Bernard Quaritch Ltd.

WALDMEIER, Theophilus. The autobiography of Theophilus Waldmeier, missionary: being ten years' life in Abyssinia; and sixteen years in Syria. London, S. W. Partridge & Co., Leominster, The Orphans' Printing Press, [1886].

8vo (220 x140 mm), pp. xiv, 339, with a frontispiece and many full-page illustrations; flyleaves and half-title foxed; original brown cloth.

First edition. Waldmeier was Swiss, but as 'I have the privilege of knowing so many dear friends in England and America I have therefore written this autobiography in the English language' (preface). He arrived as a Protestant missionary in 1859 and established a friendly relationship with the Emperor Theodore. Despite this rapport, Waldmeier was imprisoned along with other Europeans whom the Emperor feared were plotting against him. The Emperor's refusal to release these captives led ultimately to a devastating British punitive expedition: 'I will narrate the facts which gave rise to all the difficulties, captivity, trials, bloodshed, and horrors, which ended with the costly English expedition, and the suicide of King Theodore, which have never been thoroughly described, though so many books, journals, and pamphlets have been published about them. I think I may say that I am able to describe these things better than any of the Europeans who have been in Abyssinia, not that I am any more diligent than others, but on account of my having been in the immediate presence of the King, where I could see how things went on' (p. 78).

Pankhurst 39.


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