« PreviousContinue »
Be it known that the Holy See amongst the powers given to its apostolic delegate for the fulfilment of Article XVI of the Concordat, will also concede such as are required for the arrangement and application of the tithe revenues of the Republic, and determining the mode of rendering productive the capital appertaining to the charges on property which the Treasury will restore, and for reducing the responsibilities of chaplains, whose rights to such charges are in part conceded to the Government in virtue of the Concordat.
Agreeing on these points, the Undersigned, in the name of the Government of His Holiness, reciprocally approves and confirms them, and at the same time has the honour to reiterate to your Excellency the sentiments of his distinguished consideration. The Undersigned, &c.
(L.S.) J. CARD, ANTONELLI.
The Undersigned, Cardinal Secretary of State of His Holiness, in reply to your Excellency's note of to-day, after having received proper instructions from the Holy Father, and fully cognizant of the benefits that will accrue to the church from the Concordat recently concluded between His Holiness and the Republic of Equator, and with a view to secure the public tranquillity of that State, declares that those who by reason of past events have acquired from the Government, property appertaining to the Church, or have succeeded the purchasers in the possession thereof, will never be molested on that account, either by the reigning Supreme Pontiff, or his successors; that those persons can safely and peaceably enjoy the possession, rents, and other emoluments of the said property.
The Undersigned declares likewise, still having in view the utility of the aforesaid Concordat, that the holders of property subject to charges in favour of the Church, who may have paid the interest of the charges at two per cent., taking advantage of the authorization of the civil law, are freed from all responsibility, and can henceforth continue to pay legally the said two per cent. in money or effects. The Undersigned, &c.
(L.S.) J. CARD. ANTONELLI.
CORRESPONDENCE respecting Abyssinia.-1846-1860.
No. 1.-Mr. Plowden to Viscount Palmerston.-(Rec. December 2.)
HAVING spent nearly 4 years in the interior of Abyssinia, on my return I was pressed by the principal Chief in this part of the
country, Ras Ali, to undertake the conveyance of a few presents to Her Majesty, the fame of whose greatness had reached his ears. For some time I refused, conscious that I should be embarrassed for want of funds; when I reflected that Her Majesty's Government having already sent a Mission on an extensive scale to the King of Shoa, might not be indisposed to turn its attention to a portion of Ethiopia equally interesting and important, and more central. This determined me to accept the task, and, accompanied by an Envoy whom the Ras added for the sake of form, I reached Massowah in safety.
It is not for me to offer any suggestions, but should it be thought advisable to accept the presents and answer the letter of the Ras, or the contrary, I should feel grateful to your Lordship for communicating the same through Captain Haines at Aden with all dispatch.
Not to waste your Lordship's time, I shall merely a ld, as my duty, that if these presents are now refused, and I am consequently obliged to return them to their donor, it will be perhaps hereafter a source of regret, particularly as a large portion of the country is under the influence of the Chief Oobeay, who, having already quarrelled with a French Mission, and aware of the former friendship of the English with Sabagardis, is by no means favourably disposed towards Europeans generally; and should the advances of the Ras be now rejected, the access to this magnificent and almost unknown region will probably be rendered difficult for years, if not closed to the man of science or the zealous missionary.
Your Lordship will be pleased to excuse the informal nature of the document in consideration of the circumstances.
Coming from the quarter they do, I need hardly state that the presents are of no pecuniary value..
Viscount Palmerston, G.C.B.
No. 1 B-Memorandum delivered by Mr. Plowden to Viscount Palmerston, August 13, 1847.
It is not to be supposed that the Ras, in sending these presents to Her Britannic Majesty, could have in view any more definite result than a certain interchange of courtesy, and the consequent facilities and protection that would be afforded by him to English travellers. The feudal military system of government in Abyssinia, rendering their ideas of the value of commerce both limited and careless, and though sufficiently acute to understand the nature of Treaties, it would be difficult to induce them to see the necessity of adhering to them when they should appear to militate against their interests in the slightest degree.
Seeing, however, that as a nation they are intelligent, and that
the Ras, individually (the most powerful of their Chiefs) is of a reflective and humane disposition, and always amenable to reason from those he may consider his friends, it is possible that the acceptance of this civility from him, with a corresponding reply from Her Majesty, may lead to results which, though he could neither suggest nor forsee, he may be induced to appreciate.
In shortly regarding the value of a commercial relation with his country to be based not on Treaties, but on the stronger tie of mutual interests, I would particularly mention two points:-1st. That on the only route at present conducting with ease to his territory, viz., by the port of Massowah, there is no water carriage for commodities; yet the overland trade, consisting of valuable articles, such as gold, ivory, musk, coffee, gum, &c., might, if properly encou raged in the interior and on the sea-coast, absorb a considerable amount of our manufactures. 2ndly. That there already exists, under the great checks that this commerce labours under, a demand for those manufactures.
For the interior, were the Ras convinced of the benefit that would accrue to his revenues by a proper consideration of his mercantile community (who are both enterprising and talented) a better regulation of his system of imposts, aided by our co-operation and protection on the coast would quadruple the existing trade within a very short period.
