Obrazy na stronie

are rounder, and their noses less prominent sent a sceno at once novel, striking, and picand aquiline than the Arabian types. The turesque ; and although the vigorous commerArabs of the plains are a nomadic race, chief-cial life everywhere pulsating around is no ly dwelling in tents, who have preserved the doubt in a great degree factitious factitious manners, faith, and language of their pro- in the sense applicable to all numerously-gargenitors who immigrated to these countries ; risoned towns it is not the less impressive and flit hither and thither with their flocks and exhilarating ; and you will not have been and herds, as fancy, caprice, or the need on shore ten minutes, before feeling quite satof water and fresh pasture dictates. Some of isfied that the contest going on between Asia, these tribes, however, reside in villages near and Europe on North African soil, is already the chief cities, and engage in the cultivation virtually decided so far as the capital of Alof the soil. They are of courageous temper- geria is concerned. The narrow, filthy streets, ament, and simple, abstemious habits ; in with their dead walls of whity-brown houses, these attributes differing altogether from the have been or are in process of being cleared servile and luxurious Moors, who constitute and widened, and the houses turned round the bulk of the town populations — a mixed with their window-faces to the passers-by race, descended from the various nations that to the unspeakable disgust and dismay of the have at different periods settled in North Afri- wealthy, luxurious Moors, at thus finding ca, although the Arabian element undoubted- themselves, their harems, servants the inly predominates, especially since the large ad- ner, shrouded life, in fact, to which they dition to their numbers consequent upon the were accustomed in their walled-in scclusion expulsion of the Andalusian Moors from Spain, -exposed, like the faces of Frankish, and, after the conquest of Granada. The Jews, alas ! of late, too many Moorish women, to who also flocked thither in great numbers on impertinent observation and the common being driven out of that country, need not be light of day. There has been an extensive described — semper idem — in Algeria, as else- emigration of rich Moors to the more congewhere, the ubiquitous race are the brokers, nial atmosphere of Tunis and Morocco, but pedlers, money-changers, jewel-dealers of the the poorer classes, both of Moors and Koocommunity. The Kooloolis are the descend-loolis, have adapted themselves, with more or ants of the Turkish Janizaries - of whose less of readiness, to a change by which they Algerine rule we shall have presently to speak have unquestionably been greatly benefited ; — who, not being permitted to bring females and as porters — a business they dispute with with them to the Barbary States, intermarried the emancipated negrocs - waiters, clerks, with Moorish women or Christian captives. household servants, boatmen, and the inferior The negroes are, or rather were, slaves from occupations generally, display an energy and the interior of Africa.

teachableness that could hardly have been As might be expected, the French occupa- predicted from their former habits and modes tion of Algeria showş to greatest advantage of thought. The Jews also remain, and in the metropolis of their new possession and make money of their new clients the French, its charming environs, so casily accessible with as keen a relish as they did of their old from Toulon and Marseille, especially if vis- friends the Turks and Moors; and all the ited during the month of June, or early in more agreeably, no doubt, that no apprehenJuly, when the heat has not yet become in- sion need now be entertained of a sudden detolerable, and the gorgeous vegetation of the mand of “

your money or your life” from a country is in its fullest vigor, and colored by fierce aga of Janizaries, or other all-potent its richest dyes. At this season of the year, functionary, as in the days when their elastio the harbor of Algiers, formed by the artificial shoulders stooped beneath the burden of Turkconnection of a small island in front of the ish rule. city with the mainland, will be found alive The new buildings — the Prefecture, Cawith shipping, steamers chiefly, with frequent- thedral, Theatre, Palace of Justice, handsome ly several crack specimens of the Royal Yacht structures all of them contribute greatly to Squadron intermingled with them. The bus- the rapidly-developing European aspect of tle on the quays, and in the steep and narrow the city. Then the principal thoroughfares streets which lead from them, the hurrying to are studded with brilliant cafes, milliners, and fro, and Babel hubbub of the motley confectioners', jewlers' shops, almost all kept population by which they are crowded, pre-| by a monsieur or madame de Paris. Let us

walk on to the principal bazaar or market-| the novel and, to a stranger, burlesque scene. place, not very far from the Place de Maren- The gendarmerie maure, who are expected to go, which has not only a fresh and pleasant keep order in this and similar localities, are look at this season of the year, with its pyra- recruited from the ranks of these noisy, busmids of delicious fruits cherries, peaches, tling errand-men. pomegranates, oranges, dates, jujubes, melons Leaving this market, and passing out of

