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1844.]
HARRIS'S HIGJILANDS OF ETHIOPIA.

435 The style of these volumes is so turgid, and his advisers scrupled to accord the and meretricious, as most seriously to de- desired permission. This occasioned varitract from their utility, drawing off the ous visits of ceremony and negotiation; attention of the reader from the matters aud as our readers may desire to look on narrated, to fix it on the manner, and fre- the chief ruler of a country through which quently obscuring them from his vision in they are to travel for some pages, we ex a mist of glittering verbiage.

tract the author's description of his appearBut we leave this topic, and rather pro-ance at one of them. ceed to the more pleasant task of giving

“A more unprincely object can scarcely, be our readers a general view of the contents conceived than was presented in the imbecile, atof these volumes. In doing so, we must renuated, and glastly form of this most meagre make a selection among an innumerable potentate, who, as he tottered into the marquée, crowd of objects and incidents well worthy supported by a long witch-like wand, tendered of notice.

his hideous, bony claws to each of the party in The Embassy sailed from Bombay in succession, with all the repulsive coldness that

characterizes a Dankáli shake of the hand. April, 1841. A fortnight carried them to An encourager of the staple manufactures of Aden in Southern Arabia. Here they left his own country, his decrepit srame was enthe steamboat, to purchase horses and veloped in a coarse cotton mantle, which, with other necessaries for the land journey into a blue-checked wrapper about his loins, and the African interior, and also to engage an ample turban perched on the very apex of a volunteer escort of European soldiers his shaven crown, was admirably in keeping from the garrison.

with the harmony of dirt that pervaded the The Embassy quitted Aden on the 15th jecting triangles of leathers graced the toes of

attire of his privy council and attendants. Proof May, in the Euphrates brig of war, and his rude sandals; a huge quarto koran, slung stood across the Red Sea to the Gulf of over his bent shoulder, rested beneath the left Tadjura. They arrived in about two days; arn', on the hilt of a brass-mounted creese and on the inorning of the 17th of May which was girded to his right side: and his found themselves opposite the town or vil- illustrious person was farther defended against Jage of that name, beyond which towered evil influence by a zone and bandalier thickly above heaps of lava blocks, the lofty peak charms, extracted from the Sacred Book. En

studded with mystic amulets and most potent of Jebel Goodah. Tadjura consists of feebled by years, his deeply furrowed counte about two hundred houses, rudely con-nance, bearing an ebony polish, was fringed structed of frames of unbewn timber, | by a stragging white beard; and it needed arranged in a parabolic arch, and covered not the science of Lavater to detect, in the in

In these were sheltered difference of his dull leaden eye, and the pucksome twelve hundred inhabitants. It is a

ered corners of his toothless mouth, the lines place of considerable traffic; slares, ivory, i., pp. 46, 47.

of cunning, cruelty, and sordid avarice."— Vol. gold dust, and spices, being brought in kafilahs or caravans from the African in The Danakil Tribes, to which this

perterior, and exported at this place; while it sonage belongs, are the descendants of the admits the Indian and Arabian manufac- Arabs, who many centuries, ago after the tures, and other articles, for which these Abyssinians were expelled from Arabia, are exchanged at the inland marts. Here overran and colonized the low tract forming it behooved the Embassy to disembark, and a zone between the Red Sea and the Abysbegin the land journey to the kingdom of sinian Alps. The precise extent of their terShoa, which is about 350 miles inland. ritory, and their relation to the Abyssinian The intermediate country, which is called Emperor for some centuries, seem to be Adel, is in possession of the Adaiel, a par- somewhat doubtful

. In the 16th century, ticular body or confederacy of the Danákil however, it is known, that under a famous tribes. Tádjura is the seat of their gov- leader called Graan, they overran Abyssinia ernment; and their present ruler, Sultan itself. Graan was slain by a Portuguese, Mohammad ibn Mohammad, was then in the service of the Emperor; the progress resident there. The first thing necessary of the Mahommedans arrested, and their was to obtain permission to land, and also dominion restricted to the plains over liberty to proceed into the interior, along which it now extends. Since then, frewith proper guides, and the means of trans- quent wars have been waged between them port. From a very natural jealousy of and what remains of the once powerful this unwonted intrusion upon his territories Abyssinian empire. Commanding as they of an armed body of Franks, the Sultan do the direct passage between the Shoan

