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DETENTION OF LETTERS.
invited him to my hotel. He then introduced himself as Mr. R. Scott, the surveying draughtsman attached to the Mission.
His first explanation was the cause of his nonarrival sooner, which was owing to the utter ignorance of my arrival on the part of Captain Harris, the chief of the Embassy, until the night but one before, when the King had forwarded by one of his pages two notes, which I had endeavoured to send to him, the last one dated from Dinnomalee. The other was the one which had been sent by Esau Ibrahim, who, it will be remembered, was despatched from Mullu, on the other side of the Hawash, with a note to Ankobar, informing Captain Harris of my being on the road with stores. Both these letters had been intercepted and detained, until public rumour spreading, the King could not have kept the Embassy much longer ignorant of my being in the country; and he therefore made a virtue of necessity, and sent the letters before they were demanded.
An answer had been sent to me by Capt. Harris the day before by the messenger now in prison, confined by the Wallasmah for having brought a letter for me, after the King had issued orders that all correspondence between the English already in the country and those arriving should be prevented. Mr. Scott was not at all surprised when I informed him of the circumstance, though I certainly considered such a proceeding to be very
EXTRAORDINARY POLICY ON
much at variance with the conditions and stipulations I was given to understand were contained in the commercial treaty. I could not help remarking this, and Mr. Scott then candidly admitted the King did not know the character or purport of the paper he had signed ; and had only been made aware of the new responsibilities he had incurred, by a sharply worded expostulatory letter, written by Mr. Krapf, in accordance to the dictation of Captain Harris, on an occasion subsequently to the signing of the treaty, when despatches and letters coming up from the coast were intercepted and detained for some time by the orders of the King. Singularly enough, this information was corroborated by Ohmed Medina, who told me that my letter from Dinnomalee had not been carried to Captain Harris, but to the King, who wanted to find out whether the English were his friends or not, and was trying my disposition and that of the Commander (Captain Harris) by this harsh treatment of me; a kind of experiment, in fact, to see what would be borne by us, and how far he had limited his authority by attaching his signature to the treaty. Any idea of granting public benefit, at the expense of his prerogative was never entertained for a moment, the intentions of the King being limited to shewing personal favour alone, which he is ever ready to concede even now to English travellers, much as he complains of the conduct of the Mission in Shoa as regards their
THE PART OF THE EMBASSY.
political misdoings; more especially of the great insult offered to him by the unfortunate letter before alluded to, and which was worded so unguardedly, that the King, on receiving it, might well, considering his great regard for Mr. Krapf previously, turn to him and say, in a tone that implied more of sorrow than of anger, write that, my father?”
“ Did you
Staying at Farree with Mr. Scott.-—Both placed under parole. —
Description of the houses of Farree.—Of the flour mill.—Some remarks upon the origin of the Amhara.—Dr. Prichard upon identity of the Amhara with the Antomali of Herodotus.Physical characters of the people.—Interview with the Wallasmah.–Saltpetre rock.—Province of Efat.-Take leave of Escort. --Tyrannical conduct of the Wallasmah.
May 26, 1842.—After Mr. Scott joined me at Farree, I considered that all my troubles were at an end, although I had still to go above fifty miles before I could meet the members of the British Political Mission who had accompanied the King to his residence at Angolahlah, the most western town of his dominions. An establishment was still kept up at Ankobar, situated about one third of the way between Farree and Angolahlah, at the head of which was the naturalist attached to the Mission, Dr. Roth, with whom was Mr. Bernatz, the artist, and there also Mr. Scott was stationed. Captain Harris the Ambassador, Captain Graham, the second in command, and Mr. Assistant-Surgeon Kirk, lived at Angolahlah, where I now expected to be permitted to go by my gaoler the Wallasmah.
MR. SCOTT IN TROUBLE.
I found, however, I was reckoning without my host, for a new difficulty had arisen, from the circumstance of Mr. Scott having come down to Farree without the permission of Walda-anna, the Governor of Ankobar. He was accordingly given to understand that he must consider himself a prisoner with me until the pleasure of the negoos should be known as to our disposal. It was in vain we expostulated with our surly gaoler; we were to be opposed by force if we attempted to leave Farree, and other sentinels were charged with the care of us. Something we did effect, and that was the liberation of the messenger who was detected bringing me a letter the day before, for as soon as this request was made to the Wallasmah it was at once acceded to, and the man was ordered to be set at liberty. Taking this as an evidence of some relaxation of the harsh treatment with which we had been treated, we sat sometime chatting with the old gentleman, and I hinted my intention of making him some present if he would honour me so far as to accept of my poor gifts. When we got up from the ground where we had been sitting, the Wallasmah directed his son, a fine young man about three or four and twenty years old, to accompany us to our residence; a sufficient intimation of his being graciously disposed, without the broad hint given by one of his followers, who whispered into the ears of Mr. Scott, “Give your memolagee to that man.” Our imprisoned servant not making