tree is called, 
in their language, Ha; the ufe they have for it is to make 
charcoal for the compofition of gunpowder ; but on the 
eaftern fide, the banks, to a confiderable diflance from th c 

v. iii. 4 B 2 rive 


river, are covered with black, dark, and thick groves, witlt 
craggy-pointed rocks, and overftiaded with fome old, tall; 
timber trees going to decay with age; a very rude and aw- 
ful face of nature, a cover from which our fancy fuggefted 
a lion mould iilue, or fome animal or monfter yet more fa- 
vage and ferocious. 

The veneration flili paid in this country for the Nile, fuch 
as obtained in antiquity, extends to the territory of Goutto, 
and I -believe very little farther; the reafon is, I apprehend, 
that to this, and no lower, the country has remained under 
its ancient inhabitants, Below, we know Maitiha has been 
occupied within thefe few ages by Pagan :Galla* tranfplant* 
ed here for political purpofes ; at Goutto, however, and in 
the provinces of the Agows, the genuine indigent have not 
emigrated, and with thefe the old fuperftition is more firm- 
ly rooted in their hearts than is the more recent doctrine of 
Chriftianity; they crowded to us at the ford, and they were, 
after fome .flxuggle, of great ufein palling us, but they pro- 
tcited immediately with great vehemence againft any man's 
riding acrofs the llream, mounted either upon horfe or 
mule: they, without any fort of ceremony, unloaded our 
mules, and laid our baggage -upon the grafs, infixing that 
we mould take off our fhoes, and making an appearance of 
floning thofe who attempted to warn the dirt off their cloaks 
and trowfers in the ftream; My fervants were by this pro- 
voked to return rudenefs for rudenefs, and Woldo gave 
them two or three figniflcant threats, while I fat by exceed^ 
ingly happy at having fo unexpectedly found the remnants 
of veneration for that ancient deity ftilifubfifdng in fuch 
full vigour. They after this allowed us, as well as ourhorv 
fes and muies, to drink, and conducted me acrofs the river, 
i holding 


holding me on each fide very attentively for fear of the 
holes ; but the want of fhoes was very inconvenient, the 
pointed rocks and Hones at the bottom giving me feveral 
deep cuts on the foles of my feet; after this the beafts were 
led all to the fame fide with myfelf, alfo one fervant was 
palled with the greateft care by thefe poor people. Woldo 
had tipt me the wink to crofs as they dellred me r. except 
my fingle gun, all the fire-arms and fervants remained with 
the baggage and Woldo ; and now we foon faw what was 
his intention, and how well he underflood that the coun- 
try he was in belonged to Fafil his mailer, . 

There were between twenty and thirty of the Agows, old' 
and young, fome of them armed with lances and fhields,, 
and all of them with knives. Woldo took his fmall nick in 
one hand, fat down upon a green hillock by the ford with. 
his lighted pipe in the other ; he ranged my people behind 
him, leaving the baggage by itfelf, and began gravely to 
exhort the Agows to lofe no time in carrying over our bag^ 
•gage upon their moulders. This propofal was treated with 
a kind of ridicule by the foremoft of the Agows, and they 
began plainly to infmuate that he mould firft fettle with 
them a price for their, trouble. He continued, however^ 
fmoaking his pipe inieeming leifure,»and much athis eafe, 
and, putting on an air of great wifdom, in a tone of mode- 
ration he appealed to them whether they had not of 
their own accord infilled on our croffing the river- on foot} 
had unloaded our baggage, and fen t the mules to the other 
fide without our confent. The poor people, candidly de- 
clared that they had done fo, beeaufe none are permitted in* 
any other manner to crofs the Nile, but that they would 
likewife carry our baggage fafely and willingly over fop 


pay ; this word was no fooner uttered, when, apparently 
in a moft violent paffion, he leapt up, laid by his pipe, took 
his flick, and ran into the midft of them, crying out with 
violent execrations, And who am I ? and who am I then ? a 
girl, a woman, or a Pagan dog like yourfelves ? and who is 
Waragna Fafil ; are you not his flaves ? or to whom elfe do 
you belong, that you are to make me pay for the confe- 
quences of your devilifh idolatries and fuperflitions? but 
you want payment, do ye ? here is your payment : he then 
tuckt his clothes tight about his girdle, began leaping two 
or three feet high, and laying about him with his flick 
over their heads and faces, or wherever he could flrike 

After this Woldo wrefled a lance from along, aukward 
fellow that was next him, flanding amazed, and levelled the 
pointathiminamanner that I thought to fee the poor peafant 
fall dead in an inflant : the fellow fled in a trice, fo did they 
all to a man ; and no wonder, for in my life I never faw any 
one play the furious devil fo naturally. Upon the man's 
running off, he cried out to my people to give him a gun, 
which made thefe poor wretches run fader and hide them-. 
felves among the bufhes i lucky, indeed, was it for Woldo 
that my fervants did not put him to the trial, by giving 
him the gun as he demanded, for he would not have ven- 
tured to fire it, perhaps to have touched it, if it had been to 
have made him m after of the province. 