- but is perhaps the very best place in Al- the city by one of the barriers of the upper giers for obtaining a good, collective view of its town, we find ourselves near the plateau-sumshifting, miscellaneous population. Here we mit of Le Sahal, with one of the most splei)aro, and the first glance assures us that offi- did landscapes in the world stretched out cers and soldiers in the blue and red uniforms, before us. Beauty breaks in everywhere, gold, silver, and worsted epaulettes, and lace encircles us in all directions. The verdant, of the French army, are abundantly numer- slightly-undulating surface of the far east Qus ; Zouaves and Spahis, native troops in and west extending hills is profusely dotted the service of France (fighting Arabs and with white, villa-like country-houses, peeping Kabyles — not Moors), in ornamented bornouse out from amidst vine-gardens, orange and (cloaks), are scarcely less so. Yonder, a muf- palm groves, bouquet-like clumps of pomelled Moorish lady hurries past, followed by a granate, jujube, cypress, and almond trees ; huge negro carrying her marketings, the lady above us is the deep, cloudless blue of Italian intensely scrutinized by a bevy of elegantly- skies ; and far below, murmuring at the base attired French dames, who, escorted by their of Le Sahal, and closing the distant horizon snart and lithe, if not very gigantic husbands, on the north, are the bright and calmly-hearthat talk much more and louder than their ing waters of the Mediterranean the fresh greatly better-halves, are come over to take a breeze from whence sensibly moderates the peep at the capital of L'Afrique Française intense heat. Even in the shade of this luxone or more of them possibly to ascertain if uriant foliage, the thermometer stands at 100 an eligibly-situated magasin de modes is in the degrees Fahrenheit : a month later in the market. At a stall near them is a gay sou- year it will be at least ten degrees higher – brette, unmistakably a recent importation, still higher when the south wind blows and with her unexceptionable cap and glittering scorches, as with the breath of a blast-furear-drops, who wonderfully contrives at one nace, every leaf and blade of verdure in Aland the same moment to bargain for a fowl geria — baking them as brown as an Arab's with her fingers, dispose of a peach with her face, save it may be the oleander tribe, and tweth, and play off the artillery of laughing one or two similar fire-and-frost defying everlips, bright eyes, and the prettiest feet in the greens ; with the exception, also, of the oasis world, at a young sous-lieutenant, in the uni- upon which we are now standing, which, at form of a Chasseur d'Afrique, who happens an immense cost, has been completely interto be standing by. Here and there flash laced with a silver net-work of streams, shield past, showily attired, jewelled Jewesses, ed from the sun's rays by the overarching whose lustrous Eastern eyes are, after all, foliage which they nourish and sustain. La their brightest ornaments. These gravc-look- Sahal was the earthly Mohammedan paradise ing swarthy men in white bornouse are Ka- of the chiefs of the Janizaries and the wealthy byles, who, first leaving their arms at the bar- Moors, till the cannon of the Franks awoke rier, are come to ascertain how wheat, maize, them from their sensuous dreams of security : millet, which they cultivate on the slopes and and, judging by the numerous epaulettes and in the valleys of the Little Atlas, are ruling silk dresses that glance and flutter through in Algiers to-day. There are but few Arabs openings in the trees and groves, it is not less present, except those in uniform — the free the favorite resort of the gallant soldiers and air of the plains doubtless suiting them bet- fair dames of France. Other luxurious reter than the close atmosphere of towns, treats in the vicinity of Algiers are the reGiaour-governed towns more especially ; but nowned gardens of Blidah and Koleah, situthere is a large number of Kooloolis and theated, as previously stated, one at the base of lower sort of Moors running about in all di- the near Atlas range, the other on the Medirections, in the reality or pretence of busi- terranean shore, slightly westward of the city. ness, and bawling and gesticulating in a way The towns themselves may be called gardens, that greatly adds to the din and confusion of the narrow streets being roofed in, as it were,

