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Causes of the British Expedition to Algiers. Nature of the Barbary Govern
ments, and of the Piratical Expeditions which they authorise. Šir Sidney Smith's Proposal to the Congress of Vienna.-Negociations of Sir Thomas Maitland and Lord Ermouth in the early part of this year.-Massacre of Bong.-Expedition under Lord Exmouth and Admiral van de Capellen. Bombardment of Algiers.-- Terms of Treaty with the Dey.-- Reflections.
When the representatives of the Eu- the Congress of Vienša broke up ropean nations were assembled together prevented any definite arrangement at Vienna, after the first effectual hu- from being agreed upon at the mo. miliation of the power of France, it ment; but the impression produced will be in the recollection of our read- upon the public mind had been too ers, that their attention was speedily deep to be speedily erased, and after and naturally directed towards the the events of 1815 had once agaio ressituation of Barbary, from the coasts tored tranquillity to the continent, a of which three separate armaments of very general expectation prevailed, half savage banditti still continued to that the outrages of these barbarian infest the Mediterraneau sea, and so to enemies would at last draw down upon keep awake, in a meaner and more their heads some signal and effectual cruel shape, the energies of war, else. chastisement. Nor was this expectawhere happily asleep for a season tion altogether disappointed. throughout the civilized portion of the The very existence of such powers world. Sir Sidney Smith,whose long and as the pirate siates, so near to the fie glorious successes in the Mediterranean nest countries of Europe, and on a soil had introduced him to a perfect know which still bears so many splendid vesledge of the atrocious system thus per- tiges of ancient civilization and refinesisted in by the Moorish pirates, took ment, has long been a reproach to the the lead in exciting among the assem. princes of Europe ; but their attempts bled Princes of Christendom, a sense to remove it have hitherto been illof the necessity for taking some effec- conducted, undecisive, or unfortunate. tual step towards putting an end to a In the older time, indeed, while the spectacle so disgraceful, retewed so coast of Barbary was truly an appenaudaciously in the very heart of Eu- dage of the Ottoman throne, there rope. The sudden manner in which might have been some excuse for the
VOL. IX. PART I.
slow and wavering character of the fold, whenever it pleases their caprice measures adopted in regard to its in. to be weary of his dominion. Some habitants. But now, for about two measure of friendly understanding has centuries, scarcely a vestige of connec. been maintained for some time past betion has been visible between the Porte tween the greater part of the Euroand these its former vassals ; and the pean governments, and those of Tunis power of the Barbary States has been and Tripoli; but in general, the Also divided and disposed, as to leave no gerines have resisted every attempt topretence, either of fear or of prudence, wards establishing any amicable relato justify those who have been so long tions with those, in whose plunder their submitting to their outrages. A very chief finds the best means of conciliatlarge extent of the Moorish coast hasing and confirming the attachment of been formed into three separate and in his uncertain subjects. At home, the dependent states, Tunis, Tripoli, and Algerine Janizaries exert over the naAlgiers. Each of these was converted tive population the most cruel of tyfrom its allegiance to the Porte by rannies, and abroad their black fag the audacity of the Turkish Janizaries carries with it fear and desolation into employed in keeping the original Moor. the bays, and along the coasts of ish and Arab inhabitants in subjection. Spain, Italy, Sicily, and more lately În the two former, however, this fo- of Greece, Asia Minor, and Egypt. reign soldiery has by degrees become The only Aag which carried with it well nigh melted into the general po- the assurance of protection from the pulation, and the chiefs of either go. violence of these barbarians, was that of vernment have for a considerable pe. England ; for although various other riod been natives of the soil, and in powers of Europe have commonly consequence, the whole character of kept consuls at Algiers, these, thore their administration has become com- particularly of late years, have been paratively gentle. In Algiers alone, treated with comparative contempt, in the detestable system still survives in consequence of the comparative weake, all its vigout; a whole population ness of the states they represented, in reo more than five millions is still en•' gard to marine armament. Even Eng. tirely oppressed by a corps of soldiery, lish subjects, however, have occasionrecruited principally from abroad, ally been subjected to hardships, and whose numbers do not exceed ten or insults altogether intolerable, by these twelve thousand. The officers of this mean and ferocious allies. The inha. corps form the divan or regency of bitants of the lonian Isles, although Algiers, but the executive government placed under the special protection of 'is in truth deposited in the hands of Great Britain, still suffered all the acthe Dey, who exercises while in office customed insolences of the Algerine the most cruel privileges of a despot, corsairs. The English government, but is nevertheless himself the slave of however, did not require the stimulus the most lawless of all democracies of these particular injuries, to induce being chosen by the voices of the Ja- them to take an active part in humnizaries alone, and by the same voices bling the power of the barbarians. conducted from the throne to the scaf. After the conclusion of the general
* A late traveller (Pananti) mentions a touching circumstance illustrative of the internal state of the Algerine Moors. The Dey on one occasion ordered a great well to be locked up; a native passing by shortly atter, wrote on the edge of the cistern, * Like you we are chained, but,
unlike you, we dare not murmur.'