Ij who fat a fpeclator on the other fide, thought we were 
now in a fine fcrape, the evening coming on at a time of 
the year when it is not light at fix, my baggage and fer- 
vants on one fide of the river, myfelf and beads on the 
4 other, 


other, crippled abfolutely in the feet by the ftones, and 
the river fo full of pits and holes, that, had they been all 
laden on the other fide and ready, no one could have been 
bold enough to lead a beaft through without a guide : the 
difficulty was not imaginary, I had myfelf an inftant before 
made proof of it, and all difficulties are relative, greater 
or lefs, as you have means in your hands to overcome 
them. I was clearly fatisfied that Woldo knew the country,, 
and was provided with a remedy for all this ; I conceived- 
that this pacific behaviour, while they were unloading the 
mules, and driving them acrofs the river, as well as his 
fury afterwards, was part of fome fcheme, with which I 
was refolved in no fhape to interfere ; and nothing convin- 
ced me more of this than his refolute demand of a gun, 
when no perfuafiori could make him flay within ten yards 
of one if it was difcharged, even though the muzzle was 
pointed a contrary direction, I fat ftill, therefore, to fee 
the end, and it was with fome furprife that I obferved him 
to take his pipe, flick, and my fervants along with him, and 
erofs the river to me as if nothing had happened, leaving 
the baggage on the other fide, without any guard whatso- 
ever; he then defired us all to get on horfeback, and drive 
the mules before us, which we did accordingly ; and I fup- 
pofe we had not advanced about a hundred yards before we 
faw a greater number of people than formerly run down 
to where our baggage was lying, and, while one crofTed the 
river to defire us to Hay where we were, the refl brought the, 
whole over in an inflant. 

This, however, did not fatisfy our guide; he put on a ful- 
ky air, as if he had been grievoufly injured ; he kept the 
mules where they were, and would not fend one back tobe- 



loaded at the river-fide, alledging it was unlucky to turn 
back upon a journey ; he made them again take the bag- 
gage on their moulders, and carry it to the very place where 
our mules had halted, and there lay it down. On this they 
all flocked about him, begging that he would not report 
them to his mailer, as fearing fome fine, or heavy chaftife- 
ment, would fall upon their villages. The guide looked 
very fulky, faid but very little, and that all in praife of 
himfelf, of his known mildnefs and moderation; as an in- 
flance of which he appealed (impudently enough) to his late 
behaviour towards them. If fuch a one, fays he, naming a 
man that they knew, had been in my place, what a fine 
reckoning he would have made with you; why, your punifh- 
ment would not have ended in feven years. They all acknow- 
ledged the truth of his obfervation, as well as his moder- 
ation, gave him great commendations, and, I believe, fome 
promifes when he palled there on his return. 

Here I thought our affair happily ended to the fatisfac- 
tion of all parties. I mounted my horfe, and Woldo went to 
a large filk bag, or purfe, which I had given him full of 
tobacco, and he had his match and pipe in his hand, juft as 
if he was going to fill it before he fet out; he then unloofed 
the bag, felt it on the outfide, purting firft his three fingers, 
then his whole hand, pinching and fqueezing it both within- 
fide and without ; at laft he broke out in, a violent tranfport 
of rage, crying that his gold was gone, and that they had 
robbed him of it. I had not tijl this fpoke one word : I 
afked him what he meant by his gold. Be faid he had two 
ounces (value about jl.) in his tobacco purfe, and that fome 
perfon had laid hold of them when the baggage lay on the 
other fide of the water ; that the Agows had done it, and 
2. that 


that they mnft pay him for it. The defpair and anguinh rliat 
he had counterfeited quickly appeared in true and genuine 
colours in the faces of all the poor Agows ; for his part, he 
difdained to fpeak but in monofylLibles — So, fo, and very 
well, arid no matter, you {hall fee — and fhook his head. We 
now proceeded on our journey; but two of the eldell among 
the Agows followed him to our quarters at night, where 
they made their peace with Woldo, who, I doubt not, dealt 
with them according to his ufual mildnefs, juitice, and mo- 
deration ; a fpecimen of which we have already feen. 

I confess this complicated piece of roguery, fo fuddenly 
invented, and fo fuccefsfully carried into execution, gave 
me, for the firft time, ferious reflections upon my own fitua- 
tion, as we were in facl: entirely in this man's hand. AytO 
Aylo's fervant, indeed, continued with me, but he was now 
out of his knowledge and influence, and, from many hints 
he had given, very defirous of returning home : he feemed 
to have no great opinion of Woldo, and, indeed, had been in 
low fpirits, and difgufted with our journey, fince he had feen 
the reception I firft met with from Fafil at Bamba; but I had 
ufe for him till we mould arrive at the houfe of Shalaka 
Welled Amlac, which was in the middle of Maitfha, and in 
the way by which we were to return. I had therefore been 
very kind to him, allowing him to ride upon one of my 
mules all the way. I had given him fome prefents likewife, 
and promifed him more, fo that he continued with me, 
though not very willingly, obferving every thing, but fay- 
ing little ; however, to me it was plain that Woldo (lood in 
awe of him, for fear probably of his mailer Fafil, for Aylo 
had over him a molt abfolute influence, and Guebra Ehud 

Vol., III. 4.G (Aylo's:. 


(Aylo's brother) had been prefent, when Aylo's fervant fet out 
with us from Bamba under charge of this Woldo. 

