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ABYSSINIA, a kingdom or empire in Eastern Africa. On account of our little acquaintance with this country, the statements on its area and population widely differ. Brehm's Geographisches Jahrbuch (vol. i., 1866), one of the best authorities on population, puts down the area at 7,450 geographical square miles and the population at 3,000,000. Dr. Küppell (Reise in Abessinien, 1831-33, Frankfort, 1838) estimates the population in the territory from 12° to 16° north latitude, and from 37° to 40° east longitude, at not more than 500,000 inhabitants; and in the remainder of Abyssinia, comprising the western provinces of Quara, Madsha, and Agov, and the southern provinces of Gudjam, Damot, Amhara, and Begemeder, at 1,000,000, thus giving to the whole of Abyssinia (with the exception of Shoa) a population of 1,500,000. The province of Shoa has, according to the missionary Dr. Krapf, one of the best writers on this country ("Travels, Researches, and Missionary Labors in Eastern Africa," London, 1860), about 1,000,000 inhabitants. These statements, taken together, and the natural increase, indicate a population of about 3,000,000. The same estimate is made by the Roman Catholic bishop Massaja, who for many years lived among the Gallas (Annales de la Propagation de la Foi, January, 1865). According to the missionary Isenberg (Abessinien, Bonn, 1864), the population of Abyssinia, Shoa, and the country between 7° and 10 north latitude and 36° and 42° east longitude, amounts to five or six millions. The whole Ethiopian plateau, comprising Abyssinia, and the Sidama and Galla countries, has, according to Massaja, 12,000,000 of people, 9,000,000 of whom are Sidamas and Gallas. This statement agrees with that of Krapf, according to which the Gallas number from six to eight millions. Abyssinia is ruled by emperors, who are supposed to be descended from King Solomon and VOL. VI.-1



the Queen of Sheba, but until the present monarch scized the throne, their authority was merely nominal, the real power being in the hands of the governors of the provinces, who gave them a formal allegiance. The present emperor, Theodore, succeeded in 1855, and his attention was soon directed to obtaining recognition and friendly intercourse from the power which holds India, and has established itself in the neighboring stronghold of Aden. A treaty had, therefore, been made between Great Britain and Abyssinia so long ago as 1849, and it was ratified in 1852. In this treaty it was stipulated that each state should receive ambassadors from the other. The emperor, desirous to strengthen his authority, resolved to assert the rights thus assured to him: but, unfortunately, the officer who represented British interests in those regions was suddenly taken away. Mr. Plowden had been for many years English consul at Massowah; though not an accredited agent to Abyssinia, he had been intrusted with presents for the people in authority, and with these he went into the country, where he remained, taking part in a war which broke out at the accession of the present emperor, and thus ingratiated himself extremely with that potentate.

Mr. Plowden was killed in 1860, and Mr. Cameron was sent from some other Eastern post to succeed him. Mr. Cameron arrived in 1862, and shortly afterward the emperor told him that he desired to carry out the treaty made so many years before. Toward the end of 1862 he wrote an autograph letter to Queen Victoria, requesting permission to send an embassy to England. This letter reached London in February, 1863, and, for some reason or other, was left unanswered. Then came a quarrel with a missionary, Mr. Sterm, who had committed the unpardonable offence of remonstrating against the flogging to death of two interpreters.

The emperor's wrath appears to have been roused at these and perhaps other causes, and within a year after he had written with his own hard to Queen Victoria, asking to be admitted into the pale of friendly intercourse, he sent a body of troops to the missionary station, seized the missionaries and Mr. Cameron himself, put them in chains, and cast them into prison, Mr. Cameron being chained continually to an Abyssinian soldier. This was done in November, 1863, and from that time to this the unhappy men have been in confine


With the consul were incarcerated his secretary Kerans, his servants McKelvie, Makerer, Petro, and Bardel; the missionaries Stern, Rosenthal, Flad, Steiger, and Brandeis, and the natural-history collectors Schiller and Essler. This outrage against British subjects produced the greatest excitement in England; but as the territory of the Emperor Theodore does not extend to the sea, and as the murderous climate puts the greatest obstacle to the success of an armed expedition, it was deemed best by the English Government to confine its efforts in behalf of the prisoners to diplomacy.

