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Captain Grover has arrived at St. Petersburg, furnished with letters from Lord Aberdeen to the British ambassador there, as well as to Count Woronzof, requesting their good offices in his behalf with the emperor. And what is the favour that he has gone to solicit? Is it for a free passage through his imperial majesty's dominions to go in search of Dr. Wolff and add a fresh flower to the bloody wreath which already encircles the brows of NasrUllah Khan? Nothing of all this. The object of Captain Grover's mission to St. Petersburg is humbly to entreat the Emperor Nicholas that he will, out of mere grace and favour, undertake the deliverance of a British subject from captivity! We cannot otherwise than wish him success. Dr. Wolff has given too many proofs of his noble and generous self-devotion in the cause of one whom he regarded as his dear friend: for Captain Conolly, be it remembered, met Dr. Wolff in extreme poverty and distress when he had escaped penniless from captivity, and enacted the good Samaritan towards him, taking him in and clothing him and feeding him, and in all respects behaving towards him like a Christian and a brother. And Dr. Wolff has since shown that he deserved this treatment. The flame of gratitude kindled in his heart, burned on for years until the time came when the man who had behaved kindly towards him was himself in affliction. Then the missionary came forward and remembering who it was that said, 'Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you,' quitted his home, his wife, and his only child, and cast fearlessly his bread upon the waters, confident that he should find it after many days. And to rescue such a man from thraldom, Great Britain is compelled to have recourse to the Emperor of Russia! Compelled, did we say? The necessity is of her own creating: she suffered the men who zealously guarded her power to be driven from office, and replaced by individuals ignorant of her best interests, and incapable, if it were otherwise, of properly promoting them. We are weak, because we are factious, because statesmen are sent into retirement to make way for quacks. When Lord Palmerston was in Downing Street, British subjects were never constrained to crave the protection of Russia. But such is our condition at present, that we shall feel but too happy if his imperial majesty will deign to send an envoy to Bokhara for the purpose of demonstrating to the world how completely his policy has triumphed over Tory ridden England.

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Travels in Southern Abyssinia, through the country of Adal to the kingdom of Shoa. By CHARLES JOHNSTON, M. R. C. S. 2 Vols. Madden and Co. 1844.

Ir is by all means desirable that every traveller whose lot it has been to visit regions remote and little known, should, to the best of his abilities, impart to his countrymen the knowledge he may have so acquired; but it is not in every instance desirable that he should fill two octavo volumes with the tale of his doings and his reflections. Had Mr. Johnston properly applied this axiom to his own case, it would have been better for himself and for the public. The British mission had already arrived in the capital of Shoa, when he set out to join it as a volunteer, traversing the same route which has been so fully described by Sir Cornwallis Harris, Messrs. Krapf and Isenberg, &c.; and Angolahlah was the most eastern point he reached. Thus his opportunities for geographical discovery were extremely limited; nor do the qualifications, natural or acquired, which he took with him into the field of African inquiry, appear to have been in any respect of a high order. He may possibly possess fair talents, sound judgment, good temper, and discretion; but his book, we are sorry to say, gives little evidence of these endowments. Of general information, and of science not strictly connected with his profession, he has but a scanty stock; his knowledge of Amharic, and even of Arabic, is confined to a very few words; and, indeed, seeing how grossly imperfect is his acquaintance with his mother tongue, it may very reasonably be inferred that he is, to all practical intents and purposes, ignorant of every other language, living or dead.

Yet notwithstanding all these deficiencies on Mr. Johnston's part, nothing but his unfortunate vanity and his wish to gratify a private pique, has prevented him from producing an agreeable and instructive book, and one that would have commanded extensive and lasting popularity. There are in his two octavos materials, which if sifted out from the surrounding rubbish, and put into decent English, would be sufficient to furnish forth a very acceptable duodecimo. He visited a region which, as regards its physical features, is among the most singular on the face of the globe, and he was thrown for many months into close and hourly contact with tribes, respecting whom curiosity, recently awakened from a long repose, is fresh, strong, and eager. His personal narrative, therefore, or that of any European of ordinary intelligence who had enjoyed similar opportunities, could not but contain much to interest and instruct the reader; and we freely acknowledge that we have found so much to