with date matting:

kingdom and the East, the Negoos of Shoa the inmediately preceding station being has found it necessary to maintain some in- 1700 feet above the sea level. No fresti Auence over them; and this being denied water was to be found within a space of to his arms, he has of late sought to obtain sixteen miles on either side, and from this it by management and concessions. cause, joined to the intolerable heat of the

of the character and condition of these close valleys of a tropical country, the party, tribes, Major Harris gives a portrait which in their advance through Rah Eesah, and is far from pleasing, even when allowance in the day and night passed beside the lake, is made for the foolish exaggeration of his suffered terribly, and barely escaped with style. We cannot give particulars, but life. The first sight of the lake from the may say briefly, that they are a migratory, heights above it, disclosed "an elliptical pastoral, and slave-dealing people-go al- basin, seven miles in its transverse axis, ways armed—are virulent Mahommedans, half filled with smooth water of the deepest and exhibit in their government a rude de- cerulean hue, and half with a solid sheet of mocracy. There are several confedera- glittering snow-white salt, the offspring of cies; and of these, the one called Adaïel or evaporation-girded on three sides by huge Debenik-Woema occupies the country be- hot-looking mountains, which dip their tween 'Tadjura and Shoa. This district is, bases into the very bowl, and on the fourth in general, low and level, very barren, quite by crude half-formed rocks of lava, broken uncultivated, hot, and scant of water. The and divided by the most unintelligible Hawash is the chief river; its course is chasms.” As they descended under a fiery north-east, but the stream is drunk in by sun, through glaring rocks, a close “methe arid soil, and does not reach the sea. phitic stench, impeding respiration, arose

After some days of annoying delay in ne- from the saline exhalations of the stagnant gotiating with the Sultan, a liberal use of lake." The water was so salt as to sinart gifts, and quiet submission to various im- the lips when tasted. Only one solitary positions and exactions, permission to ad- bush grew in “this unventilated and diavance was conceded, and mules, camels, bolical hollow," sor the shade of which the and camel-drivers obtained for conveying camels and mules disputed with the men, the bago age of the Embassy. Of the kafi- and many were obliged to take refuge in Jah or caravan, Izhak, brother of the Sul-1" noisome caves," formed by fallen masses tan, was named Ras, or commander, and il of the volcanic rock, and hot as a furnace. was accompanied by various persons of con- Under the shade of cloaks and umbrellas, sideration among the tribes. The journey the mercury stood at 126 during the entire 10 Farri, the frontier town of the province day—a paralyzing heat, which prevented of Efat, in Abyssinia, occupied several minute examination of the phenomenon weeks. The progress was slow, at least beside them. But Major Harris is of according to European notions; the Ma- opinion, that it formed at some remote pehommedan camel-drivers not caring 10 riod a continuation of the gulf of Tadjura, quicken their motions, to suit the impatient and was separated from Goobut el Kheráb, and imperious humor of the infidels. Fre-|(a curious cove on the sea-shore, with quent pauses, too, were occasioned by the which Bahr Assál is supposed to have a anxiety of the Ras to protect the caravan subterranean connexion,) by a stream of from wandering robbers, and to conciliate lava six miles broad. This now forms the the chiefs of the tribes which they succes- high barrier between them, having on its sively met, each of whom expected from summits many traces of craters. The lake the caravan the usual testimony to his is evidently undergoing a process of evapopower and dignity, and price of its safety, ration, and it will probably be in time conin some substantial gift.

verted into a dry deposit of salt. Shortly after setting out, they came to After broiling all day in this “suffocating the Bahr Assál, or Great Salt Lake. Its Pandemonium,” the party, whose misery distulice from T'adjura by the route, is 42 was vow augmented by a total want of wamiles, and is reached through a yawning ter, set off by moonlight for the next station, defile, called Rah Eesah, or, “Road of the sixteen miles distant. The sufferings of Eesahs,” a hostile tribe. Lake Assál is the march were dreadful; there was an insituated in latitude 11° 37' 30" N., longi- cessant cry for water ; dogs expired on tude 42° 33' 6" E., and is 570 feet below the road; mules and horses lay down and the level of the sea. The approach to it is were abandoned to their fate, and the courthrough mountains rugged and very high, I age and almost the reason of the men were

