Page:Men of the Time, eleventh edition.djvu/926

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EASSAM.

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to go out again, commiBsioned Mr. Sassam to succeed him. During this expedition Mr. Bassam disco- vered in Nineveh the palace of Assur-Beni-Pal, who is commonly known by the name of Sardanapa- lus, in which there were found the beautiful sculptures representing the lion hunt^ now in the Britieh Museum, with many other remark- able antiquities relating to the history of the Assyrian Monarchy. The funds available for the re- searches having come to an end, Mr. Bassam returned to England in 1854. Soon afterwards he was asked to undertake another expedi- tion to Mesopotamia for the British Museum, but as he had then been offered a political appointment at Aden by the late Sir James Outram, he preferred the permanent em- ployment, and went out to that Arabian-British settlement at the end of the same year. There he had for some years the manage- ment of the political work amongst the neighbouring Arabs and African tribes, and acted as judge and magistrate, besides holding other minor appointments. When the quarrel took place in 1861 between the Imam of Muscat and his bro- ther, the Sultan of Zanzibar, Mr. Bassam was chosen by Lord Elphin- Btone, the Governor of Bombay, to represent the British Government at Muscat while the Governor- General of India was trying to act as a mediator between the brothers. He also received the special thanks of the Supreme Government of India, with a substantial present for the services he rendered to the State during the Indian mutiny. When the news reached the Foreign Ofllce in 1864 that Consul Cameron and other European gentlemen had been imprisoned and ill-treated by Theodore, King of Abyssinia, Mr. Bassam was chosen by the British Government to proceed to the court of that monarch with a letter from the Queen asking for the release of the captives. He accordingly went

to Massawah, the port of Abyssinia, from whence he wrote to Theodore for a safe conduct ; and after having waited there more than a year, he was invited by the king to proceed to his court. Mr. Bassam was accompanied by Lieutenant Pri- deaux and Dr. Blanc, of the Bom- bay army, and they were received with every mark of distinction and honour. It seemed at one time that Mr. Bassam's mission would be crowned with success, but through Theodore's eccentricity, coupled with intrigue from other quarters, it was doomed to disap- pointment. Hopeful as Mr. Bas- sam was at first to procure the liberation of Consul Cameron and the other captives, he was himself arrested with his suite, and the three were sent as prisoners with the old captives to Magdala, where they were kept in chains for nearly two years. After the old captives. Consul Cameron and his fellow prisoners, had undergone about four years* rigorous confinement — and Mr. Bassam and his companions shared their fate for nearly two years and a half — they were ulti- mately set free by Theodore on the Easter Eve of 1868, after his defeat I the day before by the British force I under the command of Sir Bobert I Napier, at Arogay, below Magdida. Mr. Bassam published a narrative of the " British Mission to Theo- dore, King of Abyssinia, with Notices of the Country traversed from Massawah through the Sou- dan, the Amhara, and back to Amnesty Bay from Magdala," 2 vols., London, 1869. In 1876 he was selected by the trustees of the British Museum to conduct the Assyrian Explorations under a Fir- man granted to him by the Ottoman Government, through the influence of Sir Henry Layard, who was then acting as Her Majesty's ambassador at Constantinople . From that time until July, 1882, he conducted the British National Archceological re- searches in Assyria, Armenia, and