By these measures the counts became citizens, the rural population ceased to rank as serfs, and the Italo-Roman population of the towns absorbed into itself the remnants of Franks, Germans and other foreign stocks.
Depretis, anxious only to avoid a policy of adventure, let slip whatever opportunity may have presented itself, and neglected even to deal energetically with the impotent but mischievous Italian agitation for a rectification of the Italo-Austrian frontier.
The British government, desirous of preventing an Italo-Abyssinian conflict, which could but strengthen the position of the Mahdists, despatched Mr (afterwards Sir) Gerald Portal from Massawa on the 29th of October to mediate with the negus.
Antoneili profited by the situation to obtain Mneleks signature to a treaty fixing the frontiers of the Italian colony and defining Italo-Abyssinian relations.
Under the arrangement concluded in 1891 by Rudini with native chiefs in regard to the Italo-Abyssinian frontier districts, relations with Abyssinia had remained comparatively satisfactory.