To Woldo, too, I had been very attentive: I had anticipated 
what I faw were his willies, by fmall prefents and more con- 
fiderable promifes. I had told him plainly at Bamba, in pre- 
fence of Fafil's Fit-Auraris and Ayto Welleta Michael, (Ras 
Michael's nephew) that I would reward him in their fight 
according to his behaviour ; that I fcarcely thanked him for 
his being barely faithful, for fo he was accountable to his 
mailer, whofe honour was pledged for my fafety ; but that 
I expected he would not attempt to impofe upon me, nor 
fuffer others to do fo, nor terrify me unnecefTarily upon the 
road, nor obilruct me in my purfuits, be fulky, or refufe to 
anfwer the inquires that I made about the countries through 
which we were to pafs. All this was promifed, repromifed, 
and repeatedly fworn to, and the Fit-Auraris had allured me 
that he knew certainly this man would pleafe me, and that 
Fafil was upon honour when he had chofen him to attend 
me, although he had thenufe for him in other bufinefs ; 
and it is not lefs true, that, during the whole of our jour- 
ney hitherto, he had behaved perfectly to the letter of his 
promife, and I had omitted no opportunity to gratify him by 
feveral anticipations of mine- 

I had upon me a large beautiful red-lilk falh, which 
went lix or feven times round, in which I carried my crook- 
ed knife and two piftols ; he had often admired the beauty 
of it, inquired where it was made, and what it might have 
coft. I had anfwered often negligently and at random, and 
I had thought no more of it, as his inquiries had gone no 
furthei. The time which he had fixed upon was not yet 
i come, 


come, and we mall prefently fee how very dexteroufly he pro- 
longed it. 

We arrived, with thefe delays, pretty late at Goutto, (the 
village fo called) and took up our lodgings in the houfe of 
a confiderable perfon, who had abandoned it upon our ap- 
proach, thinking us part of Fafil's army. Though this ha- 
bitation was of ufe in protecting us from the poor, yet it 
hurt us by alarming, and fo depriving us of the afliftance 
of the opulent, fuch as the prefent owner, who, if he had 
known we were ftrangers from Gondar, would have willing- 
ly ftaid and entertained us, being a relation and friend of 
Shalaka Welled Amlac. 

As we heard diftinctly the noife of the cataract, and had 
ilill a full hour and a half of light, while they were in 
fearch of a cow to kill, (the cattle having been all driven a- 
way or concealed) I determined to vifit the water-fall, left I 
Ihould be thereby detained the next morning. As Fafil's 
horfe was freih, by not being rode, I mounted him inftead 
of driving him before me, and took a fervant of my own, 
and a man of the village whom Woldo procured for us, as 
I would not allow him to go himfelf. Being well armed, I 
thus fet out, with the peafant on foot, for the cataract ; and, 
after riding through a plain, hard country, in fome parts 
very ftony, and thick-covered with trees, in fomething more 
than half an hour's eafy galloping all the way, my fervant 
and I came ftraight to the cataract, conducted there by the 
noife of the fall, while our guide remained at a confider- 
able diflance behind, not being able to overtake us. 

4 C 2 This 


This, known by the name of the Firft Cataract of the Nile, 
did not by its appearance come up to the idea we had form- 
ed of it, being fcarce fixteen feet in height, and about fixty 
yards over ; but in many places the meet of water is inter- 
rupted, and leaves dry intervals of rock. The fides are nei- 
ther fo woody nor verdant as thofeof the cataract of the Aflar; 
and it is in every fhape lefs magnificent, or deferving to be 
feen, than is the noble cataract at Alata before defcribed, 
erroneoufly called the Second Cataract ; for below this there 
is a water-fall, nearly weft of the church of Bofkon Abbo, 
not much above the place where we fwam our horfes o- 
ver in May, and lefs than this firft cataract of which I am 
fpeaking, and nearer the fource ; there is another ftill 
fmaller before the Nile joins the river Gumetti, after falling 
from the plains of Sacala ; and there are feveral ftill fmaller 
between the fountains and the junction of the Nile with 
the river Davola ; thefe laft mentioned, however, are very 
infignificant, and appear only when the Nile is low: in the 
rainy feafon, when the river is full, they fcarcely are dis- 
tinguished by ruffling the water as it pafles. 

Having fatisfied my curiofity at this cataract, I galloped 
back the fame road that I had come, without having feen a 
fingle perfon fince I left Goutto. Faiil's horfe went very 
pleafantly, he did not like the fpur, indeed, but he did not 
need it. On our arrival we found a cow upon the point of 
being killed ; there was no appearance of any fuch to be 
found when I fet out for the cataract, but the diligence and 
fagacity of Woldo had overcome that difficulty. By a par- 
ticular manner of crying through his hands applied to his 
mouth, he had contrived to make fome beafts anfwer him, 



who were hid in an unfufpedted bye-place, one of which 
being detected was killed without mercy. 

It was now, I thought, the proper time to give Woldo a 
lefTon as to the manner in which 1 was refolved to behave 
among the Agows, who I knew had been reduced to abfo- 
lute poverty by Faiil after the battle of Banja. I told him, 
that fince the king had given me the fmall territory of Geefh, 
I was refolved to take up my abode there for fome time ; 
and alfo, to make my coming more agreeable, it was my in- 
tention for that year to difcharge them of any taxes which 
they paid the king, or their fuperior Fafil, in whofe places I 
then flood. " Stay, fays Woldo, don't be in fuch a hurry, fee 
firil how they behave." — " No, faid I, I will begin by teaching 
them how to behave; I will not wait till their prefent mifery 
prompts them to receive ill (as they very naturally will do) 
a man who comes, as they may think, wantonly for curiofity 
only, to take from them and their flarved families the little 
Fafil has left them : the queflion I afk you then is briefly 
this, Do you conceive yourfelf obliged to obey me, as to 
what I mail judge necefTary to direct you to do, during my 
journey to Geefh and back again ?" He anfwered, By all 
means, or he could never elfe return to his mailer Fafil. 
" This, then, faid I, is the line of conduct I mean to purfue 
while I am among the Agows ; you fhall have money to buy 
every thing; you fhall have money, or prefents, or both, to 
pay thofe that ferve us, or that fhew us any kindnefs, and 
when we fhall join your mafter Fafil (as 1 hope we fhall do 
together) you lhall tell him that I have received his maje- 
fty's rent of the Agows of Geefh, and I will enter a receipt 
for it in the king's deftar, or revenue- book at Gondar, if 
we fee him there, as I expect we fhall, upon my return. I, 
3 moreover, 


moreover, undertake, that we mail gain more by this than 
by any other method we could have purfued." " There is 
one thing, however, fays Woldo, you would not furely have 
me free them the dues paid by every village where a king's 
fervant is employed to conduct ftrangers, as I am you." " No, 
no, I do not go fo near as that ; we mall only buy what you 
would have otherwife taken by force for my ufe." 