about to desert them, when a Bedouin, | Ninetenths were semales varying in age from whom Mohammad Ali had sent forward, six to thirteen years. Each slive was proreturned with a large skinful of water. vided with a cruise of water, and had walked This being poured over the faces and down heart of Africa, with an endurance that in chil

the entire distance accomplished from the the throats of the sufferers, revived every dren, especially of such tender years, was truly one sufficiently to enable then to “struggle surprising. A very few only, who had become into the camp” at the well of Hanlefanta, weary or foot sore, had been mounted on where they were more thoroughly recruited. mules or camels, or provided with ox-hide Shortly after, they had sad experience of sandals, which in some measure proiected their the barbarism of the country, in a savage The males, chiefly boys, had been intrusted

tender feet against the sharp lava boulders. murder of three of the escort, by some with the charge of camels, and required no rovers from distant and hostile tribes, coinpulsion to render themselves useful; and who, stealing into the encampment during of the females, sone, who boasted personal darkness, killed their victims as they lay charms, occupied the position of temporary asleep.

mistresses. Four large handfulls of parched The twentieth station of the Embassy grain, comprising a mixture of wheat, maize, was at the pool, in the rugged basaltic val- millet, and grain, formed the daily food of ley of Killulloo. Vast numbers of the each; and under the charge of the most intelAdel people were here collected, to water rogether on mais spread upon the ground.

ligent, the respective droves slept huddled their Rocks aud herds, and replenish their some surly old drivers or wanton youths there water-skins, and the long trains incessantly were, who appeared to prefer the application ascending and descending the neighboring of the whip to the more gentle persuasion of slopes, with the wild air and dresses of the words; but in the trifling punishment inflicted, people, gave the highest aniniation to the here was nothing to remind the spectator of landscape. The crowd was augmented and the horrors of slavery as witnessed in the

western world.”—Pp. 233, 236, vol. i. the interest deepened, by the arrival of a slave caravan from Shoa, on its road to Tadjura. It consisted of several hundred But such appearances of mildness must children of all ages.

not deceive us. It is quite possible that in

their physical condition, men in that coun“ Although the majority of the slaves im try suffer little by being reduced to slavery. ported with the caravan from Abyssinia were still it is not the less certain that slavery is of tender years, and many of them extremely hated and dreaded by them as by other hupretty, they did not excite that interest which

man beings. The violence and bloodshed mighi have been anticipated. Children accustomed to sorry fare, and to harsh treatinent in by which the slave-marts are replenished, their own country. they had very readily sufficiently attest this; and Major Harris alapted themselves to the will of their nerv

mentions the very significant fact, that the ma-ters, whose obvious interesi it was to value of a slave increases in proportion to keep them fat and in good spirits. With his distance from home, because the chance few exceptions, all were merry and light of his running away becomes so much less. herted ; recovered from the fatigues of the It seems, then, that men there, as elselong march, there was nothing but dancing. where, hate being slaves, notwithstanding singing, and romping; and although many the mildness of their slavery. But even if wore an air of melancholy which forms a national characteristic, the liitle victims to a traf- it were not felt to be an evil by its victims, fic so opposed to every principle of humanity, it would not be the less a calamity to them. might rather have been conjectured to be pro- nor would our obligation become one whit ceeding on a party or pleasure, than bending the less stringent to root out the horrible their steps for ever from their native land. A trade which keeps a continent in anarchy very limited number of Shankelas, and a few

and degradation. natives of Zingero excepted, the whole consisted of Christians and heathens from Gu

Travelling onwards to Abyssinia, they raguê, whence are obtained the “red Ethin- got glimpses of its

great blue

range

loompians' so much prized in Arabia. Kidnapping ing in the distance, and at length fell in hus consequently been there carried to an ex- | with the Hawash. This river rises in the tent so frightful, as to impart the name of the heart of that country, at 8000 feet above unhappy province as a designation for slaves the level of the sea, and flows like an argenerally. Nearly all of both sexes, however, had already become passive converts to the tery through the arid Adel plains, its banks Mahonimedan faith, and under the encourag- green and wooded, till it falls, and is abing eye of the bigoted drivers, oaths by the sorbed in lagoons at Aussa.

