Skip to main content
Hide Articles List

12 articles on this Page

--------_. LETTER FROM ONE…

News
Cite
Share

LETTER FROM ONE OF THE ABYSSINIAN PRISONERS. The following is a letter from Dr. Blanc, one of Mr. Jtassam's companions in the unfortunate mission for the release of Consul Cameron to a friend who is an officer in one of the regiments now serving in India. The letter (observes the Bombay Gazette, in which the document is printed.1 is very freely written to come from a prisoner, but the allusions to the Emperor Theodore are very carefully guarded. It will he observed that Dr. Blanc, expressing no doubt the common wish of all the Emperor Theodore's captives, is himself anxious that their sufferings should be brought to an end, one way or the other, by the advance of a British army into Abyssinia:- Magdala, March 31, 1867.-My dear ,I pro- mised you in my note sent from here some fifteen days ago, that I would on the first occasion give you a longer account of our unfortunate expedition how- ever, the very thought of it disgusts me, and if it was not for old friendship's sake, I would throw down the pen in despair. We left Massowah on the 15th of October, 1865, crossed the Soudan, not a very agree- able trip, the hot sun and want of water making it a very trying journey for Europeans, reached Metemma, the frontier town of Abyssinia in that direction, on the 21.% t of November we stayed at that place until the 27th of January, 1866. Metemma, as in geographical books it will be described some day, is the capital of Galabat, a province inhabited by Takruries, a race ori- ginally from Darfour, who on their way to the coast, finding the country pleasant, became settlers. All I can say is, that if these negroes found an earthly paradise in the unhealthy lowland of Gala- bat, Darfour must be a wretched place. I hope that you will never have any idea of exploring its torrid zone. These Takruries are a very noisy set; three or four times a week they would bawl all night, singing I believe they call it, and dance or rather jump to the monotonous tone of a single note extracted for hours out of a kind of kettledrum. Some, having served amongst the Egyptian troops, returned to their adopted land full of ideas of disciplined armies, and at last prevailed on their countrymen to adopt drill as a weekly recreation. Some women would be seen on Fridays going through a series of evolutions amazing to behold a bad representation of some great battle at Astley's can, perhaps, give you a faint idea of the military genius of Sheik Jainus, the reigning sovereign of Gralabat. The drill does not seem, however, to have raised the spirit of the tribe, as they prefer paying tribute both to Egypt and Abyssinia rather than fight with one of them. As I have already told you, on the 27th January we started for the highland of Abyssinia, crossed the pro- vinces of Tschetga, Darbea, Tukassa, and finally, after a month's travelling, generally through an unculti- vated country, amongst ruins of burnt villages, we reached the imperial camp close on the confines of Gaffat. Our reception was above our most sanguine expectations we had all the show and dazzle of Oriental Courts usually brought forward on similar oc- casions the Emperor was good enough to receive her Majesty's letter, and in order to show his friendship he ordered at once the prisoners to be set free and sent to us. After spending some eight days with the King, we started for Kourata, a town on the western shores of the Tana Sea, to await the arrival of the liberated captives. On the 12th of March they joined us, and having nothing more to do in the country we were all anxious to leave. At last we obtained the royal con- sent, and the 13th of April was fixed upon as the day we would have the honour of bidding good hye to the hospitable monarch, whilst the former offenders, whose sight would be painful to the good King, after all he had suffered at their hands, were allowed to proceed by another route, the wftole party to rendezvous at a village at the north-east extremity of the lake. You know the rest; how we were seized, stripped, our property searched, made prisoners, tried, and acquitted. The other party shared the same fate, and were brought to us in chains. We all remained at 35age for seme six weeks, Mr. Flad having been sent for presents and workmen. In the meanwhile our im- prisonment was light; we could go out riding under the protection of a "guard of honour our kit was returned to us, when it was found that nothing suited, the -money alone being kept back, probably by mis- take. Cholera, typhus, and small-pox forced his Majesty to leave the Lake Country for the Table-land. We accompanied him, and arrived at Gaffat on the 1Mh of.J une. The rainy season was beginning accord- ingly his Majesty gave us some huts in the neighbour- hood of Gaffat, so that all the Europeans should spend the dull season in the enjoyment of one another's company. Pleasant or not, after ten days his Majesty put a stop to our intercourse with the Europeans of Gaffat, by shutting us up in a black tent all huddled together, pitched in his own enclosure. A few days later this was even too good on the 3rd July we were made to try the effects of a dark room as a solace to the mind; and lastly, on the 5th. we started with his Majesty, all guessed, but no one k lew for certain, where, until the morning of the 9th, when an escort came from his Majesty to our tents to convey us to the royal residency at Magdala. On the 12th we arrived, on the 16th we were chained, and though his Majesty has been kind enough to send us his compli- ments on several occasions, with the exception of a few lean cows sent on great fair days, we have been supposed by our kind friend to have lived on the pure air and limpid water of the fairy mountain. My dear fellow, you have it all now cut and dry, since eight and a half months we are in chains, on bad grub, and with very ugly shadows in the future. My only wish is that, before even this reaches you, the brave King's Own will be on their way, for who could better teach niggers the practical lesson between humbug and reality?

[No title]

THE AMERICAN CROPS.

THE STORY OF AN AFRICAN KING.

THE LATE KING OF THE BELGIANS.

FRENCH ORPHEONISTS -FROM FAR…

THE FATE OF DR. LIVINGSTONE.

AN EXCUSE FOR THE GLASS. --

THE WHITE NILE SLAVE TRADE.

THE OAKS COLLIERY EXPLOSION.

The BOYS on BOARD the "CHICHESTER."

[No title]