In the second half of the year 1865 the English Government sent Mr. Rassam, an Asiatic by birth, well known in connection with Mr. Layard's discoveries, and at that time holding the office of assistant to the British resident at Aden, on a special mission to the Abyssinian emperor. Mr. Rassam started from Massowah on the 15th of October, with forty camel-loads of presents to the emperor. In a letter from Mr. Rassam, dated February 7, 1866, it was announced that the emperor had given him a magnificent reception, and ordered the release of all the prisoners. The fact was accordingly announced in the English Parliament by Lord Clarendon. But the hope thus raised was soon to be disappointed. When Mr. Rassam and the other prisoners were just on the point of taking leave of the emperor, he and his party were put under arrest, and informed that they were to remain in the country, not as prisoners, but as "state guests," until an answer could be obtained to a second letter which the emperor was about to write to the queen. This letter was duly indited, in a style worthy of some Lusitanian monarch of old, beginning: "In the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. From God's slave and His created being, the son of David, the son of Solomon, the king of kings, Theodore," etc. The ostensible reason assigned for the detention of Mr. Rassam was to consult with him in what way the friendly relations of the English and Abyssinian monarchy might best be extended. Theodore's letter was conveyed to England by Mr. Flad, the German missionary, who was also the bearer of a letter from Mr. Rassam, in which, by desire of Theodore, he requested that English artisans might be sent to engage in the Abyssinian service. It was supposed that these men were required more as hostages than as artisans, as

the emperor dreaded that his unjustifiable conduct toward Consul Cameron and his associates would bring down upon him the vengeance of the British Government. In the mean time Consul Cameron and those who were imprisoned with him enjoyed comparative freedom; and the emperor, whose fitful and suspicious temper is his bane, renewed his friendly intercourse with Mr. Rassam and his companions, looking after their comforts personally, and endeavoring to relieve the pompous monotony of court life by taking them out on occasional shooting excursions.

On August 25th, the Rev. Mr. Stern, one of the prisoners, wrote as follows: "Our present more rigorous captivity is to be attributed to an alleged report that English, French, and Turkish troops were on their way to invade Abyssinia. Mr. Rassam protested against the veracity of this statement; nay, every one of us would have discredited the story even had it been confined to a mere military expedition. On the same day that he charged the British Government with duplicity, he also reproached me with the stale offence of having traduced his character by throwing doubts on his lineal descent from Solomon. I tendered my wonted apology for this oft-repeated crime, but his majesty said he would not pardon me till I had atoned for the sin by rendering him some service. In the evening of the same day he made fresh proffers of his friendship to Mr. Rassam, and also told Mr. Rosenthal, and particularly nyself, that we should not indulge in unpleasant surmises, as he had nothing against us; and, like the rest of our fellow-prisoners, we drank his health in good áraki, provided for that purpose from the royal distillery."

Letters from Rev. Mr. Stern and Consul Cameron, dated September 15, 1866, stated that the emperor was expected at Magdala (the place where the prisoners were kept), and that a crisis in the fate of the prisoners was approaching. Later letters (written about the beginning of October) were received by Dr. Beke, a gentleman who has long resided in Abyssinia, understands the language of the country, is personally acquainted with the Negos (emperor), and has taken a special interest in the liberation of the prisoners, from which it appeared that Messrs. Rosenthal and McKelvie had been allowed to remain at Gaffat; that Messrs. Kerans and McKelvie had offered their services to the emperor-those of the former having been rejected, but those of the latter accepted; and that Messrs. Bardel, Makerer, Steiger, Brandeis, Essler, and Schiller, had also entered the emperor's service. A full account of the fate of the prisoners is given by Dr. Beke, in his work, "The English Captives in Abyssinia" (London, 1866).

