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in many capacities in different parts of the world, though chiefly as a seaman, and whose eccentric biography is in itself as curious and as diversified a chapter of accidents as the records of human life can furnish. Mr. Salt having been unable, in consequence of civil dissensions which then prevailed, to visit different parts of Abyssinia, and especially its capital, Gondar, with which he was desirous of becoming acquainted, found no difficulty in persuading Pearce to remain behind him in the country, for the purpose of collecting information concerning the manners of the people, the nature of the climate, the productions of the soil, manufactures, and other topics of importance, in a commercial point of view. Pearce cheerfully executed this commission, and, in 1810, he furnished Mr. Salt with the matter which has been already laid before the world by that estimable traveller in his account of his second visit to Abyssinia. Pearce was then enjoined by his friend, for such Mr. Salt proved himself at all times to be, to make exact notes of events, and of his adventures, as long as he should continue to reside in the country-an injunction with which he faithfully complied during a period of nine years, at the expiration of which he effected what may be called his escape, and repaired to Cairo, where he framed his journal in the form in which it now appears. He died, from the effects of a cold, at Alexandria, in 1820, upon his way to England, and bequeathed his papers to Mr. Salt, who in turn bequeathed them, with the utmost propriety, to the Earl of Mountmorris. From that respectable nobleman they were received by the present editor, and they are now placed under the public eye, without material alteration. The narrative of Mr. Coffin, a mercantile gentleman of remarkable intelligence, who was much in Pearce's company in Abyssinia, appears to have been communicated by himself to Pearce, so that with respect to both journals we have the most satisfactory proofs of authenticity.
But before we introduce the reader to Pearce's share of these volumes, we must give a brief sketch of the author, from a sort of confession, which he prefixed to them, in compliance with Mr. Salt's request. We should suppose that the most romantic imagination would hardly dare to embody, even if it could invent, a series of adventures half so numerous and extravagant as those, by which the youthful part of his career was especially distinguished. Born of parents in ihe under ranks of life, at East Acton, in Middlesex, on the 14th of February, 1779, he was sent at an early age to one of those economical and very unimproving schools which then abounded, and still are to be met with, in Yorkshire. After spending there six years, which he tells us were principally devoted to robbing birds'nests and orchards, and to all sorts of wild tricks, he returned home a confirmed dunce, much to the chagrin of this father, who loved him with the most unbounded affection. An attempt was made to repair the time he had lost in Yorkshire, by placing him at an academy
nearer home, where he made greater progress in the course of six months than he made in the north in six years ; but being naturally of a restless and truant disposition, he soon resumed his habits of idleness and mischief, and the severest punishment producing no effect upon him, he was bound apprentice to a stubborn and unmerciful carpenter' in London. This was a situation not at all congenial to young Pearce's notions ; so he ran off to Wapping, and went on board a merchant ship, the owner of which received him as an apprentice, after some inquiries, to which the fugitive gave satisfactory answers, (having already become a master in the art of lying.) His father, who discovered his place of refuge, did every thing in his power to prevent the lad from going to sea, but it was all in vain, and away he sailed on a voyage to Petersburgh. Upon his return to the river, his affectionate parent again exerted himself to wean his son from the dangerous element, promising to do everything in his power for him if only he would be dutiful. So much tenderness kept him quiet only for three weeks, when, beginning his old tricks again, he was, by the advice of friends, apprenticed to a leatherseller in Smithfield. His new master and he agreed very well for some time, but taking an unconquerable dislike to the leatherseller's wife, he was off once more to sea, on board a sloop of war, where he was again discovered by his ever affectionate father, but permitted to remain, there being no alternative, without further molestation. An accident now nearly put a premature end to his career ; after a cruize or two in the North sea, his sloop was ordered to Sheerness, to fit out and take in provisions for six months; while engaged one evening in disengaging the main yard from the topping lift of a provision lighter, which got entangled with it, he was violently precipitated into the water, and the night being already pitch dark, he was with difficulty picked up by one of the jolly boats. The sloop, on her way to Newfoundland, was captured (May 1794) by a French frigate, and our hero soon after found himself a prisoner of war at Quimper. From this horrid abode, the inmates of which died weekly in hundreds, from hunger and disease, he endeavoured to effect his escape, and succeeded so far as to scale the walls, and to journey some days towards the sea. But being apprehended on his route, he was ordered into the interior. Luckily, the daughter of the gaoler at Vannes, a very young girl, gave him her heart, and obtained for him many indulgences, and in a little time he became a kind of clerk to her father, who treated him more like a son than a prisoner, and gave him a pony to ride. However,' he says, ' all this did not satisfy me: I rather wished to ride on board of one of my own country ships, than the director's pony, and accordingly, hearing that the English fleet was in Quiberon bay, I agreed with some emigrants, or aristocrats, as they were called, to run away.' And away he scampered with so little precaution, that he was soon retaken, and his emigrant companions shot; but this did not deter
him from making another experiment, which turned out more fortunate, and placed him under the protection of Sir John War: ren, on board La Pomone, whence he was transferred to the Bel. lerophon.
