Travels to Discover the Source of the Nile: in the Years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773/Volume 2/Bk3Socinios

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Travels to discover the source of the Nile: In the years 1768, 1769, 1770, 1771, 1772, and 1773. Volume 2
by James Bruce
Book 3, Socinios


From 1605 to 1632.

Socinios embraces the Romish Religion — War with Sennaar — With the Shepherds — Violent Conduct of the Romish Patriarch — Lasta rebels — Defeated at Wainadega — Socinios restores the Alexandrian Religion — Resigns his Crown to his Eldest Son

SOCINIOS, now universally acknowledged as king, began his reign with a degree of moderation which there was no reason to expect of him. Often as he had been betrayed, many and inveterate as his enemies were, now he had them in his power, he fought no vengeance for injuries which he had suffered, but freely pardoned every one, receiving all men graciously without reproach or reflections, or even depriving them of their employments.

Being informed, however, that one Mahardin, a Moor, had been the first to break through that respect due to a king, by wounding Za Denghel at the battle of Bartcho, he ordered him to be brought at noon-day before the gate of his palace, and his head to be there struck off with an ax, as a just atonement for violated majesty.

The king, now retired to Coga, gave his whole attention to regulate those abuses, and repair those losses, which this long and bloody war had occasioned. He had two brothers by the mother's side, men of great merit, Sela Christos, and Emana Christos, destined to share the principal part in the king's confidence and councils.

Bela Christos, a man of great family, who had been attached to him since he formed his first pretensions to the crown, was called to court to take his share in the glory and dangers of this reign, which it was easy to see would be a very active one; for every province around was full of rebels and independents, who had shaken off the yoke of government, paid no taxes, nor shewed other respect to the king than just what at the moment consisted with their own interest or inclination.

The Portuguese soldiers, remnants of the army which came into Abyssinia under Christopher de Gama, had multiplied exceedingly, and their children had been trained by their parents in the use of fire-arms. They were at this time incorporated in one body under John Gabriel a veteran officer, who seems to have constantly remained with the king, while his soldiers (at least great part of them) had followed the fortune they thought moll likely to prevail ever since the time of Claudius.

Menas did not esteem them enough to keep them in his army at the expence of enduring the seditions conversations of their priests reviling and undervaluing his religion and government. He therefore banished them the kingdom; but, instead of obeying, they joined the Baharnagash, then confederated with the Turks and in rebellion against his sovereign, as we have already mentioned. Sertza Denghel seems to have scarcely set any value upon them after this, and made very little use of them during his long reign. Upon the infant Jacob's being put upon the throne they all adhered to him; and, after Jacob's banishment, part of them had attached themselves to Za Denghel, and behaved with great spirit in the battle of Bartcho.

Upon Jacob's restoration they had joined him, and with him were defeated at the decisive battle of Lebart, being all united against Socinios; so that, on whatever side they declared themselves, they were constantly beaten by the cowardice of the Abyssinians with whom they were joined. Yet, tho' they had been so often on the side that was unfortunate, their particular loss had been always inconsiderable; because, whatever was the fate of the rest of the army, none of the country troops would ever stand before them, and they made their retreat from amidst a routed army in nearly the same safety as if they had been conquerors; because it was not, for several reasons, the interest of the conquerors to attack them, nor was the experiment ever likely to be an eligible one to the assailants.

Socinios followed a conduct opposite to that of Menas. He determined to attach the Portuguese wholly to himself, and to make them depend upon him entirely. For this reason he made great advances to their priests, and sent for Peter Paez to court, where, after the usual disputes upon the pope's supremacy, and the two natures in Christ, mass was said, and a sermon preached, much with the fame success as it had been in the time of Za Denghel, and with full as great offence to the Abyssinian clergy.

The province of Dembea, lying round the lake Tzana, is the most fertile and the most cultivated country in Abyssinia. It is entirely flat, and seems to have been produced by the decrease of water in the lake, which, from very visible marks, appears to have formerly been of four times the extent of what it is at present. Dembea, however fruitful, has one inconvenience to which all level countries in this climate are subject: A mortal fever rages in the whole extent of it, from March to Heder Michael, the eighth day of November, when there are always gentle showers. This dangerous fever stops immediately upon the falling of these rains, as suddenly as the plague does upon the first falling of the nucta, or dew, in Egypt.

On the south side of this lake the country rises into a rocky promontory, which forms a peninsula and runs far into the lake. Nothing can be more beautiful than this small territory, elevated, but not to an inconvenient height, above the water which surrounds it on all sides, except the south. The climate is delightful, and no fevers or other diseases rage here. The prospect of the lake and distant mountains is magnificent beyond European conception, and Nature seems to have pointed this place out for pleasure, health, and retirement. Paez had asked and obtained this territory from the king, who, he fays, gave him a grant of it in perpetuity. The manner of this he describes: "A civil officer is sent on the part of the king, who calls together all the proprietors of the neighbouring lands, and visits the bounds with them; they kill a goat at particular distances, and bury the heads under ground upon the boundary line of this regality; which heads, Paez says, it is felony to dig; up or remove; and this is a mark or gift of land in perpetuity."

Without contradicting the form of burying the goats heads, I shall only say, I never saw or heard of it, nor is there such a thing as a gift of land in perpetuum known in Abyssinia. All the land is the king's; he gives it to whom he pleases during pleasure, and resumes it when it is his will. As soon as he dies the whole land in the kingdom (that of the Abuna excepted) is in the disposal of the crown; and not only so, but, by the death of every present owner, his possessions, however long enjoyed, revert to the king, and do not fall to the eldest son. It is by proclamation the possession and property is reconveyed to the heir, who thereby becomes absolute matter of the land for his own life or pleasure of the king, under obligation of military and other services; and that exception, on the part of the Abuna, is not in respect to the sanctity of his person, or charge, but because it is founded upon treaty[1], and is become part of the constitution.

The Abyssinians saw, with the utmost astonishment, the erection of a convent strongly built with stone and lime, of which before they had no knowledge, and their wonder was still increased, when, at desire of the king, Paez undertook, of the same materials, to build a palace for him at the southmost end of this peninsula, which is called Gorgora. It was with amazement mixed with terror that they saw a house rise upon house, for so they call the different storeys.

Paez here displayed his whole ingenuity, and the extent of his abilities. He alone was architect, mason, smith, and carpenter, and with equal dexterity managed all the instruments used by each profession in the several stages of the work. The palace was what we shall call wainscoted with cedar, divided into state-rooms, and private apartments likewise for the queen and nobility of both sexes that formed the court, with accommodations and lodgings for guards and servants.

As the king had at that time a view to attack the rebels, the Agows and Damots, and to check the inroads of the Galla into Gojam, he saw with pleasure a work going on that provided the most commodious residence where his occupation in all probability was chiefly to lie. His principal aim was to bring into his kingdom a number of Portuguese troops, which, joined to those already there, and the converts he proposed to make after embracing the Catholic religion, might enable him to extirpate that rebellious spirit which seemed now universally to have taken possession of the hearts of his subjects, and especially of the clergy, of late taught, he did not seem to know how, that most dangerous privilege of cursing and excommunicating kings. He had not seen in Peter Paez and his fellow-priests any thing but submission, and a love of monarchy; their lives and manners were truly apostolical; and he never thought, till he came afterwards to be convinced upon proof, that the patriarch from Rome, and the Abuna from Cairo, tho' they differed in their opinion as to the two natures in Christ, did both heartily agree in the desire of erecting ecclesiastical dominion and tyranny upon the ruins of monarchy and civil power, and of effecting a total subordination of the civil government, either to the chairs of St Mark or St Peter.

In the winter, during the cessation from work, Socinios called Paez from Gorgora to Coga, where he enlarged the territory the Jesuits then had at Fremona. After which he declared to him his resolution to embrace the Catholic religion; and, as Paez says, presented him with two letters, one to the king of Portugal, the other to the pope: the first dated the 10th of December 1607, the latter the 14th of October of the same year. These letters say not a word of his intended conversion, nor of submission to the see of Rome; but complain only of the disorderly state of his kingdom, and the constant inroads of the Galla, earnestly requesting a number of Portuguese soldiers to free them from their yoke, as formerly, under the conduct of Christopher de Gama, they had delivered Abyssinia from that of the Moors.

While these things passed at Coga, two pieces of intelligence were brought to the king, both very material in themselves, but which affected him very differently. The first was, that the traitor Za Selaffe, while making one of his incursions into Gojam, had fallen into an ambush laid for him by the Tolunia Galla, guardians of that province on the banks of the Nile, and that these Pagans had slain him and cut off his head, which they then presented to the king, who ordered it to be exposed on the lance whereon it was fixed, in the most conspicuous place in the front of his palace.

This was the end of Ras Za Selasse, a name held in detestation to this day throughout all Abyssinia. Though his death was just such as it ought to have been, yet, as it was in an advanced time of life, he still became a hurtful example, by shewing that it was possible for a man to live to old age in the continual practice of murder and treason.

He was of low birth, as I have already observed, of a Pagan nation of Troglodytes, of the lowest esteem in Abyssinia, employed always in the meanest and most servile occupations, in which capacity he served first in a private family. Being observed to have an active, quick turn of mind, he was preferred to the service of Melec Segued, upon whose death he was so much esteemed by his son Jacob, for the expertness and capacity he shewed in business, that he gave him large possessions, and appointed him afterwards to several ranks in the army; having regularly advanced through the subordinate degrees of military command, always with great success, he was made at last general; and being now of importance sufficient to be able to ruin his benefactor, he joined Ras Athanasius, who had rebelled against Jacob, by whom he was taken prisoner, and, being mercifully dealt with, only banished to Narea. From this disgraceful situation he was freed by Za Denghel, who conferred upon him the most lucrative important employment in the Hate. In return, he rebelled against Za Denghel; and at Bartcho deprived him of his kingdom and life. Upon Jacob's accession he was appointed Betwudet, the first place in Ethiopia, after the king, and governor of Gojam, one of the largest and richest provinces in Abyssinia. But he soon after again forsook Jacob, swore allegiance to Socinios, and joined him.

Not content with all this, he began to form some new designs while with the court at Coga; and, having said to some of the king's servants, over wine, that it was prophesied to him he should kill three kings, which he had verified in two, and was waiting for the third, this speech was repeated to Socinios, who ordered Za Selasse to be apprehended; and, though he most justly deserved death, the king mercifully commuted his punishment to banishment to the top of Ourec Amba, which signifies the Great Mountain upon the high ridge, called Gusman, near the banks of the Nile; and, though close confined in the caves on the top of that mountain, after a year's imprisonment he escaped to Walaka, and there declared himself captain of a band of robbers, with which he infested the province of Gojam, when he was slain by a peasant, and his head cut off and sent to Socinios, who very much rejoiced in the present, and disposed of it as we have mentioned.

The second piece of intelligence the emperor received was that in the mountains of Habab, contiguous to Masuah, where is the famous monastery of the monks of St Eustathius, called Bisan; a person appeared calling himself Jacob, son of Sertza Denghel, and pretending to have escaped from the battle of Lebart; thus, taking advantage of the circumstance of Jacob's body not having been found in the field among the dead after that engagement, he pretended he had been so grievously wounded in the teeth and face that it was not possible to suffer the deformity to appear; for which reason, as he said, but, as it appeared afterwards, to conceal the little resemblance he bore to Jacob, he wrapped about his head the corner of his upper cloth, and so concealed one side of his face entirely.

All Tigré hastened to join this impostor as their true sovereign; who, finding himself now at the head of an army, came down from the mountains of Bisan, and encamped in the neighbourhood of Dobarwa upon the Mareb, where he had a new accession of strength.

The shape of the crown in Abyssinia is that of the hood, or capa, which the priests wear when facing mass. It is composed of silver, sometimes of gold, sometimes of both metals, mixed and lined with blue silk. It is made to cover part of the forehead, both checks, and the hind-part of the neck likewise to the joining of the shoulders. A crown of this shape could not but be of great service in hiding the terrible fears with which the impostor's face was supposed to be deformed. He had accordingly got one made at Masuah, beat very thin out of a few ounces of gold which he had taken from a caravan that he had robbed. He wore it constantly upon his head as a token that he was not a candidate for the crown, but real sovereign, who had worn that mark of power from his infancy.

The news of this impostor, with the usual exaggeration of followers, soon came to Sela Christos, governor of Tigré, who, seeing that the affair became more serious every day, resolved to attempt to check it. He conceived, however, he had little trust to put in the troops of his province, who all of them were wavering whether they should not join the rebel. His sole dependence, then, was upon the troops of his own household, veteran soldiers, well paid and cloathed, and firmly attached to his person, and likewise upon the Portuguese. Above all, being himself a man of consummate courage and prudence, he was far from judging of the power of his enemy by the multitude of rabble which composed it.

As soon as the armies came in presence of each other, Jacob offered the governor battle. But no sooner did the impostor's troops see the eagerness with which the small but chosen band rushed upon them, than they fled and dispersed; and though Sela Christos had taken every precaution to cut off the pretended Jacob from his usual sculking places, it was not possible to overtake or apprehend him; for he arrived in safety in one of the highest and most inaccessible mountains of the district, whence he looked down on Sela Christos and his army without apprehension, having behind him a retreat to the more distant and less known mountains of Hamazen, should his enemies press him further.

As long as Sela Christos remained with his little army in that country, the impostor Jacob continued on the highest part of the mountains, accompanied only by two or three of his most intimate friends, who being people whose families dwelt in the plain below, brought him constant intelligence of what passed there.

Sela Christos, wishing by all means to engage the enemy, marched into a considerable plain called Mai-oquel; but, seeing on every side the top of each mountain guarded by troops of soldiers, he was afraid he had advanced too far; and, apprehensive left he should be inclosed in the midst of a multitude so posted, he began to think how he could best make his retreat before he was surrounded by so numerous enemies. But they no sooner saw his intention by the movement of his army, than, leaving their leader as a spectator above, they fell on all sides upon Sela Christos's troops, who, having no longer any safety but in their arms, began to attack the hill that was next them, which they stormed as they would do a cattle. Finding the small resistance that each of these posts made, the governor divided his small army into so many separate bodies, leaving his cavalry in the plain below, who, without fighting, were only employed in slaughtering those his troops had dislodged from their separate posts.

The day after, the impostor assembling his scattered troops, retreated towards the sea into the territory of Hamazen, between the country of the Baharnagash and the mountains of the Habab.

Sela Christos, finding that, while he pursued his victory in these distant parts, the spirit of rebellion increased nearer home, resolved to inform the king his brother of the unpromising state of his affairs in Tigré, and the great necessity there was of his presence there. Nor did Socinios lose a moment after receiving this intelligence from Sela Christos, although it had found him, in one respect, very ill prepared for such an undertaking; for he had sent all his horse from Coga upon an expedition against the Shangalla and Gongas, nations on the north-weft border of this kingdom; so that, when he marched from Wainadega, his cavalry amounted to 530 men only, besides a small reinforcement brought by Emana Christos, governor of Amhara.

It was at Aibo the king turned off the road to Tigré towards Begemder, and that day encamped at Wainadega. From Wainadega he advanced to Davada; and, crossing the Reb, he turned off by the way of Zang, and encamped at Kartame. He then proceeded to Tzame, and arrived at Hader. At this place some spies informed him that an advanced party of the Galla Marawa were strongly lodged in a hill not far off. Upon receiving this notice, Socinios ordered his army to refresh themselves, to extinguish all lights, and march with as little noise as possible.

While it was scarce dawn of day, a strong detachment of the king's army surrounded the hill where the Galla were, and found there a small number of these savages placed like piquets to give the alarm and prevent surprise. Eleven Galla were slain, and their heads cut off and carried to the king, the first fruits of his expedition.

Resolving to profit by this early advantage, Socinios followed with all diligence, and came in sight of the army of the enemy, without their having taken the smallest alarm. They were lying closely and securely in their huts that they had made. A large ravine full of trees and stumps divided the two armies, and in part concealed them from each other. The king ordered Emana Christos, and Abeton Welleta Christos, to pass the ravine with the horse, and fall upon the Galla suddenly, throwing the heads of those of the advanced guard they had cut off on the ground towards them.

Before the king's horse had passed the ravine, the Galla were alarmed, and mounted on horseback. As they never fight in order, it required no time to form; but they received the king's cavalry so rudely, that, though Emana Christos and the young prince behaved with the utmost courage, they were beat back, and obliged to fly with considerable loss, being entangled in the bushes. No sooner did the king observe that his horse were engaged, than he ordered his troops to pass the ravine to support them, and was desirous to bring on a general engagement. But a panic had seized his troops. They would not stir, but seemed benumbed and overcome by the cold of the morning, spectators of the ruin of the cavalry.

Emana Christos, and those of the cavalry that had escaped the massacre, had repassed the ravine, and dispersed themselves in the front of the foot; while the victorious Marawa, like ignorant savages, pushed their victory to the very front of the king's line, Socinios, ordering all the drums of the army to beat and trumpets to found, to excite some spirit in his troops, advanced himself before any of his soldiers, and slew the first Galla within his reach with his own hands. The example and danger the king exposed himself to, raised the indignation of the troops. They poured in crowds, without regarding order, upon the Marawa, great part of whom had already passed the ravine, and all that had passed it were cut to pieces.

The Galla, unable to stand this loss, fled from the field, and immediately after left Begemder. The want of horse on the king's part saved their whole army from the destruction which would infallibly have been the consequence of a vigorous pursuit, through a country where every inhabitant was an enemy. The king after this returned to his palace at Coga to finish the business he had in hand.

In the mean time, a report was spread through all Tigré, that the king had been defeated by the Galla, and that Ras Sela Christos had repaired to Gondar in consequence of that disaster. The impostor Jacob lost no time in taking advantage of this report. He descended from his natural fortress, and, in conjunction with the governor of Axum, slew several people, and committed many ravages in Sire. The Ras no sooner learned that he was encamped on plain ground, than he presented himself with the little army he had before; and, though the odds against him were excessive, yet by his presence and conduct, the rebels, though they fought this time with more than ordinary obstinacy, were defeated with great loss, and their leader, the supposed Jacob, forced again to his inaccessible mountains.

Socinios having now finished the affairs which detained him at Coga, and being informed that the southern Galla, resenting the defeat of the Marawa, had entered into a league to invade Abyssinia with united forces, and a complete army to burn and lay waste the whole country between the Tacazze and Tzana, and to attack the emperor in his capital of Coga, which they were determined to destroy, sent orders to Kasmati Julius, his son-in-law, to join him immediately with what forces he had, as also to Kefla Christos; and, being joined by both these officers and their troops, he marched and took post at Ebenaat in the district of Belessen, in the way by which the Galla intended to pass to the capital, and he resolved to await them there.

The Galla advanced in their usual manner, burning and destroying churches and villages, and murdering without mercy all that were so unfortunate as to fall into their hands. The king bore these excesses of his enemy with the patience of a good general, who saw they contributed to his advantage. He therefore did not offer to check any of their disorders, but by not refilling rather hoped to encourage them. He had an army in number superior, and this was seldom the case; but in quality there was no comparison, five of the king's troops being equal to twenty of the enemy, and this was the general proportion in which they fought. He, therefore, contented himself with choosing proper ground to engage, and improving it by ambushes such as the nature of the field permitted or suggested.

It was the 7th of January 1608, early in the morning, that the Galla presented themselves to Socinios in battle, in a plain below Ebenaat, surrounded with small hills covered with wood. The Galla filled the whole plain, as if voluntarily devoting themselves to destruction, and from the hills and bushes were destroyed by fire-arms from enemies they did not see, who with a strong body took possession of the place through which they entered, and by which they were to return no more.

Socinios that day, for what particular reason does not appear, distinguished himself among the midst of the Galla, by fighting like a common soldier. It is thought by the historians of those times, that he had received advice while at Coga, that his son-in-law Julius intended to rebel, and therefore he meant to discourage him by comparison of their personal abilities. This, however, is not probable; the king's character was established, and nothing more could be added to it. However that may be, all turned to the disadvantage of the Galla. No general or other officer thought himself entitled to spare his person more than the king; all fought like common soldiers; and, being the men best armed and mounted, and moil experienced in the field, they contributed in proportion to the slaughter of the day. About 12,000 men on the part of the Galla were killed upon the spot; the very few that remained were destroyed by the peasants, whilst 400 men only fell on the part of the king, so it was a massacre rather than a battle.

Socinios now resolved to try his fortune against: the impostor Jacob, and with that resolution he crossed Lamalmon, descending to the Tacazzè in his way to Sire. Here, as on the frontiers of his province, he was met by Sela Christos, who brought Peter Paez along with them. Both were kindly received by the king, who encamped in the large plain before Axum, in consequence of a resolution he had long taken of being crowned with all the ancient ceremonies used on this occasion by former kings, while the royal residence was in the province of Tigré.

It was on the 18th of March, according to their account, the day of our Saviour's first coming to Jerusalem, that this festival began. His army consisted of about 30,000 men. All the great officers, all the officers of state, and the court then present, were every man dressed in the richest and gayest manner. Nor was the other sex behind-hand in the splendour of their appearance. The king, dressed in crimson damask, with a great chain of gold round his neck, his head bare, mounted upon a horse richly caparisoned, advanced at the head of his nobility, passed the outer court, and came to the paved way before the church. Here he was met by a number of young girls, daughters of the umbares, or supreme judges, together with many noble virgins standing on the right and left of the court.