[ocr errors]

with interlacing branches of the palm and wilderness - the fair-seeming plain itself, a Fine, partly for shade to the dwellers therein, pestilential swamp in winter, and in the sumbut chiefly to prevent the drying up during mer, still more fatal to human life, from tho the summer heats of the limpid waters of the deadly vapors issuing from the cracked surChissa, which are made to flow through them. face of the undrained ground. Hundreds of The shop-windows of these leaf-shaded streets, colonists perished miserably ; and those whom opening like trapdoors, give to view peculiar fever spared, fell by the hands of the Arabs industries going on within — such as the and Kabyles, who, issuing from the Col de manufacture and ornamentation of silk bor- Teneah, swept the Metidjah repeatedly with nouse of various colors, rich saddlery, slip- sword and flame. The hapless condition of pers, sabre-sheaths, &c., and fruit and sweet- the scattered colonists, in this last respect, meat shops are well supplied and numerous. may be estimated from the remark of Baron Each establishment is watched in front by Pichon, civil intendant of Algeria — " that the proprietor, who, squat upon a mat, and the government model-farm, distant only about not unfrequently dabbling with his feet in the six miles from Algiers, always required a batcool stream, regards the intrusive Franks with talion to guard it, and a half-battalion to inthe same dull furtive expression of cowed ma- quire every morning after their comrades' wellignity which one sometimes detects in the fare, and the manner in which they had passed quickly-drawn glance of his richer country- the night.” The incursions of the Arabs have man of Le Sahal ; seeming, like him, to be been at length effectually restrained by a wall searching his opium or tobacco muddled and chain of block-houses, which completely brains for a solution of the mysterious decree encircle the Metidjah a sort of miniature of Allah, which permits the unbeliever to Chinese wall, devised by General Bugeaud in command in places once sacred to the faith- 1845 ; but the deadly pestilence has been mitful, and trodden by the Christian only as a igated only by the partial draining that has slave.

taken place, and millions must be yet sunk in These are no doubt exceptional spots, but the devouring soil ere the rate of mortality can Algeria, generally speaking, is of considera- be reduced to a satisfactory average. And it ble average fertility. The slopes of the At- is only in the Metidjah that any serious atlas three ranges of which rising one above tempt at agricultural colonization has been the other, can be discerned from the plateau of made. The vast plains at the eastern provLe Sahal - are clothed, in most instances, ince are still solitudes, broken only by the to the summit with wood and verdure ; shifting locations of the nomadic Arabs. In the intervening valley, watered by innumera- fact, after twenty-two years of unparalleled ble streams, hring forth abundantly; and sacrifices and prodigious exertion, the French the plains of Bona and Constantina have a are still only encamped in Africa, not settled historical reputation for productiveness. The there. Their dominion, according to Marshal experimental agriculture of France has not Bugeaud, an unexceptionable authority upon yet, however, produced very favorable results. such a point, is limited to the range of their Soon after General Bourmont's conquest, the cannon “Nos boulets marquent les limites glowing reports sent home relative to the ca- de notre puissance en Afrique.This is the pabilities of the magnificent expanse of the thrice-told tale of French colonization, Metidjah—comprising forty-five square leagues which that versatile and ingenious people do of deadl-level ground, in the immediato vicin- not indeed appear to possess the slightest apity of Algiers — induced considerable num- titude. They colonized Canada during more bers of French farmers, spite of their gene- than two hundred years ; and when Wolfe's rally unenterprising character, to quit la belle victory over Montcalm finally wrested it from France, and encounter the perils of the Med- them, Canada could boast of 23,000 colonists, iterranean, with a view to locate themselves men, women, and children ; twenty years afpermanently in a land of such splendid prom- terwards, the number reached 113,000. The ise.

Pestilence and the sword, however, chief cause of these lamentable failures seems quickly dispelled the sanguine dreams of the to be their entire lack of faith in any associative unfortunate colonists. The beautiful green- enterprise which is not originated and domisward was found to be a forest of tall, reedy nated by the government. They appear to grass, in which, without a compass, a man have a downright passion for being regulated might be lost as easily as in an American organized” is the favorite term — by






