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His disdain of wealth or gain is the more remarkable in a country where all, from high to low, are beggars.

In reply to my inquiry, "in what manner we could prove our friendship," he would say nothing; but I would suggest that Her Majesty's Government send to Massowah at once 200 or 300 percussion muskets of the old pattern, not now in use, with a quantity of caps to match, for his soldiers, and one handsome piece for his own use, with 50 lbs. of good powder, and some thousand caps, as an earnest of our intentions.

He is a man worth supporting, in my opinion, and his character, though jealous, affords the only chance of dealing peacefully with Abyssinia.

The arms, if sent, should be addressed to the King of Abyssinia, and care must be taken that no delay be caused by the Turkish authorities at Massowah, when the proper moment shall arrive for me to present them.

If any accident happens to the King, the gifts can be sold and the money replaced.

I make this suggestion, inasmuch as the King will value this mark of consideration the more coming at a moment of difficulty, and will regard it as a sign of true and disinterested friendship; nevertheless it must remain for your Lordship's consideration, whether there is sufficient reason for the step. The King knows nothing of my intention to propose it.

The Earl of Clarendon.


(Inclosure.)-King Theodore to Her Majesty the Queen.


THIS letter from Theodorus, King of Kings, of Ethiopia, is sent to the Queen of England, Victoria; may your health be preserved as well as mine is; praise be to God.

I have received and entertained Mr. Plowden, as your Ambassador, in a spirit of friendship and goodwill.

I have not sent him to you till now, owing to my constant campaigns and embarrassments.

You and I are both the children of Christ, in whose name also I seek your friendship.

Now, therefore, if shortly by His power I am successful and fortunate, I shall send to you Mr. Plowden, accompanied by other Ambassadors of dignity, with the news of my fortunes and success, that so our pleasure therein may be mutual.

No. 285.-The Earl of Malmesbury to Consul Plowden. SIR, Foreign Office, April 8, 1858. IN answer to your despatch of the 25th of November last,

which was received at this office on the 2nd instant, I have to acquaint you that Her Majesty's Government would be glad to do anything to testify their good-will towards the King of Abyssinia, and that they are disposed to carry into effect your recommendation as to the present to be sent to His Majesty. But Her Majesty's Government wish to be informed in what manner you propose that the present in question should be sent on from Massowah, in order to ensure its safe delivery. I am, &c.

W. Plowden, Esq.


No. 290.-Consul Plowden to the Earl of Malmesbury.—(Received April 13, 1859.)


Wadla, November 20, 1858. I HAVE the honour to inform you that I hear from sources which, though not official, are entitled to consideration, that Seyd Pasha has determined on sending an army to Abyssinia for its subjugation, and is reported to have said that no Sovereign should dictate to him on this point.

I cannot believe that such a course could be contemplated without its being heard of by Her Majesty's Representative in Egypt; still less that it should not have been at once officially communicated to me and least of all, that it should ever be carried into execution.

The British Government has repeatedly stated that it is determined to assert the independence of Abyssinia; and the last letter I received from the Consul-General conveyed the distinct assurance of Seyd Pasha that hostile movements against Abyssinia were the very farthest from his mind. These assurances I officially laid before the King.

As, however, it is just possible that Her Majesty's ConsulGeneral may be blinded by a statement that these military movements have another destination, and as my great distance precludes the chance of rapid information, and makes me cautious, as much mischief may be done during the delay of my letters that no subsequent exertions can remedy, I have no doubt that a vigorous watch will be ordered to be kept over all movements of the Egyptian troops.

If Seyd Pasha has such an intention, it is certain that no overt act of hostility on the part of the King can be alleged as a pretext for the invasion; I can only attribute it to his having formed an idea that the King's ambition and energy, with the possibility of our friendly assistance to him in organizing his Government, may at some future day render him a formidable enemy. But the Viceroy is surely strong enough to abide the provocation that will render him blameless in the eyes of Europe.

As far as England is concerned, I think it would be an excellent

thing to have in this part of Africa a Christian Sovereign, powerful and friendly; and I only wait the moment when the King shall have triumphed absolutely over his foes here, and shall send an Embassy to England, to propose our formal acknowledgment of his sway, and our intention to support it within all reasonable limits.

Should he hereafter refuse to meet our friendly proposals, and attempt to exclude us from his country, it will then be expedient perhaps that the Viceroy of Egypt should show him the power of discipline and the resources of civilization, thereby compelling him to have recourse to the friendly mediation of allies; but this can only be politic when Abyssinia is completely submitted to him,-otherwise with many chiefs no clear or decisive negotiation can be entered into.

It is evident that should such a blow be given to his yet infant authority it cannot resist the shock, and Egypt must then possess Abyssinia as the lesser evil.

I doubt not, supposing the attack, that the King, embarrassed as he is by numerous and powerful foes, will still make a gallant stand. It is, however, better that at present he should not be exposed to this great, perhaps fatal, trial. I have, &c. The Earl of Malmesbury.