peace in 1814, the States of Tunis English squadrons out of sight, than and Algiers were induced to increase the banditti began to scour the seas their establishment of corsair vessels, in as of old; while the Dey sought the consequence of the favourable change means of confirming his power, by which had occurred in regard to free- opening negociations with the Porte, dom of commerce; and the ravages the Emperor of Morocco, and the committed by them in the course of Pasha of Egypt. It is even said, that year, were more than sufficient to that while the English negociator was confirm our government, in the opinion still at Algiers, the Janizaries held a already entertained, respecting the ne- consultation respecting the propriety cessity of checking them by some just of cutting him to pieces while passing infliction of punishment.' Sensible, to his ship from the Paschalick. The however, that the chief part of any inju- cup of their iniquity, however, was ries, intended for the guilty Janizaries, not full till the 31st of May, on which would infallibly fall to the share of day a massacre of Christians took place the comparatively innocent Moorish at Bona, scarcely exceeded in horror population, our ministers were willing, by any that is on record in history. if possible, to accomplish their pur. Whether, as it is asserted by the inpose without having recourse to hosti- telligent Italian traveller Pananti, this lities. Lord Exmouth accordingly scene of cruelty occurred in consewas sent to Algiers, and Sir Thomas quence nf positive command from the Maitland to Tunis, early in the season, government of Algiers, or whether it with a view to procure some amicable was but the unbidden ebullition of the arrangement with the respective go- ferocious passions of the Algerine Ja-vernments of these states. These dis- nizaries, it is not easy to ascertain ; tinguished officers obtained without nor is perhaps the distinction of much difficulty many important concessions ; importance. In the neighbourhood of a great number of slaves were imme. that city, once the scene of a signal diately set at liberty; and, although triumph over the Moors by the forces the demand of entirely abolishing of Spain, there are annually assembled, Christian slavery for the future was under the protection of the Dey, a not immediately complied with, the great number of small boats from all most solemn assurances were given that the coasts of the Mediterranean, for an immediate communication should the purposes of coral fishing. On be made on that subject with the Ot. the day above mentioned, some huntoman Porte, (whose authority the dreds of the poor fishermen employed Moorish governors were now ambi- in this traffick were on shore at prayrious of recognising,) and that if theers at noon tide, when of a sudden they Grand Seignior chose to express his were alarmed by the wild cries, with disapprobation, the practice should be which African soldiers are wont to put an end to for ever. To this our rush into battle, and, before they could commanders agreed, and Lord Ex. escape to their boats, they found them. mouth immediately returned with his selves surrounded by a large body of fleet to England, supposing that the Janizaries and Moors. These barba. object of his voyage had been ac. rians, animated with a blind and bes. complished. At Algiers, however, tial rage, massacred the whole of this the shew of submission had been unoffending multitude in cold blood, merely assumed for the purposes of and withdrew in triumph, as if they the moment, and no sooner were the had, by this cowardly atrocity, vinda
cated the honour of their country, Dashwood found, on his arrival, that which they had supposed to be much the suspicions of the Dey had already injured by the late negociations. “ It been excited, in respect to the destinais doubtful,” says the traveller we have tion of the British armament, and that already quoted, “ whether the cele. vigorous measures of defence had been brated Crusades; in the course of which adopted by him and his council of so many hundred thousand human lives regency. It even appeared, that some were sacrificed, had any cause so legi- private intelligence had reached Altimate, as that which was furnished to giers respecting the particular plan of Europe for subjugating the piratical attack which his lordship had agreed states, by the fearful massacre of Bo- upon; for the point against which he na.” We share the indignation of Mr had resolved to bring his principal Pananti, but cannot by any means par. force, was found to be receiving every ticipate in his doubts.