authority, whether the purpose be great or moreover, which may perhaps in some degree small — the mode of waiting at the doors of a reconcile the apparent contradiction between theatre, or of founding a great colony ; a re- the confessedly unsatisfactory result of the markable idiosyncrasy, which has no doubt war and the unusually large number of bril its value in a inilitary point of view, but is liant military reputations that have been quite incompatible with the self-relying en- created by it. ergy, the individual vehemence and determin- Algerine piracy owes its origin, in reality, ation which constitute the vital force, the in- to a war of proselytism, initiated by Ferdiherent and expansive life, of all permanently nand, called the Catholic, of Spain. That successful colonies. Still, as the French na- monarch, not satisfied with expelling the Motion prefer being organized for such enter- bammedan Arabs from Spain, pursued them prises, let us hope that the railways which with relentless zeal to Africa, where they had Rhe Journal de l'Empire announced in Decem- fled for refuge ; and his forces obtained pos. ber last to be contemplated by the government session, in the commencement of the sixteenth (one from Algiers to Blidah across the Me-century, of Oran, several minor points on the tidjah, the other from Philippeville to Con- coast, and the small island in front of Algiers, stantina by the Saza Valley), will not only be then unconnected with the mainland. Eutespeedily accomplished, but that the correlative mi, the Saracen chief of Algiers, terrified at decrees which the emperor may issue, com- the progress of the invaders, applied for asmanding the prompt and permanent coloniza-sistance to a co-religionist and desperate pirato tion of Algeria, will be as effectual as those called Baba Horush (Father Horush), corof Louis Philippe were notoriously futile and rupted by European sailors into Barbarossa, useless. This, by the way, is not an entirely whose exploits in the Levant had invested his disinterested aspiration ; for if there is one name with a terrible celebrity. He acceded thing clear in the bazy domain of international to the request with alacrity, landed his seapolitics, it is that France, by establishing her- banditti near Bona, and, in concert with the self in Algeria, has entered into a bond to keep Moors, recovered from the Spaniards all their the peace towards Great Britain to the full acquisitions, except Oran and the island bevalue she places upon its retention; and, as fore Algiers. He next slew Eutemi, and gorearnest friends of peace, we shall rejoice at erned the Moors in his stead with brutal the success of any measures which may tend ferocity. At length, on returning from the to render the pledge of amity more precious sack of Tlemecen, he was attacked near Oran in the eyes of the French people. The pro- by the Spaniards and revolted Moors, defeattests of successive British ministries before ed, and slain. His brother, Khair-ed-Din, alluded to, were from the first solely dictated who succeeded to his authority, lost no time by anxiety for the independence of Morocco, in placing himself and his dominions under with which this country has important com- the protection of the Commander of all the mercial relations, and whence, moreover, the Faithful, Selim I., sultan of Constantinople, supplies for Gibraltar are drawn. That point who, guided chiefly by religious motives, ao conceded, as it has ultimately been, the French cepted the charge as affording a valuable marsettlement in North Africa is a matter of con- itime counterpoise to the growing power of gratulation for Great Britain, not jealousy. Spain, and the zeal of the Knights of St.

It will be necessary to introduce our sketch John, established at Malta for the avowed of the war, still unconcluded, that has for so purpose of enforcing Christianity in the Medmany years desolated the interior of the coun- iterranean by fire and sword. Khair-ed-Din try, whose more salient physical and mora) was created a bey, subsequently capudan features we have briefly glanced at, by the pacha, or high-admiral, and was furnished shortest possible summary of the origin and with a body of Turkish Janizaries, who ascharacter of the Turkish power encam ped sisted him to retake the island in front of his there, in nearly the same positions as the capital from the Spaniards. The organization French now occupy, for three hundred years of Algerine piracy dates from this time ; and previous to the capture of Algiers by General so vigorous and rapid was its development, Bourmont. And it may be as well in this that when Charles V. ascended the throne, place to request the reader to bear in mind the corsairs of Barbary were not only the ter especially when his blood flames and his eyes ror of the Mediterranean and Adriatic seas, bll with indignation and pity at the bare re- but insulted the very coasts and harbors of cital of deeds which outrage the humanities Spain almost with impunity. In 1541, Charles even of war, if such a phrase is permissible - V., the most powerful monarch at that time that we transcribe those passages from records in Europe, sent a great armament against furnished by the perpetrators of the deeds Algiers, which resulted in disastrous failure. themselves, and necessarily so, inasmuch as The fleet was shattered by a hurricane, and the adverse parties in the terrific contest- the army compelled to reë'mbark in confusion the Kabyles and Arabs — publish no news and dismay. The insolence of the Algerides papers, indite no bulletins ; a circumstance, now overtopped all bounds, and indiscrininate war was made upon the vessels of all Chris- / recent storming of Laghouat, and, said Gentian nations that refused to pay them tribute. eral Randon, governor-general of Algeria, inAdmiral Blake, however, taught them to re- scribed with their victorious swords the first spect the English flag; the French, in 1684, page of the military annals of the new embombarded the pirate-city with the like pur- pire. We now commence the narrative of a pose and success; the Dutch, Swedes, und war, of which we have just quoted the latest Danes, purchased forbearance by annual sub-triumph. sidies ; but against the weaker maritime Soon after the capitulation of Algiers, & states, the piratical war continued with un- considerable number of Arab chiefs met in abated audacity. The United States, after council at Blidah, to consider whether it their separation from Great Britain, were might not be politic to continue on the same supposed to be in that category - a mistake terms with the new as with the old masters which the dey, in 1815, had to pay dearly of Algiers, Bona, and Oran, the beys of which for. The following year, Lord Exmouth bat- latter towns had already transferred their altored Algiers, and compelled the liberation of legiance, whatever that might be worth, to every Christian slave in the dey’s dominions France, and been confirmed in their authority.

