A Voyage to Abyssinia by Father Jerome Lobo





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After having borne all sorts of affronts and ill-treatments, we
retired to our house at Fremona, in the midst - Page 64
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After Having Borne All Sorts Of Affronts And Ill-Treatments, We Retired To Our House At Fremona, In The Midst

Of our countrymen, who had been settling round about us a long time, imagining we should be more secure there,

And that, at least during the life of the Emperor, they would not come to extremities, or proceed to open force. I laid some stress upon the kindness which the viceroy of Tigre had shown to us, and in particular to me; but was soon convinced that those hopes had no real foundation, for he was one of the most violent of our persecutors. He seized upon all our lands, and, advancing with his troops to Fremona, blocked up the town. The army had not been stationed there long before they committed all sorts of disorders; so that one day a Portuguese, provoked beyond his temper at the insolence of some of them, went out with his four sons, and, wounding several of them, forced the rest back to their camp.

We thought we had good reason to apprehend an attack; their troops were increasing, our town was surrounded, and on the point of being forced. Our Portuguese therefore thought that, without staying till the last extremities, they might lawfully repel one violence by another, and sallying out to the number of fifty, wounded about three score of the Abyssins, and had put them to the sword but that they feared it might bring too great an odium upon our cause. The Portuguese were some of them wounded, but happily none died on either side.

Though the times were by no means favourable to us, every one blamed the conduct of the viceroy; and those who did not commend our action made the necessity we were reduced to of self-defence an excuse for it. The viceroy's principal design was to get my person into his possession, imagining that if I was once in his power, all the Portuguese would pay him a blind obedience. Having been unsuccessful in his attempt by open force, he made use of the arts of negotiation, but with an event not more to his satisfaction. This viceroy being recalled, a son-in-law of the Emperor's succeeded, who treated us even worse than his predecessor had done.

When he entered upon his command, he loaded us with kindnesses, giving us so many assurances of his protection that, while the Emperor lived, we thought him one of our friends; but no sooner was our protector dead than this man pulled off his mask, and, quitting all shame, let us see that neither the fear of God nor any other consideration was capable of restraining him when we were to be distressed. The persecution then becoming general, there was no longer any place of security for us in Abyssinia, where we were looked upon by all as the authors of all the civil commotions, and many councils were held to determine in what manner they should dispose of us.

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