" Some years ago, fays Woldo, when I was a young man, 
in king Yafous's time, a white man, called Negade Ras 
Georgis, had both Geefh and Sacala given him by the king ; 
he went there twice a-year, and ftaid a month or more at a 
time ; he was a great hunter and drinker, and a devil for 
the women ; he not only fpent what he got from the vil- 
lage, but all the money he brought from Gondar into the 
bargain ; it was a jovial time, as I have heard ; all was mer- 
riment : 1 he firft day he came there, fome of the men of 
Sacala, out of fport, difputing with three of the Agows of 
Zeegam, fell to it with their knives and lances, and four 
men were killed in an inftant upon the fpot ; fine flout 
fellows, every one like a lion ; good men all of them ; there 
are no fuch days feen now, unlefs they come about when 
you are there, and then 1 mail have my fhar<£ of every thing"* 
" Woldo,faid I, with all my heart; I fliallbe otherwife employ- 
ed ; but you fhall be at perfect liberty to partake of every 
fport, always excepting thediverfion of killing four men.*' But 
I had obferved this day, with fome furprife, that he doubt- 
ed feveral times whether we were on the way to the foun- 
tains of the Nile or not ; and I did not think this profpect 
of entertainment which 1 held out to him was received 
with fuch joy as I expected, or as if he meant to partake of 



Strates had refufed to go to the firft cataract, having fo 
violent an appetite that he could not abandon the cow ; 
and, after my arrival, it was his turn to watch that night. 
When I was lain down to reft in a little hovel like a hog's 
fly, near where they were fitting, I heard a warm difpute 
among the fervants, and, upon inquiry, found Strates was 
preparing fteaks on a gridiron to make an entertainment 
for himfelf while the reft were fleeping ; thefe, on the 
other hand, were refolved to play him a trick to punifh 
his gluttony. When the fteaks were fpread upon the 
gridiron, Woldo had undertaken to pour fome fine duft, or 
fand, through the hole in the roof, which ferved as a chim- 
ney ; and this he had done with fuccefs as often as Strates 
went to any diftance from the fire. Not content, however, 
with the pofition in which he then was, but defirous to do 
it more effectually, he attempted to change his place upon 
the roof where he flood, thinking it all equally ftrong to 
bear him ; but in this he was miftaken ; the part he was 
removing to fuddenly gave way, and down he came upon 
the floor, bringing half the roof and part of the wall, 
together with a prodigious duft, into the fire. 

The furprife and fight of his own danger made Woldo 
repeat fome ejaculation to himfelf in Galla. My fervants, 
who were waiting the fuccefs of the fcheme, cried, The 
Galla ! the Galla ! and Strates, who thought the whole ar- 
my of wild Galla had furrounded the houfe, fell upon his 
face, calling Maruni ! Maruni ! — Spare me ! fpare me ! — I 
was in a profound fleep when roufed by the noife of the 
roof, the falling of the man, and the cry of Galla ! Galla ! I 
ftarted up, and laid hold of a mufket loaded with flugs, a 
bayonet at the end of it, and ran to the door, when the firft 



thing I faw was Woldo examining his hurts, or burns, but 
without any arms. A laugh from without made me direct- 
ly fuppofe what it was, and I was prefently fully fatisfied 
by the figure Strates and Woldo made, covered with dirt 
and dull from the roof; but, while they were entertaining 
themfelves with this foolifh trick, the thatch that had fal- 
len upon the fire began to flame, and it was with the ut- 
mofl difficulty we extinguifhed it, otherwife the whole vil- 
lage might have been burnt down. — I heard diftinctly the 
noife of the cataract all this night. 




■fiS** 88 ^ 


Leave Goutto- —Mountains of the Moon—Roguery ofWoldo our Guide-" 
Arrive at the Source of the Nile. 

IT was the 3d of November, at eight o'clock in the morn- 
ing, that we left the village of Goutto, and continued, 
for the firft part of the day, through a plain country full 
of acacia- trees, and a few of other forts ; but they were all 
pollards, that is, Hunted, by having their tops cut off when 
young, fo that they bore now nothing but fmall twigs, or 
branches ; thefe, too, feemed to have been lopped yearly. 
As there appeared no doubt that this had been done pur- 
pofely, and for ufe, I afked, and was informed, that we were 
now in the honey country, and that thefe twigs were for 
making large bafkets, which they hung upon trees at the 
lides of their houfes, like bird-cages, for the bees to make 
their honey in them during the dry months ; all the houfes 
we pa/Ted afterwards, and the trees near them, were fur- 
Vol. III. 4 D nilhed 


niftied with thefe bafkets, having numerous hives of bees at 
work in them ; the people themfelves feemed not to heed 
them, but they were an exceffive plague to us by their flings 
during the day, fo that it was only when we were out in 
the fields, or at night in the houfe, that we were free from 
this inconvenience.. 

