A voyage to Abyssinia (Salt)

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A voyage to Abyssinia  (1814) 
by Henry Salt
First published in England in 1814. This is the 1816 American edition.





A

VOYAGE TO ABYSSINIA.






Map of part of Abyssinia.jpg



A

VOYAGE TO ABYSSINIA,

AND

TRAVELS

INTO THE INTERIOR OF THAT COUNTRY,

EXECUTED UNDER THE ORDERS OF THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT,

IN THE YEARS 1809 and 1810;

IN WHICH ARE INCLUDED,

AN ACCOUNT OF THE PORTUGUESE SETTLEMENTS
ON THE EAST COAST OF AFRICA,


VISITED IN THE COURSE OF THE VOYAGE;

A CONCISE NARRATIVE OF LATE EVENTS IN
ARABIA FELIX;


AND

SOME PARTICULARS RESPECTING THE ABORIGINAL AFRICAN
TRIBES, EXTENDING FROM MOSAMBIQUE TO THE
BORDERS OF EGYPT;

TOGETHER WITH

VOCABULARIES OF THEIR RESPECTIVE LANGUAGES.

ILLUSTRATED WITH
A MAP OF ABYSSINIA.




BY HENRY SALT, ESQ. F. R. S. &c.




"Providentiam divinam summis laudibus celebrandam quod inter tot barbaros, inter tot Muhammedanorum persecutiones Ecclesiam Æthiopicam in Africa per tot secula conservaverit."——Speech of Ernest Duke of Saxony to Father Gregory. Vide Ludolfi Comment.




PUBLISHED BY M. CAREY, PHILADELPHIA,
AND WELLS & LILLY, BOSTON.

PRINTED BY LYDIA R. BAILEY.



1816.



TO

HIS ROYAL HIGHNESS

THE PRINCE REGENT.


SIR,

Among the different avocations to which men have devoted their time, no pursuits can lay perhaps a fairer claim to the Public favour than those of the traveller, owing to his efforts being generally directed to establish a more intimate connection between distant countries; thereby enlarging the bounds of knowledge, promoting the interests of commerce, and tending in a high degree to ameliorate the general condition of mankind. The desire which Your Royal Highness has uniformly evinced to encourage similar undertakings, as well as to patronise the various branches of polite literature, merits in its fullest extent the admiration of the Public; and, as an individual who has already experienced your condescension and liberal attention to his views, I beg leave to express my very grateful acknowledgments, by dedicating this Volume to Your Royal Highness. Should it succeed in attracting your notice to the present forlorn and distracted state of Abyssinia, so far as to induce Your Royal Highness to promote the welfare of that country, by the introduction of useful arts together with a judicious advancement of the true tenets of the Christian Religion among its inhabitants, I shall feel that my exertions in this cause have not been in vain; and, in the meanwhile, as the best reward of my labours, shalt continue to look forward to the consolatory hope of witnessing the beneficial Changes which the bounty and wisdom of Your Royal Highness may effect in the condition of that remote Country.

I have the honour to be,
with profound veneration and respect,
SIR,
YOUR ROYAL HIGHNESS'S
most faithful and most dutiful servant,

HENRY SALT.

London, July 9th, 1814.



CONTENTS.




Departure from England—Arrival at Madeira—Passage thence to the Cape of Good Hope—Brief Account of the Society in that Settlement—Improvements introduced into the Colony by the English—Mr. Cowan's Mission into the Interior—Accident which occurred to detain the ship—Convoy granted—Departure—Remarks in the Mosambique Channel—Excursion in search of Sofala—Arrlval at the Island of Mosambique—Receptlon there by the Portuguese Governor—Its Harbour, Forts, means of defence, &c.—Enquiries after Mr. Cowan's party—Visit to Mesuril on the Continent—Excursions from that Place—Description of the Monjou—Remarks relative to the Exportation of Slaves—Fidelity of the native Troops—Ferocity of the Makooa; their Incursions into the Peninsula of Cabaceiro—Dress—Manners—Habits, &c.—Some Account of the Tribes adjacent to Mosambique in Friendship with the Portuguese—Description of Mesuril and its Environs—Manners of the Planters—Peninsula of Cabaceiro—Variety of Sea Productions on the Coast—Return to Mosambique,p. 13


Historical Account of the Mosambique Setttements—Ignorance of ancient Geographers respecting the Coast—Early Account of it by an Arabian author—Subjection and expulsion of the original Settlers, and establishment of the power of the Portuguese—Their attempts to subdue the Interior baffled by the prudence and vigilance of the natives—Attack upon these settlements in 1589 by the Muzimbo, (supposed to be Galla)—Failure of every effort to convert the Natives to the Catholic Faith. Description of the present state of the Settlements on the River Zambezi—Quilimanci—Tète—Sena—Manica, and the Gold Mines—Mode of carrying on Trade with the Natives in the Interior—Jurisdiction of the Portuguese along the Coast—The former-supposed importance of these Settlements—Their gradually decreasing consequence—Their present degraded State. The discouraging prospect from their external connections—An Account of the Marati or Pirates of Madagascar—The uncommon ferocity of this People

