chapter
The Regent Rās Tafarī
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R 5s Tafari is the son of Ras Makuannen (died 1906) and was born in 1893. He was educated at Harar, and writes and speaks French fluently. He has read widely and is deeply learned in the literature of his country, and possesses more than a nodding ac­ quaintance with the best European works on literary and scientific subjects. He is a true patriot and sacrifices personal comforts and leisure in his untiring efforts to improve the position of his country in the Council of the Great Powers, and to increase the knowledge, both spiritual and mental, of the people he rules with what is generally admitted to be consummate skill. He is direct in speech and simple in manner, and his innate courtesy and dignity become him well. He is probably the hardest-working man in Abyssinia, and his thirst for knowledge which can be turned to practical use is insatiable. He is a fearless preacher of the benefits of civilization to his people, but being who he is treats with contempt the cranks and faddists who profess to be able to bring about universal equality, and the millennium about which many of his people dream. He has made great efforts to educate the Abyssinians, and knowing that good books must be easily procurable if the standard of education in his country is to be raised, he has started a printing press and has begun to print editions of ancient ecclesiastical works which are wholly beyond the reach of ordinary folk. One of the most im­ portant works which have been issued by his press is the “ Book of Corrective Admonitions ” which was written by Saint John Chrysos­ tom, Patriarch of Constantinople. It is a stout octavo volume con­ taining some 683 pages and an introduction by Ras Tafari. Another important volume in Amharic is the large treatise on Christian asceticism written by Mar Isaac the anchorite; it is in quarto and contains 336 pages, double columns, and an introduction by Ras Tafari. The title page states that it was printed at the Imperial Printing Press at Adis Ababa in the Year of Mercy 1915 (;i.e. A.D. 1923).