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STERN, Henry A.

The Captive Missionary:

being an Account of the Country and People of Abyssinia. Embracing a Narrative of King Theodore's Life and his Treatment of Political and Religious Missions.

Published: London: Cassell, Petter, and Galpin, [1868]

Stock code: 59920

Price: £650

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First edition. One of the key accounts of the events which led to the Abyssinian Expedition. Stern – “an arrogant bigot” (ODNB) – was treated particularly harshly. “The detention of Stern and his companions was widely publicized by Mrs Stern. The imprisonment of Cameron [British Consul] and Rassam [British Resident at Aden] was, however, politically more important, for it caused the British government to decide on military intervention. An expedition commanded by Sir Robert Cornelis Napier was dispatched from Bombay in the summer of 1867… The British crossed northern Ethiopia without opposition. The first engagement took place below Maqdala, on 10 April 1868, when Téwodros’s army was overwhelmed by British superiority in weapons. The emperor, wishing to make peace, released Stern and the other Europeans, but Napier decided to storm Maqdala, on 13 April. Téwodros, to escape capture, committed suicide. Maqdala, to Stern’s satisfaction, was burnt to the ground on 17 April, after which the British expedition withdrew from Ethiopia.” His health damaged by his experiences, Stern, who had originally gone to Ethiopia to convert the Falashas, remained in London thereafter and continued his work for the London Society for Promoting Christianity amongst the Jews, dying in 1885.

Octavo. Original blue cloth, title gilt to spine, entwined in shackles, blind panels to the boards, large gilt device of an Abyssinian warrior to the upper board. Steel engraved group portrait frontispiece and 7 other steel-engraved plates. A little rubbed, hinges repaired and spine lined, light toning, but a very good copy.

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