—Their Excursions against the Comoro and Querimbo Islands—Consequences of the English Abolition of the Slave Trade on the Commerce of Mosambique—Its present Trade, &c.—Departure of the Marian for the Red Sea,

p. 52


Voyage along the Coast—Account of the Islands of Zanzebar and Pemba—Sterile and uniform appearance of the Coast above Mugdasho—Soundings to the southward of Cape Baasas—Description of the Capes D'Orfui and Gardafui—Excursion on Shore near Somauli Point—Remarks relative to this Voyage, as applied to the Theory respecting Ophir by Mr. Bruce—Arrival at Aden—Observations respecting that place—its Ruins—Ancient Towers—Aqueduct, &c.—Plan to render Back Bay safe against an Enemy—Journey to Lahadj—Interview with the Sultan of the Country—Description of his Territory, and Character of its Inhabitants.—Return to Aden. Singular Effects of the Atmosphere produced by Refraction. Character of the Banians. Voyage from Aden to Mocha—Residence at the Factory—Abstract of occurrences in Yemen since 1805—Preparations for Abyssinian Journey—Deputation of Mr. Stuart, in the service of the African Association, to Zeyla, with the intention that he should proceed to Hurrur and Efat—Departure from Mocha for the Abyssinian Coast,p. 75


Voyage across the Red Sea from Mocha—Anchorage at Rackmah—Proceedings at Ayth—Continuance of Voyage to Amphila—Intelligence received there—Failure of an attempt to communicate with Abyssinia by a messenger I had sent from Mocha—Atrocious conduct of the Nayib and Aga of Massowa—Letter sent by these chieftains to the Danákil Tribes—Its Effects—Conference with Alli Manda, a young Chief of the Tribe of Dumhoeta—His Departure with letters for the Ras Welled Selassé. Discovery of a secure Harbour in Amphila Bay—Communications with Alli Govéta, and other men of consequence on the Coast—Return of Alli Manda—Letters from Mr. Pearce—Resolutions in consequence—Conference with the principal men of the Tribes—Arrival of a messenger from Massowa—Determination to proceed to that Place—Second Dispatch to Abyssinia. Description of the Bay of Amphila—of the Coast—Manners, Dress, and Customs of the Tribes who inhabit it—Departure from Amphilas,p. 112


Observations respectlng the Coast northward of Amphila—Sarbo— Bay of Howakil—Island of the same name—Communication with its inhabitants, &c.—Excursion to Aréna—Discovery of the Opsian Stone—Visit to the Island of Buckah—Anchorage at Adjuice—Voyage to Massowa—Remarkable appearance in the Sea—Its cause—Dangerous Shoal near Valentia Island—Arrival at Massowa—Abyssinian party sent down by the Ras—Account of Mr. Coffin's journey from Amphila to Chelicut—General remarks respecting it—Interview with the Kaimakan—Alarming appearance of a fleet of dows from Jidda—Visit from Mahomed Jelani—Preparations for our journey into the Interior—Departure from Massowa—Stay at Arkeeko—Character of its Inhabitants. Departure from it,p. 147


Journey from the Coast—Arrival at Wéah—At Hamhammo—Description of Shura Hummar, a chief of the Hazorta—Encampment at Leila—Dance of the Hazorta—Dangerous point of the road called Assuba—Singular scene which occurred there—Arrival at the bottom of Taranta—Reasons for preferring the road by Dixan—Unpleasant dispute between the Hazorta and our Abyssinian attendants—Description of a curious scene which ensued—Ascent of Taranta—Views from its summit—Change of seasons—Arrival at Dixan—Friendly conduct of the Baharnegash Yasous—Short description of the Town and its inhabitants—Departure thence—Plain of Zarai—Village of Ambakauto—Murder of one of our attendants—Proceedings thereupon—March to Abha— Inhospitable reception given us by the Baharnegash Subhart—His character—Alarming scene at Logo Seremai—Description of Baharnagash Arkoe and followers—Arrival at Legóte—Remarks respecting the mountain of Devra Damo—Kella—River Anguesh—Mansion of Ayto Nobilis near Adowa—Visit to Ozoro Asquall—Journey to Mugga—Thunder-storm—Rude behaviour of the inhabitants of Mugga—Descent to Gibba—Description of the Sanga or Galla oxen—Departure from Gibba—Arrival at Chelicut—Kind reception given us by the Ras,p. 174