Interesting information on the Emperor Theodore is contained in the parliamentary papers published by the English Government. In 1855 Consul Plowden sent to the Foreign Office a report in which, after referring to the

distracted state of Abyssinia, with its chiefs generally at variance with each other, he says: "A remarkable man has now appeared, who, under the title of King Theodore, has broken the power of the great feudal chiefs; has united the whole of Northern Abyssinia under his authority, and has established tolerable tranquillity." It appears that from his earliest youth he has regarded this as his destiny. Mr. Plowden describes him as young, vigorous in all manly exercises, of a striking countenance, peculiarly polite and engaging when pleased, and mostly displaying great tact and delicacy; of untiring energy, both mental and bodily, and of boundless daring, personal and moral. His ideas and language are said to be clear and precise; hesitation is not known to him; he has neither councillors nor go-betweens. He salutes his meanest subject with courtesy, and is generous to excess, but also unsparing in punishment and terrible when his wrath is aroused. His faith is signal: "Without Christ," he says, "I am nothing; but if He has destined me to purify and reform this distracted kingdom, who shall stay me?" Mr. Plowden, who thus sketched the king's character, stated that he had made great reforms in Abyssinia; had enforced more decency of manners; was putting down trade in slaves, and removing vexatious exactions on commerce. As might be expected, he was jealous of his sovereign rights, and he objected to the establishment of an English consulate in his dominions as an innovation. He found no such thing in the history of the institutions of Abyssinia." Mr. Plowden hinted that if he consented to the establishment of friendly relations the sea-coast and Massowah might possibly be given up to him; but though his ambition was roused at this, he feared the clause conferring jurisdiction on the consul as trenching on his prerogative, and the time for consideration was so short that he was too much startled at the proposal to accept it. The Roman Catholic mission had usurped the functions of the Aboona and the Abyssinian clergy, and the king feared that we should wish in like manner to usurp the political rights of the sovereign.

At the beginning of 1865 a society was organized in France by the Count de Mounier, for establishing at Halaï, in Abyssinia, a commercial agency, but, on arriving in Egypt, the society dissolved. Another project of civilization had been started by the Count de Bisson, who, in a letter to the Paris journal, La France, stated that he had received from Theodore a concession of all the uncultivated lands of the empire, and that the Negos had put an armed force at his disposal for the protection of himself and his associates. In support of his assertion he quoted the following extract from the ordinance of concession: "We give to thee and concede forever all the lands which thou mayst choose and take in Abyssinia. They belong to thee. We engage by oath to defend thee and thy companions by our invincible arms; to furnish to

thee aid of every kind thou mayst stand in need of. We place, moreover, at thy disposal a body of troops, to protect thee against all, for thou art our brother, and we have faith in thy loyalty." Signed: Prince Aylo-Chooma-Mohammed-abd-Allah, melk (king), in the name of the emperor.

The emperor has for some time been engaged in war with the rulers of Tigré and Shoa, two of the principal and most civilized provinces in Southern Abyssinia. At the end of February, 1866, Devas, the lieutenant of Waagshum Góbazye (the ruler of Tigré), was defeated in battle by Tekla Geórgis, the brother and deputy of Ras Báriau, Theodore's lieutenant; but the cholera entered the camp of the latter, destroyed a considerable number of his troops, and dispersed the rest. In May Tekla Geórgis retired into Shíré to raise a fresh army. On July 30th, according to an account furnished to the "Nice Journal " by Count Bisson, the above-mentioned "Founder of the French Colony in Abyssinia," a tremendous battle was fought between the arinies of Theodore and Góbazye at Axoum, one of the two capitals of Tigré. Theodore is said to have been at the head of 95,000 men; the forces of the insurgents are estimated to have been rather larger. The latter occupied an intrenched camp. In various of their preparations for defence Count Bisson's correspondent recognized European skill. "The English were there, in constant communication with Aden; the insurgents drew arms and supplies from that place." Two redoubts, armed with cannon, covered the extremities of the insurgents' wings, the centre was covered by abatis; the plain was ent up by trenches, and other obstacles were skilfully grouped, so as to render the cavalry of the assailants nearly useless; and as it composed the greater part of the army, the lancers had to dismount and act as infantry. Driving a cloud of skirmishers from one cover after another, the Abyssinians levelled the different obstacles as soon as conquered. thousand men then remounted and charged the insurgent centre, driving it in. But when four times as many lancers advanced to pass through the gap thus made, the redoubts opened a cross fire on the attacking columns, inflicting heavy loss. The sharpshooters rallied, the attack was defeated, and the insurgent centre again had time to form. The 10,000 horsemen, under the orders of Telema, the general-in-chief, who had first broken the line, had pushed forward, disregarding what passed in their rear, to charge a second line of insurgents, who, profiting by the military instruction formerly given them by Count Bisson and his followers, firm as a rock, awaited the enemy kneeling, their lance-butts fixed in the ground, living chevaux de frise, covered with their bucklers, while, close behind them, thousands of sharpshooters poured volleys into the assailants. To complete the discomfiture of the latter, they were charged in flank by twenty squadrons. Talema cut his way out, but left half his people behind him. After


