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which he has uniformly ruled the country under his command; having been successfully engaged in more than forty battles, and having cvinced on these occasions even too great a disregard of his own personal safety in action.

• At the time of Mr. Bruce's arrival in the country, in 1770, Raş Welled Selassé was a young man of some consequence about the court, so that, considering him, at that time, to have been three or four and twenty, his age must, at the period of my last visit to the country, have amounted to about sixty-four ; a point somewhat difficult of proof, from the extreme delicacy which existed of making enquiries of this description among his followers.'

His father bad once held the government of Tigré, in a short interval of the command of the famous Ras Michael; but the return of that old lion,' as he is still emphatically denominated in the country, while it displaced the father, left to the son, who had holden an important office, no escape from death but in the fastnesses of the wilderness, whence he carried on a predatory warfare. It is related, that during this period, he sent a general challenge to the army opposed to him, to fight, on horseback, any two chiefs together; and

• Two men of distinguished bravery having been chosen for the purpose, he went down into the plain to meet them, and killed both with his own hand; possessing, notwithstanding his small and delicate form, such peculiar skill in the management of two spears on horseback, that it was said in the country to be unequalled. This unex. ampled exploit raised his character as a warrior to the highest pitch ; and the particulars of the combat still continue to form a favourite topic of conversation among his followers.'

After incurring still more extreme peril through the treachery of Michael's successor, he at length acquired by arms the command of the province of Tigré, or rather of the still ampler territory of all the provinces eastward of the river Tacazze.' According to the general law and custom of the victorious soldiers of fortune, such an advancement to absolute power should bave been a fair introduction to a course of vindictive or capricious eruelty, or of low and sottish debauchery, or of restless military mischief. But it seems this Welled Selassé took another fancy; (for what else can it be called, when an acquirer of authority does not conform himself to so many illustrious examples ?) and we must make another short descriptive extract to shew whether the singularity was for the better or the worse; premising that the wars which are mentioned as a part of his administration, appear to have been really dictated by justice and necessity.

· The duties of the Ras's situation, who may be regarded as an ipdependent ruler, are extremely arduous, some notion of which máy be formed by a-reference to the map, where the extent of the country,

under what may be called "his personal jurisdiction," is marked out. Throughout this extensive district, all crimes, differences, and disputes, of however important or trifling a nature, are ultimately referred to his determination, all rights of inheritance are decided according to his will, and most wars are carried on by himself in person. To rule a savage people of so many different dispositions, manners, and usages, as the Abyssinians, requires a firmness of mind, and a vigour of constitution, rarely united in the same individual at his advanced age; yet, whenever I have seen him in the exercise of his power, he has shewn a vivacity of expression, a quickness of compre hension, and a sort of commanding energy, that over-awed all who approached him. During his continuance in power, he has made it his uniform practice to treat the different attempts at rebellion with perfect indifference; so that when those concerned in such conspiracies have, in their own imagination, brought affairs to a crisis, he has constantly expressed contempt rather than alarm at their machina. tions.


After a second attempt against his life by the same persons, he has been repeatedly known to pardon, and even to permit the parties convicted to attend about his court, priding himself particularly on having never been guilty of the crueltics of Ras Michael, and being led with reluctance to the condemnation of a common culprit; while no possible provocation can induce him "to cut off a limb, or put out the eyes," or commit any other of the atrocious acts which stained the character of that extraordinary leader. His common mode of punishing those who conspire against him, is, by taking away their districts; for, as I have heard him often declare, "men are saucy "only when their stomachs are full;" a saying peculiarly applicable to the Abyssinians, who, when ruled by the hand of power, make admirable subjects; but when left to their own wills, become intolerably presumptuous and overbearing.' p. 323.

We confess we have very seldom been so sorry to think of any man's being near seventy year old. Collecting into one view all that the volume contains illustrative of his rare combination of qualities, his discriminative, comprehensive, decisive judgement, his indefatigable activity, his signal courage and presence of mind, his united peremptoriness and moderation, and the systematic rectitude of his principles and conduct, the reader will be forced reluctantly to acknowledge that, excepting what our own favoured country has to boast, the traveller could have found but little like him in any courts or palaces less remote than those of Chelicut. In the circumstances of the country he governs, he is so consummately adapted to his office, that each additional year of his life may be regarded as a special favour conferred by Providence on the people. And we wish that he, himself, would estimate his remaining life at too high a rate to surrender any very considerable part of it, (that we may advert to one of his faults) to the amusement of chess-playing, 'a game,' says Mr. S. to which he appeared greatly devoted.'

An agreeable change of amusement was afforded him for a while by the exhibition of the rich presents with which the mission was charged, and the arrangement of such of them as had an ecclesiastical reference in the church of Chelicut. There were a painted glass window, a picture of the Virgin Mary, and a handsome marble table, all of which fortunately arrived ' without accident, and gave particular delight.'



The table was converted into a communion table, the picture suspended above it by way of an altar-piece, and the glass window put in a situation where it produced a remarkably pleasing, though not very brilliant effect.

It is scarcely possible to convey an adequate idea of the admiration which the Ras and his principal officers expressed on beholding these splendid presents. The former would often sit for minutes, absorbed in silent reflection, and then break out with the exclamation, "etzub, etzub," wonderful! wonderful! like a man bewildered with the fresh ideas that were rushing upon his mind, from having witnessed circumstances to which he could have given no previous credit.

The effect produced by the presents on the minds of all classes, became very apparent. The purity of our religion ceased to be questioned, our motives for visiting the country were no longer doubted, and our importance, in consequence, was highly rated.”