The high mountain of Berfa now bore foutli from us a* 
bout ten miles diftant ; it refembles, in iliape, a gunner's- 
wedge, and towers up to the very clouds amidft the leffer 
mountains of the Agow. Sacala is fouth. fouth-eaft. The 
country of the Agows extends from Berfa on the fouth to 
the point of due weft, in form of an amphitheatre, formed 
all round by mountains, of which that of Banja lies fouth 
fouth- weft about nine miles off. The country of the Shan- 
galla, beyond the Agows, lies weft north- weft. From this 
point all the territory of Goutto is full of villages, in which 
the fathers, fons, and grandfons live together ; each degree,, 
indeed, in a feparate houfe, but near or touching each other,, 
as in Maitfha, fo that every village confifts of one family.. 

At three quarters paft eight we crofted a fmall, but clear 
river, called Dee-ohha, or the River Dee. It is lingular to ob- 
ferve the agreement of names of rivers in different parts of 
the world, that have never had communication together. 
The Dee is a river in the north of Scotland. The Dee runs 
through Chefliire likewife in England ; and Dee is a river 
here in Abyffinia. Kelti is the name of a river in Monteith ; 
Kelti, too, we found in Maitfha. Arno is a well-known ri- 
ver in Tufcany ; and we found another Arno, below Emfras,. 
falling into the lake Tzana. Not one of thefe rivers, as far 
as I could obferve, refemble each other in any one cireurn- 
2 fiance, 


fiance, nor have they a meaning or fignification in anyone 
language 1 know. 

The church of Abbo is a quarter of a mile to our right, and 
the church of Eion Mariam bears eaft by fouth half a mile. 
We refumed our journey at half pall nine, and, after advan- 
cing a few minutes, we came in light of the ever-memorable 
field of Fagitta. At a quarter paft ten we were pointing to 
the fouth- eaft, the two great clans of the Agow, Zeegam 
and Dengut, being to the fouth- weft; the remarkable moun- 
tain Davenanza is about eight miles off, bearing fouth-eaft 
by fouth, and the courfe of the Nile is eaft and weft. Eaft- 
ward ftill from this is the high mountain of Adama, one 
of the ridges of Amid Amid, which form the entrance of 
a narrow valley on the eaft fide, as the mountains of Litch- 
ambara do on the weft. In this valley runs the large river 
Jemma, riftng in the mountains, which, after palling thro' 
part of Maitfha, falls below into the Nile. The mountains 
from this begin to rife high, whereas at Samfeen they are 
very low -and inconfiderable. Adama is about ten miles 
from our prefent fituation, which is alfo famous for a battle 
fought by Fafil's father, while governor of Damot, againft 
the people of Maitfha, in which they were totally defeated. 

We now defcended into a large plain full of marines, 
bounded on the weft by the Nile, and at ten and three quar- 
ters we crofTed the fmall river Diwa, which comes from the 
eaft and runs to the weftward : though not very broad, it 
was by much the deepeft river we had paffed; the banks of 
earth being perpendicular and infirm, and the bottom foul 
and clayey, we were obliged to difmount ourfelves, unload 
the mules, and carry our baggage over. This was a trouble- 

4 D 2 fome 


fome operation, though we fucceeded at lad. I often regret- 
ted to Woldo, that he could not here find fome of the good- 
people like the Agows at the ford of the Nile ; but he (hook, 
his head, faying, Fhefe are another fort of fluff; we maybe 
very thankful if they list us pafs ourfelves :,in the flat coun- 
try I do not wifh to meet one man on, this fide the. moun-* 
tain Aformafha. 

In this plain, the Nile winds more in the fpace of four 
miles than, I believe, any river in the world; it makes above 
a hundred turns in that diftance, one of which advances fo 
abruptly into the plain that we concluded we muft pafs it, 
and were preparing accordingly, when we faw it make as 
fharp a turn to the right, and run far on in a contrary di- 
rection, as if we were never to have met it again : the Nile 
is not here above 20 feet broad, and is nowhere above a foot 
deep. . The church of Yafous was above three quarters of a 
mile, to the weft.. 

At one o'clock We afcended a ridge of low hills which; 
terminates this plain to the fouth. The mountains behind 
them are called Attata ; they are covered thick with brufh- 
wood, and are cut through with gullies and beds of tor- 
rents. At half paft one we were continuing S. E.j in a few 
minutes after we palled a clear but fmall ftream, called , 
Minch, which fignifies the Eountain. At two o'clock we 
arrived at the top of the mountain of Attata, and from this 
difcovered the river Abola coming from the &.S.. E. and in 
a few minutes paffed another fmall river called Giddili, , 
which lofes itfelf immediately in a turn, or elbow* which, 
the river Abola makes here below. At half pall two we de- 
fended, the mountain of Attata, and immediately at the 



foot of it crofted a fmall river of the fame name, which ter- 
minates the territory of Attata ; here, to the fomh, it is 
indeed narrow, but very difficult to pafs by reafon of its 
muddy bottom. The fun all along the plain of Goutto had 
been very hot till now, and here fo exceilively, that it quite 
overcame us : what was worfe, Woldo declared himfelf fo 
ill, that he doubted if he could go any farther, but believed 
he fhould die at the next village. Though I knew too much 
of the matter to think him in any danger from real difeafe,. 
I faw eafily that he was infected with a counterfeit one, 
which I did not doubt was to give me as much trouble as a- 
real one would have done. . 