- not one of whom, by the by, was a British They, the Arabs, had been accustomed to-pursubject; and in 1830, as we have seen, the chase, by certain fixed payments, the pripdominion of the Turkish Janizaries, after three ilege of grazing their locks and herds within centuries of ferocious misrule and oppression, reach of the Turkish garrisons; and the conwas finally brought to an end.

tinuance or discontinuance of this species of That turbulent and licentious militia, though tribute was the especial matter for discussion. always recruited in the Ottoman dominions, General Bourmont went to assist at the conhad long ceased to owe more than a nominal ference with 2000 infantry, two squadrons of allegiance to the sultan; and the deys, whom cavalry, and six pieces of cannon, for the sole they elected from their own ranks, held their purpose, as he stated, of personally assuring precarious state upon a throne but one step the Arabs that France had no other object in from a bloody grave, into which, at the ca- sending an expedition to Africa, than to reprice of the Janizaries, they might be at any lieve them of the detestable yoke of the Almoment hurled. The rule of the deys did not gerine Turks. The Arabs did not wait to extend beyond the towns and the Arab vil- receive this friendly message ; and when the lages in the immediate vicinity ; and they misunderstood general was returning the next were accustomed to make war upon the day but one to Algiers from his abortive mis Kabyles and nomadic Arabs precisely after sion, he was assailed by such a swarm of the corsair fashion practised in the Mediter-Arab cavalry, and pressed so fiercely, that, ranean – namely, by sudden incursions in spite of the unquestionable bravery and dis quest of booty, the most valuable being the cipline of the troops under his command, it chiefs of principal families, and their wives was only with the greatest difficulty, and after and children, whom they bore off, not into severe loss, that they succeeded in regaining absoluto slavery, for — the prisoners being the shelter of the city. The prosecution of followers of the Prophet— that was forbidden the Arab war, thus rashly provoked by General by the law of the Koran, but into rigorous Bourmont, was intrusted by Louis Philippe': optivity, from which they were only released government to General Clausel, who succeeded upon payment of heavy ransoms by their rela- to the chief command in September, 1830. tives or tribe. This system, incredible as it This officer's views in Africa embraced from may appear, has been continued, and in some the first a wide horizon; and the preliminary respects improved upon, by the generals of steps for their attainment wore entered upon France. In the cities, the Turkish sway was with vigor. He recommended colonization on ruthless ; and as the arrival of the French a grand scale, commencing with the plain of brought only a change of masters, they were the Metidjah, and the formation of native batsubmitted to by the Moors with the same talions, in imitation of the policy of Great timid obsequiousness as they manifested when Britain in India. These views were to some crouching beneath the iron rod of the Janiza- extent adopted by the French ministry; tho ries. The Jews and Kooloolis welcomed the immediate colonization of the Metidjah was new-comers from the first; 80 that France decreed and formulized in the Moniteur Az has really had to contend only with the gérien, and a commencement made towards Kabyles and nomadic Arabs, and not with all organizing a powerful force of Zouaves and or nearly all of these, for many of the most Spahis. A foreign battalion, composed, ao warlike tribes have constantly sided with the cording to one of them, whose narrative has. invaders, and furnished the battalions and been translated by Lady Duff Gordon, of ad. squadrons of Zouaves and Spahis, the most venturers and vagabonds from every nation in effective troops, according to French authority, Europe, except Great Britain, but commanded in the army of Africa. It was the Zouaves by French officers, was formed and permawho covered their new eagle with glory at the Inently attached to the army of Africa, whieb,.

« PoprzedniaDalej »