Two of the noblest of these held in their hands a crimson cord of silk, somewhat thicker than common whip-cord, but of a looser texture, stretched across from one company to another, as if to shut up the road by which the king was approaching the church. When this cord was prepared and drawn tight about breast-high by the girls, the king entered, advancing at a moderate pace, curvetting and shewing the management of his horse. He was stopped by the tension of this string, while the damsels on each side asking who he was, were answered, "I am your king, the king of Ethiopia." To which they replied with one voice, "You shall not pass; you are not our king."

The king then retires some paces, and then presents himself as to pass, and the cord is again drawn across his way by the young women so as to prevent him, and the question repeated, "Who are you?" The king answered, "I am your king, the king of Israel." But the damsels resolved, even on this second attack, not to surrender but upon their own terms; they again answer, "You shall not pass; you are not our king."

The third time, after retiring, the king advances with a pace and air more determined; and the cruel virgins, again presenting the cord and asking who he is, he answers, "I am your king, the king of Sion;" and, drawing his sword, cuts the silk cord asunder. Immediately upon this the young women cry, "It is a truth, you are our king; truly you are the king of Sion." Upon which they begin to sing Hallelujah, and in this they are joined by the court and army upon the plain; fire-arms are discharged, drums and trumpets found; and the king, amidst these acclamations and rejoicings, advances to the foot of the stair of the church, where he dismounts, and there sits down upon a stone, which, by its remains, apparently was an altar of Anubis, or the dog-star: At his feet there is a large slab of freestone, on which is the inscription mentioned by Poncet, and which shall be quoted hereafter, when I come to speak of the ruins of Axum.

After the king comes the nebrit, or keeper of the book of the law in Axum, supposed to represent Azarias the son of Zadock; then the twelve umbares, or supreme judges, who with Azarias accompanied Menilek, the son of Solomon, when he brought the book of the law from Jerusalem, and these are supposed to represent the twelve tribes. After these follow the Abuna at the head of the priests, and the Itcheguè at the head of the monks; then the court, who all pass through the aperture made by the division of the silk cord, which remains still upon the ground.

The king is first anointed, then crowned, and is accompanied half up the steps by the singing priests, called Depteras, chanting psalms and hymns. Here he flops at a hole made for the purpose in one of the steps, and is there fumigated with incense and myrrh, aloes and caffia. Divine service is then celebrated; and, after receiving the sacrament, he returns to the camp, where fourteen days should regularly be spent in feasting, and all manner of rejoicing and military exercise.

The king is, by the old custom, obliged to give a number of presents, the particulars of which are stated in the destar, or treasury-book, the value, the person to whom they are due, and the time of giving; but a great part of these are gone into desuetude since the removal of the court from Tigrè, as also many of the offices are now suppressed, and with them the presents due to them.

The nobles and the court were likewise obliged to give presents to the king upon that occasion. The present from the governor of Axum is two lions and a fillet of silk, upon which is wrote, "Mo Anbasa am Nizilet Solomon am Negade Jude — The lion of the tribe of Judah and race of Solomon hath overcome;" this serves as a form of investiture of lands that the king grants, a ribband bearing this inscription being tied round the head of the person to whom the lands are given.

This governor was then in rebellion, so did not assist at the ceremony. Notwithstanding the difference of expence which I have mentioned, by suppressing places, presents, and dues, the king Tecla Haimanout told me at Gondar, that when he was in Tigrè, driven there by the late rebellion, Ras Michael had some thoughts of having him crowned there in contempt of his enemies; but, by the most moderate calculation that could be made, not to turn the ceremony into ridicule by parsimony, it would have cost 20,000 ounces of gold, or L. 50,000 Sterling; upon which he laid aside the thoughts of it, saying to the king, "Sir, trust to me, 20,000 ounces of Tigrè iron shall crown you better; if more is wanted, I will bestow it upon your enemies with pleasure till they are satisfied;" meaning the iron balls with which his soldiers loaded their musquets.

After the coronation was over, the king passed the March, desiring to finish his campaign by the death of his competitor Jacob; but that impostor knew too well the superiority of his rival, and hid himself in the inmost recesses, without other attendants than a few goats, who furnished him with their milk, as well as their society.

Socinios left the affair of the rebel Jacob to be ended by Amsala Christos, an officer of great prudence, whom he made governor of Tigré; and, taking his brother Ras Sela Christos along with him, returned to Coga[2]. Amsala Christos being seized with a grievous sickness, saw how vain it was for him to pursue the suppression of a rebellion conduced by such a head as this impostor Jacob, and therefore secretly applied to two young men, Zara Johannes and Amha Georgis, brothers, and sons of the Shum Welled Georgis, who had committed murder, and were outlawed by Socinios, and, keeping hid in the mountains, had joined in fellowship with the impostor Jacob,

These, gained by the promise of pardon given them by Amsala Christos, chose an opportunity which their intimacy, gave them, and, falling upon Jacob unawares in his retirement, they slew him, cut his head off, and sent it to the king at Coga, who received it very thankfully, and returned it to Tigrè to Amsala Christos, to be exposed publicly in all the province to undeceive the people; for it now appeared, that he had neither fears in his face, broken jaw, nor loss of teeth, but that the covering was intended only to conceal the little resemblance he bore to king Jacob, slain, as we have seen, at the battle of Lebart; and he was now found to have been a herdsman, in those very mountains of Bisan to which he had so often fled for refuge while his rebellion lasted.

The king, in his return from Tigrè, passing by Fremona, sent to the Jesuits there thirty ounces of gold, about L. 75 Sterling, for their immediate exigency; testifying, in the most gracious manner, his regret, "That the many affairs in which he was engaged had prevented him from hearing mass in their convent, as he very sincerely wished to do; but he left with them the Abuna Simon, to whom he had recommended to study their religion, and be a friend to it."

In this he shewed his want of penetration and experience; for though he had seen wars between soldier and soldier, who, after having been in the most violent state of enmity, had died in defence of each other as friends, he was not aware of that degree of enmity which reigns upon difference of opinion, not to say religion, between priest and priest. It was not long, however, before he saw it, and the example was in the person of his present friend the Abuna Simon.

While Socinios was yet in Tigre, news were brought to Coga from Woggora to Sanuda Tzef Leham[3] of Dembea, who could not accompany the king to Tigre on account of sickness, but was left with the charge of the capital and palace during the king's absence, that Melchizedec, one of the meanest and lowest servants of the late king Melee Segued, had rebelled, and was collecting troops, consisting of soldiers, servants, and dependents of that prince, and had slain some of Socinios's servants. Sanuda was a brave and: arrive officer; but, being without troops, (the king having carried the whole army to Tigre) immediately set out from Maitsha to the town of Tchelga, one of the frontiers of Abyssinia, possessed by Wed Ageeb prince of the Arabs.

It is here to be observed, that though the territorial right of Tchelga did then, and does still appertain to the kingdom of Abyssinia, yet the possession of it is ceded by agreement to Wed Ageeb, under whose protection the caravans from Egypt and Sennaar, and those from Abyssinia to Sennaar and Egypt, were understood to be ever since they were cut off in the last century by the basha of Suakem, for this purpose, that a customhouse might be erected, and the duties divided between the two kingdoms equally. The same is the case with Serke, a town belonging to Sennaar, ceded for the same purpose to the king of Abyssinia.

It happened that Abdelcader[4], son of Ounsa, late king of Sennaar, or of Funge, as he is called in the Abyssinian annals, had been deposed by his subjects in the 4th year of his reign, and remained at Tchelga under the mutual protection of "Wed Ageeb and the emperor of Abyssinia, a kind of prisoner to them both; and had brought with him a number of soldiers and dependents, the partakers of his former good fortune, who, finding safety and good usage at Tchelga, were naturally well-affected to the king. These, ready mounted and armed, joined Sanuda immediately upon his declaring the exigency; and with these he marched straight to Coga, to the defence of the palace with which he had been intrusted.

Melchizedec, whose design was against Coga, no sooner heard Sanuda was arrived there than he marched to surprise him, and a very bloody and obstinate engagement followed. The Funge, piqued in honour to render this service to their protector, fought so obstinately that they were all slain, and Sanuda, mounted that day upon a fleet horse belonging to Socinios, escaped with difficulty, much wounded.

As soon as Socinios heard of this misfortune, he sent Ras Emana Christos, who marched straight to Woggora, creating Zenobius, son of Imael, governor of that district; and there he found Sanuda Zenobius and Ligaba Za Denghel together, in a place called Deberasso.

As soon as the rebel Melchizedec heard Emana Christos was come, and with him the fore-mentioned noblemen, he set himself to exert the utmost of his power to draw together forces of all kinds from every part he could get them, and his army was soon increased to such a degree as, notwithstanding the presence of Emana Christos, to strike terror into all the territory and towns of Dembea. Nothing was wanted but a king of the royal race for whom to fight. Without a chief of this kind, it was evident that the army, however often successful, would at last disperse. They, therefore, brought one Arzo, a prince of the royal blood, from his hiding-place in Begemder. Arzo, in return for a throne, conferred the place of Ras upon Melchizedec. Za Christos, son of Hatzir Abib, was appointed to the command of the army under him; and, having finished this and many such necessary preparatives, they marched straight to meet Emana Christos, with a better countenance than rebel armies generally bear.

It was the 9th of March 1611, at 9 in the morning, when the two armies were first in light of each other, nor did they long delay coming to an engagement. The battle was very obstinate and bloody; Melchizedec re-established his character for worth, at least as a soldier; the same did Za Christos. Of the competitor Arzo, history makes no mention; his blood, probably, was too precious to risk the spilling of it, being so far-fetched as from king Solomon. After a most obstinate resistance, part of Za Christos's army was broken and put to flight; but it rallied so often, and sold the ground it yielded so dear, that it gave time to Emana Christos to come up to his army's assistance.

The Ras, who was as brave a soldier as he was a wise and prudent general, saw it was a time when all should be risked, and threw himself into the midst of his enemies; and he was now arrived near the place where Melchizedec fought, when that rebel, seeing him advancing so fast among his slaughtered followers, guessing his intention, declined the combat, turned his horse and tied, while affairs even yet appeared in his favour. This panic of the general had the effect it ordinarily has in barbarous armies. Nobody considered how the prospect of the general issue stood; they fled with Melchizedec, and lost more men than would have secured them victory had they stood in their ranks.

A body of troops, joined by some peasants of Begemder, pursued Melchizedec so closely that they came up with him and took him prisoner, together with Tensa Christos, a very active partizan, and enemy to Emana Christos. Having brought them to the camp, before the Ras returned to Coga, they were tried and condemned to die for rebellion, as traitors, and the sentence immediately executed, after which their heads were sent to the king. Very soon after this, Arzo, and his general Za Christos, were taken and sent to the king, who ordered them to be tried by the judges in common form, and they underwent the same fate.

The king was employed in the winter season while he resided at Coga, in building a new church, called St Gabriel. But the season of taking the field being come, he marched out with his army and halted at Gogora, sending Emana Christos and Sela Christos against the rebels; these were not in a particular clan, or province, for all the country was in rebellion, from the head of the Nile round, eastward, to the frontiers of Tigré. Part of them indeed were not in arms, but refused to pay their quota of the revenue; part of them were in arms, and would neither pay, nor admit a governor from the king among them; others willingly submitted to Socinios, and were armed, only thereby to exempt themselves from payment.

Sela Christos fell upon the inhabitants of the mountainous district of Gusman, on the Nile, whose principal strong-hold, Ouree Amba, he forced, killing many, and carrying away their children as slaves, which, upon the intercession of Peter Paez, were given to the Jesuits to be educated as Catholics.

The next attempt was upon the Gongas, a black Pagan nation, with which he had the same success; the rest were the Agows, a very numerous people, all confederates and in arms, and not willing to hear of any composition. The king ordered one of these tribes, the Zalabassa, to be extirpated as far as possible, and their country laid waste. But notwithstanding this example, which met with great interruption in the execution, the Agows continued in rebellion for several years afterwards, but much impoverished and lessened in number by variety of victories obtained over them.

The two next years were spent in unimportant skirmishes with the Agows of Damot, and with the Galla, invaders of Gojam. In 1615, the year after, Tecla Georgis made governor of Samen, and Welled Hawaryat, shum of Tsalemat[5], were both sent against a rebel who declared himself competitor for the crown. His name was Amdo. He pretended to be the late king Jacob, son of Melee Segued; and this character he gave himself, without the smallest cation with the relations or connexions of that prince. As soon as Assera Christos and Tecla Garima, servants of Welled Hawaryat, heard of this adventurer, they surprised him in Tsalemat, and, putting him in irons, confined him in the house of Assera Christos.

Gideon, king of the Jews, whose residence was on the high mountain of Samen, upon hearing that Amdo was prisoner, sent a body of armed men who surprised Assera Christos in his own house in the night, and killed him, bringing with them his prisoner Amdo to Samen, and delivered him to Gideon there; who not only took him into protection, but assisted him in raising an army by every means in his power. There were not wanting there idle vagabonds and lawless people enough, who fled to the standard of a prince whose sole view seemed to be murder, robbery, and all sort of licentiousness. It was not long till Amdo, by the assistance of Gideon, found himself at the head of an army, strong enough to leave the mountain, and try his fortune in the plain below, where he laid waste Shawada, Tsalemat, and all the countries about Samen which persevered in their duty to the king.

Socinios, upon this, appointed Julius his son-in-law governor of Woggora, Samen, Waag, and Abbergale, that is, of all the low countries from the borders of the Tacazze to Dembea. Abram, an old officer of the king, desirous to stop the progress of the rebel, marched towards him, and offered him battle; but that brave officer had not the success his intention deserved, for he was defeated and slain; which had such an effect upon Julius, that, without hazarding his fortune farther, he sent to beseech the king to march against Amdo with all possible expedition, as his affairs were become desperate in that part of his dominions.

The king hereupon marched straight to Woggora, and joined Julius at Shimbra-Zuggan; thence he descended from Samen, and encamped upon Tocur-Ohha, (the black river) thence he proceeded to Debil, and then to Sobra; and from this last station he sent a detachment of his army to attack a strong mountain called Messiraba, one of the natural fortresses of Gideon, which was forced by the king's troops after some resistance, and the whole inhabitants, without distinction of age or sex, put to the sword, for such were the orders of the king.

This first success very much disheartened the rebels, for Messiraba was, by nature, one of the strongest mountains, and it, besides, had been fortified by art, furnished with plenty of provisions, and a number of good troops. The next mountain Socinios attacked was Hotchi, and the third Amba Za Hancaffe, where he had the like success, and treated the inhabitants in the same manner; thence he removed his army to Seganat, where he met with a very stout resistance,but this mountain, too, was at last taken, Gideon himself escaping narrowly by the bravery of his principal general, who, fighting desperately, was slain by a musqueteer.

The constant success of the king, and the bloody manner in which he pursued his victory, began to alarm Gideon, left the end should be the extirpation of his whole nation. He, therefore, made an overture to the king, that, if he would pardon him and grant him peace, he would deliver the rebel Amdo bound into his hands,

The king assented to this, and Amdo was accordingly delivered up; and, being convicted of rebellion and murder, he was sentenced to be nailed to a cross, and to remain there till he died. But the terrible cries and groans which he made while they were fixing him to the cross, so much shocked the ears of the king, that he ordered him to be taken down, and his head struck off with an ax, which was executed in the midst of the camp.

Socinios after this retired to Dancaz, and ordered Kefla governor of Gojam, and Jonael his master of the household, to march suddenly and surprise Belaya, a country belonging to the Gongas and Cuba, Pagan nations, on whom, every year, he made war for the sake of taking slaves for the use of the palace. These two officers, with a large body, mostly horse, fell unawares upon the savages at Belaya, slaying part, and bringing away their children. But not content with doing this, they likewise attacked the two districts of Agows, Dengui and Sankara, then in peace with the king, and drove away an immense number of cattle, which the king no sooner heard, than he ordered a strict search to be made, and the whole cattle belonging to the Agows to be gathered together, and restored to their respective owners; a piece of justice which softened the hearts of this people more than all the severities that had been hitherto used; and the good effects of which were soon after seen upon the Agows, though it produced something very different in the conduct of Jonael.

The king this year, 1616, left his capital at the usual time, in the month of November, and ordered his whole household to attend him. His intention was against the Galla on the west of Gojam, especially the tribe called Libo. But this campaign was rendered fruitless by the death of the king's eldest son, Kennasser Christos, a young prince of great hopes, esteemed both by the king and the people. He had an excellent understanding, and the most affable manners possible, to those even whom he did not like; was very fond of the soldiers; merciful, generous, and liberal; and was thought to be the favourite of the king his father, who buried him with great pomp in the church of Debra Roma, built by king Isaac, in the lake Tzana.

In the midst of this mourning, there came a very bloody order[6] from the king. History barely tells us the fact, but does not assign any other reason than the wanton manner in which Gideon king of the Jews had endeavoured to disturb his reign and kingdom, which was thought a sufficient excuse for it. However this may be, the king gave orders to Kasmati Julius, Kasmati Welled Hawaryat, Billetana Gueta Jonael, and Fit-Auraris Hofannah, to extirpate all the Falasha that were in Foggora, Janfakara, and Bagenarwe, to the borders of Samen; also all that were in Bagla, and in all the districts under their command, wherever they could find them; and very few of them escaped, excepting some who fled with Phineas.

In this massacre, which was a very general one, and executed very suddenly, fell Gideon king of that people; a man of great reputation, not only among his subjects, but through-out all Abyssinia, reputed also immensely rich. His sures, supposed to be concealed in the mountains, are the objects of the search of the Abyssinians to this day.

The children of those that were slain were sold for slaves by the king; and all the Falasha in Dembea, in the low countries immediately in the king's power, were ordered upon pain of death to renounce their religion, and be baptised. To this they consented, seeing there was no remedy; and the king unwisely imagined, that he had extinguished, by one blow, the religion which was that of his country long before Christianity, by the unwarrantable butchery of a number of people whom he had surprised living in security under the assurance of peace. Many of them were baptised accordingly, and they were all ordered to plow and harrow upon the sabbath-day.

The king next sent orders to Sela Christos, and Kefla governor of Gojam, that, assembling their troops, they should transfer the war into Bizamo, a province on the south side of the Nile, called also in the books a kingdom. Through this lies the road of the merchants leading to Narea. It is inhabited by several clans of Pagans, which together make the great division of these nations into Boren, and Bertuma Galla[7].

The army passed the Nile, laying waste the whole country, driving off the cattle, collecting the women and children as slaves, and putting all the men to the sword; without these people, though they make constant inroads into Gojam, appearing anywhere in force to Hop the desolation of their country. The whole tract between Narea and the Nile was now cleared of enemies, and a number of priests at that time sent to revive drooping Christianity in those parts.

In the year 1617, a league was again made among the Boren Galla, that part of them should invade Gojam, while the others (namely the Marawa) should enter Begemder. Upon hearing this, the king in haste marched to Begemder, that he might be ready in cafe of need to assist Tigré. He then fixed his head-quarters at Shima, but from this he speedily removed; and, palling Emfras, came to Dobit, a favourite residence of the emperor Jacob, where he held a council to determine which of the two provinces he should first assist.

It was the general opinion of his officers, that to march at that time of the year into Tigré by Begemder, was to destroy the army, and distress both provinces; that an army, well provided with horse, was necessary for acting with success against the Galla, and that, in effect, though the royal army at present was so appointed, yet there was no grass at that time of the year in all that march for the subsistence of the cavalry, and very little water for the use of man or beast, an inconvenience the Galla themselves must experience if they attempted an invasion that way. It was, moreover, urged, that, if the king should march through Woggora and Lamalmon, they might get more food for their beads, and water too; but then they would throw themselves far from the place where the Galla had entered, and would be obliged to fall into the former road, with the inconveniencies already stated. The consequence of this liberation was, that it was with very great regret the good of the commonweal obliged them to leave Tigré to the protection of Providence alone for a time, and hasten to meet the enemy that were then laying Gojam waste.

With this view the king left Dobit, and came to the river Gomara in Foggora. He then passed the Nile near Dara, and came to Selalo, where he heard that the Djawi had passed the Nile from Bizamo, and entered Gojam at the opposite side to where he then was. He there left his baggage, and, by a forced march, advancing three days journey in one, he came to Bed, upon the river Sadi; but, instead of finding the enemy there, he received intelligence from Sela Christos, that he had met the Galla immediately after their passing the Nile; had fought them, and cut their army to pieces, without allowing them time to ravage the country.

Upon this good news the king turned off on the road to Tchegal and Wainadassa, and ordered Bela Christos to assemble as great an army as he could, and fall upon the Djawi and Galla in Walaka and Shoa, as also Ras Sela Christos, to pass the Nile and join him there.

That general lost no time, but marched straight to Amca Ohha, or the river Amca, where he found the Edjow, who fled upon his coming, without giving him any opportunity of bringing them to an engagement, abandoning their wives, children, and substance, to the mercy of the enemy. Sela Christos, having .finished this expedition as he intended, returned to join the king, whom he found encamped upon the river Suqua, near Debra Werk, guarding those provinces in the absence of Sela Christos. From this the king, retreating towards Dembea, passed the Nile near Dara, and encamped at Zinzenam, whence he marched round the lake into Dembea to his palace at Gorgora.

This village, whose name signifies rain upon rain, affords us a proof of what I have said in speaking of the cause of the overflowing of the Nile, in contradiction to the Adulitic inscription, that no snow falls in Abyssinia, or rather, that though snow may have fallen in the course of centuries, it is a phenomenon so rare as not to have a name or word to express it in the whole language, and is entirely unknown to the people in general, at least to the well of the Tacazze.