At three o'clock, however, we pufhed on towards the 
S. E. and began to enter into the plain of Abola, one of the 
divifions of the Agow. The plain, or rather valley, of Abo- 
la, is about half a mile broad for the moil part, and no- 
where exceeds a mile. The mountains that form it on the 
eaft and weft fide are at firft of no confiderable height, and 
are covered with herbage and acacia- trees to the very top; 
but as they run fouth, they increafe in height, and be- 
come more rugged and woody. On the top of thefe are 
molt delightful plains, full of excellent paflure;.the moun- 
tains to the weft are part of, or at leaft join the mountain of 
A/ormaiha, where, from a direction nearly S. E. they turn 
fouth, and inclofe the villages and territory of Sacala, which 
lie at the foot of them^ and ftill lower, that is more to the- 
weftwardjthe fmall village of Geefh, where are the long-ex- 
pected, fountains of the Nile. 

These mountains are herein the form of a crefcent ; the 
iiyer runs in the plain along the foot of this ridge, and: 




along the fide of it Kafmati Fafil palfed after his defeat at Fa- 
gitta. The mountains which form the eaft fide of this plain 
run parallel to the former in their whole courfe, and are 
part of, or at leafl join the mountains of Litchambara, and 
thefe two, when behind Aformafha, turn to the fouth, and 
then to the S. W. taking the fame form as they do, only 
making a greater curve, and inclofing them likewife in the 
form of a crefcent, the extremity of which terminates im- 
mediately above the fmall lake Gooderoo, in the plain of 
AfToa, below Geefh, and directly at the fountains of the 

The river Abola comes out of the valley between ttiefe 
two ridges of mountains of Litchambara and Aformafha, 
but does not rife there ; it has two brandies, one of which 
hath its fource in the weuern fide of Litchambara, near the 
center of the curve where the mountains turn fouth ; the o- 
ther branch rifes on the mountain of Aformafha, and the 
eaft fide of our road as we afoended to the church of Mari- 
ana. Still behind thefe are the mountains of Amid Amid, 
another ridge which begin behind Samfeen, in the S. W. 
part of the province of Maitflia, though they become high 
only from the mountain of Adama, but they are in fhape 
exactly like the former ridges, embracing them in a large 
curve in the fliape of a crefcent. 

Between Amid Amid and the ridge of Litchambara is 
the deep valley now known by the name of St George ; 
what was its ancient, or Pagan name, I could not learn. 
Through the middle of this valley runs the Jemma, a river 
equal to the Nile, if not larger, but infinitely more rapid : 
after leaving the valley, it croffes that part of Maitfha on 
4 the 


the eaft of the Nile, and lofes itfelf in that river below Sam- 
feen, near the ford where our army pafTed in the unfor- 
tunate retreat of the month of May: its fources or fountains 
are three ; they rife in the mountains of Amid Arnid, and 
keep on clofe to the eaft fide of them, till the river iiiiies 1 
out of the valley into Maisiha. 

This triple ridge of mountains difpofed one range behind 
the other, nearly in form of three concentric circles, ieem to 
fuggeft an idea that they are the Mountains of the Moon; 
or the Monies Luna of antiquity, at the foot of which the 
Nile was faid to rife ; in fact, there are no others. Amid A- 
mid may perhaps exceed half a mile in height, they cer- 
tainly do not arrive at three quarters, and are greatly fhort 
of thaf fabulous height given them by Kircher. Thefe 
mountains are all of them excellent foil; and everywhere 
covered with fine paflure ; but as this unfortunate country 
had been for ages the theatre of war, the inhabitants have 
only ploughed and fown the top of them out -of the reach 
of enemies or marching armies. On the middle of the 
mountain are villages built of a white fort of grafs, which 
makes them confpicuous at a great diftance ; the bottom is 
all grafs, where their cattle feed continually under their 
eye ; thefe, upon, any alarm, they drive up to the top of the 
mountains out of danger. The hail lies often upon the 
top of Amid Amid for hours, but fnow was never feen in 
this country, nor have they a word * in their languge for 
it. It is alfo remarkable, though we had often violent hail 


* By this is meant the Amharic, for in Geez the woid for fuow is Tilze : this maj^ 
have been invented for tranflating the fcriprures. . 


at Gondar, and even when the fun was vertical, it never came 
but with the wind blowing directly from Amid Amid. 

At ten minutes pad: three o'clock we crofTed the fmall 
river Iworra, in the valley of Abola ; it comes from the 
eait, and runs wellward into that river. At a quarter after 
four we halted at a houfe in the middle of the plain, or 
valley. This valley is not above a mile broad, the river 
being diflant about a quarter, and runs at the foot of the 
mountains. This village, as indeed were all the others 
we had feen fince our croffing the Nile at Goutto, was fur- 
rounded by large, thick plantations, of that lingular plant 
the Enfete, one of the moil beautiful productions of nature, 
as well as molt agreeable and wholefome food of man. It 
is faid to have been brought by the Galla from Narea, flrft 
to Maitfha, then to Goutto, the Agows, and Damot, which 
laft is a province on the fouth fide of the mountains of A- 
rnid Amid. This plant, and the root, called Denitch, (the 
fame which is known in Europe by the name of the Jeru- 
falem artichoke, a root deferving more attention than is 
paid to it in our country,) fupply all thefe provinces with 

We were but feldom lucky enough to get the people of 
the viHages to wait our arrival ; the fears of the march of 
the Galla, and the uncertainty of their deftination, made 
them believe always we were detachments of that army, to 
which the prefence of FafiFs horfe driven conftantly before us 
very much contributed : we found the village where we a- 
lighted totally abandoned, and in it only an earthern pot, with 
a large flice of the Enfete plant boiling in it ; it was about a 
foot in length, and ten inches broad, and was almoft ready 
2 for 


for eating: we had fortunately meat with us, and only want- 
ing vegetables to complete our dinner. We appropriated to 
ourfelves, without fcruple, this enfete; and, by way of repara- 
tion, I infilled upon leaving, at parting, a brick, or wedge of 
fait, which is ufed as fmall money in Gondar, and all over 
AbyiTinia ; it might be in value about a milling. 

