Page images

in Abysfinia. It was to bring a wife to Yasous from a race of Galla. Her name was. Wobit, daughter of Amitzo, to whom Bacuffa had once fled when he escaped from the mountain before he was king, and had been kindly entertained there. Her family was of the tribe of Edjow, and the division of Toluma, that is, of the southern Galla upon the frontiers of Amhara. They were esteemed the politeft, that is, the least barbarous of the name. But it was no matter, they were Galla, and that was enough. Between them an Abyffinia, oceans of blood had been shed, and strong prejudices imbibed against them, never to be effaced by marriages. She was, however, brought to Gondar, christened by the name of Besfabéé and married to Yasous : By her he had a son, nam. ed Joas, who succeeded his father.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]



FROM 1753 TO 1768.


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

A'S soon as the death of King Yasous was known, the old officers and servants of the crown, remembering the tumults: and confusion that happened in Gondar at his accession, re. paired to the palace from their different governments, each with a small well regulated body of troops, sufficient to keep order, and strengthen the hands of Ras Welled de l'Oul, whom they all looked upon as the father of his country. The first who arrived vas Kasmati Waragna of Damot; theu Ayo of Begemder, and very soon after, though at much the greatest distance, Suhul Michael, governor of Tigre. These. three entered the palace, with Welled de soas, who, after. a troublesome reign, was assassinated in his palace, and bua. ried in the church of St. Raphael..

[ocr errors]




'HANNES, a man upwards of seventy years of age, made his entry into Gondar the 3d of May 1769. He was brother to Bacuffa, and having in his time escaped from the mountain, and being afterwards taken, his hand was cut off by order of the king his brother, and he was sent back to the place of his confinement. It is a law of Abyffinia, derived from that of Moses, that no man can be capable either of the throne or priesthood, unless he be perfect in all his limbs ; the want of a hand, therefore, certainly disqualified Hannes, and it was with that intent it had been cut off ; but this objection was easily over-ruled. However, besides his age, he was very feeble in body; and having had no conversation but with monks, and priests, this had debilitated his mind as much as age had done his body. He could not be persuaded to take any share in the government, and when he was desired to take the field to defend his kingdom, he wept, hid himself, turned monk, and demanded to be sent back to his former place of confinement. The consequence was, that he' was one day poisoned at his breakfast.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

TECLA HAIMANOUT succeeded his father. Hewas a prince of a most graceful figure, tall for his age, rather thin, and of the whitest shade of Abyssinian colour, such are all those princes that are born in the mountain. Though he had been absent but a very few months from his native moun. tain, his manners and carriage were those of a prince, that from his infancy had sat upon an hereditary throne. He had an excellent understanding, and prudence beyond his years. He was said to be naturally of a yery warm temper, but


this he had so perfectly subdued as scarcely ever to have given an instance of it in public.

With the beginning of this king's reign, we shall close the Annals of Abyssinia, and return to Mr. Bruce at Masuah, after which we shall accompany him from thence in his journey to Gondar,










ASUAH, or the harbour of the Shepherds, is a small

island on the Abyssinian More, having an excellent harbour, and water deep enough for ships of any size to the very edge of the island: here they may ride in the utmost security, from whatever point, or with whatever degree of strength, the wind blows. The island itself is very small, scarce three quarters of a mile in length, and about half that in breadth; one third occupied by houses, one by cisterns to receive the rain-water, and the last is reserved for burying the dead.

This island was a place of much resort as long as commerce flourished; but it fell into obscurity very suddenly, under the oppression of the Turks, who put the finishing hand to the ruin of the India trade in the Red Sea, begun some years before by the discovery of the Cape of Good Hope, and the settlements made by the Portuguese on the continent of India. р


On the 19th of September 1769, our traveller arrived at Masualı, very much tired of the sea, and desirous to land, But, as it was evening, he thought it advisable to sleep on board that night, that he might have a whole day (as the first is always a busy one) before him, and receive in the night any intelligence from friends, who might nat choose to venture to coine openly to see him and his company in the day, at least before the determination of the Naybe, the governor of that place, had been heard concerning them.

On the 20th, a person came from Mahomet Gibberti to conduct Mr. Brúce on shore. The Naybe himself was ftill at Arkeeko, and Achnet, his cousin and successor, therefore, had come down to receive the duties of the merchandize on board the vefiel which brought Mr. Bruce. There were two elbow-chairs placed in the middle of the marketplace. Achnet sat on one of them, while the several officers opened the bales and packages before him: the other chair on his left hand was empty. He was dressed all in white, in a long Banian habit of muslin, and a close-bodied frock reaching to his ankles, much like the white frock and petticoat the young children wear in England. This species of dress did not, in any way, fuit Achmet's shape or size; but, it seems, he meant to be in gala. As soon as Mr. Bruce came in sight of him, our traveller doubled his pace: Mahomet Gibberti's servant whispered to Mr. Bruce not to kiss his hand, which indeed he intended to have done. Achmet food up, just as he arrived within arm's length of him; when they touched each others hands, carried their fingers to their lips, then laid their hands across their breasts: Mr. Bruce pronounced the salutation of the inferior Salam Alicum! Peace be between tis ; to which he answered immediately, Alicum Salam! There is peace between us. 'He pointed to the chair, which Mr. Bruce declined; but he obliged him to sit down.

In these countries, the greater honour that is shown you at first meeting, the more considerable present is expected. He made a sign to bring coffee directly, as the immediate offering of meat or drink is an assurance your life is not in danger.


« PreviousContinue »