The Abyssinian historian, from whom these memoirs are composed, says, "That this village, called Zinzenam, has its name from an extraordinary circumstance that once happened in these parts, for a shower of rain fell, which was not properly of the nature of rain, as it did not run upon the ground, but remained very light, having scarce the weight of feathers, of a beautiful white colour like flour; it fell in showers, and occasioned a darkness in the air more than rain, and liker to mist. It covered the face of the whole country for several days, retaining its whiteness the whole time, then went away like dew, without leaving any smell or unwholesome effect behind it.

This was certainly the accidental phaenomenon of a day; for, notwithstanding the height of the mountains Taranta and Lamalmon, snow never was seen there, at least for ages past; and Lasta, in whose mountains armies have perished by cold, as far as a very particular inquiry could go, never yet had snow upon them; and Zinzenam is not in these mountains, or in any elevated situation. On the contrary, it is adjoining to the plain country of Foggora, near where it borders upon Begemder, not above 20 miles from the second cataract, or 40 miles from Gondar; so that this must have been a short and accidental change of the atmosphere, of which there are examples of many different kinds, in the histories of all countries.

As soon as the weather permitted, the king left his palace at Gorgora in the way to Tocuffa, where he staid several days; removed thence to Tenkel, where he continued also four days, and proceeded to Gunke, where he halted. From his head-quarters at Gunke, the king, meditating an expedition against Atbara, sent a messenger to Nile Wed Ageeb, prince of the Arabs, desiring a meeting with him before he attacked the Funge, for so they call the subjects of the new monarchy, lately established at Sennaar by the conquest of the Arabs, under Wed Ageeb, a very considerable part of whose territory they had taken by force, and now enjoyed as their own possessions,

Abdelcader, son of Ounsa, was the ninth prince of the race of Funge then reigning; a weak, and ill-inclined man, but with whom Socinios had hitherto lived in friendship, and, in a late treaty, had sent him as a present, a nagareet, or kettle-drum, richly ornamented with gold, with a gold chain to hang it by. Abdelcader, on his part, returned to Socinios a trained falcon, of an excellent kind, very much esteemed among the Arabs.

Soon after this, Abdelcader was deposed by his brother Adelan, son of Ounsa, and fled to Tchelga, under protection of the king of Abyssinia, who allowed him an honourable maintenance; a custom always observed in such cases in the East, by princes towards their unfortunate neighbours.

Baady, son of Abdelcader, an active and violent young prince, although he deposed his uncle Adelan, took this protection of his father in bad part. It was likewise suggested to him, that the present sent by Socinios, a nagareet, or kettle-drum, imported, that Socinios considered him as his vassal, the drum being the sign of investiture sent by the king, to any one of his subjects whom he appoints to govern a province, and that the return of the falcon was likely to be considered as the acknowledgement of a vassal to his superior. Baady, upon his accession to the throne, was resolved to rectify this too great respect shewn on the part of his father, by an affront he resolved to offer. With this view he sent to Socinios two old, blind, and lame horses.

Socinios took this amiss, as it was intended he should, and the flight was immediately followed by the troops of Atbara, under Nile Wed Ageeb, sent by Baady to make an inroad into Abyssinia, to lay waste the country, and drive off the people, with orders to fell them as slaves.

Among the most active in this expedition, were those of the town of Serke. When Baady complained that his father and rival was protected in his own town of Tchelga, it had been answered. That true it was, Tchelga had been ceded and did belong to Sennaar, for every purpose of revenue, bur that the sovereignty of the place had never been alienated or surrendered to the king of Sennaar, but remained now, as ever, vested in the king of Abyssinia. Serke stood precisely in the same situation with respect to Abyssinia, as Tchelga did to Sennaar, when Socinios demanded satisfaction for the violence committed against him by his own town of Serkè. The same answer was given him, That for all fiscal purposes Serkè was his, but owed him no allegiance; for, being part of the kingdom of Sennaar, it was bound to assist its sovereign in all wars against his enemies.

Socinios, deeply engaged in the troubles that attended the beginning of his reign, passed over for a time both the affront and injury, but sent into Atbara to Nile Wed Ageeb, proposing a treaty with him independent of the king of Sennaar.

There were, at this time, three forts of people that inhabited the whole country from lat. 13° (the mountains of Abyssinia) to the tropic of Cancer (the frontiers of Egypt.) The first was the Funge, or negroes, established in Atbara since the year 1504, by conquest. The second, the old inhabitants of that country, known in very early ages by the name of Shepherds, which continues with them to this day; and these lived under a female government. The third, the Arabs, who came hither after the conquest of Egypt, in an army under Caled Ibn el Waalid, or Saif Ullah, the Sword of God, during the Khalifat of Omar, destined to subdue Nubia, and, still later, in the time of Salidan and his brother.

These Arabs had associated with the first inhabitants, the Shepherds, from a similarity of life and manners, and, by treaty, the Funge had established a tribute to be paid them from both; after which, these were to enjoy their former habitations without further molestation.

This prince of the Arabs, Nile Wed Ageeb, embraced the offer of the king of Abyssinia very readily; and a treaty was accordingly made between Socinios and him, and a territory in Abyssinia granted him on the frontiers, to which he could retire in safety, as often as his affairs were embroiled with the state of Sennaar.

It happened soon after this, that Alico, a Mahometan, governor of the Mazaga for Socinios, that is, of Nara and Ras el Feel, a low country, as the name imports, of black earth, revolted from his master, and fled to Sennaar, carrying with him a number of the king's horses. Socinios made his complaint to the king of Sennaar, who took no notice of it, neither returned any answer, which exasperated Socinios so much that it produced the present expedition, and was a cause of much bloodshed, and of a war which, at least in intention, lasts to this day between the two kingdoms.

Wed Ageeb, upon Socinios's first summons, came to Gunke, his head-quarters, attended by a number of troops, and some of the bell horse in Atbara. Upon his entering the king's tent, he prostrated himself, (as is the Abyssinian custom) acknowledged himself the king's vassal, and brought presents with him to a very considerable value. Socinios received him with great marks of distinction and kindness. He decorated him with a chain and bracelets of gold, and gave him a dagger of exquisite workmanship, mounted with the same metal; clothed him in silk and damask after the Abyssinian fashion, and confirmed the ancient treaty with him. The fruit of all this was presently seen; the king and his new ally fell suddenly upon Serke, put all the male inhabitants to the sword, sold the women and children as slaves, and burned the town to the ground. The same they did to every inhabited place on that side of the frontier, west to Fazuclo. After which, the king, having sent a sarcastic compliment to Baady, returned to Dancaz, taking Wed Ageeb with him.

Socinios had only ravaged the frontier of the kingdom of Sennaar to the westward, from Serke towards Fazuclo. This was but a part of the large scheme of vengeance he had resolved to execute progressively from Serke, in reparation of the affront he had received from the king of the Funge. But he delegated what remained to the two princes his sons, and to the governor of Tigré.

Welled Hawaryat, at the head of the Koccob horse, and another body of cavalry reckoned equal in valour, called Mala, and the greatest part of the king's household troops, were ordered to fall upon that part of the frontier of Sennaar which the king had left from Serke eastward. Melca Christos, with the horse of Sire and Samen, was appointed to attack the frontier still farther east, opposite to the province of Sire Tecla Georgis, governor of Tigré, was directed to lay waste that part of the kingdom of Sennaar bordering upon the frontiers of his province.

The whole of this expedition succeeded to a wish; only Melec Christos, in passing through the country of Shangalla, was met by a large army of that people, who, thinking the expedition intended against them, had attacked him in his passage, with some appearance of advantage; but by his own exertions, and those of his troops alarmed at their prince's danger, he not only extricated himself from the bad situation he was in, but gave the Shangalla so entire an overthrow, that one of their tribes was nearly exterminated by that day's slaughter, and crowds of women and children sent slaves to the king at Dancaz.

The delay that this occasioned had no bad effect upon the expedition. The victorious troops poured immediately into Atbara under Melca Christos, and completed the destruction made by Welled Hawaryat, and the governor of Tigré. All Sennaar was filled with people flying from the conquerors, and an immense number of cattle was driven away by the three armies. Baady seems to have been an idle spectator of this havock made in his kingdom; and the armies returned without loss to Dancaz, loaded with plunder.

Still the vengeance of Socinios was not satisfied. The Baharnagash, Guebra Mariam, was commanded to march against Fatima queen of the Shepherds, called at that time Negusta Errum, queen of the Greeks. This was a princess who governed the remnant of that ancient race of people, once the sovereigns of the whole country, who, for several dynasties, were masters of Egypt, and who still, among their ancient customs, preserved that known one, of always placing a woman upon the throne. Her residence was at Mendera[8], on the N. E. of Atbara, one of the largest and most populous towns in it; a town, indeed, built like the rest, of clay, straw, and reeds, but not less populous or flourishing on that account. It was in the way of the caravans from Suakem, both to Abyssinia and Sennaar, as also of those large caravans to and from Sudan, the Negro country upon the Niger, which then came, and still use that road in their way to Mecca. Its female sovereign was considered as guardian of that communication, and the caravans passing it.

The Baharnagash had in orders from Socinios to pursue this queen till he had taken her prisoner, and to bring her in that condition into his presence. The enterprise was by no means an easy one. Great part of the road was without water; but Guebra Mariam, the Baharnagash, was an active and prudent officer, and perfectly acquainted with the several parts of the country. With a small, but veteran army, he marched down the Mareb, between that river and the mountains, destroying all the places through which he passed, putting the inhabitants unmercifully to the sword, that no one might approach him, nor any report be made of his numbers, which were everywhere magnified by those that escaped, and who computed them from the greatness of the desolation they had occasioned.

On the 13th day he came before Mendera, and sent a summons to the queen Fatima to surrender. Being told that she had fled on his approach, he answered, That he cared not where she was; but that, unless she surrendered herself prisoner before he entered Mendera, he would first let the town on fire, and then quench the flames by the blood of its inhabitants.

Fatima, though old and infirm, was too great a lover of her people to risk the fulfilling this threat from any consideration of what might happen to her. She surrendered herself to Guebra Mariam, with two attendants; and he, without loss of time, marched back to his own country, abstaining from every sort of violence or excess in his way from respect to his female prisoner, whom he brought in triumph before Socinios to Dancaz, and was the first messenger of his own victory.

Socinios received this queen of the Greeks on his throne; but, in consideration of her infirmities, dispensed with the ceremony of prostration, constantly observed in Abyssinia on being introduced to the presence of the king: seeing that she was unable to stand during the time of her interrogation, he ordered a low stool to be set for her on the ground; a piece of consideration very rarely shewn to any stranger in Abyssinia, however great their dignity and quality.

Socinios sternly demanded of his prisoner, "Why she and her predecessors, being vassals to the crown of Abyssinia, had not only omitted the payment of their tribute, but had not even sent the customary presents to him upon his accession to the throne?"

To this the queen answered with great frankness and candour, "That it was true, such tributes and presents were due, and were also punctually paid from old times by her ancestors to his, as long as protection was afforded them and their people, and this was the principal cause of paying that tribute; but the Abyssinians having first suffered the country to be in great part conquered by the Arabs, and then again by the Funge, without ever interfering, she had concluded a peace with the Funge of Sennaar, and paid the tribute to them, in consequence of which they defended her from the Arabs: That she had had no soldiers but such as were employed in keeping a strict watch over the road through the desert to Suakem, which was anciently trusted to her; that the other part of her subjects was occupied in keeping and rearing great herds of cattle for the markets of Sennaar and other towns, as well as camels for the caravans of Mecca, Cairo, and Sudan, both employments being of public benefit; and, therefore, as she did harm to none, she had a greater reason to wonder what could be his motive of fending so far from home to seek her, and. her harmless subjects, in the desert, with such effusion of innocent blood."

The king hearing this sagacious answer, which was followed by many others of the kind, was extremely pleased; but assured her, "That he intended to maintain his ancient right both over her subjects,and the Arabs under Wed Ageeb, who was now his vassal, in all the country from Fazuclo to Suakem; that he considered the Funge as usurpers, and would certainly treat them as such." After this Socinios dismissed the queen, and gave her assurances of protection, having first cloathed her as his vassal in silk and damask, after the fashion of women in her own country.

But it was not long before this train of success met with a considerable check. Very soon afterwards, the king being in Gojam, a message was brought to him from the principal people of Narea, informing him plainly, "That Benero, having become cruel and avaricious, put many people to death wantonly, and many more for the fake of their money; having taken from them their wives and daughters, either for his own pleasure, or to sell them as slaves to the Galla — they had at last murdered him, and chosen a man in his room distinguished for his virtue and goodness."

The king was very much exasperated at this message. He told them, however bad Benero might have been, he considered his murder as an insult done to himself, and had, therefore, dispatched Mustapha Basha with some troops, and given command to all the Mahometans in Narea to assist him, and to inquire into the death of Benero, and the merit of his successor.

At the same time, the Galla made an inroad into Begemder; and Welled Hawaryat, assembling what troops he could, in haste, to stop the desolation of that province, and having come in fight of the enemy, he was forsaken by his army, and slain, together with the Cantiba of Dembea, Amdo, and Nile Wed Ageeb prince of the Arabs, after fighting manfully for the king. Socinios, upon the arrival of this news, gave himself up to immoderate sorrow; not so much for the loss of his army which had misbehaved, as for the death of Welled Hawaryat his favourite son, and Amdo and Nile, the two best officers in his army.

It will now be necessary that we look back a little to the state of religious affairs in Abyssinia, which began from this time to have influence in every measure, and greatly to promote the troubles of that empire; though they were by no means their only cause, as some have said, with a view to throw greater odium upon the Jesuits, who surely have enough to answer for, without inflaming the account by any exaggeration.

Paez, in the course of building the palace at Gorgora had deservedly astonished the whole kingdom by a display of his universal genius and capacity. If he was assiduous and diligent in raising this fabric, he had not neglected the advancing of another, the conversion of Abyssinia to the obedience of the see of Rome.

Ras Sela Christos (if we believe these missionaries) had converted himself, by reading with attention the Abyssinian books only. Being about to depart from Gojam to fight against the Galla, he wanted very much to have made his renunciation and confession in the presence of Peter Paez, But, as he was busied at Gorgora building a convent and palace there, he contented himself with another Jesuit, Francisco Antonio d'Angelis; and, being victorious in his expedition, he gave the fathers ground and a sum of money to build a monastery at Collela, which was now the third in Abyssinia belonging to the Jesuits.

As for the king, though probably already determined in his own mind, he had not taken any step so decisive as could induce the compliance of others. Disputes were constantly maintained, for the most part in his presence, between the millionaries and the Abyssinian monks, chiefly concerning the long-agitated question, the two natures in Christ, in which, although the victory declared always in favour of the Jesuits, if we may credit their representations, no conviction followed on the part of the adversaries. At last Abuna Simon complained to the king, that unusual and irregular things had been permitted without his knowledge; that disputes upon articles of faith had been held without calling him, or his being permitted to give his clergy the advantage of his support in these controversies.

The king, who did not believe that the Abuna's eloquence or learning would make any great alteration, ordered the disputations to be held a-new in the Abuna's presence. That priest's ignorance made the matter worse; and the king, holding this point as now settled, made his first public declaration, that there were two natures in Christ, perfect God and perfect man, really distinct between themselves, but united in one divine person, which is the Christ.

At this time, letters came by way of India, both from the king of Spain, Philip II. dated in Madrid the 15th of March 1609, and from the pope Paul V. of the 4th of January 1611. These letters contain nothing but general declamatory exhortations to Socinios to persevere in the Christian faith, assuring him of the assistance of the Holy Spirit, instead of those Portuguese regiments which he had solicited. However, the affair of the conversion being altogether settled between the king and Paez, it was thought proper to make the renunciation first, and then depend upon the king of Spain and the pope for sending the soldiers, if their prayers were not effectual.

It was necessary that Socinios should write to the pope, notifying his submission to the fee of Rome. But letters on such a subject were thought of too great consequence to be sent, as former dispatches to Europe had been, without being accompanied by proper persons, who, upon occasion, might assume the character of ambassadors, and give any assurance or explanation needful.

It was at the same time considered, that the way by Masuah was so liable to accidents, the intermediate province of Tigré being still as it were in a state of rebellion, that it would be easy for the enemies of the Catholic faith to intercept these messengers and letters by the way, so that their contents might be published amongst the king's enemies in Abyssinia, without ever being made known in Europe. Some proposed the longer, but, as they apprehended, the more secure way, by passing Narea and the provinces south of the frontiers of that kingdom, partly inhabited by Gentiles, partly by Mahometans, to Melinda, on the Indian Ocean, where they might embark for Goa.

Lots were cast among the missionaries who of their number should undertake this long and dangerous journey. The lot fell upon Antonio Fernandes, a man of great prudence, much esteemed by the king, and by the general voice allowed to be the properest of all the society for this undertaking. He, on his part, named Fecur Egzie (beloved of the Lord) as his companion, to be ambassador to the king of Spain and the pope. This man had been one of the first of the Abyssinians converted to the Catholic faith by the Jesuits, and he continued in it steadily to his death. He was a person of tried courage and prudence, and of a pleasant and agreeable conversation.

It was the beginning of March 1613 Antonio Fernandes[9] set out for Gojam, where was Ras Sela Christos. Fecur Egzie had set out before, that he might adjust his family affairs, and took with him ten Portuguese, six of whom were to go no farther than Narea, and return, the other four to embark with him for India.

The governor detained the small company till he procured guides from among the Shats and Gallas, barbarous nations near Narea, and eastward of it, from whom he took hostages for properly protecting this caravan in their way, paying them well, as an encouragement for behaving honestly and faithfully.

On the 15th of April they had set out from Umbarma, then the head-quarters of Sela Christos, who gave them for guards forty men armed with shields and javelins. Nor was it long before their difficulties began. Travelling about two days to the west, they came to Senaffé, the principal village or habitation of the Pagan Gongas, very recently in rebellion, and nearly destroyed, rather than subdued. To the first demand of safe conduct, they answered in a manner which shewed that, far from defending the travellers from others, they were resolved themselves to fall upon them, and rob or murder them in the way. One Portuguese offered himself to return with Fernandes to complain of these savages to Sela Christos; who, upon their arrival, dispatched three officers with troops to chastise these Pagans, and convey the ambassador and his attendants out of their territory and reach.

The Gongas, being informed that a complaint was sent to Sela Christos, which would infallibly be followed by a detachment of troops, gave the ambassador the safeguard he demanded, which carried him in three days to Minè[10]. This is the name of some miserable villages, often rebuilt, and as often destroyed, upon a ford of the Nile, over which is the ordinary passage for the Mahometan merchants into Bizamo, the way to the mountainous country of Narea and Caffa. As the rains had begun to fall here with violence, when Fernandes and his companions arrived, they were obliged to pass the river on skins blown full of wind.

The distance from Mine to Narea is 50 leagues due south, with little inclination to west. The road to it, and the places through which you pass, are very distinctly set down in my map, and, I believe, without any material error; it is the only place where the reader can find this route, which, till now, has never been published.

The next day our travellers entered the kingdom of Bizamo, inhabited by Pagan Galla. These people came in crowds with arms in their hands, insisting upon being paid for liberty of passing through their country; but, seeing the company of the ambassador take to their arms likewise, they compounded for a few bricks of salt and coarse cotton cloaths, and thereupon suffered them to pass. The same day, the guide, sent from Narea to conduct them by crooked and unfrequented paths out of the way of the Pagan Galla, made them to enter into a large thicket through which they could scarcely force themselves; after which they came to a river called Maleg when it was nearly night. Next day they could find no ford where they could pass. They now entertained a suspicion, that the guard from Narea had betrayed them, and intended to leave them in these woods to meet their death from the Galla.

The day after, they found the ford, and passed it without difficulty; and, being on the other side, they began to be a little more composed, as being far from the Pagans, and now near entering the territory of Narea. After ascending a high mountain, they came to Gonea, where they found a garrison under one of the principal officers of that kingdom, who received them with great marks of honour and joy, on account of the warm recommendation Sela Christos had given them, and perhaps as much for a considerable present they had brought along with them.

Narea, the southmost province of the Abyssinian empire, is still governed by its native princes, who are called the Bencros; its territory reached formerly to Bizamo.

The Galla have quite surrounded them, especially on the south-east and north. What is to the west is a part of Africa, the most unknown. The people of Narea have a small trade with Melinda on the Indian Ocean, and with Angola on the western, by means of intermediate nations. Narea is abundantly supplied with gold from the Negro country that is nearest them. Some have, indeed, said there is gold in Narea; but, after a very diligent investigation, I find it comes chiefly from towards the Atlantic.

The kingdom of Narea stands like a fortified place in the middle of a plain. Many rivers, rising in the fourth and fifth degrees of latitude, spread themselves, for want of level, over this flat country, and stagnate in very extensive marshes from south by east, to the point of north, or north-west.

The foot of the mountains, or edge of these marshes nearest Narea, is thick overgrown with coffee-trees, which, if not the only, is the largest tree known there. Then comes the mountainous country of Narea Proper, which is interspersed with small, unwholesome, but very fertile valleys. Immediately adjoining is the more mountainous country of Caffa, without any level ground whatever. It is said to be governed by a separate prince: they were converted to Christianity in the time of Melec Segued, some time after the conversion of Narea. The Galla, having settled themselves in all the flat ground to the very edge of the marshes, have, in great measure, cut off the communication with Abyssinia for many years together; so that their continuance in the Christian faith seems very precarious and uncertain, for want of books and priests to instruct them.