various vicissitudes, and what seems, if this account be not over-colored, to have been extremely hard fighting, the redoubt on the insurgents' left wing, after being taken and retaken five times, remained in the hands of the Abyssinians. But reënforcements reached Góbazye, the chief of the Tigréans; his right wing had not been engaged, while almost the whole of Theodore's troops had fought and suffered grievously. Changing front to the rear, with his right for his pivot, Góbazye presented a new line of battle, at right angles with his first position. It was seven in the evening, and the battle had begun at six in the morning. Theodore refrained from a fresh attack, remaining master of part of the battle-field, and of three pieces of artillery of English manufacture. Ile had the redoubt razed, the wounded removed, and that same night occupied Axoum, lately the headquarters and depot of the insurgents, who thus found themselves cut off from Massowah and from the most populous and warlike provinces that supported them. On the other hand, Theodore's position was by no means good; his rear was harassed by disaffected populations, and he had only a flank connection with his base of operations. His losses were 23,000 dead and 18,000 wounded, according to M. de Bisson's correspondent, who adds that they were due chiefly to musketry fire. "Among the Tigrean dead," he continues, "we recognized Egyptians and some English faces, especially in the fort. No doubt officers of that nation directed all the evolutions of the battle. One may guess it from the skilful defensiveoffensive of the enemy." The accuracy of this account was doubted by the missionary Flad, but Dr. Beke, in a letter to the London "Times," expressed his belief that the account had a solid foundation of truth.

AFRICA. The most important event in the history of this division of the world during the past year is the great change in the Government of Egypt. The viceroy, more successful than his predecessors, obtained from the Sultan a change in the order of succession for his own line, to the exclusion of collateral branches of the family of Mehemet Ali. This first step, by which Egypt separates from the Mohammedan law, and conforms to the habits of Christian monarchies, was followed by the introduction of a constitutional form of government, the first Parliament, elected by universal suffrage, being opened in November. With regard to the Suez Canal, a convention was concluded between the Egyptian Government and the Suez Canal Company, which put an end to the difficulties that at one time seriously threatened to interfere with the progress of the work. (See EGYPT.) The Emperor Theodore, of Abyssinia, continued the war for the aggrandizement of his empire, which he hopes will gradually be enlarged by the conquest of all the Mohammedan countries. An account of a great battle, said to have been fought on the 30th of July, between Theodore, at the head of 95,000 men,

and a still larger army of insurgents of Tigré and Shoa, two of the powerful and most civilized provinces of that country, rested on the doubtful authority of a French Count Bisson, who signs himself "Founder of the French Colony of Abyssinia." The English prisoners, according to dates up to November, 1866, still remained in captivity. (See ABYSSINIA.)