The mention of these presents from the Majesty of Great Britain may reasonably have suggested to the reader the question,-But what, all this while, is become of his Royal, or Imperial Majesty of Abyssinia ?-For it was for him these fine things were intended, though committed to the Ambassador with the instruction to consign them in charge to the Ras, if it should be found impossible for the mission to advance to the capital of the empire. And it is quite time to notice, that though there was actually a person existing in the very solemn capacity of sustainer of the royal or imperial title, ycleped previously to such his high vocation, Eyto Egwala Zion, son of Ischias, he had little more to do than eat and sleep. He had been placed on the throne by an agreement, probably in the nature of compromise, between the Ras and Guxo, the powerful and, indeed, independent governor of the western provinces of Abyssinia; and lived at Gondar without wealth, splendour, or influence in the state; so that, says Mr. S. royalty may be considered for a 'time, almost eclipsed in the country.' The kingdom is in fact fallen asunder into three great divisions, independent on one another, and independent on any central or comprehending power. The limits and the included provinces and districts of these three divisions, are indicated by Mr. S. with much particularity, and the three great states are displayed in different



colours on a most splendid map. The first of them, comprehended under the denomination Tigré, forming the eastern part of Abyssinia, is the most powerful of the three, owing to the

natural strength of the country, the warlike disposition of its

inhabitants, and its vicinity to the sea 'coast, an advantage that 'has secured to it a monopoly of all the muskets imported into

the country, and what is of still more consequence, of all the salt required for the consumption of the interior.' The second grand division is called by the natives Amhara, though that is strictly the name of a province which it does not include, and which has been conquered and occupied by the wild southern tribes denominated Galla. This division comprises the main eastern portion of the kingdom or empire, including Dembea, and, of course, the capital, and is governed by an unprincipled barbarian, whose name, Guxo, bas been aiready mentioned, and who is, perhaps, the enemy most dangerous to the governor of Tigré.

The third, or southern grand division, consists of the united provinces of Shoa and Efat. This is separated from the others by the intervention of those encroaching barbarous Galla. This division has acquired the decided form of an independent state, the government having descended, for many generations, in a right line from father to son. This chieftain is reported to be

' little less powerful than Welled Selassé, his military force consisting principally of horsemen, much celebrated for their courage in battle. His province of Shoa is noted for the richness of its land, and contains many large towns, and an im

, mense number of monasteries.' Of some parts of this third division Mr. S. observes, that there is just reason to suppose ' that Ethiopic literature might be found in a more flourishing

condition there than in any other part of Abyssinia, and that the inhabitants retain more of the ancient customs and peculiar

manners of their forefathers, than either of the other two states which, together with them, once constituted the empire of Abyssinia.

• The present state of Abyssinia,' says Mr. S.‘may with justice be compared to that of England previously to the time of Alfred; the government of the country being formed on the model of a complete feudal system. The constant disputes on the borders, the dissentions among the several chiefs, the usurpation of power by a tew of the more considerable of the nobles, the degraded condition of the sove. reign, and the frequent incursions of a barbarous enemy, too strongly bear out the comparison : though I fear that the result of the struggle, in which Abyssinia has for so long a time been engaged, is not likely to terminate in so favourable a manner as that which ensued in our own country, owing to a variety of causes which it would be here foreign to my purpose to enumerate p. 485.

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It is evident, as he maintains, that the only chance for the restoration of any thing like union and regular government to this distracted country, would be in the augmented preponderance of Tigré; in other words, the ability of Tigré to reduce by arms the other portions of the country, for we can conceive no other way in which its ascendency could materially avail. There is no imaginable principle of mere policy, that would draw them into harmonious combination, or even keep them quiet. No deputation of the prime of the world's philosophers, counsellors, orators, and intriguers, bearing the concentrated illuminatism of our cabinets, senates, and colleges, would convince any one of these chiefs, of the duty or wisdom of merging a lawless independent power in one general system of orderly govern


With a view to the desirable ascendancy of Tigré, Mr. S. is anxious for the removal of the obstructions which interrupt its communications with the coast, and for establishing a free intercourse between it and the English settlements in India. Were 'such a measure to be accomplished,' he says, and a branch of the royal family to be placed by the consent of the chiefs of Tigré on the throne at Axum, it might revive the political importance of the country, and ultimately lead to the most de'sirable results.' It is hardly worth while to observe, that in the case of any grand and successful exertion by the government of Tigré, it is likely that very little regard would be paid to hereditary claims. Such an exertion could be made only under some able leading chief, and such a leader, in the pride of success, would want no sort of instruction from genealogy as to who is the properest person for the throne. The subject leads Mr. S. again to deplore, very justly, the ascendency of the Mahomedans in the Red Sea; a power which he considers as having passed into the very worst hands by the recent assumption, by the Pasha of Egypt, of the command at Jidda, from the Sheriffe of Mecca.

One of the first objects of Mr. S.'s anxious enquiries at Chelicut, was the practicability of reaching Gondar; and he soon ascertained, from Mr. Pearce and the Ras, the extreme difficulty and peril inevitable in an attempt to advance through a region under the power of the Ras's most deadly enemy. It may easily be imagined what were the incitements which inclined him, nevertheless, to risk the experiment; and it may be imagined, also, that he has since harboured no resentment against the Ras for the determination not to permit him, unless he would wait (it was then the middle of March) till after the rainy season, in October, should be past; at which time he, himself, intended a visit to Gondar, at the head of an army. So

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