The Nareans of the high country are the lightest in colour of any people in Abyssinia; but those that live by the borders of the marshes below are perfect blacks, and have the features and wool of negroes: whereas all those in the high country of Narea, and still more so in the stupendous mountains of Caffa, are not fo dark as Neopolitans or Sicilians. Indeed it is said that snow has been seen to lie on the mountains of Caffa, as also in that high ridge called Dyre and Tegla; but this I do not believe. Hail has probably been seen to lie there; but I doubt much whether this can be said of a substance of so lose a texture as snow.

There is great abundance both of cattle, grain, and all sorts of provisions in Narea, as well in the high as in the low country. Gold, which they sell by weight, is the medium of commerce within the country itself; but coarse cotton cloths, stibium, beads, and incense, are the articles with which their foreign trade to Angola, and the kingdoms on the Atlantic, is carried on.

The Nareans are exceedingly brave. Though they have been conquered, and driven out of the low country, it has, been by multitudes — nation after nation pouring in upon them with a number of horse to which they are perfect, strangers: But now, confined to the mountains, and surrounded by their marshes and woods, they despise all further attempts of the Galla, and drive them from their frontiers whenever they approach too near.

In these skirmishes, or in small robbing parties, those Nareans are taken, whom the Mahometan merchants sell at Gondar. At Constantinople, India, or Cairo, the women are more esteemed as slaves than those of any other part of the world, and the men are reckoned faithful, active, and intelligent. Both sexes are remarkable for a chearful, kind disposition, and, if properly treated, soon attach themselves inviolably to their masters. The language of Narea and Caffa is peculiar to that country, and is not a dialect of any neighbouring nation,

Antonio Fernandes in this journey, seeking to go to India by Melinda in company with Fecur Egzie ambassador, passed through this country; but none of the Jesuits ever went to Narea with a view of converting the people, at which I have been often surprised. There was enough of gold and ignorance to have allured them. That softness and simplicity of manners for which the Nareans are remarkable, their affection for their mailers and superiors, and firm attachment to them, would have been great advantages in the hands of the fathers. Every Abyssinian would have encouraged them at the beginning of this mission; and, if once they had firmly established themselves in a country of so difficult access, they might have bid defiance to prince Facilidas, and the persecution that destroyed the progress of the Catholic faith in that reign.

From Gonea, in six days they came to the residence of Benero, the sovereign of the country; since the conquest and conversion under Melee Segued, he is called Shum. The ambassador and Fernandes were received by the Benero with an air of constraint and coolness, though with civility. They found afterwards the cause of this was the insinuation of a schismatic Abyssinian monk, then at the court of that prince, who had told him that the errand of the ambassador and missionary to India was to bring Portuguese troops that way into Abyssinia, which would end in the destruction of Narea, if it did not begin with it.

Terrified at a danger so near, the Benero called a council, in which it was resolved that the ambassador should be turned from the direct road into the kingdom of Bali, to a much more inconvenient, longer, and dangerous one; and, the ambassador hesitating a little when this was proposed, the Benero told him plainly, that he would not suffer him to pass further by any other way than that of Bali.

Bali was once a province belonging to Abyssinia, and was the first taken from them by the Galla. It is to the north-east of Narea, to the west of the kingdom of Adel, which separates it from the sea; of which ample mention has been already made in the beginning of this history.

This was to turn them to Cape Gardefan, the longest journey they could possibly make by land, and in the middle of their enemies; whereas the direction of the coast of the Indian Ocean running greatly to the westward, and towards Melinda, was the shortest journey they could make by land. Melinda, too, had many rich merchants, who, though Moors, did yet traffic in the Portuguese settlements on the coast of Malabar, and had little intelligence or concern with the religious disputes which raged in Abyssinia.

However, I very much doubt whether this nearest route could be accomplished, at least by travellers, such as Fecur Egzie, Fernandes, and their companions, all ignorant of the language, and, therefore, constantly at the discretion of interpreters, and the malice or private views of different people through whose hands they must have pasted.

The Benero, having thus provided against the dangers with which his state was threatened, if our travellers went by Melinda, made them a present of fifty crusades of gold for the necessaries of their journey; and, as their way lay through the small state of Gingiro, and an ambassador from the sovereign of that state was then at Narea, he dispatched that minister in great haste, recommending the Portuguese to his protection so long as they should be in his territory.

Fecur Egzie and his company set out with the ambassador of Gingiro in a direction due east; and the first day they arrived at a post of Narea, where was the officer who was to give them a guard to the frontiers; and who, after some delay, in order to see what he could extort from them, at last gave them a party of eighty soldiers to conduct them, to the frontiers.

After four long days journey through countries totally laid waste by the Galla, keeping scouts constantly before them to give advice of the first appearance of any enemy, that they might hide themselves in thickets and bushes; at mid-day they began to descend a very steep craggy ridge of mountains, when the ambassador of Gingiro, now their conductor, warned them, that, before they got to the foot of the mountain, they should enter into a very thick wood to hide themselves till night, that they might not be discovered by the Galla shepherds feeding their flocks in the plain below; for only at night, when they had retired, could those plains be passed in safety.

At four o'clock in the afternoon they began to enter the wood, and were Lucky in getting a violent shower of rain, which dislodged the Galla sooner than ordinary, and sent them, and their cattle home to their huts. But it was, at the same time, very disagreeable to our travellers on account of its excessive coldness. Next day, in the evening, descending another very rugged chain of mountains, they came to the banks, of the large river Zebee,as the Portuguese call it; but its true name is Kibbee, a name given it by the Mahometan merchants, (the only travellers in this country) from, its whiteness, approaching to the colour of melted butter, which that word signifies.

The river Zebeé, or Kibbeé, surrounds a great part of the kingdom of Gingiro. It has been mistaken for the river El Aice, which runs into Egypt in a course parallel to the Nile, but to the west of it.

Narea seems to be the highest land in the peninsula of Africa, so that here the rivers begin to run alternately towards the Cape of Good Hope and Mediterranean; but the descent at first is very small on either side. In the adjoining latitudes, that is 4° on each side of the Line, it rains perpetually, so that these rivers, though not rapid, are yet kept continually full.

This of Zebeé, is universally allowed by the merchants of this country to be the head of the river Quilimancy, which, passing through such a tract of land from Narea to near Melinda, mull have opened a very considerable communication with the inland country.

This territory, called Zindero, or Gingiro, is a very small one. The father and Fecur Egzie rested the sixth day from their setting out from Narea. The river Zebeè, by the description of Fernandes, seems to incline from its source in a greater angle than any river on the north of that partition. He says it carries more water with it than the Nile, and is infinitely more rapid, so that it would be absolutely impassable in the season of rains, were it not for large rocks which abound in its channel.

The passage was truly tremendous; trees were laid from the shore to the next immediate rock; from that rock to the next another tree was laid; then another that reached to the shore. These trees were so elastic as to bend with the weight of a single person. At a great distance below ran the foaming current of the river, so deep an abyss that it turned the heads of those who were passing on the moveable elastic support or bridge above.

Yet upon this seeming inconvenience the existence of that country depended. The Galla that surrounded it would have over-run it in a month, but for this river, always rapid and always full, whose ordinary communication by a bridge could be destroyed in a moment; and which, though it had one ford, yet this was useless, unless passengers had assistance from both sides of the river, and consequently could never be of service to an enemy.

The terrible appearance of this tottering bridge for a time stopped the ambassador and missionary. They looked upon the passing upon these trembling beams as certainly incurring inevitable destruction. But the reflection of dangers that pressed them behind overcame these fears, and they preferred the resolution to run the rifle of being drowned in the river Zebee, rather than, by staying on the other side all night, to stand the chance of being murdered by the Galla. But, after all the men only could pass the bridge, they were obliged to leave the mules on the other side till the next morning, with instructions to their people, that, upon the first appearance of the Galla, they should leave them, and make their best way over the bridge, throwing down one of the trees after them. The next morning, two peasants, subjects of Gingiro, shewed them the ford, where their beasts passed over with great difficulty and danger, but without loss.

It was necessary now to acquaint the king of Gingiro of their arrival in his kingdom, and to beg to be honoured with an audience. But he happened at that time to be employed in the more important business of conjuration and witchcraft, without which this sovereign does nothing.

This kingdom of Gingiro may be fixed upon as the first on this side of Africa where we meet with the strange practice of divining from the apparition of spirits, and from a direct communication with the devil: A superstition this which likewise reaches down all along the western side of this continent on the Atlantic Ocean, in the countries of Congo, Angola, and Benin. In spite of the firmest foundation in true philosophy, a traveller, who decides from the information and investigation of facts, will find it very difficult to treat these appearances as absolute fiction, or as owing to a superiority of cunning of one man in over-reaching another. For my own part, I confess I am equally at a loss to assign reasons for disbelieving the fiction on which their pretensions to some preternatural information are founded, as to account for them by the operation of ordinary causes. The king of Gingiro found eight days necessary before he could admit the ambassador and Fernandes into his presence. On the ninth, they received a permission to go to court, and they arrived there the same day.

When they came into the presence of the king he was seated in a large gallery, open before, like what we call a balcony, which had steps from below on the outside, by which he ascended and descended at pleasure. When the letter which the ambassador carried was intimated to him, he came down from the gallery to receive it, a piece of respect which he shewed to the king of Abyssinia, though he was neither his subject nor vassal. He inquired much after the king's health, and stood a little by the ambassador and Fernandes, speaking by an interpreter. Afterwards he again returned to his balcony, sat down there, read his letter, and then corresponded with the ambassador by messages sent from above to them below.

It is impossible to conceive from this, or any thing that Fernandes says, whether the language of Gingiro is peculiar to that country or not. The king of Gingiro read Socinios's letter, which was either in the Tigrè or Arabic language. Fernandes understood the Arabic, and Fecur Egzie the Tigrè and Amharic. It is not possible, then, to know what was the language of the king of Gingiro, who read and understood Socinios's letter, but spoke to Fecur Egzie by an interpreter.

At last the king of Gingiro told them, that all contained in the king of Abyssinia's letter was, that he should use them well, give them good guard and protection while they were in his country, and further them on their journey; which he said he would execute with the greatest pleasure and punctuality.

The next day, as is usual, the ambassador and missionary carried the king's present, chints, calicoe, and other manufactures of India, things that the king esteemed most. In return to Fernandes he sent a young girl, whom the father returned, it not being customary, as he said, for a Christian priest to have girls in his company. In exchange for the girl, the good-natured king of Gingiro sent him a slave of the other sex, and a beautiful mule. With all. respect to the scruples of the father, I think it would have been fair to have kept the beautiful mule, and given the young female Gingerite to his companion in the journey, Fecur Egzie, who could have had no scruples.

Fernandes says he received the boy from the only view of saving his foul by baptism. I wonder, since Providence had thrown the girl first in his way, by what rule of charity it was he consigned her foul to perdition by returning her, as he was not certain at the time that he might not have got a mule or camel in exchange for the girl; and then, upon his own principles, he certainly was author of the perdition of that soul which Providence seemed to have conduced by an extraordinary way to the enjoyment of all the advantages of Christianity; surely the care of neophytes of the female sex was not a new charge to the Jesuits in Abyssinia.

It seems to be ridiculous for Fernandes to imagine that the sovereign of this little state called himself Gingiro, knowing that this word signified a monkey. His enemies might give him that name; but it is not likely he would adopt it himself. And the reason of that name is still more ridiculous; for he says it is because the gallery is like a monkey's cage. If that was the case, all the princes in Congo and Angola give their audiences in such places. Indeed, it seems to me that it is here the customs, used in these last-mentioned parts of Africa, begin, although Gingiro is nearer the coast of the Indian Ocean than that of the Atlantic. The colour of the people at Gingiro is nearly black, still it is not the black of a negro; the features are small and straight as in Europe or Abyssinia.

All matters in this state are conduced by magic; and we may see to what point the human understanding is debased in the distance of a few leagues. Let no man say that ignorance is the cause, or heat of climate, which is the unintelligible observation generally made on these occasions. For why should heat of climate addict a people to magic more than cold? or, why should ignorance enlarge a man's powers, so that, overleaping the bounds of common intelligence, it should extend his faculty of conversing with a new set of beings in another world? The Ethiopians, who nearly surround Abyssinia, are blacker than those of Gingiro, their country hotter, and are, like them, an indigenous people that have been, from the beginning, in the same part where they now inhabit. Yet the former neither adore the devil, nor pretend to have a communication with him: they have no human sacrifices, nor are there any traces of such enormities having prevailed among them. A communication with the sea has been always open, and the slave-trade prevalent from the earliest times; while the king of Gingiro, shut up in the heart of the continent, sacrifices those slaves to the devil which he has no opportunity to fell to man. For at Gingiro begins that accursed custom of making the shedding of human blood a necessary part in all solemnities. How far to the southward this reaches I do not know; but I look upon this to be the geographical bounds of the reign of the devil on the north side of the equator in the peninsula of Africa.

This kingdom is hereditary in one family, but does not descend in course to the eldest son, the election of the particular prince being in the nobles; and thus far, indeed, it seems to resemble that of their neighbours in Abyssinia.

When the king of Gingiro dies, the body of the deceased is wrapped in a fine cloth, and a cow is killed. They then put the body so wrapped up into the cow's skin. As soon as this is over, all the princes of the royal family fly and hide themselves in the bushes; while others, intrusted with the election, enter into the thickets, beating everywhere about as if looking for game. At last a bird of prey, called in their country Liber, appears, and hovers over the person destined to be king, crying and making a great noise without quitting his station. By this means the person destined to be elected is found, surrounded, as is reported, by tigers, lions, panthers, and suchlike wild beasts. This is imagined to be done by magic, or the devil, else there are everywhere enough of these beasts lying in the cover to furnish materials for such a tale, without having recourse to the power of magic to assemble them.

As they find their king, then, like a wild beast, so his behaviour continues the fame after he is found. He flies upon them with great rage, resisting to the last, wounding and killing all he can reach without any consideration, till, overcome by force, he is dragged to a throne, which he fills in a manner perfectly corresponding to the rationality of the ceremonies of his instalment.

Although there are many that have a right to seek after this king, yet, when he is discovered, it does not follow, that the same person who finds him should carry him to his coronation; for there is a family who have a right to dispute this honour with the first possessor; and, therefore, in his way from the wood, they set upon the people in whose hands he is, and a battle ensues, where several are killed or wounded; and if these last, by force, can take him out of the hands of the first finder, they enjoy all the honours due to him that made him king.

Before he enters his palace two men are to be slain; one at the foot of the tree by which his house is chiefly supported; the other at the threshold of his door, which is besmeared with the blood of the victim. And, it is said, (I have heard this often in Abyssinia from people coming from that country) that the particular family, whose priviledge it is to be slaughtered, so far from avoiding it, glory in the occasion, and offer themselves willingly to meet it. — To return to our travellers —

The father and the ambassador, leaving the kingdom of Gingiro, proceeded in a direction due east, and entered the kingdom of Cambat, depending still on the empire of Abyssinia, and there halted at Sangara, which seems to be the principal place of the province, governed at that time by a Moor called Amdmal. On the left of Cambat are the Guragues, who live in some beggarly villages, but mostly in caves and holes in the mountains. The father was detained two days at Sangara, at the persuasion of the inhabitants there, who told him there was a fair in the neighbourhood, and people would pass in numbers to accompany him, so that there would be no danger. But, after staying that time at Sangara, he found that the intention of this delay was only to give time to some horsemen of the Guragues to assemble, in order to attack the caravan on the road, which they did soon after; and, though they were repulsed, yet it was with loss of one of the company, a young man related to Socinios, who, being wounded with a poisoned arrow, died some days after.

In the mean time, an Abyssinian, called Manquer, overtook their caravan. As he was a schismatic, his intention was very well known to be that of disappointing their journey; and he prevailed with Amelmal so far as to make him suspect that the recommendations which the ambassador brought were false. He, therefore, infilled on the ambassador's staying there till he should get news from court. Amelmal, Manquer, and the ambassador, each dispatched a messenger, who tarried three months on the road, and at last brought orders from the king to dispatch them immediately.

As Amelmal now saw the bad inclination of Manquer, he detained him at Cambat that he might occasion no more difficulties in their way. He gave the ambassador likewise seven horses, which were said to be the best presents to the princes or governors that were in his road, and dispatched the travellers with another companion, Baharo, who had brought the letters from the king.

From Cambat they entered the small territory of Alaba, independent of the king of Abyssinia, whose governor was called Aliko, a Moor. This man, already prejudiced against the missionary and the ambassador, was still hesitating whether to allow them to proceed, when Manquer, who fled from Amelmal, arrived. Aliko, hearing from this incendiary, that the father's errand was to bring Portuguese that way from India to destroy the Mahometan faith, as in former times, burst into such violent rage as to threaten the father, and all with him, with death, which nothing but the reality of the king's letters, of which he had got assurance from Baharo, and some regard to the law of nations, on account of the ambassador Fecur Egzie, could have prevented. In the mean time, he put them all in close prison, where several of the Portuguese died. At last, after a council held, in which Manquer gave his voice for putting them to death, a man of superior character in that country advised the fending them back to Amelmal, the way that they came; and this measure was accordingly adopted.

They returned, therefore, from Cambat, and thence to Gorgora, without any fort of advantage to themselves or to us, only what arises from that opportunity of rectifying the geography of the country through which they palled; and even for this they have furnished but very scanty materials, in comparison of what we might reasonably have expected, without having occasioned any additional fatigue to themselves.

We have already said, that though Socinios had not openly declared his resolution of embracing the Catholic faith, yet he had gone so far as to declare, upon the dispute held between the Catholic and schismatic clergy, in his own presence and that of the Abuna, that the Abyssinian disputants were vanquished, and ought to have been convinced from the authority of their own books, especially that of Haimanout Abou, the faith of the ancient fathers and doctors of their church received by them from the beginning as the undoubted rule of faith: That the doctrine of the Catholic church being only what was taught in the Haimanout Abou concerning the two natures in Christ, this point was to all intents and purposes settled; and, therefore, he signified it as his will, that, for the future, no one should deny that there are two natures in Christ, distinct in themselves, but divinely united in one person, which was Christ; declaring at the fame time, that in case any person should hereafter deny, or call this in doubt, he would chastise him for seven years.

The Abuna, on the contrary, supported by the half-brother of the king, Emana Christos, (brother to Ras Sela Christos) published a sentence of excommunication, by affixing it to the door of one of the churches belonging to the palace, in which he declared all persons accursed who should maintain two natures in Christ, or embrace or vindicate any of the errors of the church of Rome.

The king had received various complaints of the Agows, who had abused his officers, and refused payment of tribute. He had set out upon an expedition against them, intending to winter in that country; but, hearing of the rash conduct of the Abuna, and the leagues that were in consequence everywhere forming against him, he returned to Gorgora, and sent to the Abuna, that unless, without delay, he recalled the excommunication he had published,he should be forthwith punished with loss of his head. This language was too clear and explicit to admit a doubt of its meaning; and the Abuna, giving way for the time, recalled his excommunication.

A conspiracy was next formed by Emana Christos, the eunuch Kèfla Wahad master of the household to the king, and Julius governor of Tigrè, to murder Socinios in his palace; for which purpose they desired an audience upon weighty affairs, which being granted by the king, the three conspirators were admitted into his presence.

It was concerted that Julius should present a petition of such a nature as probably to produce a refusal; and, in the time of the altercation that would ensue, when the king might be off his guard, the other two were to stab him.

Just before the conversation began, he was advised of his danger by a page, and Julius presenting his petition, the king granted it immediately, before Emana Christos could come up to assist in the dispute which they expected; and this conspirator appearing in the instant, the king, who had got up to walk, invited them all three up to the terrace. This was the most favourable opportunity they could have wished. They, therefore, deferred assaulting him till they should have got up to the terrace: The king entered the door of the private flair, and drew it hastily after him. It had a spring-lock made by Peter Paez, which was fixed in the inside, and could not be opened from without, so that the king was left secure upon the terrace. Upon this the conspirators, fearing themselves discovered, retired, and from that time resolved to keep out of the king's power.

At that period, Socinios had determined upon an expedition against the Funge, that is, against the blacks of Sennaar, who had entered his country in a violent manner, destroying his people, and carrying them off as slaves. It was, therefore, concerted, that while the king was busied far off with the Funge, Emana Christos, Julius, and the eunuch Kefla, at once should attack Sela Christos, at whom, next to the king, the conspirators chiefly aimed; and the cause was, that the king had taken the polls of Ras and the government of Gojam from Emana Christos, who was a schismatic, and had given them to his younger brother, Sela Christos, a violent Catholic.

Julius began by a proclamation in Woggora, in which he commanded, that those who believed two natures in Christ should immediately leave the province, and that all those who were friends to the Alexandrian faith should forthwith repair to him, and fight in defence of it. He then ordered the goods of all the Catholics in Tigre to be confiscated, and straightway marched to surprise Sela Christos then in Gojam. But the king received intelligence of his designs, and returned into Dembea before it was well known that he had left it. This, at first, very much disconcerted Julius; and the rather, that Emana Christos and Kefla Wahad kept aloof, nor had they declared themselves openly yet, nor did they seem inclined to do it till Julius had first tried his fortune with the king.

This rebel, now full of presumption, advanced with his army to where the Nile issues out of the great lake Tzana; and there he found the Abuna Simon, who had staid for some weeks in one of the islands upon pretence of devotion. Simon, after having confirmed Julius in his resolution of murdering the king, his father-in-law, or of dying in defence of the Alexandrian faith, if necessary, persuaded him to lay aside his design of marching against Sela Christos, but rather immediately to return back and surprise the king before these two joined.