The scene now changes to China, where we find him, after numerous desertions from other employments, negotiating with a caravan of Armenian merchants to take him as their servant to Russia; this failiny, he tried his hand as a traitor, by going over to the enemy in India, but on his way to the camp he received such bad accounts of the manner in which those of his countrymen had been dealt with, by whose ignominious example he had been seduced, that he repented, and returned to his country's service. We next trace him to Bombay, Madras, and the Cape of Good Hope, near which he suffered shipwreck, and had a miraculous escape. Soon after this we find him cruizing in the river Plate, and the American seas, whence, like a bird of passage, he seems to have flown back again to Bombay. Here he at length fixed his destiny, having joined the Antelope, which was prepared to convey Lord Valentia to the Red Sea. 'But the truant disposition again broke forth. Upon the arrival of the Antelope at Mocha, Pearce learned that the dola, or governor of that place was a Mahometan Captain Gordon, anxious for converts at any price, and having made his terms, he swam away from the ship when she was taking her departure, regained the shore, and assumed the garb of the infidel. In a little time, however, he grew heartily tired of his new religion, and easily yielded to the advice of Mr. Coffin, who met him in the streets, and assisted in extricating him from his miserable situation. He then rejoined Lord Valentia, who was still employed upon his mission, and who received the adventurer with a generous humanity that reflects the greatest credit upon his lordship's character. Mr. Salt, as we have already seen, took a personal interest in Pearce's welfare, and treated him with a degree of kindness, which that wayward child of fortune, amidst all his subsequent wanderings and errors, appears never to have forgotten.
We regret to say, that a very great portion of Pearce's journal is calculated to afford but little either of instruction or amusement to the general reader. It is filled with details of civil contests between rival chieftains, and with petty affairs concerning himself, which, related in the dull style of an unlettered man, who was incapable of converting such incidents into the materials of a graphic picture, soon fill the mind with a sensation of invincible fatigue. Upon all that portion of the Journal we shall, therefore, touch with the utmost possible brevity, confining ourselves principally to the descriptions which the author has given of some of the most peculiar usages of the country that had fallen under his observation. When Mr. Salt left him, in 1810, his residence was fixed at Chelicut, in the district or kingdom of Tigre, the most important portion of Abyssinia, under the protection of the Ras, by which title
the governors are usually designated in that country. Although these officers are supposed to exercise a power delegated from their respective kings, they assume an independent and lawless authority, the tegal functions having either ceased altogether, or having been reduced to a mere shadow, in most of the provinces. These governors were almost constantly at war with each other; one asserting the other to be a rebel, a charge which the other retorted by calling his enemy an usurper. Mr. Coffin was, at this time, with Pearce, and they both ranked high in the estimation of the Ras of Tigre, on account of their skill in the use of fire-arms, and especially of two or three cannon, which the Ras had received from Mr. Salt. The most troublesome enemies with whom the Ras had to contend, and with whom he was now engaged in actual hostilities, were Guebra Guro and his brothers, who joined their forces to those of another set of insurgent chiefs, for the purpose of taking possession of Tigre. These he dispersed without much difficulty, but he could not be said to have conquered them, as either they or their associates kept him perpetually, as we should say, in hot water. Pearce and Coffin were active partizans of his on all occasions, and whenever they wanted anything, they generally succeeded in obtaining it by threatening to quit the country. • You cannot go,' he would say to them,
at present; 'the two guns your king sent make all my enemies Fear me, both upon the plains and upon the Ambas; and if I were to let you go, who would know how to use them ?' This Ras, of the name of Welled Selasse, is represented by Pearce as the most mérciful governor ever known in Abyssinia, never keeping even the greatest of his enemies long in confinement, and never putting them to death except for murder; whereas his predecessors made po ceremony of cutting off the limbs of those who fell under their displeasure, or even of burning them alive for the slightest offences. The Ras was, moreover, a friend to the poor, doing them justice when wronged by the rich, but not, as it would seem, otherwise useful to them, as though a man of the tenderest feelings, he is,' says Pearce, 'the greatest miser, I believe, that ever existed.'