On the 4th of November, at eight o'clock we left our 
fmall village on the plain of Abola, without having feen any 
of the inhabitants; however, we were fure there were among 
them fome who were curious enough to wifh to look at us, 
for, in walking late at night, I heard feveral voices fpeaking 
low among the enfete- trees and canes. It was not poffible to 
collect what they faid in the low tone in which they fpoke ; 
and I mould not probably have been much wifer, had they 
fpoken louder, as their language was that of their country, 
the Agow, of which I did not underfland one word ; how- 
ever, I thought I could diftinguifh they were women, the 
men apprehending we were enemies having probably taken 
refuge in the mountains above. I did every thing poflible 
to furround or furprife one or two of thefe people, that, by 
goodufage and prefents, we might reconcile them to us, 
and get the better of their fear ; but it was all to no purpofe; 
they fled much quicker than we could purfue them, as 
they knew the country, and it was not fafe to follow them 
far into the wildernefs, left we might Mumble upon people 
who might mifmterpret our intentions. 

I was determined to try whether, by taking away that 
fcare-crow, Fafil's horfe, from before us, and riding him my- 
felf, things would change for the better : this I difiinctly 
faw, that Woldo would have wifhed the horfe to have gone 

Vol. III. 4 E rather 


rather without a rider, and this I had obferved the night I 
went to the cataraclfrom Goutto. Sitting on the king's faddle, 
or in his feat at Gondar, is high-treafon; and Woldo thought, 
at all times, but now efpecially, that his mailer was infe- 
rior to no king upon earth. I even attributed to that laft 
expedition at Goutto his filence and apparent ficknefs ever 
fince ; but in this laft circumftance I found afterwards that 
I was miflaken : be that as it would, my plan was very dif- 
ferent from Woldo's as to the horfe, he was become a fa- 
vourite, and I was refolved, in the courfe of my journey, to 
improve his talents fo, that he mould make a better appear- 
ance on his return to Gondar, than he did when I received 
him from Fafil at Bamba. I compounded, as I conceived, 
with Woldo's fcruples, by laying alide Fafd's faddle, which 
was a very uneafy one, belides, that it had iron rings in- 
ftead of fthrups ; inikort, as this horfe was very beautiful, 
(as many of the Gallahorfes are) and all of one colour,which 
was of lead, without any fpot of white, I hoped to make 
him an acceptable prefent to the king, who was paffionate- 
ly fond of horfes. Here it may not be improper to obferve, 
that all very great men in Abyilinia choofe to ride horfes of 
one colour only, which have no diftinguifhing mark where- 
by they may be traced in retreats, flights, or fuch unlucky 
expeditions : It is the king alone in battle who rides upon 
a horfe diflinguiffied by his marks, and that on purpofe 
that he may be known. 

There were many villages in this valley which feemed to 
have efcaped the havock of war, nor had they that air of po- 
verty and mifery fo apparent in all the other habitations we 
had feen. We were pointing nearly eaft fouth-e aft, when we 
palled the fmall river Googueri, which, like all the others 
3 QIL 


on this fide of the mountain, falls into the Abola. We then 
left the valley of Abola on our right, and began to travel 
along the lides of the mountains on the weft. At three 
quarters after eight we palled a violent torrent called Kar- 
nachiuli, which falls from north-eaft into the Abola. At 
nine we again defcended into the valley, and, a few mi- 
nutes after, came to the banks of the Caccino, which flows 
from the north juft above, and joins the Abola. Here we 
halted for a little to reft our men, and to adjuft thoroughly 
the minutes of our journey, that the whole might appear 
in a dirtinct manner, in the map that I intended to make on 
my return to Gondar. 

At half paft nine we again fet out, and, a few minutes 
after, paffed the river Abola, which gives its name to the 
valley into which we had defcended, and receives many lef- 
fer ftreams, and is of confiderable breadth. I could difco- 
ver no traces of nm either in it or in any river fince we left 
the A/Tar, from which circumftance 1 apprehend, that, in 
thefe torrents from the mountains, almoft dry in f'ummer, 
and which run with vaft rapidity in winter, the fpawn 
and nm are both deftroyed in different feafons by different 

After coafting fome little time along the fide of the val- 
ley, we began to afcend a mountain on the right, from 
which falls almoft perpendicularly a fmall, but very violent 
ftream, one of the principal branches of the Abola, which 
empties itfelf into the Nile, together with the other branch, 
a ftill more confiderable ftream, coming from eaft fouth-eafl 
along the valley between Litchambara and Aformafha. At 
•eleven o'clock our courfe was fouth by eaft, and we paffed 

4 E -2 neai* 


near a church, dedicated to the Virgin, on our left. The cliv 
mate feemed here molt agreeably mild, the country covered 
with the moll lively verdure, the mountains with beautiful 
trees and ihrubs, loaded with extraordinary fruits and 
flowers.. I found my fpirits very much raifed with thefe plea- 
fmg fcenes, as were thofe of all my fervarrts, who were, by 
our converfation, made geographers enough to know we 
were near approaching to the end of our journey. Both 
Strates and I, out of the Lamb's hearing, had fhot a variety of 
curious birds and beafts. All but Woldo feemed to have ac- 
quired new ilrength and vigour. He continued in his air 
of defpondency, and feemed every day to grow more and 
more weak. At a quarter pail eleven we arrived at the 
top of the mountain, where we, for the firft time, came in 
fight of Sacala, which extends in the plain below from well 
to the point of fouth, and there joins with the village c£ 