Julius readily adopted this advice of the Abuna; while that priest, to shew he was sincere, offered to accompany him in person, and share his fortune. This was accepted with pleasure by Julius, who next morning received the Abuna's benediction at the head of his army, and assisted at a solemn excommunication pronounced against the king, Sela Christos, the fathers, and all the Catholics at court.

The king's first thought, upon hearing these proceedings, was to send some troops to the assistance of Sela Christos, warning him of his danger; but, upon hearing measures were changed, and that the first design was against himself, he marched to meet Julius, and sent a message to Sela Christos to join him with all possible speed; and, as he was an excellent general, he took his post so judiciously that he could not be forced to fight against his will till succour was brought him, without great disadvantage to the enemy.

Julius, fearing the junction of Sela Christos, endeavoured to fight the two armies separately. For which purpose he advanced and pitched his camp close within fight of that of Socinios, resolving to force him to an engagement. This was thought a very dangerous measure, and was contrary to the advice of all his friends, who saw how judiciously Socinios had chosen his ground; and it was known to the meanest soldier on both sides, how consummate the king was in the art of war.

But the Abuna having persuaded him, that, as soon as the soldiers should see him, they would abandon the king and join his colours, early in the morning he put on his coat of mail, and, mounted on a strong and fiery horse, was proceeding to the king's camp, when Malacotawit, his wife, (daughter to Socinios) persuaded him at least to take some food to enable him to bear the fatigues of the day. But disdaining such advice, he only answered furiously, "That he had sworn not to taste meat till he had brought her her father's head;" and, without longer waiting for the rest of his troops, he leaped over the enemy's lines in a quarter where the Abuna had promised he should be well received.

Indeed, on his first appearance, no one there opposed his passage, but seemed rather inclined to favour him as the Abuna had promised: And he had now advanced near to a body of Tigré soldiers that were the guard of the king's tent, loudly crying, "Where is your emperor?" when one of these with a stone struck him so rudely upon the forehead that it felled him to the ground; and, being now known, another soldier (called Amda) thrust him through with a sword, and thereafter killed him with many wounds. His head was cut off and carried to Socinios.

The few that attended him perished likewise among the soldiers. Nor did any of Julius's army think of a battle, but all fought their safety by a flight. The king's troops being all fresh, pursued the scattered rebels with great vigour, and many were slain, without any loss on the part of the royalists.

The Abuna Simon had, for a considerable time, stood as an ecclesiastic, unhurt and unheeded, among the flying troops. Being at last distinguished by his violent vociferation, and repeated imprecations upon the king and the conquerors, he was slain by a common soldier, who cut his head off and carried it to Socinios, who ordered it, with the body, to be taken from the field of battle and buried in a church-yard.

Socinios gave the spoil of the camp to his soldiers. It was said, that no time, since the Turks were defeated under Mahomet Gragne, was there ever so much treasure found in a camp. The pride of Julius induced him to carry all his riches with him. They were the fruits of avarice and oppression in all the principal polls of the empire, and which in their turn he had enjoyed. They were likewise the spoils of the Catholics, newly acquired by the confiscations made since his rebellion. A great number of cattle was likewise taken, which the king distributed among the priests of the several churches, the judges, and other lay-officers. Very great rejoicings were made everywhere, in the midst of which arrived Ras Sela Christos with his army from Gojam, and was struck with astonishment on seeing the small number of troops with which the king had been exposed to fight Julius, and how complete a victory he had gained with them.

In the mean time, Emana Christos had retired to a high mountain in Gojam, called Melca Amba, where he continued to excite the people of that province to rebel and join Julius, whose arrival he daily expected, that, together, they might fight Sela Christos. But the rashness of Julius, and the march of Sela Christos to the king's assistance, had very much disconcerted their whole scheme.

Af Christos, who commanded in Gojam after the departure of Ras Sela Christos, sent to Melca Amba, "reproaching Emana Christos with seditious practices; upbraiding him with the unnatural part he acted, being a brother-german to Sela Christos, and brother to Socinios by the fame mother, while Julius was married to his daughter, and had constantly enjoyed the great places of the empire. He asked him, What they could be more? Kings they could not be, neither he nor Julius. Ras, the next place in the empire, they both had enjoyed; and, if the king had taken that office lately from Emana Christos, he had not given it to a stranger, but to his brother Sela Christos, who, it was but fair, should have his turn; and that the importance of his family was not the less increased by it. Lastly, he represented the danger he ran, if Julius made his peace, of falling a sacrifice as the adviser of the rebellion."

Emana Christos answered, "That though he rebelled with Julius, and at the same time, yet it was not as a follower of Julius, nor against the king; but that he took up arms in defence of the ancient faith of his country, which was now, without reason, trodden under foot in favour of a religion, which was a false one if they understood it, and an useless one if they did not. He said he was satisfied of his own danger; but neither his connection with the king, nor his being related to Sela Christos, could weigh with him against his duty to God and his country. The king and his brother might be right in embracing the Romish religion, because they were convinced of the truth of it: he had used, however, the same means, and the fame application, had heard the arguments of the fame fathers, which, unluckily for him, had convinced him their religion was not a true, but a false one. For the same reasons he continued to be an Alexandrian, which his brother alledged had made him a Roman. He, therefore, begged Af Christos to consider, by a review of things since David III.'s time, how much blood the change would cost to the kingdom by the attempt, whether it succeeded or not; and whether, after that consideration, it was worth trying the experiment."

This artful and sensible message, sent by a man of the capacity and experience of Emana Christos, easily convinced Af Christos that it was not by argument Emana Christos was to be brought to his duty; but, like a good officer, he kept up correspondence with him, that he might be master of the intelligence to what place he retired.

Soon after Sela Christos had left Gojam to join the king, by forced marches he surrounded Melca Amba, where Emana Christos was, and had assembled a number of troops to descend into the plain and create a diversion in favour of Julius. The mountain had neither water in it nor food for such a number of men, nor had Emana Christos forces enough to risk a battle with an officer of the known experience of Af Christos, who had chosen the ground at his full leisure, and with complete knowledge of it.

Three days the army within the mountain held out without complaining; but, in the evening of the third day, some monks and hermits (holy men, the abettors of this rebellion) came to Af Christos to remonstrate, that there were several convents and villages in the mountain, also small springs, and barley enough to answer the necessities of the ordinary inhabitants, but were not enough for such an additional number which had taken forcible possession of the wells, and drank up all the water, to the immediate danger of the whole inhabitants perishing with thirst.

To this Af Christos answered, That the reducing the mountain, and the taking Emana Christos, was what was given him in commission by the king, to attain which end he would carefully improve all the means in his power. He was sorry, indeed, for the distress of the convents in the mountain, but could not help it; nor would he suffer one of them to remove or come down into the plain, nor would he discontinue blockading the mountain while Emana Christos was there and alive. No other alternative, therefore, remained but the delivering up Emana Christos. His army would have fought for him against a common enemy, but against thirst their shields and swords were useless.

Af Christos, with his prisoner, forthwith proceeded to join the king, and passed the Nile into Begemder. At crossing the river Bashilo, they were informed of the defeat and death of Julius and the Abuna. The messenger had also letters for Emana Christos, whom the king did not know to be yet prisoner: among these was one from Sela Christos, in which he upbraided his brother with his unnatural treason, and assured him speedily of a fate like that of Julius. Emana Christos received this intelligence almost dead with fear, for never was a prophecy made which seemed to have needed less time to accomplish than this of his brother's.

Af Christos surrendered his prisoner to the king at Dancaz, who immediately assembled a full convocation of judges of all degrees; and the prisoner being ordered to answer to his charge concerning the rebellion of Julius and his conspiracy against the king's life, he took the part he had been advised, and palliated the whole of his actions, without positively denying any one of them, and submitted to the king's mercy. The judges, considering the defence, unanimously found him guilty of death; but the king, whose last vote, when fitting in judgment, supersedes and overturns all the rest, reprieved, and sent him prisoner to Amhara,

Hitherto the king had contented himself with fixing two points in favour of the Roman church, in contradiction to that of Alexandria. The first denounced punishment to every one who did not believe that there are two natures in Christ, and that he is perfect: God and perfect man, without confusion of persons. The second was rather a point of discipline than of faith; yet it was urged as such, by declaring it to be unlawful to observe Saturday, the ancient Jewish sabbath. The first of these, if it was not the cause, had been assumed as the pretext for the rebellion of Julius. The second produced that of Jonael governor of Begemder, of which we are now to speak. But thus far only the king had gone. He had not openly joined the church of Rome, nor as yet renounced that of Alexandria, nor forced any one else to do so.

The first prelude to Jonael's rebellion was an anonymous letter written to the king, in which all the stale and lame arguments of the Alexandrians were raked together, and stated with a degree of presumption worthy of the ignorance and obstinacy of those from whom they came. This, though ridiculous, and below notice in point of argument, offended greatly both the king and the Jesuits, by the asperity of its terms, and the personal applications contained in it. The king was treated as another Diocletian, thirsting after Christian blood, and for this devoted to hell; as were also the Jesuits, whom they called relations of Pilate, in allusion to their origin from Rome.

The king, grievously offended, added this injunction to the former proclamation, "That all out-door work, such as plowing and sowing, should be publicly followed by the husbandman, on the Saturday, under penalty of paying a web of cotton cloth, for the first omission, which cloth was to be of five shillings value; and the second offence, was to be punished by a confiscation of moveables, and the crime not to be pardoned for seven years;" — the greatest punishment for misdemeanors in Abyssinia. To this Socinios added, viva-voce, from his throne, that he never abolished but explained and established their religion, which always taught, as their own books could testify, that Christ was perfect God and perfect man, two distinct natures united in one hypostasis of the eternal word; neither was it in compliance with the Jesuits that he abrogated the observation of the Jewish sabbath, but in obedience to the council of Chalcedon, which was founded in the holy scriptures, for which he was toady at all times to lose his life, though he should your first to inflict that punishment on such as were its enemies."

In order to shew that he did not mean to trifle, he ordered the tongue of a monk (called Abba Af Christos) to be cut out, for denying the two natures in Christ; and Buco, one of the principal generals of his court (who afterwards died a zealous Catholic) he ordered to be beaten with rods, and degraded from his employment, for observing the Jewish sabbath.

The king, having given these public, unequivocal testimonies of his resolution, put himself at the head of his army, and marched against Jonael; but that rebel, not daring to meet his offended sovereign, retired into the mountains; whereupon the king laid waste the country of the Galla, who had protected him. This occasioned a division among the Galla themselves. One party declaring for the king, apprehended Jonael with intention to deliver him up; but he was soon rescued out of their hands by the contrary party, enemies to Socinios. His protectors being once known, the manner of working his destruction was soon known likewise. The king's presents made their way to that faithless people, the only barbarians with whom the right of hospitality is not established. Upon receiving the king's bribe, they murdered Jonael, cut his head off, and sent it to the king.

The rebellion in Damot was not so easily quelled. Sela Christos, a zealous Catholic, was sent against the rebels to inforce the proclamation with regard to the sabbath. But as his connections were very considerable among them, he chose first to endeavour, by fair means, to induce the ignorant savages to return to reason and obedience. With this view, he fent to expostulate with them; and to beg that, in articles of faith, they would suffer themselves to be examined and instructed by men of learning and good life; not by those monks, ignorant like themselves, from whom they only could learn vice, blasphemy, and rebellion. To this the Damots answered, as one man, That, if his friendship for them and good intentions were real, he should give them, for proof, the immediate burning of all the Latin books which had been translated into the Ethiopian language, and that, then, he should hang those Jesuits who were with him upon a high tree.

We are not, however, to consider this was really from a conviction or persuasion of the Damots, who inhabit a province bordering upon the Agows and Gongas, and their christianity much upon a par with that of either of these nations. But the fact was, that the fanatics and zealots for the Alexandrian faith had retired in great numbers to Damot, as to a province the worst affected to the king, from the recent violence of Julius, who, in an expedition against the Shangalla, by order of the king had driven off the cattle of the peaceable Damots, who had been then guilty of no offence. And as these were ready to rebel for a quarrel merely their own, it was very easy for the schismatical monks to add this religious grievance to the sum of the preceding.

Sela Christos had with him about 7000 men, most of them Catholics and veteran soldiers; and among these 40 Portuguese, partly on foot, armed with musquets, the others on horseback, clad in coats of mail. Very different was the army of Damots. They were superior in number for they exceeded 12000 men, and among these were 400 monks, well armed with swords, lances, and shields, earnestly bent upon the obtaining a crown of martyrdom in defence of their religion, from the innovation proposed by Socinios. At the head of these was a fanatical monk (one Batacu) who promised them armies of angels, with flaming swords, who should slay their enemies, but render them invulnerable, as he declared himself to be, either by sword or lance.

The battle was fought at the foot of the mountains of Amid Amid, on the 6th of October 1620. Sela Christos, sure of victory, and unwilling to slaughter a people he had been used to protect, began first to shew his superiority in slight skirmishes. After which, desiring a parley, he sent messengers to them, begging them to consider their own danger, and offering them a general amnesty upon their submission. These messengers were not allowed to approach, for showers of arrows that were poured upon them; so the battle began with great animosity on both sides. The Damots were soon broken and put to flight by the superiority of Sela Christos's soldiers. But the 400 monks, already mentioned, fought most desperately in defiance of numbers, nor did they seek their safety by a flight. One hundred and eighty of them were killed on the place they occupied, valiantly fighting to the very last. A rare example, and seldom found in history, that fanatics like these, always ready to rebel, should persist and sacrifice their lives to the follies of their own preaching.

As for their celestial auxiliaries, whose assistance they were promised as far as could be discovered, they neither did harm nor good. We may suppose they stood neuter. But Batacu the hermit, ringleader of this sedition, whose body was so miraculously armed, that neither sword nor spear could make any impression upon it, was unfortunately thrust through with a lance in the very beginning of the engagement, which greatly served to discredit these supernatural aids.

It was in this year 1620, that Socinios marched into Begemder against Jonael. At which time Peter Paez was employed at Gorgora in building the church there. The king returned immediately to Dancaz after the defeat of Jonael, and passed his winter at that place.

It was on the 16th of January 1621, that the dedication of the church of Gorgora was made by Peter Paez; and at that time the king was in Begemder. Upon his return to Dancaz he met Paez at Gorgora for the first time. He remained at Gorgora till the 3d of October of that year, when the news of the defeat of the Damots by Sela Christos arrived, which he received in presence of that priest at Gorgora. In this, both the Jesuits and Abyssinian annals agree. It is not then possible that Peter Paez could have been with the king at Sacala, or Geesh, in the country of the Agows on the 21st of March 1621[11]; for both Peter Paez and Socinios were at that time in Gorgora.

At this time the Ethiopic memoirs of Socinios's reign interrupted their continual topics of rebellion and bloodshed, to record a very trifling anecdote; which, however, I insert, as it serves to give some idea of the simplicity and ignorance of those times.

The historian says, that this year there was brought into Abyssinia, a bird called Para which was about the bigness of a hen, and spoke all languages: Indian, Portuguese, and Arabic. It named the king's name: although its voice was that of a man, it could likewise neigh like a horse, and mew like a cat, but did not sing like a bird. It was produced before the assembly of judges, of the priests, and the azages of court, and there it spoke with great gravity. The assembly, after considering circumstances well, were unanimously of opinion, that the evil spirit had no part in endowing it with these talents. But to be certain of this, it was thought most prudent to take the advice of Ras Sela Christos, then in Gojam, who might, if he thought fit, consult the superior of Mahebar Selasse; to them it was sent, but it died on the road. The historian closes his narrative by this wise reflection on the parrot's deaths; "Such is the lot of all flesh."

The king, immediately after his victory over Jonael, had resolved to throw off the mask, and openly to profess the Catholic religion. The success of Sela Christos against the Damots had confirmed him. He had passed the rainy season, as I have before observed, between Gorgora and Dancaz; and, in the usual time, in the month of November, marched to Foggora, a narrow stripe of plain country, reaching from Emfras to Dara, bounded on one side by the lake: Dembea, and on the other by the mountains of Begemder.

For this purpose he sent to Peter Paez, his ordinary confessor, to come to him; and, having told him his resolution, he declared, that, in proof of the sincerity of his conversion, he had put away ail his wives (of whom he had several of the first quality, and many children by them) and retained only his first, by whom he had the eldest of his sons, destined to succeed him in the empire.

Paez, having received his confession, and public renunciation of the Alexandrian faith, returned to Gorgora singing his nunc dimittis, as if the great end of his million was now completed; nor was he deceived in his prognostication. For, having too much heated himself with zeal in travelling, he was, upon his arrival, taken with a violent fever; and, tho' every sort of remedy was administered to him by Antonio Fernandes, yet he died on the third of May 1623, with great demonstrations of piety and resignation, and firm conviction, that he had done his duty in an active, innocent, and well-spent life.

He had been seven years a captive in Arabia in the hands of the Moors, and nineteen years missionary in Abyssinia, in the worst of times, and had always extricated himself from the most perilous situations, with honour to himself and advantage to his religion. In person, he was very tall and strong; but lean from continual labour and abstinence. He was red faced; which, Tellez says, proceeded from the religious warmth of his heart. He had a very good standing, which he had cultivated, every hour of his life, by study or practice.

Besides possessing universal knowledge in scholastic divinity, and the books belonging to his profession, he understood Greek, Latin, and Arabic well, was a good mathematician, an excellent mechanic, wrought always with his own hands, and in building was at once a careful, active labourer, and an architect of refined taste and judgment. He was, by his own study and industry, painter, mason, carver, carpenter, smith, farrier, quarrier, and was able to build convents and palaces, and furnish them without calling one workman to his assistance; and in this manner he is said to have furnished the convent at Collela, as also the palace and convent at Gorgora,

With all these accomplishments, he was so affable, compassionate, and humble in his nature, that he never had opportunity of conversing, even with heretics, without leaving them his friends. He was remarkably chearful in his temper; and the most forward always in promoting innocent mirth, of that puerile species which we in England call fun, in great request among the young men in Abyssinia, who spend much of their time in this fort of conversation, whether in the city or the camp. Above all, he was a patient, diligent instructor of youth; and the greatest part of his disciples died in the persecution that soon followed, resolutely maintaining the truths of that religion their preceptor first had taught them. In a word, he was the hinge upon which the Catholic religion turned. He had found the seeds of it sown in the country for a hundred years before his time, which had borne little fruit, and was then apparently on the decline. Nineteen years of this most active missionary, and the death of three kings, had advanced it only so far as to be embraced publicly by one of them; after Paez's death, in six years it fell, though supported most strenuously by a king prodigal of the blood of his subjects in this cause; by a patriarch sent from Rome, and by above 20 very zealous and active missionaries; and, as far as my foresight can carry me, it is so entirely fallen, that, unless by a special miracle of Providence, wrought for that purpose, it never will rise again.

The king's renunciation of the Alexandrian faith was followed by a very strong, or rather violent manifesto, and we need not be at a loss to guess whom he, employed to draw it up. It begins by asserting the supremacy, of the church of Rome, as the fee of St Peter; it mentions the three first general councils, which condemned Arius, Macedonius, and Nestorius; next quotes the council of Chalcedon, as the fourth general council, as having justly condemned Dioscurus; but says not a word of the council of Ephesus, which the Abyssinians receive instead of that of Chalcedon; insists largely upon the two natures in Christ; then, leaving the patriarchs of Alexandria, it attacks not the doctrine, but the morals of the Abunas, sent from Alexandria into Abyssinia, accuses the ecclesiastics in general of simony and paying money to the Abuna for their ordination, (a well-founded part of the charge) which I fear continues to this day.

The Abuna Marcus was, it is there said, convicted by Socinios, or Melec Segued, of a crime of such turpitude that the name of it should never stain paper. He was degraded and banished to the island of Dek. His successor Christodulus had many concubines. Abuna Petros, who succeeded, took the wife of a poor Egyptian, and lived with her; he then excommunicated his sovereign Jacob, after he had reigned seven years, and died in battle in the actual commission of treason, fighting against the prince.

Simon, the last Abuna, besides living in adultery with the wife of an Egyptian called Matti, kept several young women with him as concubines; and being detected in having a daughter by one of them, with a view to conceal it, he caused the child to be exposed to be devoured by the hyæna. After living in constant disobedience to God's law, he joined the crime of rebellion to the repeated breach of every command in the decalogue; and appearing in battle, and excommunicating his sovereign, God (says the manifesto) delivered him into our victorious hands, and he was slain by a common soldier in the very commission of his crime.

It must be owned, we cannot have a worse picture of any Christian church than that here given of the bishop's church of Alexandria. Charity should induce us to hope some exaggeration had crept into it. Yet when we consider that the facts mentioned were all within the space of forty years, and consequently must have been within the knowledge, not only of Socinios, but of many people then alive and at court, we cannot, with the impartiality of an historian, deny our apprehensions, that these charges were but too-well founded.

However this may be, neither the king's example, nor his manifesto, had the effect he desired. A rebel, whom the annals call the son of Gabriel, declared himself against the king in Amhara, just at the time that Socinios, missed by the enemies of Sela Christos, had begun to entertain suspicion of his loyalty, and had deprived him of the government of Gojam and the Agows. Finding, after an examination, there was no person that was qualified to bring this affair to a happy issue but Sela Christos, he replaced him in his government of Gojam, giving him, at the fame time, orders to march against the son of Gabriel, into Amhara.

This command of the king, Ras Sela Christos soon complied with, and, upon his first appearance in that province, the rebel retired to a high mountain which he made his place of arms, the top producing both provisions and water sufficent to maintain a large garrison.