Madagascar concluded a treaty with Great Britain, the ratifications of which were exchanged on July 6, 1866. The treaty declares that British subjects in the dominious of her majesty the Queen of Madagascar shall be allowed freely to exercise and teach the Christian religion, and to erect and maintain suitable places of worship. Such places of worship, with their lands and appurtenances, shell, however, be recognized as the property of the Queen of Madagascar, who shall permit them to be applied forever to the special purposes for which they shall have been built. They shall, in the profession, exercise, and teaching of their religion, receive the protection of the queen and her officers, and shall not be prosecuted or interfered with. The Queen of Madagascar, from her friendship for her Britannic majesty, promises to grant full religious liberty to all her subjects, and not to persecute or molest any subjects or natives of Madagascar on account of their embracing or exercising the Christian religion. But should any of her subjects, professing Christianity, be found guilty of any criminal offence, the action of the law of the land shall not be interfered with. The Queen of Madagascar engages that British subjects shall, as far as lies in her power, equally with her own subjects, enjoy within her dominions full and complete protection and security for themselves and for any property which they may acquire in future, or which they may have acquired before the date of the present treaty. British subjects may freely engage in their service, in any capacity whatever, any native of Madagascar, not a slave or a soldier, who may be free from any previous engagement. The Queen of Madagascar engages to abolish trial by the ordeal of poison. If there should be a war between Great Britain and Madagascar, any prisoners who may be taken by either party shall be kindly treated, and shall be set free, either by exchange during the war, or without exchange when peace is made; and such prisoners shall not on any account be made slaves or put to death. The treaty is signed by Thomas Conolly Pakenham, Esq., British consul in Madagascar, duly authorized to that effect on the part of the British Government, and by Rainimaharavo, Sixteenth Honor, Chief Secretary of State; Andriantsitohaina, Sixteenth Honor; Ravahatra, Chief Judge; and Rafaralahibemalo, Head of the Civilians, duly authorized to that effect on the part of the Queen of Madagascar. The Christian missionaries in Madagascar report a rapid and steady progress of Christianity and civilization.

The long war between the Basutos and the Orange Free State was closed by a treaty signed by Moshesh, the chief of the Basutos, on the 3d of April. The Free State acquired by this treaty a valuable territory, and the Free State authorities at once adopted measures to colonize the new territory. Later advices (September, 1866) stated that the settlement of the Free State frontiers was being interfered with by the Basutos, and the land commissioners were unable to mark out the new farms without a considerable escort. They had encountered threatenings and warnings on every side. The Basutos were said to be starving, and a renewal of the war was feared.

The English Cape Colony was enlarged by the annexation of Caffraria, and in June members for the Legislative Council were elected in the annexed territory in accordance with the provisions of the annexation and representation act adopted during the last session of the Cape Parliament. The third session of the third colonial Parliament was opened by Governor Wodehouse on September 6th. New government measures were announced in the form of three bills for the establishment of a new government paper currency, for the revision of the customs' import tariff, and for the imposition of an export duty.

The Cape Government took formal possession for the Home Government of the unclaimed Guano Islands at the northern extremity of the colony. Penguin harbor, the Mercury Islands, and Ichaboc, are now in the absolute possession of the British Government.

On the 26th of June, a detachment of the Fourth West India regiment, under command of Major Mackay, was ordered on an expedition against the "Maraboos," who had attacked several towns in British territory, in Western Africa. The expedition was completely successful, and on the 30th of June the last stronghold of the enemy was captured. Col. D'Arcy entered the stockade at the head of his detachment. The enemy surrendered at discretion, after sustaining a loss of three hundred in killed and wounded.

The French possessions remained at peace throughout the year, the insurrection in Algeria subsided about the close of the year 1865. The territory on the Senegal only was several times invaded by native chiefs, who were, however, without difficulty, driven beyond the French settlements.

The area of Africa, and its population, continue to be very differently estimated by the ablest geographical writers. Brehm's Geogra phisches Jahrbuch (vol. i., 1866), which is regarded as the best authority on these matters, estimates the total area of Africa at 543,570 geog. sq. miles, and the aggegate population at 188,000,000. The following statistics are given for the several divisions and countries:

* One geographical square mile is equal to 21.21 English square miles.

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