Al capitano Giorgio Ritso Goodfellow
residente rappresentante politico – Aden
P. 761Illustrious Sir
[Liccé – Scioa, inizio di luglio 1870]
Having been requested by this king to make the translation of his letter to your Excellency, as I have had the fortune to know you personally in Aden, I should fail in my duty if I did not add a couple of lines on my own part in order to présent first of all my congratulations on your promotion to be Governor of Aden, a thing which gives me much pleasure, because I am certain that it will beneficially tend towards God’s work in these countries.
As I am the one who has read and translated the letter of the Queen, or rather of her minister, Clarendon, to this King, and have gathered from it that she recommends peace among the Abyssinian princes, and that it is all referred to you, I am the one who has exhorted the king to despatch the letter which you will receive from him by this same courier, in which matter it is natural I P. 762 I should not take part, so that everything may produce its full effect.
You will find in the King’s letter some mint of purpose, because the Queen, or rather the minister, having written a generous letter, in which all the old stories are passed over, and has limited herself to thanking this King for what he did in the circumstances of the Magdala Expedition and to exhorting him to cease from all hostilities with his fellow princes in Abissinia, it was certainly not necessary to refer again to the old matters, but I have preferred leaving the king to express himself as he wished, so that you will see that the same is a good youth, certainly far removed from all the sentiments of pride, and from all kinds of pretension. I will say for myself that the same is a true friend of your Government and has the best disposition to second the views of the same as far as possible in these countries, although he lacks all the elements of social civilization as understood by us.
I will add moreover that all Abissinia or rather the persons who have character and a national sentiment of patriotism, nourish great faith in the prestige and influence which the Government of the Queen has acquired over the country, through its armed intervention which freed it from the tyrannical yoke of Theodore by the extinction of the civil war which threatened it with ruin in the extreme. In my opinion if Abissinia should come under the protection of England so that it shoud P. 763 should acquire peace and tranquillity, it would be thus attached to it by a bond of eternal gratitude and would become a country certainly English in sympathies. The civil war, especially in the centre, is of such a nature that no one feels safe in his own house, and every one turns his thoughts towards dominion. The arrival of the letters of the Queen which /186/ recommended peace, has excited true enthusiasm amongst all who are acquainted with it. Seeing this I deemed it my duty to make it known, because it is a question of saving a great country from total ruin. Were it a question of armed intervention, I should not venture to open my mouth, but as it is only a case of acting on simple influences which has been acquired, in order to powerfully impress upon the princes the total cessation of war under pain of enmity, I dare to hope that you through a simple pressing order on the Consul at Massowah will obtain a full victory over all, for the consolation and universal repose of all. The Consul at Massowah is known universally by all; a well conceived letter from him to the princes of the interior, especially to him of Iezri, and him of Gondar, would suffice to obtain everything.
P. 764 I conclude this letter of mine with a request that you will receive the messenger of the King, and assist him as one well acquainted with most of my affairs. With your permission he will remain in Aden to await the arrival of some new missionaries, who are expected from Europe. I further express my servitude to you and to the Government through which so much pleasure has come to a poor old man. In the act of doing which I declare myself
† Fr. G. Massaja Bishop