Page images

No. 307.-Mr. Colquhoun to Lord J. Russell.-(Received May 11.)
Alexandria, May 2, 1860.

YOUR Lordship will peruse with regret the annexed letter, and its inclosure, which I last night received from Mr. Barroni, the Consular Agent at Massowah, informing me of the assassination of Mr. Plowden, Her Majesty's Consul in Abyssinia, when about to return to Gondar.

The letter from Mr. Bell, alluded to in Mr. Barroni's despatch, has not come forward from Jeddah. I shall instruct Mr. Barroni to request the Abyssinian authorities to place seals on all Mr. Plowden's effects, and shall suggest to him the propriety of his going himself up to Gondar to see to the preservation of the late Consul's correspondence and archives, and bring them down to Massowah to await the arrival of the person named by Her Majesty's Government to succeed him. I have, &c. Lord J. Russell.



(Inclosure 1.)—Mr. Barroni to Mr. Colquhoun.

Massowah, March 30, 1860.

I HAVE the painful task of reporting a melacholy event. Mr. Plowden, the Representative of England in Abyssinia, has been assassinated. On arriving close to the town of Gondar, and while crossing the River Kaha, he was suddenly attacked by 400 men, headed by Garred (a Chief under the orders of the rebel Dejaj Negoosie), and in the skirmish he received a mortal wound in his breast. Some particulars of this sad event are detailed in a copy of a letter herein inclosed, which was received on the 26th instant from Mr. Bell.

Please to inform Her Majesty's Government of this lamentable occurrence, and be kind enough to give me such instructions as you may think necessary for my guidance in the present emergency. I have, &c.

R. G. Colquhoun, Esq.


(Inclosure 2.)-Copy of a Letter from M. Maderakal, Mercha, and Pashia Mohammed to Mr. Barroni, dated Gondar, February [?] 18, and received March 26, 1860.


WE send you melancholy news. The Almighty always does according to His own will, and not ours. Your dear friend Mr. Plowden, your father and our father, was pierced with a lance by a brigand named Garred, near to Gondar, at the River Kaha, and after 9 days he is dead. The brigand took 1,000 dollars to

* Mr. Barroni, in a letter dated May 30, 1862, states that Consul Plowden died March 4 1860.

deliver him up, which was advanced by the town of Gonda. Without this money he was determined to take him with him into the mountains, where he was going. We have lent that sum, thinking he could live and enter his country. We buried him in the King's church at Gondar. It was a great burial, after the Abyssinian manner. Thirty of the clergy were present, besides all the population of Gondar. Pashia Mohammed, Mercha, and I, Maderakal, were with him when he was assassinated by Garred, who robbed us of our mules, money, and everything we had with us; and, moreover, we were severely bound together.

Dear Sir,-Now we have no time, but afterwards we will write you everything. Your most humble,

R. Barroni, Esq.




No. 308.-Earl Cowley to Lord J. Russell.-(Received May 30.) MY LORD, Paris, May 29, 1860.

WHILE I was with M. Thouvenel yesterday, the conversation turned on the death of Mr. Consul Plowden, concerning which M. Thouvenel had received details which may not be known to your Lordship. I requested his Excellency therefore to furnish me with a copy of the report which he had received, and he has most obligingly done so. I have the honour to inclose a copy herewith for your Lordship's information.

Lord J. Russell.

I have, &c.

(Inclosure.)-M. Rousseau to M. Thouvenel.


M. LE MINISTRE, Djeddah, le 7 Avril, 1860. Je crois devoir porter à la connaissance de votre Excellence la nouvelle suivante, qui m'est parvenue d'Abyssinie par le navire le Yemen, et qui m'a été confirmé par M. le Comte de Russel, qui l'a apprise à Massowah au moment de son départ.

Mr. Plowden, Consul d'Angleterre à Massowah, mais qui résidait depuis plusieurs années dans l'intérieur de l'Abyssinie auprès du Roi Théodorus, dont il était l'ami et le conseiller intime, est mort à la suite d'une blessure qu'il a reçue en combattant dans les circonstances suivantes. Mr. Plowden se rendant de Gondar au camp du Roi Théodorus, établi dans le Volkaïte, vers la fin de Février ou dans les premiers jours de Mars dernier, aurait été arrêté en route à une ou deux heures de distance seulement de Gondar par un Chef nommé Garède, neveu de Théodorus, passé au service de Négoussie. Une ancienne querelle dont Garède et Mr. Plowden avaient conservé le souvenir haineur et vindicatif, aurait été, dit-on, la cause principale de ce malheureux évènement.

Mis en présence de Mr. Plowden par une circonstance fortuite, Garède lui réclama impérieusement un tribut pour son passage sur ce qu'il prétendait être ses terres. Mr. Plowden s'y serait refusé; une rixe s'en serait immédiatement suivie entre ses gens et les agresseurs-rixe dans laquelle Mr. Plowden, après avoir tiré un coup de pistolet sur son adversaire sans l'atteindre, aurait reçu de lui un coup de lance qui le frappa au-dessus du sein gauche. Blessé grièvement, Mr. Plowden fut saisi et conduit aussitôt à Gondar, où une rançon de 1,000 thalaris fut payée à Garède par les membres de la petite colonie Européenne. Gondar étant une ville entièrement soumise au Roi Théodorus, il y a lieu d'être surpris que les autorités qui y commandaient pour lui ne soient point intervenues aussitôt pour s'opposer au paiement de cette rançon, et au besoin pour faire arrêter Garède, qui y avait accompagné son prisonnier.

Toujours est-il que celui-ci ayant reçu les 1000 thalaris pût quitter la ville sans être inquiété, et se retirer sur son territoire.