additional strength which could in The news of this outrage reached so short a time be thrown around it. England very shortly after the return The British captain, however, waited of Lord Exmouth, and convinced both immediately upon the Dey, who inhim and the government, that the con formed him, that he was well aware of ciliating manner of the preceding nego. Lord Exmouth's designs, and well ciations, however benevolently intende prepared to make a proper defence ed, had in fact, led only to the most against whatever armament might be cruel of results. It was immediately brought to Algiers. Captain Dashdetermined that Lord Exmouth should wood disguised his knowledge of the return to Algiers with a formidable truth; and being permitted to visit armament, and take vengeance for the the consul's house, succeeded in coninfraction of the trea:y he had so re- veying that gentleman's wifeand daughcently concluded. He set sail accord. ter out of the city, in the disguise of ingly with the following force :- the naval uniforms. An infant child of Queen Charlotte, (his own flag ship) the consul was to follow in a basket, 110 guns; Impregnable, 98 ; Superb, but happening to cry out in passing 74; Minden, 74 ; Albion, 74 ; Lean. the gate, was discovered and carried der, 50; Severn, 40; Glasgow, 40; back to the city. “The child,” said Granicus, 36; Hebrus, 36 ; Heron, Lord Exmouth, < was sent off next 18; Mutine, 18; Prometheus, 18; morning by the Dey-a solitary inbesides several smaller vessels, provided stance of humanity, which ought not with Congreve rockets and Shrapnel to pass unrecorded." The consul himshells. This armament was assembled self was already in confinement, por in safety at Gibraltar by the beginning would the Dey listen to any proposal of August, where they were joined by for releasing hing. There could now a Dutch squadron of five ships, under be no longer any concealment of the the command of Admiral Van de Ca- admiral's designs, and accordingly, as pellen, who were desirous of aiding soon as the winds permitted, the whole in the purpose of the expedition, and combined force broke up from Gibwhose aid was very gladly accepted by raltar; they were tossed about for the British admiral.
some time, however, and did not arrive Before proceeding to Algiers, Lord in sight of Algiers till the morning of Exmouth dispatched the Prometheus the 27th of August. (Captain Dashwood) for the purpose Being becalmed at some distance off of bringing away, if possible, the Eng. the bay, Lord Exmouth dispatched a lish consul and his family. Captain boat with a flag of truce to the Dey,
carrying a statement of the demands perfect unconcern, as if unconscious which his government had instructed that any fire was to ensue ; Lord Exa him to make. These were in Bub- mouth, stationed at the prow of his stance,-1. The immediate delivery up ship, motioned with his hat for them of all Christian slaves without ransom. to retire, but in vain ; at length, one II. The restitution of all the money or two shots were discharged from the which had been received from Sar. Mole, upon which the Queen Chardinian and Neapolitan captives, since loite, being by this time lashed to an the beginning of the year. III. Algerine brig immediately without the A solemu declaration from the Dey, harbour, opened a most destructive that he would respect in future the fire, the first round of which carried rights of humanity, and treat all pri- off many hundreds of the idle crowd soners taken in war according to the upon the Mole. “ Thus commenced," usage of the European nations. IV. says Lord Exmouth, “a fire as ani. Peace with the King of the Nether- mated and well supported, as I believe lands, on the like terms as with Eng. was ever witnessed—which lasted with. laod. The officer who carried these out intermission from a quarter before proposals was directed to wait two or three until nine, and which did not three hours for the answer, at which entirely cease until half.past eleven.” time, if no reply was seat, he was to During the whole of this firing, noreturn to his lordship's flag ship. He thing could exceed the coolness and was met near the Mole by the captaia precision with which the British kept of the port, who agreed upon two up their destructive attack. Nor did hours as the period within which the the enemy evince any symptoms of iranswer should be ready. In the mean. resolution in their defence. A fire time, the wind springing up, the feet was maintaioed from innumerable bat. took advantage of it to reach the bay, teries on the Mole itself, and from the and the boats and Aotilla were pre- higher parts of the city, which occapared for service as speedily as possi- sioned to us a loss of 800 men, and ble. About two o'clock, Lord Ex. which could not have failed to produce meuth observing his boat returning a far more extensive carnage, had the with the signal that no answer' had obstinacy of the Algerines been aided been received, the order was imme. by any skill in the management and diately given that the ships should direction of their artillery. proceed to occupy the stations assign About sunset the enemy's batteries ed to them. The Queen Charlotte on the Mole being considerably weakled the way, and was anchored in the ened, Lieutenant Pilchard was sent in entrance of the Mole, at the disa the barge of the admiral's ship, to tance of about fifty yards ; the other board the nearest of the vessels within great ships were arranged immediately the harbour. A few rockets thrown around the admiral ; and in the rear into this vessel set it instantly into a were stationed the smaller vessels des blaze, and the crew of the barge them. tined to throw bombs and rockets at selves with difficulty escaped from suf. the enemy's fortifications, over the fering by the effects of the explosion. heads of our own ships. At the ma- A gallant young midshipman, who, ment when the Queen Charlotte took contrary to orders, followed the barge her station at the mouth of the har- in a rocket boat, was not so fortunate, bour, the whole of the piers were because his boat could not be rowed crowded with a multitude of specta- 80 quickly as the barge. He himself tors, who seemed to be standing in was desperately wounded, his brother