The Ras, seeing that force availed nothing, had recourse to the usual trap these rebels fall into. Weary of confinement on the mountain, sensible that he was by himself too weak to leave it, while such an enemy expected him below, he accepted the friendship of the neighbouring Galla, who offered to join him in such numbers as to enable him to descend from the mountain, and try his fortune in a battle. The treaty was concluded, and the junction no sooner effected, than the faithless Galla, before gained by the Ras, fell upon the son of Gabriel with their clubs, and killed him; on the spot, having so mangled his body that scarce a piece was reserved to fend to his enemy.

The joy this victory occasioned at court met with a great addition by the arrival of the Romish patriarch. It has been before observed, that the king had himself wrote letters to the pope and king of Spain, declaring his intentions to turn Catholic. Peter Puez, Antonio Fernandes, and the other priests, had given a much more favourable prospect of religious affairs than had as yet been conveyed to Rome; the wiser part of the conclave, however, had doubted. But now, the king had voluntarily made his recantation, it was no longer thought time for delay, and accordingly Alphonso Mendez, a Jesuit doctor of divinity, a man of great learning, by birth a Portuguese, was ordained at Lisbon the 25th of May 1624.

From thence he proceeded to India by the way of Goa, attended by several fresh missionaries; and finding there letters from Socinios, and a passport from the king of Dancali, a Mahometan prince in alliance with the Abyssinians, he arrived at Bilur, an open bay in the small and barren state of Dancali, on the second of May 1625, and was received, by the brother of the reigning prince, with every token of friendship that so poor a state and sovereign could afford; the king of Dancali himself was at the distance of six days journey, in a place where there was greater plenty of water and provisions. The following day the king sent four mules for the fathers to join him, and received them in a room of a round figure, surrounded and covered with bundles of straw, but so low they scarce could raise themselves after having made their bows.

In this miserable kingdom, which I shall not describe, as, since that period, it has been conquered by the Galla, the patriarch and fathers staid almost in want of necessaries for sixteen days. At last they set out, having, with much difficulty, mustered sufficient beasts of burden to carry their baggage. The road lay through part of the country wherein are the mines of fossile-salt, hot, barren, and absolutely without water, and exposed greatly to the incursions of the Galla. After two days journey, they arrived in the morning of the third, at the foot of Senaffé, where there was water. It is the frontier (as the name imports) of the province of Enderta, now united to the government of Tigré. It is part of that ridge of mountains which separates the seasons, occasioning summer on the one side, while rain and cold prevail on the other.

On the night before they came to the mountain, while dubious of their way, a star of more than ordinary magnitude, and of surprising brightness, appeared over the patriarch, giving so strong a light that it illuminated the heavens down to the horizon. It was not, in its place or manner of appearing, like a common star, but stood stationary, in the way leading to Senaffé, for above six minutes, and disappeared[12]. This star, the patriarch and his followers modestly say, was probably the fame that conducted the Magi to the cradle of Christ, and was now sent to shew them the way into Abyssinia.

While they were at the foot of this mountain, the Muleteers, all Mahometans, thought the occasion a proper one to plunder them, by obliging them to pay an additional hire for their beasts, which they pretended were not able to ascend so steep a mountain. The camels certainly could not pass; but mules and asses have a more practicable road, for the sake of carrying the salt. They insisted to leave the company till they should bring them fresh mules. The caravan consisted of the patriarch and six ecclesiastics, priests, and friars, and thirteen laymen, three of whom were cians. It was very probably their intention to have sent to them people who would very soon have put a fatal period to the million, had not Emanuel Baradas, with a number; of Abyssinians, and officers, and plenty of all things necessary, joined the patriarch on the 16th of June 1625; while their late conductors, conscious of misbehaviour, fled without seeking their hire.

In five days they came to Fremona, where they staid till November; and, in December, arrived at Gorgora, where they were introduced to the king in his palace. Socinios ordered the patriarch to be placed on a feat equal in height to his own, on his right hand; and at that very audience, which was on the 11th of February 1626, it was settled chat the king should take an oath of submission to the see of Rome.

This useless, vain, ridiculous ceremony; was accordingly celebrated on the nth of February, with all the pageantry of a heathen festival or triumph. The palace was adorned with all the pomp and vanity that the church of Rome, and especially that part of it, the Order of the Jesuits, had solemnly abjured. The patriarch, as a mark of his superiority over the Abunas, preached a sermon in the Portuguese language upon the primacy of the chair of St Peter, full of Latin quotations, which is said to have, had a wonderful effect upon the king and Sela Christos, neither of whom understood one word either of Latin or Portuguese.

That part of the patriarch's discourse, which was applicable to Socinios's conversion, was answered by Melca Christos, governor of Samen, (himself a schismatic) in the language of Amhara, which neither the patriarch nor his continue understood, and concluded with these words, "That as the king thought himself obliged to fulfil those promises of submitting himself to the see of Rome which his predecessors had made, the time was now come in which he should do that, if such was his pleasure. These last words of the orator seem not to have satisfied the zeal of Socinios. He interrupted Melca Christos by saying, that it was not now, but a long time since, that he had submitted to the church of Rome, as true successor of St Peter; and the present occasion was only a confirmation of what he had formerly professed."

The patriarch answered by a few words, prudently and sensibly, I suppose to save time, seeing that, short or long, his discourse would not be understood. But proceeding to facts, he opened a new testament, while Socinios, upon his knees, took the following oath: "We, sultan Segued, emperor of Ethiopia, do believe and confess that St Peter, prince of the apostles, was constituted, by Christ our Lord, head of the whole Christian church, wand that he gave him the principality and dominion over the whole world, by saying to - him, You are Peter, and upon this rock will I build my church; and I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. And again when he said, Keep my sheep. Also we believe and confess, that the pope of Rome, lawfully elected, is the true successor of St Peter the apostle, jn government; that he holdeth the same power, dignity, and primacy, in the whole Christian church: and to the holy father Urban VIII. of that name, by the mercy of God, pope, and our lord, and to his successor in the government of the church, we do promise, offer, and swear true obedience, and subject, with humility at his feet, our person and empire; so help us God and these holy gospels before us."— After this, each man swore personal obedience, officers, priests, and monks, according to their several orders or conditions.

The prince royal Facilidas, purely and simply in the form prescribed, took this oath, without any addition or alteration. But Ras Sela Christos, heated with zeal, after repeating the formula, drawing his sword in violent passion, uttered these words, "What has passed let it be past; but, from this day forward, he that falls from his duty this shall he his judge[13]."

This hasty speech, not well understood, was thought by some to reflect on those he had discovered to be in the confederacy with the rebel son of Gabriel. As the court was full of parties and discontent, every one applied the threat to himself, and all joined in a league to undo Sela Christos, who had so wantonly declared himself the leader and champion of persecution.

To this oath of obedience to the pope, he likewise added one to the king, and to the prince his successor, Facilidas, with a strange clause, or qualification, which made what he said formerly still worse: — "I likewise swear to the prince, as heir of his father in this empire, as long as he shall hold favour, and defend the holy Catholic faith; and if he shall fail in this, I hereby swear to be his greatest enemy." This extravagant addition he insisted should be imposed upon all the officers of state, and of the army then at court, and therefore did most deservedly seal his own condemnation and punishment, which overtook him in the end, though it did not follow till long afterwards.

To these violent proceedings were added others still more violent. A solemn excommunication was pronounced against all such as did not keep that oath, and a proclamation was forthwith made, "That all people, in the line of being ordained priests, should first embrace the Catholic religion upon pain of death; that all should observe the form of the church of Rome in the celebration of Easter and Lent, under the same penalty; and with that the ceremonies of the day ended.

Tempus erit cura magna optaverit emptum,
Intallum Pallanta.

it was a day ever to be marked with black, not only in the annals of Ethiopia, but in those of Rome.

Although the arrival of the patriarch at Bilur had been happily effected, both as to himself and those that attended him, it was not so with some of his brethren sent to assist him in that million. Two Jesuits, Francisco Machado and Bernard Pereira, had received the king's letters in India for their safe conduct to Bilur in Dancali. Whether by malice, or inadvertency, the king's secretary, instead of Bilur, had mentioned Zeyla in the letter.

Zeyla, an island belonging to the king of Adel, was of all other places that where the people were moll inveterate against the Catholic religion. No sooner did the Shekh know the quality and errand of these missionaries, than he confined them to close prison, where, after great suffering, they were both put to death; and, to aggravate this, a letter was written to Socinios stigmatizing him with the name of apostate from the religion of his forefathers, and applying to him many opprobrious names.

This letter, at another time, would not have failed to have been followed by the chastisement it deserved. But Adel, formerly a flourishing and commercial kingdom, was now fallen, and reduced to a multitude of banditti. Trade had left it. A garrison of nominal janizaries, since the reign of Sultan Selim, had kept the little island of Zeyla for the pretended purpose of a customhouse; but, in fact, it was a post of robbers, who only maintained themselves there for the sake of plundering merchants who came by sea; while the Galla poured in numbers upon the prince from the continent, and of the ancient kingdom of Adel, had left him nothing but Aussa the capital, a town situated upon a rock, on the banks of the river Hawash, Azab, and Raheeta, and a few other miserable villages upon the sea; and even part of these were daily falling into the hands of that enemy, destined very soon to over-run them all. This abject state to which they had been reduced, we may suppose, was the only reason that protected them from the vengeance of a high-spirited prince, such as Socinios certainly was.

This violent conduct of Socinios in his abjuration was followed by that of the patriarch Alphonfo Mendes, perfectly in the same spirit. The clergy were reordained, their churches consecrated anew, grown men as well as children again baptised, the moveable feasts and festivals reduced to the forms and times of the church of Rome; circumcision, polygamy, and divorce were abrogated for ever; and the many questions that thereupon arose, and which were understood to belong to the civil judge, the patriarch called to his own tribunal exclusively.

All the tenets of the church of Alexandria, whether of faith or discipline, were rejected; and it was not known how far the patriarch intended to subject the civil jurisdiction of the judges to the ecclesiastical power. Two steps that he took, the one immediately after the other, seemed to give great reason of fear upon this head.

In order to understand the first of these cases, it will be necessary to know, that it is a fundamental constitution of the monarchy of Ethiopia, that all lands belong to the king; and that there is no such thing as church-lands in this country. Those that the king has given for the maintenance of churches or monasteries are resumed every day, at the instance of, and for the convenience of individuals, and new ones granted in their stead sometimes of a greater value, sometimes of a less. Nor have the priests or monks any property in these lands. A lay-officer, appointed by the king, divides to each monk or priest, his quota of the revenue, applying any overplus to other uses, which is, we may suppose, often putting it into his own pocket.

There was a nobleman of great distinction for his family and rank at court, for his age, and the merit of his service; he had occupied some of the lands belonging to a monk who happened to be a Catholic. This man, had he been an Alexandrian, could have had no recourse to the Abuna his patriarch, and the cause must have been tried before the civil judge. But Mendes was of another opinion. He ordered the nobleman to make his defence before the ecclesiastical tribunal ; and, upon his refusing this as a novelty to which he was not bound, he condemned him immediately to restore the lands to the monk. This, too, was refused on the part of the present possessor, who being one day attending the king at church, the patriarch, without preamble, pronounced against him a formal sentence of excommunication, by which he gave him over, foul and body, to the devil.

Such procedure was, till then, unknown in Abyssinia. The nobleman, though otherwise brave, was so much affected with the terms of his sentence as to faint, imagining himself already in the clutches of Satan, and it was with difficulty he was recovered, the king making intercession with the patriarch to take off this censure, or rather this curse.

Sudden as it was, however, in the inflicting, and easy in the removal, it made very lasting and serious impressions on the minds of men of all ranks, greatly to the disadvantage of the patriarch and the professors of his new religion, in the exercise of which they did not discover that degree of charity, meekness, mercy, and long-suffering, that they had been taught were the very essentials of it.

The next instance was this: There had been an Itchegué, that is, the superior of the monks of Debra Libanos, an Order instituted by Abba Tecla Haimanout, the last Abyssinian Abuna, not more celebrated by the church than the state, as being the restorer of the line of Solomon, for many years banished to Shoa; and this superior, besides the dignity of his office, was remarkable for an innocent, pious, and holy life. It happened that a Catholic monk officiated in a church where this Itchegue had been buried under the altar; the patriarch declared the church defiled by the burial of that heretic and schismatic, and suspended the celebration of divine service till the body was raised and thrown out of the church in a most indecent manner. Universal discontent seized the minds of all men; and, from that time, it seemed the friends of the old religion began again to recover strength, and the Catholics to be looked upon, if not with hatred, yet with terror. And every trifle now contributed towards the one or the other.

The Jesuits, following practices or customs of their own, had thought fit to exhibit a kind of religious plays or farces. The devil in these pieces is always the buffoon; he plays harlequin and slight-of-hand tricks, fires squibs and gun-powder, very little consistent with the decency of the other persons who compose the drama. This continued to be practised in several Catholic countries in Europe, while that learned company existed[14]. It happened to be necessary to introduce figures of this kind blacked all over, and in masks, with cloven feet, &c. The first exhibition of these figures so surprised and terrified the Abyssinian audience, that they fled immediately upon their appearance, crying out, Alas! alas! these Franks have brought devils into our country with them!

This great extension of civil jurisdiction, and the large strides it took to annihilate the civil power, the encroachments it made upon the prerogative of the king, till now supreme in all causes ecclesiastical and civil, the more than regal, the more, if possible, than papal pride of the patriarch, began to be felt universally, and it was seen to be intended to lessen every order of government, from the king to the lowest officer in the province. From this time, therefore, we date the decline of the Catholic interest in Abyssinia. The first blow was given it by the king himself, not with a view to destroy it, for he was a sincere Catholic upon principle, but to controul and keep it within some bounds, as he found there was no order could otherwise be maintained.

He desired the patriarch to permit the use of the ancient liturgies of Ethiopia, altered by himself in every thing where they did not agree with that of the church of Rome. With this the patriarch was obliged to comply, because there was in it an appearance of reason that men should pray to God in a language that they understood, and which, was their own, rather than a foreign tongue of which they did not understand one word. This was thought so obvious in Ethiopia as not to admit any doubt. But the order and practice of the church of Rome was just the contrary; and this wound was a mortal one; for no sooner was the permission given to use their own liturgies, than all the Abyssinians embraced them to a man, and went on in their old prayers and services without any of the patriarch's alterations.

To these events, not important in themselves, but only from the effect they had upon the minds of mankind, succeeded tragedies of a more serious nature. I have already observed, in speaking of the Galla, that they were divided into three principal divisions, those on the east of Abyssinia were called Bertuma Galla, those on the south called Toluma, and those on the west Boren Galla; each of these were divided into seven, and these again subdivided into a number of tribes. Each of these seven nations choose a king once in seven years called Lubo; and it is usually the first act of the new king's reign to over-run the neighbouring provinces of Abyssinia, laying every thing waste with fire and sword for this year, even if they had no provocation, but had been at peace for several years before.

The Abyssinians remained long in ignorance of this cause of these invasions, and, while that was the case, they could take no measures to be prepared against, and resist them. But after, when the customs of the Galla were better known, their periodical invasions were watched and provided against, so that though they were still continued, they were generally repelled with the slaughter and defeat of the invaders.

It happened that the present year, 1627, was the season of electing the king, and of the invasion. Though the time of the expedition was known, no intelligence had been given of the manner in which it was to be executed. In past times, the nations, or tribes of Galla, assaulted each the opposite province in whose frontiers they were settled; but this year it was agreed among them to choose one province, Gojam, which, by uniting their whole force, they were to devote to destruction, or, if possible, keep possession of it.

Buco was governor of Gojam; the king had sent Sela Christos to his assistance, and was intending to follow with another army himself. In the mean time, the passes through which the Galla used to enter were all lined with men, and every preparation made to receive them.

These barbarians advanced to the Nile in multitudes never seen before; and, finding the province perfectly on its guard, they feigned a panic, or disagreement among themselves, retired in seeming confusion, and dispersed, some, as it was said, to their own homes, and some to an expedition against Narea. This in reality had often happened; but now it was only a stratagem; for they all assembled in their own country Bizamo, of which the Abyssinians had no intelligence. Buco, thinking he was free of them for that year, disbanded his troops, or detached them to other services; Sela Christos did the same; neither did Socinios advance with his army.

In that interval of weakness, news were sent to Buco that the Galla had passed the Nile. Upon which he advanced with 1000 foot and 200 horse, believing that it was some small part of that army which he thought had some time before been dispersed. After hearing mass with great devotion, and receiving the sacrament, in passing through a thick wood he was assaulted by the Galla. Being a man, brave in his own person, and exceedingly well-trained to arms, he fought so successfully, and so encouraged his men by his example, that he cut that body of Galla tirely to pieces; and, as he thought the whole matter then at an end, he ordered his drums to beat, and his trumpers to found, in token of victory.

The rest of the Galla, who were now dispersed through the province, but at no great distance, burning and destroying, as their custom is, and who left this body behind them only to secure their retreat across the river, returned all to their colours, upon hearing the drums and trumpets of Kasmati Buco, whom they did not know to be so near; and, as, soon as he came in fight, despising his small number, they surrounded them on every side. Buco immediately saw that he was a lost man; but, considering the multitude of the enemy, and the unprepared state of the province, he thought his own life and those of his followers could not be better employed than by obstinately fighting to disable the enemy so as to put it out of their power to pursue the ruin of the country further; throwing himself furiously into the thickest of the Galla, he, at first onset, killed four of the most forward of their leaders, and made himself a lane through the troops opposing him; and he was now got without their circle, when some of his officers seeing him, cried to him to make the best of his way, as affairs were desperate, and not to add by his death to the misfortunes of that day.

Upon this he paused, as recollecting himself for a moment; but, disdaining to survive the loss of his army, he threw himself again among the Galla, where his men were still fighting, carrying victory wherever he went. His horse was at last wounded, and, being otherwise young and untrained, became ungovernable. It was necessary to quit him, when, drawing his sword, and leaping upon the ground, he continued the fight with the same degree of courage, till the Galla, who did not dare to approach him near, killed him by a number of javelins thrown at a distance.

The news of the defeat and death of Buco reached Sela Christos, then in march to join him; nor did the misfortune that had already happened, nor the bad prospect of his own situation, alter his resolution of attacking the enemy: But he first wrote to the king his brother, telling him his situation, and the probable consequences of doing his duty as he had determined, laying all the blame upon the malice of his enemies, who, to gratify their own private malice, had left him without assistance, and occasioned misfortunes so detrimental to the common-weal.

Sela Christos passed this night upon a rising ground, and in the morning early descended into the plain, with a view of attacking the Galla, when, to his great surprise, that barbarous people, content with the slaughter of Kafmati Buco and his army, and not willing to risk a large quantity of plunder with which their whole army was loaded, had repaired the Nile, and returned home.

Tecla Georgis was son-in-law to Socinios, and then governor of Tigré, but at variance with his father-in-law upon some quarrel with his wife. Determined on this account to rebel, he associated with some noblemen of the first rank and power in Tigré, particularly Guebra Mariam and John Akayo, declaring to them, that he would no longer suffer the Roman religion, but defend the ancient church of Alexandria to the utmost of his power. And, to convince all the Abyssinians of his sincerity, he tore off the figures of crucifixes, and all church-ornaments and images of saints that were in relief, and burned them publicly, to make his reconciliation with the king impossible. He then called before him Abba Jacob his Catholic chaplain, and, having stripped him of his pontificals, killed him with his own hand. There was no method he could devise of bringing his quarrel sooner to an issue than this which he had adopted. But he did not seem to have taken equal pains to provide for his defence, as he had done to give provocation.

Socinios, upon the first intelligence of this murder and treason, ordered Keba Christos to march against him with the troops that he had at hand. This general, equally a good soldier, subject, and Catholic, being convinced of the necessity of punishing speedily so monstrous a crime, passed by forced marches through Sire to Axum, thence to Fremona; and, having appointed Gaspar Paez to meet him there, he confessed himself, and received the sacrament from that Jesuit's hands. From Fremona he continued with the same speed, making three ordinary days marches in one, beings desirous of preventing the possibility of Tecla Georgis's collecting troops, and taking refuge on a mountain called Masha which he heard to be his design.

It was the 12th of December 1628 that news were brought him of the situation of the enemy; upon which he ordered his baggage to be left behind, and every soldier to carry two loaves, and to march, without resting till he came up with Tecla Georgis.

In the morning of the day following, two horsemen, on the scout before him, discovered five of the rebel soldiers upon the look-out likewise. These, upon seeing Keba Christos's horsemen, returned immediately to their master, and told him that they had seen armed men, and conceived them to be the soldiers of Keba Christos. To this intelligence Tecla Georgis answered, That Keba Christos was in the king's palace at Dancaz the 15th of November, and that it was impossible he then could be so near with an army, if he had even wings to fly; but that the men they had seen were probably reinforcements that he expected.

Keba Christos, on the contrary, hearing that the enemy was at hand, drew up his army in three divisions. The first consisted of his own household, the second of a body of horse of the king's household, called the Koccob Horse, or Star Cavalry, from a silver star which each of them wears on the front of his helmet; and the third, of the people of Tigré who had joined him. In this order he came in sight of his enemy posted upon a small height, divided only from him by a narrow plain. Tecla Georgis, convinced now that it was Keba Christos, formed his army into two divisions; the one composed of a body called Tcheraguas, the other of a body called Sultan ba Christos; with these was a large corps of Galla, which had lately joined them.