Impossibility of proceeding to Gondar—Delivery of His Majesty's Letter and Presents—Their effects on the minds of the People. Precarious situation of affairs in Abyssinia—Mr. Pearce's Narrative of occurrences during his stay in the Country—The neglect he met with after my departure—His conduct during the Rebellion at Adowa—Return to Antálo—Quarrel with the Ras—Determination to advance into the Interior—Journey to Lasta—Description of Wojjerat—Tribes, called Doba—Assubo Galla, under Welled Shabo—Lake Ashangee—Mountains of Lasta—Senaré—Visit to the sources of the Tacazze—Determlnation to proceed to Samen—Journey along the Banks of the Tacazze—Description of the Agows—Ascent of the mountains of Samen— Arrival at Inchetkaab—Interview with Ras Gabriel, the Governor of the Province—Mr. Pearce attacked by ophthalmis—Unfortunate loss of his papers, &c.—Return to the Ras—Reception at Antálo—Departure with the Ras's army against the Galla—Retreat of Gojee, their chief—Progress of the army throuh Lasta—Desperate Battle with the Galla in the Plains of Maizella—Victory gained over them—Brave conduct of Mr. Pearce—Advance of the army into the Plains of the Edjow—Excursion of the Warari, (or plunderers)—A barbarous practice among them, witnessed by Mr. Pearce—Interview of the Ras with a chief called Liban—Visit to Jummada Mariam—Return to Antálo—Mr Pearce rises in favour with the Ras—Campaign of 1808, against some rebellious Districts—Singular forbearance of an enemy—Advance of the Army into Hamazen—Hunting of the elephant—Return to Adowa—Arriva of letters from Captain Rudland at Mocha—Mr. Pearce's Journey to the Coast—Transactions during a month's stay at Madir—Numerous difficulties and dangers which Mr. Pearce encountered—His return to Antálo—His situation on my arrival, p.207


Character of the Ras—Short sketch of his Life—Mode of spending our time at Chelicut—Some account of Kasimaj Yasous, and his sister Ozoro Mantwab—Recollections respecting Mr. Bruce in Abyssinia, by a learned man named Dofter Esther—General remarks respecting that traveller—Journey to the Tacazze—Some account of Chelika Negusta—Antálo—Cali—Agora—Character of Guebra Mehedin—Province of Avergale—Description of the Agows—Views of the mountains of Samen—Wild plains abounding in game—River Arequa—Change of climate and scenery as the party continues to descend—Arrival at the Tacazze—Shooting of the hippopotamus—Extraordinary dread of the Crocodile entertained by the Abyssinians—Return to Chelicut—Visit from the Ras—Conference held with him—Removal to Antálo—Abyssinian horsemanship—Conclusion of Lent—Feast on the following day—Amusements of the Abyssinians—Short account of the Shangalla—Parting from the Ras, on our return to Chelicut,p. 252


Arrival at Chelicut—Baptism of a Musselmann boy—Manner of administering the holy communion—Visit from the high priest—Latitude and longitude of Chelicut ascertained—Departure from that place—Some account of the Ras's chief painter, and remarks respecting Abyssinian art—Visit to the chief of Giralta—Pass of Atbara—Arrival at Abba Tsame—Character of Palambaras Toclu—Journey to Adowa—Excursion to Axum—Description of its ruins—Æthiopic inscription—Revise of the Greek inscription which I discovered in my former travels—A few general remarks relating to it—Return to Adowa—Diseases prevalent in Abyssinia—Funerals of the natives—Description of the Toscar—Trade and consequence of Adowa—Journey to the Coast—Remains of a monastery at Abba Asfé, near the River Mareb—Part of an ancient Æthiopic inscription found there—Journey to Dixan—Account of some travellers from Darfoor—Descent of the mountain Assauli—Parting with the Baharnegash Yasous—Arrival at Massowa—Events which occurred at that place—Its trade[1]—Some particulars respecting the ancient city of Adulis—Departure for Mocha—Safe arrival at that place,p. 299


Some account of the ancient history of Abyssinia; its Inhabitants descended from aboriginal Tribes of Ethiopians—their Conversion to Christianity—Conquest of Yemen by the Emperor Ameda—List of the Sovereigns who have reigned in Abyssinia—Attempts of the Portuguese to introduce the Roman Catholic religion—their failure—Notice of the different travellers who have visited the country—Its present state—Concluding Remarks—Departure from Mocha—Storm in the neighbourhood of Socotra—Arrival at Bombay—Departure thence, and return to England.p. 353





APPENDIX.

Vocabularies of the Dialects spoken by different tribes of the Natives inhabiting the Coast of Africa, from Mosambique to the borders of Egypt, with a few others spoken in the Interior of that Continent,p. 395


Directions for entering Mosambique Harbour,p. 418


A short Account of a Voyage made into Ethiopia, by Father Remedio of Bohemia, Martino of Bohemia, and Antonio of Aleppo, of the Order of "Minori Reformati" of St. Francis, and Missionaries "of the Society for propagating the Faith," in Egypt,p. 419


Zoology, &c. of Abyssinia,p. 426


Translation of the Accounts given by Ibn 'l Wardi and Marco Polo respecting Abyssinia. Miscellaneous observations on Massowa; and some particulars regarding the Trade of Zeyla and Mocha, &c.p. 447


  1. This was subsequently put into the Appendix No. V.