Page:Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile - In the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773 volume 2.djvu/409

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any merit in professing a religion they did not understand or believe: that they were ready, however, to march and lay down their lives for the king and common-weal, provided he restored them their ancient religion, without which they would have no concern in the quarrel, nor even wish to be conquerors. Whether the king was really in the secret or not, I shall not say; but it is expressly mentioned in the annals of his reign, that Socinios did promise by his son to the army, that he would restore the Alexandrian faith if he should return victorious over Lasta; and the sudden manner in which he executed this must convince every other person that it was so.

The army now marched from Dancaz, upon intelligence arriving that the rebels had left their strong-holds in Lasta, and were in their way to the capital to give the king battle there. It was the 26th of July 1631 the king discovered, by his scouts, that the rebel Melca Christos was at hand, having with him an army of about 25,000 men. Upon this intelligence he ordered his troops to halt, and hear mass from Diego de Mattos; and, having chosen his ground, he halted again at mid-day, and confessed, according to the rite of the church of Rome, and then formed his troops in order of battle.

It was not long till the enemy came in fight, but without shewing that alacrity and desire of engaging they used to do when in their native mountains. The king, at the head of the cavalry, fell so suddenly and so violently upon them, that he broke through the van-guard commanded by Melca Christos, and put them to flight before his foot could come up. The rest of the army followed the example of the lead-