Keba Christos, now turning to his troops, briefly said, "My children, I will not waste my time nor yours in discourse, or in telling you what you are to do. You have all arms in your hands; you are good Christians; and I can positively assure you there is not before you one of your enemies that is not also an enemy to Christ." Then, placing himself before the Koccob horse, he pulled off his helmet and gave it to his servant, saying, "By my naked face you shall know me to-day, that I am not going in the midst of you as general or commander, but foot for foot along with you like a common soldier."

Upon having uncovered his head, he was quickly known by Tecla Georgis, from whose troops a number of muskets was fired at him. But this had so little effect upon this gallant officer, that, changing his place, (which then was at the head of the second division) he placed himself still nearer the enemy in the front of his own household troops, which were the first; and the Galla charging them in that instant, he flew their leader with his own hand. Upon the death of their commander, these barbarians immediately fled, as is their custom, while Keba Christos endeavoured to make his way to where Tecla Georgis was employed keeping his troops from following so bad an example. But so soon as that rebel saw his enemy approach him, he and his whole army joined the Galla in their flight; tho' he narrowly escaped, by the swiftness of his horse, a light javelin, thrown by Keba Christos, which struck him behind, but so feebly, by reason of the distance, that it did not pierce his armour.

The king's troops pursued vigorously, and soon brought to their general the mule, the sword, and helmet of Tecla Georgis, with the heads of 300 slain in the battle, most of them Gallas, and with them 12 heads of the most turbulent rebellious monks of Tigré. With these they also brought Adera, sister to Tecla Georgis, wounded in the throat, who had instigated him very strongly to commit the violences against the professors of the Catholic religion. Tafa, too, his master of the household, was taken prisoner; and it being made known to Keba Christos that this man had assisted at the murder of Abba. Jacob, he ordered him directly to be put to death.

Tecla Georgis, aided by the strength of his horse and knowledge of the country, escaped and concealed himself from his pursuers for four days; but, on the Saturday that followed the victory, he was found in a cavern with his great confidents, Woldo Mariam, and a schismatic monk whose name was Sebo Amlac. Tecla Georgis was carried alive to Keba Christos, who sent him to the king, his two companions being slain as soon as found, and their heads accompanied their living master, which, on their arrival at Dancaz, the king ordered to be hung upon a tree.

Tecla Georgis being convicted of sacrilege as well as murder, having burnt the crucifixes and images of the saints, was condemned to be burnt alive, and a lime-kiln was immediately prepared in which he was to suffer. Upon hearing this, he desired a Catholic confessor, as wishing to be reconciled to the church of Rome, and for this purpose he sent a request to the patriarch, who was at three leagues distance, and who dispatched Antonio Fernandes with full powers to absolve from all manner of sins, and at the same time gave him orders to intercede strongly with the king to pardon the criminal. Tecla Georgis confessed publicly at the door of the church, and abjured the errors of the church of Alexandria.

After this, the father Fernandes applied to the king, pleading strongly for his pardon. To which the king answered, "Many reasons there are why I should desire to pardon Tecla Georgis. To say no more, he has been married to two of my daughters, and he has by them two sons, both good soldiers and horsemen, who actually ride before me, and accompany me in battle. I have therefore pardoned him all the affronts and injuries he has done to me. But, were I to take upon myself to pardon the affronts and insults he has offered the Divine Majesty, I should turn the punishment of his sins upon myself, my family, and kingdom; and, therefore, I refuse your petition, and order you to return forthwith to Gorgora."

After the departure of the father, in consideration that Tecla Georgis had again embraced the Catholic religion, the king altered his sentence of being burnt, into that of being hanged privately in the house where he was then in prison; and, for that purpose, the executioner had brought with him the cord with which Tecla had ordered the feet of Abba Jacob to be tied. No sooner did he perceive that there were no hopes of pardon, by their beginning to tie his hands, than he again, with a loud voice, renounced his confession, declaring that he died an Alexandrian, and that there was but one nature in Christ. The executioner endeavoured to stop his further blasphemies, by drawing him up on the beam in the room; but he resisted so strongly, that there was time to inform Socinios of his abjuration: upon which the king ordered that he should be hanged publicly upon a pine-tree; and he was accordingly taken down, half-strangled, from the beam in the house, and hung upon the tree before the palace.

Adera, his sister, was next examined; and it being clearly proved that she had been a very active agent in the murder of Abba Jacob, she likewise was condemned to be hanged upon the same tree with her brother, fifteen days afterwards.

All that interval, the queen and ladies at court employed their utmost interest with the king to pardon Adera, for they looked upon it as a disgraceful thing, both to their sex and quality, that a woman of her family should be thus publicly executed. All the ladies of the court having joined, therefore, in a public petition to the king while on his throne, he is said to have answered them by the following short parable: —

"There was once an old woman, who being told of the death of an infant, said, with great indifference. Children are but tender; it is no wonder that they die, for any thing will kill a child. Being told of a youth dying, she observed, Young people are forward and rash; they are always in the way of some disaster; no wonder they die; it is impossible it should be otherwise. But being told an old woman was dead, she began to tear her hair, and lament, crying. Now the world is at an end if old women begin to die, fearing that her turn might be the next. In this manner all of you have seen Tecla Georgis die, and also several of his companions, and you have not said a word. But now it is come to the hanging of one woman, you are all alarmed, and the world is at an end. Do not then deceive yourselves, but be assured that the same cord which tied the feet of Abba Jacob, still remains sufficient to hang that sow Adera, and all those that shall be so wicked as to behave like her, to the disgrace of your sex, and their own rank and quality."

The effects of these ostentatious acts of reformation soon produced consequences which troubled their joy. The Agows of Lasta, called Tcheratz Agow, who live at the head of the Tacazze, rebelled. The country they occupy is not extensive, but exceedingly populous, and was supposed at that time to be able to bring into the field above 50,000 fighting men, besides leaving behind a sufficient number to defend the passes and strong-holds of their country, which are by much the most difficult and inaccessible of any in Abyssinia. They are divided into five clans, Waag, Tettera, Dehaanah, Gouliou, and Louta, each having an independent chief. They are exceedingly warlike; and, though the country be so rude and rocky, they have a considerable number of good horses; and are in general reckoned among the bravest and most barbarous soldiers in Abyssinia. Their province abounds with all sorts of provisions, and they rarely can be forced to pay any thing to government in the name of tax, or tribute.

Tecla Georgis was now dead, but the cause of the rebellion still subsisted. While governor of Begemder, he had connived at many abuses of his officers who occupied the posts nearest to Lasta. These being young men, from wantonness only, without provocation, had made many different inroads, driving away cattle, and committing many other excesses. The Agows carried their complaints to the governor, who, far from hearing or redressing their wrongs, justified the conduct: of his officers, by making inroads himself immediately after; but coming to an action in person with that people, he was shamefully beat, and a great part of his army left dead upon the field.

This misfortune very much affected Socinios. Nor did the Agows themselves doubt, but that a speedy chastisement was to follow this victory over Tecla Georgis.

There was a youth descended of the royal family, who, to preserve the freedom of his person, lived among the Galla, in expectation of better times. His name was Melca Christos. To him the Agows applied, that, with this prince of the house of Solomon at their head, they might wipe off the odium of being reputed rebels, and appear as fighting under a lawful sovereign for reformation of abuses. The renunciation of the Alexandrian faith, forcibly obtruded upon them by Socinios, served as cause of complaint. The Roman Catholic writers in the history of this million, say this was but a pretext, in which I conceive they are right. I have lived among the Agows of Lasta, and in intimacy with many of them, who are not, to this day, so anxious about Christianity as to ascend one of their hills for the difference between that and Paganism; and I am satisfied, for these 300 years last past there has been scarcely a common layman in Lasta that has known the distinction between the Alexandrian and the Roman church.

In the beginning of February 1629 the king marched from Dancaz towards Gojam, where he collected an army of 30,000 men, which, with the baggage, servants, and attendants, at that time very great and numerous, amounted to above 80,000 men.

Socinios detached a number of small parties to enter Lasta at different places. On the other hand, Melca Christos assembled his troops on the most inaccessible rocks; whence, when he spied occasion, he came suddenly down and surprised the enemy below. Among all the rude, high, and tremendous mountains of which this country consist, there is one especially, called by the name of Lasta. It is in the territory of Waag, strongly surrounded with inaccessible precipices, having a large plain on the top, abounding with every thing necessary, and watered by a fine stream that never fails.

The manner in which the Agows remained secure in this strong post was misconstrued into fear by the king's army, which, in two divisions, advanced to the attack of the mountains That on the right had with some difficulty scrambled up without opposition; but, being now arrived to the steep part of the rock, such a number of large stones was rolled down upon them from above, that this division of the army was entirely destroyed. The number of stones on the brink of the precipices was inexhaustible; and, once put in motion, pursued the scattered troops with unavoidable speed, even down to the plains below. Among the slain was Guebra Christos, the king's son-in-law, dashed to pieces by the fragment of a rock. The left division was upon the point of suffering the same misfortune, had not Keba Christos come to their relief and drawn them off, just before the enemy had begun to discharge this irresistible artillery against them.

The king, thus shamefully beaten, retired to Dancaz, leaving the entrances from Lasta strongly defended, left these mountaineers should, by way of retaliation, fall upon the province of Begemder. But the late ill-fortune had dispirited the troops, and caused an indifference about duty, a want of obedience, and a relaxation in discipline in the whole army. Each of the detachments, therefore, one after the other, left their poll from different excuses, and returned home. The bad consequence of this was now experienced. The Agows entered Begemder spreading desolation everywhere. Melca Christos, no longer sculking among the rocks of Lasta, planted his standard upon the plain, within five days march of the capital where the king was residing.

The jealousies that had arisen between Socinios and his brother-in-law Sela Christos, had been so much aggravated since the oath administered by the patriarch, that the king had again deprived him of Gojam, suffering him to live in obscurity in Damot, and among the Agows, occupied, as the Jesuits say, in the conversion of that Pagan people, by destroying their idols, which they represent to be a species of cane or bamboo[15], and in forbidding the ceremonies of adoration and devotion, which at stated times they paid to the river.

No remedy could be proposed, but the presence of Sela Christos, who, upon the first warning, joined the king, and coming suddenly upon the army of Lasta occupied in laying waste the low country of Begemder, gave them such an overthrow that sufficiently compensated the first loss of the king, and forced them again to take refuge among their strong-holds in Lasta. A misfortune of another kind followed this victory: Laeca Mariam, a near relation to the king, was appointed governor of Begemder; but no sooner did he fee himself vested with that government, than he meditated shaking off his allegiance to Socinios.

The king, after his last battle with the Agows, had named his son Facilidas commander in chief of his forces; and, to secure him a powerful and able assistant, he had first restored Sela Christos to his government of Gojam, then sent him with an army to join Facilidas, and command under him.

The success was answerable to the prudence of the measure; for, immediately upon their arrival, they obliged Laeca Mariam to seek for refuge in the mountains of Amhara, and, without giving him time to recollect himself there, forced their way to the mountain to which he had retired, and from which he and his followers had no way to escape, but by venturing down a steep precipice; in attempting this, Laeca Mariam fell, and was dashed to pieces, as were many others of his followers; the rest were slain by the army that pursued them.

At this time, Facilidas began to attract the eyes of the nation in general. Besides personal bravery, he had shewn great military talents in the former campaign of Lasta. Though young, he was in capacity and resolution equal to his father, but less warm, more reserved in his temper and discourse. He was thought to be an enemy to the Catholic religion, because he did not promote it, and neither exceeded nor fell short of what his father commanded him. Yet, he lived with the Jesuits on such an even footing, that they confess they did not know whether he was their friend or enemy: he kept one of their number, called Father Angelis, constantly in his household, where he was much favoured, and constantly in his presence. He was thought to be an enemy to Sela Christos, though he never had shewn if.

Facilidas received a flattering message from Urban VIII. but did not answer it; nor does it appear his father ever desired him; for, through the whole course of the life of Sonios, as his enemies are forced to confess, he paid to his father's will, the most passive obedience in every thing. The tyranny, however, of church-government began to appear unmasked; and it is probable that the king, though resolved to die a Roman Catholic from principles of conscience, was indifferent about forging for his son the chains he had himself worn with pain.

However this may be, the last step of placing Facilidas at the head of the army was construed as another stroke of humiliation to the Catholics, especially as it was followed with the removal of Keba Christos (the support of that religion) from court, where he had been appointed Billetana Gueta. It is true he was removed by what, in other times, would have been called preferment ; but things had now changed their qualities, and places were not estimated, as formerly, by the consequence they gave in the empire, but by the opportunities they afforded of constant access to the king, and occasion of joining in councils with him, and defeating those of their enemies,

Keba Christos being sent governor to Tigre, was to enter Lasta from that quarter on the N. E. He is said to have received his appointment with a great degree of concern, and to have told his friends, that he foresaw he never was to return from that expedition, which he did not regret, because he was convinced, by living much longer, it would be made his duty to assist at the fall of the Catholic religion.

After having performed his devotions at Fremona, this general advanced through Gouliou, a territory mostly inhabited by Galla, and destitute of any sort of provisions; after which he took possession of the mountains of Lasta, with a view to cover the march of the young prince Facilidas, whom he every day expected. But that prince not appearing in time, and provisions becoming scarce, no measure remained but making his retreat to Tigré; and, although he formed the best disposition for that purpose, the people of Lasta observing his intention in time, on his first movement attacked his rear-guard while he was descending the mountain, and put it to flight: being thereby masters of the higher ground, they had the command of the cowardly soldiers below them, who could not insure their destruction more certainly than by the indecent manner in which they were flying.

Keba Christos, deserted by all except a few servants, continued courageously fighting; and, although it was very possible for him to have escaped, he disdained to survive the loss of his army. Receiving at that time a wound from a javelin, which palled through his belly, and judging the stroke to be mortal, he gave up all further resistance, fell upon his knees to prayer, and was again wounded by a stone, which struck him to the ground. Two of the mountaineers immediately came up to him, one of whom did not know him, and contented himself with stripping the body; but the other remembering his face, cut his head off, and carried it to the rebel Melca Christos.

The misfortune was followed by another in Gojam, great to the nation in general, and greater still to the Catholic cause in particular. At the time that Sela Christos was in Begemder with prince Facilidas, the Galla from Bizamo, supposing the province of Damot without defence, passed the Nile, laying the whole province waste before them. Fecur Egzie, lieutenant-general under Sela Christos, although he had with him only a small number of troops, did not hesitate to march against those savages, to endeavour, if possible, to stop their ravages. The Galla, surprised at this, thought it was Sela Christos, and fled before him. He had now pursued them almost alone, and lighted in a low meadow to give grass to his horse, when he was surrounded and slain by a number of the enemy that lay hid among the bushes, and discovered how ill he was attended.

He was reputed a man of the best understanding, and the most liberal sentiments of any in Ethiopia; a great orator, excelling both in the gracefulness of manner and copiousness and purity of his language. He was among the first that embraced the Catholic religion, even before the king or Sela Christos, and was the principal promoter of the translations of the Portuguese books into Ethiopic, assisted by the Jesuit Antonio de Angelis. We have seen, in the year 1613, the great efforts he made in the embassy to India by the coast of Melinda. He was an excellent horseman, but more violent and rash in battle than could have been expected from a man of such mild manners.

There happened at this time another novelty. The king brought the patriarch from Gorgora to Dancaz this year, at Easter, to hear that feast celebrated, with the Ethiopic service amended, of which we have already spoken abundantly. This countenance, so unnecessarily given to an innovation that produced every day such very bad effects to the Catholic interest, joined to many other circumstances, seemed clearly to indicate a change in that prince's mind.

The patriarch having made but a short stay at Dancaz, it was currently reported a disagreement had happened, and that the king had sent him prisoner to Gorgora; and this false report affected greatly the weight the Catholics were supposed before to have had at court. But the transaction that followed was of a nature to promise much more consequences.

Socinios had a daughter called Ozoro Wengelawit, which means the Evangelical, a name she certainly deserved not from her manners. This lady was first married to Bela Christos, a man of rank at court, from whom she had been divorced. She was next married to another, and then (her two former husbands being still alive) to Tecla Georgis, who had before married her sister, another of the king's daughters. During this marriage she had openly lived in adultery with Za Christos, who had been married to her lifter, a third daughter of the king. Za Christos had been happy enough in preserving this lady's esteem longer than any other of her husbands, and nothing would content her now but a marriage with her lover solemnly and publicly. For which purpose she applied to the patriarch to dispense with the affinity between her and Za Christos, arising from his having been married before to her sister.

It is not to be supposed that the patriarch would have resisted, if nothing had stood in the way except the affinity: but weighty impediments presented themselves befides; for either the first marriage was valid, or it was not. If it was valid, then Wengelawit could not marry Za Christos or any one else, because her husband was alive; nor could she marry her second, nor Tecla Georgis, her third. If the first marriage was not valid, then the second was, which husband was still alive; and, in this case, a licence to marry was giving her liberty of having three husbands at one time. The patriarch, for these reasons, refused his authority to this manifold adultery and incest; nor could he, notwithstanding the intercession of the whole court, ever be brought to comply. His firmness (however commendable) greatly increased the hatred to his person, and aversion to the church of Rome.

One day when the king was fitting in his apartment, a monk entered the room, crying with a loud voice, "Hear the ambassador of God and of the Virgin Mary!" The king, upon first sight of the man, expecting some improper liberty might be taken, ordered his attendants to turn him out at the door, and, being removed from his presence, to bring word what he had to say, which was to this effect: "It is three days since I rose from the dead. One day when I was standing in paradise, God called me, and sent me with this message to you: — O emperor! says God, it is now many years that I hoped you would amend of the great sin, the having forsaken the faith of your ancestors. All this time the Virgin Mary was kneeling before her blessed Son, beseeching him to pardon you; and, upon the whole, it was agreed that, unless you repent in a fortnight's time, you should be punished in such a manner that you will not forget it presently."

Socinios desired them to ask the man, "How it was possible that, having so lately left the grave, his body should have so little of the emaciated appearance of one long buried, and be now in such good cafe, fat and fair?" To this he answered, "That, in paradise, he thanked God there was abundance of every thing; and people were very well used there, for he had lived upon good bread, and plenty of good wine, biskets, and sweetmeats." To which Socinios answered, "Tell him, after the pains he had taken, it would be wrong in me to keep him long from so good a place as this his paradise. Let him go and acquaint the person who sent him, I shall live and die in the Roman Catholic faith; and in order that he may deliver the message quickly in the other world, speed him instantly out of this, by hanging him upon the tree before the palace-gate."

The love of the wine, sweetmeats, and other celestial food; seemed to have forsaken the ambassador. Upon hearing this message he recanted, and was pardoned at the joint petition of those of the court that were present, who concurred with the monk in thinking, that the message of the emperor was an indecent one, and ought not to be delivered; that having been in paradise once, was as much as fell to the lot of any one man, and that he should therefore remain upon earth. The intended catastrophe, then, of this singular ambassador was remitted; but the truth of his mission was believed by the populace, and raised great scruples in every weak mind.

The many misfortunes that had lately befallen the troops of the king were accounted as so much increase of power to the rebel Melca Christos, who, encouraged by the correspondence he held with the chiefs of the Alexandrian religion, began now to take upon him the state and office of a king. His first essay was to fend, as governor to the province of Tigré, a son of that great rebel Za Selasse, whose manifold treasons, we have already seen, occasioned the death of two kings, Za Denghel and Jacob.

Asca Georgis was then governor of Tigré for Socinios, a man of merit and valour, but poor, and though related to the king himself, had very few soldiers to be depended on excepting his own servants, and two bodies of troops which the king had sent him to maintain his authority, and to keep his province in order.

The new governor, sent by the rebel Melca Christos, had with him a considerable army; and, knowing the weakness of Asca Georgis, he paraded through the province in the utmost security.

One Saturday which, in defiance of the king's edict, he was to solemnize as a festival equal to Sunday, he had resolved on a party of pleasure in a valley, where, much at his ease, he was preparing an entertainment for his troops and friends, and such of the province as came to offer their obedience. Intelligence of this party came to three Shums, commanders of small districts, two of them sons-in-law of the king, the third a very loyal subject. These three sent to Asca Georgis, to propose that, at a stated time, they should, each with his own men, fall separately upon the son of Za Selasse, and interrupt his entertainment.

This was executed with great order and punctuality. In the height of the festival, the rebels were surrounded by an unexpected enemy. To think of fighting was too late, nor was there time for flight. The greatest part of the army was cut to pieces with little resistance. The new governor saved himself among the rest by the goodness of his horse, leaving Billetana Gueta, or chief matter of the household of the rebel Melca Christos, dead upon the spot, with about 4000 of his men. Among the plunder were taken 32 kettle-drums, which alone were evidence sufficient of the greatness of the slaughter.

Although the happy turn Socinios's affairs had taken had given him leisure to pass this winter at home, and in greater quiet than he had done in former ones, yet the calm which it had produced was of very short duration. The people of Lasta, perceiving some of the prince's army busy in destroying their harvest when almost ripe, came down suddenly upon them from the mountain, and put them to flight with very great slaughter. The blame of this was laid upon Sela Christos, who might have prevented the calamity; and this accusation, with many others, were brought against him to the king by Lesana Christos.

This man had been condemned to die for an offence, some time before, by Ras Sela Christos; but having fled to the king, who heard his cause, the sentence was reversed. Some time after this he fell into the hands of the Ras, who put him to death upon his former sentence, without regarding the late pardon of the king. This violent act became the foundation upon which his enemies built many accusations, mostly void of truth.