No. 292.-Sir H. Bulwer to the Earl of Malmesbury.-(Rec. May 21.) MY LORD, Constantinople, May 11, 1859. In pursuance of your Lordship's instruction of the 18th ultimo, I have inquired of Fuad Pasha whether he had heard of anything of an intention attributed to the l'asha of Egypt of attacking Abyssinia, as stated in Consul Plowden's report of November last. His Excellency informs me in reply that the Porte had no knowledge of any such intention on the part of Seyd Pasha, and that he thought there was no foundation for Mr. Plowden's alarm. I shall, however, insist upon distinct orders being sent to the Viceroy to abstain from any hostile aggressions in that quarter.

The Earl of Malmesbury.


I have, &c.


No. 293.-Mr. Hammond to Consul Plowden.

Foreign Office, May 31, 1859. The Earl of Malmesbury has received, and has referred for the consideration of Secretary Major-General Peel, your despatch of the 15th of November last, suggesting that it would be an acceptable present to the King of Abyssinia if a certain number of muskets for the use of his soldiers, and a handsome piece for the King's own use, with 50 pounds of powder, were to be sent to him from England.

In reply, I am directed by Lord Malmesbury to acquaint you that Her Majesty's Government do not consider it advisable, under present circumstances, to issue muskets of any description from Her Majesty's stores; but that an ornamented rifle, with a proportion of ammunition, has been prepared for the King of Abyssinia's personal use, which will be forwarded to Aden to await your further directions. I am, &c.

W. Plowden, Esq.


No. 295.-Consul Plowden to the Earl of Malmesbury.—(Rec. July 23.)
Camp, Ein Amba, February 2, 1859.
WITH reference to my despatch of the 20th November, 1858,
I have now the honour to inform you that the Viceroy of Egypt has
sent an Ambassador to the King with rich presents.

The Embassy has arrived in the Abyssinian territory. As he has sent with other things 4 pieces of cannon, I must conclude that I was misinformed, and that the Viceroy has no hostile feeling towards this country.

The King's mind may perhaps now become convinced that the Egyptians are not his natural enemies.

The Earl of Malmesbury.



No. 300.-Mr. Hammond to Consul Plowden.

Foreign Office, July 30, 1859. WITH reference to my despatch of the 31st of May last, I am directed by Lord John Russell to inform you that the ornamental rifle intended as a present from Her Majesty's Government to the King of Abyssinia has been forwarded to you by way of Suez, but that Lord John Russell has, upon consideration, deemed it unadvisable to give directions for the transmission of the intended supply of gunpowder, as there appears to be considerable difficulty in insuring its transmission free from risk.

W. Plowden, Esq.

I am, &c.


No. 302.-Consul Plowden to the Earl of Malmesbury-(Received January 7, 1860.)


Begemder, September 20, 1859. I HAVE the honour to inform you that, owing to the rainy season and the circumstances of the war, I have had no communication with the King, nor have I ever known with any certainty where he might be. He now informs me that he has been engaged in destroying the Gallas in all directions, and that he has now returned in safety to a locality comparatively near.

The Gallas, however, still maintain a harassing war.

The troops of his adversary in Tigré, Dejajmatch Negoosee, I must now call him his rival, have pushed on to the neighbourhood of Gondar, and even further, and the war has become more envenomed and complicated.

It is impossible to say what an hour or a day may bring forth in these countries, but I see in these events only an additional reason for leaving the country until the struggle shall be decided, as until that I can be of no further practical use here.

The King appears now to be obstinately bent on exterminating the Gallas before proceeding to attack his rival in Tigré, and no one can foresee what time may elapse, or what events may occur, before the completion of this design.

Should anything important take place, changing these prospects before December, I shall immediately communicate it.

I was attacked, in March last, by a pestilence of a peculiar and formidable nature, that has desolated several provinces and still continues its ravages, and, in the absence of all medical advice, am but slowly recovering from its poisonous effects.

Should no political change occur here to detain me, I trust in December to be sufficiently strong to undertake my proposed journey. I have, &c.

The Earl of Malmesbury.


No. 304.-Lord J. Russell to Consul Plowden.

(Extract.) Foreign Office, January 18, 1860. I HAVE received your despatch of the 20th September last, dated from Begemder, respecting the operations of the King of Abyssinia against the hostile tribes by whom he is harassed, and in connection with this subject, I have to observe to you that Her Majesty's Government do not consider that any special advantage is derived from your repeated visits into the interior. You will therefore return to Massowah, which is your proper residence, and you will not leave it, unless under very exceptional circumstances, without orders or permission from the Secretary of State.

There are various matters to which your attention should be directed at Massowah.

The interests of that port are intimately connected with British interests in India, and, with judicious care and encouragement, it may become the outlet of a large trade between Abyssinia and Her Majesty's dominions.

W. Plowden, Esq.


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