A Narrative of Captivity in Abyssinia

With Some Account of the Late Emperor Theodore, His Country and People

by Henry Blanc

With a view of gratifying the natural curiosity evinced by a large circle of friends and acquaintance to obtain accurate information as to the cause of our captivity, the manner in which we were treated, the details of our daily life, and the character and habits of Theodore, I undertook the task of writing this account of our captivity in Abyssinia.

I have endeavoured to give a correct sketch of the career of Theodore, and a description of his country and people, more especially of his friends and enemies.

In order to make the reader familiar with the subject, it was also necessary to say a few words about the Europeans who played a part in that strange imbroglio - the Abyssinian difficulty. My knowledge of them, and of the events that occurred during our captivity, was acquired through personal experience, and also by intercourse with well-informed natives, during long months of enforced idleness.

In preparing this work for the press, I found it necessary to the completeness of the narrative, to incorporate some portions of my Report to the Government of Bombay on Mr. Rassam's mission, which appeared in an Indian newspaper, and was subsequently republished in a small volume.

For the same reason I have also included a few articles contributed by me to a London newspaper.

The sufferings of the Abyssinian captives will be ever associated, in the annals of British valour, with the triumphant success of the expedition, so skilfully organized by its commander, whose title, Lord Napier of Magdala, commemorates the crowning achievement of a glorious career.

London, July 23, 1868.