The king upon this took from him the government of Gojam, and gave it to a young nobleman whose name was Serca Christos, supposed to be a friend and dependent upon the prince Facilidas. Serca Christos was no sooner arrived in his government than he resolved to rebel, and privately solicited the young prince Facilidas to take up arms and make a common cause against the king his father, in favour of the Alexandrian church. At the time that the young man departed to his government, Socinios had earnestly recommended to him, and he had most solemnly promised, to protect the Catholic religion in his province, and seemingly for this purpose he had taken with him a Jesuit named Francisco de Carvalho.

Another affair which the king particularly charged him with was, the care of a caravan which once a-year came: from Narea. This, besides many other valuable articles for the merchant, brought 1000 wakeas of gold as tribute to the king, equal to about 10,000 dollars, or crowns of our money: its whole way was through barbarous and lawless nations of Galla till they arrived at the Nile; then through Gafats and Gongas, immediately after having passed it,

Serca Christos, in his march, was come to a settlement of those last-mentioned savages, where Gafats, Agows, and Damots, all in peace, pastured immense flocks of cattle together. There are no where, I believe, in the world, cattle so beautiful as those of the Gafats, nor in such numbers. Large plains, for many days journey, are filled so full of these that they appear as one market.

Serca Christos halted here to give grass to his horses; and, while this was doing, it entered into his young head, that making prize of the cattle was of much greater consequence than protecting the caravan of Narea. Assembling then his cavalry, he fell upon the poor Gafats and Damots, who feared no harm; and, having soon put them all to flight, he drove off their cattle in such numbers, that, at Dancaz, it was said, above 100,000 had reached that marker.

The king, much shocked at this violent robbery, ordered Serca Christos to give up the cattle, and surrender himself as prisoner. This message of the king he answered in terms of duty and obedience; but, in the mean time, went to the prince, and proposed to him to declare himself king and champion of the church of Alexandria. Facilidas received him with sharp reproofs, and he returned home much discontented. However, as he had now declared himself, he resolved to put the best face upon the matter; and, in order to make it generally believed that the prince and he understood each other, he sent him publicly word, "I have done what your highness ordered me; come and take possession of your kingdom." Upon which the prince ordered his messenger to be put in irons, and sent to Dancaz to the king his father.

After this, Serca Christos ordered proclamation to be made that prince Fasilidas was king, at the palace of the governor of Gojam, which Sela Christos had built near the convent of Collela. As one article of it was the abolishing the Roman faith, the fathers ran precipitately into the convent, and shut the doors upon themselves, fearing they should be insulted by the army of schismatics: but a number of the Portuguese, who lived in the neighbourhood, being brought into the church with them, and there having been loop-holes made in the walls, and abundance of fire-arms left there in deposit by Sela Christos, the rebel governor did not choose to attempt any thing against them at that time. On the contrary, he sent them word that he was in his heart a Roman Catholic, and only, for the present, obliged to dissemble; but he would protect them to the utmost, desiring them to fend him the fire-arms left there by Sela Christos, which they absolutely refused to do.

Serca Christos, apprehending that his army (if not acting under some chief of the royal family) would forsake him on the first appearance of the prince, had recourse to a child of the blood-royal, then living in obscurity among his female relations, and this infant he made king, in hopes, if he succeeded, to govern during his minority. There were many who expected the prince would reconcile him to the king, especially as he had yet preserved a shadow of respect for the Jesuits, and this he imagined was one cause why the schismatics had not joined him in the numbers necessary. In order to shew them that he designed no reconciliation with the king, and to make such agreement impossible, he adopted the same sacrilegious example that had so ill succeeded with Tecla Georgis.

Za Selasse, a priest of Selalo, had been heard to say, when Serca Christos was appointed to the government of Gojam, "There is an end of the Catholic faith in this province." Being now called before the governor, he was forbid to say mass according to the forms of the church of Rome. This the priest submitted to; but, being ordered to deny the two natures in Christ, he declared this was a point of faith which he would never give up, but always confess Christ was perfect God and perfect man. Upon this Serca Christos ordered him to be slain; and he was accordingly thrust through with many lances, repeating these words, God and man! God and man! till his last breath.

Serca Christos had now drawn the sword, and thrown away the scabbard. Upon receiving the news, the king ordered the prince, who waited but his command, to march against him. The murder of Za Selasse had procured an accession of fanatics and monks, but very few soldiers; so that as soon as he heard with what diligence the prince was advancing, he left his whole baggage, and fled into those high and craggy mountains that form the banks of the Nile in Damot.

The prince pressed closely upon him, notwithstanding the difficulty of the ground; so that no safety remained for him but to pass the Nile into the country of the Galla, where he thought himself in safety. In this, however, he was mistaken. He had to do with a general of the most active kind, in the person of Facilidas, who crossed the Nile after him, and, the third day, forced him to a battle on such ground as the prince had chosen, who was likewise much his superior in number of troops. But there was no longer any remedy; Serca Christos made the bell that he could of this necessity, and fought with great obstinacy, till his men being for the most part slain, he was forced, with the few that remained, to take refuge on a high hill, whence the prince obliged him to deliver himself up to his mercy without condition.

Facilidas immediately dispatched news of his victory to court, and fifteen days after, he followed himself, bringing Serca Christos, with six of his principal officers and counsellors, loaded with heavy chains. Being interrogated by the judges. What he had to answer for his treasons? the prisoner denied that he had any occasion to answer, because he had already received pardon from the prince. This excuse was not admitted, the prince having disowned it absolutely. Upon which he was sentenced to death; and, though he appealed to the king, his sentence was confirmed.

It was too late to execute the sentence that night, but next morning the seven prisoners were put to death. One of the principal servants of Serca Christos being asked to confess and turn Catholic, abandoned himself to great rage, uttering many curses and blasphemies against the king, who, therefore, ordered him to be fastened upon a hook of iron, where he continued his curses till at last he was slain by lances.

Serca Christos, cousin to Socinios, was treated with more respect. He, with seeming candour, declared, that he would die a Catholic; and the king, very desirous of this, gave orders to Diego de Mattos, a priest, to attend him constantly in prison. After which, one night he sent five of his confidential servants, who killed him privately, to prevent his recantation.

Socinios had again taken Gojam from Sela Christos; which last disgrace so affected him, that he desired to retire and live as a private man in that province.

The king, having now no other enemy, all his attention was employed in preparing for a campaign against Melca Christos of Lasta. But, as he found his army full of disaffection, it was proposed to him, before he took the field, to content them so far as to indulge the Alexandrians in some rites of the old church; and a proclamation was accordingly made by the king, "That those who chose to observe "the Wednesday as a fast, instead of Saturday, might do it;" and some other such indulgences as these were granted, which were understood to affect the faith.

As soon as this came to the ears of the patriarch, he wrote a very sharp letter to the king, reproving him for the proclamation that he had made; adding, that it was an encroachment upon the office of the priesthood, that he, a layman, should take upon him to direct in matters merely ecclesiastical. He warned the king, moreover, that God would call him to the very strictest account for this presumption, and reminded him of the words of Azarias the chief priest to king Uzziah, and of the punishment of leprosy that followed the king's encroachment on the ecclesiastical function; and insisted upon Socinios contradicting his proclamation by another.

Socinios so far complied, that the alteration made by the last proclamation was confined to three articles. First, that no liturgy, unless amended by the patriarch, was to be used in divine service. Secondly, that all feasts, excepting Easter and those that depended upon it, should be kept according to the ancient computation of time. And, thirdly, that, whoever chose, might fall on Wednesday, rather than on the Saturday.

At the same time, the king expressed himself as greatly offended at the freedom of the application of the story of Azarias and Uzziah to him. He told the patriarch plainly, that it was not by his sermons, nor those of the fathers, nor by the miracles they wrought, nor by the desire of the people, but by his edicts alone, that the Roman religion was introduced into Ethiopia; and, therefore, that the patriarch had not the least reason to complain of any thing being altered by the authority that first established it. But, from this time, it plainly appears, that Socinios began to entertain ideas, at least of the church discipline and government, very opposite to those he had when he first embraced the Romish religion.

The king now set out in his campaign for Lasta with a large army, which he commanded himself, and under him his son, the prince Facilidas. Upon entering the mountain, he divided his army into three divisions. The first commanded by the prince, and under him Za Mariam Adebo his master of the household, was ordered to attack, scale, and lodge themselves on the highest part of the mountain. The second he gave to Guebra Christos, governor of Begemder; and in this he placed the regiment, or body of troops, called Inaches, veteran soldiers of Sela Christos, and a small, but brave body of troops containing the sons of Portuguese: These he directed to occupy the valleys and low ground. In the center the king commanded in person.

The rebel chief and his mountaineers remained in a state of security; for they neither thought to be so speedily attacked, nor that Socinios could have raised so large an army. They abandoned, therefore, the lower ground, and all took posts upon the heights. The prince advanced to the first entrance, and ordered Damo, his Billetana Gueta, to force it with four companies of good soldiers, who ascended the mountain with great perseverance; and, notwithstanding the obstinate defence of the rebels, made themselves master of that post, having killed two of the bravest officers Melca Christos had, the one named Billene, the other Tecla Mariam, sirnamed defender of the faith because he was the first that brought Galla to the assistance of Melca Christos.

There were likewise slain, at the fame time, four priests and five monks, after a desperate resistance; one of whom, calling the king's troops Moors, forbade them to approach for fear of defiling him, and then, with a book in his hand, threw himself over the rock, and was dashed to pieces in the plain below. Here the prince met with an enemy he did not expert: The cold was so excessive, that above fifty persons were frozen to death.

The top of the mountain, which was the second entry into Lasta, was occupied by a still larger body of rebels, and, therefore, necessary to be immediately stormed, else those below were in imminent danger of being dashed to pieces by the large stones rolled down upon them. The prince divided his army into two parties, exhorting them, without loss of time, to attack that post; but the rebels, seeing the good countenance with which they ascended, forsook their station and fled; so that this second mountain was gained with much less loss and difficulty than the first.

Behind this, and higher than all the rest, appeared the third, which struck the assailants at first with terror and despair. This was carried with still less loss on the part of the prince, because he was assisted by the Inaches and Portuguese, who cut off the communication below, and hindered one mountain from succouring the other. Here they found great store of arms, offensive and defensive; coats of mail, mules, and kettle drums; and they penetrated to the head-quarters of Melca Christos, which was a small mountain, but very strong in situation, where a Portuguese captain seized the seat which served as a throne to the rebel; and, had not they lost time by falling to plunder, they would have taken Melca Christos himself, who with difficulty escaped, accompanied by ten horse.

To this last mountain Socinios repaired with the prince, and they were joined by the governors of Amhara and Tigré, who had forced their way in from the opposite side.

Hitherto all had gone well with the king; but when he had detached Guebra Christos, governor of Begemder, with the Inaches and Portuguese, who were at some distance, to destroy the crop, die mountaineers, again assembled on a high hill above them, saw their opportunity, and fell suddenly upon the spoilers, and cut all the soldiers of Begemder to pieces. A considerable part of the Inaches fell also; but the rest, joining themselves with the Portuguese in one body, made good their retreat to the head-quarters.

The destruction of the corn everywhere around them, and the impossibility of bringing provisions there, as they were situated in the midst of their enemies, obliged the king to think of returning before the rebels should collect themselves, and cut off his retreat. And it was with great difficulty, and still greater loss, he accomplished this, and retired to Dancaz, abandoning Lasta as soon as he had subdued it, but leaving Begemder almost a prey to the rebels whom he had conquered in Lasta.

Socinios being now determined upon another campaign against Lasta, and for the relief of Begemder, ordered his troops to hold themselves in readiness to march as soon as the weather should permit. But an universal discontent had seized the whole army. They saw no end to this war, nor any repose from its victories obtained with great bloodshed, without spoil, riches, or reward; no territory acquired to the king, nor nation subdued; but the time, when they were not actually in the field, filled up with executions and the constant effusion of civil blood, that seemed to be more horrid than war itself. They, therefore, positively refused to march against Lasta; and the prince was deputed by them to inform the king, that they did not say the Roman faith was a bad one, as they did not understand it, nor desire to be instructed; that this was an affair which entirely regarded themselves, and no one would pretend to say there was 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 leader, and the enemy were everywhere trodden down and destroyed by the victorious horse, till night put an end to the pursuit.

Melca Christos, in the beginning of the engagement, saved himself by the swiftness of his horse; but 8000 of the mountaineers were slain upon the spot, among whom was Bicané, general to Melca Christos, an excellent officer both for council and the field, and, several other considerable persons, as well inhabitants of Lasta as others, who had taken that side from dislike to the king and his measures.

Next morning the king went out with his son to see the field of battle, where the prince Facilidas is said to have spoke to this effect in name of the army:- "These men, whom you fee slaughtered on the ground, were neither Pagans nor Mahometans at whose death we should rejoice — they were Christians, lately your subjects and your countrymen, some of them your relations. This is not victory which is gained over ourselves. In killing these you drive the sword into your own entrails. How many men have you slaughtered? How many more have you to kill? We are become a proverb even among the Pagans and Moors for carrying on this war, and for apostatizing, as they fay, from the faith of our ancestors." — The king heard this speech: without reply, and returned manifestly disconsolate to Dancaz; though many times before he had feasted and triumphed for the gaining of a letter victory.

After his arrival at Dancaz, he had a conference with the patriarch Alphonso Mendes, who, in a long speech, upbraided him with having deserted the Catholic faith at the time when the victory obtained by their prayers gave him an opportunity of establishing it. The king answered, with seeming indifference, that he had done every thing for the Catholic faith in his power; that he had shed the blood of thousands, and as much more was to be shed; and still he was uncertain if it would produce any effect; but that he should think of it, and send him his resolutions to-morrow.

The next day Socinios made a declaration by Za Mariam to the patriarch, to this purport: "When we embraced the faith of Rome, we laboured for it with great diligence, but the people shewed no affection for it. Julius rebelled out of hatred against Sela Christos, under pretence of being defender of the ancient faith, and was slain, together with many of his followers. Gabriel did the fame. Tecla Georgis, likewise, made a league to die for the Alexandrian faith, which he did, and many people with him. The same did Serca Christos the preceding year; and those peasants of Lasta fight for the same cause at this day. The faith of Rome is not a bad one; but the men of this country do not understand it. Let those that like it remain in that faith, in the fame way as the Portuguese did in the time of Atzenaf Segued; let them eat and drink together, and let them marry the daughters of Abyssinians. As for those that are not inclined to the Roman faith, let them follow their ancient one as received from the church of Alexandria."

Upon this declaration, delivered by Za Mariam, the patriarch inquired if it came from the king. Being answered that it did; after a little pause, he returned this answer by Emanuel Almeyda, "That the patriarch understood that both religions should be permitted in the kingdom, and that the Alexandrians were to have every indulgence that could be wished by them, without violating the purity of the Catholic faith; that, therefore, he had no difficulty of allowing the people of Lasta to live in the faith of their ancestors without alteration, as they had never embraced any other; but as for those that had sworn to persist in the Catholic faith, and had received the communion in that church, by no means, without a grievous sin, could it be granted to them to renounce that faith in which they had deliberately sworn to live and die."

The king, upon this answer, which he understood well, and expected, only replied, "What is to be done? I have no longer the power of government in my own kingdom;"— and immediately ordered a herald to make the following proclamation:—

"Hear us! hear us! hear us! First of all we gave you the Roman Catholic faith, as thinking it a good one; but many people have died fighting against it, as Julius, Gabriel, Tecla Georgis, Serca Christos, and, lastly, these rude peasants of Lasta. Now, therefore, we restore to you the faith of your ancestors; let your own priests fay their mass in their own churches; let the people have their own altars for the sacrament, and their own liturgy, and be happy. As for myself, I am now old and worn out with war and infirmities, and no longer capable of governing; I name my son Facilidas to reign in my place."

Thus, in one day, fell the whole fabric of the Roman Catholic faith, and hierarchy of the church of Rome, in Abyssinia; first regularly established, as I must always think, by ter Paez, in moderation, charity, perseverance, long-suffering, and peace; extended and maintained afterwards by, blood and violence beyond what could be expected from heathens, and thrown down by an exertion of the civil power in its own defence, against the encroachments of priesthood and ecclesiastical tyranny, which plainly had no other view than, by annihilating the constitution under its native prince, to reduce Abyssinia to a Portuguese government, as had been the case with so many independent states in India already.

This proclamation was made on the 14th of June 1632. After this Socinios took no care of public affairs. He had been for a long time afflicted with various complaints, especially since the last campaign in Lasta; and affairs were now managed by prince Facilidas in his father's place, though he did not take upon him the title of King. Emana Christos, brother of Sela Christos, a steady Alexandrian, and Guebra Christos, were then made governors of Lasta and Begemder; but no steps were taken in this interval against the Jesuits.

On the 7th of September the king died, and was buried; with great pomp, by his son Facilidas, in the church of Ganeta Jesus, which he himself had built, professing himself a Roman Catholic to the last. The Portuguese historians deny both his resignation of the crown, and his perseverance in the Roman Catholic faith to his death, but this apparently for their own purposes.

He was a prince remarkable for his strength of body; of great courage and elevation of mind; had early learned the exercise of arms, patience, perseverance, and every military virtue that could be acquired; and had passed the first of his life as a private person, in the midst of hardships and dangers.

He is celebrated to this day in Abyssinia for a talent, which seems to be the gift of nature, that of choosing upon the first view the proper ground for the camp or battle, and embracing, in his own mind in a moment, all the advantages and disadvantages that could result from any particular part of it. This talent is particularly recorded in several short proverbs, or military adages, such as the following: "Blind him first, or you shall never beat him." This most material qualification seemed to have been in part transmitted to Ras Michael, the great general in my time, descended from Socinios by his mother; and, by this superiority. alone over the other commanders opposed to him, he is said to have been victorious in forty-three pitched battles.

Socinios embraced the Catholic religion from conviction, and studied it with great application, as far as his narrow means of instruction would allow him; and there can be no doubt that, under the moderate conduct of Peter Paez, who converted him, he would have died a martyr for that religion; and there seems as little reason to doubt, conscientious as he was, if he had been a young man he would have quitted it for the good of his country, and from his inability to suffer the tyranny of the patriarch Alphonfo Mendes, and his continual encroachment upon civil government. Being, in the last years of his life, left without one soldier to draw his sword for the Catholic cause, he kept his religion, and abandoned his crown; and having been, it should seem, for some time convinced that the government of the church of Rome, in such hands as he left it, was in, compatible with monarchy, he took no pains to change Facilidas's known sentiments, of to render him favourable to the Roman faith, or to name another of his sons to succeed him whom he found to be more so.

The Jesuits, considering only the catastrophe, and unmindful of the strenuous efforts made to establish their religion during his whole reign, have traduced his character as that of an apostate, for giving way to the universal demand of his people to have their ancient form of worship restored when his army had deserted him, and he himself was dying of old age. But every impartial man will admit, that the step he took, of abdicating his sovereignty over a people who had abjured the religion he had introduced among them, was, in his circumstances, the noblest action of his life, and just the reverse of apostacy.

This resignation of the crown, and his tenacious persevering in the Catholic faith, together with the moderation of his son, the prince Facilidas, in appointing a regency to govern, rather than to mount the throne himself during his father's life, are three facts which we know to be true from the Abyssinian annals, and which the Jesuits have endeavoured to suppress, that they might the more easily blacken the character both of the father and the son.

They have pretended that it was the queen, and other ladies at court, who by their influence seduced the king from the Catholic religion. But Socinios was then past seventy, and the queen near sixty, and he had no other wives or mistresses. To judge, moreover, by his behaviour in the affair of Adera, sister to Tecla Georgis, the voice of the women at court seems to have had no extraordinary weight with him. In a word, he never varied in his religion after he embraced that of Rome, but stedfastly adhered to it, when the pride and bad conduct of the Jesuits, its professors, had scarcely left another friend to it in the whole kingdom; and, therefore, the charge of apostacy is certainly an unmerited falsehood.

As it is plain the Portuguese, from the beginning, believed their religion could only be established by force, and were persuaded such means were lawful, the blame of so much bloodshed for so many years, and the total miscarriage of the whole scheme at last, lay at the door of their sovereign, the king of Spain and Portugal; who, having succeeded to his wish in his conquest of India, seems not to have had the fame anxiety the patriarch had for the conversion of Abyssinia, nor even to have thought further of sending a body of troops with his priests to the succour of Socinios, whom he left to the prayers of Urban VIII, the merit of Ignatius Loyola, and the labours of his furious and fanatic disciples.

  1. We have mentioned this treaty in the reign of Icon Amlac.
  2. Then the metropolis upon the Lake Tzana.
  3. Register of the cattle; so the governor of Dembea is called.
  4. See the History of the rise of this monarchy in my return through Sennaar
  5. A low territory at the foot of Lamalmon.
  6. It was probably part of the fruits of the new religion, and the work of his new religious advisers.
  7. The words, Boren, and Bertuma Galla, have no meaning in the Ethiopic.
  8. See the Map.
  9. See the provincial letters of the Jesuits in Tellez, lib. iv. cap. 5.
  10. Which signifies the Passage.
  11. This will be more enlarged upon hereafter.
  12. Tellez, lib. iv. cap. 38.
  13. It is apparently a speech in a passion, for this Sela Christos was one of the most learned of the Abyssinians; yet the words themselves, if literally translated, are scarcely intelligible.
  14. I have seen them often at Madrid.
  15. Called by the Agows, Krihaha.