commend (style and grammar excepted) in these ill-starred volumes, as to make it matter of deep regret to us, that their author did not commit the publication of his manuscript to some editor more judicious and more competent than himself. He is not without a certain quickness of observation, and he has some share of the elements that constitute a good storyteller: accordingly, so long as he confines himself to the narration of what he has seen, we go along with him tolerably well. But-optat ephippia bos piger;' he is not content to earn praise in this humble way; he must be the Humboldt of Abyssinian travel; he must descant and dissert, and dive into archæology, and soar into theology, and talk moonshine about philology and ethnology, and cleave mountains five or six thousand feet high in twain with a touch of his goose-quill, and twist the course of rivers half round the compass, making those that flow into the Indian ocean send their waters to the Mediterranean, and vice versâ. It would be a weary and unprofitable task to expose his vagaries in geography. Take the following as a specimen of the erudition he is so fond of affecting.

"The Abyssinian word for thread, 'fatalah,' has something in its sound that recalls the idea of the three spinners typical of man's destiny. If, as is probable, the mythological representation of the Greeks be of Egyptian origin, then the word 'fatalah' may have some connexion with our word fate."

From this we learn, to our great surprise, that our English word 'fate' is derived from the Greek, and not, as we have hitherto supposed, from the Latin. Yet, among all the Greek synonymes for the word, such as aisa, moira, ker, &c. (we will not be so unkind to Mr. Johnston as to use the crabbed old heathen letters), we know not one that has the least resemblance in sound to fatum, or fate.

But probably what our author most values himself upon is, that he is a man with a grievance. He would have us to understand that our ambassador at the Shoan court used him vilely. This is very sad if true; and the British public, always prompt to sympathise with the injured, is unfairly treated when so grave a charge is preferred before its bar, without a tittle of evidence, without the least clue to guide its judgment as to the merits of the case. The rabid, yet timorous animosity that pervades the pages of this writer, argues a foregone conclusion: somebody has surely been guilty of gross misconduct;-but who? Here the accuser leaves us wholly in the dark. He is liberal of invective and insinuation; but when we expect him to produce his facts, he wraps his dark saying in a parable." "Some respect, however," (these are his words), "I do owe to myself, and feeling annoyed at being the subject of unworthy imputations, I have abstained from making any explanation whatever." He has singular notions of self-respect.


The cause of this mysterious quarrel, he tells us, occurred the very day he joined the British mission at Angolahlah. We have a melancholy satisfaction in learning from him that he spent a very pleasant evening' under the ambassador's tent, and made himself exceedingly comfortable with the luxuries and conveniences so abundantly supplied to the embassy by the indulgent care of a liberal government.' But

Johnston's Travels in South Abyssinia.


alas for the perils that lurk for the too ingenuous in these moments of social effusion! Hear the sequel.


"Unfortunately, amidst all his kindness, Captain Harris considered it to be his duty to take notes of my conversation without my being aware in the least degree of such a step, or being conscious of the least necessity for his doing so. On my becoming aware of this circumstance a few weeks after, by the distortion of a most innocent remark of mine, which was imputed to me in a sense that I never dreamt of employing it, I retorted in a manner that led to further proceedings; and from that time all intercourse between the members of the embassy and myself ceased for some months."

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It is a pity that his transcendental theory of self-respect forbids him to explain the nature of his most innocent remark,'-some playful proposal belike, some humorous project for astonishing the natives. Did he offer to set the Hawash on fire, or to turn the course of the Blue Nile, and cut off Mohammed Ali's water, or to kidnap Sahela Selassie, or to pick a quarrel with any body or every body at Tadjura or elsewhere, and so to effect the purposes of the embassy by the quick diplomacy of muskets, swords, and pistols? Who knows? We are left without chart or compass upon a boundless sea of conjecture.