On the friendly intercourse that would thus be established, a vast improvement in the social and political position of Abyssinia would immediately ensue, simply by the instruction they would receive in those arts which should enable them to employ the resources and productions of their own noble and neglected country, and the new wants and luxuries introduced amongst them would speedily incite a spirit to and a necessity for labour, that would divert their attention from that lust of war and ambition, sprung from idleness, that now devastates the land; and call into existence a class of labourers and artificers that would counterbalance the military, and force their Chiefs into a system of government better adapted for the security of their new pursuits. As acquainted intimately with the character of the Abyssinians, I would venture to remark that, in replying to the Ras, the more stress that is laid on our superiority in arts and science, and the less that is said of our powers in war, the better; as, though he might have the sense to see that we should never wish to avail ourselves of our strength, yet the great body of his councillors have the undefined jealousy on that point of most savage nations, which renders them irritable, and might defeat in a moment, or retard, our views.
With the military strength that the Abyssinians possess, the small belt of nomadic tribes that separates the Christian country
from the coast would be no obstacle to the freest commercial inter
It would not, perhaps, be irrelevant to remark that, being personally known to all the chief merchants of that country, they particularly requested me to point out their value for, and their wish as far as possible to place themselves under, British protection.
The feeling both of the Chiefs and the merchants at present, or at least lately, was strongly, in favour of the English nation, as there exists a pretty general knowledge amongst them that France and Great Britain are the two preponderating influences. Whether a French Mission that has been lately sent to the Chief of Tigré, being I think the fourth in that quarter, may succeed in changing this idea, I know not. On hearing of it, I communicated with that Chief through an old English resident, Mr. Coffin, reminding him of the ancient friendship of his family with our nation, and requesting him not to commit himself until he heard further from me.
Should Her Majesty's Government require me to enter more into detail on the various topics connected with that part of Africa, I shall feel proud of the prospect of making myself useful; and trust, in the meantime, that these cursory remarks may not be considered unwarranted.
Viscount Palmerston, G.C B.
No. 3.-Memorandum on Trade of Abyssinia.
THE trade of Abyssinia, and of all the adjacent countries occupied by the Gallas, that is, from 15° north latitude to the Equator, and from the course of the White Nile to the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean, now flows in four directions. The most inland route is along the course of the White Nile to Khartoom, principally a slave traffic, and is joined at that place by a branch from Gondar, the capital of Christian Abyssinia. Another from the interior, south-easterly, to Mellinda, on the east coast. Another running east to Zeyla or Tajoura, through the Christian country of Shoa: and, a fourth, north-easterly to the Red Sea, to the ports of Massowah and Souakim.
The consideration of the first branch is unnecessary at present. The traffic of the other 3, besides slaves, consists almost entirely of goods the produce of the Galla provinces of Enarea, Kaffa, Djimma, Gooraguay, Jingero, &c., between the latitudes of 3° and 8° north. Their several advantages, as affording facility of access to those provinces, are as follows:-The route from Mellinda or its neighbourhood is the only one on which a communication by water, even to a certain distance, can be looked for on the Rivers Joob or Gojeb, but, from the nature of the country generally, I am inclined to think that this would be stopped by the mountain range, not far
inland, and before reaching those productive tracts I have mentioned: also the numerous barbarous tribes that inhabit the banks of these rivers would at first render the journey dangerous and slow, it would, however, be exceedingly advisable that every encouragement should be given to the thorough examination of these rivers. The route by Zeyla presents the advantage of passing in one district through the Kingdom of Shoa, a Christian nation acknowledging one Sovereign; on the other hand, his dominions are divided from the sea by an extensive and dangerous tract of country afflicted with severe drought during a great portion of the year. On the fourth route, the branch to Souakim labours under a similar disadvantage, and is also farther from the central point than the one to Massowah, which is comparatively free from these difficulties.
The caravans from the interior on crossing the Blue Nile at Basso, about 120 miles to the northward of the great emporium of Enarea, traverse a Christian country from thence to Dixa, an easy journey of 3 days from Massowah. Of this latter, even in the dry season, there is only a space of 30 or 40 miles unprovided with water, and this, from their ignorance of well-making or other precautions; and the tribes inhabiting this belt between the sea and the high plateau or table-land commencing at Dixa, are a tolerably well-disposed though ignorant nomadic race, nominally under the jurisdiction of the Naïb of Arkeeko.
The heat of this part of the coast is great during the summer months, but not unhealthy. The traffic is entirely carried on by means of beasts of burthen, which are numerous and cheap in all parts of the interior-horses, mules, and donkeys: these are left on the hills and the packages transferred to camels when about 60 miles from the coast.
Caravans arrive at and quit Massowah at all seasons of the year, but are most numerous about August and February.
The mussulmans alone of Abyssinia export slaves. The goods that are brought from the interior are gold, of a not very fine quality, ivory, coffee equal to that of Yemen, musk or zibad, wax, some kinds of spices. Though gum abounds everywhere, even near the coast, the trade in that article has hitherto been comparatively trifling. From the cheapness of cattle a valuable trade in hides. might be formed; much of the uncultivated land would be favourable to the production of indigo; and cotton might be grown in the neighbourhood of Massowah. Hippopotamus teeth are available in quantities were there a demand; saltpetre and sulphur are found abundantly, the latter particularly in a mountain about two days' journey from the coast. The export of mules to the Mauritius has been large of late years. The whole country abounds with iron.