It was passed false prophet resounded through the camp.-on rafts with some labor, at a point, the

nominal boundary of Shoa, 2000 feet above the Negoos, this Wulasma Mohamınad is the sea, and where the stream was at the chief Jailer of Shoa, and in that capacity time sixty yards broad, rolling a deep vol- then held in fetters, and under ground in his ume of turbid water at the rate of three stronghold at Goncho, on the summit of a miles an hour, between clayey banks conical hill, three brothers of the Negoos, twenty-five feet in height. Its banks were suffering that perpetual custody to which lined with close thickets of underwood, the custom of Abyssinia dooms the royal teeming with Guinea fowl, and noble for- kindred. est trees of tamarisk, and accacia, whose The Neyoos had despatched a body of shattered branches bore witness to the 300 matchlock men, with orders to meet presence of the elephant and hippopota- the Embassy at the Hawash. But this mus, while the copse and neighboring functionary, jealous of this unwonted inswamps were alive with the beasts and trusion into his province, and opposed to birds of Africa. Leaving the Hawash, and European innovation, had sent them back passing through a district where they saw on the pretext that the Embassy could not fields of extinct craters, (the whole region in- be heard of. He now gave it a reluctant deed seems volcanic,) they reached, at their and insulting greeting; but a fresh message thirty-second station, the foot of the high- of welcome from the Negoos, with the relands of Abyssinia. Here, at an elevation turn of the guard of honor, bringing with of 3000 feet, they, for the first time since them a horse arrayed in royal trappings, at they had set foot in Africa, drank of pure last extracted from the “ pompous and overrunning water, and enjoyed the delights of bearing Wulasma" proper civility and poan invigorating breeze and a cloudy sky liteness. At Dinomalli, an impost of ten Pitching their tents under some wide per cent. on the goods of all caravans is spreading trees, on whose branches were levied ; but the luggage of the Embassy gigantic nests, and strange birds of glitter- was, though with difficulty, passed unopened ing plumage and melodious warble, they and free. On July 16th, they reached saw above them an alluring prospect of Farri, whose conical-roofed houses, clusthe country whither they were journeying tered on the sloping sides of twin-hills, were

-“hill rose above hill, clothed in the most the first permanent dwellings they had seen luxuriant and vigorous vegetation ; moun- since they left the sea-coast. tain towered above mountain in a smiling The camel, hitherto their chief beast of chaos of disorder, and the soaring peaks burden, here becomes useless from the of the most romantic range, threw their steepness of the roads and the increasing hoary heads sparkling with a white mantle coldness of the climate. The baggage was mf hail, far into the cold azure sky.” Vil now transferred to the backs of 600 Moslem lages and hamlets embosomed in dark porters, impressed by royal anthority, and foliage, and rich fields of various hue, co- carried 3000 feet higher to the town of lored by the setting sun, completed the en- Alio Amba.

a cool and lovely chantment of the scene.

morning, and the road, rough and stony, The frontier town of Farri, where cara- led over hill and dale, now skirting the vans are received by the King of Shoa's edge of a precipitous cliff, now descending officers, was but five miles distant. But, into a valley, ar.d again winding through to their surprise and mortification, no greet- shady lanes bordered with flowering hedgeing from the Monarch had yet reached the rows. Terraces, into which the entire range Embassy. Now, however, they ascertained was broken by bauks supporting the soil, that this seeming slight was occasioned by a showed wheat, barley, Indian corn, beans, certain Wulasma Mohammad, the heredi- pease, cotton, and oil plant in luxuriant tary Abogaz of the Moslem population of growth, and on every eminence stood conArgobba or Efat, on the east of Shoa-ically-thatched houses, environed by green the holder of an office of ancient standing, hedges, and partially embowered amid of which the duty is to maintain amicable dark trees. As the procession passed, the relations between the Adaiel and the Abys- peasant quitted his field labor to gaze at sinians, and protect the kafilahs coming the novel sight, whilst “merry groups of from Hurrur or Tadjura. Besides being hooded women, decked in scarlet and the chief of the Wulasmoch, (for under crimson, left their avocations in the hut to him are many more over detached pro- welcome the King's guests with a shrill vinces,) and having as such the charge of) ziroleet." admitting foreigners into the territory of Alio Amba, like the other towns, vil

