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A Gifted Scoundrel.


The prince of modern knaves would not have been incarcerated recently m tho San Stefano Prison for life had not; Italy abolished capital punis hment. The career of Moussa-el-Akkad seems to be ended, however, although a man who has three times escaped the death penalty may again reappear m active life. A remarkable and accomplished creature was Moussa-el-Akkad, although he was a human reptile. He was at home equally m a European capital or m the Nubian desert. He dined with kings and unfailingly detrayed them. He incited massacres and looted cities; and to-day there is to his credit m the Bank of England an immense cash deposit. He first attracted attention m 1873, by being condemed to death for poisoning his rich Egyptian uncle, whose wiie he had married only to poison m J;um. Money saved his life, and after temporary banishishment, h« reappeared m Alexandria as the trusted agent and spy of Khedive Ismail, rising m 1879 to the rank of Bey of the first class. With Ismail deposed ho continued to serve Tewfik, the new ruler, as well as to draw pay from Ismail and the pretender Halim at Constantinople, thus serving three masters, each conniving through him against the other. He also plotted with Arabi Pasha so cleverly that when the English bombarded Alexandria m 1882 all the foreign residents looked to him for protection. Yet during Arabi's rebellion it was he who incited the massacre of Europeans and who led m person the fanatics through Alexandria, looting the treasure of these same European residents. Then he fled to Crete ; was captured by the British and sentenced to death, but by turning state's evidence he had his sentence commuted to banishment to Massowah, the chief port of Abyssinia, on the Red Sea. Thither went the Italians m 1885 to gain a foothold m Africa, and at once he became a man of great importance. The Italians reposed m him themosfe implicit confidence; awarding him contracts and made him a judge of the looal courts. Then came the horrible Dongola massacre, when an Italian regiment was lured to an ambush by the Abyssinians. Ifc was Moussa-el-Akkad who opened a public subscription for a suitable memorial to the victims with a contribution of SOOdol ; and yet it was also he who secretely told the natives when to strike their deadly blow. He visited European capitals, and while at Rome Was dined by Crispi and King Humbert, who decorated his person with royal orders. Returning to Abyssinia his power seamed unlimited. | _ Then came the most daring stroke of his life. The native Emperor was to be crowded at Adowah with magnificent regalia sent from Rome. The Italian army marched thither, leaving Mossowah un« protected. Had not an Arab emissary, bearing.a tell-tale letter, been opportunely caught, Moussa's plan to massacre the entire Italian army and all the foreign residents at the seaport would not hare miscarried. Moussa was sentenced •to death, bufc King Humbert changed tho military sentence, m accordance with the* law of fehe kingdom, to imprisonment for life. It may be said ot Moussa that ho never failed to betray: a trust, although he was the most, trusted of Orientals.

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Bibliographic details

A Gifted Scoundrel., Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2489, 12 August 1890

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A Gifted Scoundrel. Ashburton Guardian, Volume VII, Issue 2489, 12 August 1890

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