Sacala, full of fmall low villages, which, however, had ! 
efcaped the ravages of the late war, is the eallermoil branch' 
of the Agows, and famous for the beH honey.. The fmall 
river Kebezza, running from the eall, ferves as a boundary 
between Sacala and.Aformafha ; after joining two other ri- 
vers, the Gometti and the Googueri, which we prefently 
came to> after a fhort courfe nearly from S. E. to N. W. iti 
falls into the Nile a little above its junction with the Aboia.. 

At three-quarters pall eleven we croiTed the river Kebez- 
za, and descended into the plain of Sacala; in a few minutes 
we alfo paired the Googueri, a more confiderable llream 
than the former; it is about lixty feet broad, and perhaps 
eighteen inches deep, very clear and rapid, running oven a 



rugged, uneven bottom of black rock. At a quarter paft 
twelve we halted on a fmail eminence, where the market 
of Sacala is held every Saturday. Horned cattle, many of 
the greateft beauty poffible, with which all this country a- 
bounds ; large afTes, the mod ufeful of all beafts for riding 
or carriage ; honey, butter, enfete for food, and a manufac- 
ture of the leaf of that plant, painted with different colours 
like Mofaic work, are here expofed to fale in great plenty ; 
the butter and honey, indeed, are chiefly carried to Gondar, 
or to Bure ; but Damot, Maitfha, and Gojam likewife take a 
considerable quantity of all thefe commodities. 

At a quarter after one o'clock we palled the river Gu- 
metti, the boundary of the plain : we were now afcending^ 
a very fleep and rugged mountain, the word pafs we had 
met on our whole journey. We had no other path but a 
road made by the fheep or the goats, which did not feem 
to have been frequented by men, for it was broken, full of 
holes, and in other places obitrucled with large flones that 
feemed to have been there from the creation. It mufl be 
added to this, that the whole was covered with thick wood, 
which often occupied the very edge of the precipices on 
which we flood, arid we were everywhere ftopt and entang- 
led by that execrable thorn the kantuffa, and feveral other 
thorns and brambles nearly as inconvenient. We afcended, 
however, with great alacrity, as we conceived we were fur- 
mounting the lair difficulty after the many tjhoufands we 
had already overcome. Juft above this almoft impenetra- 
ble wood, in a very romantic fituation, Hands St Michael, in 
a hollow fpace like a nitch between two hills of the fame 
height, and from which it is equally diflant. This church 
has been unfrequented for many years ; the excufe they 

Yiii, 4 r e make 



make is, that they cannot procure frankincenfe, without 
which, it feems, their mafs or fervice cannot be celebrated ; 
but the truth is, they are Hill Pagans ; and the church, ha- 
ving been built in memory of a victory over them above a 
hundred years ago, is not a favourite object before their 
eyes, but a memorial of -their inferiority and misfortune. 
This church is called St Michael Sacala, to diftinguim it 
from another more to the fouthward, called St Michael 

At three quarters after one we arrived at the top of 
the mountain, whence we had a diftinct view of all the re- 
maining territory of Sacala, the mountain Geefh, and 
church of St Michael Geelh, about a mile and a half diftant 
from St Michael Sacala, where we then were. We faw, im- 
mediately below us, the Nile itfelf, ftrangely diminifhed in 
fize, and now only a brook that had fcarcely water to turn a 
mill. I could not fatiate myfelf with the fight, revolving in 
my mind all thofe claffical prophecies that had given the 
Nile up to perpetual obfcurity and concealment. The lines 
of the poet came immediately into my mind, and I enjoy- 
ed here, for the firfl time, the triumph which already, by 
the protection of Providence, and my own intrepidity, I 
had gained over all that were powerful, and all that were 
learned, fince the remotefl: antiquity: — 

Arcanum nature caput non prodidit nil?, 
Nee lieu it pop:/ lis parvum te, Nile, videre ; 
Amovitquefmus, et gentcs maluit art us 

Mirari, quam ?2oJJ"e tuos.~ - 


I was 


I was awakened out of this delightful reverie by an alarm 
that we had loft Woldo our guide. Though I long had ex- 
pected fome thing from his behaviour, I did not think, for his 
own fake, it could be his intention to leave us. The fer- 
vants could not agree when they laft faw him : Strates and 
Aylo's fervant were in the wood mooting, and we found by 
the gun that they were not far from us ; I was therefore in 
hopes that Woldo, though not at all fond of fire-arms, might 
be in their company ; but it was with great diffatisfaclion I 
faw them appear without him. They faid, that, about an 
hour before, they had feen fome extraordinary large, rough 
apes, or monkeys, feveral of which were walking upright, 
and all without tails ; that they had gone after them thro' 
the wood till they could fcarce get out again ; but they 
did not remember to have feen Woldo at parting. Various 
conjectures immediately followed ; fome thought he had 
refolved to betray and rob us ; fome conceived it was an in- 
ftruCtion of Fafil's to him, in order to our being treacheroufly 
murdered ; fome again mppofed he was flain by the wild 
beads, efpecially thofe apes or baboons, whofe voracity, 
fize, and fierce appearance were exceedingly magn