Quelques jours après cet évènement, Mr. Plowden succombait à Gondar aux suites de sa blessure, qui, dit-on, n'aurait point été mortelle si elle avait été soignée aussitôt avec intelligence.

Veuillez, &c.

M. Thouvenel.


Alexandria, May 29, 1860.

No. 309.-Mr. Colquhoun to Lord J. Russell.—(Received June 6.) (Extract.) A LETTER I have just received from Aden, confirms the intelligence of Mr. Plowden's murder. Captain Playfair details the sad affair much as I had received it. He adds that Mr. Plowden's remains were interred with every honour in the Royal Church at Gondar, and the King is reported to have announced his intention to take signal vengeance for the loss of his friend. Mr. Barroni writes to Aden in great tribulation, that his very means of subsistence are cut off by Mr. Plowden's death; and as it would be a source of great embarrassment to be without an Agent at Massowah, at present, Captain Playfair has authorized Mr. Barroni to draw on him for 100 rupees a month; he has also sent a vessel of war to secure the late Consul's effects and papers if any such are forthcoming, and to obtain any further information that may have reached the coast.

I would venture respectfully to suggest that no time should be lost in replacing Mr. Plowden, and that we should also have an efficient Agent, whether Consul or Vice-Consul, at Massowah ;under such, Mr. Barroni would do well as a subordinate. I hear a very good character of him.

Lord J. Russell.


No. 310.-Mr. Baring to Mr. Hammond.-(Received June 8.) SIR, India Office, June 8, 1960. IN forwarding the inclosed copy of a letter from Captain Playfair, Assistant Political Resident at Aden, I am directed by Sir Charles Wood to observe that he thinks it probable that Lord John Russell is already in possession of the information which it contains. As, however, the arrangements to be effected in consequence of the death of Mr. Plowden must be determined by the Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Sir Charles Wood desires, before he replies to Captain Playfair's letter, to know whether the proceedings of that officer are approved by Lord John Russell.

E. Hammond, Esq.


I am, &c.


(Inclosure.)-Captain Playfair to Sir C. Wood.

Aden, May 12, 1860.

I HAVE this moment received despatches from Massowah, containing the melancholy intelligence of the murder of Mr. Walter Plowden, Her Majesty's Consul in Abyssinia.

From a letter addressed by Mr. Bell to Mr. Barroni in Massowah, dated 12th March last, and from other letters to the same gentleman, the following appear to be the particulars of this calamitous


Mr. Plowden was about to enter the town of Gondar, en route to Massowah, when on crossing the River Kaka, he was suddenly set upon by 400 rebels, under the command of Dejaj Garred (a chief attached to a party of Dejaj Negoosie), and received a mortal wound, from a spear, in his chest. In this condition he was taken prisoner, and, on the rebel chief intimating his intention to carry him off to the mountains, Mr. Plowden was compelled to pay a ransom of 1,000 dollars, besides his arms and effects.

He appears to have been taken by his friends to Gondar, which journey occupied 6 days, and in 3 days after his arrival there he died. He was buried according to the rites of the Abyssinian creed, in the church of Gemja Beyt, with all the honours with which the Abyssinian ecclesiastics could invest his funeral.

There appears reason to suppose that the assassination of Mr. Plowden was instigated by the rebel Dejaj Negoosie. The Emperor Theodore is much affected, and has announced his determination to exact signal vengeance for his friend's death.

I shall take steps to secure as much as possible of Mr. Plowden's effects and papers.

I would take this opportunity to solicit the earnest attention of Her Majesty's Government to the state of our relations with Abyssinia. At Massowah, Mr. Barroni has for many years acted as

Agent for Mr. Plowden, by whom he was paid, and he has been of great service in keeping this Residency well informed of all that transpires there; but now he has neither official position nor means of subsistence, and I would strongly advise that he be immediately appointed Consular Agent at Massowah, with a small salary, pending any permanent arrangement which Her Majesty's Government may be pleased to make. In order to secure his services for the present, I will accept the responsibility of informing him that I have made this recommendation, and I will authorize him to draw upon me for the sum of 100 rupees per mensem, on the understanding that it is to be considered rather in the light of a gratuity than of a regular salary, and subject to immediate discontinuance, in the event of my proceedings not being approved. Sir C. Wood.



No. 311.-Mr. Murray to Mr. Baring.

Foreign Office, June 15, 1860. I HAVE laid before Lord John Russell your letter to Mr. Hammond of the 8th instant, inclosing a copy of a despatch from Captain Playfair, Assistant Political Resident at Aden, reporting the death of Mr. Plowden, Her Majesty's Consul in Abyssinia, and stating that he had authorized Mr. Barroni to take charge (ad interim) of the business of the Consulship, and had assigned to him as Acting Consul an allowance of 100 rupees a month; and I am directed by his Lordship to request that you will inform Secretary Sir Charles Wood, that Lord John Russell approves the arrangement thus made by Captain Playfair for the temporary care of the British Consulate until the permanent arrangement consequent on Mr. Plowden's death shall have been settled. Of this, Sir Charles Wood shall be informed as soon as possible.

T. F. Baring, Esq.

I am,


No. 312.-Mr. Colquhoun to Lord J. Russell.—(Received August 3.)
Alexandria, July 17, 1860.

I HAVE only this week received a letter, now of old date, containing particulars of Mr. Plowden's death, and I have the honour to enclose a literal copy of it.

Lord J. Russell.


I have, &c.


(Inclosure.)—Mr. Schimper to Mr Barroni.

Adowah, le 19 Mars, 1860.

Il m'est extrémement douloureux de transmettre une nouvelle qui vous affligera aussi profondement que moi.

Mr. Plowden a trouvé sa mort par un des Chefs liés à Dejaj [1861-62. LII.] 3 L

« PreviousContinue »