It was

lages, and hamlets of a country where ter “The last peal of ordnance was rattling in rific rains periodically swell the valleys with broken echoes along the mountain chain, as impetuous foods, stands on an eminence the British Embassy stepped at length over about five miles from Ankober, the capital cular in form, and destitute of the wonted

the high threshold of the reception hall. Cirof Shoa. Its population is about 2000 of Abyssinian pillar in the centre, the massive various Mahommedan tribes. The chief and lofty clay walls of the chamber glittered market of the country is held here every with a profüsion of silver ornaments, emFriday, at which are seen exposed for sale, blazoned shields, maichlocks, and double-barhoney, cotton, grain, beads, metal, colored relled guns. Persian carpets and rugs of all thread, glass ware, cotton cloths, coffee, sizes, colors, and paiterns, covered the floor, horses, mules, &c. Here resort not only chiefs, and principal officers of the court, ar

and crowds of Alakas, (priests,) governors, the neighborhood, but natives of the Galla rayed in their holiday attire, stood around in countries, traders from the interior, and a posture of respect, uncovered to the girdle. caravans from the coast. Adjoining to it I'wo wide alcoves receded on either side, in is the slave mart of Abd el Rasood, sup- one of which blazed a cheerful wood fire, enplied by the kidnappers in the interior. grossed by indolent cats, whilst, in the other, Among the coins current here, in Abys- on a flowered satin ottoman, surrounded by sinia, and in this part of Africa generally, are

withered eunuchs and juvenile pages of honblocks of black salt, the size of a mower's clined in Ethiopic state his most Christian Ma

or, and supported by gay velvet cushions, rewhetstone, of which the value is about two- jesty Sáhela Selássie. The Dech Agafari, pence sterling each.

or state door-keeper, as master of the cereThe Embassy was kept at Alio Amba in monies, stood with a rod of green rushes to very uncomfortable lodgings, much to the preserve the exact distance of approach to annoyance of Major Harris, for some days, royalıy; and as the British guests entered the during which, we presume, he penned the hall, and made their bows to the throne, mo38th and 39th chapters of his first volume, previously been sent in ; which done, it was

tioned them to be seated upon chairs that had in which he takes leave of the people of commanded that all might be covered. The Adel, by what he calls a “parting tribute King was attired in a silken Arab vest of green of gratitude," but which is as frightful an brocade, partially shrouded under the ample indictment against a nation as we have folds of a white cotton robe of Abyssinian ever read. We may quote the running manufacture, adorned with sundry broad titles of some pages,

habitual laziness,"

3, crimson stripes and borders. Forty summers, “untameable spirit,” “hideous aspect,” under the uneasy cares of the crown, had

whereof eight-and-twenty had been passed “affection for rancid tallow," "miserly slightly furrowed his dark brow, and somewhat disposition," "savage propensities," " vin- grizzled a full bushy head of hair, arranged dictive nature,” “ boast in blood,” bigot- in elaborate curls after the fashion of George ry and superstition," "despicable char- the First; and, although considerably disacter,” abhorrence of truth,”

a nation figured by the loss of the left eye, the expres. of assassins." The delay during which

sion of his manly features, open, pleasing, and

commanding, did not, in their lout ensemble Major Harris was venting this objurgatory belie the character for impartial justice which matter, was rendered the more intolerable the despot has obtained far and wide, even from Ankober the capital being within the Danakil comparing him to a 'fine balance sight, and the Negoos known to be at of gold.'”—Pp. 410, 411, vol. i. hand. But etiquette, and state policy, and bad omens, stood in the way of an imme The author then goes on to tell of the diate interview. These, however, at last display of the presents, and how the asyielded to the “burning curiosity of the sumed dignity of the barbarian monarch savage;" and, after he had taken up his was gradually overcome by surprise and residence at the palace (so Major Harris wonder, as rich carpets, Chinese toys, calls it) of Machal-wans, adjacent to Alio muskets, &c., were, one after another, Amba, Major Harris and his companions laid before him; how he and his courtiers were ushered into the presence of Sáhela admiringly gazed at the escort going Selássie. From the account of the inter- through the platoon exercise—were astonview we extract the following description ished at the unerring precision of the artilof the audience-chamber, and of his Ma- lery's fire, and looked with reverence upon jesty. After mentioning that he had ob- the ungainly leathern buckets, linstocks, tained leave to fire a royal salute from three and sponge-staves of the galloper guns, galloper guns, part of the gifts for the which, before th

knew their use,

had King, the author says:

caused much contemptuous mirth. Next

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