Nevertheless we are led by the internal evidence of Mr. Johnston's book to surmise that his presence in Shoa was far from desirable, at a time when a British embassy was patiently and earnestly labouring to establish there important relations, which it needed the nicest discretion to bring to maturity. A man who even in a wanton joke could for a moment wilfully sink the British character in the eyes of bloodthirsty and treacherous barbarians, to their own detested level, must have been a most dangerous person to place in irresponsible connexion with our embassy at the court of Sahela Selassie. Whether or not Mr. Johnston could do this let his own words testify. First hear what he says of the Dankalli :

"I am bound to add my testimony to that of every other traveller to the proneness of the Dankalli to shed human blood, and the little value they seem to attach to human life. By a distortion of moral and natural ideas of right and wrong, unparalleled in the history of any other people, murder is considered by them to be highly honourable. Every fresh assassination is rewarded by an additional personal ornament, and the destruction of a sleeping guest or of a fighting foe, contribute alike to the credit and reputation of the brave." No right-minded man could mistake for a moment the line of conduct it became him to pursue, with jealous, undeviating precision, in the midst of beings whose moral sense was thus awfully corrupted. Shame on the Englishman who could tamper in such circumstances with his sacred duty, dally with foul, treacherous, cowardly bloodshed, and for the sake of a stupid jest confirm the darkened mind of the savage in the error of its ways! Who can read the following unblushing confession without scorn and indignation?

"On leaving the line of march with Ohmed Medina to examine the stream more closely, we found in its dry bed, very soundly sleeping, a man wrapt up in his tobe, his shield being secured by it over his stomach and bowels. Instinct, or something like it, had taught me the very same method of partially VOL. XXXIV. NO. LXVII.


securing myself from assassination whenever I expected foul play, or have had reason to suspect those, whom I well knew would have been glad of an opportunity to take away my life, without danger to themselves from my firearms. Putting my hand to the heavy Adal knife I wore in my girdle, I turned to Ohmed Medina, to ask him if I should bury it in the heart of the unconscious sleeper. He, taking my proposal to be serious, instantly interposed with the common Arabic negative, ‘La! la !' but which, in the usual amusing manner of an Adal interpretation, he prolonged to five or six repetitions. This awoke the man, who certainly looked as if he thought he were about to be put to death, and scowled most desperately, as, in a moment, he put himself behind his shield, and raised his spear for the attack. Ohmed Medina calmed his apprehensions by a word or two, but he also took care to drop behind his shield as he spoke from the overhanging bank. The man, however, recovered his confidence, let fall his weapon to the ground, and stood upright, and in a very short time we were all three walking back to the Hy Soumaulee, some of whom came to meet us to inquire from whence our new friend had sprung. It seemed he belonged to the Wahama tribe, but from some cause or other was obliged to be very select in his lodgings, probably from having had a recent quarrel, which would have ensured his death, had he been discovered by his enemy asleep."-Vol. i., p. 385.

Mr. Johnston tries hard to make his readers believe that the embassy to Shoa was an utter failure, and that Major (now Sir W. Cornwallis) Harris, was dismissed in dudgeon by the monarch of Shoa. Both these statements are untrue. That Sahela Selassie to the last regarded the embassy with no unfriendly feelings, is proved by the fact that he made two of his own chiefs accompany it to Bombay, for the purpose of cultivating friendly relations with the British government. The treaty of commerce, which Major Harris was commissioned to negotiate, was obtained for us by his firm, temperate, and judicious exertions, in the teeth of manifold natural difficulties, which the presence of Mr. Johnston himself in Shoa did certainly not tend to diminish. This gentleman cannot rail the king's seal from off the bond: it was obtained in spite of his own mischievous medling; and it exists in full validity, though jealousy and sloth may combine to make the drones of Downing-street neglectful of the advantages it offers to British commerce. Meanwhile, we rejoice to say that, despite the Johnstons, Aberdeens, et hoc genus omne, the fruits of Sir Cornwallis Harris's masterly researches are not likely to be altogether lost for his country. Private enterprise is now vigorously and hopefully directed into the channels opened for it by his genius. The Foreign Office may sleep on; it will be wakened up by and by.

Mémoire Autographe de M. de Barentin, Chancelier et Garde des. Sceaux, sur les derniers conseils du roi Louis XVI., etc. etc. (An Autograph Memoir of M. de Barentin, Chancellor and Keeper of the Seals at the last Councils of Louis XVI., &c.) Par M. MAURICE CHAMPION. 1 vol. 8vo., pp. 324. Paris. 1844.

THIS Volume, which has been published at Paris within the last few days, is curious in two points of view. But unfortunately neither of

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