What was spared of the population by these constant civil wars, was, towards the close of 1811, much further reduced by the smallpox, which raged with all the severity of a plague, throughout the whole country. In many towns and villages the people lost all their children, and numbers of adults perished, who had not had the 'disease before. The malady was greatly aggravated by the absurd custom which the Abyssinians have of confining, as closely as possible, the persons who are attacked by it, under the impression that fresh air and sunshine do them harm. When in health they are remarkably cleanly in their persons; but when attacked with the small-pox they neither wash themselves nor change their clothes. Hardly any district of the empire escaped this visitation, which, added to the depredations of the locust, left the country generally in a state of complete desolation. In February, 1812,
VOL. II. (1831.) NO. I.
the disease still continued its ravages, and numbered among its victims the brother of the then reigning king, in Gondar, and his sister, the favourite wife of Welled Selasse. Pearce, on this occasion, mentions one or two circumstances characteristic of the national customs.
• February 18th, (1812), Ito Yasous died of this malady, and his sister, Ozoro Mantwaub on the 16th ; they were brother and sister to the present king, Itsa Guarlu, now in Gondar, who is lineally descended from the late king, Itsa Ischias, who was dethroned by Guxo. Ito Yasous was an intimate acquaintance of Mr. Salt's. The Ozoro's death grieved every one who knew her, as she was one of the most charitable persons in Abyssinia, and was the favourite wife of the Ras, who sat close by her when she died. As she breathed her last, he drew his shuttle, or knife, to stab himself, but I caught hold of his arm and took it away, and with the help of some slaves prevented him from committing so dreadful an act. afterwards for some time senseless on the ground, but, at last, when water was thrown upon him, he came to himself, though, for some days, he appeared quite inconsolable, and ate nothing, saying continually,—“ Is God angry with me?" A great many of his relations died at the same time, and throughout the country nothing was heard but lamentations for their loss.
Ozoro Mantwaub and Ito Yasous were buried at Chelicut, and a house was built over their graves. The grave was first dug, and then a large coffin or trough, made out of the trunk of a large darro-tree, formerly serving as doors to the Ras's house, was placed in it. I myself carried Ozoro Mantwaub in my arms, from the church to the grave; she was sewed up in a fine white Indian cloth, and over that was tied the skin upon which she died ; they call it a neet, and it is formed either of a cow's or a goat's hide. The whole of the people, from the king to the town-cast, sleep with their bodies bare upon it, though they have a carpet beneath. Nobody, except her priest, myself
, her women servants, and the eunuchs who used to attend upon her, and of whom she had a great number, was. allowed to see her; but the Ras, from the confidence he reposed in me, always allowed me to eat with him and the Ozoro, telling her, at the same time, I was welcome to visit her at her own meals, and, if I did not come, she might, if she thought proper, send for me. This was certainly a great mark of distinction, as his dearest friend or relation was not allowed such a liberty.'—vol. i. pp. 97-99.
The old Ras, however, for he was now nearly seventy years, did not long mourn the loss of his favourite wife ; he soon married a young princess of the age of thirteen years, the daughter of King Itsa Tecla Gorgis, and for a season exchanged the toils of war for such diversions as the country afforded. Tecla Gorgis was at this period king in Waldubba ; Itsa Guarlu, as we have seen, in the city of Gondar; Itsa Yonas in Gojam; and Itsa Bede Mariam in Samen. Pearce mentions one or two other princes, but his information with respect to these kings is confused and contradictory. Indeed the kings of Abyssinia, who are all related to each other, and boast of being all descended from the true race of